Standing By Your Shit

 

The Moon symbolizes fears and illusions within the subconscious. A lot of the times these fears will come up in interpersonal relationships, because if you critique yourself too harshly, more often than not you will project these illusions on other people. Judgement and shame will do that to a person.

Living with shame is not the way anyone wants to go about their life, and yet, it is all too common. Shame is consuming, and it’s a by-product of people pleasing. When we go around trying to depict a perfect version of ourselves to others, rather than living in authenticity, we usually do it in the avoidance of shame. We all have pasts, some more sorted than others, and we need to stand by our shit in order to maintain our truth.

Standing by your shit is important because it comes from valuing yourself and your accomplishments. It means that you are secure in who you are and what you do, because you have the ability to forgive yourself and also to congratulate yourself.

Strength plays a key role here. And inner strength works across the board: in forgiving yourself for your past, accepting yourself in your present, and trusting yourself in your future. These tasks are not easy, but they are vital for growth. And, darlin, it takes strength to grow.

Looking in the mirror and automatically loving ourselves doesn’t come so easy to most of us. But standing by your shit, recognizing that it isn’t all pretty, and giving yourself permission to have a past as a human is humbling and strong. So stand up, be strong, and stay witchy ( *)

Control Freaks and the Unknown

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Reversed, the Emperor denotes excessive control and rigidity. And that sounds super familiar to me.

You see, regardless of the self help path that you venture on, you’re bound to revisit some demons. But when you face these demons with the tool belt you’ve stocked up, you’re more able to combat them in a successful way.

So, as a person who struggles with control, I constantly come into contact with situations that are far out of my control (obviously) and it makes my psyche suffer. Until I whip out my tool belt.

Let’s take, for example, my trip to Europe. I’ve always had a big problem with money anxiety and in order to keep that in check, I’ve used my tools. Let’s see what that looks like:

Alright so I booked the trip on October 1st. I set out a savings plan to give me “enough” money  (3000 US dollars projected) to last me the month that I’m away.

I’ve stuck with my plan to the best of my ability, and yet, there’s still anxiety surrounding the situation.

Why?

Because I’m facing an unknown. I’ve never been to Europe and I’m terrified that I’ll run out of money and be stranded.

But where does that stem from?

I’ve written about this before, and it was more philosophical, but now it’s personal. The reason why I feel like I need to control the money aspect is because I’m afraid of my spending habits while I’m there, and also the fear of being unable to support myself.

Having 3000 in hand is going to be as much as it is. That is the bottom line. But it isn’t the amount that’s scary. It’s me. I’ve lived with myself all of these years and know the rabbit hole I can fall down when I live recklessly. I’m still paying off a 15 grand debt from credit card purchases. 

So in order to combat the scariness that surrounds me, I breathe and recite mantras that instill trust in myself. I also research the hell out of prices in Europe for peace of mind, but I mostly breathe and chant.

You see, the money isn’t the issue. I have what I have and that is that. A five hundred dollar expense doesn’t just sneak up on you (under normal circumstances) so just remembering to have a little trust goes a really long way.

Having faith in yourself is difficult, because you are faced with your entire wrap sheet. But if you just take a breath, take a look at where you are, understand that there are forces outside of you that you have no control over, you actually gain peace of mind. Accepting and surrendering is the best way to stay on top of yourself. Remember to breathe and stay witchy ( *)

 

Making the Best Relationship You Can with the Worst Part of Yourself

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The Nine of Swords reversed is a card of sheer torment, anxiety and depression. It signifies utter sadness and despair. But, as with all cards of the tarot, there is a bright side: it is personal, which means it is manageable.

The title of this post is a quote from the book that I’m reading through now and am infatuated with, Women Who Run with the Wolves. I’m sure I’ve linked up to it in a past blog post. If you haven’t, buy it now.

It is such a powerful quote, because I truly believe that is the secret of self help. Knowing your faults, understanding your faults, and caring for them accordingly.

