Month 10 Elemental Balancing Ritual - Movement grains of sand

Eros 7-25-2013 I had a realization this morning, as I was driving to a business meeting. I felt this profound sense of being loved by Kat, and allowing myself to feel comfortable with being loved by Kat. I realized I'd never been comfortable with being loved. Being loved was a surrender of control, a surrender to being vulnerable, a surrender to allowing someone else to touch me deeply. It's not something I've ever been comfortable with from anyone, but today as I drove to this meeting, I felt comfortable with being loved, and accepting that someone could love me as deeply as Kat does. It was so moving and yet so still. I am loved and I can accept that love.

7-30-2013 Something I've always struggled with is expressing what I'm feeling. Early on, I learned to keep what I felt to myself, because if I expressed it, I got punished for it. By keeping it to myself, I shut myself off from my emotions, and even though I've gotten better about expressing what I'm feeling, it's still a challenge, especially if I'm expressing something which I know will make someone unhappy. I've learned though that it's better to express myself and deal with the emotions, instead of pretending that they aren't there. While the immediate response may not be one where the person is thrilled with me, if they are willing to communicate with me, eventually will reach a place of resolution. Reminding myself of that is what gives me the courage to open up and express myself instead of continuing to keep myself locked down.

7-31-13 I saw the film Kon Tiki tonight, which is a biographical film about the Kon Tiki expedition. I was inspired, touched, motivated by this film, by this simple truth that just because something is controversial doesn't mean you should give up or stop believing in what you are doing. Too often people are willing to settle for mediocrity, for whatever is taken for granted and not challenged. And yet it is only when we are willing to challenge what is established that we can determine if it even still has value or is just dragging us back. I suppose this is one reason I've always bucked dogma, because if you hold to dogma and never question it, it becomes rote doctrine, which leads to close minded fanaticism. Such fanaticism does little to benefit the world, and much more to harm it.

8-2-13 I'm seeing a lot of clearing away in my business coaching practice. Clients are wrapping up and I'm getting some movement, time, etc., just cleared away for me. Part of me worries. The rest of me sees it as an opportunity to work on the writing, while also training myself to be better at what I love to do.

8-6-13 With internal work you go through cycles and cycles of work. You have realizations about yourself or the world only to cycle down further into the mental strata and have deeper realizations that nonetheless are the same. This is part of doing the work and part of realizing that such work isn't automatically done, but instead is experienced as a recurring process that gradually leads you to a place of greater awareness and conscious change. You can have the same realization several times over and yet it can be something which speaks to you in a different way each time.

8-8-13 Lately I've been having some memories come up, sensations really, but ones that are triggering in an unpleasant way. I've been doing some internal work around these sensations. It's not that I necessarily want to feel the sensations, but rather that I want to understand why they are even coming up in the first place. The answer, so far, is that likely I'm experiencing a partially blocked memory from my early childhood (I think) of possible molestation. I'm continuing to work with it, because while it might be easier to just let it remained block, it also ends up creating an energetic blockage that I don't want to sustain. It's hard work because what I'm facing as a result are sensations and experiences that I don't think anyone would want to experience, and yet I feel it is essential for true healing to occur. Part of me doesn't want to face whatever is behind that block, so I'm going slow and carefully with the work and I may stop if I feel its too much, but I would like to dissolve the blockage associated with the sensations, as I think it would help me immensely.

8-11-13 I had this dream last night where I had signed up to go to this space station and mine an asteroid for a couple years, and then I'd come back with money (I'm sure this will be a reality some day). However what happened was that I was stuck in this program, and there was a robot double being created that would go back after two years and then die within a year, while they kept using my body for whatever they wanted to use it for. And so I started to rebel against the system I was in, and eventually found a way to disconnect myself from the virtual world, as did the other people and we started to disconnecting other people and fighting the administrators who were maintaining the system. Then I became someone else, this dying woman that this virtual world had been created for and she was a princess in this virtual world, but she also found out how it was sustained and started helping the rebellion from the inside.

8-12-13 Today's meditation work has been hard for me, and I've had a low level of functionality as a result. During my meditation I ended up flashing back to that sensation of being molested. When I have these flashbacks, its not visual. Instead it is tactile, which makes it worse, because I can't really distance myself from what I'm feeling. It's a very raw experience, and I feel fragile today because of processing those feelings. I could feel, as I meditated, that the level of distress my body felt continued to rise as I meditated on and dissolved the blockage. It's hard work because it's calling on me to remember and face something that I'm only recalling now at the age of 36. Clearly it was a traumatic experience then, and it certainly is now. As a result I haven't felt very productive today. I've been in a funk and that has bothered me as well, because I certainly have enough to do, but whether I'm capable of doing it is something else altogether.

Kat and I've also finished reading After the Affair, which has been a good read for me because it has helped me explore my history with infidelity, both in my family and in my own actions. I'm not proud of my past actions in my previous relationships and I've felt a deeper level of recognition, responsibility, and empathy toward people I've hurt in the past due to my own baggage. I can't change what's happened, but I see how much that behavior has impacted my life and how it has hurt other people and I am glad that I am continuing to change my standards of behavior, to become a better person. I don't want to leave the wake of chaos and pain that I have left in the past through my actions. I see now as well how the polyamory label allowed me to justify a lot of behaviors without examining them, though that's no fault of the label, but rather my own fault for not digging deeper and really examining what I wanted or needed. It's hard to sit with all of that, but I know that I can't genuinely change if I don't recognize the past and really understand where I've been, so that I can know where I can go.

8-15-2013 The other day, in my meditation on movement, I reached out to Eros and asked him why he hadn't shown up all that much and he said he didn't feel the need to show up if I was moving in the right direction. When I'm going someplace different, then he'll show up as a guide. I think also that as I've continued to do these elemental balancing workings, it's been easier for me to connect directly with the element. When I first started having a guide that mediated the element was helpful for conceptualization purposes, but now working with an elemental force directly isn't such a stretch.

8-17-13 There are occasions where I feel outside any and everything, where I feel like I don't belong. I think this is a feeling many people experience. I think of how that feeling can move a person in both positive and negative directions. That feeling has moved in both directions, and even now I feel it on occasion. It's a powerful feeling which speaks as much to the inadequate feelings a person has about him/herself as well as the longing to belong to something larger or bigger. The key, when you feel this way, isn't to try and fill yourself up with whatever or whoever you find, but rather to be present with the emotion and work through it.

8-21-13 The website has a different look because someone hacked the theme I was using and had some javascript running. I came up with a solution of sorts. I liked the old theme, and at some point I am going to get a different design made, but this will have to do for the meantime.

In other news, the last two days my meditation on the element of movement has taken a deeper turn. Yesterday as I as meditating Eros came to visit and he showed me a perspective of movement and myself where I felt like a tiny grain of sand among many, many other grains of sand, and what movement I could do was just a tiny movement, that might cause a ripple in the immediate area, but wasn't significant beyond that. I felt how small I really am in all that movement, recognizing in the process that everything else is also that small. Everything is moving or trying to move, but all of those movements, individually are small...yet put together you can find patterns and those patterns are created by the movement of each person, ting, etc., not because of one person, but because there is a agreement of some type when it comes to movement.

Today's meditation was a deep one, but in a similar vein of expression. I was a mote of light moving with other motes of light. My expressions of movement weren't original per se, but all part of this greater pattern that I'm a part of. I moved as part of a movement. Both experiences were humbling, but also beautiful and terrible at the same time. I'm not sure where its all going, but I'm going with it and I'm open to it because I know that I am moved as much if not more than what I move.

Movement, Stillness, and the Web of Space/Time

Harmony In Magical Identity I shared a technique I use for working with Space and Time, which is is the web if Space and Time. In this model the web is comprised of elements of space and time conjunctively connecting to manifest possibilities into reality. The strands of the web are elements of Time, while the nodes where the strands intersect each other are elements of Space. The strands of time represent possibilities and actions. I think of them as verbs. The nodes of space represent people, places, events, and things, nouns. I'm always open to improving on my techniques and my work with the element of movement gave me an insight in this technique that could be useful for developing it further.

While the strands of time denote possibilities and actions, it occurs to me that movement (and as I write this Stillness) are intrinsic elements of space and time that are not overtly recognized but that nonetheless play a role in our experience of space and time. I don't think of movement and stillness as being one and the same as time and space. And my experiences of both movement and stillness seem to bear this out. If anything it feels like stillness and movement act upon and are acted upon by space and time. For example, you might be tempted to associate stillness with space, but I'd argue that stillness isn't space. Stillness is a form of presence and awareness. It's potential and in some ways that makes it more related to time, but it isn't time either. It's a state of experience and being that can allow you to become aware of and experience space and time in different ways. When I do my practice of Zhine meditation, I am working with stillness and one of the experiences it can provide is an awareness of space and time that is different than what is experienced during the everyday experience of life. With Stillness, when I am focusing my awareness on myself and a particular object, I experience not just the object as it is, but also the possibilities for that object. I experience the space of the object, as well as the time of the object. You also might be inclined to associate movement with time, and certainly experience of time can be that of a sense one moment passing into another, but again you can also experience time via stillness.

