reverence and joy


  • Kid Interview Redux

    SwordplaySiblingsI’m not sure what made me remember this kid interview I did 3 years ago (interestingly, it was almost exactly 3 years ago). I had borrowed the idea from the Ordinary Life Magic blog. The idea is that your kids answer questions about you, and you get some insight into their perspective. Although I think it’s intended for younger kids, it was fun to interview my two teens. Give it a try with your kiddos; you might be surprised at some of their answers!

    Dryst, age 17 (well, 18 in just one week):

    1. What is something I always say to you?
    I love you.

    2. What makes me happy?
    Uh, um, love and family.

    3. What makes me sad?
    Anger.

    4. How do I make you laugh? 
    By being a goofy mother.

    5. What was I like as a child?
    Uh, a quiet bookworm.

    6. How old am I?
    Oh God, actually, this is really hard. 43? Is that right? (laughing) No? That’s just ‘cause you look 43.

    7. How tall am I? 
    Five-two.

    8. What is my favorite thing to do? 
    Read books.

    9. What do I do when you’re not around? 
    Celebrate.

    10. If I become famous, what will it be for?
    Uh, writing a series of adventure novels.

    11. What am I really good at?
    Lots of stuff. Anything involving intelligence.

    12. What am I not very good at?
    Sports.

    13. What do I do for a job?
    Part-time at the radio station, and book-writing stuff.

    14. What is my favorite food? 
    I really don’t know, I feel like it changes too much for me to know.

    15. What makes you proud of me?
    You do a great job of being a mother. (Me: really?) Why not?

    16. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be?
    Arthur.

    17. What do you and I do together?
    Drive places. I dunno.

    18. How are you and I the same?
    We’re both Virgos, and therefore have Virgo personalities.

    19. How are you and I different?
    I’m a boy and you’re a girl. You’re middle-aged and I’m young. I’m less Virgo-y than you. There’s too many answers to this. I’m more outgoing.

    20. How do you know I love you? 
    Because you say it all the time. And because you love me.

    Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    I love you.

    ElvenTiger, age 15:

    1. What is something I always say to you? 
    I don’t know… I love you? That’s kind of an obvious one.

    2. What makes me happy?
    Lots of things, like conferences, and hanging out with really cool people.

    3. What makes me sad?
    People arguing.

    4. How do I make you laugh?
    Um, you make jokes! (laughs)

    5. What was I like as a child?
    I didn’t know you when you were a child. Shy.

    6. How old am I?
    45? Did you just turn 45, or are you just about to? (Me: about to). So, 44.

    7. How tall am I?
    Five-two, well, about that.

    8. What is my favorite thing to do?
    Write and drum.

    9. What do I do when you’re not around?
    Read. Yoga.

    10. If I become famous, what will it be for?
    Your writing, and your performing.

    11. What am I really good at?
    Um, your writing, drumming, other stuff.

    12. What am I not very good at?
    Hula-hooping.

    13. What do I do for a job?
    You write.

    14. What is my favorite food?
    You don’t really have a specific favorite food. You like lots of different interesting foods.

    15. What makes you proud of me?
    All kinds of stuff! I’m not gonna be specific about that. All the stuff. Being the loving, crazy, creative person you are!

    16. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be?
    The Cat in the Hat. He’s mischievous, smart, and I dunno… The Cat in the Hat, you know!

    17. What do you and I do together?
    Lots of things. We go to interesting unschooling conferences and music festivals.

    18. How are you and I the same?
    (Laughing) Well, when we’re thinking, we both tip our heads to the side (which we had both just done). We’re creative, fun-loving free spirits.

    19. How are you and I different?
    You’re more intellectual and I’m more, well, I like doing things. I mean, the way we learn.

    20. How do you know I love you?
    For one thing, you say it every day. So, yeah, that’s a pretty obvious one.

    Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    No.

     

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  • Starcat’s Favorites: Running Around

    lakesideWhat a busy summer it’s turned out to be! I shouldn’t be surprised, really. August is always a really crazy month for us. We have lots of family birthdays and gatherings, perform at festivals, and Dryst’s summer soccer season ramps up.

    On one level I’m really disappointed that we’re not heading off on our road trip at the end of the month (finances and a dead car caused us to cancel). But in another way, it will be nice to have more time close to home as summer starts to wind down. Some folks will be heading back to school, and we’ll be hitting the beach. I’m hoping for a warm and sunny month!

    What have you been up to this summer? Are you taking any time to relax and lounge around? Or are you, too, busily running around to lots of different events?

