In Art History class, we learned that Michelangelo’s David was a major departure from previous works because it depicts David before he slays Goliath. Figures of David by Donatello and Verrocchio, for example, show him with Goliath’s head at his feet, but Michelangelo chose to present the tense moment before David kills the giant, when the choice has yet to be acted upon, when everything could go wrong.

David‘s expression has been interpreted in various ways, but he looks worried to me.

I’ve felt like David a lot recently. I’ve been looking at choices I could make and feeling afraid. But courage never means “fearless”. Courage is going ahead while feeling afraid.

Our culture wants us to believe not only that courage = fearless, but that one magical day, we “make it” and then never feel afraid again. We get to be triumphant Davids forever onward. But that’s not true.

As uncomfortable as fear makes me, I accept that feeling afraid is part of living, is natural for the choices available to me. I’m not treating fear as my enemy. I’m carrying fear along with me as I courageously journey towards my desires.


Easy-Breezy March

I write a Monthly Passage, which I learned from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self, to let go of last month and enter the new month with intention.

What worked in February

  • Monday Tarot! I looooove picking a card every week instead of every month
  • my Google Keep dashboard – it has helped me get a magnitude of things done! (the sun doodle is from one of my fave webcomics, Lackadaisy Cats)

  • 2-3 to-dos at a time
  • one project at a time
  • writing or typing to-dos immediately when I think of them to free my brain up
  • getting up at 5.45 am
  • small steps
  • recognizing it takes me weeks to complete something – just accept it
  • putting my Monthly Tarot card as the background on my phone so I see it every day
  • making lots of food on the weekend and freezing it for dinners during the week
  • picking out the next week’s outfits on Sunday (frees up a LOT of time)
  • taking care of junk mail immediately
  • not giving a shit
  • Writer’s Oasis Saturday mornings
  • saying to myself emphatically: “NO, this can wait for tomorrow”

Next time I might

  • getting into bed at 10 pm is such a challenge, but I’ll try getting ready at 9.15

Qualities I want for March
Fun. Fancy Free. Explore. Budding. Ease. Rest. Courage. Shields Up.

Things I’m working on

  • adding items to my Amazon Seller store!! (It was a trial to get it set up, but I’ve already had one sale!)
  • finishing my video project

Looking forward to

  • fun
  • a haircut
  • my second Amazon sale!

Asking and hoping for

  • warmer weather
  • continuing from February: tenacity, nipping it in the bud, and not giving a shit

I’m ready for

  • making for the sake of making
  • fun exploration before [secret project] in April

My Tarot resources are The Tarot Directory, Tarot Teachings, and Labyrinthos Academy.

The present moment is a mantra

Time is precious.

Every person is born with a lifetime of moments, and so many will be stolen from us by systems and events beyond our control.

The present moment is all we have. It’s not always pleasant, but being attentive to the present moment brings clarity and calm. In the present moment, we see what’s important, what’s wrong for us, what’s right for us, and what needs to change.

The past and the future don’t exist except in our minds. Yet we spend so much time there, remembering, regretting, planning, fearing. Or worse, we spend time thoughtlessly playing games, watching videos, or busying ourselves with work in an attempt to ease our normal anxious, empty state.

We live in systems that have trained us to do this while preventing us from realizing we’re doing this.

How can we be present more often?

Every person is born with a Body. A beautiful Body that does hir best to always be healthy and thriving. A beautiful Body that has desires and messages that we often ignore or don’t know how to listen to.

Turning to our Bodies, Earth, physical matter – these exist now. Being attentive to Bodies brings us back to where we really are and what’s really happening.

The present moment is a mantra.

When I learned how to meditate from Emily Fletcher, I learned that a mantra is a word that you want to focus on lightly and forgive yourself when you stray from it. You will always stray from the mantra because you have a human brain, but it’s your choice to come back to the mantra when you notice your attention has wandered.

Come back to the present moment by slowing down, breathing, noticing your surroundings, noticing your thoughts, noticing your Body.

Right now, I notice:

I am safe.

No predator is trying to eat me.

It’s cold outside but I am lucky to live in a place with heating.

It is quiet and I can think.

Who and what are you giving your precious time and attention to?

