Starcat’s Favorites: A Long Weekend

For the past ten years, I’ve worked the Thanksgiving weekend. This year, I have the whole long weekend off!

It was good work – I filled in at the public radio station where I’d previously worked full-time for years. It felt good to be able to give the regular hosts a break, and the extra money was nice.

Last December, I resigned from the last bit of work in public radio, my first career. That’s because my book midwife business had gotten to the point where I needed my time back. In the 11 months since, my second career has continued to flourish. I’m so thankful!

So, as the President of the Tidingdale Literary Collective, I gave myself the long weekend off.

I’m enjoying good food with my family, having an Artist Date that includes a float in a sensory deprivation tank and a meal at a new-to-me restaurant, reading books (of course), and hanging out with my daughter-in-love. Oh, and working on finishing up NaNoWriMo…

I hope your holiday weekend is full of laughter, fun, and delicious food!

Here are some links to check out while you’re relaxing by the fire…

What would happen if we treated our emotions with respect?

Interesting philosophies for success from Carolyn Elliott – I was especially intrigued by #4.

Some good advice on blogging (and writing in general) – I loved this: “burnout is caused by doing something I usually love at a time when I don’t love it.”

Are you doing National Novel Writing Month? Here’s an awesome pep talk for these final days.

I often tell my writing clients that exploring other art forms can feed their passion for writing – here’s an example from a visual artist.

Thinking about a cover for your book? Read this advice before trying to DIY it.

I don’t think I’ve shared this here yet. It’s a post I wrote for Mike Dooley’s blog, on how to receive.

Doing some holiday shopping? Here’s a terrific gift, for you or someone on your list: The Energy Almanac. It’s one of my must-have tools for spiritual practice.

Happy Holidays!!!

The Elements, Part 5: Spirit

The element of Spirit is the ethereal combination of all the other elements. It is the very energy which comprises our entire cosmos. Spirit encompasses all that we can see, and the mysteries which are unseen to our mortal eyes. Spirit resides in the center, but also pervades the entire circle of life. It is associated with all times and seasons, and the mystical realms beyond the time-space continuum. The colors of spirit are white, black, gold, and silver.

Each of us has a soul, a spirit, that which goes on living when our physical bodies die. Our spirit is connected to the non-physical realms and is part of a much greater whole. Spirit cannot be proven or measured. Indeed, traditional science has not yet discovered its secrets, yet somehow we know that it exists. Spirit is, in many ways, a paradox. It is exalted and Divine, and also commonplace and ubiquitous. Spirit is darkness and light, male and female, old and young, wise and naïve, active and receptive, without and within, above and below, and everything in between.

The voice of Spirit speaks to us through intuition. We sometimes “just know” things that are beyond our physical ability to perceive. The context doesn’t matter, because Spirit is everywhere and always present, which can be comforting when we feel in need. The essence of Spirit is unconditional love, grace, and communion.

Some of us are in touch with non-physical beings in the realm of Spirit, such as ancestors, faeries, angels, and other spiritual guides. Spirit brings us magick and miracles beyond our conscious understanding. It is the Great Mystery.

Sacred geometry is one of the tools of Spirit. It has been taught across the ages that under the surface of all that we see, there is a web of interconnection. Each point on this web is holographic, in that it contains the essence of All That Is. When we recognize our own connection with everything that exists, Spirit aids us in bridging the gap between our individual selves and the unity of the eternal, infinite cosmos.

Author’s note: This is the final entry in my series on the elements, which was begun over 10 years ago. You can find links to the other articles in this series right here.

Starcat’s Favorites: Upleveling

How is it that the entire month of October is, well, over? Did it fly by for you like it did for me?

I’m sure part of it is that I was away for a week. BlackLion and I finally got to go on our much-awaited vacation to Cozumel Island, Mexico! It was amazing. We had such a blast. All of the pictures on this post are from there.

It felt so deliciously luxurious to be staying at the resort – and I love that it’s an eco-friendly, sustainable company that runs it.

Longtime readers of this blog will know how long I’ve been dreaming of tropical vacations. Now they’re part of my reality. I feel extremely blessed.

I’m definitely still in the process of upleveling. This week was my biz coach’s retreat, and I’ve had a bunch of insights about various areas of my life. I’ll be sharing some of those in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, here are some fun things from the magick of the internet:

I don’t have adequate words to describe this video. It’s spoken-word poetry, and it gave me goosebumps.

