When we look to the future? Instead of “looking” let us leap and laugh.
Ah, 2017. You have been so utterly strange for me. The world at large saw so much tragedy and pain and bigotry. But for myself, I saw a great hurdle end with the birth of my amazing daughter, Baby Moon. As we all close, or more accurately slam, the door on this past year, I’m having some mixed emotions.
The pregnancy was hard, especially at the end, and the struggles of the world did not go unnoticed by me. Rightly, I’m very excited to say goodbye to 2017 and start a new year, maybe not fresh as I’m extremely tired, but resolved.
However, among all the bad, 2017 will forever in my mind be the year of my child’s birth and that has a weight to it that is hard to overcome. And perhaps, that’s how it should be when we’re looking back.
We see the failures of 2017 and other years, but instead of letting ourselves fall into the pit of despair that is problematic nostalgia, we let the moments of joy take up more space in our minds, and hearts.
Cheesy? Sure. But a good idea? Most likely.
This makes me think of New Year’s resolutions. They can undoubtedly be problematic. Often, we make resolutions that are near impossible or just a bit too ambitious for the amount of actual time we have for them. And that, of course, leads to giving up on them and feeling like a failure.
But what if we were to use New Year’s resolutions as a time to simply set intentions for the following year, vocally and with all our magick behind them. This would instead turn this, sometimes unfortunate, tradition into a time to do magick and to reconnect to what we desire, and what needs to be done in our lives.
Intentions, after all, are just that. Something we intend to do, and this makes it much easier for us to forgive ourselves if we fall a little, or a lot, short. We are human after all.
When we remember to forgive ourselves for failing and remember that we at least tried, we can make these “resolutions” more doable. We’ll stick to a few and we’ll try our best, and that will be enough.
So, instead of choosing a resolution which is completely out of range, set an intention for 2018 that can provide just enough change to revolutionize your life. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll revolutionize the whole damn world.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
::My 2018 New Year’s Intentions and Acts of Revolution::
I hereby put forth my intention to be kinder to myself, to remember that I am human and am not perfect, and that’s okay.
I set intention to get healthier and understand that doing so may take a long time.
I vow to hold the world accountable as I did in 2017, providing my little bit of strength to the Resistance and Revolution.
I decree that I will finish my second novel, or if not I will have worked very hard on it.
I promise in 2018 to love as fiercely as I can, to laugh, to sing, to be silly, to spend small moments with my baby and husband, with all my family, and to bask in the great joy that is each new day- full of choices and chances and opportunities to be brave.
Empathy has been tossed around a lot on the Web these days. A lot of it has been good and can help many people. But what’s the deal with empathy and can our spiritual practice help us with it?
There are many different ways to interpret the word empathy. However, the basic idea remains the same. Empathy is the process of emotionally reflecting, experiencing, or absorbing the emotions surrounding you. In addition, the experience of empathy necessitates a return of compassion. Think of it like this. Sympathy can be explained as “feeling for” a person. Empathy is more emotionally intimate and could be explained as “feeling with” the external emotions present. Empaths then are those who continually absorb emotional energy and frequently “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”
If you’re like me, then you’ve come to realize that what you’re feeling and experiencing is more than just general sympathy. We’ve realized we are empaths and we’ve experienced all the ups and downs.
For those of us who are very emotionally sensitive, to the point of absorbing external emotional energy each day, personal balance isn’t just a great goal it’s a necessity.
Don’t think of empathy like a curse though. It helps us find social unity, reinforce love, and assist to heal the world. If we’re going to do these things and really help we must really work toward inner balance. To manage strong levels of empathy, the metaphysically inclined empath, and others seeking balance, can work toward the items below.
~Shielding and Protecting~
It’s so common to want to hide away when the emotion load gets heavy. But instead of forcing yourself into perpetual self-isolation, which is actually really destructive, choose to protect yourself. This is when shielding comes into play. Constructing shields using ritualistic visualization each day or week is a way to help maintain balance. Most psychic shield visualizations are crystalline, spherical, glassy, or “mesh-like.” When using these techniques, avoid visualizing impermeable or reflective shields, unless the need is dire. This can actually push your energy way too far away from the outside world. Additionally, remember that we empaths are notoriously emotionally vulnerable. If you feel like your shields have been compromised by a challenging social situation, they can easily be remade with added visualization and re-connection.