    Here are some good reads to keep you company at the beach or when you collapse into bed at the end of the day.

    How do you heal those parts of you that are wounded and bitter? Simple. Love them.

    The art of living, and how to master it. Hint: drop your expectations.

    This tips in this article on 22 Things Good Dancers Do Differently can easily be applied to almost any creative endeavor.

    Are you a visionary? Do you sometimes feel like becoming a hermit? Here’s some good advice.

    My friend wrote this thoughtful article about being a witness for the Earth.

    Enjoy the rest of your August!

     

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  • The Crones Don’t Care

    WP_20130805_031I’m blessed to have a bunch of amazing crones* in my life. I’m surrounded by creative, talented, gorgeous older women who live their lives in their own way. They value community, are giving and loving, and continue to grow and learn.

    And they don’t give a crap what other people think of them.

    That’s something I’ve struggled to learn.

    I’ve gotten much better about it over the years. I walked away from a few friendships that were full of judgement and (non-constructive) criticism. I wear what I want. I’m more able to just be myself, rather than trying to say or do what I think those around me expect.

    But it’s still hard, sometimes.

    Why do my crone friends and relatives** seem to disregard others’ opinions with such ease? Perhaps because they’ve realized that you can never really please anyone else, and that life is too short to waste on trying. I mean, of course they care about people. They are some of the most generous and kind folks I’ve known. But if someone has a negative view of them, they understand it’s not their own problem, but that other person’s.

    jeannieThey also all seem to have a great sense of humor about it. They don’t take themselves seriously, and are able to smile when someone thinks they’re a “crazy old lady” or a “left-wing hippie.” They shrug. “So what?” one of the fabulous crones might say. “As long as I’m being true to myself and living by my values, I don’t need to worry about it.”

    I love it.

    I already wear purple. It’s my favorite color. When I’m an old lady, I’m going to do whatever I want, without regard for public opinion, or even that of my own family. Hold on, why wait? I think I’ll do that now. Wanna join me?

     

    * I use the term “crone” in a positive way, purposefully setting aside the negative connotation it can have in modern culture. In the Pagan community, it is a respectful term for a female elder.

    ** I don’t think my Mom quite knew what she was getting into when she agreed that I could put photos of her in my post on crones. But she’s one of the ones that seems to be having the most fun. Can’t you tell? Love you, Mom!

    WP_20140512_003

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  • Falling Down and Getting Up Again

    PantherPondEveryone is writing about depression today because of Robin Williams’ passing. I’m writing about it because I’ve been feeling low myself, these past couple of weeks. I don’t always show it, as I’m an introvert and I tend to keep my strongest feelings close to my chest. But it’s there. And I’m not the only one.

    I love this quote a friend (and fellow blogger) wrote:

    “Don’t ever assume that the person who seems to have everything, to have it so together, doesn’t also carry great burdens. The face one projects and what goes in inside our very private minds can so often be wildly different.” – Spinster Jane

    At first glance, the dip in my energies and mood seemed to be circumstantial. I paid about $225. to get my laptop fixed, using money that I’d received as an advance on an editing project. Then I had to struggle to meet the deadline for the editing while that same laptop crashed repeatedly.

    My Subaru, which I knew needed lots of work and had been nursing along until the inspection was due this month, died. I mean, died as in “it’s not worth the amount of money we’d have to put into it to fix it.” I couldn’t just go out and get another car, even a used one, the next day. Despite it being the height of summer, our family’s finances – which due to Quester’s seasonal work are usually best this time of year – have been lower than expected. As a result of all this, the trip that BlackLion, ElvenTiger, and I had planned, which would have been a return to the awesome Rethinking Everything conference – had to be cancelled.

    I reached out to my Dad for some car advice, and he did help, but also passed judgement. Apparently, on a financial level, I’m doing everything wrong. I’m fully aware that he means well, and that “following your calling” isn’t part of his world view. But even after doing lots of work on self-love and not caring what others think, who wants to hear that, especially from someone you love?

    So, yeah, I’m bummed about all that stuff. But in talking it over with Quester, he said that he thought that having financial security wouldn’t necessarily alleviate my periodic brushes with depression. My first thought was, “what?!” But after pondering it further, I think perhaps he’s right.

    Sometimes it seems that the overwhelming emotions come first, then they attach themselves to some reason for feeling that way.  As I wrote in a recent article for Kind Over Matter, the work that I do to improve my personal experience of life involves a concerted effort.

