Maybe High School English Classes Do Matter…

Since I was a young girl I have wanted to be a writer. I filled journal, after journal, after journal. Becoming a writer is still my dream, but now that I am an adult, it feels a little more distant, like it’s something that might not actually happen.

Most of what I have written over my life time are daily reflections in my journals. In high school, I took a stab at writing short stories for my English classes. There are three classes that stand out from my high school years, two of them were taught by one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Barry Grimes.

Mr. Grimes was my English teacher during grades 10 and 12. He introduced me to a diverse range of writers, not just in styles but also in culture. His teaching style was about bringing out the life lessons hidden in the books and making us think about how the stories we were reading connected to our own life and our own stories. Of course, we were all young so most of his teachings eluded us, but he tried nonetheless. Mr. Grimes was peculiar. He carried three small notebooks in his back pocket, he used to record things through out his day. He had very sloppy hand writing, but I got used to it. He wrote on a chalkboard, when most teachers were using white boards.

In his class, I read books like The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Farewell to Manzanar, and Braided Lives: An Anthology of Multicultural American Writing. We also got to write our own short stories, emulating the writing styles of the authors we were reading. Mr. Grimes liked my writing and ignited in me the belief that maybe I too could be a writer some day.

The other class that was formative for me was a Latino Literature class I took in my junior year (11th grade) with Mr. Bodeen. In his class I was introduced to many Chicano authors like Gloria Anzaldua, Tomas Rivera, and Rudolfo Anaya. In his class I read one of my favorite books: Bless Me, Ultima. In his class I also wrote some short stories and learned that my cultural background provided me with a lot of creative material.

Did you take any classes during high school that had an impact on you? Share your stories in the comments!

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The Power of Stories

In my last post, I shared about how in the last few months I have began to be involved with oral storytelling. I want to share how stories have been a significant in my life even before getting into storytelling.

In college I had to take a writing seminar my freshman year, I took the one called The Power of Story: Writing as Transformation. The class was rather small, maybe 10 people. Some of those people become my best friends in college.

In the class we wrote stories, then read them in class and provided feedback to each other. We shared personal and vulnerable stories; this is probably why the group became so close. The professor shared her stories with us too. I don’t remember much about the class, but I do remember learning about the hero’s journey. I  remember the stories my classmates shared. And I remember a moment when the professor shared how she felt alone, and that she was afraid that she would die alone. I remember her vulnerability, and I remember feeling what she said as if they were my own feelings.

I didn’t understand this then, but stories are powerful. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and about the world around us have real life implications, they determine how we act and how we live our life.

Most of us aren’t aware of the stories we believe. We are not aware of the stories that we have inherited from our parents.  And most importantly, we are not aware that we have the power to change the story. I know I wasn’t aware of that before, and now I’m finally beginning to put this story puzzle together.

What about you? Have you ever though about the stories you have believed about yourself and how the world works? Share in the comments!

Adventures in Storytelling

Almost accidentally, I have fallen into a new hobby/adventure: Storytelling.

It’s not so strange that I would find myself exploring this. I remember back in college during the Day of the Dead celebrations, I went to a museum exhibit on the Dia de Muertos, and they had a real live Storyteller. She used different instruments to bring the sounds of her story to life and I was mesmerized by her performance. I secretly wished I could one day become a storyteller like her, but my extreme shines and fear of public speaking kept me from even trying.

I have always battled with fear of speaking. Not just public speaking, just speaking in general. Speaking up in class was never easy, it used to cause me so much anxiety, I rarely even talked in class. I didn’t know that speaking-up was important to my spiritual and life journey, until recently. My life has put me in many situations where I have the opportunity to work on my fear of public speaking.

I have come a long way from my younger years. I even have a job where I regularly have to speak up, do presentations, tell people what’s on my mind. It’s through this job that I’ve had the opportunity to dip my toes into storytelling.

It started with a workshop series where we learned the basics of storytelling and got to practice and actually share some stories. I received very good feedback from those workshops, but it was always very nerve wrecking. Not just because it was speaking up in front of people, but also because sharing personal stories is well…personal, and vulnerable.

Apparently, my stories were powerful because I was invited to share my story at a large event. My mind told me to run for the hills and not accept such a crazy proposal, but my soul told me I needed to be brave and do this.