~Practice Spiritual Connection Every Day~
Life is a spiritual experience. No matter what spiritual path you’re on, you can connect with divine every day. Choosing to manage your emotions and personal energy on a daily basis will be the most important daily action for empaths. To help break free from the daily cycles that can bog you down, take time out for morning and/or evening meditation, tarot reading, prayer, ritual, and even simple solitude. Instead of throwing yourself into it right away, gradually build up how much time you spending taking a moment for yourself. Plus, everyone’s spiritual needs will be different. Do what works for you. There isn’t a correct way to connect and revitalize. As you grow, challenge yourself and allow the spiritual work to come from your heart. The heart is after all where empaths find their strength.
~Service Work as Personal Healing~
Empathy’s greatest gift is that of connecting with others. We are natural healers. When we are in a balanced state, we can help facilitate unity and understanding in those around us. We can choose to express this energy with others not only socially, but also through charitable volunteer work, educational activities, vocational social work, art, political activism, and the healing arts. We can also dedicate ourselves to support strictly progressive and earth-conscious companies with our everyday consumer purchases.
~Tailor Your Surroundings~
To the best of your ability, choose to surround yourself with kindhearted individuals who empower your strengths, encourage your happiness, and positively challenge your perception. Naturally, choose to do the same for them! Decide to minimally interact with overly pessimistic and discouraging people, and come up with a game plan of how to react and respond when you are faced with difficult individuals. Also, don’t forget to take breaks when needed; some amount of alone time is deeply beneficial for every empathic soul! Additional environmental suggestions include taking good care of pets (love them and receive love!), not spending too much time gaming or using computers, and even considering therapy, counseling, or life coaching during extenuated periods of emotional stress.
~Alchemize, Transmute, Transform~
Did you know that as an empath you can not only absorb emotions but transmute them? Empathy is not just absorptive, but projective. Often, empaths can change the mood of a room simply by being there. This displays how empathy is an influential force as well. You can take this to the next level by deciding to utilize emotion-based alchemy in a ritualistic environment when you feel overloaded or very negative.
If it’s in your tradition and you feel comfortable, cast a circle or use visualization to create a sacred space. Place an image, object, or a deity’s statue which personally represents transformation in front of you. Put your intention for transformation into this item and dedicate it to that purpose. Gaze at the focal point and sit with your emotions. Open yourself up to insight into the origin of the emotions you’re experiencing. Are they yours, someone else’s, or a combination?
From the right side of your body, or your dominant side if you use this, project your emotional force to the chosen focal point. Then, pull the transformed energy out and into the left, or receptive, side of your body. Sit with these new, magickally transformed emotional energies. Let them carry you through the day. Experiment and try other techniques which appeal to you. Determine which work best for you when working to remove your emotional stress.
~Let Creative Juices Flow~
Art and creativity naturally spring from empaths. Creating art of any type encourages energy from the internal to transfer the external. When we express ourselves, our psyches and spirits can project emotional energy outward rather than having to stay locked inside. Plus, art exists in every imaginable form. Go with what feels right, paint, dance, sing, write. Let intuition be your guide.
It’s not uncommon for very empathic individuals to become disconnected from their physical bodies. It makes sense. Empaths are guided by emotions. But, our bodies are our temples for a reason. They exist on the manifest plane and serve as sensory receptors for our consciousness. To function as empaths, as people, we must be mindful of the holistic picture. Body, mind, and soul all working together. Manage your unique physical body with balance. Get the right amount of sleep, consistent exercise (especially Yoga, which is great for empaths), and with medicines, natural or otherwise, as needed. Relaxing baths and cleansing showers are also super helpful and can assist to connect your energy to water, the element of emotions and empathy.
