Be Inspired by Sacred Geometry

I’ve just begun, very slowly, the study of a new creative thought process, and meditation technique. For a while now I’ve been inspired by the images of sacred geometry, especially the Flower of Life. There have been a lot of synchronicities, with the image seeming to follow me everywhere.

I know, I take a while to get the hint. But there are so many fun creative things to do that I just can’t seem to get to them all sometimes!

Anyway, ElvenTiger, BlackLion, and I decided to take a class in zentangling, which was being offered by a cherished friend at our homeschool co-op. It’s so much fun!

zentanglinginprogress14

I love the shapes and patterns, and it’s so easy to go into “the zone” of meditation while zentangling. One of the patterns reminded me of the Flower of Life. So, with help from BlackLion, I made my very first Flower of Life mandala.

floweroflife1I added the colors because of lines where I messed up while tracing. Not bad for my first one, though! I’m happy with it.

It feels very meditative and centering to make these ancient drawings.

I’m so thankful for this new technique! So inspiring!

 

 

Starcat’s Favorites: Full Steam Ahead!

 

Dryst, ready for the next soccer game.

Dryst, ready for the next soccer game.

I’m not sure exactly why, but this fall has seemed even busier than the last few. Every day is full of activities, tasks, and projects – and at least one of them is always soccer! Dryst has been doing really well, playing as a senior on the varsity soccer team. He has just one more scheduled game, and then the playoffs.

As autumn progresses, though, I’m feeling the slowing down that comes with the season, and looking forward to a bit of hibernation. I have so many writing, music, and art projects that are whispering my name. I look forward to hunkering down in my cozy home and focusing on quietly creating.

How is your autumn progressing?

Here are some links for your weekend perusal…

Are you sick of all the political ads and signs everywhere? I try to do my part to be a good citizen, but I confess, I’m not all that interested in politics. This is a terrific article on why you should vote, even if politics just isn’t your thing (and yes, I do vote).

12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans. Yes!

Sometimes we try too hard to find our purpose in life. What if it were as simple as the next breath?

I found this delightfully sweet little story while doing some research on the Pagan holidays. A great explanation that tells the tale of the Wheel of the Year.

Enjoy your day!

To Solve a Problem

This is an excellent reminder for all of us.

“To solve a problem you begin to minimize its characteristics, diminish its importance, rob it of your attention, refuse it your energy. The method is the opposite, of course, of what you are taught. That is why it seems to be so impractical. I have said this so many times – and I do realize it is difficult for you – but you cannot concentrate upon two things at once. So to the extent that you concentrate upon your pleasures, your accomplishments, and to the extent that you relate to the psychic and biological moment, you are refreshing yourselves.

“You are not projecting negatively, and you are allowing the problem to unwrinkle, unknot. You are denying it the energy of your attention that keeps it going. You do not spend time thinking that you have not used your abilities properly. You take it for granted that you ARE using them properly, and that allows them to fully develop.”

- Seth through Jane Roberts (1978)

How To Reclaim Your Personal Power

Do you ever see pictures or posts from your classmates on Facebook and think, “really, that’s so-and-so?! But they’re just an ordinary person, like me!” Particularly the men and women who were once “the popular kids,” arbitrators of all things “cool.” They were up there on a pedestal in high school: the golden ones, the jocks and the cheerleaders. Now they’re posting about their job or sharing photos of their kids or seeking support for a health issue, and you realize that they’re fully human.

My brother (left) and I at DisneyWorld in 1985.

My brother (left) and I at DisneyWorld in 1985. Photo by Aunt Peg.

I was very shy as a kid, and I had no idea how to be “cool,” which in the 1980s meant “preppy.” I tried. Which was probably my first mistake. I even read books about it – yes, I owned The Official Preppy Handbook. I was so busy trying to be like someone else that I couldn’t see the positive qualities that were mine.

Like many of us, I gave away my power to the kids I thought had it all together. But it was an illusion. I was making assumptions. They were just kids, too, just regular people, like me, with their fears and hopes and worries.

