Posts filed under Creativity

17 Bizarre Philosophies that Made me my first $10,000 month (with accompanying music videos)

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The genuinely bizarre things I believe all contribute to my current rags-to-riches success, wherein in 2015 I ran enterprise based on teaching magic and writing from a tropical island, and made about $10,000 a month.... in 2016 I moved home and raised my income to over $20,000 a month. 

Now, in 2019, I'm averaging well over $70,000 a month.  It's not by accident, of course.  It's the result of some far-out insights combined with writing and teaching.

Note: This business has been 100% boot strapped and involved a lot of eating from food banks and sleeping on friend's couches to get started. There's been no parental financing, no sugar daddy, no nothin' of the sort. 

I would call myself a "self-made woman" but I don't love that term - since the truth is I've been nurtured in my weirdness by a whole host of people, so I'm a community-made woman - specifically, a Pittsburgh-made woman.

I know a lot of you out there in internet land (especially the magically and artistically inclined amongst you) would be curious to know the attitudes and beliefs that have gone into creating my business success.

So I decided to write down all the bizarre stuff that I 100% believe here in this convenient list format, so hopefully people can read it and

1) learn from it and

2) know all about me up-front, so I don't have to constantly deal with personally shocking and disturbing them. 

1. Having is evidence of wanting, but only always.

I'm not even going to explain this one much. Just think about it. Really think about it. What would it mean in your life if this were true? And would you be willing to gently open up to enjoying that fact about yourself without judging and shaming or hating yourself for it? 

Maybe? Okay? No? Well then, that's cool, you can stop reading. You don't have to waste your time with me and I promise you won't dig what I have to say at all.

Because most everything I ever say is some variant of "Having is evidence of wanting."

As for me, once upon a time, I thought I didn't want to be living trapped below the poverty level.  But having is evidence of wanting, and actually a large part of my soul did want exactly that.

I also thought I didn't want to be in shitty abusive relationships with insane, possessive men who treated me like I was some kind of drug instead of a person - but fascinatingly, a major part of my soul, once again - did want exactly that

It was only when I stopped judging and shaming the part of me that adored poverty and having men be addicted to me that I interrupted the pattern of shame and self-hatred that kept me wanting - and creating - those dark situations.
 

2. Magic is 10% intention, 90% liberating your attention from your attachments and aversions, your habitual unconscious patterns, and your shame and your resentment.

Vision Boards and the Law of Attraction and a century of New Ageism got lots of magically-inclined folks whipped up into thinking that all they needed to do was "intend" something and it would happen.

Yeah, like no.

I mean, intending stuff and having it happen does totally work, if you're very free from attachment and aversion and unconscious self-defeating patterns. Are you?

Are you like, Gautama Buddha-level free of your patterns?

If no, and you hope to be effective at practical magic, then I would spend way way way way way way more time on the work of liberating your attention from being trapped in those patterns and way way way way way less time on getting your precious "intentions" just right.

Liberated attention is power.  Liberated attention is joy.

Your intentions aren't worth much unless they've got tons of power behind them.

If you're at all like most of us humans, pretty much all of your attention and all of your power and all of your joy is currently trapped in bullshit self-defeating patterns that got embedded into you early in your life through trauma, abuse and coercion, whether familial or societal or both.

Cheers, enjoy, kiddo! - signed, the legacy of all humanity preceding you, especially the founders of modern Western society. 

3. In this world, wealth comes from getting okay with being a predator. 

Does that sound evil, being a predator?

Do you think lions are evil? Because.... they're predators.

I'll just say it again: especially if you're selling a spiritual and emotional service like teaching or coaching and you're a woman, you need to hear this: you're a predator. You're a lion.

If you're broke, it's probably because of systemic misogyny and also because you still see yourself as a helpless antelope (which, fyi, systemic misogyny conditioned all of us women to do!)

Now you may not be able to slay systemic misogyny in one fell swoop, but you can stop seeing yourself as an antelope.

Or not. I mean, that's totally cool, you can continue seeing yourself as an antelope if you want to.

Yet chances are that you're a delusional antelope, because if there's a part of your soul that's hungry to do business, then you're really a lion.

Your prey is your prospect's ego: the part of them that wants to resist deeply committing to change and admitting that they need help and mentorship and therefore surrendering to valuing your services and wisdom with money.

As a lion, you've got to kill that prey and eat it all up if you want to stay in business.

So, would you like to fess up to being a lion, or would you like to continue to pretend to be an antelope?

You get way more pity as a helpless, struggling, broke spiritual basic-ass antelope - also, you get approval from insecure men who remain non-threatened by you and continuous affirmation from your broke spiritual antelope friends! -- so maybe you'd like to keep doing that? 

4. Magic isn't "spiritual" - it's soulful.

Think of it this way: we've all got a body, a soul, and a spirit.

Our body is our body - flesh and bones and stuff. The part that will still be here on earth when you die. The bits people will have to bury or cremate. You know, those.

Our spirit is our consciousness, our mind. The part of us that comes up with all those great intentions!

Our soul is the part of us that mediates between our body and our spirit. We might also call it our shadow and anima / animus, our creative unconscious, our personal genius.

