Do As You Like

Have you ever considered only doing what you like?

Aww, come on, Starcat, you might be thinking, that’s just a pipedream. Have you seen my to-do list?

Bear with me, dear busy reader. Let me tell you why this is not only possible, but will help you live a happier life!

I learned about this technique from a few different Law of Attraction teachers – Jeannette Maw and Mike Dooley among them. I’ve been practicing it for a while, and I’m going to put it into my own words to share with you.

Only doing what you like requires a creative, strategic approach. I’ve noticed three main categories of things that we do in our lives.

In the first category, you’ll have those things that you genuinely love to do. For me, the list includes things like sleeping, reading, daily spiritual practice, journaling, cuddling cats, and spending time with my loved ones. These things are no-brainers.

The second category includes things you sometimes love, sometimes like, and sometimes don’t feel like doing. My list includes cooking, yoga, showering, and doing marketing for my business. You can use mindful time management for these items. In other words, doing them when you DO feel like it!

For example, I don’t like showering first thing when I get up, especially in the winter. I just got out of bed, and I’m freaking cold. The solution is easy – shower later in the day, once the house has warmed up. Solved.

The third category involves things you actively don’t like, or perhaps even detest. For me, this includes things like housecleaning, budgeting, paying bills, doing my taxes, and socializing at events that are all about surface-y small talk.

Category three requires getting creative. Here are three ways you can handle these items.

  1. Delegate. I have the option to hire someone else to do my taxes, or to ask one of my housemates to do the parts of cleaning the house that are my least favorite.
  2. Release. Just don’t do the thing. There are very few muggle social occasions that I’ll say yes to, these days. My time is valuable, and I don’t want to waste it on small talk.
  3. Transform. This involves changing your attitude. Doing the dishes used to be on my most-hated-chores list. I’ve entirely transformed my view of it. Now I make doing dishes a regular part of my day. It provides a movement break from sitting at the computer, I can daydream about book ideas while I’m washing, and I love the look of the cleared-off counters and empty sinks.

You can also use these three techniques on some of your items in the second category. If I really don’t feel like doing yoga on a particular day, I can skip a day (release) or I can remind myself how good I’ll feel afterwards and decide to just do it (transform).

It’s important not to muscle through and do something you can’t stand – at least, not too often. Once in a while you just have to take out a smelly bag of trash. But in general, be sure you’re using these techniques to help you focus on doing things you actually enjoy, or learning to enjoy the things you’re doing.

Also, if you delegate or release something, let it go. Fully. Don’t feel guilty about ditching it. Don’t try to micro-manage the person you asked to do the thing. Let. It. Go. Now go use that time to do something you actually want to be doing.

I realize that for some readers, those who are doing work they can’t stand or living in a situation that’s less than pleasant, embarking on this method could lead to the need to make big life changes. If that’s you, know that you’re worth it. You deserve to enjoy your life. Period.

Get some support, because transforming your life in a big way is challenging. But don’t avoid necessary changes. This is your life. You are worthy of living a life full of fun and pleasure. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Starcat’s Favorites: Dreaming Big

I’ve been busy dreaming BIG over here. It’s lighting me up in new ways, and I’m harnessing the energies of Spring to support my expansion. I’ve already written about that, though.

Here’s what else I’ve been up to recently.

What I’m reading: Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. Apparently some people weren’t a fan of this sequel, but I love it! Sovereign Self by Acharya Shunya. I adore this look at the Hindu wisdom tradition so much. It’s very deep and simple all at once. Cosmometry by Marshall Lefferts. It’s a challenging read full of quantum physics, sacred geometry, and music. It feeds my craving for metaphysical philosophy.

What I’m watching: The Crown on Netflix (I’m just starting season 3, so no spoilers, please!). Historical fiction is fascinating. Nadiya Bakes, also on Netflix. I love her sparkling personality and her creativity in the kitchen. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney. I’m a Marvel Universe fan (the shows and movies, not the comic books) and this series is exciting and cinematic.

What I’m listening to: Arlo Parks – she’s amazing! Michael Franti, of course. Radio Paradise, always a household favorite. My own lunar phases playlists on Spotify – making them is a fun hobby that brings me back to my mix tape days.

What I’m creating: Flash fiction for the video game my son-in-law is creating. My book on creativity. A bit of poetry here and there. Yummy dinners. A vision board / mind map for my new big idea. My next virtual retreat – it’s gonna be so juicy and inspiring!