Why do we do this? Why do we idealize others and seek their blessings on who we are? I think, for those of us who attended public school, it’s because we were taught to do so.

First there were the teachers, whose approval or disapproval ruled our days. For the most part, what was rewarded was not creativity, but rather memorization and reiteration of what they had just told us one or two classes ago. They were in charge of our everyday experience, and I for one wanted those gold stars and A grades.

It was natural to continue that approval-seeking in the realm of clothes, music, and dating. The kids who had a bit more self-confidence, or excelled at things the kid community valued, like sports or fashion, became the leaders by default. You either sought their endorsement, or rebelled against it and formed alternate groups.

Some of us took a long time to get away from that type of behavior. We transferred it to college, careers, and keeping up with the Joneses. Sometimes you don’t even realize when you’re giving away your power. Awareness is the first step.

These days, I feel I’m finally becoming free of my old approval-seeking ways. It’s so liberating. Seeing my childhood heroes show up as regular middle-aged folk on Facebook has certainly helped. So has nurturing my own unique abilities, and letting go of comparisons to others and the things they can do. We all bring our own talents, skills, and positive qualities to this lifetime.

You can’t be good at everything, nor should you expect that from yourself.

Realize that you are the one in charge of your own experience. You’re the one who gets to decide where to put your energies. Sure, there are still external factors that you need to consider; for example, your boss or clients will need to like what you’re offering.

But you don’t need to please everyone.

It works best, in fact, when you start with approving of yourself, with doing good work that you can be proud of and nurturing your gifts. Begin to reclaim your power by setting goals that truly matter to you, then working steadily toward them. Practice. Try, and fail, and try again. Take small steps toward your goals every single day. Let yourself learn and grow. Surround yourself with people who appreciate and respect you.

If you want to go even deeper with it, you can visualize yourself revisiting the past. Talk to your child self as the mentor you’ve always wanted. Be reassuring. Gently embrace the fearful child inside you who just wanted to belong. Know that all is well.

You’re here, you’re amazing, and you already belong fully, just as you are.

7 Guidelines for a More Joyful Life

woty2014enjoyAs I may have mentioned a time or two, my Word of the Year for 2014 is ENJOY. Recently I’ve been paying more attention to when I feel joyful in my life, and when I feel stressed. I’ve been working on figuring out what makes me happy, and following those clues.

I’m not saying that life won’t have its moments of sorrow, anger, and other emotional upsets. I’m talking about encouraging a general trend of enjoying where you are and what you’re doing.

It seems like a worthwhile venture, to learn your own happiness formula.

Here are seven guidelines that I’ve found help me enjoy life more fully. I offer them to you in the hope that you can benefit from them. You could try them out, adopt one or two, or simply allow them to inspire you to discover your own personal guidelines. Enjoy!

1. Relax and let go. I’ve found that letting go of my mental and emotional grip on life is a huge relief. Sure, I still plan and make lists, but I’m not attached to being in control of what happens in each day, or even each moment. Intentions are much more useful than expectations.

2. Love and accept yourself completely. I watched a video on the basics of EFT (aka “tapping”), and what stayed with me most is the final affirmation. “Despite  [insert things that aren't going right for you, or that  you wish were different], I love and accept myself completely.” We’re here on the Earth plane to learn, and challenges give us the opportunity to do so. Instead of judging your self-worth based on how well things are going, choose to love and accept yourself no matter what.

3. Don’t try to do so much. This is a huge one for me. The problem is, everything sounds like so much fun! But I’ve found that a very full week is a recipe for stress, even if all the things I have scheduled are fun and enjoyable. Taken as a non-stop whole, it stresses me out. I’m happier when I leave gaps in my schedule for rest, self-care, reading, and unstructured creativity.

4. There is magick in everything. Yes, everything. Look around you. Everything is made up of energy, and came into being through desire. When you look for the sparkly magick in your everyday life, more and more will appear. The faeries love to be noticed and admired. Shine your light on the nifty little corners of the world.

