Starcat’s Favorites: Home Base

Home base? No, it’s not a baseball metaphor. I am feeling blessed, at this time when we’re all being advised to stay home except for essential supply runs, to absolutely LOVE where I live and the people I live with.

The exciting news here is that my daughter ElvenTiger and her new husband are staying! They came home to get married, planning to go back to Denver for a few months and then move home for good. Because of the pandemic, it’s safer for them to just stay put, here with us. Yay!

We’re all healthy and safe, and I hope you and yours are, too. We’ve been cooking together, playing games (I even tried a video game! It’s called TemTem), and tromping around in the back woods. I already mostly worked from home, so I’m still doing the work I love. I’m keeping in touch with friends and family through phone and Zoom.

I’ve been holding space for those who are ill and suffering, and for those who are okay but are overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. Personally, I’m mostly centered, and thankful for my longtime meditation & spiritual practice for that. I’m sending out lots of prayers, love, and compassion. I’m thankful for those who are out there keeping things running.

Over the years I’ve become an optimist, something I’ve cultivated purposefully. So I’m seeing the silver linings and opportunities in this crisis. I love this quote:

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

We’re digging up our jewels right now, dear ones. I hope you adore your home base as much as I do mine.

Here are some resources from around the web that I’ve enjoyed. I hope they help you.

Jeannette Maw has certainly created some gems for us. Here are two of her blogs, on feeling your feelings and navigating this time as a conscious co-creator.

Kripalu is another source of good stuff. Here are their posts on reducing stress and transforming fear through meditation.

This past week was the official start of Spring! Here’s a lovely article on Spring Equinox 2020. It has SO many good ideas for celebrating the new season, even while staying home.

This is a re-posted article on “how to keep working on your business while it feels like the world is on fire.”

Working with your inner child might sound sort of cliche or hokey, but it’s a powerful practice. I like Danielle LaPorte’s take on this.

“All living beings are worthy of respect.” I love these principles of unity from the Reclaiming tradition.

You might recall my recent post that emerged from a women’s gathering about Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party art installation. Check out this article and especially this video about a recent tribute to this amazing work. Wow!

Stay safe and be well.

Exquisite Self-Care in a Time of Crisis

This is a bit hard to write, because I don’t want to appear to minimize anyone else’s experience. But it feels important to share my perspective. Please know that I’m offering this with the utmost love and compassion for you, unconditionally.

Here it is: I’m not afraid. I’m not stressed. Even in this time of crisis, I’m able to be grounded, hold space for others, and have fun. I’m not freaking out.

Why? It’s not because I’m dumb, or misinformed, or burying my head in the sand. I’m not wealthy or otherwise advantaged in a way that means I’m above it all. I know that awful things are happening. They happen every day. They’ve happened to me and my family in the past.

There are consequences from this pandemic for all of us. I have elders and others in my close community who are vulnerable to disease. My family’s income is already being affected. We might not be able to get the essentials we rely upon. Events – both business and personal – that I’ve looked forward to are being canceled.

This isn’t a fluffy bunny (fluffy kitty?) kind of thing.

What is it, then? I’ve been doing daily spiritual practice for 23 years as of this coming June. I do it when everything is going well, and I do it during times of crisis. I’ve added in more of these practices, and greater self-care, over that time.

And it has helped me become exponentially happier and more centered – even when the sh*t hits the fan. This allows me to be of better service to those who need my help.

I’m not saying all of this to brag. Believe me, no one who is still alive here on Earth has “mastered” meditation or reached enlightenment.

We all, me included, have our very human moments of freaking out. But you don’t have to live there 24-7. I want to demonstrate that it’s possible to surrender, to let go of some of the stress and fear.

I used to think that faith and surrender were a cop-out. But they’re not. The only thing we are fully in control of is our own RESPONSE. That is the heart of our power-from-within.

