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!

 

 

 

 

Starcat’s Ten Best Books of 2021

Hello fellow bookworms! This is my annual share about my ten favorite books that I read this past year. As always, please note that these aren’t necessarily books that came out in 2021, just ones that I encountered and very much enjoyed.

I read 52 books in 2021, and it was hard to narrow the favorites list down to just ten. But for one reason or another, these are the books that stood out the most. Also, I was apparently more captivated by nonfiction than fiction during the past year. I discovered several of these through Carolyn Elliott’s course, which was a treasure trove of book recommendations.

Here are my 2021 favorites:

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. This was recommended by Mike Dooley in one of his workshops. I absolutely loved it! There’s a lot in here that’s outdated, and I could have done without all the Christian Bible quotes (although I see why they did it, to appeal to Western audiences by highlighting the similarities between Hindu and Christian values). But there are so many gems of wisdom, and it’s a window into another time and place. If you identify as a spiritual seeker at all, read this book.

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: An Exploration of Women’s Power Past, Present and Future by Shirley Ranck. As a practicing Pagan, I’ve been on the periphery of several different Unitarian Universalist churches. This book was written as part of UU curriculum, and it’s extremely well done. This might be review material for many of us feminists and Goddess worshippers, but it’s still worth reading. I enjoyed the way the book was organized, as well as the thought-provoking questions and exercises that are included.

The Moon Book: Lunar Magic to Change Your Life by Sarah Faith Gottesdiener. Since I’ve co-written a book that talks a lot about lunar magick, you might legitimately wonder why this one made the list. First of all, there’s always more to learn about any given topic. That’s true for me as I explored this wonderful tome. Second, this book is visually stunning. Yes, the content is terrific – but it’s enhanced by the beauty of the design and layout.

Sovereign Self: Claim Your Inner Joy and Freedom with the Empowering Wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita by Acharya Shunya. I’ve already written about the synchronicity of how this book came into my world. I loved reading about the Hindu classics from a female perspective. Shunya is a wise teacher. She puts these ancient teachings into a modern context for the reader, which is useful in daily life.

Unbound: A Woman’s Guide to Power by Kasia Urbaniak. If I had to pick a book on this list that most changed my perspective, it would be this one. I strongly feel that everyone – not just women – should read it. It’s a game-changer. It also made sense of so many things that I hadn’t understood about interpersonal communication. Amazing.

The Art of Contemplation: A Gentle Path to Wholeness and Prosperity by Richard Rudd. I haven’t yet finished reading Rudd’s book The Gene Keys, or that would certainly be on the list as well. This slim companion volume was succinct and powerful. His work is in service to the awakening of human consciousness, and his writing is powerful.

Rewire for Wealth: Three Steps Any Woman Can Take to Program Her Brain for Financial Success by Barbara Huson. My biz coach is running a book club based around finances, and this was the first one we read. It’s also a workbook, and I did most of the exercises while at a resort in Mexico on vacation. Talk about the perfect setting for upgrading my wealth mindset! Huson is wise, and shares her wisdom in an accessible way.

Paths of Wisdom: Cabala in the Golden Dawn Tradition by John Michael Greer. Greer is one of the authors I found through the WEALTH alchemy course. He is obviously smart and knows the material inside out. I’ve already acquired two more of his books on magick. If you’re interested in Western occultism, Greer is a wise go-to.

Rhythm of War: Book Four of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve chosen only two works of fiction for my favorites list, but this one is part four of a series. If you like fantasy, the whole series is a must-read as far as I’m concerned. Sanderson is a master of world-building, and his characters learn, grow, fail, succeed, agonize, delight, and change as often as the rest of us. Start with book one and read the Stormlight Archive series (including the novellas that happen between books) as it unfolds. You won’t regret it.

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller. An old friend recommended this the year it came out, which was 2017. I’ve had it on my “to read” list ever since, and from now on I resolve to read his recommendations much sooner. This book is set in contemporary New York City, with a magical touch that makes the story shimmer. The ending was unexpected and satisfying. I loved it.

The runners-up: Here are three books that almost made the list, two of which are fiction. The Red Goddess by Peter Grey is a very, umm, interesting work about the Goddess Babalon. Widdershins by Charles deLint is his usual excellent brand of urban fantasy, set in the fictional city of Newford. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami is delightfully weird. He’s another author I’ll be sampling further.

What did you read last year that you loved? What’s on your to-read list for 2022?

Receiving Success

As I prepare for the beginning of a new calendar year, two words have emerged as themes for me for 2022.

The first one that showed up was SUCCESS.