So all that said, what I'm really interested in is how I can factor stillness and movement into the work I do with the web of space and time. I don't want to associate stillness or movement with specific aspects of the web, and I don't think I need to, but I think working with them could allow me to enhance the technique as well as integrate these elements into my life. I decided to pull out my memory box, which is the physical representation of the web and when I worked with it this time, I approached the work in terms of movement. What did I need to move to put everything into the right space and maximize the right potential of time needed. Movement wasn't just about working with the strands of time, but rather working with the web as a whole, in terms of positioning the web and the respective nodes and time strands into an alignment that would be useful for better realizing the activation of a possibility into a reality. I didn't integrate stillness into this work, so when I experiment with it again, I'll work with both stillness and movement and see how they fit together with space and time.

What I've shared above is rough and I'll work on refining it, but I'm excited to be working on something new, or in this case a variation of something else I developed.

Book Review: The Slow Fix by Carl Honore

In this book the author explores the value of the slow fix, which involves learning how to solve problems from a process perspective instead of just trying to use a quick fix. The author explores a variety of elements that are integral to the slow fix process and uses case studies to demonstrate how those elements work together to bring about useful solutions to problems. I got a lot of value from this book by applying its principles to my business and my clients. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to improve how problems are solved in general and in their organization, because what you will learn is how to examine your problem solving processes and introduce the right elements of the slow fix to help you improve on what you are already doing.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 8

Eros 5-24-13 There's been this big uproar about pop culture magic going through the blogosphere. The polytheists, reconstructionists, and spirit workers feel threatened by the idea of pop culture magic and so the usual criticisms and attempts to devalue pop culture magic have begun. Fortunately there are a lot of people actually exploring and writing about pop culture magic now. I've actually come late into this particular debate, but it makes me happy to see that other people are writing about and exploring pop culture as a a means of working with magic. And I kind of find it ironic that my name really hasn't come up, because even a few years ago all that people seemed to know of me was related to pop culture magic. I'm glad other people have it made their own...I just wish the detractors would get over it instead of trying to prove why their beliefs are more valid than mine or someone else's. Compensation much?

5-30-13 The uproar has died down which is good since it wasn't very constructive. I see those kinds of arguments as being fairly futile. Neither side wants to budge, and it becomes an exercise in rhetoric as opposed to anything really meaningful. Yesterday my latest book arrived. There is, in my opinion, a very magical moment when you open a book you've written for the first time. There it is, manifest into material form, a concrete reality of the ideas you've written. Feels good to have the book written and it feels even better to see the final result.

I also got my latest tattoo today. And again there's an experience that is so unique. You are allowing someone to paint on your skin, on the canvas of your body and embody it with whatever is painted. In my case a dragon to honor the work I've done with Dragon. Not too sure how many more tats I'll get. I have a few ideas of what I might get, but at a certain point I'll be ready to leave it at that. Anything I do get is done either to mark a life change or a significant magical working with an entity and as such anything I get has to be significant enough to warrant the ink, the experience, and the recognition that the canvas has gotten smaller.

6-3-13 I presented at the first Northwest Conference of Alchemy over the weekend. I also learned quite a lot about the topic and it makes me want to get involved in practical alchemy even more than before. I also had an interesting realization. I wrote Pop Culture Magick nine years ago, and I've noticed that now it's become fairly prevalent in some practices. I've also noticed more and more interest in space/time magic, which tells me that I'm about a decade ahead of what is really interesting to people. A good place to be, because I can actually see what interests people in this lifetime and still continue pushing to the edges.

6-6-13 Since I got the dragon tattoo I've noticed more energy in my life and businesses. There's a direction, with activities happening and I feel really good about the direction of movement. I've also come up with a new experiment, which involves linking several daily workings I do together. I won't share more about it now, because it'll likely become the core of a new system, but its so exciting to feel creative to have projects to work on and to otherwise be engaged. When I was at the alchemy conference people commented on the number of books I've written and how prolific I am (a dozen books in ten years is pretty good), and when I told them that I'd actually had a few years where not much writing happened they were surprised. I'm grateful to have the writing back and to be sharing it with the people who like my work.

6-9-13 Over on Pagan Square several more of the polytheists have posted articles which have taken a somewhat militant approach to the whole pop culture magic issue. I've debated whether I should respond any further and was even in the process of writing a comment to one post, when I stopped myself and asked: "What am I really trying to get from this interaction?" The answer I got was control and I realized then that posting the comment wouldn't provide that sense of control or validation or anything else useful. I realized there was no control to be had in this situation and so I just stopped writing the comment and surrendered the needs to feel control and validation. I asked myself: "Could these people really stop me from practicing what I practice?" And the answer is no. They can state their own perspectives, but they can't really stop me or others from practicing what we practice. And the best thing we can do is to continue to practice what we practice and share it so that people who are receptive can choose to learn and experiment. Knowing how to move, when to move, where to move all of that is essential to any situation where some kind of movement is necessary. And sometimes the best move to make is to recognize what your motive is for posting something and then decide is this really worth the effort I'm making or could I put that effort somewhere else to better effect? I know I can put my efforts to better effect elsewhere.

6-14-13 I think that one of the frustrations I feel with working with movement, especially as it applies to the planetary energies is how aware I've become of how much control I don't have over situations and how vulnerable I feel at realizing this at times when I really want to have control over those situations. As someone who has bought into the illusion of control at times, its hard when that illusion is stripped away and you realize just how little control you really have. Then you must face yourself and truly see what you are and aren't. I felt that way last night when I realized how much I let my dearest one down.

6-17-13 Over the weekend Kat and I did a murder mystery party for her birthday. It was our best one yet, and perhaps what helped it was how much people were willing to step into their roles and get into the humor of the situation. I think that moving into a given role requires a suspension of disbelief but also an assumption of identity. I become the character and in that act of becoming I breathe life into the character, but the character, in turn also breathes life into me. I feel the character move me to become that character and also to take away something intangible yet powerful which speaks to the identity of the character and its impact on my own sense of self (at least for the time I am the character). I have similar experiences with a good book or a video game, where I'm drawn into the reality of the character and for a time become that character...and when I come out, I take something away, marked by the character as much as I've marked him/her. What's really marked me is the experience itself, the experience of being something else and allowing it to move me enough to have the experience.

On a different front, I got some advice about a situation today and what's interesting is how much movement fits into that advice, and how the movement shapes itself around the limitations of the situations and turns those limitations into something that can favor me as much as it seems to favor the institution. There's a lesson there...we are only as constrained as we perceive ourselves to be. How we use our limitations speaks just as much as the limitations in and of themselves.

6-20-13 The other night I had a dream, where this was tree growing from my upper left arm, where my birthmark is. The tree was abruptly cut or pulled or something, I was left with this bloody wound. I physically felt the pain of the removal of the tree from my arm to the point that I woke up and felt the pain on my arm. Eventually it faded, but when I meditated on the issue, I didn't get any answers. Then today I meditated, and the image of the tree on my arm came up again, but I ended up being directed to the area of my right kidney and as I began doing dissolving work, I felt these memories of the drive to Seattle and when I lived there come up, so I allowed myself to feel and be in those memories because I realized something needed to happen. What I felt was a recognition that 'd blocked those memories out because of what I associated with them, and so as I continued the dissolving work I left myself feel the emotions associated with those memories. I ended up crying for a bit, but I felt better afterwards. I'll continue doing the dissolving work to see what else comes up and if there's any relation to the tree.

6-21-13 In discussing the dream and dissolving meditation with Kat, she suggested that it might involve a feeling of being unrooted. So I did some further meditation and that seems to be the case, especially as it relates to the move to Seattle and the year I lived there. I felt like I did lose my roots and that I couldn't really find a place up there to settle in. And even though I later found Portland, it's really only been in the last few years that I've begun to feel rooted and to have a connection to community. Before that I felt very isolated and alone a lot of the time. I'm ready to process those emotions and I suppose my dream is a good indication of that.

6-24-13 I sometimes feel I can't escape my past and that I'm doomed to become the one person I don't want to be like. I know that feeling isn't true, but there are occasions where I feel weighed down by my past, weighed down by the example set for me by my father. There are times when all the dissolving work in the world can't undo the shame and disappointment I feel toward myself for failing the people I am closest to, as well as failing myself. I have to look carefully at what really moves me and why it moves me. Am I moving the way I really need to be moving? At the same time, I feel keenly aware of the cycles that Erik pointed out to me, cycles of influence that certainly seem to be showing up in my life in a variety of ways that are really causing me to come up against my own limits and helping me recognize those limits. It's simultaneously frustrating and enlightening, but with all of this I still have the choice to make of it whatever I can.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement month 7

Eros 4-24-13 I had a dream this morning. I was on a road trip with Jim Nadenicek, a friend I knew in my State College days. We were driving through Pittsburgh and just happened to be going by my old elementary school, so I asked him if we could stop in. We did stop and I saw a few teachers I vaguely recognized and read into a woman I knew as a kid. She gave me advice about how to conduct myself around other people. Then I went outside and Jim had this jeep. My car had broken down and we needed to go to the auto repair shop to see what was wrong. An interesting dream that I'm still processing, but I see certain themes in it that are consistent with internal work I'm doing right now. My dreams have become more vivid since I've been doing Zhine meditation regularly.

