Starcat’s Favorites: Seaside Vacation

I’ve been away this week, up at Quester’s family camp on the ocean. It’s been a delight.

Quester and I were celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary, and we also enjoyed hosting some new friends from out of state who stayed with us for a few days.

It can be hard for me sometimes to take time off, but this place gently encourages leisure. Each time I go to camp, I remember how much my creative soul is nourished by taking time away to play and enjoy. 

We love to canoe along the edge of the bay, watching for seals and eagles. Sit on the screened-in porch and watch the sunset. Go for walks along the shore. It’s a quiet place made for daydreaming.

I’ve always particularly enjoyed journaling at camp. When I went through my old journals a few years ago, as I read the book Harvesting Your Journals by Rosalie Deer Heart and Alison Strickland, I found that “at camp” was a whole category of entries.

It’s a magickal place that encourages rest and reflection. 

I’m so thankful that we have access to this sacred spot. 

What do you like to do when you take time away? 

Here are some recent finds from the web, perfect to read in the hammock, on the porch, or by the pool.

I’ve recently started writing a book I’ve had in mind for quite some time. The working title is Water Wisdom. It was cool to run across these tips for connecting with water by Danielle LaPorte.

I often use the alignment system from Dungeons & Dragons to describe my own value system (neutral good, with a hint of chaos, if you’re wondering). This article offers a useful description, even for those who have never played.

Last week I wrote about cultivating gratitude, and this post talks about how to become more grateful.

One of my marvelous clients shared this post about crystals for writers. I love it!

I’m not sure exactly why, but I’ve been delving into the realm of time management and content curation lately. Here are some of my finds:

The difference between a manager’s schedule and a maker’s schedule.

An interesting article on “simple” (simpler?) time management.

This one is more about content curation, but framed in a fascinating way (having or creating a “second brain.”). I’d like to read his book.

Nothing better than reading about productivity while you’re in leisure mode! Hee hee.

Enjoy!

 

The Wealth All Around Us: A Call to Gratitude

I’ve noticed recently how much my mind likes to default to what’s “wrong” in my life. This is especially true as I focus on building my financial foundation.

When I wake up and start my day, my brain wants to immediately fixate on something like “solving a money shortage.” It wants to point out the difference between my financial goals and what’s currently in my bank accounts. It’s a crappy feeling.

Recently I’ve become more aware of these moments, rather than falling victim to the restrictive emotions that come with a feeling of lack

Over time, I’ve collected tools that allow me to rein it back in and notice the wealth that’s all around me. I can give my monkey mind a “reality check” and remind myself how blessed I truly am.

For example, my old money worries centered around making sure we could pay the mortgage and utility bills and still eat. It was a struggle for many years. These days, our basic costs are covered.

I get to do work that I love. I no longer have to work for someone else, commute, or do things that I don’t want to do. I’m the one who directs my time.  My housemates, too, have greater freedom and prosperity. We have plenty of food and clothing.

Not only that, there are the intangibles that aren’t directly related to money. I live in a beautiful place, on land that’s been in my family for many decades. It’s a huge blessing. I love my home.

I have family and friends who love me. I’m truly blessed in terms of community. I feel supported and encouraged. 

There is an abundance of books, internet access, streaming services, music, and craft supplies at my fingertips. I have my own home office, and it’s beautiful and inspiring!

I have a whole lot more wealth than my monkey mind is willing to notice.

I’m willing to bet that this is true for you, too. You are surrounded by blessings. Yes, there are also areas of struggle. It’s normal for the brain to want to focus on these. It’s how we’ve been programmed.

That said, you can reprogram your mind and point your thoughts in the direction of gratitude. 

Meditation helps, as does yoga or taking a nature walk.

So does writing a list of 3 things you’re thankful for each day. I’ve been doing that in my bullet journal each morning for a few years now, writing down three things that I’m grateful for from the previous day.

