WednesdayWisdoms: Self-Forgiveness Ritual

img_2631On Monday, we spoke about forgiveness and spirituality when it comes to trauma. But instead of focusing on forgiving who harmed us, I think it’s more important that we forgive ourselves for the emotions we feel as we go through the healing process. It was not the clothes you were wearing, how much you drank, what you said, or how you said it. Abuse is abuse, and nothing will change until we make that abundantly clear.

 

So, to promote SELF- forgiveness, I’ve concocted a special ritual for victims of abuse (sexual or otherwise.) I think it will help to stimulate growth and strength.

Be well and be strong, for you are a survivor.

Supplies

  • Black Salt
  • Rose Quartz (for unconditional love)
  • Rose incense or Sage
  • A journal
  • White Candle
  • A water basin
  • A mirror

 

Ritual

Use sage or incense to purify the area. If you wish, smudge in a pentagram formation to call in the elements to help you through this. Also, use the smoke to cleanse your rose quartz of unwanted energy.

Sit in a comfortable position on the floor, with your white candle in front of you. This signifies purity. Sprinkle the black salt completely around you in a circle for protection, light the candle, and take out the journal.

Write down everything you can remember about your assault. I know this is difficult, but in a clear and objective manner, write down what happened. If you start to cry, it’s ok. Just feel through the emotions. Once you are done. Fold the piece of paper in half away from you and set it down,

Stare into the blue light of the flame and call in it’s power. Call in it’s passion and will for survival. Stare into the blue flame until you, yourself, become hot.

Take your piece of paper and set it over the flame, watching it burn as the memory becomes part of your past, and not who you are as a person. Before the flame grows out of control, throw it in the water basin.

Take the mirror, and stare into your eyes. Find the deepest part of you, and repeat three times:

“My body is merely a vessel, and no harm can come to my soul unless I allow it. I call in strength, power, and forgiveness to propel me forward into healing.”

Then put the mirror down, hold the rose quartz to your heart’s center, and imagine a pink light emanating from the stone and connecting with your heart. Imagine it slowly enveloping you in it’s radiance, and chant “forgiveness” as it grows.

Sit in meditation with this illuminating light for as long as it feels comfortable, and when you are ready, snuff out the candle, thank the elements, and break the circle.

I hope this proves to open the gate of healing for you. Stay witchy ( *)

 

Spirituality and Sexual Assault: The Literal Mind Fuck

Kristen Johnston was recently on my favorite podcast (you guessed it, What’s the Tee?) and she mentioned an article by Nancy Colier. In this article, titled “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in it is Not More Spiritual,” she details the immense pressure we put on ourselves to be open and forgiving to those that have wronged us, for fear that we have not achieved a heightened sense of spirituality.

When it comes to certain trauma, like abuse, we are taught that forgiveness will set us free. And when we still have emotional responses to triggers or actually seeing our abuser, it’s possible to feel that we actually haven’t forgiven at all.

However, these emotional responses are a product of our reptilian brain, the oldest and most basic part of our brain that is only focused on survival. While you can decide on forgiveness in your prefrontal cortex, your reptilian brain may not follow suit. And that is ok. In fact, the forgiveness we practice should be turned towards ourselves. Rather than pushing the limits of our instinct to be “higher” and more “elevated,” we should accept ourselves for what just is.

If you have experienced this kind of immeasurable betrayal, as pictured in the Ten of Swords, forgiveness is not something that just happens because you decide so. There is a natural ebb and flow to healing, and while self exploration will help move things along faster, you cannot cut corners on healing from trauma. This is because new questions arise every day, concerning what you did to deserve this kind of treatment. And the answer is nothing. The answer is forgiving yourself for every feeling and honoring your emotions. THAT is where the spirituality lies.

As the Five of Cups suggests, it is time to move on and forgive. But the only person you owe that to is yourself. And in time, once you’ve accepted your space and have healed properly, you may forgive your abuser. But, as the article above stresses, you don’t need to push yourself in that direction. Your fight/ flight/ flee responses will always try to protect you, and they don’t need to be shamed. Suffering through these responses by being around your abuser, just to prove you’ve forgiven them, is not helping anyone.

So, forgive from afar. Protect yourself and honor yourself first. You don’t owe anyone contact if it doesn’t serve you. Remember that, and stay witchy ( *)

WednesdayWisdoms: Crafting a Baseline Routine

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Brought to you by a small bout of anxiety and depression, here is your WednesdayWisdoms exercise for the week!