4-26-13 20 years ago in April I started practicing magic. It's hard to believe that 20 years have passed. I feel proud of myself as a magician when I look at those years and everything I've done and explored and I feel excited about the rest of my journey and I'm grateful that barring anything unexpected, I should have a long time to explore my spiritual journey and implement it in this life. How fortunate I am...

4-27-13 I've been doing some further reading of the Post Infidelity Stress Disorder book and one of the realizations I've had is that until I really explored these problems they would have continued to show up in my relationships. The author makes a good point that a person is attracted to someone who reminds them of their parents or themselves. I see that in my relationship choices. Most of the women I've been attracted to have in one way or another reminded me of the strictness of my step mom. Kat's pretty much the exception and who she is similar to is me. Recognizing these patterns of attraction helps me also see how the behavior has been set up to undermine the relationships. I feel sad about it, but in a weird kind of way also relieved because I have a much better understanding of my issues. And through understanding comes change.

4-30-13 There are days I really don't want to meditate or exercise. I feel extremely busy or like I have too much on my plate. And yet I know that if I don't exercise or meditate I am cheating myself of so much. So today was one of those days and I made myself exercise. I feel better for doing it, and I also know it reinforces the discipline I believe is essential. Keeping yourself on track isn't easy all the time, but the true test is to choose and do something when you don't feel like doing it, but know you need to.

5-01-13 I got an email from Weiser books today about the Wealth Magic book. They want to look at more chapters of the book. I'm not sure how I feel. Part of me feels happy,  vindicated, acknowledged, but another part of me isn't sure if I really want to go with a big publisher. I have mixed feelings on all of this. I feel conflicted, not sure what choice I'll make, but Kat and I will discuss it together and then I'll make a decision about where to go next.

5-02-13 I sent the rest of the manuscript in. I figure I owe myself the opportunity to see what will come of this particular opportunity. Worst they can say is no and if they do say yes, then it's bargaining time, because I definitely want some say in what happens with the book and how I can use it to promote myself to a larger audience.

5-07-13 Something I've come to recognize about myself is that I can be brittle. Kat says I like order, and there is truth in that. I like things in my life and universe to be orderly, to follow certain conventions and to be easy to find. And this is where it can lead to brittleness because sometimes I cling so much to the order that I don't adapt to what really needs to be changed. My work with movement is helping me realize this brittleness about my personality, and with some work I think I can be more flexible even when my sense of order isn't as I'd like it to be.

5-15-13 Sometimes I go through periods where I have little to write. This is one of those periods. I've learned to accept these moments when they occur as I figure it is just a period of gestation and deeper thought. You can't rush magic and you can't rush writing.

5-19-13 Movement is about boundaries as much as anything else. Today I had to tell someone my boundaries around a specific topic. It wasn't easy to do it, but I realized that I didn't need to be moved to the head space that I felt moved to when discussing the topic with that person. So setting up that boundary was really a healthy action taken. There are some memories you don't want to revisit, especially if you are an abuse survivor of any type. Those memories can put you in a space of being a victim and while it is important to work through those memories, it should be done in a way that is empowering to the person.

I've been thinking lately about my role in my household. I am not the chief bread winner. Kat is the chief bread winner of the house hold and I am comfortable with that. Nonetheless I also contribute in my own way. I clean and cook, I take care of the cats and the kids as needed. I take care of Kat and support her in what she is doing. And I do bring in some income with my businesses and that income is increasing. We both work hard to make sure our household is a stable one. I feel lucky to be with such a wonderful person who is dedicated to me and to the spiritual work we do.

5-21-13 Kat and  I got a Synastry reading over the weekend, basically an astrological comparison of her and I's chart. It was helpful and confirmed certain patterns of behavior and ongoing life changes for both of us, as well as showing each of us how we could support each other through those changes. One of the issues it reminded me of was the importance of letting go of needing to be in control and instead continuing to accept that I don't have control over everything, but I do have control over how I work with it. In April I started a particular Pluto conjunction, which is a dark night of the soul and I'd have to say that I've certainly seen evidence of it in my life in little ways, but instead of letting it control me or feeling helpless, I've chosen to roll with it, accept that I don't have control over everything, but also ask myself what I do have control over. And what I've found is that by letting go in some cases and acknowledging that I don't have control, I can actually discover choices that provide me a way to resolve the situation in my favor. And there's a key realization about movement here: Choosing to move with something you can't control allows you to find control through the movement. You accept you can't control the situation as it is, but you learn to move with the situation until you discover the options that provide opportunities for you.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 6

Eros 3-20-13 Last night Kat and I got into a conversation about how I really don't let people get me things. It's a behavior she's observed before, and it's one that has played out numerous times in my life. She asked me where it came from and I dug in deep and found this old wound from my childhood (where else, right?). I remembered being giving gifts by my step mom and dad, only to have those gifts taken away in order to punish me. For example, I remember getting a Nintendo with some games. On a routine basis the Nintendo was taken from me for anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months at a given time to punish me...and even when I did have access to it, I was told I should be playing outside and thus my time was minimized on it. When I moved from my dad's I wasn't even allowed to take it, even though it had been given to me as a gift. And that wasn't the only they took away from me on a regular basis as a way of punishing me. While this particular approach to parenting wasn't the worst thing that they did to me, it definitely left some scars and wounds, right up to including not trusting that what someone gives me is really mine.

Later on when I lived with my mom, one of the worse things she ever did was box up my books in order to force me to be more social with people. Same lesson which illustrated to me that if something was mine, my possession of it wouldn't be respected. Not a surprise then that I learned to sneak around, and that I wouldn't always be open about what I wanted, or even what I bought. I learned not to trust people. But I know it's different with Kat and as I sat with the pain of my younger self and really felt this wound that I hadn't even realized was there, I also felt this loosening up of a block. Later I had a dream which helped me recognize how my own experiences of being parented influence me on a subtle level, when it comes to my step kids. I dreamed I was driving them to school, and I drove past this yield sign and got stuck at a stop sign. I felt blocked and I realized that it represented how the parental values from my past sometimes block me from having a genuine connections with my step kids. This is why doing the internal work is so important.

4-1-13 Last week was Spring Break, which involved a trip to Bend, and other such things. But it also involved some internal work, including Kat getting rid of some magical constructs within me, left by an ex, who had less than noble designs on me. I feel different with the constructs gone I hadn't even realized that they'd been placed within me, and while they aren't responsible for my behavior (only I am), there was some influencing going on. It highlights to me just how vulnerable you can be, and just how much trust is involved when you are with someone on a romantic, sexual, and spiritual level.  say that with awareness that I have sometimes been the person who has had less than noble designs. In fact, I'd never claim that I am ever just a victim. I am a very fallible person, and I've made share of mistakes and bad choices. Fortunately I've also made some good choices.

A lot of the work around movement has actually involved knowing when not to move. An example: When I'm in a conversation and there is a lot of emotional content attached to the conversation, knowing when to listen (not move) is just as important as knowing when to speak (movement). In a way non movement is a preparation for movement. It's not standing still so much as getting ready to move. It's a subtle distinction, but one I'm really paying conscious attention to. Recognizing when to not move can be quite useful in working with movement as an element.

4-2-13 Two things of note today. I found myself really wanting to buy books even though I have plenty. I recognized that this was a feeling of wanting to be distracted. And later when I was holding Kat, I felt this resistance or reaction to the idea of her giving me pleasure or making me happy and I realized that this part of me felt like it always had to put other people's pleasure in front of my own and that I alone have to be responsible for my pleasure, which ties right back in, I think, to the desire to buy the books. As I was telling Kat this, I felt part of myself crack open, and I allowed myself to feel her love and desire to please me. It was a little frightening, but also empowering.

4-8-13 Movement is a recognition of change, the application of change to your life, on a certain level. Movement isn't just a change of the scenery, but a shift in your mind, a shift of space and awareness and context. I was thinking of this today as I did my movements through the day. Movement to a client was a different perspective than movement to home or my coach, or to be with Kat. Movement creates a contextual awareness of what you are moving from and to, what you embody and what you will become.