Mysticism works primarily with the spirit.

Magic works primarily with the soul, to create pragmatic effects in the body and in the world.

That's why magicians use physical objects: herbs and candles and oils and sculptures and paintings and mojo bags and offerings of food - slime and snails and puppy dog tails!

We use these because we're working at the symbolic, imaginal level, the level of the interface between spirit and body, the level of dream and metaphor and poetry and art

Mysticism (and its attendant dogma and self-righteousness) tends to be popular among people who are so rich or otherwise privileged that they hardly know what to do with themselves.

I'm sure you can easily conjure to your mind folks that you've met who've never had to worry a day in their lives about how they're going to pay rent or buy food, folks who have never had to defend themselves from attack of any kind - who will tell you that witchcraft and magic are shameful, unspiritual, low-minded pursuits. 

Spiritually-oriented, rareified mystics either get squeamish around and money and birth and death and fucking and hustling or they go into a kind of kitschy denial that there's anything truly fucked up or scary in the world. Hint: there's plenty that's fucked up and scary in the world. 

Magic and witchcraft, on the other hand, tend to be popular among people who need to hustle for their living, and who've seen the dark side of this earth.

In other words, it's popular among people who don't have the luxury of by-passing their souls in order to protect a sparkling imaginary purity of their spirits. 

5. Jesus Christ was a first-class witch.

I am like a giant Jesus fan and quote him all the time, which flips some people out, especially considering that I'm also always talking about how I'm a witch and magic and ritual, etc. etc.,  

Think about it, folks, Jesus was obviously a witch who loved to party.

"What? There's no more wine? Just pass me that water and stand back folks - bam! Now let's keep this rager raging!"

"That's right, my moms was like fourteen when she gave birth to me in this crazy old barn with goats all around, and then these Persian dudes rolled up on the scene..."

"Awwww man, we're out of food? Wait wait wait everybody, don't leave just yet! Hold on - hand me those loaves and fishes - allllllllllllllllright now! Fish sandwiches for everyone!"

"Cool, so where all the bad bitches and hustlers hanging out? Can you point me there?"

"Yeah, my folks brought me to the Temple a lot growing up, but when I was like 13 I was like, fuck these guys, you know? I'm already more down with the Lord than they are and I'm just a jack-ass kid!"

Anyways, it's obvious to me. Jesus wasn't a mystic. He was a sexy witch and a magician, a shaman, a sorcerer and a healer, and a damn well accomplished one who terrified the Roman empire so much they had to assassinate him.

In other words, they burned him as a witch. Well, crucified him, but you know, same thing pretty much. Both result in torturous death.

6. As without, so within. 

This is a variation on the classic hermetic truth, "as above, so below."

It's a premise that's the basis of all analogy. And without analogy, we can't access the unknown. Analogy is how we connect the known with the unknown.

So if you want to know your within, take a good look at your without.

The world around you corresponds precisely to your soul. So much so that the highest form of enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism is known as "mahamudra," which means "the great symbol." 

It means that this whole world is a symbol of itself, which is to say, a symbol of you. Does that not make sense?

Probably it doesn't make sense, because it's a deep nondualistic truth and I'm expressing it in dualistic terms. But all language is dualistic, it's part of it's fun.

7. The world needs more bad bitches - aka "Fuck you, pay me."

I am so, so over misogyny in every single last one of its guises, especially the one where women and feminine people are conditioned to believe they have to be "spiritual" and "good" and perform endless emotional labor for zero pay.

Fuck. That. Shit.

As long as we're living in a capitalist world, money is how we express valuation. Emotional labor like the kind that women and feminine people do constantly - coaching, nurturing, teaching, nursing, therapy-ing, etc. etc. etc. is highly valuable and deserves to be highly paid.

The main thing that prevents women from being highly paid and highly valued for their endless emotional labor is endemic, world-wide, brutal traumatic abuse of women and children and people who evidence femininity in non-normative ways (including gay, bisexual, queer, and trans people). 

So I'll say it again: Fuck. That. Shit.

In other words - give it to me, I'm worth it. 

And so are you.
 

8. People are hungry to be genuinely seen and felt more than anything else. If you have enough liberated attention, you're capable of giving this - so then you become cherished and influential.

Just think about it. If your attention is wrapped up in your obsessions and your fears, you're not able to be fully present with people, right?

I mean, we all know folks who compulsively play with their phones rather than experience actual intimacy with the flesh-and-blood humans who are face-to-face with them.

So in a world where it's easier than ever to have your attention obsessively sucked away, having the power to focus your attention and focus it deeply and beautifully on the person in front of you is a rare art.

The gift of exquisite attention has always been in high demand, and the demand for it will just continue to rise. So if you want to be a person of influence and wealth, cultivate your ability to be free from obsession, alive in the present moment, and exquisitely attentive to the person right in front of you.

9. There is no reason for you or for any other human to feel ashamed, ever.

Sometimes when I say this people are like "What! Don't you think rapists and child molesters and murderers should be ashamed?"

To which I'm like - "Uhh, hell no. If they weren't ridden with shame to begin with and all the dissociation and alienation that shame brings then they wouldn't be able to treat other humans like objects."