No one is perfect, nor will they ever be. But shaming yourself for your imperfections is more damaging than cleansing. It will spiral you down the well further to a point where you cannot see the light. And while there is always a way out, why delay the healing process?

So to make the best relationship with the worst part of oneself, where does one start?

Well, I think that you need to do a lot of self reflection in order to get to that worst part first. Mine is control and judgement. And those weren’t easy realizations to come to.

Understanding these faults comes with compassion. In doing some digging, I understand why these are present parts of my personality and knowing the backstory helps me to empathize with myself rather than throw shame in that direction. That is a great way to cultivate a relationship.

But then how do you care for them? Well each fault is unique to each person in accordance to their backstory. That is why the understanding portion is so crucial. But when you see these bad habits (or whatever you wish to call them) arise, you can sense them quickly, find the trigger, and do what you need to do to quell the urge to act on them. I repeat mantras and breathe, as most of you know. You can also give yourself space by removing yourself from a situation. Anything that will help you to care for that part of yourself that may be holding you back. Any team is only as strong as it’s weakest link.

Treat your “worst part” like your own child, but when they are having a tantrum. How are you best going to deal with this situation in order to come out on top? Spank them in public and cause a scene? Or remove yourself from a less-than-desirable situation and handle it after a few deep breaths? Remember to love all parts of yourself, and stay witchy ( *)

From Folklore to Reality: How Do We Use Intuition in Everyday Life?

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The High Priestess shows her dominion over pure intuition. As we read in fairy tales and folklore, we see old witches guide young princesses with their all knowing and all feminine counsel.

We are told through stories that all women have this power of intuition. That if we just tap into our sixth sense we can see through danger and navigate in a wise and wondrous way. But with all of the noise and a collection of “truths” throughout our lives, what does this look like in a modern day reality?

Now I know not everyone reading this blog is going to light incense and candles and meditate to clear their head (although I highly recommend it) but doing some soul searching and practicing self help is going to get you started on that path. Stripping away all of the collected nonsense to get you back to your authentic self will help in your journey to being intuitive. Listening to your gut is a very important guide; your body knows more than you do.

So, metaphorically, when you’re faced with evil stepsisters or a tyrannical king, you could be actually up against a group of mean girls or a sour employer. In these situations, you don’t let their truth change yours. You live forward and authentically, and that little light called intuition will help to steer you on the right path, Don’t be afraid to listen to her. Stay witchy ( *)

Making Up Stories

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The Moon tells us about our fears, anxieties and illusions. They work from the inside. And when we project them, we can alter our reality.

In order to make sense of what is going on in the world around us, our minds will create wild fairy tales to help us feel like we can get every side of the story. We start assuming what we don’t know as a half-assed attempt to control what is uncertain. This is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but at it’s core, it is dangerous because it is almost always negative.

Approaching the unknown with a positive mindset is scary to us, because we don’t want to set ourselves up for failure. We were always told “Don’t get your hopes up,” so now we sabotage our thinking process into making everyone around us malicious. We are trying to protect ourselves and keep ourselves one step ahead of hurt, understandably. It is easy for us to tell a friend that they shouldn’t think that way, but we can very rarely do that for ourselves.

So when do we make up stories? What exactly does that look like? Well, for example, if someone you’re dating doesn’t text you back right away, it can look like this:

“Ok I must have done something wrong. He’s over it. He met someone else. I should have known that it wasn’t going to work out. Etc Etc Etc”

See that spiral? It happened so quickly!

This is a defense mechanism. Faith and the unknown are terrifying, and coming from a past pain may leave you assuming the worst. But the problem here is you aren’t actually protecting yourself. You’re sabotaging yourself.

I work a lot with energy here, and energy is input/output. If you put in negative, you will receive negative. And while it is a vulnerable spot to sit in positivity and expect nothing but great things, you can also prepare yourself to bounce back from the negative (if it happens) with all of the inner work you continue to do. Don’t let your fairy tales rule you. Don’t let make-believe monsters manifest in reality. Live in a positive light, and stay witchy ( *)

Don’t Cut off Your Nose To Spite Your Face

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The Five of Swords is a card of victory through betrayal, or a sore defeat, depending on who you identify with in the reading. Unfortunately though, with this card, there is no real winner. Either you isolate yourself with a dirty triumph, or you lost after sticking to a battle that wasn’t yours to fight.