Last post I fessed up about over-doing it on vacation and the spiral it led me down as a result. And under further investigation, I found that it is because I’ve strayed from my baseline routine.

There are certain things in everyone’s life that bring them joy and order. And when you abandon all of that for a certain length of time, you begin to float around in a sea of worry, not really realizing where you are in the ocean. And that’s because you pulled up your anchor.

Now the beauty of that, is that once you realize you’ve been floating aimlessly and that’s why you feel like shit, you can always drop anchor again! Now, what makes your anchor so sturdy?

For me, if I don’t have a steady diet, exercise, and meditation, I will go nuts. I will literally run off of the rails. And it’s very easily explainable. I don’t have proper nutrients to fuel my body, so I’m tired and feel gross, which means I don’t exercise. If I don’t exercise, I don’t get any endorphins, so I’m unhappy. And when I don’t meditate, I don’t clear a space in my head for my thoughts to pass through and it all becomes a screaming mess.

There are additional things, too. Like if I go too long without listening to an uplifting podcast (What’s the Tee with RuPaul and Michelle Visage and Your Kick Ass Life with Andrea Owen are my faves) or singing at the top of my lungs, I peter out as well.

So this week, I want you to observe your routine. What is it that maintains balance in your life? Is the morning cup of coffee from your Keurig an absolute staple? What about midday yoga? A certain TV show before you fall asleep? What brings happiness and order into your life?

Start naming these things and hold them at the highest importance. These are your new non-negotiables. No clients before coffee. No emails once you’ve turned on Golden Girls. Do not let these snippets of joy be compromised by anyone or anything. They are your baseline. They are your anchor.

So next time you feel an energy shift, do a check in with your routine. Have you been neglecting the things that provide order and happiness? Keep it together and stay witchy ( *)

Taking a Vacation from Self Help

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The title of this post is not an endorsement, nor is it something I intended to do. But, let’s face it, this work is a 24/7/365 JOB.

Even as someone who has made this into my line of work and the source of my creativity, I must make a constant, valiant effort to keep it in the forefront of my mind. And now, it’s confession time, because when I took my vacation in June, I ended up taking off from everything.

I am inherently impulsive and emotional. Not the greatest combination, especially when you throw a lot of your personal work to the wind. Constant celebration and parties tend to blur what’s important and shove it into the background. And that is exactly what I’ve been doing.

Shown by the Eight of Wands, a card of whirlwind speed and haste, you can get caught up in glitz of it all and forget what you’ve been fighting all of this time for.

Although my business (and my brain!) is important to me, I’ve had a lot of bad days during my vacation and over the holiday. It has been harder for me to bounce back than usual. And I’ll tell you why:

Your inner critic, inner demons, inner monsters, whatever you want to call them, will always be inside your head. Your job, in order to stay sane and healthy, is to pump up your inner cheerleader, so she’s much louder than those voices, and to shout them into submission. When you don’t stay on top of that, those little gremlin bastards creep closer and closer to the very front of your mind until they are all you can see, and then we begin to spiral.

This is how easy it is to fall back into depression and anxiety, as noted by the Nine of Swords.

Now the magic here, is, noticing when that happens. I felt a slip, and I have to tell you, with the amount of work that I’ve done on myself in recent years, my bounce back time was a fraction of what it used to be. I recognized old patterns, nipped it in the bud, and now I’m back to magical old Shawney.

My point of this, though, is to stress the importance of staying on top of your game. When you’re on vacation, listen to your body and your intuition. Make sure they have a voice, and respect yourself. You don’t need to throw caution into the gutter to have a great time! In fact, if you stay on your shit, you’ll preserve it and save yourself the guilt and shame! So remember from my mistakes next time you want to let loose, and as always, stay witchy ( *)

WednesdayWisdoms: Dealing with a Dictator

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Are you dealing with a high strung manager that won’t get off your back? Try these tips to keep yourself sane under all of the harsh treatment.

1. Remember that they are under A LOT of pressure.

Most likely, if your manager is coming down on you hard for something, it is because they are under direct order to do so. Their delivery might be harsh, because they aren’t too versed in how to communicate, but they are only doing their job. This understanding might help you to just let it go.

2. Breathe

It is really easy to fire back with a response, start to tear up, or shake with anger (whatever your chosen method is) when faced with someone who is a condescending prick. But if you remember to take three deep, long inhales before responding, and slightly meditate on, or at least remind yourself of, the first tip, the whole world starts to feel bigger than just that interaction.