4-12-13 I've written a bit about my move from polyamory to monogamy before, but it is a journey that has been a bit of an adjustment for me. The truth is that I never really practiced good polyamory, and I'm not sure I ever really knew what good polyamory looked like. And perhaps most importantly, I've come to realize how much that type of relationship could allow me to avoid facing certain behaviors, emotions, and issues from my past. The last year in particular has really forced me to see certain patterns that I ignored before. So I've become monogamous, and that has been a challenge as well, because in doing so I'm facing these issues head on and no longer ignoring them or providing them outlets. At the same time, I have a very supportive partner with Kat and this has given me strength to face those issues, as well as helping me learn how to really love myself instead of relying on others to fill me up.

4-16-13 One of the books Kat and I are reading right now is about Post Infidelity Stress Disorder. It's an interesting book, and what it is doing for me is helping me explore the history of infidelity in my life, both in terms of when I haven't been faithful and in terms of when it has happened to me. The book is bringing up a lot of reactions, especially as I realize that polyamory was a decision made because I didn't believe that I could be faithful to just one person, based on the fact that my father was never faithful. He was my model for sexual behavior and romantic behavior, although I doubt he ever knew that. I certainly never told him. But I recognize how much HIS infidelity has been a trauma in my life, and how it has provided an excuse for my own behavior, and justification for being polyamorous in the past (If I know I'd cheat otherwise, better to be this way). As I said above I've never been good at polyamory. I have made some bad choices, I have cheated (even in that context), and I haven't really, truly ever looked at infidelity as it has showed up in my life as much as this book is providing me a chance to.

One of the reasons I became monogamous with Kat is that I realized that I've never had good relationship boundaries in my life. She's the first person to really speak up consistently about the need for those boundaries and to call me on my behavior. But she's also realized that there are root causes for the behavior and so we're reading a lot of books on relationships and love as a way of proactively  addressing the behaviors so that they don't hurt us or our relationship. And where mistakes have been made, we are taking a hard look at both of our roles in those mistakes and helping each other heal. At the beginning of my relationship with Kat, and even a few times since, I made a few mistakes that really hurt her. I was acting out behavior without really examining it. She was hurt and upset, but she also called me out on it, and helped me recognize how it was hurtful to her. That in turn really allowed me to look at my life choices and make some changes, including becoming monogamous. Kat and I had been in a closed relationship since the very beginning, and all along we've explored what love and this relationship means to us. We've actually been monogamous since April of 2012 (when we decided that it was what was best for our relationship), but I haven't written much about it because it's been an adjustment, and there's been a part of me that has felt that I failed at being poly and shouldn't discuss it...but I'm realizing that I haven't failed so much as I've recognized a need to change and grow. For me growing involves being in a relationship with some very defined boundaries, as well as recognizing how previous relationship dynamics and behaviors have caused pain as opposed to bring bliss. And I find that monogamy brings a level of stability I never had before. I feel safe. I feel wanted. I feel focused, not just on my partner, but also on my projects. Monogamy works for me, and has helped me become much more honest with myself than my previous relationship dynamic did.

Having someone who wants to be so involved in the internal work is a new development, and something I'm still adjusting too. I'm being much more open with her than I ever was with anyone else, letting her in on what I'm working on and how I'm working on it. I'm realizing in this work how much poly really didn't help me, because what it allowed me to do was act out behaviors I learned instead of really confronting how those behaviors were impacting my life and others. So am I failing polyamory by recognizing that monogamy works for me? Maybe, maybe not. My choice, afterall, is just my choice. It's not a judgment of other people and their choices. It's a recognition that what seemed to work at one time wasn't really working, and that all it was really doing was enabling destructive behaviors that have hurt myself and others. I've made a change and that change, that choice is a better one for me and my partner.

4-17-13 I was told, in a reading I received, that I'd be entering into a pluto/neptune phase, both of which demand a level of internal work that is as much about deconstructing images of the self as it is about discovering the core of the person. I think though that I've been on such a long cycle of internal work that this just icing on the cake. Doing internal work demands a level of commitment  and a willingness to dissolve everything you value in order to uncover the real alchemy of your being. The cherished images fall away to reveal the dross, which is calcinated and changed by the internal work. You become forged in the essence of your being and at the same time lose what you've held onto, which is some precious sense of ego.

On another note, I've been thinking about movement and time, and how the experience of movement is really an exploration of time as well. I'd noted this in Magical Identity, but I see it as more evident in light of the work I am doing with movement as an element. Movement draws upon time as the backdrop to support the discovery of possibility and the realization of manifestation. Movement is the actualization of time, the realization of potential, and the becoming of being.

4-22-13 I've been doing some further thinking about my history with infidelity and also my history with women. The majority of relationships I was involved two elements: The women were older than me and there was always a power dynamic at place where the women held the power (or seemed to). Even in the cases where I was with someone younger than myself, there was still something of a power dynamic at work, though in one case it was a reversed dynamic where I seemed to have the power and in the other case the other person seemed to have the power. My step mom and later my mother created the initial history and impression of women. Both women held a role of power in my life and while I never felt attracted to either of them (thank heavens) I nonetheless learned fairly quickly that my role was to serve the household and by extension them, and do my best to make them happy, while hoping all the while to avoid punishment. Not a healthy dynamic, but one that was thoroughly ingrained in me, and one that I've only really begun to chip away at in the last few years, thanks in large part to being with Kat.

On top of that I remember being fascinated with several soft porn and porn movies where the women in the movies seduced the men and then proceeded to take control of whatever money/wealth/power the men had, while seducing the close friends of those men, in order to basically put the powerful men into their place which was as someone who was thoroughly humiliated. The movies fascinated me, and turned me on, not the least because there was this element of infidelity, this power gained by cheating which consequently would destroy the power of the person who was in control, bringing them to a place of humiliation, of weakness, of having no power, while the cheater had the power. I recognize in all of this the seeds of my own experience with infidelity, the motivation to cheat, and how I used it to gain a sense of power over people I felt had power over me. I found women in general to be fascinating and powerful, and one of the skills I endeavored to learn early on was how to become as good a lover as possible so that I could use my sexuality to have power over the women in my life. I figured if I was as good, if not better, than the person I was with, sexually, then that I could make that person crave me and my sexual skills. If this sounds twisted...well it is twisted. I'm not proud to write this or admit this motivation, but I don't think I've ever really been honest about the motivation to cheat or the motivation to feel empowered in a relationship. I always felt that the women in my life were as much enemy as friend. They, to my perception, held the power and not only that, but they could potentially take me for whatever I had. Indeed with a lot of my relationships there was manipulation on both sides of the relationship. I remember several of my older lovers in particular imprinting me both sexually and magically for their own gain, and to have some sense of power over me. I found it attractive, even as I found it threatening. So in turn I did the same thing, but through cheating. I recognize this now and I recognize further how polyamory was more of a front than anything else for this behavior. I chose to be polyamorous because I felt that if I was in a monogamous relationship I couldn't help but cheat, but even in polyamory, what did I do? I cheated...not all the time, but sometimes, because of these motivations I'm only now consciously recognizing.

With Kat, things are different. I think because we are reading these books together and because we are very focused on exploring our respective issues and how they contribute to our relationship, I've been able to drill down to these issues and recognize them in a way I never did before. I am able to see how infidelity has shaped my life, from my family history to my own history. I've never really had a normal relationship with anyone else because my model for relationships was based off a very unhealthy power dynamic and set of beliefs about how to feel empowered. And the result has been a lot of pain for myself and for people I've been involved with. With Kat, I have a healthier relationship, one that is becoming more healthy all the time because we are talking about these issues, recognizing the history as well as the present. She's not out to have power over me (and I am not projecting that belief on her). She wants to be with me for me...not because I'm an author or a magician or any of the other labels I could attach to myself. Not because I'm great in bed. And sex is no longer a weapon or a defense or a way to have power or manipulate. It is simply an expression of love, a choice to really open up and be present with this person I love. A little while back Kat said to me, "I release any claim I have on you, because I see now that claiming you has involved some level (in your mind) of coercion and power. If you want to be mine, I want you to give yourself to me, freely" I've never realized how much, in my mind, there was this association with coercion, but I see it today so clearly, so overtly...and I am able to give myself to my wife without being coerced. I freely give myself to her in perfect love and perfect trust because she sees me for who I am and loves me for all of what I am, without trying to get something from me. I've never given myself permission to give myself to another, not really, but all this internal work is showing me how I can, and how I can liberate myself from my own demons in the process. That is true movement. Praise Eros!

4-23-13 I've been going through my Facebook list of friends and defriending a lot of them lately. It's not anything fact is the lack of anything personal. I don't know most of the people I am "friended" to and I figure in most cases they've friended me because of my books, but I'd rather they liked the magical experiment fan page, if that's the case. So my de-friending of people has been a good exercise in boundaries because I'm only leaving people on that I know fairly well or want to stay in touch with because I knew them back in the day. I haven't been good at establishing boundaries in the way that I need to do, but I'm learning and this is one step of that recognition.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement month 5

Eros 2-21-13 I've been meditating on movement in terms of subtle movement, both mentally and physically. For example, when I meditate, how does my mind move, and what does it move to or away from? Or when I am walking or breathing what am I noticing when I move my body? How aware am I of the movement? These are good questions to ask and they are getting me to pay more attention to movements I have taken for granted. I am going over older practices and re-doing them with a conscious focus on the movement, physical or otherwise that is involved. In turn that is allowing me to experience those practices in a deeper way than I had previously done.