    The practice, for me, takes a lot of inner work. It encompasses letting go of fears, embracing my shadow, being kind to myself, practicing gratitude, learning the delicate dance between desire and non-attachment, doing yoga, seeking ways to help others, breathing mindfully, and setting daily intentions.

    Guess what? When the car died, it coincided with a very busy week, travel that was a bit stressful, and not much time for my spiritual practices. And when the despair kicked in, I didn’t always take the time that I usually do to focus on those things that support me in feeling good.

    The result? I fell down. And now, here I am, getting back up again.

    When we’re down on the ground, or below it in a dark hole, it feels like that will always be our experience. That might even be true for some of us. But if you can just remember to do the things that have helped you before – reach out for help, go back to your most cherished spiritual practices, meditate, talk with a friend, see a therapist, or whatever it is for you –  then the chances are good that you’ll feel better. Maybe not right away, but you’ll be back on your path.

    I wish everyone had the support they need to keep on keeping on. But I can’t know what they’re going through. I don’t fault Robin Williams or anyone else for deciding they’ve had enough. My belief is that life continues in another form even after death, so it’s never truly the end.

    As for me, I’ve stumbled back onto the trail and I’m ready to see what’s around the next bend.

    Blessings on your journey, wherever it takes you.

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  • The Secret Worth of Boredom

    ohsoboredDo you ever get bored? How about your kids? You must have heard that mournful cry: “I’m booooooooooored!” Followed by you proposing an increasingly inventive list of options, none of which appeal to them one bit. Sigh.

    Boredom actually has a lot of value, though. When you’re bored, there’s not one thing you want to do…so you’re forced by circumstances to just be. That can be precious in our go-go-go world.

    Being bored can spark your creativity, whether in the moment or later on. You might decide, like ElvenTiger, to draw fake tattoos on your arm with markers. This could lead to using those doodles to design a real tattoo, logo, or other artwork. Or you could just lie there and stare out the window, letting your thoughts drift. Did you know you’re meditating?

    Boredom leads to daydreams, which can deliver original ideas for a story, an invention, or a themed road trip.

    As a bookworm, I find that I’m not bored very often, as I simply pick up a book. That’s another valuable thing about being bored – more time to explore your imagination through the things you choose to read. If, heaven forbid, I get bored with reading itself (rare, but it has happened), I close my eyes and imagine new worlds of my own, filled with fantastical creatures.

    Or you might drift off to sleep, and extra rest is a good thing.

    Kids who are bored might learn to rely on themselves more, especially since parents never seem to have any useful ideas in that situation. They might try something they hadn’t thought of before, and getting out of your normal routine can spark all kinds of interesting food for thought and exploration!

    See, boredom is good! It’s a valuable state of being for creative people – which is all of us.

    Next time you feel bored, go with it. Don’t just do something, sit there!

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  • The Space Between

    “The space between
    The tears we cry
    Is the laughter keeps us coming back for more”
    – Dave Matthews

    Lately I’ve been intrigued by edges, by the spaces between one thing and another. They can often be places of great paradox and deep creativity.

    In many of the Big Debates of our culture – pro choice vs. pro life, Israel vs. Palestine, even the ones about food, where I’ve already chosen a vegetarian lifestyle for myself – I have remained independent. I don’t choose a side because I’m often undecided; I can see pros and cons for both sides of most issues.

    I like it there in the grey area between two opposing ideas, where new alternatives are sparked. While having “situational ethics” is often intended as an insult, I find it to be a realistic way of moving through a constantly-changing world. An example: I don’t steal, yet if my children were starving and I could find no other options, you bet I would swipe some food for them, probably from a big supermarket where there is plenty available. Most of the time the choices aren’t so extreme, but it still seems to me that being flexible and not locked into one particular world view allows me to make a more authentic assessment based on what is actually going on in each moment.

    In permaculture, edges are known to be places of rich biodiversity. Where a meadow meets the forest, or where the rocky shoreline meets the ocean, there is a place that is not one thing nor the other, but contains elements of both. This is where you find plants and creatures who are a bit adventurous, flexible in their needs, ready for growth and expansion.

    The notion of the “edge” in yoga practice is the place where dynamic tension dances. When applied to a stretch, the edge is the place where you’re pushing your comfort zone just a bit. You’re not stretching too far or using force, which would be harmful, nor timidly stretching so little that you’re barely challenging yourself. Your edge is an interface between where you are and where you’re going, and is a place of great learning. Your edge is where you can lean into a stretch and coax your body toward flexibility. 