If you’re feeling especially worried, try this technique I came up with one night when I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I couldn’t seem to get my mind to stop obsessing over how I’d pay certain upcoming business expenses. So I started thinking about all the things I’m most grateful for – starting with my cozy bed and soft pillow. I thought about as many gratitudes as I could. Eventually I fell back asleep.

I’ve since started calling this “gratitude bathing” and have used it in many different situations. It’s a calming technique that neutralizes the monkey mind’s random worries quite effectively. Give it a try when you’re feeling worried.

You’ll soon discover how many more things there are to be grateful for than there are “problems” in your life. Tap into the abundance of blessings that surrounds you, and you’ll begin to feel truly wealthy – and happier.

Unconditional Wealth

I was sitting cross-legged on my bed, meditating, which I do each morning. This time, a phrase arose in my mind. It floated around there, repeating like a mantra. 

The phrase? “Unconditional wealth.”

After my meditation, I gave some thought to why this phrase arose and what it might mean. 

One of my favorite Law of Attraction authors, Mike Dooley, teaches that there are various arenas of life to focus on as we manifest our dreams. Each person’s experience will be different. Some arenas will come easier to some people, while others will be a challenge.

In the area of love and relationships, I have a lot of ease. It’s easy for me to love unconditionally. I receive a lot of love from my beloveds, friends, and family. That’s not to say it’s always been easy. Relationships do require work and nurturing. But it’s an arena in which I feel comfortable.

Giving and receiving love feels natural to me. 

Money, on the other hand, has historically been a challenging area. While I’ve focused on mending my relationship with prosperity, it’s not something I would consider easy (yet). 

I realized that by thinking of “unconditional wealth” the way I view “unconditional love,” I can shift some of those heavy energies and allow more ease. 

When I mentioned this insight to my business coach and biz sisters in our weekly circle-up call, she added another layer to consider. 

“It seems like you understand that the love in your life is non-transactional, and now you’re realizing that money can be non-transactional as well. Like love, money is just another form of energy that flows through your life,” she said.

I like that nuance. I do often think about money in transactional terms. This service for that invoice. Sell some books, receive royalties. That sort of thing. 

Viewing abundance as “unconditional wealth” provides a sense of ease that wasn’t there before. It brings me feelings of freedom and expansion. As BlackLion quipped, “expansive expenses.”

These feelings, in turn, allow more space to manifest the wealth I desire. Next week, I’m joining a group of co-creators for Law of Attraction coach Jeannette Maw’s latest manifesting party: 7-Day Money Manifester. (Join us here if it calls to you). 

As we know from New Age philosophies, Buddhist spirituality, and ancient magickal practices, holding too tightly to that which you desire will restrict your ability to manifest it. Non-attachment is part of the process.

By taking my relationship with money out of the realm of transactional steps, I’m making it easier to achieve my goals. 

It’s not the specific transactions, or even the current economic climate, that matter. My business has been growing and thriving throughout the “economic crunch” of the pandemic. There’s no reason why my wealth – or yours – won’t continue to expand.

Especially when I’m tapping into the free-flowing energy of “unconditional wealth.” It’ll be fascinating to see what unfolds next in my experience of prosperity.

I’ll keep you apprised.

Starcat’s Favorites: Interior Design

Because I’m putting together a new home office, I’ve recently been diving into the world of interior home design. I’m fascinated and delighted!

At the same time, I’m not the type to go for a particular style simply because it’s trendy. I like to put my own spin on my spaces.

In the past, I did this to the best of my ability while raising two kids on a very limited budget. The vast majority of our furniture up until now has been thrifted or free. There’s nothing wrong with that – I like the idea of reusing items that others are done with.

It did, however, limit how I could decorate my home. I would say that our style over the years has been kind of a hippie homeschool aesthetic.

Again, I’m not knocking it. But I’m excited to move into a new realm of designing my spaces more deliberately.

It must be my Libra moon, but I’m endlessly inspired by beautiful, color-coordinated, uncluttered spaces. The office I’m designing will showcase this (I hope!).

I’m already thinking about things I can do to upgrade our other spaces, like the living room.

