Packing My Bag

I know I said I was gonna write more about my trip tonight than I did about my suitcase.

But I gotta give the suitcase itself a little bit of love.

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I mean: how can you not love this suitcase? Look at those polka dots! Very distinctive and easy to find on the baggage carousel, but not so out there in design that I have anxiousness taking it on work trips.

Which is lucky, because this trip is part work and part personal.

Continue reading “Packing My Bag”

Cold Reading

I know that the Blogging 101 assignments/prompts are piling up unattended, but it’s been another late night, so I am just going to have to write quickly about the topic that is most front of mind for me — and I’ll catch up on Blogging 101 tomorrow and over the weekend.

And why was it another late night for me?

As it turns out, that’s exactly the topic I want to be writing about tonight.

I was out late because I was auditioning for a show.

Continue reading “Cold Reading”

A Test of Spiritual Maturity

So, my next retreat weekend is in two weeks. Yup: very close in time to my return from The Trip, so I’ll admit I’ve been wrestling a bit with the decision of whether to go or not.

On the practical side of the scale against going is the fact that I just got back from a big ol’ trip and I’m not really loving the idea of getting in another plane and missing more workdays so quickly after the big vacation. It’s also true that I’ve come back to the office in time for a couple intense projects, which makes me even more uncomfortable about skipping work. Especially since one of the projects coming to deadline during this fortnight is one that I’m particularly excited and inspired by.

On the practical side of the scale towards going is the value I hold for this work, and the ways I know to my bones that it has helped move my life and my soul’s mission forward.

So, looking rationally, there’s not a super-strong weightiness towards either choice on the should I stay or should I go? see-saw. Which at some level, isn’t surprising. My life at work and at home here in Massachusetts are sufficiently rich that I bet I could always come up with a list of reasons to blow off a particular retreat weekend.

But I don’t ever skip the weekends. Like I said last time around: the weekends are always hard work, but I have never regretted going. In fact, I have always felt the gratitude and benefits of going.

And so, a week or two before The Trip — well after my usual 5-6 weeks ahead of time discipline in buying plane tickets and making travel arrangements — the fact that I hadn’t been able to bring myself to make time off and travel arrangements had me really curious. Some part of me, some strong identity, was really not wanting to go to this particular weekend. And the resistance was stronger than anything I’ve felt before.

I mean, I’ve had times where I contemplated skipping a weekend — there was one right after we moved into the house here, and I remember taking a good long look at whether it made sense to be on a plane so soon after moving. But the temptation to skip was never this strong this far into the game, so I really began to wonder if maybe the soul-centered decisions this time around was to stay in New England after returning home from Europe.

So I was putting a lot of reflection to the question. Like, a spinning myself into a panic level of reflection. After talking to a couple friends and classmates, I realized that, being as the source of my resistance was in the energetic/instinctual/emotional realm — and quite frankly, being that the primary value I hold in the work is similarly energetic and instinctual (though probably energetic/instinctual/spiritual rather than emotional) — this was not a decision I was going to be able to think myself to. I can make all the pros and cons lists I could possibly wish, but that sort of rational tool isn’t going to help me make what is ultimately a soul-based decision.

So I let go of the question and prayed to Spirit for a sign. A nice, clear, brick to the face kind of sign.

Nothing pertinent showed up during The Trip itself. (Not too surprising: there was so much to see and learn on other fronts, what room was there in the days for a message about this particular question?) So, Friday morning, I used my normal journal-writing time to pull cards on the question.

And the cards were as clear as they could possibly be: it is in my best and highest good to go down for the retreat weekend.

spiritual-disciplinesAnd I have enough spiritual discipline and maturity to follow through when the signs are as clear as this one was. So my plane tickets are purchased, and I worked with my teachers and the Center to create a somewhat-modified schedule that will allow me to balance my responsibilities to work and then take the last flight out of Boston Thursday night.

But I’ll say this much: it’s a hell of a lot easier to follow Spirit’s guidance when the cards are telling you to do what you already want to do. In this case, when the the ego-identities and emotional body are still running strong with resistance and rebellion? It is a veritable challenge to hold centered in that.

At some core, mature soul-centered place, I know I’ve made the right choice. (The sign in the cards was that clear. Really and truly.) Now I just need to hold the ego-identitites and fear-selves with a mixture of compassion and discipline. I know you’re scared. I’ll keep comforting you, and I’ll be here the whole time. But we’re going. Together, we’re going.

———-

Image credit: http://sportsandspirituality.blogspot.com/2011/11/personal-inventory-sports-spirituality.html

In the Cards

I know there’s been lots of times in my essays about fat acceptance and feminism, and even my references to climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers, that I have very much shown my old grad school habits of citing research and studies and hard science.

So it may come as some surprise to know that a week or so ago, when I was making the final decision about whether or not to audition for that show, I used a technique that is often in my discernment/decision-making repertoire: pulling tarot cards.

science_tarot_thumb[1]I started reading cards (in a very amateurish, glued-to-the-book fashion) back when I was a junior in college. It was one of the first real glimmerings I had of being connected to Source (Spirit, the “Big Good Thing,” what-have-you), and it’s something I still carry in my toolbox — a technique to get out of my own way, step away from whatever ego and mind voices I’ve got running and look for guidance and for signs. (And I’ve already talked about how fervently I do believe in signs.)

