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?

Starcat’s Favorites: Summer Sunshine

At last, it’s here! Glorious summer!

I know, I know, it’s not everyone’s favorite time of year. So many people can’t tolerate the heat. But me? I love it! So, I’m celebrating.

Last weekend I attended my best friend’s daughter’s graduation party, at the beach. It was such fun! It’s so fun to be able to gather together in person once again. I made a silly appetizer (see the photo) – thank you, Pinterest, for the idea. Heh heh.

We also had a fun family cookout for Father’s Day. Last night, I went to a lovely Summer Solstice ritual with my women’s group. Again, so amazing to see everyone in person!

This weekend, there’s a rare occurrence: Quester and BlackLion are both away, so I have a bunch of extra “me time.” While I love their company, I’m excited to do what I want for the whole weekend. I wonder what kind of mischief my mermaid friends and I will get up to…

Here are some fun reads to accompany you on vacation or as you lounge by the water or in a hammock:

Check out my guest post about the arrival of the Summer Solstice, and not missing any of the outdoor fun.

These outlaw nuns are my role models! Busting the patriarchy from the inside out.

Writing collaborations are so inspiring. Check out this interview for more great role models!

I have a ring I’m wearing that I blessed in a talisman workshop, so I was fascinated by this article on wearing rings to boost your manifesting game.

I’m so drawn to pretty things! This woman’s art lights me up (and I’ve met her, too; she’s very cool). She also posted this myth about the Sun Goddess that is super interesting.

I’m laughing out loud at this story. Pick your battles, indeed.

How do you tell why you’re procrastinating? Is it resistance or intuition? My beloved biz coach shares her wisdom.

BlackLion and I have been enjoying doing yoga with Adriene Mishler via YouTube, and honestly, part of the attraction is her dog Benji, who is now a celebrity in his own right.

Never mind the guilt. Life CAN be good.

Wishing you lots of goodness this weekend and beyond!

I Don’t Mind

 

There’s a quote that’s been rolling around in my head for a few months. In his later years, the Indian sage and spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti gave a talk in which he offered to share his secret to living a joyful and fulfilled life.  “This is my secret,” he told a rapt audience. “I don’t mind what happens.”

I’ve been embracing this non-attached approach to experiencing life, and it really does make more space for joy, and for equanimity.

As I release my own little petty attachments, I’ve noticed how silly some of them were. I observe people in my life getting upset about little things: the coffee is burnt, the milk was spilled, the car broke down. To me, these are nothing. They’re just the happenings of life.

It’s even true – or perhaps especially true – in the realm of games. I’ve never really cared if I win a board or card game or not. It’s not really the point, to me – I’m playing in order to spend time with people I like, and to share laughs together. When someone gets upset about not winning, it kind of sours the energy that could still be flowing freely.

I’ve seen an acknowledgement of the “I don’t mind what happens” philosophy in the realm of radical unschooling. Unschooling parents don’t tend to impose lots of arbitrary rules on their kids. You know, like bedtimes, grounding, allowances tied to chores, that sort of thing.

The reasoning behind this is that life already holds plenty of natural consequences to learn from. There’s no need to impose random ones on your kids, in order to “teach them a lesson.” Life will do that. I’m an advocate of letting kids learn by doing, with the exception, of course, of things that threaten their safety, like playing in a busy street.

I fully realize that this approach of not minding what happens can be much harder with the big things in life. When someone you love dies, or you lose your job unexpectedly, or there’s some other kind of crisis, it’s more challenging to “not mind.”

Even in those situations, though, there is usually a lesson or meaning behind what seems to be a random event. You may not discover it until much later. In these situations, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself the space and time to grieve.

If you can cultivate that sense of loving non-attachment as you move through life, even when it feels hard, you’ll be crafting a much more fulfilling life. Start with the small things. You spilled the oat milk? So what? Clean it up and drink something else, or give thanks that there’s more in the fridge.

Little by little, release your tight grip of control and allow life to unfold as it will. It’s going to anyway – and when you go with the flow, you’ll have a whole lot more fun. The sage was right.

