The Empress and Toni Morrison

I’ve just finished reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly.  A great (and sometimes hard) read about vulnerability and shame in our lives.  This book helped me open my eyes and better assess the habits I’ve recently been hiding behind to make myself feel like a “good” mom and wife.  But what I realized was it was a front.  And I want to change my habits so that I am my best version of what mom and wife mean.

I want to be more Empress-like.

 

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The empress: the mother, caregiver, provider, nurturer.  Influenced by intuition and love.  Sitting on a firm foundation, but softened by love.

That is the mother I want to be, but in my own way.  I will never be the Pin-perfect mother of the year.  I will not turn into Donna Reed overnight.

It’s going to take work, I’ve been living with these habits for a long time.  I’m going to start in the most simple way I can think of.  In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown quotes Toni Morrison.  It’s not a pithy or super striking quote; it’s simple, to the point, and heart-driven.

“When a child walks in the room, your child or anybody else’s child, do your eye light up?  That’s what they’re looking for.”

 -Toni Morrison

I heard this Monday, and I have been trying to do this every time O or E walks in the room.  Even J, not that he’s a child, I just want him to see that I still love him with all my heart, and I’m glad we’re still on this journey together.

I’ve been trying.  It’s hard.  When stomping of feet or whining proceeds them, it’s hard to want to react immediately with kindness.  And safety does come first, that applies to you O, especially when you are trying to defy physics.  But you get the point.

When I used this as my first reaction, the tears and overall grump faded faster than if I met them with annoyance, frustration, or exasperation.

This is just a baby step to becoming more Empress-like.  Baby steps in the right direction. 🙂

 

More to come, I’m sure.  I’m still learning every day.

Changes suck ass

Change.  It’s one of those things that is needed but not always wanted.  Sometimes not ever.

Right now, I am going through a needed and wanted change – a new way to embrace spirit and all that is above the mundane.  However, I am not happy with my body or habits.

Houses won’t stand with a weak foundation.  Plants don’t bloom if soil can be contained.

My personal foundation, my pot, is my body.  And I really have issues with it.  Not just how it looks, but how it feels.  I do love my body, I am fairly comfortable in my skin, but a few areas can throw all the confidence I have out a window in front of an oncoming bus.

Physically, I my belly fat isn’t shrinking.  In fact, it’s been growing.  This is becoming VERY unsettling for me.  In my mind’s eye, I don’t have it or even notice it.  However, when I look in the mirror or see pictures of myself – my confidence isn’t always gleaming out of my eyes.  I am subconsciously uncomfortable – you can see it if you look closer.  My posture, my hands, my eyes.  I don’t feel like that, at least I don’t think I feel that way, but then I look again, and I am surprised that that is my outward projection of myself.

The extra weight is pulling me down emotionally, even when I am not thinking about it.  Sometimes I do think about it, and I can’t stop.  Usually at 3am, when I can’t really do much to distract myself.  So I lie there in bed, berating myself for how much control I’ve lost.  And then I beat myself down so much that the next day I give in to every single craving that is caused by anxiety, guilt, shame, or frustration.  I know the sources – I know that I am not hungry, but I can’t stop.

Other things that have been going on – I have a large cyst on my ovary.  It’s uncomfortable, but everyone tells me that it’s fine.  They happen.  It does rupture (can tell you exactly when too…ugh…) but it is replaced by another.  It is uncomfortable, but nothing I need to worry about.

To me this is screaming that my hormones are off.  This isn’t the only sign I’ve been taking note of: my skin isn’t as resilient as it once was, my facial hair is becoming more obnoxious (mammal problems), and I sweat a lot – all the time – no matter how cold or hot I am, no matter what deodorant I use.  It’s the stinky anxiety sweat too.  I don’t feel the anxiety most of the time – so I know there is something wrong, just below the surface.  Just on the brink of surfacing.

Will losing weight help with these issues?

Well, the confidence probably most likely.  The health of my body, why wouldn’t it?  I’ll be changing my diet, which will change my body, my health, my life.

Is this going to be fun or easy?  Nope, not at all…  It will take work not to burnout.  It will take work to be patient enough to see any benefits – it’s a slow change.  But it’s needed, very much so.

So what is the plan?

The keto diet – train my body to burn fat – I have enough of it.

Book of Light & Steps to a New Happy

I’ve only heard the term once, but I quite liked it.  If a Book of Shadows is all secrets, spells, and things that I created based on my research; then a Book of Light should hold and store all the research, notes, and general information that I collected.

I have a lot of interests so far:  divination, candle magic, moon magic, deity concepts, holidays/celebrations, magic in general, meditation, chakras, mindfulness, visualization, and the list continues.

However, if I don’t SLOW DOWN, I will get overwhelmed and give up.  And that is the last thing I want to do.

I don’t want to give up again.  I did that for years.  I lived with the thought that my choices don’t really matter, because every week we were forgiven.  This led me to feel that my choices didn’t really matter UNLESS I chose not to take sacrament.  I could murder someone, confess and talk about it, do some praying, then BOOM forgiven.  So what does human life matter?

I was lost in my own head – stuck with the ideas of having to be perfect because of what my peers and complete strangers do on social media or talk about at gatherings.  I love my children, but their constant needs (through age appropriate) drain all my energy and cause me to become short tempered and reactive.