And then sometimes those people look at me and they're like "What about psychopaths and sociopaths and narcissists? They don't feel shame! They should feel shame, though!"

I don't know much what to say to that, other than it's totally obvious to me that actually the only thing psychopaths and sociopaths and narcissists feel is shame.  They feel shame so constantly and so profoundly that it prevents them from feeling compassion.

In other words, after many long hours of meditation on the subject, it became clear to me that shame is the fountain source of violence and trauma, not its preventative balm.

Therefore, whenever I notice shame or judgment springing up in myself, I do my utmost to immediately release it - because I know that it's completely pointless.

The primary value of shame is as an instrument of control. If you can get someone to feel ashamed of themselves, then you can get them to be miserably alienated from their own soul. And if you can get them miserably alienated from their own soul, then you can get them addicted to something.

And if you can get someone to be addicted to something, then it's super-simple to manipulate them by simply regulating their access to the object of their addiction.

Ta-da! Consumerist, oligarchist society for you in a nutshell. 

 

10. Potency comes from embracing parts of yourself that you would much rather delete.

When most people talk about the importance of "shadow work" I notice that they're talking about a rather lame and watered-down version of this.

Like, folks seem to imagine that "shadow work" is something you can complete one rainy Sunday afternoon and then check off your list.

In my experience, the integration of the shadow is the integration of your own creative unconscious, and it is a process that utterly rocks you to the core and dismantles everything you thought you were.

And if you survive that, then you're magically and practically potent and vital. The key is not to kill yourself or anyone else along the way.

The nitty-gritty details of how to accomplish this shadow integration work makes up the bulk of what I teach people to do when I teach practical magic - because when you've got an integrated shadow, then you've got liberated attention, which means.... power and joy.

11. All identity is empty, fluid, constantly subject to evolution. 

Most people are ineffective because more than anything else they want to grasp onto a solid identity for themselves. We all want to feel solid, secure, real.

And the punchline of this planet is that's the one thing you can't ever do! Why? Because it's not possible for anything to have any solid, secure identity, because in order for identity to exist that means there has to be two of something (i.e. "this" is identical to "that" - you have to have both a "this" and a "that" in order to have an identity), therefore identity implies a duality, and reality is non-dual.

In other words, I know that it seems like you're a subject and the rest of the world is the solid object of your subjective experience, but - alas, that's an illusion.

It's an illusion of solidity that's frequently punctured by nighttime dreams, but our current culture is really fantasmic at being in denial of the importance and reality of nighttime dreams.

It's hard to describe the actual situation we live in better than Bill Hicks did in his fanciful expression of what an anchor delivering a News Update that was actually real news (instead of the usual hum-drum recitation of wars and politics) would sound like:

“Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the Weather.”

 

12. We all think we want to feel fulfilled, but actually fulfillment is humiliating and excruciating because it kills our ego.

Your thoughts will tell you all day long that you want to be much more rich, loved, healthy, etc. etc. than you already are.

What you don't realize is that your thoughts are straight up lying to you, because actually opening up to receiving that cash and love and health and brilliance is a painful, humiliating process that destroys the ego you've built around the self-image you have of yourself as someone who's long-suffering, put-upon, oppressed, taken advantage of, misunderstood, deprived, etc.

The fulfillment of everything you think you want will entail the destruction of everything you currently think you are.

Almost no one wants the destruction of everything she currently thinks she is because (see above) we're all caught up in an impassioned, hopeless quest to grasp at a feeling of solid identity. 

 

13. "Addiction" is synonymous with demonic possession, and we're all afflicted by it.

Have you ever talked to a friend of yours who had gotten addicted to drugs when he was jonesing for a fix (or your mom when she was desperate for chocolate, or your dad when he was super-upset that his sports team lost, or your boyfriend while he was defending his right to use porn?) and it was 100% clear to you that you weren't really talking to your friend (or mom or dad or boyfriend), you were talking to the addiction itself?

Well, I have.

Sometimes it's not always so obvious, but it is always true: being possessed by a demon means that there's an intelligence that's hijacked your body and mind which isn't actually interested in the well-being of your body and mind.

And that's addiction - it's an imprisoning force, an intelligence, that operates you until it destroys you. It's currently operating our whole world and doing a smashingly grand job of destroying it.

I see my mission in life as freeing myself from addiction in all its guises and helping others to get free. 

An important thing to note is this: the use of drugs and shopping and porn and sugar and sports and gambling and whatever else - those are all just symptoms of addiction.

Addiction is way deeper than any of its symptoms. It's a fundamental orientation towards self, life, the world, others - one that's obsessive, compulsive, fearful and destructive. 

 

14. The end of suffering is the willingness to enjoy overwhelming sensation (i.e., pain) rather than trying to push it away. I call this existential kink, and it's the only thing that's ever worked to move me out of my stuck patterns of trauma that I got from being molested as a kid and raped as a young woman.

Pretty much every woman I have ever known has been molested or raped or otherwise assaulted, by the way.

There's nothing odd about being a woman or feminine who has been molested, abused, raped, beaten, coerced, assaulted -- that's actually super-ordinary in our world. 