Is this serving your happiness?

What small changes can you make in your life to be more present?

In what ways can you pay attention to your Body? Can you be more loving or respectful towards your Body?


Being Present for February

I write a Monthly Passage, which I learned from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self, to let go of last month and enter the new month with intention.

What worked in January

  • just three to-dos at a time (and having to prioritize)
  • Monday Tarot (a theme for each week)
  • writing
  • ablutions at 9.40 and in bed at 10! (most days)
  • getting up at 5.45 on weekdays = I’m less rushed and get more Me Time

Next time I might

Qualities I want
Presence. Appreciation. Gratitude. Excitement. Tenacity. Remembering.

Things I’m working on

Looking forward to

  • making a video = super fun
  • voice acting for my video, say whaaaaat

Asking and hoping for

  • tenacity to stick with my video project!

I’m ready for

  • feeling like I’m on my way to somewhere good

My Tarot Message for February

Rider Waite Smith deck

February’s card from my Year Spread is the IV of Cups. This card is about holding oneself back and being closed off from help, joy, and magic. It’s about forgetting to be present, which is why I chose the word Presence as my theme for this month. I very often feel like I don’t have enough time and money, and I forget all the support I do have. I also get dissatisfied and bored, forgetting that deeper exploration will mean greater excitement!

My Tarot resources are The Tarot Directory, Tarot Teachings, and Labyrinthos Academy.

Strength and Majesty

I have a special view of the Strength card. It is commonly described as showing our human/mental/rational traits subduing our animal/emotional/body-based traits – “containing the savage beast within us”1. It’s not a brutal subjugation – the woman doesn’t hurt the lion – but nonetheless, there is a polarity and hierarchy.

I started to view Strength differently when I read what Tarot Teachings says about the woman: she uses “compassion, love, patience, and cunning” to calm the lion. The cunning stood out to me right away because Havi uses sneaky, indirect ways to better know herself and solve problems.

I wondered, instead of the lion representing emotion/savage/body/bad, could he instead represent our Inner Overprotector? Could he, the King of the Animals, instead be the powerful force within us humans that cautions against change and risk to keep us safe?

Viewing the lion as the Inner Overprotector does a few positive things:

First, it breaks the binary between rational-emotional, mind-body, good-bad, etc. which needs to go already.

Second, the Inner Overprotector, a.k.a. Fear, Vampire Voices, Monsters, the Little Hater – gains legitimacy when it is portrayed as ruler of the animal kingdom. In our wider culture, the Inner Overprotector is treated like the enemy – kick your fears in the ass, power through your fears, be fear-less (and feel ashamed if you slide back into being afraid). The thing is, your Inner Overprotector is part of you – and will always be part of you, given how it has served humanity so well during our evolution – so kicking your fears in the ass is actually kicking yourself in the ass. For your entire life.

Herakles fighting the Nemean lion.

On the other hand, sometimes we are told to ignore our fears because they are silly. I don’t believe this is wise, either. Our Inner Overprotectors have valid concerns that need to be honored. Missing a deadline at work won’t result in immediate physical harm to us (in most occupations), but we still feel as if our lives are in danger – and our bodies can’t tell the difference. It’s real, and it’s not silly.

Third – and this is reflected well in the Golden Thread Tarot’s design, among others – it allows us to see the Inner Overprotector as a partner rather than a silly annoyance or an enemy to defeat once and for all.

The woman listens to – welcomes – the lion’s concerns, and sometimes he does indeed protect the woman from dangers. Most of the time she goes ahead with her plans, after assuring the lion she will be careful – and points out he’s actually not protecting her when he keeps her stagnant and unhappy.

The German word for strength is “kraft”, which of course sounds like “craft”. Welcoming fears and worries truly is a craft. It requires practice and consistency, and “compassion, love, patience, and cunning”. The Rolla Nordic Tarot goes so far as to re-name the card “the Enchantress”.

When the woman stands with the lion, rather than overpowering him or controlling him, they form a whole, positive, growing human being. Such a human is majestic, fully owning themselves, their choices, and their lives.

May we all know majesty. May we all know this kind of strength.