2-24-13 One of the realizations around grievance that I've had is the acknowledgement that I may not get the closure I want from people. This is a hard realization because it essentially involves recognizing that those people will not take responsibility in a way that I feel provides closure. I think that in and of itself this is a wound that can haunt people. I've felt that wound and I've seen it in other people. So how do you heal that wound? You know the person or people that you want closure from won't help you heal it. They don't feel any obligation to and likely don't even fully recognize what you are hurting over. In some cases they probably even take malicious joy from it. And ultimately it's not about them, it's about you and finding closure.

The best solution I have found is one where I first acknowledge the grievance for what it is and then acknowledge that I won't get the closure want from someone else. I then focus on providing myself closure by working with the grievance, allowing myself to feel it, but also to address it and my part in it. I forgive myself, which helps because I recognize that the grievance isn't just what the other person did, but also what I did and that in one sense it is a judgment I have made about myself. It is a judgment that comes from a place of unlove, and to resolve it I need to address that judgment I have made about myself. The judgment is usually a feeling of "This person was right. What they did to me/made me feel is confirmation that I am not a good person." So when I look at it in that way I recognize that I am sustaining the grievance and that ultimately I am responsible for it. What I want from the other person I can provide by providing myself closure, by recognizing that whatever the other person did wasn't a confirmation of my judgment and that my judgment comes from a place of hurt and unlove within myself.

Doing that helps provide closure. But even so there are times where you will still hurt and angry with the person. Ask yourself if you want to really continue to give that person that much power in your life. You'll likely discover that you don't want to give that person that much power and that can be motivation to continue working on the grievance you feel.

3-02-13 Took an entire day off from my businesses. It felt good to just not work on something for a while. When you are a business owner there is this sense of always needing to be on with your business, always working on it. Actually I think that's true of adults in general because just about every adult I know is always on, always working. It's like we've forgotten how to relax and just be ourselves. And maybe we really have. That's one reason I play reminds me to have fun, reminds me not to always be serious or be an adult. I don't want to work all the time, and taking a day off from work is my way of preserving my sanity I love owning a business (well businesses) but working on them all the time can get a little dull. The work needs to be done and some of it can be farmed out, but how refreshing really to just step away from being responsible for one day, just to be a kid again for a while. And when I come back, the work will be there, but I will feel refreshed and ready to do it.

Beyond that, certain situations do seem to be resolving nicely. A wealth magic working I did via a sigil game is coming together nicely with multiple favorable outcomes. The one outcome that may have changed is where the Wealth magic book gets published. I'm not even done with the first draft, so I'm not really worried about it, but I've been mulling over just how different Immanion is from the larger publishers. Pantheacon showed me that when I went to a panel for one of those publishers. Maybe I'm just too idealistic or too controlling when it comes to my writing and how I think it should be presented and how I think my target audience wants it presented, but nonetheless I think there is something to be said for the presentation and what that presentation conveys to someone.

3-08-13 I wrote a long post last night about Immanion Press and what it means to me. I think it really clarified where my occult writing needs to be and why it needs to be there. As an author I recognize that choosing to stick with a small publisher may not be the best business choice, but as a writer I recognize that it is the best choice for the pursuit of my message. But beyond that I've been thinking about movement and how the movements we choose, if chosen with an open mind, can lead us to unexpected movement. For example, I've been doing some cold calling lately. I've found that going into stores is something I'm more comfortable with, because its more face to face. As I do this movement, I sit with it, get more comfortable with it and allow myself to be present with how it makes me feel but also what it opens for me. If nothing else, I'm improving my presentation skills by giving it a try.

I recently finished reading S. M. Stirlings Change series. It's a fun post apocalyptic read, but there was a point he made that got me thinking. In his dystopic world, humanity has lost modern technology and the generation after the generation that lost the tech are called changelings. The older generation doesn't know what to make of the changelings and the changelings in turn think of the older generation as one that seems more focused on observing itself as opposed to just being and doing. And that insight interests me because I think there is some truth to it. Technology makes life easier, but it also makes life much more distant. People can hide behind screens and watch the world go by without really interacting with it. I write that with a sense of irony as I'm typing this message into a screen, but I do think that just watching the world go by, getting sucked into T.V., computers, and mobile devices isn't doing us any favors. It makes avoiding living easier. It's probably why I am so resistant to technology overall. I see it as an intrusion of sorts, even as I ironically rely on it.

3-09-13 I had a dream last night, where Kat was dressed in a suit of armor, with a sword and shield and she was protecting me from a gaunt starved lion with a mangy mane. It was a vivid dream and on consideration of it this morning I realized it meant that I was feeling more comfortable with her feeling protective of me. I have to admit that I've struggled with feeling comfortable with someone feeling protective of me. I've always had to take care of myself, so allowing someone else to be protective is really me allowing myself to feel open and vulnerable enough to trust someone to protect me.

I also had some other realizations. I ask Kat a lot if she is happy, but I realize what I'm really asking is: Am I safe? I ask that because if I know she is happy then I can relax, and yet its not her. It's reactions to the past. It's the realization that I'm asking that question because I've had experiences where I have not felt safe and the way I've gauged such safety is the mood of the person.  I'm going to sit with this realization and work through it carefully. I recognize that this has the potential to be a trip mine and if not handled carefully it could blow up in my face. When you deal with deeper issues like this it can be very important to work with it gradually. The point isn't to work through it in a day, but rather to work through it carefully and allow myself a way to heal.

The other realization I had was one of recognizing how a person's issues can be used as an excuse to justify behavior. I say that with the recognition that sometimes I've justified behavior because of my issues, but the truth it that we should never justify a behavior because of an issue. Instead we should use the behavior to identify and work with the issue so that it doesn't continue to cause problems in our lives and relationships. I've gotten better about it, but I know that I owe it to myself to be honest about whether I've used my behaviors around my issues to justify my behavior. And the same applies to other people. If you use your dysfunction to justify your behaviors, you aren't taking responsibility for them or their effect on others. It just continues the problem instead of solving it. Taking responsibility isn't easy. What it really involves is doing this careful internal work where you recognize how the dysfunctional issues are showing up in your behavior and then you work with the behavior and issues using meditation and therapy as needed to get to the root of the issue.

3-10-13 Relying on other people brings up a lot of mixed feelings in me. I've been self-sufficient for a long time because I learned early on that I needed to take care of me. Yet to some degree I've relied on other people as well. I've never been so self sufficient that I wasn't relying on someone else to some extent.  And yet purposely relying on someone does bring up both a feeling of being loved and supported and a feeling of fear. As I sit with it, I realize that it's as much an issue of trusting myself to trust someone else as it is to trust someone else.

3-19-13 I haven't had a chance to update this entry recently, but a lot has happened in the week or so. I've been having some more vivid dreams, all of which have dealt with people in my life, but all of which have also been representative of something deeper, a sense of conflict in myself which seems to be coming to the surface more. Some of the conflict is around receiving from other people, and some of it is around my spiritual work. I've realized lately that I just haven't felt as deeply connected to it. That's hard to admit, but at the same time I can't not be honest with myself. So I've been revisiting techniques that I've been practicing for a while from the perspective of a beginner, rereading the books and redoing the exercises more methodically. And its helping me realize how easy it can be to take one's spiritual work for granted.

Recently, I got a shamanic astrology reading from a friend of mine. I've had a couple of astrological readings in the past and they've always been accurate. His were accurate as well in terms of certain trends, behaviors, and challenges I've experienced or am experiencing as well as describing certain life patterns I'm working on that are more of a lifetime focus. He indicated to me that I'm about to go into the dark night of the soul. I laughed and half jokingly said, "Haven't I done enough of those?" He told me of a couple of other cycles as well that I'll be experiencing around the same time. The DNS lasts a year and a half, and it was interesting to me because I'd actually decided that I needed to extend my work with this element for another year after this October. I want to deepen my work with movement, and I've already begun thinking how I could factor in this cycle and the others into that work, as well as into the work of the next element after movement.

I'd felt some apprehension after he did the reading, but in thinking it over, I'm looking forward to whatever internal work comes my way. There's nothing inherently challenging about any cycle...and there is something to be said for the attitude that a person brings into the work s/he is doing. As I re-examine my attitude and my practices, I feel like I'm gearing up to go deeper and come out wiser on the other side.

And recently Eros has been coming into my meditations more. He has told me to meditate on the relationship between stillness and movement and suggested that it might prove beneficial to examine how the two work together and feed into each other. There's some Taoist and Western esoterica that discusses these two elements in conjunction with each other and my own meditations have gotten me thinking about how movement is sometimes used to avoid stillness, but also how stillness is at the heart of movement and an attractor of it. More next month...