Stress and fear of the unknown are about hanging on to an illusion of control. Our ego brain, when it feels threatened with change or loss, wants to cling to the familiar. If that’s not possible, we go into “fight or flight” mode. This primal urge was set up to get us out of immediate danger. Sustaining it over long periods of time is not good for your health (body, mind, or spirit).

Practicing exquisite self-care in the form of spiritual practice – of connection to something bigger than your ego-mind – is a powerful antidote.

Meditation, yoga, creativity, dance, getting out in nature, mindfulness; all of these things and more can connect you to your intuitive sense that you’re going to be just fine. Yes, even if you suffer or die (we are all mortal – you do know that, right?).

Much like planting a tree, the best time to start a spiritual practice was 10 years ago, but the next best time is right now. 

There are plenty of excuses for not doing it. But perhaps this crisis is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Start with 15 minutes at the beginning of your day. New to meditation? There are hundreds of free guided meditations out there. Try one.

Averse to meditation? Then just pick something that feels good to you and that will distract your monkey mind from its worries for a time. Take a walk outside. Listen to uplifting music as you sip coffee or tea. Read a sacred text or a self-help book that calls to you. Draw or color. Build something in your garage. Cook a healthy meal, with intention. Take a bath with candles and crystals.

Shut off the freaking news and social media, even if only for an hour or two.

We’re being asked to stay home right now, as much as possible. That’s a perfect opportunity for some exquisite self-care. Go within. You are connected to the wisdom of the Universe. Your part in accessing it is to stop spinning with worry and turn your face toward that wisdom, even if only for a few precious minutes.

If this idea appeals to you and you want some help with getting started, reach out to me and we’ll talk (virtually, online, and germ-free). I’m here, and I’m not in panic mode. I’d love to assist you with finding your center. 

A Love Affair With the Sea

One of my favorite places to be is by the ocean. I suppose that’s why I was born here in Maine.

There are many reasons why we’re drawn to stand at the edge of the sea. The natural beauty. The negative ions from flowing water that help us feel less stressed and more joyful.

The power and magick of edges, the places where two disparate elements meet.

The sound of the waves. The grounding sensation of bare feet in wet sand. All this and more.

For me, the shoreline is a place of creative inspiration. A day at the beach refreshes, restores, and empowers my body, mind, and spirit.

Sometimes this means bringing my journal along and writing in this place of power. Other times, a visit to the sacred waters lets new ideas seep in, to marinate in the salty seawater of my blood. After this marinating process, the words eventually flow forth, like the waters of the ocean crashing onto my favorite beach.

When I first received the calling to lead transformational writing retreats, the vision was of a group writing near the ocean. This was soon followed by the notion of giving back – the plan is to donate part of the proceeds of each retreat to organizations cleaning up the oceans. This feels aligned with my devotion to the Goddess Yemaya.

Yemaya is the Yoruban Mother Goddess of all living things, and of the Earth’s waters. She began as the ruler of rivers, and is now worshipped as the Goddess of the sea, particularly in the Afro-Caribbean traditions. Yemaya is nurturing and also fierce. She loves to dance, and Her graceful motions are reflected in the rhythm of the waves, and of the storms on the oceans.

Water is the realm of this powerful and gorgeous Goddess, and water is often associated with emotions and with our subconscious mind. She cleanses us of sorrow and helps us to connect with our more sensual side, and She is also a patron of healing.  Yemaya is often depicted as a mermaid.

I have been drawn to water since I was a small child, even though my Mom couldn’t swim at the time and was afraid of being immersed in the water. As I’ve grown, I’ve discovered that my love of swimming and of water in general connects me to a spiritual lineage of mermaids. My daughter and I claim ourselves as quarter mermaid, and thus we are daughters of Yemaya, even though we are of Celtic descent.

Personally, I also associate Yemaya with a connection to the non-physical realms. During the warmer time of year, my wild witchy sisters and I love to visit the ocean at the new and full moons.