Pride pays an important role with this card. Either being too proud to acknowledge other’s feelings to win at all costs, or too proud to accept that you need to play by different rules in order to survive.

This is something I struggle with now more than ever before. When is your loyalty to your values and your belief in standing up for yourself, your conviction, getting in your own way? When is it time to bow your head, play the game, and accept defeat?

I think it is all situational. If you are in a bad position, lets take at work for example, and you have the means to leave, then you need to start looking for other employment and move out of what makes you miserable. Yes, every job has its pros and cons, but if you are feeling your soul getting sucked out of you the minute you walk through the doors, it is a huge sign to take action and change.

See, I don’t think that that is losing. I think taking yourself out of a place of misery is victory, and when done gracefully, you can walk over an un-burned bridge to a happier life. I think the saddest defeat, in all actuality, is bowing down and letting people walk all over you because you are afraid of change.

Ultimately, we need to pick our battles. But if you are continuously depressed at the thought of going somewhere you spend most of your time, after exhausting all of your resources to make it better, it’s time to get out of dodge. Employment is not always easy to find, but it is imperative that you are at least content doing what you need to do to survive.

Being proactive is the best way to win a clean battle. Don’t leave anyone behind by winning with malintent. And don’t be a sore loser either, by letting your pride get in the way and putting yourself in a bad situation. If what you are fighting for is really worth it, there is a way to go about it that you can be proud of. If it isn’t suck it up and make good with others. Be respectful, stand up for what you believe in, and stay witchy ( *)

 

Dichotomous Thinking

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As Temperance upright denotes balance, reversed warns excess.

Dichotomous thinking is usually described in psychology literature as”black and white thinking” and “thinking in extremes.” And while this is seen as a common symptom in many mental illnesses, it is a common symptom in just plain high achievers.

If you are an ambitious person, or even a perfectionist, you have surely experienced dichotomous thinking. If I do not succeed fully, I am a failure. If I finish anywhere but the top, I am worthless. The extreme ends of this spectrum are damaging and come from our best frenemy, the inner critic.

Moderation, or temperance, comes from self compassion. Being able to do your best and be proud of yourself for just that is mind-boggling to some of us. In fact, that thought might even be scary because if we’re OK with “just doing our best” we’ll fall into mediocrity and never find our way out. But, on the contrary, that in it of itself is greatness. If we can wrap our arms around ourselves and hug ourselves into a next level of ambition then we have truly succeeded. No one is perfect and to hold ourselves to such high standards is just unfair.

If I don’t get married by 30 I will die alone. If I don’t get this promotion at work I should quit and find a new profession. If no one reads my blog I should just give up because it’s completely pointless.

Sound familiar? We have all had thoughts like this at one time or another. And they sound so silly from the objective outside!

So rather than thinking in extremes like this, try changing your tune. If I don’t get this promotion, I’m going to volunteer for this project that I know I will kick ass at. If no one is reading my blog, I’m going to promote it more and look at the statistics patterns. If I’m putting so much pressure on marriage and my relationships aren’t working, maybe I should look deeper into my role in the relationships I do have.

Turn your extreme put-downs into goals and solutions. Being a defeatist is not only super dangerous but really uncomfortable to be around. Life will only defeat you when you let it, so turn the black and white thinking into a rainbow of opportunity. Start to sparkle and stay witchy ( *)

 

Triggers

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To kind of piggy-back on the 3-parter I just finished, I want to step in and discuss triggers. Throughout my exercise in clarity and empowering myself to make the right decision in my everyday dealings, I started to notice all of the triggers that got me to the fork in the road in the first place.

Triggers are anything that can send you into a spiral. You are the loaded gun, and the trigger creates the explosion. Everyone has them, and recognizing them will help you have more control over your actions and emotions.