My Virgo sun side is addicted to The Home Edit and their way of organizing items to be both useful and beautiful. I’m making plans to reorganize the bathroom shelves, and have started using words like “back stock” and “zones.”

I think I’m starting to annoy the guys I live with. Luckily, my daughter-in-love is just as into this stuff as I am! She and I have already made one pilgrimage to Ikea and The Container Store, and we have plans for other excursions.

As I write this, Quester is finishing up the flooring and installing trim boards (that I painted white) in the office. I can’t wait to get my furniture in there! My fancy new standing-or-sitting desk has been ordered.

In the meantime, here are some interesting things I’ve discovered on the web recently. I hope you enjoy them!

Simple self-care practices – including de-cluttering, one of my favorites!

This article is so empowering. “You are worthy.”

As a recovering people-pleaser, I appreciate this article. A good reminder. On a similar note, have you ever been told you’re “too much?” Here’s a song to celebrate it, for kids of all ages!

My friend Joan O’Hara, who is part of a Pagan women’s group I’m involved in, was just recognized for some of her life’s work. Congratulations!

Ready for a little magickal instruction? Here’s an article on how to use a pendulum and another one on making sigils. Oh, and should you make your way to the witchy town of Salem, Massachusetts, here’s where to eat.

I love this interview with Cree Summer. Inspiring stuff about authentic style, creativity, motherhood, and more. Also this one with the amazing musician Lizzo, on self-acceptance. (Not safe for work!)

I haven’t played this game yet, but it sounds amazing.

Unforgettable descriptions of food in literature.

Let me know if you’re interested in upgrading and organizing your spaces. What cool design ideas are lighting you up?

A Triggering Challenge

I’ve recently completed Rachel Rodgers’ “$10K in 10 Days” challenge. She shares the concept at the end of her book We Should All Be Millionaires, which I highly recommend reading.

I had planned to do the challenge earlier. I finished the book over a weekend in mid-April, and decided to start that Monday. Instead, I woke up with lower-back pain that laid me low for several days, and took about a month to heal. I hadn’t done anything particular that I’d noticed to cause the injury, but it definitely got my attention!

The timing of my mystery back injury wasn’t a coincidence. The challenge itself has been hugely triggering to my old patterns and shadow selves. I healed the back pain with the help of yoga, Quester’s inversion table, and rest – and also shadow work.

I decided to delay the challenge, and enlisted a couple of my biz sisters to join me. We got started on May 9th, and the first couple of days went rather well.

On day 3, I woke up feeling anxious and stressed. I wasn’t able to finish my morning yoga session. I got into child’s pose and just cried. Later, during a group coaching call, one of my biz sisters said that tears are the body’s way of releasing past trauma. She told me to go ahead and cry, because it means that my body now feels safe.

Another biz sister suggested that I offer my Parallel PlayDates as an annual subscription during the challenge. I loved that idea, and started a “flash sale,” something I’ve never done before.

The middle part of the challenge went along fine. I got some signups from my flash sale. I was talking with various people about my summer retreat and other offerings. I hosted my May virtual retreat and loved seeing all the writers get results, have new insights and epiphanies, and appreciate the container. I truly love being a writing coach!

The tail end of the challenge happened to coincide with the due date for a large business expense. A couple of days out, I didn’t (yet) have all the money I needed to pay it. At Quester’s urging, I tallied up what I did have, and the income expected before the deadline. I was closer than I’d thought. We talked, and Quester said if need be, I could borrow the money from our household funds to make the large payment.

The evening before my deadline, I hadn’t received some expected payments, and a prospective client hadn’t gotten back to me with an answer as promised. I was talking with Quester in the car about it, and I ended up having a complete meltdown. It sucked. I couldn’t stop crying.

When we got home, I just collapsed on the floor and watched cute animal videos, then went to bed. I was so upset. Clearly, this was about more than the deadline – which I was going to meet anyway.

The next day I outed myself in my biz coach’s retreat. I told everyone that I’d had a tantrum about money. I was feeling like a failure because I had to borrow funds from household. They were kind and supportive. The consensus was that a tantrum or crying session was a great way to release old toxins. I was still sort of embarrassed about it, but I did feel lighter.