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 4

Eros 1-23-13 I'm filled with self-loathing today, of an intensity I haven't felt since over 3 years ago. I'd say that for the most part I'm generally not filled with self-loathing, but occasionally it happens, especially when I let someone down. Anyway I'm filled with it and I tried to exercise today. I managed to exercise, but it was probably one of the hardest sessions, because I didn't feel into it in the way I do when I'm happy. If anything I felt kind of nauseous and heavy and unbalanced. I did the movements, but I had more trouble focusing on them. The part of myself that I consider to be the magician observed all of this with fascination, making mental notes that I could later share here, but the rest of me just felt so much pain and anger toward myself, and guilt over feeling like a burden.

I think about what I wrote earlier today, in the last entry for month 3, about how the recognition that you aren't moving or that you are moving very slowly can help you recognize obstacles in your life. I feel like I am the biggest obstruction to my own movement sometimes. I think if you're aware enough, you inevitably recognize that at least some of the non movement in your life is caused by yourself and your own dysfunctions. And as much as I make progress, sometimes I am just slogging through as best I can. Today is one of those days. I am grateful that this kind of day is rare now. There was a period of time where a day like this was something I experienced pretty much every day. I don't feel this way normally...but the next time I do I don't think I'll exercise that day.

1-24-13 My self-loathing culminated in a fever. I was sick all of last night...aches and a high temperature. It was a purging of all these emotions I was feeling, aided by a cathartic discussion with Kat about the issues at hand. This morning the fever was gone, as were any of the emotions. I felt like a new person, released from what I'd felt. New possibilities seemed to show up through the day. Sometimes the way to move something is to simply experience head on and fully embody it...not pleasant, but afterwards its purged.

1-26-12 So much for not being sick. I managed to break the fever on Thursday because I basically drew on internal resources to do it. I adrenalined my way over it, which lasted until Friday night, when I didn't need to be social anymore. So I'm sick again and just trying to rest, hoping it'll be gone by Monday, which is another busy, busy day.

2-1-13 I've been thinking about creativity and sexuality, and how they are expressions of a person's life energy, but also how they can effect each other. Too much of one expression can lead to a dissolution of the other. I have been reviewing my periods of creativity and I've noticed that I'm at my most creative when my sexual energy is focused and at my least creative when my sexual energy is unfocused. This has helped me understand periods of non-creativity and also helped me appreciate the relationship I'm in now. It's also made me realize how even minor interactions have been a distraction or spreading out of my energy. I want to focus my energy on what really matters, so I'm watching my interactions with more conscious intent, so that I can refocus on my goals and creative work.

2-06-13 I've been noticing that as I do the Tae bo exercises there's a point where I'm not really doing them so much as being them. I'm not trying to exercise, so much as I'm falling into and becoming the motion of the exercise. I relax into the exercise, into the motions and the exercise experience changes as a result. I feel more present with my body and feel an intimate sense of connection with each motion that consequently makes me feel really good. The effort is there, but it's not me acting on my body, so much as aligning with it. I've never had that experience before, but I think its come about because of the work with movement as an element. I'm more consciously aware of each movement and how it makes my body, my being feel as it resonates throughout me.

2-7-13 Sometimes movement is really about intuition and more specifically what intuition is providing in the way of information. I got this intuition earlier today that the next couple of weeks would be important for my businesses. We'll see what happens, but in general my intuition seems to be spot on and I could just feel this movement, this awareness of movement for my life.

2-10-13 Kat and I have been reading Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, which discusses the topic of grievance at some length. The other night I realized that by holding on the grievances of past relationships that I was still involved in those relationships. It doesn't matter if I haven't seen or talked to the person in a while. By being emotionally engaged with that person I am still in a relationship of sorts, albeit a toxic one that doesn't benefit me. I recognized this and it made me look at how my grievances carry those past relationships into my current one, which consequently then effects my interactions with Kat in ways that don't keep me present in my relationship with her. This realization really helped me look at some of my behaviors and choices in a new light, in a way that I think will help me account for when I am feeling a grievance of the past so that I can dismiss it and focus on the present.

2-12-13 Sometimes I feel like a failure as a business owner. I have clients who I've helped grow their business, but growing mine and making it viable seems to be out of reach. Than at other times I feel like I'm on top of the world and I actually get this whole business thing and know what I'm doing. From working with my clients, I know this is something every business owner feels. But at the same time I do feel alone as well. Being a business owner is lonely, because if you have people to commiserate with at some point you also have the reality of owning your business, with all the work that goes with it, to get back to as well. Kat reminds me that I rebranded my business last year, basically started over at square one, and on top of that really started to make magical experiments into a business as well. I just want it to get easier. And yeah I know I'm whining, but I'm allowed on occasion. I work my @$$ off for my businesses.

2-13-13 Today I'm feeling much better about business. It likely helped that I went to a networking event where I got a couple of ideas on how to enhance my business offerings, as well as meeting up with a few familiar faces. I do feel a current of movement happening...with both of my businesses. I'm trusting it and enhancing it because it is tipping the odds in my favor. And once I hit the tipping point, away I'll go.

2-14-13 A quick realization about grievance. I can hold grievance in a different space from the actual relationship I am in and recognize how grievance is influencing the relationship. When I choose to open up about my grievances and share them from a place of vulnerability, without applying them to the relationship I am in, I can help Kat understand them for what they are and we can work together to recognize and defuse them. I did that this morning with her and I was able to let myself feel the pain of that grievance without attaching it to our relationship. I felt much better afterwards. I also felt liberated by the process and feel that I can continue to use it to help me grow as a person, as well as in the relationships I am in.

2-16-13 Another realization about grievance. On a deep level grievance is something you use to justify why you are fucked up, why you are dysfunctional, why you are unloved. It says, "See here is all the supporting reasons to show you are unloved and unwanted." On a different note, I'm at Pantheacon, which always brings up a mixture of memories and emotions, as well as feelings about whether I really belong, or wondering where my community is. Why does it bring all that up? Likely because I feel like a fish out of water in some ways. I am not a partyer for instance so I don't find visiting the hospitality suites to be as much fun because most of the people are there to party. There is a lot of small talk that happens and small talk isn't what I want. I crave deep conversations, or doing magic, or something else along those lines and sometimes I get that...I just have to find the right hospitality suite. Kat and I ended up in the People of Color hospitality suite and got into a long conversation about privilege and some of the challenges the POC faced getting a hospitality suite. And afterwards I chatted with a fellow about his book idea and I'm looking forward to getting it.

And I've been observing other authors. The really successful ones like, Thorn Coyle and Christopher Penczak, have a community and teams of people to help them realize their vision. Thorn even has videos and I seek book release parties left and right for various authors. I realize what a deficit I am operating at. I've been going it alone for so long as an author, and to a large extent as a publisher as well. Kat and I have talked a bit about what we can do to change that and on the drive back to Portland we'll discuss it further, but even one of my authors expressed concern about the amount of work involved for me. I appreciated that.

Actually one of the highlights of pantheacon has been talking with several of my authors, ones from the beginning and more recent ones, who expressed appreciation for Immanion Press and the work we've done and how I and Storm have helped out. I felt deeply touched when one author told me that she couldn't even begin to express how much she appreciated my help and how much she felt I'd contributed to and influenced her community through the Immanion Press work I was doing. I needed to hear that. I really needed to hear it and hearing it really helped me feel acknowledged in a deep way. I admit that sometimes I feel stressed with the amount of work involved with Immanion (and to be fair Storm does even more), so getting acknowledgement is really important, especially because a lot of the work is essentially volunteer work. I don't get paid a salary to do what I do, but I'm doing the publishing for the love of the books and the community.

I also got to meet Ivo Dominguez, Jr. and do a book exchange with him. I was thrilled to talk with him, because I've found his blogs intriguing. I'm hoping we'll get to know each other better, and I'm appreciative of getting some time and just talking with him about publishing and magic. I even got a good suggestion from him about distribution. As an author myself, I always appreciate it when other authors make time for me. I know their time is valuable and it means a lot that they make the time.

2-20-13 The more I work with movement, the more I realize how easy it is to take it for granted. We move everyday, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, but the conscious appreciation of movement makes it very apparent just how integral movement is. Movement defines a person, the identity of the person, creates structure and realization of possibilities. I have moved a lot this month and my work with movement has helped me see how movement can lead to lots of possibilities, but also how movement can limit, under the right circumstances. I feel that purposeful movement can be as much a limitation as a possibility. If I choose to move this way I close one door, but also open others. And the significance of any move is at the same time much more personal than anything else. If I choose to only publish my books with Immanion for instance, it is a personal move made for specific reasons that most people may not care about unless I choose to say move in another way, but even then such significance only really lasts in the life of the person doing the movement.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 2

Eros 11-22-2012 I've made a lot of changes in my life in the last few years. One of those changes has been parenthood. Until a few years ago I was child free. Becoming a step parent has been a challenge at times. Learning how to be a parent has really involved learning how to relate to two people at their level of experience, while also learning the parenting experience itself. Most of the time I think I have a handle on it, but sometimes I don't think I get it at all. Learning to be a parent has been good for me in a variety of ways. It's allowed me to make peace with some of my childhood wounds, while learning a level of responsibility and awareness of others that I've admittedly not cultivated prior to becoming a step parent. But such movement requires work, time, experience, and patience.