This Friday, I will have my first storytelling workshop to prepare for the big event. The story I am going to tell has been trickling in little by little. I will be needing a lot of courage to make it through the two workshops and the main performance. Wish me luck, I feel afraid, but I am choosing courage. I feel this is an important step for me. And I’m excited to see where it leads me.

 

Summer Reflections

Well it has been quite a long while since I wrote a blog post. I have been active in other platforms, mostly Instagram, but even there I had to take it easy. Life feels very full and busy lately, which is not a bad thing. I just want to write a post about what I have been up to in the last few months.

In May, I hosted a writing challenge on Instagram with Alaina from ExploringlyYours. The name of the challenge was #MayYouWriteLikeTheFool. The goal was for us to take a leap, much like The Fool from the tarot, and write everyday, to develop the habit and a writing practice. I learned a lot about myself and my writing during that month. I followed one story line for most of the month, writing short vignettes every day. It was a story that I didn’t even know was inside me, waiting to be told.

I am planning to go back to that story  and flesh it out more. That will be the one story I will write to satisfy my goal of writing and self-publishing a collection of short stories by my 2017 birthday. I had originally said I was going to write 12 short stories in 12 months…that goal was very ambitious and it did not materialize. Maybe next year will be the year when I actually complete it.

In the last few months I have also been learning about the chakras with the goal of learning to balance my own and in the future help others balance theirs through energy healing. The learning has been slow, or should I say the studying has been slow. There is so much to learn about the chakras, I am sure I will be learning about them for many years to come.

I have also started to make wire wrapped crystal necklaces from my crystal collection. I am kind of obsessed with this project and I’m excited for the creative process, but also because I get to share beautiful crystals with other fellow crystal lovers. I am posting some of them on my Instagram account, but most of them are in my Depop store, which you can visit here.

Lastly, I have been thinking a lot about where my life is going. I feel like I’m just…you know…living without a direction or vision. That is probably something I will write many blog posts about, so I will not go into details here. I trust that some exciting changes are coming as a result of these inquiries :).

What have you been up to this summer? I’d love to read about it in the comments.

Much love,

Dianna

 

Beltane Reading

I did a Beltane reading using a spread by Lisa over at Angelorum.co. Click here to read her blog post describing the spread.

I used the Dark Tarot for this reading. You can print your own copy of this deck by downloading the images from their site, here. I purchased mine through makingplayingcards.com, if you would like to have it professionally printed, go here.

And now onto the reading.

  1. Chi/Life Force: Page of Coins
  2. Holy Beltane Fire: Ace of Cups
  3. Fire Proof Container: Page of Swords
  4. This is Burning Away: The Lovers
  5. The Fire Feeds This: 2 of Cup
  6. More Information on Card 5: Knight of Wands
  7. More Information on Card 5: 8 of Wands

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My life force for this season of Beltane is the Page of Coins. This Page is practical and cautious with his material assets. I am not the Page of Coins, but it would seem this is what I should be focusing on. Fostering this practicality and cautiousness with money and other aspects of material life. Which for me translates to cutting back on the wanting to buy things (read: decks and crystals).

Card 2, the blessing that I can receive during Beltane is the Ace of Cups, to focus on relationships, to focus on how full my cup is instead of how lacking it is. New beginnings for relationships and emotions. New ways of processing and dealing with emotions.

Card 3 is my protective energy, and not surprised to see the Page of Swords, another Page and one that uses the power of his mind to problem solve and is ready to both attack and defend, what ever the situation needs.

Card 4, what is burning away by the Holy Fire of Beltane. I got The Lovers and that could not be more confusing. Ace of Cups is the Fire, so how can Ace of Cups burn away The Lovers? Well, come to think of it, it could mean parts of my relationships that are no longer necessary will fall away, so it’s the new beginnings I was talking about earlier.

Card 5, the fire feeds this turns out to be 2 of Cups, hmmm, lots of cups energy, this must be a season for strengthening my relationships, with people around me, and with myself. Looking at the positions of the cards, the Page of Coins, my current life force, is facing towards the 2 of Cups, which is a card of partnership, and love, and friendship. The Page of Coins is walking into this partnership with an offering of his most precious coin, the one that he has been safe guarding for all this time, he is ready to let it go. These cards seem to have a message about a conflict/tension between relationships and what one wants to get out of life. I gave up on material success and possessions a long time ago, more than gave up, I guess I came to realize that they were not important, what is most important is experience and relationships. These cards are driving home the same message.

