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: 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 ( *)

WednesdayWisdoms: Being Alone

I think a lot of the reason why we dive into unhealthy behaviors is because we’re afraid of being alone. It can be terrifying to be by ourselves and faced with our truths, so we run in a myriad of ways.

When I started this blog and publicly dove into the depths of my mind, I was all alone swimming in a scary pool of self doubt. But I needed to explore the depths before going back to the surface. It cleansed me.

So for this weeks practice, I want you to be alone. Read a book, write in a journal, do a yoga session, make jewelry, read your own tarot cards, do arts and crafts, take a bath, literally ANY hobby. But do it without distraction. Not with a glass of wine. Not while the TV is on. Not with a huge bag of chips or candy.

Go on a date with yourself and see what you find. What is intriguing in your mind? Do you find that inner critic coming up? Can you follow the advice from last Wednesday to quiet it?

Spend at least an hour doing this solitary activity, and then, when you are done, write down how you feel. Write down what you learned. Make concrete observations and force yourself into self awareness.

The more you practice this, the more you will learn to appreciate yourself. You will open up a Pandora’s Box of creativity, but maybe not until you flush out some monsters. This exercise, over time, will increase your confidence because YOU will know YOU inside and out.

It might be scary at first, and if it is, write it down. Write down why. Show yourself some compassion for being scared. It takes courage to face your truth.

So get out of your comfort space, get alone, and stay witchy ( *)

Where Are You In Your Journey: Episode 4

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witchywisdoms.com

Episode 4 is live! I’m coming to you solo today to talk about the podcast, a short version of my journey, and overall witchiness.

 

Listen below and subscribe on iTunes!

 

Vacation Wrap Up

Well witches, I’m back! I’m ready to get back fully into writing and sharing and I am bursting with new projects and ideas to help my coven blossom!

Pictured above is the Two of Wands, one of my favorite cards, which can denote discovery when you step out of your comfort zone. And this was definitely that for me. I have been working since I was thirteen years old, and am fairly new in the self help game, so taking a large break and leap of faith in five European countries was quite eye opening.

As some of you know, I came here to visit with my sister and go on this excursion together. We’ve been on three trains, five planes, and to seven cities, and if that isn’t going to put stress on a relationship, I don’t know what will. It’s very enlightening to travel with someone, and this took the cake.

Well to my pleasant, not-so-much surprise, we were not only excellent travel companions, but also extraordinarily supportive of each other. We knew each other’s needs (i.e. The Hanger) and were patient with each other pretty much every step of the way. Putting our heads together in the way of navigating and communicating served us very well. But aside from probably being able to win The Amazing Race, we had incredible heart to hearts where I learned so much about this incredible woman who I’m so lucky to have as a sister.

She is an extremely wise, take-no-shit old soul who really cares for herself. She embodies a true, wild young woman who is passionate about life and holds firm and strong values. And not without her own experiences and setbacks. She has molded a truly inspiring outlook on the world and makes me so incredibly proud. She also makes me very grateful to be doing the work that I do, for not many women are as fortunate as her to be endowed with her wisdom.

I also learned, or more so enforced my belief, that self help must be practiced 24/7, less you lose yourself in your negative self talk. Backpacking through countries, staying in 10 bed hostels, and eating foods you wouldn’t normally isn’t going to give you a red carpet glow. And being a little bloated with no makeup, natural hair and a couple of angry pimples (mostly from flying) doesn’t make you really feel on top of your game when you have vanity issues. So if you aren’t practicing your self help tools and all you’re doing is comparing yourself to other women around you, you lose yourself in a negative spiral that takes away from this enormously beautiful experience. I mean, fuck what you look like in a selfie, you’re literally standing in front of the Coliseum! This is for real memories, not to showcase a false ideal. I traveled and experienced. I did not spend the whole time in the bathroom contouring for a good photo. I also dressed warm because it is literally 6 degrees out, so yeah, I’m going to look a little puffy. That’s not the point though. The point is to focus on the incredible experience that I’ve been given. And only being able to intermittently write and read and listen to my podcasts has allowed some of that back of the head bitch talk to sneak its way in. Luckily though, I have my beautiful and wise sister to put things in perspective, as I have helped to do for her.

We really bounced off of each other a lot on this vacation in very positive ways and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the whole world. But it’s time to get back to reality and get my life and career back in gear with all of the new things I’ve seen and learned. Can’t wait to spend 2017 with you witchies! ( *)

Self Permission


As my Euro trip comes to a close, I want to touch on an important issue for most every woman on vacation, and that is allowing yourself permission in terms of diet and exercise. 