Please read Havi’s completely different and beautiful thoughts on Majesty also!

While writing this article, I found these images inspiring:

1The Tarot Directory by Annie Lionnetw

Majestic January

I write a Monthly Passage, which I learned from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self, to let go of last month and enter the new month with intention.

What worked in December

  • taking off Mercury in retrograde (just doing fun stuff once I got home from work)
  • journaling
  • chores after work
  • time containers
  • starting out with just 15 minutes
  • focusing on one project at a time
  • getting ready for bed at 9
  • watching the snow fall
  • hawthorn infusion in my canteen during the day instead of staying up too late to drink it!

Next time I might

  • interrupt an internet dopamine binge with hugging my Pusheen stuffie! She’s a little stuffie so I squish her to my face ^_^
  • knit at night

Qualities I want for January
Majesty. Strength. Welcoming. Acceptance.

Things I’m working on

Looking forward to

  • more glitter snow!
  • my partner feeling better
  • a raise

Asking and hoping for

  • a good raise
  • a chance to go into video work at my job
  • new students

I’m ready for

  • Hope
  • feeling more and more like earning enough money and enjoying my time here is not only deserved, but natural, like it’s my birthright.

My Tarot Message for January

In my Year Spread, January’s card is Strength. Strength is often described as depicting our elevated human nature conquering our base animal instincts, but I believe it is really about accepting and welcoming the “vampire voices” or monsters – the parts of ourselves that keep us small rather than let us change and grow into unfamiliar territory. The Strength card never shows the woman beating the lion into submission, after all – she gently touches it, instead.

My Tarot resources are The Tarot Directory, Tarot Teachings, and Labyrinthos Academy.

2018 is the year of Hope

I tried something new for this year – the Year Ahead Spread from The Wild Unknown. And it was awesome!! I was leery of seeing the whole year at once, but it’s given me such peace of mind and excitement.

There is a circle of twelve cards, one for each month, surrounding the central card, which is the theme for the year. The year card is last, and I audibly gasped in surprise. I have a special feeling about the Star, and for her to appear as a year-long theme is really inspirational.

I chose just one word from these cards as themes for the months – that in itself was hard, but I went with my intuition. So, here are the themes for my whole year:

  • January
    Majesty (this is Havi’s word for January too, but I felt it fit)
  • February
    IV of Cups
  • March
    V of Wands
  • April
    The Hermit
  • May
    Knight of Wands
  • June
    VIII of Pentacles
  • July
    The Moon
  • August
    The Devil
  • September
    The Fool
  • October
    Ace of Pentacles
  • November
    II of Swords
  • December
    III of Swords

Sunday Revue: butternut squash = yummy

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • all chores after work so I don’t have so much to do at night before bed
  • having a time container for mindlessly surfing the internet
  • getting ready for bed at 9 and going back to my laptop if necessary after
  • having taken time off while Mercury was in retrograde
  • having just one to-do each work-night
  • watching the snow fall : )

Next time I might

  • not having my hawthorn infusion at night, because I stay up too late drinking it

The Hard

  • it hasn’t been very sunny
  • my partner is so scared of colon cancer that he has made a colonoscopy appointment, which I think is wholly unnecessary and dangerous, given that his symptoms have been mild and are probably just gluten intolerance
  • the week went very slowly – Friday felt like a whole extra day

The Good

  • the gastroenterologist my partner saw was actually pretty cool and suggested my partner get some therapy to move through this fear of dying
  • since my partner cut wheat, dairy, and sugar from his diet two weeks ago, his symptoms have gotten way better and he’s felt better
  • significant changes to my working environment have helped my day-to-day be a lot more bearable
  • feeling like maybe, one day, I will earn enough money to be comfortable
  • delicious noms – I made the Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup from Good and Cheap – actually never having eaten a butternut squash before – and it was super yummy! (I would only use 1/3 or 1/4 of a teaspoon of cayenne powder, though – even 1/2 was too much.)