I’d never heard of this before, but it sounds like a super fun vacation idea!

Here’s some helpful worldbuilding advice from the folks at NaNoWriMo. (Are you doing NaNo this year? I am!)

Cheese is addictive. It’s true. Why give it up? Well, in my case, my body insists…

That upleveling I’m talking about? A significant chunk of it is related to prosperity. Here are some resources that are exciting in that regard: an article on getting into the frequency of abundance, rewiring your brain for wealth (I read this book on vacation, by the pool), Rachel Rogers changing the world, and getting smart about money.

My biz coach is running a free week intended to help women who are launching (or re-launching) a business. She’s amazing – check it out.

That’s all for now. Abundant blessings to you and yours!

Starcat’s Favorites: Autumn and Community

I’m loving the energies of autumn coming in. Can you feel it?

This week’s Parallel PlayDate had a theme of community. I based the guided meditation and writing prompt on some reading I’d been doing on forests. Until fairly recently, scientists had thought the trees in a forest competed for resources. But it’s not true!

Actually, thanks to the underground root system and the mycelium network, a forest is a collaborative community. 

It reminds me of the community of “biz sisters” I’ve been part of for several years now. We collaborate, we shout out each others’ projects, we give referrals and feedback and support and time to one another. It’s such a Feminine Divine way of being entrepreneurs.

As we transition from summer to fall, this element of community, which in centuries past would have manifested as farm families collaborating on the collective harvest, is coming to the foreground. How are you showing up in and for your communities?

Here are some of the things I’ve been checking out recently. I hope they’re as inspiring for you as they are for me!

Martha Stewart popped up in my emails from two separate sources, which delights my Virgo side. This blog post made me laugh, and nod in recognition. Leonie Dawson reviewed one of Martha’s organization books. It’s fall cleaning and decluttering time.

I enjoyed reading Rebecca Campbell’s suggestions for celebrating the arrival of fall. I’ll also share my own article on Fall Equinox with you.

Here are two gems from Jeannette Maw: a new blog post on trusting your inner guidance, and an older one about money mantras.

As I’ve noted before, I prefer reading to watching videos, but there are exceptions. I absolutely love Anna Bellissima’s YouTube channel! It’s all about practical magick and using it in your business and life. Check out her lesson on working with Mercury.

Here’s a fun and helpful reminder about seeking relationship with your creative muses.

I’m loving Lorde’s new album, Solar Power. This article showcases her quirky creative personality. It reminds me of a Netflix show I’m savoring, Anne with an E.

Enjoy!

Are You In the Autumn Groove?

Happy Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon! Fall has officially arrived.

Fall is associated with the element of water. Last night I led an online ritual that was focused on both water and Mabon, and the two energies worked well together. We invoked Yemaya, mother of the sacred waters.

I’ve been working with Her for about seven years now. The images in this post are from earlier this month, when my mermaid sisters and I celebrated Her annual feast day with ritual and offerings.

I learned fairly recently that the energies of autumn and spring mirror one another, and are both active times, as do winter and summer, which are quieter and more restful. I’ve been celebrating the seasons for decades, but this was a new-to-me way of seeing those seasonal energies.

A new friend, who I’ve been doing dreamwork with, described how the busy, airy energies (which she associated with Gemini, though in this case I’m linking them with spring) feel different from the active, flowing energies of water. Although both move quickly at times, and both have currents, the experience is not exactly the same.

The flow through air feels more chaotic, like trying to juggle a whole bunch of balls, with more being added and some bouncing away. Think of the wind blowing the fall leaves around the yard. They don’t all end up where you want them to, and you find yourself having to begin again.

It’s like trying to multitask, but finding that rather than saving time, your projects actually take longer because you’re continually interrupted.

Flowing with water is just as changeable, but more contained. The currents are playful and dance around, but ultimately are all headed in the general direction of the sea. This flavor of activity feels more restful to me. After writing for a while, I get up to move my body, and clean the kitchen. Then it’s time for some client calls, followed by errands with one of my beloveds.

The watery energy of fall calls me forward, but in a gentler motion than the wild inspiring winds of spring.

