Thursday, December 8, 2016

How to stay sane during the holidays: A survival Guide

December, and the holidays therein, has always been the worst for me when it comes to my anxiety issues. (This includes a week long panic attack a couple of years ago.) I know the underlying causes of this for me personally, but it does not make the anxiety less, or help mitigate the issue. I am realizing, though, that many others also suffer from holiday anxiety. So I am going to share how I am making the holidays work for me this year. It may not work for everyone, but this is my approach, and at least it may help you come up with your own holiday survival plan.

1) Reward Board! - The lovely JoAnna Devoe of The Kickass Witch introduced me to the concept of the Reward Board, and I love it. The idea is that you set yourself daily goals for the month, and then set yourself a Reward if you are able to meet these goals. For me, as you can see below, I wanted to have a creative month. In that spirit I made goals to blog, make art, craft, write poetry, and to dance. Also I set a daily goal of taking at least one photo, and making a list of 10 things that I am tahnkful for. My thought was to keep myself from getting too far into my head by keeping myself in a creative spirit. It is working so far.

2) Enjoy the moment! - Yeah, that sounds corny as hell, but if you are like me you are up to your neck in Holiday parties, dinners, sales, etc. including some that you are holding yourself. It can become incredibly overwhelming very quickly. Which has led me to make a couple of decisions this year. 
  1. I am allowed to politely decline any invitation I choose. 
  2. Perfection does not equal fun, or holiday cheer. If you don't get all the holiday decorations up, or whatever, no one will notice but you. At some point you have to say Fuck It and just enjoy people's company. 
  3. Be there, be engaged, be joyful. 
  4. If you get overwhelmed you are allowed to leave, or for that matter to ask people to leave. 
3) You are the maker of your own holiday cheer. - Laugh. Sing carols at the top of your lungs. Dance around your house. Kiss someone. Give long full hugs to everyone you can. Drink hot chocolate. Take a walk to look at holiday lights. Make a 2016 Dumpster Fire Ornament (here). Do whatever makes you happy, because that is the point. Be happy. 

Things don't make a good holiday. Perfection doesn't make a good holiday. Amazing moments, happiness, friends, family, love...does. 

Stay sane my friends. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Magical Mondays -

Magical Monday

3 Card Spread -  Head, Heart, Spirit 

Head: Queen of Arrows - Swan: A state  of separation may exist, bringing with it sorrow privation and misfortune. You may need to break old bonds and find new rivers in which to swim if you are to move beyond this place of darkness and loss.

Heart: 8 The Stag: On a personal level, some kind of adjustment or interaction has taken place. The keyword here is 'responsibility'. We must, as individuals, constantly observe the rules and regulations of society, and these can fluctuate as the views and knowledge of civilization change. Whether on a political or moral level, we subconsciously know when a realignment of our perceptions is due. This is a time to welcome the justice that has stirred with the coming of spring and the fire of creation. Face the coming season with honesty and integrity and trust to right and appropriate actions. 

Spirit: Two of Bows - Decision: The bow represents not just potential energy latent within any situation, but the need to direct and manage that energy to achieve your goals. This can mean the first movement toward reinvigorating and reforming the relationship with life. It requires the decisive will to step across the threshold and take control in a positive and proactive manner. Sometimes this may require a reclaiming and remaking of the mental and emotional tools and energies that are required to move on in life. By preparing to step up and through the gateway and make a choice to allow forward momentum to flow naturally, the fashioning of a new mental discipline or processes, or the reawakening of a previously effective by abandoned one, may be required. By summoning and directing the powerful healing energies available to you, the rough-hewn bow stave can be grasped and the process of shaping and crafting your destiny can begin. You stand at a crucial crossroads from which you can now move forward with confidence. Once the decision to take control of these elements and harness and direct your power is made, a new paradigm of possibilities is released. These energies will need skillful harnessing and responsible management to reach their full and effective potential. 

 Totem for the Week:
from Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson 
Illustrated by Angela C. Werneke

32 Ant: If Ant meandered into your spread today, it is time to show a little trust and patience in some life situation. You may have forgotten that you will always receive that which you need, at the time you need it most. If it is not on the horizon or just around the next anthill, you may need to use some strategy. How can you put to use your power of creation until "it' arrives - whatever "it" means to you at this time. 
Ant is working for the good of the whole. Are you? If you are, be assured that the whole wants the same goodness for you and that it will be provided. 

Sharing Shadows: 
The Faeries Oracle by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth

64 - Gawtcha: Gawtcha in a reading speaks to us of sudden, often violent, breakdowns of existing structures, habits, patterns, and/or attitudes. When we become too tightly confined by our own self-imposed limitations (including the desire for comfort and security), Gawtcha kindly breaks the structure restraining us - whether we think we want him to or not. On a soul level, we know this to be necessary, but in our everyday thoughts we usually get pretty upset about it. However, breakdown can lead to break-through. This is liberation - and we often haven't a clue what to do with it. This is usually the beginning of a period of confusion, even disorientation, while we search for a way forward - although we may think that we are simply searching for a way back to what we had before. 
Recommendation: Do not try to pick up the pieces and put them back like they were. Consider, instead, what you would like to build in that part of your life - and this time remember to leave room for growth. 