I was ready to make what I called “the walk of shame to the credit union” at lunchtime to borrow the necessary funds. However, by mid-morning, someone had signed up for my summer retreat and paid more than half the cost, thus allowing me to pay my large bill on time, with money from my biz. Win!

Instead of that credit union walk of shame, Quester took me out for lunch. It was a lovely day, so we ate outside at one of our favorite local spots, overlooking the Saco River.

By the time the challenge ended, I’d made $7299., including banked money and “booked” services (for which I’d receive payments later). Not bad at all for my first time!

The money is a wonderful help, especially with lots of extra expenses this month for my business. But truly, the best part is that I’m uncovering and releasing more of my old blockages and beliefs around money.

Perhaps that’s the point of these types of challenges. It’s to show us that we can do something we might have thought impossible, as well as to illustrate exactly where we’re getting in our own way.

A biz sister who had done the challenge before remarked that she too had been triggered heavily that first time. I thanked her for sharing that and noted that this implied I should do it again. Challenge accepted!

In fact, the Universe obliged immediately. My favorite LOA coach, Jeannette Maw, is doing a 7-day challenge called the 7-Day Money Manifester, starting soon. You know I signed up. I wonder if I can do this one without the meltdown….

A Room of My Own

Some of my creative energies are currently focused on creating a home office for myself and my business. I’m so excited!

My Younger Self (aka inner child) is especially delighted. For various reasons, I’ve never had an entire room that is wholly mine.

I’m reminded of Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own.” She writes about how, in order to have space in which to live a creative life, women should have a room with a door they can shut. This gives us the opportunity to set aside gender roles and demands on our time – something that many men already had at that time, but most women did not.

In a strange way, her essay feels newly relevant in today’s world. Sometimes it feels like we’ve made a lot of progress with gender equity, and then events on the world stage make it seem like we’ve gotten nowhere.

That said, I don’t believe that you have to have a space all to yourself in order to write or create. I know it’s quite a privilege to have enough space and resources to devote an entire room (mine is just under 200 square feet) to one person. Believe me, I’m grateful!

I’ve created five-plus books and an entire business in the corner of the dining area of a busy open-concept house. That’s not to brag, but just to encourage you that it can be done.

If you do have the opportunity to have your own office or studio, though, I encourage you to make it fully your own. I’m decorating mine to include my favorite colors, cozy spots to create, and creative supplies.

The room that will be my new office was my daughter’s childhood bedroom, then the abode of a longtime friend who became a housemate for a few years while starting a new career.

It has one window, and was painted a dark purple, from when my daughter redecorated it during her teen years. I want to lighten up the space, so I’ve painted it a lighter purple, called French Violet, with white trim. I painted the two sets of bookshelves white, too. We’ve removed the original rose-colored carpet, and Quester will be installing some flooring soon.

I still need to get a desk. I’m looking at options that allow sitting or standing. I also want to add some storage cabinets for art supplies, notebooks, office supplies, etc. My daughter-in-love and I visited Ikea (for the first time!) and The Container Store earlier this week to get some ideas. She enjoys home decorating and has been super helpful as I create this new space.

My office may occasionally serve as a guest room. I didn’t want to take up a bunch of space with a bed, or even a fold-out sofa, so I’m going to get a Cordaroy, which is a large beanbag chair that folds out into a queen-sized mattress. It’ll make a cozy reading nook, and then when guests do come, we can just open the bed out into the middle of the room.

I’ve been watching season 2 of Get Organized with The Home Edit on Netflix, and I’m gathering ideas for how I’m going to set up and decorate my office space. I’m endlessly inspired by spaces that are both organized and pretty.

Moving into my own office is bringing an expansive feeling to my career and creative callings. I’ve been preparing myself to step onto a bigger stage, and it feels like this physical move will help.

I didn’t need to have an office in order to become a published author and establish a sustainable business. However, at this point in my journey, I think having a room of my own will allow me to step into this new level of leadership. I’m looking forward to it being completed.