I’m finding this week that I’m flowing through my days with less effort, yet still getting things done. My biz work is woven in with errands and chores, creative play, and yoga sessions. Fall as the season of water feels true in a new way this year.

When I follow the flow, rather than micro-managing my time and activities, I end the day less tired and having accomplished more. I enjoy the journey.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that going with the flow is a thread I’ve been following for a long time. Yet it still feels fresh and new.

Perhaps I’m just finally able to balance my Virgo Sun (earth) and Cancer rising (water), which is something I’ve been focused on this year. Whatever the reason, I’m feeling good as we enter my second-favorite season, even though the warm weather of summer is behind us.

How about you? What’s your favorite season? What element is associated with it? What elements do you have the most of in your chart? How does that energy support (or hinder) the way you move through the world?

Starcat’s Favorites: Road Trips

Late summer means… a road trip! This time to upstate New York, where we’re taking in a Dead & Company concert, then exploring the Finger Lakes area. As well as lounging by the pool!

I love road trips. They’re like a longer version of an artist’s date, with lots of inspiring new input for the creative spirit.

While I’m away, I hope you’ll enjoy these links and let them inspire your creativity.

Speaking of road trips, I wrote about the importance of taking time off, just for you.

Is there a difference between excellence and perfection? Absolutely.

What’s your definition of abundance?

This “what’s happening?!” blog post by Jeannette Maw really spoke to me this month…

We’re a bit past Lammas at this point – getting closer to Fall Equinox – but I liked this take on “red magick.”

I’m usually more of a blog reader than a video watcher, but this month I have three videos to share!

This one is an instructional video on how to do soul painting. One of my witchy mermaid besties shared it with me, and it was so fun to do together on the Full Moon!

Here’s a video about how to optimize your reading experience, particularly if it’s a topic you’re interested in learning and/or sharing.

This video is on using oracle cards for decision making – including when not to rely on them.

Enjoy the remaining days of August!

Why Is Rest So Difficult?

I’ve been having conversations with some friends and biz sisters lately about rest – and in a bigger sense, receiving. Why is it so challenging, sometimes?

An obvious factor is mainstream culture’s focus on hustle. Here in the United States, particularly, we’re continually encouraged to DO more. What about some time to just BE?

Nope. That makes you lazy or unproductive. The horror! Also, you might miss something if you stopped to rest and turned off your devices. That FOMO (fear of missing out) has become a big deal.

So, why women in particular? Like it or not, women are the ones who keep most households running. We keep track of the doctor and dentist appointments, notice what grocery staples need replacing in our pantries, and are involved in planning family gatherings of various sorts. The (unpaid) work literally never stops.

Sometimes, especially when you’re actively parenting, planning and implementing a family vacation can in and of itself feel exhausting! We used to say that vacations with kids can be fun, but certainly aren’t restful. True story.

Yet when you think about taking time off just for yourself, perhaps even by yourself, well, there’s a bit of guilt, isn’t there? You wonder if you deserve it, if you can afford it (in time as well as money), and what on earth they’ll do without you.

Spoiler alert: they’ll manage.

It’s essential to take time off to rest and recharge. If you never do, it will catch up to you. Your body will force you, perhaps through accident or illness, to take a rest. This is true for everyone, but perhaps even more so for those who are actively practicing our creativity and spirituality.

You can’t receive wisdom from your deep inner wellspring if you never slow down enough to listen to it.

I’m learning this lesson in a deeper way this summer. I’ve been divided between wanting to continue to grow and expand my coaching business, and needing some extra down time to integrate all the things I’ve been learning.

It’s almost comical at this point – every oracle or Tarot card I draw, whether in general or with a specific question, says to “rest and receive.”

The way we approach taking time off often mirrors how we are with receiving. Again with the cultural programming: “It’s better to give than receive,” and all that. But there’s no giving without receiving.

Do I really need to keep my focus on building my business, day in and day out? Or is it better to take some time to allow the work I’ve already done to come to fruition?

I bet you can guess what the oracle says!

Messages received. I’m taking a road trip with BlackLion next week, a long weekend with my best friends for my birthday in mid-September, and a long-awaited vacation in October. I’ll also sprinkle in some artist dates, which I’d gotten away from recently.

All without guilt.

What about you? Are you taking regular time off just for you? Are you adept at receiving, or is it a challenge?

