Category Archives: support

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

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

The Retreat

Quick Update from the NaNoWriMo Front: I am well on my way to 50,000 words by Nov. 30th, but it is looking like this story will be exceeding that, if my outline is any indicator. I am holding steady with my commitment to write between one and two hours, first thing in the morning, and it is exhilarating. Ok, back with more later…

lone house in field

I mentioned visiting Wordstock in my last post, and besides the historical fiction panel, there was another aspect of it that struck me rather forcibly:

more “writers’ associations” than one would expect from such a small city/ metropolitan area (although some did come from other parts of the state), and

a profusion of these that offered ‘Writers’ Retreats.’

Now, what are these? Writer boot camps? Silent timed writings administered by yoga teachers? I haven’t been on one myself, but I was knocked over the head by the imagery that each table-station used to draw customers in (and must admit, felt a strong pull too). What was the appeal?

As I saw it, there were two: ESCAPE and SAFETY.

Escape from what?

  • Everyday life
  • The daily grind
  • The rut you’re in
  • The troubles you don’t want to face
  • The truths you can’t bring yourself to admit

Escape to what? Safety in:

  • Like-minded individuals
  • Quiet setting
  • Anonymity
  • Atmosphere of Withheld Judgement

Wouldn’t anybody like some time with this type of environment? So why were they Writers‘ Retreats? Are the associations perhaps using this “Escape” marketing technique to get to the writer inside of all of us? Or just being opportunistic and catering to our fears and insecurities?

I’m not sure what to think about it, since I was simultaneously drawn in by the tractor beam and repulsed by its craven call.

What do you think, are they Writers Retreats, or just retreats? Is it an avoidance behavior, or a useful focusing tactic?

I’d love to hear your take on this, since I’m sure may have some interesting opinions/ experiences…

 

Image via Keepitlit