Oh yes, still PLENTY of Summer left! ***Mid-Year Check In***

I remember as a kid feeling like Summer was this magickal time where everything was available to me in those short months. As an adult I remind myself to remain in that place of wonder. So much so that this year I decided to live a bit more seasonally and less annually. What do I mean by that? Each year I focus on what my year will look like, based on themes and intentions, and then along the way I am either a little off-track, somewhat behind, or jumping on a new train entirely. All of these are fine to a degree, though this year I wanted to focus season by season, much like how our Ancestors lived. This meant acknowledging what are my best/favorite seasons where I feel creatively alive and shiny sticker stars are being handed out left and right (I do, actually, have these stickers!)… and it meant being transparent about my slower months, less desire to emerge out of my introverted cave, needing to focus inward rather than expansively outward…

Midyear check-ins are important, I think, to see where you’ve been, how you feel about what has transpired thus far, and to authentically ask yourself if you are still in alignment with your intention. If so, do you wish to continue your trajectory for the remaining year, or is there something different you’d like to do instead? Likewise, if you’re not in alignment with your intention, what can you do to get back on track, if you desire to continue with your initial desire?

Sometimes I think we feel that intentions are set in stone, that there is no wiggle room for shifting, which sounds silly to me, because we’re ever-growing and ever-changing, and sometimes we come to our own personal crossroads of deciding whether we plow forward, regain our strength, and keep going, or decide to take that strength and apply it elsewhere. Change is good. It’s helpful. And it can be scary and uncomfortable at the same time. It’s not an either/or situation. It is Choice.

What does my Midyear Check-In look like?

  • First, I evaluate my Word of the Year (WOTY) and ask myself if I’m still in harmony with its medicine, or do I have some re-aligning to do? My WOTY for 2018 is: BECOMING. My intention was to focused on stepping into my own Becoming, and ask myself (over and over) questions like what am I Becoming, who am I becoming, what is my Becoming, etc.
  • I pull some cards (oracle/tarot) to get a sense of where I am at. I sometimes use layouts that I’ve used in the past or ones that I come across, but honestly sometimes I’m just throwing down cards in whatever way feels correct. The whole concept is to continuously learn to trust our intuition and let go of any ‘rules’. Your cards are begging to be played with! Go have fun!
  • Journaling. When in doubt, journal it out. I’ve said this for years. There’s literally not a day that goes by when I’m not journaling. However, for this Midyear Check-In I start with a reflection. I don’t even like to look through old entries of the beginning half of the year to be honest. I don’t want to judge myself or stay stuck in a story that I might be working my way out of, or get lost in sentiment. I want to focus on the recollection of how I am feeling in that present moment.I don’t want to spend a long time doing this. It’s easy to get lost in an emerging of thought and memory when reflecting on the previous six months. I’ll reflect briefly on each month, a quick few sentences and feelings without being in the feeling (this is important because in this process of reflection we don’t want to get lost in any feeling, be it beneficial or not, because it takes us out of the present moment and puts us in a temporary dream state which pulls us from our intention check in…).
  • After all this reflection — and done from a place of loving compassion to self, because blame doesn’t propel us anywhere, it simply keeps us stuck in old conditioning that we can’t, or we won’t, and that type of conditioned language is what we must consistently work on to shift — I look at what I want for the remaining year. Then I ‘popcorn’ style some Word Medicine. This is a fancy way of saying that take another page in my journal and write out one word intentions that support my main intention and WOTY.If you’ve been to any of my classes or have had any sessions with me, you know I love One Word Medicine. Love. LOVE. So much can be held in one word. There’s no pressure to come up with a giant statement. It’s clear, concise, to the point, and from there we can break it down even further within the medicinal scope by creating acronyms. Word Medicine and Journaling? *foams at mouth* This is my jam!
  • Then I finalize this with another reading. This one is quicker than the previous, because I really only want to focus on one, or no more than three, cards to guide me into awareness for the remaining year.

Check-ins in general are healthy. I do mini check-ins each month, generally around the Dark Moon time as I prepare my next Moonwheel. I like to observe the Moonwheel I’ve just completed, check for any repeating themes that showed up for me as I take that as a point of awareness to work on — whether it’s healing or amplifying those themes — and sit in the endarkenment for a time.