More Thoughts on Sovereignty

It’s been 3 months since I wrote about some of my experiences with sovereignty. It’s time for an update!

First of all, I now have a crystal crown – well, more of a tiara, really. I love wearing it. If you need one for yourself, or any kind of crystals, I highly recommend this Etsy shop.

Next, I hired a social media manager in July. She’s terrific. I absolutely LOVE having someone besides me on my team! I’d had some kind of resistance or blockage around hiring, but it’s gone now. A queen needs her expert advisors! I’m planning to hire more team members this fall.

Speaking of adding more team members, the Tidingdale Literary Collective (TLC) is manifesting swiftly into this reality. I’m super excited to have so many amazing people expressing their desires to be involved – whether as clients, collaborators, or both! It feels like the TLC is now an entity of its own. I’m delighted to guide its birth into the material plane, and to have lots of others holding space as well.

One of the cool lessons I’ve discovered while working with the idea of sovereignty is the notion of sovereignty over my time.

This one has taken me a while to fully accept and embody, and sometimes it’s still a work in progress. Here it is: when you are consciously focused on doing what you love and making the most of your time, work doesn’t take as long as you might think.

I mean, I should know this – it’s something that we found to be true of homeschooling. It doesn’t take as long to do the academic work as it does to attend a whole day of public school, for two reasons. First, you don’t bother with the busywork associated with teaching a classroom of kids at various levels of understanding. Second, you’re not just learning when you sit down to do the lessons.

For entrepreneurs, you’re not just working when you’re with your clients or doing your marketing or whatever. You’re constantly learning and integrating and getting inspired and transforming your beliefs and crafting new ideas as you move through your day.

For writers and other creatives, you’re not just working when you’re writing or painting or whatever your craft is – you’re creating all the time, in many areas of your life.

I’m contributing to my work and my creativity when I’m swimming at the lake, having dinner with the family, musing while I do the dishes, reading books, and doing magickal rituals. Play is part of the sacred work.

In addition, when you’re truly aligned with the work you’re meant to do in the world, you don’t give much time to busywork. The busywork is the stuff we do when we’re in a state of resistance, or we’re not sure what to do. 

Time sovereignty is teaching me that the time when I’m “working” in a way that would appear to others to be “me doing my job” doesn’t take 40 hours per week. It might not even take 30, depending on the week. And yet my business is growing at a steady pace.

Contrary to the teachings of our Puritan ancestors and the wholesale hustle-hustle-hustle of mainstream culture, this is nothing to feel guilty about. Your time is yours. You get to decide how you spend it.

A note: if you’re actively parenting young children, a significant chunk of your time will be taken up with caring for them. This is normal. It won’t last. I’ve been there and done that. I recently hung out with my nephew and his wife and their two little girls. As an empty-nester of two grown kids, it showed how much I live in the lap of luxury when it comes to time. Don’t worry. You’ll get there, too.

I’ve learned much about being successful without working constantly from my biz coach, Britt Bolnick, and I highly recommend her book if you’d like to dive deeper into the subject of time sovereignty. This year, I’m integrating the lessons more and more deeply into my very soul.

It feels like I’m the Queen of my own life, crown and all. As it should be.

Starcat’s Favorites: Taking Time Off

When you work for yourself, especially when you’re doing something you truly love that’s part of your calling, taking time off can be a bit tricky. It’s hard to get away. I mean, my work is so fun!

Sure, I have time during my work days to take a walk in the woods or have lunch with a friend. But I’m talking about taking a more sustained break.

It’s easier in the summer, when the beautiful weather tempts me outside to swim or hike. Still, sometimes I get caught up in the work: coaching my clients and leading workshops, developing new offerings, making connections with people, expanding my community, and writing.

But right now, as you read this, I’m taking a long weekend at one of my favorite places to relax – Quester’s family’s camp on the ocean (this picture is the view from the lawn). My weekend will include hiking, reading, swimming, visiting with family, and I’m not sure what else, yet. (Yes, I wrote and scheduled this post in advance, so I can be fully unplugged for the weekend).

I’ve also got some other time off planned for the next month or two. I’m taking it in smaller chunks, this summer, so I can visit different places and spread out the fun.

What about you? Are you taking time off this summer? Where do you love to go? What are your favorite restorative activities?