Thoughts: This is a fun, busy week for me. It is Naughty Bingo week, a local shop is having a sale on Friday and I plan to go so I can get my picture taken with the Christmas Ape. Saturday my sister is attending a military ball with her boyfriend, so I am going down with them to help her get ready. Then on Sunday my nieces are part of a Christmas program, so we are going to watch and support. 
I am also working on my goals. I set up only fun things, as the holidays can be very anxiety filled for me. I have myself writing poems, dancing, blogging and making things. This should be fun. 


Friday, December 2, 2016

Foto Friday - The Thanksgiving Aftermath

Friday, November 25 - Drag Queens and Weiners @ Dirty Franks Hot Dog Palace West

Saturday, November 26 - Windows along High Street in the Short North

Sunday, November 27 - Home Day! Got my sword back with Scabbard and Frog made by Brown Cow 

Monday, November 28 - Magical Monday. My Zoe. 

Tuesday, November 29 - Got caught in the rain and bought Kermit Holiday Socks and a light up jingle bell bracelet. 

Thursday, December 1 - Goals and reward board for the month of December! 

More to come! I am spending the weekend with Seth's Grandma and a baby shower for a friend. Have a great weekend. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Poetry, Safety Pins, Fear and Hope

The weeks since the election have been hard for me. I have been alternating between sorrow, anger, shock and incredulity. And also hope, love, support and beauty from the amazingly beautiful people that I call my friends. I have watched both division and coming together. This is not an easy time for anyone.
I cannot help but be scared for my friends who are of color, non-Christian, LGBTQIA, women, and the many who are all of these things. I am aware that as a middle class white woman, that I am not at a huge risk, and actually stand on a lot of privilege. But I fear for my own reproductive rights, as a woman who is childfree by choice, and for my freedom of religion, as a woman who identifies as an eclectic cottage witch.
I am standing tall, though, to be an ally to all those who may be a victim of the hate that seems to be so prevalent at this time. I want to help ensure that your voices are heard, and not to speak for you. I want to be a support system, but not impede your progress. I will gladly stand up and fight for you, hold your hand, and ensure that you are safe.
When I got wind of the Safety Pin project which began in England after Brexit, I immediately put on a safety pin. I know that it has been getting a lot of flack in the press as being a cop out form of activism, and having to be sure that you would be willing to step in to a situation if you are wearing the pin. Well I am, and I do. I am a place of safety if you need it.
I keep thinking of a poem that we read in high school called The Hangman by Maurice Ogden. I read it aloud to my husband last night, and it was just as powerful as the first time I read it. The poem was written about World War 2 Germany, but it seems frighteningly applicable while we are discussing the "alt-right" (white supremacists). Listen to it at the link above, or you can find it online to read, but really read it. And take it to heart. It is our job to stand up for our fellow humans, and to fight for them while we have the chance.
So...volunteer, smile at a stranger, donate money to worthy causes, be a good ally, stand up against discrimination, educate yourself about other religions, countries, ways of life, find a reputable news source, and stay strong in the face of overwhelming adversity.
For now I love you, I am glad you are part of my life, and I am here.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Magical Monday - Almost December

Magical Monday

3 Card Spread -  Mind, Body, Spirit 

Mind: 5 The Ancestor: You have made the leap and started a new cycle. Your instinctive spirit has felt it necessary to lead you to the gateway and a new path. You may have been reluctant or concerned at first, but whether you realize it or not a shift has occurred. You may feel wary of unknown denizens that await you in the forest, but the ancient Ancestor within you will guide and reassure you as you relearn and greet new experiences on the path. Trust your inner voice. Listen to your own instinctive and inquisitive nature. Your own inner Ancestor is strong, patient and wise. Let them lead you into the forest with new eyes and a joyful heart.

Body : Queen of Arrows - Swan: A state  of separation may exist, bringing with it sorrow privation and misfortune. You may need to break old bonds and find new rivers in which to swim if you are to move beyond this place of darkness and loss. 

Spirit: Four of Vessels - Boredom: The universe responds favourably to a decisive, forward momentum, while boredom leaves a person in a state of inaction. There are many reasons for feeling disenchanted or trapped in life. The causes of malaise and the feeling of being weathered by routine or beaten down by conflict are common, but in the end it is frozen or disconnected people become 'black holes' of despair, into which all light and positive energy fall, and fail to return. However, the keys required to allow energy to flow and enlighten the individual again are almost  always present, the universe will answer. It has no choice. Nature abhors a vacuum and it will throw so many opportunities into your path that your head will spin. All you have to do is recognize and acknowledge the proffered doorways, and step through them. Challenge should not be feared; opportunity should be grasped and utilized to its natural limit. 