I know it may seem a bit contradictory, this combination of research-focus and of the weird woo-woo new age-y stuff. And there are times where I ask myself about that sort of duality in myself — is it a contradiction, or is it just a measure of the complexity of living in a quantum universe? And if I am so airheaded and woo-woo-y, then why do I get my back up so strong and so loud when I argue against the ways that certain cultural programs (like, oh, say fat shaming and obesity panic) are so completely unfounded in factual, objective reality?

And I think for me one of the key points of ethics I hold is marking a strong boundary between what I am willing to use to make my own personal decisions and what I think is appropriate when making larger claims about societal trends or what other people “should” be doing or not.

To distill it to the basics:

I have faith in Spirit and signs and so when I am making a personal decision for me and my life, I will readily turn to those woo-woo-y things in which I have faith. So, when looking at the conundrum of “to audition or not to audition,” a card pull was a perfect choice. It makes no strong difference for anyone else — positive or negative — regardless of which option I were to choose. So live in the faith and trust where my soul resides, pull the cards, and listen to their guidance.

But I know that individuals have different decisions regarding what their faith is — or even if they have a faith or a sense of spirituality. (I am deeply troubled by the assumptions many people hold about how it’s impossible for an atheist to have the capacity to live and ethical or moral life. Of course they can live ethically.) So, I would absolutely not want to impose my spirituality on another person’s choices. Nor do I want someone else’s personal/spiritual/scientifically-ungrounded beliefs to be imposed on me, on my life, on the culture in which I live.

And that’s why I look both to science and to Spirit for my guideposts.

———-

Inspired by the Day 19 prompt for Writing 101Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Not sure I think it’s too silly an idea, but it’s certainly something quietly embarrassing enough that I’ve been hesitant to explore it.

———-

Image credit: http://www.biounalm.com/2010/10/tarot-cientifico.html

[I can scarcely find the words to express how happy it makes me to know that such thing as the Science Tarot exists.]

Reading the Signs

ant-manA few weeks ago when I was assaulted by my breakfast apple, I shared my own personal belief that there are signs and messages from Spirit everywhere, and that I’m working to grow my practice of noticing them.

Part of this decision stems from the ways I am naturally someone who watches and contemplates and studies life’s energies. After all, if you use a muscle instinctively, you might as well consciously grow its strength and stamina.

Part of my ongoing process stems from a corollary belief to “there are signs everywhere” about the progressive nature of ignored signs: Spirit may first speak to you in a whisper, but if you ignore that whisper, it’ll be followed by a shout —  and then perhaps a brick to the head. (Here’s two formulations of a quote where Oprah has shared a similar sense of trajectory: it’s highly possible her statements helped me see this pattern more clearly for myself.)

But sometimes there are days when the whispers come through loud and clear.

This morning at the coffee machine, I found myself in a conversation about a co-worker’s whose been out sick — turns out she’s having a gallbladder attack, and she’s currently resisting her doctor’s advice to have the organ removed because “the stones are too big to be treated any other way.”

And of the three colleagues discussing this situation with me, two of them have had their gallbladders removed, and the third served as closest geographical relative/convalescence site for her niece who goes to college up here in Boston and needed to have her gallbladder removed mid-academic-term.

By the end of the conversation, I was very clear on one point. Whatever else may remain in consideration for detoxing next steps, I am certainly going to be doing a gallbladder/liver cleanse in the next few weeks!

———-

It may be my imagining, but I do think some of the signs life brings me these days are clearer than they used to be. Or I’m gaining practice in listening for them, or something.

As I understand it, that’s one of the purposes of detoxing one’s physical and energetic system — to clear the channel for receiving and listening to spirit’s guidance (or one’s inner wisdom, whichever phraseology more closely resonates with your understanding of the world). I’d like to think that the clarity of today’s message about giving some loving attention to my gallbladder is a result of the detoxing I’ve been doing during the HCG journey.

Some messages remain less easily scrutable. Or, at least, they carry a bit more annoyance here in the physical plane, even if the spiritual meaning is pretty clear.

———-

With the turn to warmer weather, we’re having a bit of an ant invasion in the house. Since I turn to Professor Google in so many other circumstances, I figured I’d do the same here:

From shamanicjourney.com:

Each ant does his bit to ensure the survival of the whole community, no matter what role it has in society. Activities include gathering and hunting. They work hard, are patient and co-operative. An ant is able to carry a leaf, a crumb or a dead ant for miles – just to get back home to the anthill, requiring a load of stamina and patience. . . . As well as being extremely hard working they possess an extraordinary ability to work as a team – the power of their medicine – to build their homes, to feed and protect all members of their colony. There may be a social order in ant colonies, but all ants honour and respect each other and work toward their common goal – the good of the community. Worker ants are great architects and can show us how to construct our dreams into reality. They are also very persistent and can teach this skill as well.

From spirit-animals.com:

Encountering an ant you should consider that all good things come with time, and effort. Work with diligence, with conviction, and work with others in order to forge your dreams and turn them into reality. Despite their tiny size these little spirits are immensely strong, great strength of will and accomplishment can come even in the smallest of packages.

Alternatively it may be time to consider your own role, concentrate on your specialties and make sure you are making the most of your natural gifts. However, remain aware that nothing can be accomplished without the unity of the whole. Think about how your own contributions in your career, your family, and day to day life fit into the larger picture. No matter how small your task, or your contribution, it is still essential.

Message received, lovely ants. Now, please get off my kitchen counter and into the beautiful outdoors. Kthxbai!

———-

Image credit: http://culture.pagannewswirecollective.com/2013/06/super-heroes-totem-animals-and-pagans/