3. Just say yes

This was a huge one for me to learn. I love to have a comeback and an answer, but in all honesty, you need to save yourself the exhaustion. Just agree with your boss. If it’s a deadline that you can’t possibly make because of all of your other work, then speak up in a polite manner, but if it’s anything trivial, just say yes. You don’t even have to do it (haha don’t tell them I told you that.) Sometimes, bosses just need to say something to remind themselves they are the boss. And if you just nod in agreement, they’ll walk away feeling great and you can go on doing your job as well as you always do.

4. Remember the BIG picture

Are you truly happy at this job, despite your boss? Do you like your coworkers, the work you produce, and your hours? Is the pay good? Is the commute worth it? Think of this tip like you think of finding an ideal mate. Tick off all of the must haves, the “great if it did” haves, and the “could do without”s. Is this job meeting your standards? Or are you convincing yourself that you’re happy because you don’t know anything else? Ask the big questions before continuing to put up with a sour asshole who’s bad at communication.

I hope these help you in your future work endeavors. Working for someone else is not easy, but neither is owning a business. Neither is sitting still forever. It all takes work. Just remember to ask yourself what will make you the most happy. Stay witchy ( *)

When the Oppressed Become the Oppressor



Brought to you by another RuPaul gem, this week is all about werk, werk, werk.

In some of his earlier podcast episodes, Ru talks about queens that get a slice of fame after chasing it for so long, and then start to emulate the monster celebrities that preceded them. They become hard to work with and act like damn DIVAS.

Does this sound familiar in any realm of your life? Because, for me, this sounds like what I’ve come to experience when working for other people. And, in all honesty, when I became the person to work for.

When people get promoted from within and have no real managerial experience, the jump is made naturally by mimicking the manager before them. This is the same as a parent/ child dynamic. It’s literally monkey see monkey do. So, if they were berated, mistreated, abused, and overworked, what do you think the natural managing style they will try to adopt is?

Now, unless you are more matured or have an innately high EI, this is the pattern you will follow. But on the flipside, that could hurt you, as it did for me when I became a manager.

Fighting so hard against what I had been exposed to didn’t leave me in a firm middle ground. Instead, it sent me over the line to pansy-ville where I would cater to everyones needs and pick up all of the slack. This was a dire case of people pleasing.

This left me with shoe prints on my back waiting for someone to throw me a bone and help me out. And it was also the precursor for the behavior that sent me down a road of codependence. I had no boundaries to speak of. I couldn’t protect myself from being taken advantage of, all while I thought I was doing the best thing for everyone (which is just impossible.)

Managing a business or department is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be a burden. As the reversed position of the Ten of Wands suggests, you don’t have to unnecessarily hold on to the attachment of dictatorship. There is a way to lead in a structured, yet respectful manner. And you may not learn that until the inevitable chaos of the Tower erupts and you are forced to change.

So, if you’re having trouble with your boss, and you like all of the other aspects about your job except for her or him, just remember that their behavior is a product of conditioning. If they are too hard on you, it’s most likely because they don’t have any other way to assert their dominance. Don’t take it too personally. And if you hate your job entirely, LEAVE. I know it’s a scary world out there, but it’s scarier to sit in a place of complacent misery for the rest of your life. I’ve known countless people to change full on careers between the ages of forty and sixty, so there are no excuses. Any age, any time, you can change your life to make you happier. Use awareness, get happy, and stay witchy ( *)

WednesdayWisdoms: Standards, What?!

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To continue this weeks theme of creating standards and boundaries in love in order to reinforce the positive beliefs in yourself, we’re going to do some writing exercises and watch some movies.

First, pick three movies or tv shows in which you absolutely adore one of the characters romantically and make a profile for each one. Write a list of pros and cons for each character and from there, we’ll pick out the things you’d like to look for in a potential mate.

For example, if Mr. Big is your type, you need to create a list for what you find so attractive and be HONEST. If his womanizing ways turn you on, we need to explore that and find out why. For the most part, we need to dismantle old, unconscious beliefs before we create new and healthy ones.

If you love his sense of fashion, or that he finally stepped up in the end, then write that down too. Your pros and cons are subjective, but each quality needs to be explored.

So for each of the three characters, write three qualities in each column. Notice any overlaps. Try to find out what something seemingly negative or unhealthy lights your fire. Get CURIOUS.

This might come to a bit of a shock, because this is perhaps the first time you’ve even looked at why you’re attracted to certain kinds of men. And it might be scary, but remember that the future hasn’t happened yet, and you have the ability to change it! Stay aware and stay witchy ( *)