11-25-15 Yesterday I finished writing all the changes to the magical experiments site (for now). It's funny that even in taking a retreat from writing, I'm still writing...just not writing for anyone else. Taking this retreat has been good for me though, because how I write for other people will change as a result of taking it. I value my writing and myself enough to make that change and whether anyone else appreciates that or not is a moot point I suppose. What matters is that I'm respecting myself as an artist and author.
11-29-15 Tomorrow's the last day of the retreat. It's been a good experience for me to just slow down and take stock of who I am and how that's showing up in my life. I'll admit I find it a bit ironic that I actually did a fair amount of writing during this retreat, but it wasn't writing for other people...it was writing for my businesses and me. Eligos has really been helpful through this and I plan on doing a lot more work with him as a result. He's become part of the pantheon of my life.
12-1-15 Part of my realizations around shame and respect has to do with the fact that I've compared myself to other people doing what I do. I don't think the comparison is really helpful. It has a shame component built into it I ask myself why do I even do it and inevitably what I come back to is that I'm a fairly competitive person, but also that so much of that comparison comes down to wanting to fuck with authority figures. Take that back further and that wanting to fuck with authority figures goes all the way back to childhood and wanting to feel empowered in a situation where I didn't have any power and so now that's displaced onto this comparison thing and there's shame mixed in because part of me is saying, "Well you must not be good enough, if these people are doing what you do so much better than you." It sucks and I feel this choking feeling. But I just need to sit with it, forget the comparison and the desire to fuck with authority which really has nothing to do with these people and just sit with the feeling of shame and let it unfold. It's so hard to do, yet I need to do it so much if I ever really want to shine.
I'm not respecting myself if I choose to do something because someone else is doing it. Anything I do needs to come from a place of genuine respect for myself. What I offer will be better for it, for myself, and the people wanting what is offered.
12-2-15 Today I invoked Abrimel and Ponclast (part of Dehara) to help me work through the competitive shame I was feeling. I let myself feel the emotion in my body. I found that it was rooted in my belly and it gave me some insight into how I eat...that eating in some ways is a response, a way to feel good and yet really to bury the emotions in my stomach that I don't want to feel. I was always told as a young kid that I was a good eater, one of the only compliments I ever got. Some food for thought with that one. Anyway Abrimel and Ponclast just helped me to hold space with what I was feeling. As I dove into the feeling of shame around my competitiveness I felt that pain rise up and at the same time unravel, revealing various memories and experiences I'd had. I felt tears running down my face as I heard that phrase, "You're a disappointment." I saw/experienced my own response, my determination to do my own thing and to undermine this person who saw fit to judge me for my choices. And at the same time I felt the rage and shame just set me up to do things in a harder way than I needed to. I stayed and felt this shame for a while. I'll revisit it tomorrow, sit with it, embrace it and then let it go.
12-6-15 As I meditated today, I ended up working with shame in regards to wanting to be noticed, which certainly plays a role in my competitive nature. When I grew up I was neglected by my dad and step-mom unless I did something bad at which point I was told what a disappointment I was and grounded and sometimes punished in other ways. Even if I was doing an activity such as chorus, I was told it wasn't good enough and why was I wasting time doing an activity like that as opposed to playing some sport or another. Later in my teenage years this same feeling came up in relationship to my "peers" and how popular or unpopular a person was. To me, getting noticed has played a simultaneous role of either not being good enough or being valued for something by someone. There's a lot shame there and I realize part of it is based on the lack of self-esteem and respect I've had for myself because I wasn't good enough...or I needed someone else's approval to be good enough. I'm done with that. I don't need someone else's approval to be good enough. What I need is to respect myself and be shameless about what I love doing. And if anyone else wants to come along for the ride, that's fine, but I don't need their approval to do what I wish to do.
12-7-15 Today I meditated on how insignificant I feel. It was prompted by seeing the schedule of another author the other day and seeing how many events this person is presenting at. Instantly competitive jealousy unsheathed its claws and I sat with it some last night as I was telling Kat about it. Today I sat with it further and I realized that I feel insignificant and part of being noticed is feeling significant, feeling like what I'm doing actually matters. What if it doesn't? I felt so small. Yet who was making me feel small? Me. No one else. Just me and my inner demons. I can let them do that or I can do something about it. I suppose that's what all this work is about. I'm doing something about it. Feeling insignificant is hard, especially when you sit with it, but so is sitting with any of the things I've been sitting with. You sit with it, open yourself to the experience, open yourself to the pain identity and it hurts and yet you see how it's defined your behavior and actions, defined your identity and so it becomes a question of whether you want that to continue being your identity or if you want to liberate yourself from that identity. I choose the latter.
12-11-15 Sometimes you do so much internal work that you become that work. It's another form of pain identity. Yes the internal work is important, but you've got to balance it with practical work as well.
12-16-15 The last few days have been really good for me. Kat and I had a long talk about my feelings of competitive jealousy and she helped me see just how much I was giving my energy to the people I'd been feeling jealous of. When you become a hater, you become that person's servant. You hate them for it, but you serve them because you're focused on them and their activities. Letting that go is another form of embracing shamelessness about who I am because I'm not letting me identity be defined any further by someone else.
I've also been doing some further thinking about how I write. I'm recognizing that I need to incorporate story and mythology into my writing. I've been studying how this other person writes, who I'll be taking a class from and trying my own version of viral writing out and each time I'm learning something from the writing and also from what she does. I'm excited about the possibilities for my business and look forward to seeing what else I can do.
12-20-15 Today and yesterday I rolled the dice and called out issues I have with the Pagan convention circuit. Pretty much since the beginning I've had issues with how things are run, but I always held back from saying anything because I didn't want rock the boat or for other reasons. I'll admit I'm a bit anxious about doing it, but all this work around shame and respect has made it clear to me that I need to stop holding myself back. I may not always like the consequences, but if I do nothing I'll like that result even less. I know there will be some people who don't like what I have to say, but when has that ever not been the case? Genuine change doesn't occur without risk and so I'll take the risk and adapt to whatever results occur, knowing I can live with myself as a result.
12-21-15 I didn't sleep much last night. Writing those two posts and sitting with the resultant anxiety wasn't easy. At some point Kat woke up and noticed my restlessness and I told her my fears...that I might alienate some fellow presenters I know, that I might never present again and she told me that taking my stand was what I needed to do and that she'd seen the numerous times I'd felt frustrated with the inequities I'd observed. She told me that yeah I'd taken a stand and maybe as a result I wouldn't be at other conventions, but that I'd find a way to succeed and that I had already made the choice not to be at those conventions anyway so what was I really worried about? And she's right. I will find a way to succeed. I couldn't continue to just participate in a system I didn't agree with and while I recognize that perhaps what I'm calling for is asking for a lot, I also think if nothing is ever said, nothing is ever changed. If the result, for me, is that I'm blacklisted, I can accept that as the price for pushing for some much needed change.