Last but not least, here are some links for you to peruse as you dream your own big dreams.

I’m all for positive thinking, but not the shallow kind. Feeling your feelings is key. So is releasing attachment to your goals.

Supporting yourself deeply – sound like exquisite self-care to me!

Learning to deal with rejection by making it a game. Such a cool idea.

A big YES to this blog post on embracing joy, now.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends!

The Tidingdale Literary Collective

Spring has finally fully arrived, here in northern New England. I’m feeling the urge to emerge from hibernation, at last!

That’s still a bit complicated, thanks to the pandemic lingering and so forth, but that’s okay. I’m good with a mindful rollout.

During the late Winter and early Spring, much of my creativity has been channeled into a big, bold, expanded vision.

Introducing…. the Tidingdale Literary Collective (TLC) – a “one-stop shopping” service for thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals, healers, and people in the transformational and coaching business who want to write a book with full-on support. Getting their book into the world will help them to spread their message, increase their audience of people to serve, and change the world!

We’ll start with authors at the very beginning stages, like “I have a book idea but don’t know where to go from there.” Or you can come in and pick & choose which services you need, a la carte.

It’s become obvious through publishing my own books and my work with clients that the rigid gatekeeper model of traditional publishing doesn’t serve most of us wild, creative souls.

Self-publishing has become a much more viable option in recent years, yet most writers don’t have the time or inclination to take on all the roles needed to produce a book.

I desire to create a literary collective that provides comprehensive services to independent authors – from coaching and writing retreats to editing and proofreading to cover design to publicity – in a manner that is collaborative and empowering.

The mission is integral to the Collective’s success. It’s still in the works, but definitely dovetails with my own vision, which is a vast network of empowered, creative people who are embracing the rise of the Feminine Divine and the awakening of human consciousness in this new aeon by sharing their deepest wisdom and most inspiring passions. Together we are changing the world by collaboratively building a more conscious society, in all aspects of human life and beyond.

The TLC’s core values will include: diverse, inclusive, social justice oriented, feminist/humanist, and ecologically-minded. It needs to be non-hierarchical and not have rigid gatekeepers – to differentiate it from the traditional publishing model. But at the same time, it will need to have strong leadership and to filter out non-aligned clients.

I don’t want this expanded idea to detract from my core business. My primary role will still be as a writing coach and retreat leader. Rather, the TLC will enhance my work and broaden its impact. There will be project and team managers who help run the day-to-day operations. We’ll probably need a Board of Directors, like a roundtable of wisdom.

This whole vision has been guided by my spiritual calling and my guides, and will continue to be created that way. It’s how I do business.

Of course, the inner wisdom of others will be added to the mix. It’s a Collective, after all.

I’ve been envisioning the TLC Dream Team. My desire is that all TLC staff members need to love what they do and have a magickal mindset. Magick needs to be part of this from the very beginning. This is not a muggle enterprise!

BlackLion and I recently made a cool vision board / mind map (the pics shown in this post are pieces of what is a big posterboard creation), to capture the ideas and various aspects of the business, as they’ve been revealed so far.

The location for the TLC will be pretty much wherever your laptop is, though we will still have oceanside retreats around the globe. Our charitable giving arm will focus on contributing to ocean cleanup, among other worthy causes.

I’ve also been talking to potential collaborators and Dream Team members. I even applied for the opportunity to make a pitch to a magick-friendly angel investor for startup funding! Go big or go home, right? Heh heh.

That’s what I’ve been busily conceiving as the seasons change. Reach out and let me know if this sings to your soul – I’m in the process of talking with potential collaborators!

Starcat’s Favorites: Signs of Spring

Dare I say it before the month is really over? This March has been easier than I’d expected, given my rocky history with the transition from late winter to early spring. Maybe that’s because I’ve gone all in with my exquisite self-care.

It could be the signs of spring. We’ve had some nice weather since the Spring Equinox, although it’s Maine, so I’m sure it will snow again at least once. We have snowdrops in our yard. The birds are singing their hearts out.

I’m feeling inspired in my creative and biz work – and in life as a whole. It’s all intertwined, for me. I feel like I’m fully embodying the life of a Thriving Artist.

These days, I’m able to see the results of all the inner and outer work I’ve been doing over the past several years. It’s satisfying. It also inspires me to go further and higher and do more! What can I say? I’m ambitious A.F.

Here are some of my favorite finds on the internet from this month.

