11-23-2017 I've been waking up with fear and anxiety each day. And each day I've been doing the Taoist dissolving meditation and working with Elephant to be present with what I'm feeling. I've also been reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown lately and its extremely relevant because its really a book about how you come back from failing.
And something which really stands out to me is that she explains the importance of being really present with those messy, uncomfortable feelings you have around failing. She basically says we need to be curious. She shares the following:
"The opposite of recognizing that we're feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don't go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending - to rise strong, recognize our story and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes, this happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends."
I completely agree with this, perhaps because I'm in this process of experience where I'm choosing to embrace and be present with the tough feelings around my failing so that I can move forward with my story and create the ending I want. It can only happen by courageously accepting and working with the feelings that will otherwise hold you back and define you.
I think sometimes one of the most revealing insights you can have about the practice of magic is the recognition that magic doesn't automatically solve your problems. It can be a solution, but it can also be a complication.
Yesterday I decided to "retire" 2 spirits I've worked with. I may work with them again at some point, but it's become clear to me that right now I really can't work with them.
In going back to ground zero, something I've decided is that its worth it for me to re-evaluate my relationship with various spirits and decide if those relationships should continue, or if they should be let go of. Undoubtedly I will do more of this, because sometimes in cleaning house, you need to clean every level and let go of attachments that are only being held out of obligation or sentiment (which is a form of obligation).
And this is what I mean by complication, because what complicates a magical practice sometimes is the very sense that you ought to stay in a relationship with a spirit or do a magical practice, when that no longer may be in your best interest, and may even be unhealthy. The only way to uncomplicate it is to being willing to let go of the relationships that no longer serve a clear purpose for your spiritual practice.
11-26-2017 I've been recording videos where I'm sharing my process for working through failing at something. Making the videos has been simultaneously hard and cathartic. Much like this entire experience in general. It's in the hard times that you really discover what you're capable of.
11-29-2017 As I reflect on this last year in particular I see how much my ego played a role in things. Not an easy thing to admit, but I see how much it played a role in creating some of the circumstances and that's on me. Having the time to reflect and just be is really helping me get further insights and start figuring out what my priorities need to be.
12-1-2017 I have to admit that just giving myself time to reflect is hard for me to do. Part of me wants to be finding some solution, yet I realize I simply need to be quiet and present with myself and my realizations. Here's a couple I've had this week:
I've spent a lot less time on social media and when I have looked at social media what stands out to me is how unhappy most people are, who's statuses I read. This really gives me pause and causes me to reflect on why that is.
And I've spent more time writing and reading this week when my time has been limited than I have in a long, long time. And I've thoroughly enjoyed both.
So I'm giving myself this space to just be with myself and have whatever realizations I have. I don't need to do anything right now and perhaps the best gift I can give myself is to simply reflect, consider, and be kind to myself.
12-7-2017 Tonight we put Tilly to sleep. He'd gotten cancer and was in so much pain. I have to admit his death kind of seems to be the cherry on top of really awful year for me. Yet with that said I'm continuing to do internal work around this year that is yielding insights I can take with me.
I've been reading the Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. In it he talks about how people can only take a certain amount of happiness and success before they sabotage themselves because they hit their upper limit. I find myself agreeing with his message and have identified 3 distinctive issues that have definitely played a role in my own sabotaging behavior.
The first one is a feeling of being fundamentally flawed. I have felt this way all my life. I know this because of how often I've identified with characters who are fundamentally flawed. The second is feeling like a burden to people around me. Again this is something I've felt at different points in my life and I certainly recognize its influence in recent years. And finally the crime of outshining...which in my case has been a feeling of not wanting to be outshined by other people (and where so much of my ego has played a role). Recognizing these behaviors in myself is a good step for the necessary work I'm continuing to do with Elephant and the element of Stability.
12-10-2017 Another book I've been reading is Essentialism. In that book the author discusses the need to focus on doing only what you are excellent at and learning to say no to anything that distracts you from that excellence. It's about that pursuit of doing less to achieve more, because what you focus on is that excellence. When I review the past couple years, I see that I fell into the trap of pursuing more, and getting scattered in the work I was doing. Instead of going in one direction, I've tried to go in multiple directions and not gotten where I wanted to be.
Something else I've been working with is my impulsiveness. I can be very impulsive at times, with how I make decisions and so I've starting paying closer attention to that and examining what motivates that impulsiveness. I feel that awareness can help me pause and take a close look at what I'm potentially leaping into before making the choice. I'm recognizing how much my impulsiveness has set up the situations I've encountered. Through all this work Elephant has been the guide, pointing me toward a rhythmic awareness of my life and leading me toward a better rhythm of stability.
12-12-2017 I've been reading Brene Brown's Rising Strong, and as with the other books there have been pearls of wisdom to savor and consider. I think what really stood out is when she discussed the over functioner, the person who copes by trying to give and solve problems, and who doesn't know how to receive. I'm that person, in a lot of ways. I've always been super self-efficient to the point that its hard to receive from other people. I've been learning how to receive from Kat, but even that brings its own challenges at times.
The second thing is that comparison kills creativity and joy. I am so guilty of this! I have all too often focused on comparing myself to other people and its usually made me feel either superior or inadequate. Neither feeling is all that good when it comes down to it and I feel it has stifled my creativity and joy, because when I'm caught up in it, I'm not trusting myself to be fully present with my creativity or allow it to shine through and be shared with the world.
12-14-2017 I started Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown today. Its message seems to go hand in hand with the previous work, but also allows me to explore the concept of belonging, which has always been a thorny concept for me. The initial takeaway was that I could give myself a permission slip for whatever I needed permission for. Today it was permission to the do the best I can and giving myself that permission was liberating. There was a recognition from myself that accompanied that permission slip. I'm going to try it with some other things as well.
I also resonated with her feeling of not belonging anywhere, with anyone or any community. I've felt that way most of my life, and there was a phrase she used in the book, "I belong with myself." That phrase really moved me. Saying it aloud was like a switch turned on. And, "You will always belong anywhere you show up as yourself and talk about yourself and your work in a real way." I'd felt like I lost that, until recently when I decided to take it back...and now its far more precious to me because I belong to myself and to be myself unapologetically and to focus on the work that speaks through me is far more important than trying to conform to some imagined community. As with everything else right now, the message is timely for where I am.
12-16-2017 In some ways I feel hollowed out by everything that's happened over the last few years. Kat pointed out that my identity has changed a lot. We both think I need time to process those changes and figure out what's next. You can't rush this kind of work.
12-22-2017 I wrap up this month feeling like I can take a breath in, instead of just breathing out. I've been reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown and as with her other books its proven insightful and helpful in this journey with stability in my life. With what I've read recently, one of the key takeaways is a realization that I haven't allowed myself to breathe in. In meditation you breathe in and breathe out, you receive and you give. I've realized that I really haven't allowed myself to receive and that acknowledgement helped me look at how I can be open to receive as well as give. Reading the book also is helping me continue the work around recognizing how i'm comparing and evaluating myself so that I can consciously let it go and focus instead on simply doing the work I'm called to do.
More than anything I'm feeling profoundly grateful for this time of transition in my life. It's been rough, but underneath that roughness has been diamonds that are revealing their treasure to me and helping me continue to refine myself. And that truly is the beauty of internal work!