They deserve better.

I deserve better.

It is my life after all, and my decisions are significant for those around me.  Sure, my choice of what’s for dinner isn’t going to cure cancer or cause the next war (hopefully) but my choices are seen by my family and if they see me not able to take care of myself, and not value myself then what are they to expect for their own lives.

So I looked outside of “traditional” religions.  (traditional being Judeo-Christian oriented.  That’s all I’ve experienced, as far as attending services, being a member of, and youth activities, etc).

It started with Buddhist teachings, but I don’t feel that I could be a true Buddhist due to the vegetarianism and not killing insects that are invading my sacred living spaces.  (Sorry, but any insect or spider within 10 feet of my bed has 2 seconds to run as far away as they can)

What I do like are the ideas of mindfulness and self-regulation.  I need mindfulness in my life.  I spend too much of my day rushing through chores and making dinner and entertaining the kids, that I forget about actually enjoying the time I had that day.  I fall asleep exhausted and feel that I have nothing of matter that shows for my stress.  Sure, I cleaned the living room, but my kids are little, so it’s as good as trashed by the time lunch rolls around the next day.  Was it worth the aggravation of trying to make them help me?  Was it worth the yelling and over-reacting because I was trying to control everything?

Hell no.

Instead, I need to send the kids outside (weather permitting) let them be kids.  I need to sit still and enjoy how my coffee tastes, how tense my shoulders are, how shallow my breathing is and how this is making me crabby.  I need sit and be still.  Sit and relax my mind.

Meditation, self-reflection, journaling.  All things I need to keep myself more relaxed.  Help myself understand and discover myself.

But what about outside myself?

I looked into lots of different directions and settled with magick.  Paganism and Wicca.  These have a lot of systems that I naturally connected with.  I have always felt a connection with the elements – earth, air, fire, water.  Always liked the moon and her cyclic nature.

Most of all I like the idea that there is divinity in all things.  It isn’t missing until I am baptized or blessed.  It is there, it has always been there, and it will always be there.  This divinity connects us all beyond our religious, cultural, and racial beliefs.  We are all divine.  And with that comes responsibility.

I am divine.  You are divine.  My lilac bush is divine.  I have no right to be disrespectful, unkind, or aggressive towards you or my lilac bush.  You share this right as well.  We are connected and we can make our own paths and choices.  I am responsible for the consequences of my actions.  Me and only me.  I have to live with them, so I better make ones I can stand, so that when I can’t sleep at night, it’s not because I’m tormented by the awful things I did that day.  (I have other things that keep me up, potty training, sick kids, sinus headaches…)

Along with a new found self-respect, I can also adapt this to what I need at any given time.  Growing up, it was all-or-nothing all the time.  Somethings I wasn’t comfortable with, but my family would lose face if I didn’t participate.  Some things I loved and was happy to dive in head first.  It wasn’t that it was miserable, it just didn’t always fit and that always seemed to be my own fault because I wasn’t worthy enough or “holy” enough or “righteous” enough.

This path I have chosen is also something I can do alone.  I love that.  I never liked testimony meetings.  I felt the pressure from my parents to stand up and address the congregation, but the idea of talking to that many people at once made me nauseous.  I had a testimony at the time, but I feel that it was built on peer pressure.  When I was left to do my own soul searching, I found I wasn’t happy alone, but I naturally prefer to be alone.  This was contradictory and made me super anxious and even depressed because obviously something was wrong with me.  I wasn’t happy like my friends and family in church, so I must be full of sin or broken, but never unhappy.  That was never an option.

And yet I was, and I seemed to be the only one.  Anxiety overload…

For a while, I just gave up on anything as far as “religion” or divinity.  The universe was just chaos, nothing made sense, nothing mattered, especially me.

This was not healthy…  not in any sense –  physical, emotional, or mental.  I kept it under control a lot, replacing this feeling with becoming a control freak and workaholic.  But when I found myself working too much for a company that cared too little and I was about to have baby number 2, I realize that I had had enough.

It took about three years to find something I can feel confident in.  Something that will meet me at my own personal level, not a level that others think I should be at, but where I am, without any shame, guilt, or disappointment.

The vastness of this path is overwhelming at times.  I totally understand why having a set path is both appealing and comforting.  But the individuality, the personalization, the self-accountability and self-improvement is  what I need.

Preparation, Practice, and Reflection.

These are things I need in my life.  I have been working through this in my journals, and this is what feels right.  My own path, my own heart leading the way, my own connection with the divine centers of the universe, my own self discovery and development.

And this blog will become a place to reflect.  A place to slow down.  A place to try and find myself once again.  For myself.  Maybe I’ll open up with this, maybe not.  There is nothing wrong with either choice.  As long as I do what helps me in the end.

It’s hard to write like that.  I tend to be more selfless when it comes to making time for me or spending money on myself, etc.  So this part of the whole mindfulness/magick path will be unexplored territory for me.  It’s not wrong to be selfish – one needs to stand up for what one needs, desires, and dreams.  But that word has so much weight with it.  But it’s not wrong.  Without taking care of oneself, you cannot adequately take care of others.

With that said, here I go, one step towards a new happy, and new me.