I’ll share some more photos once the room is ready.

Starcat’s Favorites: Stickers!

Did you ever notice that there are certain things in your life that you’re extremely good at manifesting?

Mine has been books (go figure). I haven’t belonged to a library for many years because, even when I couldn’t afford to buy them at full price, books just showed up. People gave them to me, I got a bag of them for $5 at a library sale, others loaned me the latest best sellers, I won them in contests, and on it went. Now I can buy, them, too, which is slightly dangerous.

Lately it’s stickers. I like putting stickers on my notebooks. I go through about two full-sized Moleskine lined notebooks each year. I get the plain black ones so I can plaster them with stickers.

Now that the Universe has discovered that I enjoy stickers, they’re showing up everywhere! Not just the ones handed out as advertisements, either. I get stickers in the mail, I tried to buy some in my friend’s shop and he gave them to me, one of my besties handed me two cool stickers last time I saw her, and more.

Abraham-Hicks says that if you’re focused, it’s as easy to manifest a castle as a button. I’ve got the books and stickers nailed. Now to go for for a Subaru…

Here are some links to peruse as you enjoy your weekend

One of my favorite Law of Attraction coaches is Jeannette Maw. I love these posts on the manifesting echo and how not to micro-manage your co-creation process.

My biz coach shared this article on how to create sigils. I’ve been creating them for a while now and find it’s a good tool for my witchy toolbox. Please note, there are some typos in the article itself, but the information is solid.

The BBC talks about the cultural value of a particular Star Trek episode – cool!

Here’s a useful blog post about guest blogging and how it can help you to build an author platform while you’re writing your book.

 

Navigating the Galactic Barrier

BlackLion and I have been watching the Star Trek: Discovery series, and loving it.

A recent episode had the crew of Discovery trying to find a way to travel through the galactic barrier and into another galaxy for an important First Contact mission.

It’s not as simple as just flying through. There’s a lot of “negative energy” and harsh conditions that could destroy the ship.

During the episode, I paused to ask BlackLion if this “galactic barrier” is all sci-fi, or if it’s really a thing. His answer was that we don’t know, because we (or our science probes) have never been out that far. I did a little research after that, and learned that scientists don’t think there is such a barrier, but again, they can’t know for sure just yet.

Anyway, in the show the crew finds a way through the barrier by flying the ship into these protective bubbles, which they call “space cells,” and riding them through the dangerous area. Then they emerge onto the other side, in a brand new galaxy.

My mind kept coming back to the imagery and feelings of traveling through the galactic barrier. I even watched the episode again, which is something I rarely do (there are so many new shows to see and books to read that I don’t often return to ones I’ve already ingested).

At first I wasn’t sure why my imagination was so enraptured by this imagery. I kept returning to the tense moments when the ship is in danger and the crew is frantically trying to find solutions. This was contrasted with the expansive, exultant feeling of when they’ve broken through to the new galaxy and are admiring the quiet and openness of that new place, at the edge of a vast unexplored area.

Then I realized that this is a perfect metaphor for where I am in my life and my process of spiritual growth. I feel like I’m just on the verge of bursting through my own galactic barrier.

I’m no longer in the same old galaxy, where I was an active parent, a public radio professional, then a seeker trying to find my authentic creative expression. I’m not yet fully in the new galaxy of embodying the powerful leader I know I’m becoming.

My spacecraft is right there, surfing through these bubbles of protection, dodging the dangerous currents of my old stories, fears, and patterns. 

I love that the description of that area was one of “negative energies.” That’s not to say that the new galaxy won’t have its challenges. The Discovery and her crew are going to meet a powerful and potentially lethal new species of beings. I know that stepping onto this larger stage of leadership won’t always be easy. Yet it feels exciting, expansive, and thrilling.

I’m near that edge of success where I can see a bit of what the new galaxy will be like. I’m being buffeted by the storms, but I’m holding true in my bubble of wisdom, power, and support.