Triggers are insanely important within the realm of addiction. No matter in what stage of my addiction, certain triggers would bring me to need to fill myself up with my substance of choice. Those triggers that seemed to be most effective were comments from people I may or may not have misconstrued, a let down (like a lost job), comparing myself to people on TV or magazines, or even something as simple as location. But even if you’ve never experienced an addiction per se, look at some of your habits and see what comes before your need to act them out.

Triggers are creatures of habit. They come from our brains natural conditioned responses to save us from what it thinks is harmful. They are learned. If some girl says that you look fat in that skirt, and you went to throw up your lunch after so you could feel better, your brain starts to think that, in order to feel good after feeling bad, you need to throw up your lunch. If you keep doing this with the same effect, you are training yourself against yourself. You are teaching your brain bad habits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t UNteach it.

The Ace of Swords represents your mental force. It represents using your intellect to analyze the situation. Everyone possesses the ability to do this, but you must exercise this muscle. This starts with recognizing your triggers, and then doing what you need to help retrain your brain. If, for you, that looks like avoiding a certain route to work to help quit smoking, repeating a mantra to help you shift focus from a rude comment, filling your life with hobbies so you don’t reach for that fourth drink, or calling your sponsor instead of reaching for (insert paraphernalia here) then do it! There’s no right or wrong answer with triggers. Every journey is tailor made. But in order to embark on it, you have to make the decision to do the work. I invite you to try the exercise I did below and see what you find. It could be the first day you see things clearly. Stay witchy, friends ( *)

People, Places, and Purpose

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The frame around this particular card symbolizes the cyclical progression of the human experience. Being that the card in its entirety depicts the world, we are brought to a very important topic in my life: places and their effect (or rather your effect) on the psyche.

 

Your world is your perception. You perceive what you’re unknowingly looking for. And places will reflect this phenomenon.

In Los Angeles I was miserable. Not because of any particular event (although there were many) but because I was just a miserable person. I lived in misery and it was comfortable there. Until it wasn’t.

After drug addiction, eating disorders, DUI’s and car accidents, I decided to play the blame game and put all of the responsibility on LA. Because it was LA’s fault, I could avoid accountability. And avoid I did. 3000 miles away.

I remember thinking on the plane coming here to move for good that this was it for me. This it where it all changes. This is where I would have some real luck. Because I defined New York as the place I was going to make it and succeed, I did just that. But it was UGLY.

New York held a mirror up to my face in the harshest way and forced me to take a real hard look.

Moving to New York was the absolute kick in the ass that I needed because it forced me to face my demons. Surviving on your own will do that to you. But because I was determined to make New York work for me, and because I knew I couldn’t quit and go anywhere else (or God forbid back home) I rode the wave and got through it. I romanticized New York so much that it in turn became my healer.

You see, because I was looking for misery in LA, I found it at every turn. Rather than eating healthy and loving my body, I found drugs and bulimia to keep me skinny. Rather than cultivating real intimate relationships, I over-drank at bars and parties and endangered myself while sleeping around. And who wouldn’t love all of the miserable repercussions of those self-sabotaging actions?

In New York, I projected the want for change. I asked the sidewalks for it. I looked at the city lights and begged for an answer. And in the universes’ way of testing your will, I sure as hell found it.

I like to think that now, if I went back to live in Los Angeles, I would have a completely different experience. I would attract different men and different job opportunities than the ones that I had. Not that all those that I attracted in LA were bad, but my energy now is completely different than the sad girl’s you all knew and loved. My perception has shifted.

I call it the Orange Car Effect. You usually never think about orange cars, but once you see one, you start noticing them everywhere. If you think everyone in LA is “so fake,” that’s all you’ll run into. If you think LA is bad luck and terrible, well guess what, the universe will deliver that to your doorstep.

LA and I broke up a while ago, and we’ll never be a perfect match. But even though I’m with New York now, I can look back on my relationship with LA and appreciate it for what it was. Because life is what you make of it, and accountability is key. Stay witchy wherever you are. ( *)