I'll just say that again: there is absolutely nothing rare or strange or odd or uniquely shameful about being a woman who has been molested, abused, raped, beaten, coerced, assaulted - sadly, that is the normal condition of being a woman in this world. 

I emphasize the truth of the ordinariness of these profound violations because I honestly didn't realize the total ordinariness of it for a long time, and when I did realize the total pervasive ordinariness of this violence, that knowledge helped to free me.

For many years I thought I was uniquely fucked up. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sadly, I am not at all uniquely fucked up. I am very ordinarily fucked up. What's rare and exceptional on this planet is being a woman or feminine person who has not been molested, abused, beaten, coerced, assaulted, raped.

 

15. Money isn't "green energy." It's dirty filthy nasty cash money. 

While I'm all about "fuck you, pay me" (see above) and I love the hustle, I also fully acknowledge that money is a highly problematic construction.

Have you read Debt: The First 5000 Years? Or Sacred Economics? Or Capitalism in the 21st Century by Thomas Picketty? Or On the Genealogy of Morals?

Well, you probably should go do that, but in the meantime I'll just go ahead and bottomline it for you: the kind of currency we use today is based on debt. It's debt-based currency. And debt is fucked up.

You know what's a synonym for "debt"?

Resentment. Resentment is holding onto something that happened in the past and wanting it to be made up for, by whatever means necessary. That's what debt does, too.

Debt is "something held against you" - that "something" is an expectation, a forceful demand of repayment.

"And forgive us our debts, that we may forgive those who owe us debts." This was part of a magic spell that the great witch Jesus said all the time, because getting free from resentment is a very important part of liberating your attention so you can do magic. 

In a way, money is like calcified resentment!

In other words, our money is an abstraction that represents the past, and something owed. It's a violent demand in the form of slips of paper and coin and digital marks.

Money is not benevolent, it is not innocent. In any way. At all. Ever.

Money is fierce, it's brutal, it's unfair, it's obsessed with the past, and it deeply connects us to a system of brutality.

If the only way you can get okay with making money is by tricking yourself into believing that it's "just energy!' as if it were some innocent, totally non-problematic force handed to you by the Easter Bunny, then that attitude is a reflection of your woefully brittle denial and lack of capacity for understanding historical and economic fact.

Money is a tricksy form of limiting magic (created by sorcerers known as governments and banks) that perpetuates shame, scarcity, and alienation.

And there's no legitimate way around that.  There's no way to by-pass it. The only way is the filthy way through. 

Because you know what perpetuates shame, scarcity, and alienation even more than having and making dirty dirty cash money?

I'll tell you: it's being broke while self-righteously justifying your not venturing out of your comfort zone because to do so would be "unspiritual." That hiding perpetuates shame and scarcity and alienation even more.

Why? Think of it this way: when you do this, you refuse to make that dirty, dirty cash money rain like gushing blood from an antelope's bitten neck in springtime because you prefer to be "pure."

In other words, you're addicted to an ideal of yourself as someone who's free from sin. You're a Pharisee.

My favorite witch Jesus didn't have much respect for Pharisees. Why? Because they're way more about looking good than doing the actual nasty work of effecting good results

So the refusal to deal with money because it's nasty and violent - this is a denial of your soul and it's more harmful than money, even with all the debt and violence and brutality that money is factually, historically associated with.

Money is corrosive and dangerous and related to debt and resentment and obsessed with the past, yes.

And guess what? You've got corrosive, dangerous, brutal, past-obsessed elements in your own soul, too. So many of them, in fact! Would you like to be in aversive denial of those elements forever?

Because if you deny and reject the corrosion and brutality and obsession with the past that's in your very own soul by refusing to get up and go soil your hands with the stinky violent dirty world of money and sales, then you're just denying elements in your own soul. 

Mmmmm, good luck with that.


16. Connection and intimacy are the antidotes to addiction.


Part of why I'm so interested in connection and superconnection is that addiction (attachment, aversion, obsession, fear) thrives on alienation and shame.

Meanwhile, addiction dies in the warmth of real connection and intimacy.

We don't grow up learning how to do real connection and intimacy - and indeed, all of our present society is engineered against it.

So we're living within this intense paradox - we have to hustle and compete for cash, and we have to connect deeply and intimately in order to free ourselves from the demon of addiction and have the free attention and energy that actual success and leadership calls for.

It's not easy, but it's what we've got to do at this particular odd moment in history.

This brings me to the final bizarre thing I believe....

17. Your capacity to live in paradox is your capacity for real success, power, influence, joy.

It's very clear to me that this world isn't going to be liberated from the clutches of the demon addiction by goody-goody heroes.

It's going to be saved by people who are a bit wicked, a bit dangerous, rather unpredictable and chaotic. People with sullied pasts and dirty hands. Shifty magic people. The kind of bodhisattvas who might just kill you in order to liberate you.

In the midst of this late capitalist, dogmatically materialist world, a magician doesn't get to truly free herself and others by staying squeaky clean.

The game right now involves taking the poison in order to purge and heal.

Remember, the witch Jesus hung out with whores and shady mafia type guys (i.e. tax collectors) but only all the time.