Some days it feels scary and impossible. At other times, such as now, writing about this, or when I find (or create) these myths and metaphors that help me to sustain my vision, it feels delightful. Alive. Like it’s my destiny.

Does this resonate with you? Where are you on your space travel journey? As Captain Michael Burham says, “Let’s fly!”

Starcat’s Favorites: Transforming

As I write this, it’s snowing. It’s windy and cold outside. Just two days ago, it was sunny and in the 60s. Luckily I know better than to think winter is done with us, at least here in Maine.

It’s not just the weather, but the energy tides as well. I’m still in the “creative cave.” I have big plans for 2022, but my guides are telling me to wait, and rest, and stay focused inward. I’m undergoing a transformation that will enable me to expand and grow – once the time is right.

How do I know that? In pretty nearly every Tarot card I draw (and I do a one-card draw each morning), the word transformation can be found as part of the description. I just attended a virtual retreat for transformational coaches. One of the phrases that was shared with us during the retreat was “take up space,” and within a couple days of the retreat, I heard that phrase from several other sources.

Synchronicity and magick abound. But it’s not time yet to launch. I’ll take the advice of my guides and the weather, and stay in my cozy creative cave for a while longer.

Here are some things to check out this weekend, or whenever you need some inspiration.

What do you do when the wider world feels overwhelming? Here are some points to consider.

I recently attended a virtual presentation about the Goddess Nyx. It turns out that She is calling to me. Here’s an article about Nyx if you’d like to learn more.

This blog post on creative puttering by my friend and client Pyeng Threadgill strongly resonates with me. As she writes, “there is actually great, creative purpose in puttering.”

Another friend and client shared this recipe during our recent virtual writing retreat. I haven’t made it yet, but it sounds super delicious!

Check out what Emma Thompson has to say about aging and generations of women. Beautiful.

I love Rachel Rodgers – have you read her book yet? This is her advice on cultivating a CEO mindset.

Starcat’s Favorites: Savoring the Hygge

It’s deep winter, here in the northern hemisphere. It’s either face-numbingly cold, or some form of icy water is falling from the sky.

This isn’t a complaint, truly, despite my (ahem) tricky relationship with winter. It simply means that it’s time for some hygge.

I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard of hygge by now, but it’s a Danish concept that essentially means snuggling up and staying cozy during the cold season. To me, it means keeping some of the faerie lights up after the winter holidays, wrapping myself in fuzzy blankets, and cuddling with lap cats.

I’m enjoying the need to stay inside. Hot chai tea, vegetable soups, and long books are elements of savoring the hygge. So is sleeping longer than usual, and taking time to rest more often. Listening to jazz. Doing yoga in my pajamas. Watching the Great British Baking Show.

What about you? What do you love to do when you’re cozying up during the cold times?

Here are some fun and interesting things to read (or watch) while you’re snuggling up:

My partner BlackLion, who as it happens is of Danish ancestry and loves hygge, is premiering a brand-new Star Trek Adventures playthrough series called Tales of the USS Medusa. I’m one of the players – my character is Lt. Commander M’Niri Vrttm. We had a blast playing this RPG last summer, and now BlackLion made it into a show! So fun. Check it out right over here.

I was feeling like 2022 started off very slowly, in terms of taking steps toward my goals. But there’s a reason for that – the natural cycles of energy. This, as it turns out, is the true New Year!

Speaking of the moon (you did see that last link, right?), I love this look at fantasy novels that feature lunar themes.

Looking for something new to read as you cuddle up? Here’s a fun list for your literary pleasure.

I love Jeannette Maw’s Good Vibe blog. Here are her 3 Core Skills Every Conscious Creator Needs.

Are you an entrepreneur or business owner? Wanna be a millionaire? You just have to do some math – don’t worry, you’ve got this!

Here’s an interesting take on preventing procrastination.

I haven’t tried making these vegan biscuits yet, but I’m thinking they’d be lovely hygge fare to go with my soup. Also, there’s a cool new lodging website specifically for vegetarians & vegans (and those who want to check out plant-based eating). Sounds very yummy…

Have a lovely weekend!