I am still figuring out my approach to parenting, while also balancing it with my wife's approach, and with the awareness that I am a step parent and also a person who hasn't been in the lives of my kids for the entirety of their lives. I am very aware of the fact that I only have so much say as a step parent and that while I have something I can offer to the kids, they may not even be all that interested in what I have to offer. The main lesson is learning to be patient with them and myself, as well as working with Kat on parenting.

11-26-12 Movement happens in all directions, both spatially and temporally. We can move into the past even as we seemingly, steadily move into the future. I am reminded of this on occasions where a memory from the past flits up to my awareness calling for awareness of it and whatever lesson it has to offer. Living in the present, in the moment is also an act of movement that rarely occurs because it calls on a person to fully be in the moment.

11-27-12 I've been re-reading some books with Kat and I've noticed the words Being and Identity coming up a fair amount. Made me realize how the ontological concept of magic has been on my mind for a lot longer than I'd realized. The seed was planted over a decade ago and it's only come into fruition in the last few years, and is still evolving. That kind of movement is something you want to appreciate because of how it helps you recognize the important themes of your life.

12-01-12 When I think about the kinds of pop culture characters I am drawn to, the ones I like, its the characters who are amoral, who are broken in some way or form and yet have a found a way to succeed despite being broken. I like them because they are reflections of myself. I am broken in some ways. I don't know if I will ever not be broken in those ways and while I can work on the issues around the broken parts of myself and make some changes, there is also a recognition that some part of me will always be broken. And like those characters I've realized that following the rules doesn't always work, that sticking with the instructions on the recipe gets boring, and that success is often found by going your own way. Unlike those characters I've realized long ago that I don't want to perpetuate the cycle of dysfunction. Yes I am broken but that doesn't mean others need to go through it. When I apply movement as an element to this understanding it is with the recognition that I am moving from one cycle of life to another, to discontinue the cycle of dysfunction that has shaped my life.

12-11-12 Went in for a physical yesterday and found out today I might have diabetes. I might not, since I ate a granola bar for breakfast and it has a lot of refined sugar, but even if I don't, its a wake up call. I've more weight than I want to have and the walks and other exercise aren't doing enough. That and the diet needs to change. Movement brings change and awareness of your body. I feel that although I do exercise regularly, I can improve my relationship with my body and this situation makes me aware of that as well.

12-12-12 Movement is sometimes defined in context to what you are moving away from or towards. I thought about this today as I met with my business coach. One of the actions he has asked me to do involves doing more direct marketing, i.e. meeting with people one to one to talk with them about what I do and learn what they do so we can refer each other. I'll admit, it's a push out of my comfort zone, but I also realize I haven't leveraged my business relationships in the best possible way and it shows. I've found relating to people to be awkward and although I've gotten better at it, I know there's room for improvement. So this movement calls on me to move toward an action I need to do, while moving away from my reticence. I can handle that and I feel the last couple of days has in one way or another been inspired by my work with movement...if for no other reason than to remind me that I need to make some changes in my life, and what else is change, but movement of one kind or another?

12-13-12: I have pre-diabetes. Basically my blood sugar is too high, the sugar isn't getting processed the way it needs to. It's not diabetes and I have time to reverse it. Kat and I decided that we both need to lose some weight, so I've ordered some Tai Bo exercise videos, and we've also ordered nutrisystem meals, which will help us lose weight. We're going to make some changes in diet as well, cut out most of the starches. I can do this, and I know I will feel better. It's odd though because I weigh 255, but you wouldn't easily be able to tell it. Kat told me that the weight seems to mostly go to my belly, and even there not so much. I do think the daily push-ups and sit-ups have helped, as has the walking, but I need something more rigorous. My metabolism has obviously slowed.

Movement is manifesting in my life. The need to exercise and diet is just another manifestation and I'm glad its happening because I want to live a healthy life. Although I'll admit I feel a little dismayed about my health, I also feel hope, because I know I already have a plan of action and I'm moving on it. There's no point in dwelling on the negatives...better to focus on what you can do about it.

12-17-12 In one form or another I've undertaken movement in multiple areas of my life, urged on by a need to change and a realization that I've been in a rut in some ways. I've been calling people I'm connected with and setting up meetings to get to know them better. And yesterday I did a Tai Bo exercise for the first time in years. At one time I found the exercises easy to do, but yesterday it was hard work and I could feel the burn, a good sign and exhilarating because I really allowed myself to get into it. I'm being careful not to overdo it, but I like the idea of knowing that with steady and disciplined work my body will different and in better shape than it has in a while.

12-20-12 The last couple of days I've continued the Tai-bo exercises and in just a couple days it's already gotten easier, which is a bit of consolation really because it means the exercises I was doing before were helping to some degree. We've also gotten the nutri-system diet, which I'll be starting soon.

Today in the small business management course we focused on renewal for your business, but also for yourself and something that was said made a real impact on me. The what ifs keep you from being present with who and what you have and the experience you have in the present. I've been getting better about the what ifs and being more present, but I could feel this blockage around my shoulder and I started doing the Taoist Water Meditation breathing, allowing it go to work on the blockage as I continued to listen and take in everything. I felt the blockages come loose just a bit...There is work there I need to do, a holding patten I need to let go of, but I feel movement happening and a sense of the beginner's mind, not knowing because I recognize that I know equals I don't want to hear it.

12-21-12 We started nutri-system tonight. The food is different. there's a distinct, subtle taste, a kind of tang. I think it's the appetite suppressant, but it works. I ate a portion much smaller than I'd usually eat and I don't feel hungry. And what you use to supplement this diet makes it workable, but what I like most is that it will likely help me eat smaller portions once I'm off of it. I've always liked my food, but I know I can like it and still eat healthy.

12-22-12 Kat and I are reading Relaxing into Being by B. K. Frantzis. I've read the book a few times, but re-reading it is always helpful and its fair to say its one of the more significant works in my life. Re-reading it now has helped me re-examine my meditation practice and do it more mindfully. You can get to doing a technique so often that sometimes you don't stay present with it and I realized that had happened with me. So the last few days I've been doing this practice and working on a couple of deep-set blocks and this morning I woke up from a dream I'd had where Kat decided to leave because of something minor I'd done and we talked about it. And as we did this I felt this block in my chest start to dissolve and this pouring of emotion come out. It was a powerful feeling that moved me and moved our conversation. In turn Kat had her own dissolving occur. It was a powerful bonding experience for us that allowed us to explore the issue between us in a way that was safe and respectful.

I close out this month with the realization that perhaps what I am learning the most about movement is how to really let myself be moved. It's a realization that's been occurring for a while, but it's coming into fruition into a form that I can share with others who want to learn.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement month 1

10-22-12 Last night I did the switch over to the element of movement. Eros, who is traditionally thought of as a love deity, but also has some attributes related to movement. I got a statue of him a little while back and I paced that statue on my Tesser-act board and then I vocalized his name, calling to make a connection with him. We connected and then I entered into a meditative state where we talked movement in my life. He had me feel the movement of my heart and other parts of my body, and then we looked at the movement of my relationships, businesses, and life. He told me that we'd be doing a lot of work and he was right, because right out the gate he gave me a challenge.

He told me that I needed to write to two of my relatives. I have some blocks with these people and he felt that I needed to address them instead of avoiding them. So today I wrote to letters and sent them off. Right now I feel queasy. They were not easy letters to write, but I also feel some sense of movement within myself. I feel these places of tension and old pain being stirred and while its not fun to feel, I know that choosing to face it could free me of that pain and tension.

10-23-12 I've had one relative respond, while the other has not. The one who responded offered excuses more than anything else. Still its not what is offered, but what I get, which is movement away from moments that have defined my life in ways I no longer find useful, and never really did. Eros, with his curly locks, and angel wings tells me that movement is a state of being as well as transition,  space become fluid.

10-26-12 When I met with my business coach earlier this week he suggested that I create a time budget sheet and analyze where I'm putting my time and/or even prioritizing my time. I have decided to do the project because it will be good for my businesses, but also because it is an analysis of my movement. He even suggested that if I could cut back on certain activities, it might prove helpful in terms of helping me focus, which I'm inclined to agree with, especially when I put it into context with working with movement. I find it ironic then that in November, I'll be in a situation where I will necessarily have to scale back some of my activities due to a temporary limitation of movement. But there is value in starting in stillness, because stillness is the seed of movement.