Yes it is the New Year and I’m sure most of you have weight-related resolutions, but let’s get this shit straight: you are human, and excessive rigidity always fires back with a huge and devastating relapse. 

As a woman with body image issues, going on a month long Euro-trip devoid of exercise and full of heavy meat and potatoes can really take its toll on you mentally, especially when you’re used to a pretty regular regimen of running, yoga, and vegetables. But along with self permission comes moderation, and we all need to remember that it’s ok to allow yourself to enjoy life. 

My sister and I have been walking between 2 and 8 miles a day and eating a budget-friendly diet, so while it may be rich in red meat and starch, it is also in small portions and surrounded by smaller healthier meals. This constitutes for moderation, but I digress. 

In situations like this, it is very easy to beat yourself up for not eating a superfood for every meal, especially when you see European beauties in tiny Brazilian bikinis at every thermal bath in Budapest. It is easy to compare your body and blame yourself because you had a hot meal. But this is not conducive to your mental well being AT ALL. That will not make you feel better about your body, make you skinnier, make you have less cellulite. And dieting on vacation is just as inane. You’re here to experience life and the cultures, eat their food and socialize, and just plain have fun. Focusing on your body image and what you ate for lunch takes away every bit of beauty because you’re focusing on the wrong damn thing. So this is where self permission comes in. You need to allow yourself the modest freedom to enjoy life. You aren’t a glutton. You’re on fucking vacation. 

So next time you feel like you really want that pistachio cheesecake after you’ve been eating really well, let yourself have it! You can’t starve yourself into a better you, trust me I’ve tried. Next time you’re tired from working late and can’t muscle up the energy to run 5 miles in the morning, allow yourself to sleep in a little later and do a 30 minute kickboxing video. Or, allow yourself the day to recoup. It’s not the end of the world. Changing your diet and exercise routine is a lifestyle change. It’s not a quick fix, but when you eat well and exercise over all, you’re definitely going to deserve to have treats and rest days. Moderation is key, and self permission is part of self love. Stay witchy ( *)

Merry Christmas Eve!

The Ten of Pentacles is a card of family, tradition, togetherness and affluence, which is perfectly appropriate for the Christmas season! As an admittedly commercial holiday, as opposed to the more spiritual solstice holiday of Yule, it still has many positive messages we can practice.

We go through life alone, for the most part, and in that solitary journey we can find ourselves becoming self involved. Fixating on our own problems and dwelling on past injustices. But when a holiday calls as a reminder to step outside and see your place in the lives of your friends and family, even for a brief moment, you can recognize where your problems lie in the grand scheme of things. 

In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. Family and friendship, health and happiness, those are the big ticket items. Be reminded of that this holiday season, be merry, and stay witchy ( *)

What is a “Calling” and Do I Have One?

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The Fool symbolizes the beginning of a journey. A bright, shiny-eyed fellow who is setting forth on a path that is completely and utterly new. One with purpose and one full of lessons to be learned. He is all of us.

If you’re a young, ambitious individual, it’s not surprising that you might have been faced with the question “What is my life purpose?” The insurmountable pressure of having one thing you were set on earth to do. What it’s all for.

Nietzsche has a quote: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” And I think that surmises what we are all looking for. A reason to muscle through the cold, lonely days of our journey. Not to be mistaken for love, because we know that is not a completion of our circle, but rather the addition of one in the form of a bond. No, this is a personal “why.” This is what we dream of when we are little girls and little boys. This is the “why” that made Mother Teresa run homes for the diseased. This is the “why” that made Jonas Salk invent the Polio vaccine. “Why” Elie Wiesel took his horrific experiences in Auschwitz and turned them into inspiring stories and a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now not everyone can run to Uganda and cure Zika. Although if we all sought out to cure diseases that would be pretty kick ass. We can’t all write Grammy winning albums or star in Oscar winning roles. We can’t all write best sellers and we can’t all win the Fields Medal. But everyday we have choices to make, and making the right ones are indicative of our purpose.

See, I think that if we all strive to make conscious decisions that feel right and true within our sphere of authenticity, our purpose will be handed to us on a silver platter. In fact, I think that is the purpose in it of itself. Instead of having one solid concrete thing that we must stick to for the rest of our lives, which seems to be more of a shackle than a path to greatness, at every turn we are given an opportunity to think with conviction and at that time our purpose is highlighted. Our purpose morphs and bends to the person we are at that very moment, and if self respect and self love are things that you practice regularly, that authentic light will shine through. That purpose, that pattern, that character, that will be the guide in your journey. That will be your “why.” It’s what is inside you.