5. Spend time outdoors. Getting outside on a daily basis, I’ve discovered, is essential to my emotional health. I wrote a whole article about it for Feline Dreamers; check it out over here.

6. Come back to your center. Sure, we all get thrown off balance by those pesky, er, lovely learning challenges that arise. Discover how to come back to your center through whatever methods work for you. It might be taking several deep breaths, going off by yourself for a time, talking to a trusted friend, or dancing to your favorite music. When you get upset, feel your feelings, then re-center yourself.

7. Express your creativity. Life is a whole lot more fun when you spend time expressing the natural creativity you were born with. Only you know what that means for you. If you haven’t found it yet, think about what you most enjoy doing, and focus on that. Make it your own. Let your creative spirit flow.

P.S. How do you like the new look here at Starcat’s Corner? BlackLion refreshed the website so that you can more easily enjoy it on your phone or tablet. I’d love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Why Fae?

One of my many projects (me? overcommit? nah!) is blogging for a brand new inspiring website that’s going to be launched soon. I’m one of a dozen or so bloggers. We all have superhero-style titles as part of our pen names, like Taran the Magnificent (yeah, I totally made that example up).

The one I chose is Starcat the Fae. Why?

facesI enjoy living my life as a character in a faery tale. I open myself to the magick that still dwells in the world’s hidden places. It manifests as synchronicities that you don’t want to brush away as coincidence. Sparkles seen out of the corner of your eye. A wee boost where you need it and least expected it. Laying your hands on someone who is hurting and watching them sigh and relax.

Life’s daily dose of miracles. That’s magick.

My life philosophy? I choose to see reality as a myriad of experiences, all valid, all interconnected, all part of the Multiverse. I don’t see this life as the only one I am living; my dreams tell a different story. On this plane, this version of the physical Earth, I see us all as here to learn and grow. We are remembering how to weave our own magick with that of the land, the sky, the sea, the sun and moon and stars, our fellow creatures, elementals, fae spirits, ancestors and descendants, unknown beings…to dance with All That Is.

It does sound kind of fae, huh?

 

Finding Joy Where You Are

It’s been a hectic and crazy autumn thus far. I wasn’t sure I was coping very well. Between grieving and stress and hormones and lack of down time, I wasn’t in the joyful space where I wanted to be.

Then it was fair and festival time. Two of the past three weekends I’ve spent outdoors, drumming & performing with Dark Follies and camping out. It’s the best thing that could have happened to me. Sure, leading up to the events, they seemed to add to my stress. I had to get cold-weather camping gear ready, prepare meals, and get a bunch of tasks done early so I could be away for a few days. But once I got there, I discovered my joy was closer to hand than I’d thought.

This weekend at a music festival in rural western Maine, I found my center and a new level of awareness.

festival

Even a rainy day at the festival is full of joy. The distant mountains lie hidden behind the clouds…

I’d gotten up at 5am on Friday to take Dryst to a homecoming pep rally. Whose bright idea is it to get overtaxed teens up even earlier to pump up their school spirit when they should be sleeping? Dryst thought it was dumb, too, but he loves to play soccer, so he had to show up. After that, I came home at 8:30am and BlackLion, ElvenTiger and I packed up to hit the road.

The festival was fun, and we drummed and danced and talked to cool people. ElvenTiger did her fire-spinning thing with the fire collective. We stayed up late that night to see a friend’s band play – at 3am. So, yeah, I was up 23 hours straight.

I got up after 6 hours of sleep and started all over again. I intended to get a nap, but when there’s so much fun stuff going on…well, it didn’t happen. Saturday was cloudy and misty, and after a potluck dinner with my troupe, I decided to lie down for a little while before drumming for the fire spinners. That’s when the rain started in earnest, and it lulled me to sleep.

There I was, by myself in the tent on the side of a mountain in a gorgeous fae-touched place, raindrops dripping from the trees, music in the distance. I had the best sleep I’d had in a long time. And when I woke up, I had time to muse and ponder and reflect. There was nothing to do, while the rest of my people slept or got ready for the day. I wandered the hill, watching the community awaken slowly, looking at the gorgeous autumn landscape as the sun emerged from the clouds. I sat on the grass and wrote in my journal. I took off my shoes and felt the grass under my feet. I grinned at people as Dark Follies led the final parade that afternoon. I gave and received lots of hugs. I was at peace.