Love this article on self-love. I fully agree, it’s an ongoing practice for sure.

The Modern Witch Tarot is going to be the next deck in my collection. It’s so gorgeous!

Ready for 11 motivational minutes that will bring on the tears and goosebumps? Watch this magnificent speech by Lisa Nichols!

7 Reasons to Love Luna Lovegood (she’s my favorite Potterverse character!).

What do you do after a breakthrough? My biz coach calls this a visibility hangover. Here are some wise words from Danielle LaPorte. She also shared this article about the power of changing your mind.

A post about link posts, in my monthly link post. So meta!

May your days be sunny and your nights filled with stars.

Starcat’s Ten Best Books of 2020

It’s a bit belated, but I’m delighted to share my ten favorite books that I read during past year. As always, please note that these aren’t necessarily books that came out in 2020, just ones that I read and enjoyed.

One would think that I’d have read more books than usual during a pandemic, and that’s somewhat true. But I also love to write, coach others who are writing their books, walk in the woods, and lots of other fun stuff that can be done from my cozy homestead. So it wasn’t a LOT more.

Without further ado, here are my favorites:

The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. I was introduced to the The Magicians TV series through a friend, and I adore it. I’ve watched it through twice now. The books, of course, were even better – although, be prepared, the plot and characters are significantly different from the series. This trilogy, to me, is contemporary fantasy at its best. The twists and turns are wild and captivating. The characters are fascinating. The endings are unexpected yet (mostly) satisfying.

A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi and Bob Doyle. I read this book as part of my ongoing study and practice of prosperity consciousness. It was recommended by my biz coach. I loved how the book itself is a sort of magickal working; the phrase “I am wealth, I am abundance, I am joy” is woven throughout the text. That’s what stuck with me most, but I enjoyed the book as a whole. It’s an inspiring and thoughtful contribution to the Law of Attraction conversation.

Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System by Anodea Judith. This is a book that I’ve been reading and studying very slowly, literally over decades. I decided that 2020 was the year to finally finish it. “Keeping your chakras tuned up” sounds super New-Agey, I realize, but it’s also helpful for living an emotionally healthy life. Judith knows her stuff, and this book is full of timeless wisdom.

The Witchwood Crown and Empire of Grass by Tad Williams. I love this author and his works of epic fantasy. I’m actually unclear whether there will be more books in this new series, but it doesn’t matter. I very much enjoyed reading these two. They’re great for when you’re ready to escape into a long, deep-diving quest full of magick and danger.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I know, I know, this book is super trendy. But there’s a reason for that – it’s well-written and powerful! Read this if you’re looking for some inspiration and perhaps some validation that you’re not the only one who feels like a round peg in a world of square holes.

Existential Kink: Unmask Your Shadow and Embrace Your Power by Carolyn Elliott, PhD. I’m taking a yearlong course with the author right now, which is best described as a witchy grad school experience. The course is Changing. My. Life. in such amazing ways! This weird and wild book is a heady glimpse into working with your shadow to free up vast amounts of energy with which to realize your dreams. I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is one of those books that followed me around until I read it. I heard about it from several different sources. My Mom actually got it from the library and handed it to me. I devoured it in a weekend. I’m not really a “plant person.” However, this deep, delicious book of essays broke open my heart in new ways. It’s not just about plants; it’s about life. I loved it.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This was a gorgeous faerytale of a book. It has that lyrical quality that marks my favorite writing style to read. I wasn’t just reading the story, I was immersed in the world that Wecker creates. It was delicious and left me wanting more. Apparently I’ll get my wish; there’s another book with the same characters coming out this year.

DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community by Gabriela Pereira. I don’t usually add writing craft books to my best-of list, but this one is a gem. I love Pereira’s holistic approach to becoming an author. A lot of it resonates with how I teach my own writing clients. Well worth a read.

Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza. I adore metaphysics – the place where cutting-edge science meets spiritual practices. This dense, hefty book took me a while to read and absorb. I love that some scientists have finally stopped dismissing magick and have started studying it. Dr. Dispenza takes it even further and puts his studies to practical use, teaching us how to implement the findings in our own lives. Take your time with this book and try out the exercises. I’ve integrated many of them into my morning meditation time.

What books have you most enjoyed during the past year or so? Are you reading more these days? Leave a comment and share your recommendations!