Swimming in the sea as the full moon rises is a profound experience of connection to All That Is. Swimming under the stars with no moon at all is also deeply magickal. Immersing myself in the ocean’s waters helps me to center myself in the cosmos, floating freely, unattached to the solid ground of the Earth. I feel Yemaya’s loving and protective presence as I revel in my mermaid roots, delighting in the flow of the living waters all around me.

To me, immersing myself in the living waters that are Yemaya’s realm allows me more inner space to connect with the other realms. This means channeling, crafting relationships with my angels and guides, and expanding the space for hearing my intuition, my heart’s wisdom.

The ocean is a magickal place, where the energies provide a gap for my consciousness to slip into, through into the other realms, with ease and grace. I swim through these realms as I do through the waters of this physical realm.

I am profoundly grateful to Yemaya for Her willingness to hold me gently in Her watery embrace.

Travel and the Creative Soul

What comes to mind when you hear the word “adventure?” For me, it’s a no-brainer.

Adventure means TRAVEL.

Travel feeds my creative soul like nothing else.

I first caught the travel bug when I was a shy teenage Girl Scout. The longer I stayed in Girl Scouts, the fewer peers and the smaller the troop size. However, there were some really cool things that were offered to the older girls – like “Wider Opportunities.”

As soon as I heard about the concept of themed two-week camps, scattered across the country, I was hooked. I applied for a few – I remember that one was a theater camp – and waited to see what happened. I was accepted to a camp with a history theme, located in rural Pennsylvania. For two weeks, we’d be living on a historic farm property, learning to do things the way our ancestors did.

I was both terrified and thrilled. This was the furthest I’d been from home without my family. I was a shy, introverted kid who often felt insecure and awkward.

Yet as soon as I stepped on the plane, I was captivated by this notion of exploring places I’d never seen before. It made my (already quite active) imagination jump into overdrive.

Fast-forward to my 30s, when I was Mom to two young kids as well as being the family breadwinner. Thanks to my job, I had the chance to travel to an industry conference each autumn. By myself!

If you’ve had little kids, you probably know how luxurious that feels. A two-hour layover in a bustling airport? No worries – I can read without interruption, eat what and when I want, and even daydream.

A hotel room in a downtown conference center? Wow, I get the whole bed to myself! Room service. Fluffy towels that someone else will wash. A nice pool for a morning swim before conference sessions.

Most of these conference trips were to cities I’d never visited before, and I often had a free day at the end of my trip to explore the area. Such joy!

To this day, I absolutely adore traveling. Over the past two years, I’ve been to Colorado, New York City (twice), the Bahamas, and New Mexico. I’ve visited art museums, beaches, national parks, and a variety of restaurants. I’ve written in cafes and airports, on a train, and in bars.

I’ve got pages of ideas in my notebooks, inspired by the adventures I’ve embarked upon. I love to take photos of the places I visit. My creative wellspring overflows with new ideas inspired by the sights, sounds, and experiences of my travels.

Even though I’m a Virgo with planning superpowers, I like to leave plenty of room for spontaneity as I travel. I research a new place a little bit, but not too much. It’s much more fun to see what experiences come up as I move through the world.

The best part of travel adventures is the unknown. Happily, I’ve found travel companions who also love to “travel by yes.” Solo travel is a blast, but adventures can be even more fun with like-minded company.

I have more travel adventures in the works for 2020 and beyond. My vision boards are filled with pictures of places I haven’t seen yet. My Big List O’Goals has plenty of travel destinations outlined for the years to come. I look forward to hosting retreats in exotic locales.

Do you adore traveling as much as I do? Where have you been? Where do you yearn to go next?

Ahead of Her Time: Natalie Clifford Barney

Natalie Clifford Barney, turn of the century.

One of the members of a Pagan women’s group I belong to recently led a program for us on Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. I got to see the exhibit in person in 2018; it’s now permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it!

We were collectively inspired to each choose one of the women commemorated with a plate in the exhibit, do some research on her life, and craft a presentation to the group. Here’s mine:

I was initially drawn to research Natalie Clifford Barney for two reasons: 

  1. She’s a feminist writer I hadn’t heard of, or studied in college.
  2. Natalie was the name of my favorite grandmother.