I’ve found my joyful presence. Not that I miss Jenn any less, or that my problems have all magickally disappeared. But I’ve found acceptance, and remembered the blessings of just being in the moment.

Coming back to everyday life and the ever-present to-do list, I’ve carried that new knowing with me. My Word of the Year for 2014 is ENJOY, after all. I’ve tapped into it more fully than before.

I know I’ll forget again. I’m human. We’re here to learn and grow. But now I have new clues and insights into my joy and where it resides. It’s right here within me, where my energies touch those of nature, and music, and open-hearted people. I’m thankful.

 

It’s Good to Be Queen

All night last night I was dreaming about being a queen. I woke up wondering what it means. On one level, perpetuating the hierarchical structure of a monarchy, with arbitrary birth circumstances making people feel they can control all the resources – not really my thing. I don’t tend to like wielding power over others. Consensus is better.

Let’s see. I like the band Queen, and did participate in an impromptu group a capella performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in a bardic circle this past May. With yet a different definition, maybe it just means I’m a female cat.

Well, yeah. But there must be something more to this archetype that popped up in my subconscious.

Queens

These Queen cards are from The Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason.

So I turned to the Tarot. The Queen cards portray female leadership qualities, and some of the life roles that women take on. You have the Queen of Discs (top card), who is all about physical expression, health, sexual pleasure, and security. Then, moving around the circle clockwise, there’s the Queen of Swords, whose realm is imagination, vision, creativity, idealism, and the intellect. The assertive Queen of Wands is filled with passion, illumination, faith, and strong-willed independence. The Queen of Cups is softer, and concerned with the feminine mysteries, feelings, intuition, beauty, and one’s private inner world.

Queens in the Tarot are, like the Kings, figures of authority. But their power is wielded in a gentler manner. It is “power with” rather than strict “power over.” The queen is emotionally mature, with some life experience and wisdom under her belt. She wants to inspire her subjects, and work with them to foster a strong community.

She is a matriarch in her family, and often assumes control over the household’s activities, keeping things running smoothly. That part sounds familiar.

After contemplating my queen-related dreams, I think that they are reflecting my current role in the family, and also that I’m seeking the best qualities of a benevolent ruler. The busier we get in my immediate family – and Autumn is often quite a busy time – the more my family members turn to me for guidance. “What’s going on today?” “What’s the plan?” “What’s for dinner?” are just a few common questions I encounter throughout the day.

This can become overwhelming, especially for an introvert who would rather dwell in her inner world.

I mean, sure, I’m really good at organizing and planning, but that doesn’t mean it’s my favorite thing to do. My own creative projects tend to get pushed aside in favor of the stuff of daily life. I accept that, and work toward balancing the various aspects of my life.

The queenly qualities I’m seeking are the poise and grace to gently guide myself and others, the fiery confidence to trust that I’m on the right path, and the emotional depth to accept life’s ups and downs. I want to serve as a positive role model for my kids, showing how life can be joyful even when it’s complex. All in all, being the matriarch is not a bad thing. It’s good to be queen.

Starcat’s Favorites: Surviving To Thriving

Do you ever feel like you’re going through your days just sort of surviving? Going from one thing to another, solving problems, dealing with what’s in front of you…but feeling like you’re not really getting anything done. I mean, the things that matter to you in a deep heartfelt way, like your creative calling. I’ve been in survival mode myself, a bit, this month.