Vulnerability in Writing

This past weekend I attended a workshop called the Gateless Writing Salon. I loved it SO much. It feels so good to be held and led when it comes to writing, as most often I’m the one facilitating.

We were led into a guided meditation, and had a one-word prompt at the end. Then we did 25 minutes of writing. We had the option to share our writing on the call, which I did. It felt vulnerable and scary and thrilling and joyful, all at once.

So I thought I’d share what I wrote with you. NOTE: There are swear words, but I’ve translated them, The Good Place-style. Fork stands for another four-letter F-word, and shirt is that four-letter S-word. And if you haven’t seen The Good Place, go watch it right now!!!

LISTEN.

The Muse is a quiet presence, dancing just beyond my mental reach. She says nothing, eyes me sideways, emanates an expectant aura. I smell lavender, and sense the soft swirls of her hair as it cascades down. I long to please her. I sit with the blinking cursor, wishing for the perfect phrases to come to me. 

I want to be her lover – no, that’s not quite it – I want the Muse to be my lover. To court me. To gift me with prose like living crystals, and send floral arrangements made of captivating stories. But she is silent, with a buoyant, teasing energy.

So I begin. Something was said about criticism and the wounds it makes within the creative soul. I still have the scars. That one creative writing professor in college – in hindsight, she probably hated her job and didn’t like having to talk about the craft with self-centered young people who mostly just wanted a credit. Her harsh red slashes on my tentative stories cut me deeply. It took years to write, and even today, as a self-help published author who feels genuinely proud of her books, writing fiction scares me.

The Muse is grinning now. Is she mocking me? No. She teases. Is she flirting? What is she pointing at? Oh, right. The couple hundred thousand words of fiction, poured out each November at NaNoWriMo time, that sits on my hard drive, mostly unshared.

But, I whine, it’s Not Good Enough yet. It’s not polished. It’s not perfect.

The Muse tosses that lavender-scented hair – I long to run my fingers through it – and snorts at the notion of perfection. Fork perfection, I hear her say. 

Right. Fork perfection. I’m sweating. Is this another hot flash? Shirt. I have to read this in front of some amazing witchy people. What am I doing?

Fork perfection. I’m ambitious as fork. I’ve written all these books. I’m just gonna say it – they’re good. Especially the Goddess one. When I read it back I think, did I write this? Squirmy as that is to admit, I want to let it give me confidence. Especially with my fiction. Look, I live and breathe stories. So what if some snooty professor thought my short story about miscarriage – which, I admit, I’ve never experienced, then or since – was a “tempest in a teapot.” So what? Fork perfection. I have tales to tell. SO many tales to tell. I might as well carry on with it. 

The Muse is smiling and nodding, now. She reaches down one slim well-manicured hand, caresses my flushed cheek. I’m overcome. Her touch is cool and encouraging.

I let my eyes float closed. Characters crowd in. Stories pour from the wellspring. Those words from the hard drive clamor to be revised, refreshed, and shared. The endless ideas that constantly tap at my inner portals? I fling open the doors and let them in. They nibble at the appetizers, pour the sparkling wine, make themselves at home. 

Relief flows over me. I’m listening, I say to the Muse, my beloved, my sweet. She recedes from my awareness, leaving behind a fleeting scent of lavender.

Starcat’s Favorites: Self-Acceptance

Hey there! The title of this post, self-acceptance, is around feeling some guilt (I know, Mom, “no guilt”) about not posting here much lately. I’ve had lots of ideas, but haven’t yet taken the time to sit down and share them with you.

The acceptance is fairly easy, actually, because I’ve been doing lots of other fun stuff, and I generally do what I want. I’m now fully self-employed, so I’m the boss of me!

What have I been up to? Reading a lot. Hosting Parallel PlayDates, my writing group, and a virtual writing retreat. Lots of yoga! Playing games with the family. Writing (including a new story about my latest D&D character – a wild mage – and her escapades). Cooking. Playing with the granddog. Petting cats. More reading.

You know, the usual, for winter.

Shows I’ve been enjoying this season include Schitt’s Creek, The Crown, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Legend of Korra.

I’ve got a huge stack of books that I’m reading, but apparently I haven’t been on the internet as much as I normally am. Still, here are a few links for your reading pleasure.

Confused about the difference between goals, intentions, and resolutions? The creator of the bullet journal has some useful thoughts.

I heard about these astrology workbooks and I so much want to order a set!

As the calendar turns to March, I’m ramping up the self-care. No, it’s not frivolous!