If you can't sincerely get off on the pain and tragedy and madness of this world, if you can't walk unflinchingly within it and be both cunning as a serpent and innocent as a dove, then you probably won't enjoy your time here and you probably won't help the rest of us that much.

And it's knowing all this and being willing to live it that made me my first $10,000 month in 2015. And made me over $600,000 last year from my pillow.

Good news: if these bizarre philosophies of mine jived with your dirty witchy hustler soul, then you’ll love my blueprint for learning practical magic:

Posted on August 13, 2019 and filed under Addiction, Creativity, Law of Attraction, Money.

The 7 traits of highly magic people

1) You know you're magic.

 

This is the big one.  In their heart of hearts, everyone is magic.  But most folks just don't know it.  It's very sad, and it's not their fault.  They've had the awareness beaten out of them one way or another.  Our society is tres anti-magic.

Part of the mission of magic people is to help folks still stuck in the clay (that's my way of saying "folks steeped in naive materialism or fundamentalism and unaware of their innate magic-ness") understand that magic is real and within them, too.

But basically, if you know you're magic, you're ahead of the game.  Which means you don't really need this article - but look, it's the internet and we're just having fun.

Magic people.

2) Synchronicities happen for you - a lot.

 

And they tend to speed up when you spend a lot of time on meditation, art, ritual, intentional movement or prayer.  Sometimes they're just cute or silly, but often they're life-changing and dramatic.

The biggest synchronous thing that can happen to a magic person, in my humble opinion, is meeting another magic person.  Or a whole enclave of them.  It's thrilling.  It's overwhelming. It's love.

When lots of synchronicities are going on, I like to say "the jewel net is moving." Because we're all jewels in an infinitely connected web of silken joy.  And sometimes the net shifts and folds in on itself and we run smack into a whole bunch of other jewels. And it's great.

3. You're sensitive to seasons and lunar cycles.

 

The more magic you are (and remember, being magic is mainly a matter of... knowing that you're magic) the more energies of light and the two big cosmic lamps in our region (the sun and moon) affect your business.

You might find that you can't sleep on full moon nights (all that energy, so ramped up!) and that you go through epic mythopoetic cycles of emotional birth and death as spring turns to summer turns to fall turns to winter.

4. You have very vivid dreams.

 

Magic people have at least partially-developed aetheric bodies.  This means, at the very least, that one or more of their chakras (Rudolf Steiner liked to call them "lotus flowers") are open and active.

Maybe you're a magic person with a giant, pulsing, highly-empathic heart chakra. Or maybe your third eye is open and you have an easy time seeing the visionary fluid dance of all things.

At the highly-developed end of the spectrum, magic people have fully-formed aetheric bodies that can freely navigate the astral planes.

But having your aetheric sense perceptions open, even a little bit, means that you can see more vividly in the nighttime dream world than others can.  So, you got that goin' for you. Which is nice.

5.  When you fall in love, it's psychedelic.

 

Forget a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.  When a magic person falls in love (very probably with another magic person), it's more like a sheet of acid, a gallon of mushroom tea and thou.  And I'm not saying that actual drugs are involved.

I'm saying that the intensity of dopamine and oxytocin rushes, in magic brains, tends to produce more than just sexy-cozy-attachment.

They tend to also unleash psychic perception (you can read your lover's thoughts - like, for reals - not just "I was thinking of you!" "I knew you were thinking of me, baby. 'Cause I was thinking of you!"), encounters with your lover in the nighttime dream world, ecstatic sex that ruptures the boundaries of your identity, and other fun stuff.

Also, be careful with all that. It can get hairy if your lover happens to be one of those not-really-very-stable-or-sane magic people. Of which there are quite a few.

Magic people fall in love and it's all like, whoah.

 

6. You have an abundance of prana.

 

Or creative energy. Or genius, or whatever you want to call it.

Wilhelm Reich called it "orgone." Kant called it "Geist." Emerson called it "Soul." Mezmer called it "animal magnetism." It's sexual energy which transmutes into different feeling-tones when centered in different chakras and channels in the body.

In other words - even though it's sexual energy, your abundant prana doesn't necessarily feel "sexy" (although it probably does in spring and summer).  It might just feel buzz-y or space-y or urgently creative.

You get seized with the need to write that poem, plan that ritual, record that song, make those spicy ginger fudge brownies. It's implacable.

Also, no matter what you look like, folks tell you that you're "hot." And they mean it. You are. You radiate the light and heat of the cosmos. You're a star, you magic darling.

7. You love to spread the magic around.

 

Your chief motive for making art, cooking great food, tending your garden, whatever - isn't to be rich or famous. Though that could be cool.

It's to spread the magic around, because you just can't stand not doing it.  The magic is so fun, so beautiful, so warm, so true.

It drives you a little crazy when you can totally see the magic in someone, and they can't see it in themselves.

It drives you maybe even more crazy when you can totally see the magic in the world, and the world at large seems not to tenderly care for and appreciate its magic.

So you put a goodly amount of effort everyday into doing stuff that increases the sum-total of magic and wonder and joy and love and delight in the world.

You turn up the volume on everything gorgeous so it can't be ignored.