My Aunt has had another surgery – planned, and successful, but still, I worry. A friend is in the hospital with a severe infection, it’s the one-year anniversary of Jenn’s death, and Dryst’s soccer season is in full swing. Quester is getting ready to head up north again. Our homeschool co-op is starting up; I’m on the governing board as well as teaching and assisting with classes, so that keeps me busy. I’m co-teaching a 6-week Elements of Magick course, my women’s group has started up again, and I’m taking a new yoga class. Of course, there’s also unschooling and housework and Dark Follies performances and my side job. Phew!

lossI’m looking at ways to thrive, even when I’m in full-on busy mode. I mean, it’s pretty much all stuff I’ve chosen to do. So why not enjoy it? And have time for writing and creating and ramping up my businesses? I say yes!

Here are some inspiring links for your weekend. I hope you’re finding ways to thrive and enjoy your daily life.

I guess I’m giving myself a pep talk through the links I’m grooving on this week. It’s your turn, so here we go: Know that you are not alone. You can choose yourself! Some great things to remind yourself of daily.

Sometimes I still feel bad about being so freaking sensitive. This is a wonderful reminder that sensitivity does have its benefits.

Here’s a really cool project to try. Guaranteed to help you in your quest to thrive.

A thoughtful article about how to bring more empathy and compassion to the online spaces you visit.

Want to come up with new ideas? Here are some tips for creative innovation.

And last but not least, a treat: Have you read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz? It’s amazing and incredibly useful in crafting a thriving life. Want to have it read to you? Click here and listen while you clean the house or take a walk.

An Autumnal Equinox Remembrance

applesBlessings of Autumn to you! Or perhaps Spring, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Either way, it is a time of seasonal change, with all the transformation it brings. The Fall Equinox is also known as Mabon, a harvest festival at the point where the days and nights are of equal length, now turning towards the dark part of the year. Here in New England, we’re enjoying crisp sunny days with a sky so blue it captures my imagination, accompanied by the brisk cleansing winds of Fall.

We’ve been taking part in some of our favorite Fall rituals: apple-picking, attending country fairs, harvesting veggies from the garden, making fresh salsa, and watching Dryst’s soccer games. I celebrated my 45th birthday with my family; BlackLion made me a delicious vegan mint-chocolate ice cream cake. On a trip up to Quester’s family camp, ElvenTiger and I canoed into the bay and hiked up Cadillac Mountain. I love this time of year.

This time around, though, it’s bittersweet. I am continually aware that this time last year, my friend Jenn was living out her last few days in hospice care.

In fact, last Mabon a group of us gathered in her room for a ritual of release, to help her let go and leave her broken and cancer-riddled physical body behind. Even in those last days, there was joy mingled with the sorrow. At the end of the ritual, Jenn stood up precariously on her bed, balanced herself in a swaying warrior pose, and declared herself ready. We had to gently explain that it was okay to go, but that she needed to leave her body behind.

A bunch of us, Jenn’s friends and family members, spent lots of time with Jenn during her final days. Brent and I drummed for her, as she had asked me to several months earlier, while she was thinking about the end of her life.

drummingforJenn

Jenn departed peacefully two days after the Mabon ritual. She hadn’t wanted to die alone, and when she breathed her last, she was surrounded by family and friends. There was a gorgeous sunset that evening. Here’s a picture of it that I took from the hospice parking lot.

Jennsunset

Being part of Jenn’s life, and her death, has changed me in many profound ways. I am the person I am today in part because I knew her. I feel that she’s still part of my life, supporting and encouraging me from beyond the veil.  Lately that sense has been increasing.

Quester worries that I’m too caught up in my grief and sorrow. Aren’t we all, sometimes? My way of processing grief is to feel it deeply and then release, not all at once but in little bursts. Yet in the big picture, I feel I’m preparing for the next phase of my life’s work. I don’t know what that looks like, just yet. I catch glimpses in dreams and in random moments. It’s creativity, community, women uplifting one another, men tending their gardens, children squealing joyfully, words flowing across the page, love and music and healing and dancing. It’s bright and colorful, encompassing joy and fear, gatherings and solitary moments, challenges and triumphs.

It has echoes of Jenn’s tag line on her voicemail: “…and remember to love one another.”

I am thankful that I can still stay connected, even when I’m sad. We’re all connected. And the wheel turns. Mabon Blessings.