Whether it’s regularly or now and again, see where you’re at. What’s going on for you? There’s still plenty of Summer left… what will come to Harvest in this season for you? Tend to the sacred relationship of Self. Check in. A great question posed by one of my favorite poets:

things. that should be asked
often. in every type. of
relationship :
how is your heart.
is your breath happy. here.
do you feel free.

-nayyirah waheed

New Year, Now What?

The New Year is upon us, and for many it feels like a sigh of relief. We have survived many challenges, take with us the celebrations of joy, victory, and connection… and after the ball drops at midnight, after the first full night’s sleep of the new calendar year, somewhere there lingers the question of now what?

Learning lessons year after year, we start off January filled with a sense of hope, renewal, excitement to create something N-E-W. Resolutions are made either made or not, or if the word “resolution” doesn’t sit well, we build intentions. Whichever you choose to call it, there is opportunity, and with opportunity one of the things we’ve come to learn is not to waste it. Seize it! Become the skillful Magician in the tarot, having all of your tools available and crafting not only your needs, but desires as well.

Still, sometimes we can put a lot of pressure upon ourselves to have the perfect new year. I held a Shamanic Journey Circle on New Year’s Day and shared how we can be so hard on ourselves and hold January 1st as a hostage to be everything. If it’s not everything we expect or hope it to be, somehow it means the remaining 364 days don’t count. We can’t begin again. This was our only shot.

And you know what? It’s okay to feel that way. Really. It’s a process of uncovering where expectation sits within the psyche, guiding us to exactly where we need to create healing and reprogram these discordant thoughts.

What did my new year, set intentions of January 1st look like?

  • Feeling low energy because the cold I had couldn’t decide if it was staying or going (as of this blog post it has decided to take up residency and may have brought a guest or two… *grumble*).
  • Pre-teen daughter nitpicking all of the things! (Like, all of the things!)
  • Having a lovely time at the Shamanic Journey Circle with meeting new people and getting to reconnect with an dear old friend I hadn’t seen in over a decade!
  • After Circle dinner made available to me courtesy of one of my students where we could eat, chat, and ground.
  • Generosity of a lovely and thoughtful gift for Yuletide season.
  • Getting into the car and seeing the dashboard read -8… however, my new vehicle has seat warmers and the amount of gratitude I had for toasty buns was in high gear!
  • Arriving home and nearly pulling an all-nighter because sleep was out partying for New Year’s I think…

It wasn’t the perfect New Year’s Day, start of the beginning, leaping into my intentions… and yet, it was. It showed me what life is always teaching and showing me: that it’s not about what we can control, it’s about how we lean in, surrender, rise up, transform, and learn to truly honor ourselves, in all of our parts.

And, oddly enough and divinely adorable, a year ago today I wrote a post about the New Year and different ways to create your intentions. It’s a great reminder on helping to kick start a new year, whether it begins on January 1st or another date, it doesn’t matter. We begin when we say we begin. Feel free to peruse this old goody and gain tips for crafting your year. I’m amazed by how much I worked with certain aspects and not so much for others. I’m nearly done with crafting my intentions for the year.

Meanwhile, January also starts my creative sabbatical, and I’m happy to say that despite my cold and feeling like my fetch self must cozy into the cave and sleep f-o-r-e-v-e-r, my creativity feels like it is flowing. I’m approaching it with much curiosity instead of expectation. I am making sure that any time I feel like I am clinging to what must happen that I take a breath and approach it like a curious child, in wonderment of what could be, not what has to be.

Whatever your new year’s theme will be, may it hold excitement and curiosity for you, meeting you in a place of beauty and ease, guiding you to all potentiality. Blessed New Year!

Creative Sabbatical

It may have a ‘new age’ sort of tone to it, but there is necessity in taking rest after adding so much to a plate that you forget the balance of math is to subtract as much (if not more!) than add. 2017 was about a lot of adding and a lot of reflecting, but what I noticed was some of my passionate things were put to the side until a “better” time.

better time.