As I started to read up on her, I was amused by the connections that emerged. The Goddess has a sense of humor as she guides us toward synchronicities.

Natalie Clifford Barney was a writer, playwright, and poet. The likely reason that I hadn’t studied her at UMaine was that most of her published writing was done in French. She was a pacifist as well as a feminist. She’s actually most well known as a controversial hostess of gatherings of writers and artists (some well known, others not) on the Left Bank in Paris. The heyday of her literary salon was during the 1920s and 30s – although it endured for more than 60 years.

One of the connections that emerged is to Maine. Natalie was born in Ohio on October 31st, 1876. Her parents were both from wealthy families. When she was 10, Natalie’s immediate family moved to Washington DC. They had a second home built – a palatial 4-story “cottage” – in Bar Harbor, and Natalie, her sister Laura, and their artist mother, Alice, spent a lot of time there. 

In the summer, the women of the family wrote and hosted plays. They immersed themselves in art, the top floor of the cottage being a sunny studio.  They also wore long dresses and fashionable hats. One of Natalie’s earliest plays was based on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. She recruited the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, who owned the summer house next door, to play the Queen.

Natalie was controversial not only for being a feminist, but also for being wild. Natalie’s mother, Alice Pike Barney, was a respected painter, and the family’s summer entertainments were reported on in newspapers – from local to international. In addition, Natalie made the gossip column of the Bar Harbor press because she quite scandalously didn’t ride sidesaddle, and she sped around town in her carriage as she pleased.

Also, in a time when it simply wasn’t discussed in society, Natalie was rather open about being a lesbian. She later said that she knew she was gay by the time she was 12. She said: “My queerness is not a vice, is not deliberate, and harms no one.” Her conventional father disagreed, but after he passed away in 1902, Natalie was free to do as she pleased, and did.

As girls, Natalie and her sister went to boarding school in Paris, and she fell in love with the city. She lived there most of her adult life. The boarding school they had attended was founded by a feminist, and girls were taught to think for themselves, at a time when women were expected to share the opinions of their father or husband

Not only was she gay, but throughout her lifetime, Natalie was non-monogamous. This is another of the connections to my own life – we call it polyamory, or loving more than one, these days. Natalie was a pioneer in terms of unconventional relationships, or at least of being open about them. She was with one woman for more than 50 years, but they seldom lived together.  Many of her former lovers became lifelong friends. She wrote passionate poems to her lovers, and was the first woman to write openly about her love of women since Sappho.

She was rather infamous as a seductress, and acquired the nickname “The Amazon.” Other literary women who fell in love with her, some of whom had been heterosexual, included Natalie in their novels or poetry. Natalie once said, “Most virtue is a demand for greater seduction.” 

Natalie was wildly creative, but she didn’t enjoy following a project to its conclusion. She preferred the initial rush of inspiration. Another quote: “At first, when an idea, a poem, or the desire to write takes hold of you, work is a pleasure, a delight, and your enthusiasm knows no bounds. But later on you work with difficulty, doggedly, desperately. For once you have committed yourself to a particular work, inspiration changes its form and becomes an obsession, like a love-affair… which haunts you night and day! Once at grips with a work, we must master it completely before we can recover our idleness.” Even so, she had more than 12 volumes published in her lifetime, most in French.

Natalie lived to be 95 years old. She died in 1972 and was buried in Paris. Her works were largely forgotten, until Judy Chicago honored her with a plate in The Dinner Party.

One last quote from the inimitable Natalie: “How many inner resources one needs to tolerate a life of leisure without fatigue.”

