Women’s (Needle) Work

20190130_081305Over on Instagram, I am sharing my experience as I participate in a journey of walking with Mother Mary. This opportunity was made possible by Hettienne Grobler, you can find her blog here. Hettienne shares wonderful information and guidance to help get you started.

There is a lovely community developing around this journey on Instagram, you can find them by searching for #walkingwithmary, #30dayswithmary, #thirtydayswithmary.

I guess I should give some background on why I decided to join this journey. I am not a religious person, and I don’t subscribe to Christian beliefs, I am especially not interested in Catholicism, and yet here we are. I took my time to discern whether this experience was something I was interested in. I resisted joining and found many excuses not to, but the pull was strong. What allowed me to justify this practice for myself is my view of Mary as a representation of the Goddess, and as an archetype that has much to teach us. So with an open mind and open heart, I joined the others.

We are currently on Week Three and are exploring The Veils of Mary and Mary as Sophia,  Our Lady of Wisdom, Shekinah. One of the activities this week involves doing some needle work, whether it be sewing, weaving, knitting. These activities are considered traditionally women’s work.

As a child, I grew up around a lot of women, my mom and sisters, my aunts, cousins, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and their friends. Doing needlework was a common “fun” activity for the girls, while the boys were out playing in the mud. I don’t remember how young I was when I decided that those traditional women activities were not for me. I didn’t really feel interested in sewing, learning to cook, clean, etc. I was more interested in reading, writing, playing outside.

I don’t remember if I ever made a servilleta (a hand embroidered towel) for my mom, which is something that daughters usually make for their moms. I do have vague memories of one of my aunts teaching me how to embroider with a special needle, but I don’t think I finished that project.

Fast forward to many years later, when I began preparing to become a mom, I started to feel a pull towards the women’s work that I had rejected in my youth. I asked my mom to send me some embroidery hoops, thread and fabric.

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I found it very meditative and relaxing. My thread collection grew. I didn’t become a pro, but I began to see this type of work through a different lens.

It’s been about five years since I picked up my needle and thread. I have also changed a lot in those five years, and I am seeing a deeper layer/meaning in this kind of women’s work.

I think it’s magical. It is creative. It can become a magical, creative and spiritual experience. It can be compared to meditating, writing, praying the rosary, doing ritual. Done individually, in the privacy of your home, you can infuse your materials with intention, you can recite a mantra while filling in the patterns and shapes. You can be very intentional with your colors. You can use it to work magic. You can create sacred items for your rituals and sacred spaces.

Just as this journey with Mary has taught me that the Goddess is alive in all of us, this reflection on needlework and women’s work has made me realize that o

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ur grandmothers have been working magick for a very long time, even if they didn’t see it through that lens.

I’m excited to create something beautiful for my journey with Mary.

What has been your experience with women’s work? I’d love to read your comments so please share!

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Making 2019 a Depth Year

A new idea has been making the rounds on my social media communities, it is the idea of embarking on a Depth Year, a year where you dive deep into the hobbies, interests, and tools you already own/have, instead of finding new hobbies, interests, and tools to jump into.

I first heard about the Depth Year through Kelly Ann Maddox’s video, and shortly after that I saw it in many other people’s social media accounts. Although, the idea seems to have originated from David Cain, click here to read his blog post on Raptitude.

Before becoming familiar with the term Depth Year, I had already started doing something similar, as a result of feeling very overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I had accumulated. Most of my “stuff” is tarot decks and crystals. A few months ago, I began to feel a discomfort/concern for the reasons behind why I had accumulated such a large amount of stuff. And yet, I continued to constantly acquire new stuff without actually using it. So I decided that, rather than buying more new decks and crystals, I was going to focus on using the decks and crystals I had. This is what the depth year is all about.

The purpose of embarking on a Depth Year began with my tarot decks and crystals, but becoming mindful of my over consumption of those items, allowed me to shine a light on other areas of my life where I seem to accumulate things and not actually use them. One of those areas is enrolling in classes with the intention of working through the class, but then not making the time for it. I also do this with books, I have a pile of books I want to read and will add new books often, without actually getting to reading the book.

I guess the Depth Year is like setting New Year intentions around minimalism and not buying too much. Here are the areas I will focus on during my Depth Year:

  • Use 12 tarot decks that I have not used
  • Work with one or two crystals I already own per month
  • Finish reading Holistic Tarot
  • Finish the coaching class I purchased
  • Spend more time writing
  • Read a book once a month
  • Read the books/articles I have on the chakras
  • Use my Desire Map Planner
  • Do the Desire Map Workbooks
  • Spend more time creating offline

I am planning to do a three month check-in to see how I am doing on my goals above.