When I got the help I needed and put into practice all of the tools that I gained from my support, I slowly started to make conscious decisions that benefited me and felt right and true to my core. No longer did I have a gaping hole of panic in me. I was sticking up for myself. And through the trail of conviction, though not always perfect, I started to find seeds of what was hidden beneath the wreckage. I listened to myself and felt called to start writing. And although I don’t put the pressure on myself to say that this is it for me forever, right now it feels true. And that’s what the journey is all about.

So if you’re getting down on yourself for not having it all figured out, well let me tell you something: No one does. Not even Oprah.

But what people like her do that is so inspirational is that they seize every opportunity authentically. That’s the calling. And if we all have the capacity to be authentic, we all have a life purpose. Live true to yours and stay witchy ( *)

 

It’s Not “Fine”

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I’m sure you’ve either done this or have had a friend do this before: when something truly upsets them they shrug it off and go “it’s fine.”

Well that is total bullshit.

As the Ace of Cups signifies blocked or repressed emotions, it is IMPERATIVE that we address what is wrong instead of shrugging our shoulders. Saying things are fine when they are not are a huge sign of pushing down feelings and being dismissive.

When someone asks you if you are OK and you aren’t, but you really don’t want to talk about it (with this person or at all) it’s perfectly reasonable to say you aren’t ready. But when you shrug your shoulders to YOURSELF and bottle your emotions, baby, you’re in real trouble.

I used to be the best at this. I would pretend I was fine (in fabulously dramatic fashion) and then drink to feel my feelings. I know, most people drink to numb, I drank to be a hot crying mess.

I would bottle up this whirlwind of sadness, and unfortunately, it cannot be contained. Emotions are energy. They never die. And to ignore them is a pretty fatal mistake. They will manifest in one way or another. Whether its emotional or physical, they will find a way to come out of hiding.

The best thing to do is find support. Whether your tribe/ coven lies in group meetings, family, friends, or coworkers, you need to talk to someone when something is bothering you. It could be as silly as a boy not texting you back, to as extreme as a loved one passing away. But whatever the emotional freakout is about, you can’t keep it living inside your head. That little monster will end up taking the wheel, and you want to be in control of your life and your emotions. Give yourself a chance to cry and feel. Be vulnerable with who you trust. This will give you the strength to move forward, rather than in a downward spiral. Get real and stay witchy ( *)

 

When is Passing Judgement Conducive to Your Life?

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No one likes to be labeled as judgmental. In fact, in a world of shaming and prejudice, it is an extremely frowned upon characteristic to hold.

But…

We need to utilize judgement in our daily practice in order to keep our covens strong and weed out the bad magic in our lives.

For example, when I see someone who is surrounded by drug use, I become hyper aware. Knowing what it is like to be an active addict from the inside out helps me to understand the degree of manipulation and the lack of control that goes hand in hand with this practice. It automatically casts a shadow of distrust and skepticism in my eyes. Am I assuming the worst? No. Do I proceed with caution? Absolutely.

See, I think the term judgement that we throw around embodies more of a hater ideology. It doesn’t come from a place of thinking that I’m better than someone for what they choose to do with their body, but I am using judgement as a tool to discern whether or not I want to keep this person close to me.

As a person with core values, I like to keep my coven tight knit with people who cherish similar morals and respect boundaries. It makes me uncomfortable to see people who do not have boundaries, and so I choose to keep them at an arms distance.

There is this awesome coach, Randi Buckley, who uses a garden as a metaphor for boundaries. She describes it as having many different concentric circles, and certain people are only allowed to a particular layer before their boundary is set in front of them. You wouldn’t have the same boundaries with a stranger on the street as you would with your mother, so there are different layers within your garden for different people who come into your life. I feel that this is an awesome way to illustrate the idea of boundaries in your mind, because you aren’t looking to shut everyone out, you’re looking to protect the beautiful bush of red roses at the core of the garden.

But in order to understand which layer people belong in, we have to use judgement. We have to be able to see what people can bring to nourish the soil in order to allow them a certain distance into the garden. If all they are doing is tromping on the flowers, we put up a fence. And judgement is a good tool to use to distinguish the weeds from the gardeners.

So when you use judgement, don’t let it consume you and turn into hate. That isn’t the point of the tool. Use it to protect yourself and create healthy relationships. You will be stronger for it. Protect your garden and stay witchy ( *)