In conclusion

 

You're magic and I am too, and I love you.  I hope you'll join me and a bunch of other magic folks in the Dreamer's Tantra Facebook Group, where we talk about this kinda stuff.

 

Also, if you're ever feeling in pain or confused about life and magic, I make myself available to talk on the phone whenever.

Love,

Carolyn

 

images: ~rainyXskyz  and ~Lilianne on deviantart.com

How to Be Creative

There's two of you and only one really knows how to be creative Learning how to be creative readily, consistently, and easily comes from understanding something a little shocking: there's two of you.

Under the general umbrella of "you" there's two personalities, each with their own perceptions and super-powers.  When one is in control, you feel awful.  When the other is at the fore-front, you feel highly delightable and incredibly fun.

The Doubting Self

One of you is your doubting self.  Also known (by me) as "the foul miasma of vast self-rejection" and by enlightened folks like Eckhart Tolle as "the pain body."  You know you're in your doubting self when you feel worried, pre-occupied, rather miserable, hopeless, and disconnected from the people around you.

 

Your doubting self perceives the world as a hostile, competitive, alienating place and talks to you in a voice that's like a cross between Judge Judy and Rush Limbaugh.  She resists everything that happens in your life and the world that isn't up to her standards and walks around feeling rotten and self-righteous.

She's mean, loud, belligerent, judgmental and afraid.  Your doubting self has super-powers of paranoia and despair.  She's widely regarded by much of our society as completely reasonable and normal, even though she's just kind of a jerk.

The Magic Self

The other one of you is your magic self, also known as your genius or your soul or your heart (it's a tricky business, sorting out the difference between "heart" and "soul" although I sure have tried- they're essentially terms for the same energy, with slightly different connotations).

Your magic self sees the world as a loving den of possibility, a place where miracles can happen and where tons of love can be effortlessly given and received.  To her, the world is basically friendly and supportive.   She doesn't feel the need to resist or argue with anything that is.

She intuitively knows what to do to guide you to the best outcomes in your life.  She knows how to solve problems and invent wondrous works of art and practical usefulness.

Your magic self, in other words, has the super-power of creativity in its highest sense - what the Transcendentalist philosophers used to call Imagination (with a capital "I"!) - it's the kind of genius inventiveness that brings stuff into the world which is full of love  and beauty - not just clever nonsense or utility.

The Whole Trick of Creativity

The whole trick of being able to bring forth art that's richly meaningful or practical solutions that work in a deep, holistic way is to learn how to occupy your magic self much more than your doubting self.

That's it.  Your magic self knows what to do. It's just a matter of letting her live through you.

Yet this is a process that can take some time.  I'm perpetually learning it myself.  The thing is, I've gotten way better at it than I used to be.  How much way better? Well, in a year I wrote a novel, a dissertation, a book of poetry, a book on creativity that's soon-to-be-published, launched a business, helped organize a national conference and threw some really rad parties.

I don't say that to brag. I want to emphasize that I used to spend all of my time chain-smoking and watching Battlestar Galactica and crying (I have multiple witnesses to attest to this, also known as my former room mates). I'm wanting to emphasize that it's possible to becoming astoundingly productive when you start living more in your magic self.

A Sneaky Way to Embody Your Magic Self: Drinking Elixirs

Try this when you're feeling sorely miserable and need to switch gears:

1. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.  Make sure it's nice and hot!

2. Hold the mug in your hands.  Watch the steam rise from the cup.

3. Quietly dub the liquid in your cup with a highly improbable, poetical name: "You, coffee, are now the molten lava at the center of the earth." Or, "You, chamomile tea, are now the amber blood of angels."

4.  Sip your highly improbable beverage, all the while imagining it taking its poetical effect on your system.  The angel's blood perhaps makes you feel elevated, the molten lava maybe makes you feel hot and invincible.

5. Proceed with what you've got to work on, now buoyed by some strange magic.

Why this works

Look, it's hard to stay miserable while drinking the blood of angels.  This little exercise moves you out of your rut of ugly "reality" and into the realm where your power lays: in play and metaphor and wonder.  We all too often forfeit our inventiveness because the world seems to have been invented already.  But that's just how things stay boring.

Want more?

We'll be doing a lot more to get into our magic selves and get seriously creative and productive at the Honeybutter House for Wayward Geniuses happening in Pittsburgh in November 2012.  If you're a wayward genius and you want to find out more, you should email me about it now: sweetsongofjoy@gmail.com.

 

Love,

Carolyn

 

Posted on September 23, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Your deepest gifts aren't unique (and why that's great)

There's probably a finite number of ways that the divine expresses through us human beings.  I can think of maybe a dozen distinct types of gifts of spirit that I've received in my life from hundreds of people. Flavors of Spiritual Gifts I've Received in My Life

  1. Rich recognition and acceptance of my true self, with no judgment.
  2. Absurd, delightful humor that dissolves all self-seriousness and self-righteousness.
  3. A stunning glimpse of the magic underlying the "ordinary" world.
  4. Healing and soothing of unbalanced, unhappy energy or physical injury.
  5. Absorption into narrative or drama that creates a heightened sense of significance.
  6. Playfulness so free and riotous that it breaks through the curmudgeon in me and gets me to play, too.
  7. A deep, compassionate acknowledgement of my past struggles combined with a persuasive optimism for my future.
  8. Relaxing hospitality that makes me feel warmly welcomed and nourished.
  9. Visions of completely bizarre and fantastic other-worlds.
  10. A profound faith in my gifts plus a willingness to support me.
  11. Leadership that guides me to a great destination without ever underestimating or falsifying the challenge of the journey.
  12. A clear-sighted perception of truth blended with an air of being totally non-impressed by my bullshit.