 Totem for the Week:
from Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson 
Illustrated by Angela C. Werneke

33 Weasel: Look to Weasel to tell you the "hidden reasons" behind anything. Some people are put off by Weasel medicine, talent and abilities, but there are no bad medicines. We all have power, or we would not be here to heal mother earth. Perhaps if you have Weasel power you could use your secret gifts for the good of all. Observe who or what needs attention, or a solution, and offer your assistance in your own quiet or discreet way. 

Sharing Shadows: 
The Faeries Oracle by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth

48 - A Collective of Pixies: What is needed here is not only an awareness of duty but a merry approach to it. The job has to be done, so one might as well do it willingly. Progress through this dance maze step-by-step - lithely and lightly. Take joy and pride in achievement. Approach work with zeal, zest and zing - and perhaps even a little zaniness as well. Otherwise, you might as well not bother - well almost. There is something about this lighthearted approach to your duty that is important at this time in order to achieve the results you want. 

Going into December I have set myself some daily goals for the month, just to keep myself in line. I am going to be working through the Winter Solstice module of the psycho spiritual wheel of the year, and we are having an ornament decorating party on the 17 at my house. :) 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving is here, now it is Christmas time!

For me, Christmas always begins the moment that Santa hits Herald Square in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was in the middle of a walk when it happened, but I know that Santa hit about Noon today, so it is officially Christmas/ Yuletide Time. I have been buying some pre-holiday time holiday buys. I bought two DVD's: Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas and the original Miracle on 34th Street. I bought some holiday face art at 5below, as well as some holiday suspenders. And then at Target I got the cutest ugly sweater skirt.

We are now on the lookout for a new tree for our house. Our old tree was, well, old. So we took it out to the curb after last year, rather than taking it back to the basement. And we forgot about that until this week when thinking about decorating. Well, shit. We need a new tree. I know exactly what I would like to get; a 9 foot skinny tree, preferably un-lit, but lit white is fine. Hopefully we can find one in the next couple days for not too much.

My older sister, Krystie, is in town for a couple of days, so I assume there will be a lot of shenanigans. I will record it all and report back. As I said before we had a walk today, The Chase Columbus Turkey Trot. It is a 5 mile walk that benefits EasterSeals. It was fun, but damn are my legs sore now. Youch.
Turkey Trot

Suspenders and a peek at the skirt


Monday, November 21, 2016

Magical Monday

Magical Monday

3 Card Spread -  Mind, Body, Spirit 

Mind: 2 The Seer: The time has come to focus your power and let it flow through you. Many dreams or desires related to the creative emotional process are ready to be applied in your day-to-day life and you must now give vent to those hidden or suppressed longings. This may also relate to healing, sexual relationships or partnerships. Now the manifestation of inner spiritual or esoteric insights into your practical and physical daily life will bring profound rewards and results. It is a sign of maturity. The Seer also relates to creative impulses such as art, mechanical skills and crafts, and the joy of bringing pleasure and knowledge to others.

Body : 15 The Guardian: A challenge has arrived in your life. The situation may be very complex. It may even have profound implications for your life and how you deal with the world. It may manifest itself in the form of a profound inner realignment or the facing of some physical outer predicament. Whether from the labyrinth that is the human mind or from some external source, the challenge that presents itself now must be seen for what it is: an opportunity. If something has been hidden or repressed, if a situation has been left to decay or become unhealthy, now is the time to take control of your fears and deal with the insecurity with courage and integrity. 

Spirit: 7 The Archer: The dawn of a new adventure, folded in the web of universal potential, waits for you to string the bow of your imagination and loose the arrows of creativity. This is a time to be bold and commit to the hunting of a new life and a better relationship with the world, as well as the fulfillment of wholesome ambition. Take a moment to gather your tools and steady your state of mind. Take careful stock of what you want to achieve, why, and how we will go about it. Then harness your potential by filling your quiver with all the talents, knowledge and cunning you possess and string the "bow of burning gold" with the "arrows of desire". Take a deep breath and be calm. It is time to let your soul take flight. 

 Totem for the Week:
from Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson 
Illustrated by Angela C. Werneke

26 Squirrel: If squirrel has scurried into your cards today, it may mean that you are being told to honor your future by readying yourself for change. The message could be to lighten your load if you have gathered too many "things" that do not serve you. These "things" can include thoughts, worries, pressures, stresses or gadgets that have been broken for years. 

Sharing Shadows: 
The Faeries Oracle by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth

37 Tobaira of the Waters: Emotions. Serenity. Meditation. Gracefully accepting change. Water is mutable, changeable, fluid and Tobaira speaks to us of a particular kind of change - change of emotions and possibly a change in health. We have important choices to make about how we meet those changes and where we let them take us - toward the calm, flowing purity of the faery waters or the boiling cauldronof hot temper and steamy emotions. The choice is obvious, but we sometimes forget that we have it. Tobaira reminds us that we do have a choice - and making it, wisely or unwisely, determines our future. 
The things we need in life remain constant, no matter what is going on or how hectic the changes and pressures in our life may be. WE need nurturing and love, and it is ultimately up to us to provide that for ourselves. The healing faeries will help us if we ask them to.