    Knowing where the edges of your self meet the rest of the world is valuable. Otherwise you have no boundaries, and will be caught up in everything that goes on around you, spun by the tides of random energies. This is especially key for those of us who are empaths. We tend to pick up on the feelings of others and can have a hard time figuring out which emotions are truly our own.

    “When we don’t know where our edges are, everything is equally important, and equally unimportant. We feel like we have to do everything and please everybody. Or we withdraw into lethargy and paralysis.  Either way, we lose ourselves inside the overwhelm.” – Justine Musk

    Our own edges are often in motion, and this is a good thing. While we want to create healthy boundaries, we don’t want to become isolated inside our own little bubble, stuck in our habits, comfortable but stale.

    In everyday life, you can use the notion of your edge to gently encourage yourself to keep growing, learning, and moving towards your dreams. Play with your edges, your boundaries, the outer limits of comfort where you step off into a new adventure. Relax your beliefs a bit, open your mind, and let paradox flow in. Isn’t it more valuable to learn new things than to seek experiences that confirm what you think you already know?

    My favorite edge space to explore recently is the space between sleep and waking, or waking and sleep. It’s that liminal space you inhabit when drifting off to sleep or awakening from dreams. In this ever-shifting boundary between one type consciousness and another, much magick awaits. I drop my intentions into the mist, letting images ebb and flow. I watch for what new manifestations might appear in my waking life. The results are often surprising.

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  • How to Incorporate More Creativity Into Your Daily Life

    Want to know how to live a more creative life? Ask your inner self. No, really.

    I was searching through one of my journals, looking for some notes I’d made, and came across the following advice. It was from two summers ago, in 2012, and was written during a Full Moon circle. The intention of the meditation was to ask questions of your inner self. At the time, my first book was being prepared for publication.

    My query was apparently about how to balance creativity with the other demands of daily life.

    Reading it again, I realized that not only was it good advice, but that it was universal enough to share. I hope it inspires you and allows you to expand your creativity.

    Dear You,

    To address your inner questioning about being the one who organizes and keeps the family on track: sometimes you must simply let go and trust that they can find their way even if you’re more focused inward on free-flowing creativity. Enlist their aid. Let your needs be known.

    Perhaps there is a way to do the organization ahead of time, so that you have longer stretches of time in which to live in your world of imagination. That’s why you’ve been drawn to going to bed earlier lately, to be in your sacred space without anyone having any expectations of you.

    Let your art, your writing, be more a part of your day, without constraining it to a particular topic or purpose. As you do this, your connection will be stronger and your creativity will expand. Then you can do the work of organizing and editing the written work later. This allows the poetic side more room to play and explore, to spread its wings more, to come forth in a broader river, rather than feeling constrained to a stream or a trickle of energy.

    Continue to reach out to others and make connections. That’s how your web of light, or your part in it, will reach a wider audience of people. You are already a part of the creative economy, the growth of the cultural creatives; you stand there as a peer, and it seems that your book [being published] will now allow you to believe it.

    So continue to reach out, to offer your creations to a wide variety of other free spirits, and you will all uplift one another. These are your sisters and brothers in the light. These are the people you connect with, and there is no accident or coincidence.merlin-7616301

    You are doing the work you’re meant to do, at the right time and in the right way.

    Follow your feelings as to which actions to take. If something feels a bit off, set it aside and find what resonates. Let your days flow more, trust the process, and you’ll find that you’ll accomplish even more.

    And don’t feel guilty for taking time to rest, or to have time to yourself. You need that as a way to recharge and replenish your batteries. Follow your intuition in regard to caring for your physical body, as well. Don’t judge yourself so much in that regard. It will look different each day. You are a creative being, and will always fight a regimented schedule. Let it flow more, and really trust that all will be well, and you will “get stuff done.”

    Or if you don’t, then it probably didn’t really need to be done anyway, and that really is okay. It fact, everything is okay, and more than than, it’s fantastic! Blessed be, dear one.

    Love,

    Your Inner Self

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  • What Is Your Gift to the World?

    Did you ever wonder why you’re here? I mean, of all the things you do, what was your soul’s ultimate purpose in coming here?

    What is your greatest gift to the world?

    One morning while I was on vacation, I listened to New Dimensions on the local community radio station while I was doing my yoga (it’s a fantastic show). The guest that day was author Jonathan Robinson. He shared several interesting stories, as well as tips and techniques for becoming happier.

    The one that stuck with me most was a question he told listeners to ask themselves:

    What would you do if you had plenty of money and yet were still required to work 40 hours each week?

    Answering this question will help you get to the answer to “in other words, what is the work that you find so rewarding or important that you would do it for free?”