Multiple expressions of fundamental tastes

These spiritual gifts are what people have given to me through their presence and through their art.  Give or take some.

These are the basic flavors of spiritual gifts - like chocolate, mint, coffee, cumin, vanilla, green tea, red bean, strawberry, cinnamon.  There's a finite number of very distinct flavors.

Of course, each flavor has its own unique manifestations.  There's Madagascar vanilla and Mexican vanilla.  Those subtle differences are lovely.  But when you taste either one, you know you're tasting vanilla.

And of course, you can combine flavors.  Mix cinnamon into your coffee and strawberry into your chocolate.  And that's fun.  But it's still the same basic flavors.

The point

I'm making a point of this because sometimes I get really bummed when I notice that someone else is beautifully manifesting a spiritual gift flavor that I like to think of as my spiritual gift.

What the crazy says

This line of crazy goes something like this: "Look at that hussy over there, wantonly accepting and honoring people's true selves and helping them to express their love in the world! How dare she! Who does she think she is?! Doesn't she know that's my gig?"

This line of crazy is exacerbated by folks who like to emphasize the uniqueness of our individual gifts.  If I catch someone else doing what I most delight in doing - then I don't feel so unique and I tend to devalue myself.

Just for today...

Today I'm practicing being cool with the fact that I'm not the only manifestation of cinnamon to walk on this earth.  Er, you know what I mean.  I'm not the only person in the world who radiates the spiritual gift of upliftment and inspiration.  And thank fucking god, because that would be exhausting.

Today I'd like to just focus on being the most delicious bite of cinnamon that I can be, while being totally cool with the cinnamon-power of others.

How about you?

What's the basic flavor of spiritual gift that you tend to radiate?  What do you taste like? How do you feel when you notice other people dishing out a similar tastiness? I'd love for you to tell me in the comments.

 

 

 

Posted on September 20, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Some Basic Principles of Awesoming

A list. 1) Awesome (perhaps inevitably, for us mere mortals!) cycles through periods of miserable suck in which your lovelight dims and the queasy miasma of vast self-rejection settles in.  It's okay right now to feel mired in a rotten  cesspool of your own spectacular failure.

I feel that way usually at least for one full week out of the month (my PMS is a bloody-mouthed Destroyer of Worlds, and not in that cool way), and sometimes for whole seasons of numbing yuck in which chain-smoking while watching whole tv series consecutively and only leaving the house to go to 12-step meetings or get more cigarettes is a completely valid way to keep from more promptly and actively killing myself.  I felt that way pretty much solid from 2004 - 2009.  It was great.

2) Awesoming your life, despite how very perky the idea may sound, is actually work that involves soul-melting terror.  Soul-melting terror is the essence of sublimity, and awesomeness is sublime.  Things that are also sublime include hurricanes, Antartica, Tristan and Isolde, and my PMS.

3) Awesoming requires a rearrangement of your heart and brain, so that your intuitive-embracing-poetic-oxytocin-pumping-whole-picture-seeing-compassionate-truth-unveiling-heart is in charge of your business and your analytical-judgmental-calculating-dopamine-seeking-miserable-adrenalized-frightened-rabid-squirrel brain is given chamomile tea and gently comforted with a warm blanket.

4) Awesoming entails learning to identify with and live from your fundamental goodness, innocence and wonder rather than with your culturally programmed guilt, striving, and fear.

5) You already engage in awesoming and you're damn good at it or else you wouldn't be alive and reading this.

6) The process of turning the queasy miasma of vast self-rejection into fertilizer for your slowly-magestically-spinning-sparkling-blue-lotus-of-self-realization is an alchemical one.

It involves paying attention to your dreams, dialoguing with your moods, meditating, journaling, sharing your feelings openly and non-violently with others, playing pretend, writing poetry and making art, throwing parties, dressing up, enacting freaky rituals in moonlight that would scare your mom, singing songs, and loving people both madly and tepidly, as the situation requires.

7) Awesoming isn't something that's given much space and encouragement in our society.  Mostly because when you're engaged in the work of awesoming you're much less interested in buying stuff, you become allergic to lies, you tend to share generously in public and you bring forth spurtzing geysers of joy into the world.  All of which greatly interferes with global corporate capitalism.

So, there you have it.  Awesoming is hard and mostly non-glamorous work.

Highly non-glamorous things I often do in the service of awesoming include:

1) Sitting in moldy church basements and over-heated social halls at 12-step meetings every week.

2) Crying and freaking out.

3) Making food in my tiny-ass closet of a kitchen for folks I may or may not immediately like.

4) Devoting whole days to questioning the reality of my thoughts, beliefs and perceptions, Byron Katie-style.