In many ways, though, I’ve already achieved the success that I’ve been visualizing and working toward over the past several years.

My business, which is my second career and is entwined with my callings, is thriving. My relationships with family, friends, and beloveds feel magickal and blessed. I’ve implemented some new wellness practices that are improving my health (which is pretty good to begin with). My creativity is flourishing. I love my home.

I’m so grateful for all of the blessings in my life, even during a time of collective uncertainty.

The second word that emerged, and the one I’ve chosen as my Word of the Year for 2022, is RECEIVE. It’s time to allow all the success that I’ve been visualizing, planning, and working toward to come flooding in. I have some big ideas and am following my callings to new realms.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but of these two words, RECEIVE is the one that sounds a wee bit challenging or perhaps even scary. It’s a growing edge.

It feels natural to me to give. Receiving is… complicated. There are lots of emotional attachments to deserving, worthiness, fairness, and the like.

So I chose RECEIVE as my companion for the year to come. Gulp. I’m curious to see what this word, this concept, has to teach me.

One of the things I’ve discovered as I considered which word to choose is that receptivity isn’t the same as passivity. I tend to be an active person, wanting to do stuff and create and explore and experience. In order to receive, there needs to be a balance of those active energies with plenty of stillness in which to receive. I’ll meditate on it.

For now, I wanted to share the vision board I made last night, in (virtual) sacred space with some awesome Thriving Artists and co-creators. There were 16 of us at the 2nd annual Vision Board PlayShop that BlackLion and I led.

I had such a fun time making this board. I’m looking forward to seeing how these words and images make themselves known. 

What about you? Have you made a vision board for 2022? What energies, experiences, and blessings are you calling in for the new year?

Guilt: What Is It and How Do You Get Rid of It?

For years and years, my Mom has had a saying that she shares at appropriate moments: “No guilt!” 

But what is guilt, anyway? Is it necessarily a bad thing?

I looked to Wikipedia, and the definition of guilt there says: “Guilt is a moral emotion that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that they have compromised their own standards of conduct or have violated universal moral standards and bear significant responsibility for that violation.”

That could be a good thing. In its proper context, guilt can alert us when we’ve relaxed our standards in a way that doesn’t line up with our own ideals.

But what about when we get enmeshed in guilt, in an unhealthy way? In my experience, guilt comes up when I haven’t done something that I didn’t really want to do anyway.

In the context of the Law of Attraction, unpleasant emotions point to places where we’re out of alignment with our higher self, the wiser part of us that resides primarily in the non-physical. In this sense, maybe it simply wasn’t in my best interest to do whatever the thing was, and guilt illustrates that plainly.

One friend of mine says that guilt was used by her family as essentially a form of emotional blackmail. Her parents manipulated her to do what they wanted by imposing feelings of guilt on her, which makes her especially sensitive to it to this day.

I feel like guilt is entwined with a lack of self-worth. If we’re doubting our own ability to know what’s best for us, we become much more susceptible to what others want us to do.

This explains why guilt is often associated with patriarchal, dogmatic religions. The dogma tells us how we “should” behave. When our own intuition leads us in a different direction, we feel guilty about following our desires. In that context, guilt is meant to stop us in our tracks. It keeps us from following our bliss.

How do you rid yourself of unhealthy guilt? One of the ways I’ve done this is to get really clear about my own values, desires, and priorities. Establishing boundaries is also key.

Over time, I’ve focused on releasing things in my life that feel like obligations. For me, it’s especially potent around volunteering and helping others. When I know that I’m being of service in ways that use my gifts and feel good to me, it’s easier to say no to the invitations or requests that don’t light me up.

The other thing that has helped is cultivating love and trust for myself. When I feel solidly connected to my higher self, I can relax and trust that I will know the best course of action. When someone else tries to tell me what I “should” be doing, I can listen and then feel into it. If it doesn’t resonate, then I have an easier time letting it go, without feelings of guilt.

My Mom’s “no guilt!” reminder has helped me remember that I have my own access to inner wisdom. Rather than doing things because I feel guilty if I don’t, or repressing the guilt, I can see it for what it is and release it. This has helped me to thrive, and to give back to the community more consistently.

Guilt is an emotion, and can be processed and let go just like sorrow or anger. Clinging to guilt, and letting it grow into shame and self-criticism, is a waste of your time. 

Unhealthy guilt keeps you feeling – and playing – small. It takes you away from following your callings and sharing your gifts. That’s what the world really needs from you.

What’s your experience with unhealthy guilt? Is it something that you’re ready to release? How will you do so?

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.