Do you set new year’s intentions? Have you heard of the Depth Year? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Musings on Relationships with Others

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Many years ago, even before starting a serious creative/spiritual path like I am on right now, I knew that the relationships we have with other people were very important. Of supreme importance, is the relationship we have with ourselves, but that is a topic for a separate post. Today, I want to talk about our relationships with others.

When I was in college, I knew that the relationships I created with my classmates and professors were going to be more important in my life, in the long run, than getting good grades. Thankfully, I was able to get good grades and focus on my relationships while in college. Later on, when I was in graduate school and out in the “real world” I still held this belief and acted accordingly. It’s not that I didn’t value the work I was doing or what I was learning, it was mostly the belief that, at the end of the day/year/life, what would matter most is the relationships I had and what they taught me about myself and about others.

This belief has been the backdrop of how I live my life. Now that I am following a more structured journey of self discovery, I can see how all the relationships in my life were sent to me in the right time for the lesson I needed to learn.

I am not implying that I am a pro at this relationship thing, but I am saying that relationships are important and should not be taken for granted. Even the troubled and broken relationships we might have with our families, they are important to our growth and development. Even the superficial relationships we might have with coworkers or people we think are not very important in our lives, they exist for a reason.

Lately, relationships are on my mind because I am realizing that, as I get older, they are becoming more complicated and existing relationships are beginning to change. I have had my fair share of relationships (friendships) end and I am not a stranger to the fact that, when we are no longer needed in one person’s life, we will drift apart and move on. I have made peace with that, it has happened to me too many times and I am thankful for learning that it’s okay for relationships to end when it is time.

Relationships are also on my mind because of the holidays, I am sure.  What about you? Do you spend time reflecting on how you are relating to your fellow humans? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

The Stories We Tell (Ourselves)

I’m not going to lie, this draft has been sitting in my draft folder since December of 2017. Last year, I was very into storytelling with my big story telling performance and all. This year has been more about creativity in general and I have not needed to do a story telling performance, but I have had to tell many stories.

Telling stories is something we do every day, from sharing how our weekend went to writing a newsletter article to share with the community, or writing an organization’s Annual Report, or even when we help our 5-year-old build her make-believe story, which usually for my 5 year old involve meeting unicorns and visiting other planets.

(Side note: I love my morning and evening commutes with my daughter because she has such an active and wild imagination. I love how she makes up stories and it’s something I will continue to encourage her to do as she gets older. Imagination is something that needs to be nurtured and developed, and definitely not crushed or discouraged.)

Above, I described some examples of stories we would tell to others, but in this blog post I want to talk about the stories we tell ourselves. Many of us are not aware of all the stories that are constantly playing on Me TV up in our brains. These stories have real power over us.

Many of these stories we have acquired through our own personal lived experience, but many others have been implanted in us from our culture and family. I can only imagine that the mind of a young child is fertile ground for many stories to take root, planted by the seeds of things that they are told by their parents, how their parents and other family treat them, and how their parents and other adults act on a day-to-day basis.

Many of us are not aware of the power these stories have over our lives. Many of us don’t event recognize these narratives as stories that we have created and which we can change if we desire. Awareness is always the first step.

What stories have you been allowing to run the show? Is it that you are not good enough? That you can’t do the thing you really want to do? That you can never be happy? That you don’t have enough? That you are powerless?

It’s a good exercise for your personal development to analyze and dig deep into these stories. Ask yourself, when did you first began telling yourself this story? How has this story helped or hindered your personal development? From who or where did you first hear this story? You can answer these questions in a journal or if you tarot or oracle cards you can also pull some cards to help you reflect on what stories you have been telling yourself.

Do you agree or disagree that we have a series of internal stories that are running our lives?  I would love to read your thoughts in the comments!

My Favorite Creativity Tools

 

The very first creativity tools I used were pen and paper. These two are not only my first tools, they continue to be the most important for me. There is something special about writing with a pen on paper, not only does it help me process my thoughts and feelings it also helps my brainstorming and problem solving sessions go much better.

Second on my list, although closely rivaling number one, is my beloved Tarot. If you asked me five years ago, whether I would ever find myself owning, not one, but (too many to list) tarot decks and using them regularly I would have looked at you as if you had just said the most crazy thing in the world; I really never saw this coming. I use tarot to gain insights into many different areas of my life, and especially about my creative journey. Tarot is a tool for storytelling and storytelling is one of the most creative things you can do. Tarot as a creative tool deserves its own blog post and it is on my list of topics to cover, so I will leave it there for now.