    I encourage you to engage with this question in two ways. First, answer it now, as you’re reading, right off the top of your head. What springs to mind immediately?

    Next, take some time to think about it and ponder what you would do in this position. Take some time to picture the life you would lead if you had all the resources you needed. What calls to you? What is your sacred work? Is it something you already do, or a lifelong dream that hasn’t been realized yet? Write out the answers in your journal.

    I’ve found this exercise to be a valuable reminder of my purpose in this lifetime. I hope it will do the same for you. If you’d like to share, leave a message in the comments section. I’d love to hear about your life’s passions!

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  • Why You Should Make a Vision Board

    I love to make vision boards. I’m not sure when I first encountered the concept, but it was in connection with manifesting the things that you wish to bring into your life. The idea is that collecting relevant images and words in one place helps your conscious and subconscious mind focus more clearly on your goals and desires. This will aid you in bringing those things into your experience.

    Me with my latest vision board, created in a workshop at Life Rocks in June.

    My latest vision board, created in a workshop at Life Rocks in June.

    Rather than see them as mere shopping lists of the things I want, though, I’ve evolved into using vision boards as a space to play with designing how I want my life to look, feel, and become.

    Want to have some fun and get in deeper touch with yourself? Try making one! All you need is paper, scissors, glue, and old magazines. If you don’t have old magazines to use, ask a friend for theirs, or print pictures that you find online.

    The best part of making vision boards, for me, is the actual process of sitting down and paging through the magazines, finding images and quotes that appeal to me, and then creating a layout of words and pictures. I very quickly fall into a meditative state. It’s like supercharged daydreaming. Creating a vision board can help you get in touch with a deep part of your inner self, and as you craft your board, you are also putting your intentions forth into the universe.

    I’ve made so many vision boards over the past few years that I’ve compiled them into a book. It’s so much fun to page through it, and it has become a chronicle of my spiritual journey. Mine is a scrapbook that I purchased from a craft supply store, one of those where you can insert your pages into clear plastic holders. You could also use any kind of notebook or binder, or glue your cutouts directly onto the pages of a sketch book.

    Just as the things you desire will change over time, so will your vision boards. This is fine. In my view, the purpose of vision boards isn’t just to manifest your dreams. It’s also to discover more about yourself and your place in the world. Vision boards allow you to set aside the rational, doubting side of your mind and access your creative dreamer.

    The images you choose don’t have to be realistic. You might not have the money for that pilgrimage to Tibet right now, but so what? If you’re longing to visit there someday, add the images you find to your vision board. Who knows what might result? Being open to your dreams is one of the keys to manifesting them, or perhaps something even better. At the very least, you’ll discover new things about yourself and your deepest desires. Try it!

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  • Starcat’s Favorites: The Heart of Summer

    Do you feel like summer is just zooming right by? Me too. What can we do to make summer linger a bit more? That’s simple. Make an effort to get outside and enjoy it.

    fd140716somessoundI know, you’re busy. Me too. But let’s face it, the warm weather months won’t wait for us to check off all the items on the ever-present to-do list. Take a break. Get outside for a picnic, BBQ, walk, hike, swim, some puttering in the garden, or whatever floats your boat. Enjoy it!

    Here are some thought-provoking and fun links to peruse while lounging on your beach blanket or camp chair…

    Did you pick a Word of the Year for 2014? It’s time to check in and see how your word is inspiring you now.

    This post provides a wealth of fascinating resources for exploring what Jung called our “shadow side” and how it relates to art and creativity. Follow the links to go down the rabbit hole!

    Here’s another interesting article on the contribution of various factors, including practice and talent, toward achieving mastery.

    Those of us doing creative work along with parenting or other care-giving, housekeeping, and working for others can be challenged with managing our time. How do we prioritize our creative work?

    Teenagers keeping late-night hours?! Who would have thought!? Nope, it’s nothing new.

    This is a terrific post on how to mentor your kids when they have big dreams. “Don’t set limits where limits aren’t necessary.” Love it.

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  • My Books

    Cultivating Self-Love: Your Path to Wholeness

    Get your copy today at Amazon and Smashwords (in multiple formats).

    Want to live a more joyful, fulfilling life? One of the best things you can do is to learn to love yourself. Most of us have been taught to treat ourselves with disdain and criticism. Yet within you is a wellspring of love that, when you discover how to tap into it, will increase your compassion, creativity, and joy. This book will lead you on a gentle journey to greater self-love and confidence.


    Starcat's Corner: Essays on Pagan Living

    Click here for more information or buy now!

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