After researching Natalie, I thought about how amazing it would be to visit her former summer home in Bar Harbor. Unfortunately, the cottage, which the Barney family had sold in the 1930s, was destroyed in the Fire of ’47. I guess I’ll just have to go to Paris, instead…

Channeling Through Your Inner Source

Me with my dear friend Jenn, who helped teach me to channel

My experiences with channeling began with reading and studying channeled material. Then, in polarity therapy sessions, I watched channeling in action, receiving wisdom from my own non-physical guides through a talented practitioner. Now, I’ve opened up to becoming a channel myself, allowing wisdom to flow through my fingers as I type the words of the Goddess.

It might appear that becoming a channel for non-physical information is an exalted position. It may seem like it’s the rare person who can be open in this way.

I don’t think that’s true.

In our culture, we’ve pushed these types of experiences far to the fringes. Most people are very skeptical of those who claim to channel wisdom from another realm. Some of us go to the opposite extreme, putting those who channel on some kind of pedestal.

I believe that we all have the potential to channel. It only makes sense, if you consider that you are more than just your physical body. Part of you already resides in the non-physical world. Your soul is eternal, and is connected with your inner Source.

The part of you that remains conscious in the non-physical realm while you are embodied here on Earth has been called the oversoul, higher self, or Deep Self. You have access to that wise, eternal part of you. Most of us only access our higher self when we are asleep and dreaming.

That’s not the only way, however.

Channeling is simply setting aside the constant chatter of the ego, the waking mind, and allowing the higher self to speak.

Your higher self, in turn, is connected to other entities with whom you are intimately related. There are families of consciousness, who share your passions and missions. Your higher self is part of a gestalt of these entities. These groups of oversouls and guides are very interested in your experience here on planet Earth.

When my son was little, he knew about my interest in channeled material. He had his own theory about why these teachings weren’t more commonly known. One day he told me, “You do realize that Abraham and Seth and those guys are probably outlaws? The very fact that more of them haven’t come proves it. It’s probably like, ‘don’t mess with the Earth people, let them evolve by themselves!'”

While we laughed at his description, I acknowledge that there may be some truth in it.

Still, at this time of awakening, it seems that more of these rebellious guides are coming forth to help us navigate the changes. We’re also becoming more receptive to our inner guidance. For those of us who wish to live as conscious co-creators, it makes sense to allow our deepest wisdom to flow forth into our waking lives.

Channeling is a relatively simple way to access wisdom and guidance that will help you and your community.

Some people worry that allowing a non-physical entity into your energy system could be dangerous. I won’t deny that there are spirits and other non-physical thoughtforms which may not have your best interests in mind.

However, you’re not a helpless victim. There are simple actions you can take to make sure that you’re channeling a positive and well-intentioned guide.

First, use your awareness. Your intuition is your primary system for evaluating what’s going on. If something feels “off,” don’t do it.

Second, do your channeling in sacred space, whatever that means to you.

Third, set an intention for your channeling session. Dedicate your session to the highest good of all. Ask your guides or angels to protect you as you receive this deep wisdom. Just as there is no need to give your power away to another human, you need not give it away to a non-physical guide or being.

You are the one who is in charge of your experience.

It can also help to seek out the wisdom of someone who is experienced with channeling. Find a respected polarity therapist, psychic, or medium, and book a session with them. If you have a positive experience, chat with them afterwards and ask a few questions.

Ethical practitioners will be open to answering your questions and making suggestions. If what they say resonates with you, try out their techniques. Again, if the experience feels “off,” then it isn’t right for you.

Channeling need not be something to fear, or to see as a “high level” practice, beyond your ability.

Each of us has inner guides and higher selves who are there to help us. Learning to communicate effectively with them will enhance your life in many ways. Explore channeling in ways that feel safe and fun to you. Don’t take it too seriously.

The non-physical realms are steeped in love and joy. Find your connection to those vibrations, and you’ll access the wisdom that is part of your own soul.

(This post is an excerpt from my book The Heart of the Goddess: A Handbook for Living Soulfully).

Starcat’s Favorites: Staying Healthy

A lot of people I know have been down for the count this winter, with various viruses. We’ve had relatively mild weather here in Maine, yet there is a lot of sickness going around.

Personally, I’ve been blessed with good health this season.