~Know Your Strength and Own It~
Lastly, remember that empathy does not make you weak. In fact, you are incredibly powerful, charismatic, mystical, and socially influential, even if you don’t feel that way sometimes. Say this and feel it. “I am a significantly powerful being in a world which desperately needs emotional awareness and compassion.” And remember, don’t get overly paranoid or depressed when you’re overwhelmed. Not everyone is out to get you or hurt you.
The more proactive we are each day and the more clearly we look at life’s tough moments as lessons, the more we can develop our power as empaths. Thus, helping to change the world. That’s right. You’re changing the world every day just be you. Congrats!
So often I find that music can alter, heighten, excite, or amplify my mood and my motivation.
Recently I have had to deal with some pretty crappy luck, but I’m getting better at not letting it bother me. Is my worth solely based on how other view me or by how much they believe I am worth? No. It is not. Well the words are easier said (or typed rather) than believed. However, they are a start.
One of the other things that really gets me feeling like myself again and even having hope again is music. Recently after a particularly helpful yoga session and shower, two songs came on my Pandora station and though I had heard them before I needed to hear them in this moment. They helped to lift me back up.
Now one of the amazing things about music is it can be ambiguous. To some it may mean one thing and to someone else another. While the meanings to some songs may seem pretty straight forward other can be open to interpretation. Well I personally love to find my own connections to the lyrics in my own life and situation. When these two songs came on I connected them to my own situation and I was able to use their positive lyrics to help ease my frustrations.
If you too need a pick me up and want to listen to a couple of songs which have great, positive messages I highly suggest these. They are a bit silly, very energetic, and for me a little bit of a guilty pleasure. But hey, I like them. So I don’t really feel that guilty. I like what I like.
Enjoy these videos and I hope they help you feel strong and like you can keep going.
Next time you need to get up and dance or go for a run, use these to help give you some motivation.
For my introduction to the My Temple Category of posts I included one of my favorite instagram photos of myself. While it is old it always makes me feel great. We can do it! My Rosie the Riveter style image helps me to feel strong and powerful.
“We can do it!” can apply to any type of situation including the dreaded “workout.” I suffer from lack of motivation like anyone and I really feel the strain when I hit the one month mark. Around that time I feel my motivation waning. It’s been a little over three weeks and I’ve been doing great. It’s right around this time that I hit a wall, suddenly I’m saying “Do I have to?” when before it was “I’m so proud of myself.”
Recently I hit that wall again in my training for a 5k. I decided to train for the run because I had a rather scary, if not likely, thought. What if I am chased by someone? Could I get away? In the event of the Zombie Apocalypse could I survive having to outrun hoards of undead fiends? The unfortunate answer was no. So I started training to run and an important fact, I hate running. But I stuck with it. Using a very neat app on my phone I started running and my husband even joined me. I was going great until I hit the inevitable wall.
So how do I get past the wall. For me it was as simple as reviewing that intention. Often in yoga classes, exercise courses, etc. they ask you to remember your intentions. To think back to why you are doing the activity in the first place. So I asked myself, “Can I outrun that zombie?” Well the answer is still no. This makes me remember my ultimate desire, to complete my goal. This outweighs the momentary desire to avoid the work out.
The other thing that really helps me and I think will help others, is to use a program or app which “rewards” you for your effort. I’m human and as such I love positive reinforcement. I use an app that rewards me for completed workouts and gives me detailed stats about how I performed that day. This really helps me because one of the frustrating things about working out and looking for a change is that it happens gradually overtime. You’re not going to drop 10 pounds, run a marathon, and look rockin’ after one routine, unfortunately. What I can see is that I’m faster compared to the first run. I can listen to my body and feel that I’m less sore and eventually I will be able to see the change in my body. These apps and stats help me feel like I’m actually doing something in the meantime.
I’m still going and the running is getting easier. If you want to take a peak at a neat app, look for S Health and Coach by Cigna for Android. I am also a huge fan of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. Her 30 Days of Yoga playlist is great.