Reminders

super moon portland wftvReminders

It’s been an intense weekend, friends.

The kind of weekend that drives me back to my personal-development focused blog, rather than my writer-focused blog. And how telling is it that I haven’t been here since March?

Ouch.

2017 has been an ouch-y year for a lot of us, of course. I found myself slipping into the restless mindset: “I’ve been in Portland for four years now; I’m probably ready for a change of scenery.”

But that’s all it would have been: a change of scenery without, when what I really wanted was a a change of scenery within.

I’m sort of glad now that I didn’t have the means to travel in 2017. Instead, I moved from the aristocratic lifestyle of 2016 (no job on purpose for a few months, then no job on accident for several months) to the scrambling-for-dollars lifestyle of 2017 where I stressed about spending and was thankful (sort of) for the three jobs I juggled.

One of my life goals for the year was to be more open to things I ‘d been skeptical (or cynical) about: astrology, tarot, and crystals are examples. I started off well, then spiraled right back down into money worries and loneliness and the scarcity mindset. Yes, I still did fun things, but my days were infused with the feeling of mis-fitted-ness: ‘This isn’t how I want my life to look forever.’

Over the summer I worked and fretted, drafting work deadlines only to rewrite and rewrite them, dissatisfied and resentful that others made me change my plans.

Over the autumn I stuck with business goals, devoting time to social media posting, and cultivating local relationships that could be useful in future.

Now it’s almost winter solstice and I realize how distant that open-mindedness goal seems.

So when asked to join a moon circle for the fourth time, I accepted. The timing felt right. Prompted by someone with pink and yellow hair, sitting between a home altar and a cozy fireplace, surrounded by women who threw around words like ‘oracle,’ ‘shamanism,’ ‘releasing,’ and ‘surrender’ as they chatted over herbal tea and chocolate.

I journaled with everyone and shared: loss of confidence, issues with entitlement, difficulty loving and trusting. And I was wowed by the level of genuine sharing, vulnerability, and trust that I witnessed, and that I practiced.

At the beginning I felt alone, walled in the cynicism story I carried about women like this in Portland. Then I looked inside at my scenery. And realized that we are all in the same boat, looking for connection, carrying a light, trying to be our best selves.

I’m not sure what I’ll do to honor this recommitment and reconnection to myself but I do want to celebrate it–this reminder that the moon is always full, it is only that we can not see its beauty all the time.

 

Image via WFTV

Message from the Universe/Broadway: Believe Stronger

We are living in uncertain, and unnerving, times.

frodo light of galadriel lotr

I combat the pervasive feelings of anxiety and fear by striking back against the dark, including seeing, supporting, and singing Broadway musicals.

Here in Portland, I was lucky enough to see Newsies last year, a favorite from childhood. This year, I saw Finding Neverland, which I’d never heard of, and which I didn’t feel particularly excited about. I sat through the first act, breaking into a few smiles but not essentially moved, as I usually am, by the music and song and emotion.

Then there was the finale of the first half, Stronger. Amazing. The playwright, J. M. Barrie, has to find a scary alter-ego within himself to cultivate enough backbone to go ahead with his new material, in the face of threats and criticism. What a zinger!

I went online afterwards, the background pirate vocals and foot-stomps singing in my ears, and found Kelsey Grammer performing the role of Captain Hook! I also saw a video of the Broadway cast performing Believe, an earlier number which I’d enjoyed but passed over. The play didn’t have me yet.

But when I watched the cast perform the song for a network show, it came to life. The resistant cynic being plied with positivity until he caves in and joins the others to imagine a better and more interesting world. (Not that the world isn’t interesting, but when one’s father has died and one has to conform to Edwardian behavioral mores…I could see how it would seem depressing for a kid.)

So, there I had it: my two favorite numbers from Neverland, which I haven’t been able to stop singing, are:

Believe

Stronger

As Tosha Silver might say, Not. Even. Subtle.

 

Images via Council of Elrond

Letting Go for the NEW New Year

Did you know that the Romans celebrated their New Year on March 1?

Mars, the God of War, oversaw the start of their calendar. Makes sense, because ROMANS.

terminalis statue wikipedia

As part of their ritual, they celebrated Terminalis, the God of Borders, Transitions, and Neighbors

I came across these facts randomly several years ago, and had the bright idea to use a random holiday as an excuse for a party.

It was great in DC, so I repeated it in Portland, as a way to meet my neighbors in the rather cold, anonymous apartment complex where I live. It worked out okay a couple years ago, but was less pagan-ritual and more corporate-ice-breaker vibe…

cheesy corporate icebreaker trust fall

So this year, in line with my intention to be more open to the mysteries, I deliberately invoked the pagan side of the holiday in my invitation.

I invited people I thought would be into rational discussion of neighbors. Borders. What being a good neighbor meant. What having a border meant.

My definition of neighbor expanded to include those within a few miles, since the people I’d met two years ago had moved on. We talked about the definition of neighbor.

IMG_7130

I got 4 No’s and 2 Yes’s and 5 Lack of Responses. Portland.

My two Yes’s showed up and we had baked goods, wine, tea, and enlivening, enheartening conversation. It was brilliant. More evidence that quality over quantity is what counts.

It also affirmed my intention to Let Go of the effects of my generosity this year. For 2017, one of my intentions is to offer what I can, without the expectation of returns. This means not holding onto disappointment when no one comes on an outing, not seething with resentment when someone says they’ll come then blithely doesn’t show, not refusing to offer my generosity because I don’t get the feeling I desire.

It’s hard, but I’m learning. And my two Yes’s helped that little monster in my brain relearn the importance of a few deep connections, rather than the buzz of a crowd or the validation of popularity.

What borders around you need tending? What neighbors could you invite to your (metaphorical) hearth?

 

Images via Wikipedia, Expert Beacon, and property of Margaret Pinard