What have I been doing to stay well? Wash my hands a lot, especially in public places. Eat healthy food. Get plenty of sleep. Minimize stress – actually, I’ve pretty much given it up at this point (meditation is key, for me). Do yoga regularly. Some years I take vitamins C and D, though I haven’t this winter. I also don’t have much occasion to hang out with little kids, so that might also help protect me from germs.

I’ve been vegetarian for more than 25 years at this point, and low dairy (though not completely vegan) more recently. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s right for my body. I try to be low sugar, too, though that’s harder. I’ve had a couple of medical tests over the past year, and have been told that both my arteries and digestive system are very healthy for my age.

I’m so thankful for my good health. Having people in my family who deal with chronic illness, and having had lots of viruses and sinus problems myself as a young person, I’m grateful that I’m hardly ever ill anymore. Even in the winter.

That said, you know I’m still counting the days until my beloved summertime…

Here are some links to keep us entertained and informed until the weather shifts.

Speaking of vegetarian yumminess, I’m loving this website called The Beet, which focuses on plant-based meals. Here’s a healthy dessert recipe from them that I really want to make. Also, here’s a great article on healthier eating that focuses more on common sense than on a particular diet.

On meeting the world with awe, like a young child: “she approaches the world with only one giant, indiscriminate expectation: delight me.” Beautiful.

Feeling worried about the state of the world? Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says we are made for these times.

A neuroscientist on the Law of Attraction – I love the intersection of science and magick. BlackLion and I already pre-ordered her book.

Talkin’ bout my generation…  The often-forgotten Gen X. Also, how women over 50 are rockin’ it! I’m in.

My Wild Women Full Moon circle has been focusing on magickal crafts this winter. We recently made some “evil eye” protection art – here’s an article on the meanings of these charms.

Being present is more important than trying for perfection.

Enjoy, and stay healthy!

Doorways to the House of Wholeness

When I was a young child, I was wildly creative. I was also sensitive, smart, and a people-pleaser, which led me in the direction of academic achievement. Striving for straight As in school became a way of seeking approval.

Over the course of my school career, my creativity became secondary, and even atrophied. It’s hard to think for yourself when you’re trying to get all the “right” answers.

In college, I discovered spirituality, and an Earth-based path that appealed to me. Not having been raised in a religion, I had never seen the value of one. But in discovering magick, the world seemed to open up again. I dove into my studies – entirely for my own benefit, this time – with enthusiasm.

This new path led directly back to my creativity. I’d felt blocked in my writing, but I started contributing to a local Pagan newsletter, and sharing my spiritual experiences. I continued writing for them for more than a decade. I also started blogging. This eventually brought me to the publication of my first book, a collection of those essays, in my early 40s. After that, the floodgates opened up. My powers of the imagination were back, in full force.

I had discovered that creativity and spirituality are deeply entwined.

As I sat down to write this post, the image of a doorway came to me. But I couldn’t figure out whether creativity was a portal to greater spiritual connection, or if spirituality was a doorway to one’s creativity.

For me, both are true.

We are innately creative beings, like the Universe from which we emerge. Spirituality, or the acknowledgment of a power beyond your ken, and creativity, the ability to weave elements of your experience into something new, are both essential parts of being whole.

As human beings, we are drawn to this place of wholeness.

“Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” – Rumi

Your spirituality might manifest as a reverence for the cosmos and the discoveries of science, or maybe you walk a more traditional religious path. Perhaps, like me, it’s something in between, unique to you.

Your creativity may come in the form of practices that are considered artistic, or your life itself could be your art. Maybe you’re still figuring it out.

No matter your personal flavors of choice, think about how these two aspects of your life are woven together. What creations are you bringing to life? How do you honor the amazing blessings of this mysterious world you inhabit?

Trying to live without either creativity or spirituality squeezes life into a box, and all looks flat and grey. There’s no use pretending that life has no mysteries. There’s no joy there.

Wouldn’t you rather be free to walk the spacious halls of your own inner house of wholeness?