I started a weekly series of videos that are 1-minute book reviews. Follow me on Instagram to see them. No, that’s not why I haven’t been blogging!

I’ll be back soon. If the boss lets me.

Starcat’s Favorites: Hibernating with Books

Here we are at the tail end of January, and it’s my first post here in the new year. Yeah. I’ve been following my intuition, and the message has been to take it easy. Rest. Hibernate a bit.

With books, of course. This stack contains my current reads. Does it seem a bit over the top, even for me?

I’m okay with that.

Of course, even with my nose continually in a book (just like my childhood!), I’ve also found a few interesting things online.

Here are my favorites from the past month or so:

Speaking of books, here are some awesome reads to add to your list.

What happens when a dream almost comes true? Is it “close enough?”

A gorgeous poem about, well, everything.

My favorite astrologer, Rob Brezsny, gives his forecasts for 2021.

And here’s an invitation to check out what I’m up to in the next couple of months: a virtual writing retreat and a vision board playshop, plus the weekly Parallel PlayDates. Come play with us!

I’ll be back soon, with my favorite reads from the past year, among other musings.

Meanwhile, I’ll be in my super-comfy reading chair with a cup of chai tea.

Magick is Afoot!

BlackLion and I hosted a Vision Board PlayShop this week on the Full Moon, via Zoom. Seventeen of us gathered in (virtual) sacred space to craft our visions and intentions for the new year.

It was so powerful doing this in community with these wonderful co-creators and Thriving Artists! What a blessing.

This is my vision board for 2021. I’m absolutely in love with it.

My word for 2020 was SOVEREIGN, and although the year didn’t go as planned, which is true for pretty much everyone, I did really tap into those energies. In some ways, I feel like more of the queen of my own realms than ever before.

In fact, I’m not really done with SOVEREIGN, and plan to bring more of it into my life this coming year. At the same time, I wanted to embrace a new word. So I picked one that feels very complementary: MAGICK.

MAGICK is how I’m approaching my sovereignty. One of the good surprises of 2020 was receiving a membership to the WEALTH Alchemy community. My studies there – it’s like a witchy grad school, totally the best for this Ravenclaw! – are all about bringing the power of magick into everyday life.

So here we go! Magick is afoot, in my own life and in the collective realms. My astrologer friends assure me that this is a time of powerful positive transformation in the cosmos. I’m in!

I’d love to hear about your process and how you’re moving forward into the new year. Comment here or send me a message. Happy New Year!

Writing the New Myths

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today there’s a grand conjunction that my astrologer friends tell me is all about moving into a new era, the long-awaited Age of Aquarius.

If that’s the case, then it falls to us, the Thriving Artists, the co-creators, the writers and dreamers and crafters, to offer up the new stories that will carry us forward.

I don’t know about you, but I’m weary of the dystopian fantasies that have captured our collective imagination.

Zombie apocalypse? Yawn.

Winter is coming? It’s here, baby.

We’re all gonna die! I mean, yes, we’re mortal, so that’s a thing. But it doesn’t have to be coated with a broad grey stroke of a collapsing society.

I get it – a story gets a little boring without some kind of conflict or challenge, so where are the tales of the scientists and farmers bravely responding to climate change?

The parents who are advocating for their kids to experience more inclusive, creative, liberating forms of education?

The brave humans rebelling against centuries of racism, sexism, homophobia, and all those other awful ways we humans treat each other?

Let’s tell those stories.

Today marks the arrival of winter. Now is the time when we’re in a bit of hibernation mode. Here in the creative cave, what sort of visions will you dream up?

We can be the ones who are writing the new myths that will accompany humanity on the next leg of our epic spiritual journey.

Isn’t that exciting? Perhaps even inspiring?

We have the opportunity to harness these grand cosmic energies and literally write ourselves into a new future.

The world yearns for your epic poetry, your deepest wisdom, your perspective on the authentic challenges we face. 

Want to know a secret? Building a new society is actually a whole lot of fun! Or it can be, if we choose our attitude carefully.

The artists have always been those out on the frontlines of the human imagination. We get to paint our dreams, our visions, our values onto this fresh canvas.

Release your attachment to mundane dramas and old patterns. It’s time to craft our ideal society, together, story by story.

Curl right up in your cozy cave and dream up a faery tale to inspire the generations to follow. You’ve got this!

Join a community of Thriving Artists who are doing this very work, right over here.