Cards 6 and 7 are additional information for card 5, my cards were Knight of Wands and 8 of Wands. While the 2 of Cups is all about relationships, these two are all about creativity and passion. The Knight of Wands is an active card and is looking at all the other wands, which presumably he has to pick up and carry somewhere. I see these cards represent my creative activities for this season, one of which is a writing challenge I am doing in May with Alaina of exploringlyyours.com, feeling excited for that!

Did you try a Beltane spread? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

#tarotthursdaythree 3/02/2017

Another Thursday has gone by! This one was the first Thursday of March and that days #tarotthursdaythree questions are quite juicy! The questions were provided by Julia over at Spiral Sea Tarot, check out her post here.

1. What was it that initially sparked your interest with T? 

It all started when I was reading A Course in Miracles. I followed a few people on IG who were also students of ACIM, two of them were Alex Henry and Lyna Jones. At some point they had shared pictures of oracle cards and the Wild Unknown Tarot. I didn’t really know what they were, but my curiosity was picked! So I went down the hashtag rabbit hole and found more people to follow so I could learn more.

Deciding to purchase a deck of cards happened after a long period of soul searching. Even though I wasn’t religious, I did have apprehension about the purpose of the cards, and what if I was going the wrong way in my spiritual path? Eventually I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did.

2. Is it what you expected it to be and if not, in what ways were your expectations defied?

Tarot is way more than I expected it to be. When deciding to buy my first deck or not, I knew that the tarot could be used for self-reflection and guidance, and also for divination and fortune telling, but I knew I wasn’t interested in the latter.  I has been a little over a year since I bought my first deck and I have learned so much and met some wonderful people, whomI would not have met had it not been through the tarot community. At the same time it does get a little overwhelming, because there is so much to learn! I know I haven’t even scratched the surface, but having more to learn is a good thing in my opinion.

3. How do you primarily use T? I.e. for divination, self-reflection, analysis, shadow work, ritual (or something else)?

I use tarot for self-reflection and guidance from my Higher Self, Spirit Guides, and Ancestors. I have also done shadow work with tarot before. Tarot and oracle cards are my current spiritual practice. I am also excited to use tarot for writing and developing/strengthening my creativity.

Thanks for stopping by! I’m happy to be caught up for now!

#tarotthursdaythree 2/23/2017

Well, it took me much longer to get to this post than I anticipated…but better late than never!

1. If you could have your likeness immortalized on any one of the 78 cards, which would it be and why?

I can’t say I have ever asked myself this question. But there’s always a first time for everything!  I am going to pick one of my favorite cards, the 10 of pentacles. I would like to have, not just my likeness, but my whole entire family’s (and close friends) likeness’ immortalized in that card. Why? Because this card speaks of community, relationships, and inter-connectedness. Being the 10th card of the suit of pentacles makes me think that in this human world, the goal is to get to the 10 of pentacles, to create community, where the young learn from the old, where everyone is present in each other’s life. It’s an idealized/romanticized view of life I know, but maybe we can still get there.

2. When reading for yourself, are you able to remain unbiased and if so, what tips can you share for others?

Good question! I am able to remain unbiased more so now than when I just started reading. I remember months ago while doing a reading for myself and not liking the position that the cards came out in, I was tempted to change them haha, and I think I said that in my Instagram post and asked others what their thoughts were on that, they encouraged me to keep them as they had come out and to listen to the message they were trying to convey to me, even if, or especially if, I did not like that message.

I think the best tip I can offer is to sit with the cards you pull for yourself, allow your intuition to speak to you. Sometimes it won’t happen right when you are doing the reading, sometimes you will have to leave the cards, for hours, maybe even days! Until the message comes through. And if you don’t the cards will start stalking you. True story!

3. What is your least favorite deck in your collection and why?

My least favorite deck would be the Stretch Tarot. This deck has sentimental value for me, but I just don’t like some of the images. I keep considering to trade it, but then change my mind. This deck is special to me because I used it for the Spirit Guide challenge in October 2016. The way I came to own the deck was interesting. I saw it on IG a few times, and the next thing I knew I was buying it, even though it was coming from England. I usually sit on my deck purchases longer and eventually talk myself out of decks that aren’t really meant to be. So this one was meant to be, and the very first time I used it I had just searched for a Spirit Guide spread, before the challenge was announced. I might still try to trade it, I rarely use it.

Thanks for stopping by!  I am going to work on catching up with the next post.