Starcat’s Favorites: Retreats!

I absolutely LOVE retreats. I love leading them. I love attending them.

This week I attended my biz coach’s spring retreat. It was virtual and ran for three days. The picture is my space as I got ready for the first day. Yes, we use Tarot cards and candles at our biz retreat. You know I wouldn’t go for one that’s not witchy in some way!

Retreats are a perfect way to zoom out and get a big-picture view of a subject, whether it’s your business, your writing project, or just life in general.

If you get a chance to attend a retreat, whether virtual or in-person, go for it! We can all use a little break from the day-to-day to gain a new perspective and some inspiration.

Speaking of inspiration, here are some links for you to enjoy.

Is there such a thing as TOO much self-help? If it distances you from your own inspiration, then yes. Here’s what to do about it.

What is the meaning of life? You’ve always wanted to know this….

Have you heard of the “creative cliff illusion?” I hadn’t either, but this article is quite interesting.

A friend shared this song from a musical, which deals with how we can fall away from pursuing our dreams, but then return once again to our original inspiration.

This is a longer-form video offering (30 minutes or so) on the principles of success. I haven’t watched all of it yet, but I’ve found it thought-provoking so far and decided to share it here.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Sovereignty & Synchronicity: Some Thoughts

My Word of the Year for 2020 was SOVEREIGN. I know we’re in a whole new year (my Word for 2021 is MAGICK!), but I’ve still been experimenting with the concept and practice of sovereignty.

To me, being sovereign is about being centered in your own experience, and leading from a place of grace and equanimity. I know that historical sovereigns, both kings and queens, have done awful things to their “subjects.” That’s not what I’m going for with my exploration.

A true queen is a servant of her people. As I step into bigger leadership, particularly as the head of a collective, I want to keep the positive aspects of sovereignty at the forefront.

I’ve found a lot of synchronicity and magick surrounding my exploration and practice of sovereignty. An example: after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, I was telling Quester one day, as we walked in the woods behind our home, that I wanted to learn Sanskrit. Part of the reason I cited was that I want to study the philosophies of yoga via the Hindu sacred texts directly, without the layers of sexism and patriarchal language that make it less palatable.

Quester remarked that I probably didn’t have to learn Sanskrit to do that. “Surely there’s a feminist scholar who’s already written what you’re seeking?”

One of my clients, who has also become a friend, knows that I’ve been working with the concept of sovereignty – though we hadn’t talked about my interest in Hindu texts. The very next day after Quester said this on our walk, she posted a book that she thought I might be interested in: Sovereign Self by Acharya Shunya, a female teacher in a long lineage of gurus! Thanks, Universe…

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far from practicing personal sovereignty has to do with boundaries. As I wrote to a friend recently, referring to some angst on the part of mutual community members:

An earlier version of me would have been running around trying to fix everyone and everything. I don’t do that anymore unless asked for specific help. It’s not my Work unless I’m told by the Goddess that it is. I do send prayers and good vibes and tend assiduously to my own energy field. I know that I’m joyful now because I do that inner work on the regular.”

I’ve heard that whole “put on your own oxygen mask first” metaphor many times, and I understand that it’s the only way you’re able to truly help anyone else. But now I’m also learning that even when you have plenty of oxygen and someone else is choking from the lack of it, you can only help them if they want you to. You can’t live someone’s life for them, nor should you.

That’s a metaphor – I understand there are times when we help those in physical danger even if they’re unable to consent to it (yet). In terms of less obvious crises, though, the only thing we can do is offer. Sometimes it’s better to wait and be asked for help.

I feel like being a role model for managing my own energy and emotions is often the best way to be useful.

Sure, there’s a bit of guilt involved sometimes, especially when I’m feeling joyful while others suffer. But how would my suffering help them?

I’m still in the process of working with the energies of sovereignty. I’m sure there will be further lessons to share!

Do As You Like

Have you ever considered only doing what you like?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starcat’s Favorites: Dreaming Big

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a lovely weekend, my friends!