10-27-12 In meditation today I ended up revisiting some past memories of my childhood. Eros pointed out that remembering is its own form of movement, an attempt to rewrite the past or come to terms with it or even just to experience it. I felt something crack open and inside was a candle flame. He told me it was the flame of my childhood hopes, still burning even with everything that happened. I approached it with the reverence and wonder of a child, allowing myself to bask in its warm glow, even as I fed it with the hope I feel now.

10-29-12 I've been reading Cupid's Poison with Kat. Reading it has been mind blowing in terms of understanding the physiology of orgasm sex vs non-orgasm sex and in terms of understanding how physiological changes induced by orgasm have contributed to relationship problems in the past. It also has caused me to look at polyamory in a new light, especially when you look at the arguments in books on poly which state that one of the reasons people choose polyamory is because one person can't entirely fulfill the needs another person has. For a long time I believed that, but my views have been shifting for the last half year, mainly because I am with someone who I can really open up to and feel safe with, and most recently because of this book and its explanation of what happens to the neurobiology of a person after orgasm. Certain behaviors make a lot more sense to me now because I can actually track the changes in behavior and recognize a physiological correspondence. And I can also track those behaviors in myself and others from previous relationships as well as observing the behaviors in other people's relationships. The effects that orgasm has on a person's neurochemistry explains the biological part of the drama that occurs in romantic relationships (whether monogamous or polyamorous). So I'm trying something different for a while, and having sex without orgasm being the goal, just to see what happens on a behavior and physiological level.

11-2-2012 It's interesting to me that my first month of working with movement involves dealing with the reality of having some of my mobility constrained due to circumstances not in my control. Nonetheless I find the synchronicity of it useful as does Eros, in terms of really appreciating movement as an element in all of its forms, up to and including the restriction in movement.

11-7-12 Tonight Kat and I had a discussion about my ability to let others spoil me. I've never handled being spoiled all that well. Truth is I've always felt like I needed to give, but part of that has been a way to protect myself from others.If I gave them pleasure whether in bed or in other ways and they were happy, then I could be safe, and maybe even have some control over the situation. Allowing someone else to spoil me has always made me uncomfortable, at risk, perhaps they will really see me, and consequently no longer want me. I didn't say it was rational, but it makes sense in a twisted kind of way. I feel blocked when it comes to receiving pleasure and I see that most poignantly in the fact that I feel it is important to make sure someone else is happy, or that there pleasure comes first. It was ingrained in me early the chores, make sure others are happy and maybe you'll be left alone...or put the pleasure of your lover first and maybe you'll be worthy of being kept for a little while longer. Allowing someone to actually take care of me, pleasure me, spoil me is so different, brings up so takes a lot of patience on my end and the other person to work through all the issues that come up as a result.

11-13-2012 As I've continued to read Cupid's Poisoned Arrow and carefully looked at my sexual history, and weighed it's neurochemical research with the research I've done into neuroscience, I am more and more convinced that there is merit to the arguments of the book. My experiences with Dopamine were of it as a trickster, and it seems born out. If you have an excess of dopamine, you have impulsive sensation seeking, unhealthy risk taking, aggression, sexual fetishes and compulsions, more wanting but less liking of sex. All of that sounds like me at my worst. If you have deficient dopamine it causes low libido, inability to love, erectile dysfunction (or the female equivalent) depression, social anxiety and low energy. I can think of a few people those symptoms apply to. If there is a healthy amount of dopamine there is also healthy bonding and libido, energy and vitality, motivation, sound choices, etc.

Books on polyamory commonly argue that poly occurs because one person can't fulfill all your needs. If you look at the neurochemical effects of orgasm sex, especially in regards to habituation, then this argument makes sense. But if you were to refrain from orgasm and focus on sex as a bonding activity, I don't think that argument holds up. Instead of feeling restless and empty, I feel clear-headed and more focused, happy and satisfied. However having also had orgasms, I've noticed that spending time bonding afterwards seem to really be the key. If you are cuddling and consciously focused on bonding it makes a difference. Maybe the key is simply making time to connect with someone very consciously, which I'll admit is something I never did much of, prior to this relationship.

11-18-12 Today I cleaned out the closet and got rid of about 1/3rd of the clothing and other effects. The space feels better for it. I got rid of some clothes Ive had for over a decade, but I'm not one for meaningless sentiment. Keeping something for memory's sake just weighs you down. If the memories are really worth having, they will still be something you'll recall.

11-19-12 Closing this first month out, I'm struck by the relationship between stillness and movement. One seems to lead into another and neither is necessarily contradictory to the other.  I haven't moved and yet I have moved. I have also been moved even in being still. There is never a time without movement of some kind.

Month 10 Fire Elemental Balancing Ritual

8-11-12 I haven't written in this post for half a month, not because things weren't happening but because life has been so busy. Part of it's been the catch up on work after you are done with a vacation and part of it has also been coming to the final part of a writing project I've been working on and thus focusing more on it than anything else. Whenever I get close to finishing a writing project it becomes the center of my reality. So let's see...

I've just started reading another book on relationships with my wife. It's one I'd read before, but at that time I was the only one to read it. Reading it with someone else adds a dimension to the experience because of the discussions K and I are having about the book and what the author's take on relationships means to both of us. I think that with this relationship I am discovering what love can really be, not just in terms of loving another but also myself. I can honestly say that I never felt as content or happy in my life as I've felt the last couple of years. We've had our bumps along the way, but we've been able to work through them with a level of openness and honesty that I was unable to give or receive previously.

The fire work has been interesting more in terms of the direction its pointing me to: Eros aka movement. I'll get into that more at some point, but right now its in an exploratory stage. Fire in and of itself has really been about (this month and every month) coming to peace with my passions and desires and recognizing how much they've been driven by a feeling of emptiness and restlessness, which in doing this work and the relationship work has actually become much less prevalent. I still feel restless occasionally, but I am able to identify it and work with it in a way that had eluded me in the past.

8-12-12 When I think about my place in the Pagan-Occult community, I tend to think of myself as someone on the outskirts of said community. I feel that way in just about any community, and I recognize that a lot of it is my own choice, but it also born as much from a disassociation with people in general. At times I feel like I'm an observer who is studying everything around me. What offerings I bring are genuine, but they come from the outside, offering with the unusual perspective that can only come when you choose to go away from the norm and tried and true to discover whatever else is out there.

Even as a writer and publisher I'm on the outside. I've chosen to publish my books with a small publisher that does print on demand books. While my books are carried in independent stores, you'll likely never see them on the walls of a Barnes and Noble or Powells books simply because retailers don't like it when they can't return books that don't sell.  I could probably get published by Llewellyn or another publisher at this point, but I doubt I'd have the level of control over the text or cover art that I have and generally what I've seen from the majority of publishers doesn't inspire a level of confidence in me that the work will be respected in the way it needs to be.

And that's the benefit of being on the outside...very few people care if you fit in if you already don't fit in. And not fitting in allows you some liberties you might not discover otherwise. And sometimes you even discover, as I have, that there are more people into your work then you thought there were and more people who appreciate the perspective because they see the value it brings.

8-15-12 There are days when I wake up and do not like the person I see in the mirror. Fortunately they are few and far between, but on those days I am reminded of my burdens, of my remorse, of the mistakes I've made. There are some things you never forget because you know you need to remember them as a reminder of who you don't want to be. And then too there's that feeling of wanting to find something to distract you from what you are feeling, which is absolutely the worst choice to make. You may not like what you feel, but being present with it, working through it is far better then trying to distract yourself. That's something I've had to learn the hard way, and its still something I'm learning. I'm better at this realization than I was a few years ago, but its still a struggle on a day like today. The urge to run away or lose myself or whatever else because I don't want to feel what I'm feeling is sharp, yet instead of doing all that, I chose to feel it, chose to feel my unhappiness with myself, chose to feel the pain I am feeling. I chose to be present and move in that presence through meditation and mediation of what I'm feeling. I don't know that this makes me a better person so much as it makes me someone who is choosing to be aware of his moments of weakness and vulnerability.

And there is also this other current that has recently come to my attention around movement via Eros. I need to do some movement rituals for areas of my life that I feel stuck in right now. Change happens through movement, but intentional movement is better then just any movement. The point isn't to run away. The point is to move toward a solution.

8-17-12 When you live with fear each day you must learn to face it, or otherwise let it control you. Whether its fear of change, the unknown or something else, you either learn to master it, or it masters you. When it masters you, it stops you from acting, and when you master it, you use it to motivate your actions.

8-21-12 As one cycle begins to wind down another cycle begins to wind up. Still its important to focus on the moment at hand, and appreciate what is happening now. Too many people are focused on getting to the next moment, and thus they miss out on what is happening around them right now. I used to be that way, myself, and now find myself savoring each moment I have far more than I used to. My tomorrows are not infinite and what I have to experience is what is present right now. Maintaining presence is being in the present as it presents itself to you and through you.