While you’re enjoying your R&R, here are some interesting things to check out:

Many people are embracing a plant-based diet, or just adding more meatless meals to their regular fare. I’ve been a vegetarian for more than half my life, now, and I loved this article on vegetarian food for cookouts.

As someone who just can’t handle early mornings, I’m not sure I agree fully with this take on larks vs. owls, but I find it interesting, all the same.

I’m always on the lookout for witchy books, though I don’t wait until Halloween to embrace them. Surprisingly, I’d only read 7 of the 27 witchy books on this list!

Along with taking time off, giving yourself gifts is another good way to take care of YOU, so I’m sharing a few favorites here. Check out Pure Herbal Healing, Melanin and Treasures, and Sabrina’s Little Witchy Things for some terrific gift ideas, for yourself or other loved ones.

I love this little Tarot/oracle spread on money and what you need to know about it.

Be sure to schedule some time off, just for you. We all need to relax and recharge regularly!

Theory vs. Practice

When it comes to learning and implementing new ideas, I’m an enthusiastic scholar, but I’m often slow to put things into practice. I’m learning that part of this is thanks to my Human Design – I’m a Reflector, if you know that system. But I digress…

One of my favorite genres to read is self-help and personal development. Most of the time, those books have sections, often at the end of a chapter, where there are journaling prompts or exercises to do.

I confess: most of the time I read them but don’t take action.

If they’re particularly compelling or something I feel I really need, I stop and put the book down – but then it takes me a while (or forever!) to get back to it. In fact, I purposefully don’t add those types of exercises to my own books – at least not in the body of the text – because I don’t want to stop my readers in their tracks!

It was as if I could either do all of the prompts and exercises, perfectly, according to the instructions, or…nothing. Perfectionism is so limiting!

Recently, I’ve been changing this up. I joined Carolyn Elliott‘s WEALTH Alchemy course just over a year ago. I like to describe it as “witchy grad school.” It’s AMAZING. My personal magickal dream college, come true.

But – it would be impossible to do all of the practices, attend (or catch the recording of) all of the calls, read all of the suggested books. I’d have to have literally nothing else to do with my life. I’ve been forced to pick and choose, and that’s been really healthy for me.

I’ve discovered that I can make suggested practices my own, follow my intuition, and customize my journey.

Because the thing is, all the theory in the world won’t help you make changes. Until you actually start Doing The Work and trying new things, you’re stuck in old patterns.

This has been true for me with several things I’ve been learning over the past 7 or so years: how to be an entrepreneur and run my own business, becoming a conscious co-creator of my life, delving into Shadow work, doing yoga and meditation. I tend to read and take classes first, and then slowly, gradually begin practicing the techniques on my own.

I was inspired to write this post after working on my business this morning. I had a call with a copywriting coach to finalize a web page and promos for my August journaling retreat – and easily implemented her suggestions. I communicated with my new social media manager about some upcoming posts. I reached out to some prospective clients to check on how their writing is going and see if they needed any support.

While I took a break for lunch, I was remarking to BlackLion how easy and fun all of this work is, now that I’ve learned to get out of my own way.

What enabled me to get here, to the place of loving the work that I do and running my business joyfully? Practice. Implementing the techniques I’ve learned. Working with my personal Shadows and doing ancestral healing. Doing Law of Attraction practices every day. Being persistent and consistent with my efforts and offerings.

When all of this was just a theory, it was cool and all, but I’d still get stopped in my tracks, regularly. I couldn’t show up fully for the things that I needed to accomplish.

Let’s use some of my work this morning as an example. Old me: “Reach out to prospective clients and check in with them? No way! I’m bothering them. It’s salesy and sleazy. I can’t.” New me: “I care about helping these amazing people with their books and other creations. Of course I want to inquire about their progress and offer my assistance!

And guess what? It works. They often thank me for reaching out, some do join my retreats and programs (sometimes even months or years after our first conversation!), and I’ve literally never heard any version of “you’re bothering me, go away.” The worst that might happen? Someone never replies to my message. Big deal!

My business is thriving. I love what I do, and it gets results for people.

I don’t say this to toot my own horn, but rather to illustrate the amazing power of putting new ideas and things you’re learning into practice in your life. In my experience, it’s the best way to create the life you really want to be living.

I encourage you to try it, with something that’s meaningful to you. What have you got to lose?