Sunday Revue: time containers

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • having to-dos like “dance for 15 minutes three days this week”
  • doing all my chores after work
  • starting 15 minutes of a task
  • having time containers
  • getting nine hours of sleep on the weekends

Next time I might

  • get some help when it’s midnight and I’m still looking at dance costumes I’m not going to buy

The Hard

  • First World Problem of deciding what to buy on clearance, and then getting overwhelmed and deciding to not buy anything
  • my partner and I were breathing easier with his new job, but then nobody told him about health insurance, and he had to go through the healthcare marketplace and now he’s out almost $300 a month : (
  • my partner has been on a video game binge this weekend and I’m not happy about it

The Good

  • my partner played the piano this weekend, breaking the video game binge and lifting me from my spiraling negative thoughts
  • my partner had convinced himself he had colon cancer, but after not eating wheat, sugar, and dairy for just a week, he’s felt a lot better
  • I got a pair of mittens! My fingers are soooo much warmer
  • no matter how I feel, the fact is I accomplish a lot every day.

Sunday Revue: feeling light

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • saying no again
  • dreaming

Next time I might

  • before bed, do something soothing that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower to get settled

The Hard

  • bored at work
  • my partner is very delicate
  • feeling really sleepy
  • feeling compelled to stay up late because of dopamine hits (thanks Internet) and needing some alone time

The Good

  • keeping my partner always happy is not my responsibility, and I’m really feeling that knowledge this month, and it feels awesome
  • my partner is finding ways to calm himself down; he even said he was going to parent himself the way he wished he would have been parented as a child – and I didn’t even have to introduce that idea, which I’ve read from Bethany Webster
  • yummy noms
  • I made some slippery elm balls for my partner to eat when his stomach is upset – I used 1/3 cup powder to 4 soup spoons of honey, if that helps anyone. Slippery elm smells like brown sugar, mmmm
  • Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog came in the maaaaail
  • not being weighed down by the job search
  • building up my savings!

Radical rest in December

I write a Monthly Passage, which I learned from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self, to let go of last month and enter the new month with intention.

What worked in November

  • napping a lot
  • crying a lot
  • hugs
  • making a compass
  • asking for help
  • 15 minutes of some tasks
  • forcing Neat Bee (Nip It In The Bud)
  • cultivating my Inner Observer
  • focusing on one thing at a time – helped immensely
  • going ahead even though I’m not 100% perfect
  • I held a Rally!
  • welcoming fear
  • remembering my messages from the Tarot

Next time I might

  • focus on one thing at a time – always
  • ask the Tarot sooner – always!
  • listen
  • write stuff down to get it out of my head

Qualities I want for December
Rest. Light. Focus. Solid Ground. Sovereign As Hell. Always Safe.

Superpower I want
Tenacious Monk.

Things I’m working on

  • building up my savings, possibly by selling things I don’t want
  • still welcoming help
  • resting like it’s my job

Looking forward to

  • maybe a new job (but I’m just proud of myself for applying, especially because they’re long shots)
  • my mom feeling better

Asking and hoping for

  • the peace I feel now to extend the whole month long
  • help

I’m ready for

  • new
  • settling into Always Safe

Tarot Message
I got two – the Emperor popped out, but I decided to draw another one, which was the Devil. They are just what I need right now.

The Emperor

  • authority
  • worldly success
  • stablity
  • structure
  • focus
  • set boundaries
  • grounding
  • follow your goals methodically

The Devil

  • potential in our most hidden parts of self
  • remove blockages by exposing them
  • “we’re blind to our own beauty”
  • illusion
  • enslavement
  • feeling trapped, empty, and unfulfilled
  • duality

My Tarot resources are The Tarot Directory, Tarot Teachings, and Labyrinthos Academy.

Sunday Revue: solid

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • naps
  • setting up email alerts for jobs on instead of killing myself searching manually
  • listing my projects in order of priority
  • focusing on one project at a time
  • saying no
  • tapping (EFT)

Next time I might

  • leave work when I have a headache goddammit

The Hard

  • the headache that made me throw up
  • feeling dissociated and confused
  • being around people who don’t seem human
  • did I mention U.S. healthcare suuuuuuuuuuuuucks

The Good

  • a huge weight lifted from my shoulders
  • maybe replenishing my savings by selling things I don’t want online
  • Mom had a breakthrough
  • my partner made some dinners this week and that freed up some time for me
  • feeling solid