Pick a door, and enter your sanctuary, with reverence and the awe of a child.

Step Back and See the Big Picture

I was having a conversation with a friend who was expressing concern about some of the things he’d done, earlier in life. Things he regretted deeply. These actions were causing him to suffer, mentally and emotionally – in the present moment, many years later.

Another friend expressed her intense rage and sorrow about the state of our planet. While it’s not something she can control, she wonders how she can pursue her personal happiness when so many beings are starving, dying, and even burning.

This got me thinking about the journey I’ve been on, one of cultivating happiness and following my bliss. As a lifelong empath, I’m certainly aware of the suffering in the world.  How am I able to nurture my joy when others are in pain?

My faith has been a big factor in this. I would describe myself as a practical mystic. When I talk about faith, it’s not some abstract, outdated concept from an ancient book (as much as I adore books).

In order to be useful, faith has to involve practice and be woven into the fabric of daily life. 

One of the things that helps me when I lose hope is stepping back and seeing the big picture.

Not a planet-wide view, although that can be beautiful. I’m talking about a soul-level, cosmic big picture.

In the vast scheme of things, where everything exists as energy and is part of the greater whole, we are okay. Everything, and everyone, is okay. Better than okay, actually.

Death is not a final ending, but a transformation. Science and spirituality both tell us this, although science has yet to catch up with some of the truths of the Universe.

On the biggest-picture level, we live in a safe Universe. This bird’s eye view can help to anchor us when personal or global suffering (or anything in between) runs rampant.

Try it. When the pain gets to be too much for you – whether it’s physical or emotional pain – take a look around. Resolve to see the blessings that are abundant in your life.

Listen inward, to the voice of wisdom in your heart. Ask your questions. Get quiet and hear the answers.

Go outside on a clear night and look up at the stars.

Think about the tiny piece of the divine that is you – not in a negative, woe-is-me-because-I’m-so-insignificant way. Rather, experience the freedom that your part in the greater whole can bring. Know that no matter what happens, to you or another, we are all part of the Divine, of All That Is.

We are each loved and cherished as an essential part of that whole. Soak it in. In the big picture, all is well. 

This doesn’t mean that you won’t help others, work for change, or stand up for what you believe in. On the contrary, this practical mysticism will give you the energy to keep moving forward, and to find your bliss as you participate fully in the world you’re blessed to stand on, here and now. May it be so.

Starcat’s Favorites: Focusing on the Good Stuff

Winter is hard. Am I right? It’s cold and dark and not all that inspiring. But I find that focusing on the good stuff in life makes it much more fun.

Here’s a recent list: Celebrating my daughter’s 21st birthday with her in Santa Fe, New Mexico – we went to MeowWolf, which I highly recommend.

Savoring the new season of Grace & Frankie.

So many good books to read! I’m currently loving Lev Grossman’s Magicians series.

My cozy warm home. Loving family and friends. Cat snuggles.

Dappled sunshine on the snow, reflecting through the fir trees in the backyard.

Helping book clients channel their inspiration onto the page.

Soup and biscuits. Tea dates with inspiring women friends. And much more! Life is good.

Speaking of focusing on the good stuff, here’s an awesome illustrated list of good news from 2019. Go, sea turtles!

A good friend introduced me to ThriftBooks on my birthday this past fall. I love it! They have a best books of 2019 post, as well as a best sci-fi and fantasy list for the past decade. More good books to devour!

Do you remember Bunnicula, the story of a vampire bunny? It’s apparently an enduring classic now…

I’ve decided that less is more for 2020, particularly in terms of my career. I’m taking inspired action, rather than trying to do All The Things. This also involves embracing imperfection and allowing the mess. Creativity isn’t linear! (As I’m reminding myself regularly).

One of my best friends shared this lovely article about one of my favorite goddesses, Yemaya.

Here’s a post by Pema Chodron about the Buddhist practice of tonglen.

Enjoy your favorite winter activities!