Don’t we all have that feeling now and again? Like there will be some mystical change that allows for one to dive into something they so deeply love without having to give up anything?

Surrender is important. It’s healthy. Letting go is just as powerful as manifesting. I know this to be true as I have created much of my work around teaching others how to make room for what they desire by surrendering and letting go to what no longer serves, or what has grown stagnant in your life.

I’m also a big proponent of knowing thyself, where we witness and notice our own personal patterns and rhythms, and with the noticing we are able to identify key blockages or stagnant periods that hold us back. It requires radical honesty with oneself, free of judgment, shame, blame, or guilt.

I noticed in my pattern that I put other things that were necessary in front of things that were personally important to me. My scales tipped, and what I wanted to do was put further and further behind, lingering on a thread of “someday” and “when things lighten up” or “when I have more time”, etc.

In particular I was witnessing when my personal creative time was, and how for years I was sort of “forcing” it to be at my beck and call during a time where I didn’t feel as creative, in particular the Summer months, when really, I am most creative now. Fall into Winter I am brewing deep in my centered cauldron. From this I decided I needed to plan a creative break to tend to my desires.

Plan?! Oh yes… P-L-A-N.

While I wanted to jump right on in, I knew things would have to be arranged for this time, such as:

  • Letting my family know of my plans to take time ‘off’.
  • Determining what “time off’ meant; how much; to what end?
  • Decide on the time frame to start where it wasn’t too far away to push off, but far enough away to make arrangements.
  • Decide what I could put on hold and what I couldn’t (due to established commitments).
  • Let friends know that my creative sabbatical would (likely) mean I would be unavailable for socialization during that time.
  • How would social media fit, or not fit, into this time off?

These were a lot of questions I had for someone who just wanted some creative time off! The questioning was helpful. I was able to narrow down these fundamentals into something that made sense for me. It’s not completely set in stone, there is some wiggle room as I need and desire, but the core message is clear: take a creative break. Emphasis on the word creative.

This doesn’t mean I am taking a break from creativity. No no! Far from it! I am taking a break from things which I feel have taken up time and space from my creativity, so when I emerge from my break I can be more skillful in balancing needs, desires, commitments, and responsibilities. I honestly don’t know how it will look, and I am open to being in the process of uncovering.

But what about social media?

I am removing the FB app from my phone and only tending to it when necessary for groups that I am in as teacher and/or student; quick “hey this event is coming up” reminder that serves to bring me to present moment awareness and to bring it into other’s radar; no Twitter during this time (I use it less as a professional tool and more of unleashing my sarcasm and utter silliness); however I do plan to leave Instagram available. Why? It is the one social media tool that I find nourishing. I follow what I want, there is always beauty in what I see, and it’s visually stimulating, which also can turn into creative prompts.

What is my plan during my creative sabbatical? In no particular order:

  1. Redevelop my daily practice. I was just gifted some gorgeous deity statues and malas from my brother who travels the world and will bring me wonderful gifts for my spiritual practice. These particular gifts were unplanned (as in I didn’t specifically say “Hey could you pick up such and such while you’re there?) and they are all rather aligned in a unique way that feels rather significant.
  2. Write. I have some writing projects that hit a plateau in the middle of this year because I pushed it back to tend to other things. This time I put the other things on hold to tend to the writing. There are two projects I am working on, and I’m honestly not sure (at the time of this writing) which is going to grab my attention more, or if I am meant to work with both.
  3. Read a book. I haven’t done as much reading this year as I normally do. Reading feeds me and it inspires me. I have a book in particular that I purchased over a year ago and haven’t touched it. Not even to smell it! *gasp* I believe this will take priority over any other book on my shelf.
  4. Don’t be a slave to my phone. Notifications go off and while I never run to my phone, I do find that nagging feeling of “it might be important” lingering in my mind until I eventually check it. I plan to have plenty of moments with it on silent and away from me.
  5. Paint. I also need my home to reflect these creative shifts for inspiration and energetic momentum. This means I get out the canvas, pull out some paints, and allow the paintbrush and myself to become one. I have a personal goal of completing three paintings during my creative sabbatical.

All manageable tasks. As I tell my students when stepping into a shift:

Set yourself up for success.