If I could only pick two creative tools ( I count pen and paper as one) to use for the rest of my life, I would choose writing and reading the tarot. But being the person I am, I do delve in other creative practices like painting, embroidery, photography, jewelry making and crafting of magical tools like wands, oracle cards, and divination sets.

I am pretty open to following whatever creative urge strikes my fancy. In the past, I felt that this was a barrier I had to overcome, but now I see it as a gift. To be aware of my changing interest and have the freedom to pursue them is the greatest gift of all. So if one day I wake up wanting to do collages, I will do them and if suddenly I grow tired of collages, I will stop doing them without regret. We have to follow inspiration wherever it leads us.

 

 

 

 

My Personal Beliefs About Creativity

Continuing with my reflection on creativity, I want to share with you some of my beliefs about creativity.

I believe we are all creative. Sometimes when we hear the word “creative” we instantly think of artists, writers, dancers, musicians. Let’s face it, the majority of us are not what comes to mind when we think about creativity. Most of us work a full-time job, maybe more than one, and usually those full-time jobs don’t encourage much creative thought or action. But at the core of my creative journey is the belief that we are all creative beings.

Creating is an act of service. Being of service to others is an important part of most spiritual paths. Being of service is a way to affirm the belief that we are all connected and in this earthly experience together. Being of service to others helps us grow and learn, dare I say advance in our human evolution. Being of service is just the right thing to do, unless you want to live a sad, miserable, selfish, inconsequential and lonely life.

Creating connects us with our most authentic Self. I believe that when we tap into our creativity, we begin to connect with a deeper part of our Self, a part that is more truly us than the selves we walk around pretending to be on a daily basis.

We are being creative everyday, even if we are not aware of this. I am going to get into some woo woo ideas about the power of our mind, if you are not into the woo, please don’t close your mind to what I am about to share! I firmly believe that our mind/thoughts are way more powerful than most of us realize. It’s not as explicit as thinking about something and having it magically appear, most of our minds are not strong enough to make that happen. What I mean is that our thoughts dictate our words and eventually our actions. What we say and what we do in the end creates the reality that we live in. If our mind is constantly tuned to Negative Nelly’s Radio Show, well our words will not be used to build people up, we will always try to tear people down, our actions are not going to be empowering, we will always sabotage ourselves and others. If you leave your mind to run wild with negative thoughts, your are creating a negative reality for yourself.  

We all have unique gifts to share with the world.  Part of what set me on my creative journey was the belief that I was here for a reason. With time I began calling that reason or purpose a gift and I was off on a journey to unearth that gift. Since beginning that journey I have discovered more than one gift I can share with the world. I have also learned that the greatest gift we can give to the world and to ourselves is to be our true and authentic Self. Discovering, or unearthing, the real Self is essential to the creative journey.

These are my current beliefs about creativity. I am sure I will discover more and maybe a few months or years later I will write an updated list. Tell me your beliefs about creativity in the comments, I’d love to know!

Reflections on Creativity

Well, I came to my laptop to write a blog post and I have somehow managed to lock myself out of my blog account. The website says to give it a few minutes, I have no patience as of late, it must be a sign from the universe.

Over on my Instagram page, I have been participating in a month long challenge exploring magick, which has led me to explore creativity. Being creative and expressing creativity is something that is important to me on many levels, it’s important for my mental health and important to my spiritual path.

Unfortunately, I often spend a lot of time thinking about being creative or reading about creativity. I have also had many false starts in my creative journey, maybe they are not “false starts” though, maybe they are all part of the journey.

I always seem to lack something, or need something else to finally unlock the secret door to creativity. If it’s writing I want to do, I am in need of a better laptop, this laptop is too slow. Or maybe I need peace and quiet (something that is currently a luxury), or time, there’s never enough time for this creative stuff. If it’s painting I want to do, I must have more colors and brushes and paper because the ones I have are obviously not enough.

From all that I have learned about creativity, we really don’t need anything fancy to get started. In fact, creativity is able to make something out of nothing. I could blame my consumerist tendencies on capitalism, but the truth is that fear is what keeps most creatives paralyzed and unable to actually create. Fear sabotages our creative nature every day, and if not dealt with, possibly for the rest of our lives. Unless we decide/choose to get over our fear and just fucking make something.

I can say that a few many times in my life I have successfully overcome fear and created something, many somethings actually, which means there is still hope for me. I can continue to overcome fear and create what I am meant to.

What have you created lately? Or has fear won you over? Don’t give up, you do have it in you to bring into reality what you desire to create for yourself.