5) Faithfully studying New Age tomes  and self-help books from the 1970s like A Course in Miracles, A New Earth, The Handbook to Higher Consciousness, and The Nature of Personal Reality.

6) Hanging out at drum circles with people older than my parents who unselfconsciously chant in made-up "Native American" languages and refer to the world as "the matrix."

7) Blogging.

8) Passing up on real jobs in order to have more time for all of the above.

All of which is to say.... awesoming is counter-cultural, difficult, time-consuming, subjects one to accusations of dorkiness and to being made fun of by 16 year olds, and totally worth it.

Because when the foul miasma of rotten self-rejection lifts and I get peeks at my true nature and everyone else's true nature of massive, throbbing, heart-pounding lovelight glory -  well, that just rocks.

 

When One Door Opens: How Writing Helped Saved My Life and Carried me to a New Field of Being - A guest post by sbr martin

At one time, my life was a never-ending hallway, where all I could see was a series of closed doors. There probably were some that were open, but I was so far down that I couldn’t see them—and I’d given up on trying.

I was tired of turning knobs that did not yield, tired of trying to find something, only to find out that that something wasn’t there. I’d had enough. I wanted no more. If there was an end to the hallway, it’d have to come to me, ‘cause I sure as hell wasn’t gonna go any farther. I just wanted to stay put, sprawled out on the floor, unmoving, ungrowing, a piece of living dead surrounded by tightly closed doors.

I was 14 years old the first time I heard the familiar cliché that when one door shuts another opens. I overheard my mother use this phrase when discussing with a friend how I had been awarded the coveted Marjorie A. Tilley Scholarship to The Ellis School, a prestigious all-girls academy in Pittsburgh, PA.

Apparently, my scholastic achievement was the opening of a door. The door that had been shut had been shut four years earlier when my father suffered a massive stroke and aneurysm that left him paralyzed along the entirety of his left side. He was unable to work or be a traditional father from that point on.

It was, I assume, to the former of these inabilities that my mother implicitly referred in her conversation. When my father became handicapped, the bacon that came home had no fat. My family’s financial situation changed for the worse. Going to a school like Ellis would have been out of the question considering our newly low income.

But what was pinched off by one thing was ushered in by another. I learned the meaning of that old chestnut and allowed it to give me a sense of optimism about all things, at least for a few years.

Though I heard the phrase many times over the following years, the next time I heard it that stands out in my mind was a week after my sister died, when I received word that I’d been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, among other law schools.

The loss of my sister was the closing of one door, and my acceptance to law school was the opening of another? Are you kidding me?

Yes, one door did close. Yes, one door did open. But the one and the other did not balance out. It wasn’t an even exchange, not by any means.

Use of that damn cliché did not make sense here—it was disturbingly incongruous and more than slightly absurd. Nonetheless, people kept throwing it at me. Oh, how I wanted to throw something back at them! But I didn’t. I held steady and smiled, just like I held steady and smiled at all the pleasantries given me two years prior when my mother died, and, two years later when my father died.

Here, what upset me the most, other than the death of my sister, of course, is that this was the second time in my life that I was deemed to have reaped the benefits of an open door while my loved ones met the misfortune of a door that slammed shut. My academic success popped up twice, when my kin were put in grave circumstances, and, in the instance of my sister, put in the grave.

I didn’t want to be the person who got something at someone else’s expense, like I had made a deal with the devil to get whatever I wanted if I lost something I wanted more. No. I did not like this ad hoc arrangement.

Could I, should I, make a new deal with God? Or maybe Allah? Maybe Re? Perhaps Buddha would give me a sweeter deal?

Feeling like I was losing on the winning end of a sordid transaction to which I’d never consented, my essence was being eaten, and it hurt. I didn’t want to feel the pain. And I didn’t have to, for, you see, I had ample distraction.

When my mother died in 1999, when my sister died in 2001, and when my father died in 2003, I was in the ivory tower, or the large-university equivalent thereof. I observed funeral conventions, cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion, and then hit the books hard.

I excelled in college and in law school. A cum laude graduate in both turns, with a BS in Psychology and a JD, I accumulated awards, accomplishments, and many other A’s during my stint on the Pitt campus. I was published and reprinted; invited to speak at a national conference; mistaken for the homecoming queen; accused of plagiarism because my writing so exceeded expected standards, and later vindicated because my portfolio confirmed my exceptional talent.

So I had a good ride. I had a lot to keep me busy. I buried my grief under a pile of books and paper. I didn’t have to think about the losses I had suffered. I didn’t have to feel. All I had to do was do well in school. And I did… until school ended.

When I graduated law school, I didn’t have a job lined up—which is something most graduates as achieved as I should have had. During my job search, I’d interviewed with approximately 36 different law firms and had not received a single offer. Not one.

Thirty-six law firms! That’s 36 rejections. That’s 36 more doors shut before me in my never-ending hallway.

Did 36 doors open as a result of the 36 that closed? I don’t know. But I know that one did. And, when that one swung open, it knocked me on my ass.

All of a sudden I had a job, but not one for which I had applied.

My job was to take care of my maternal grandmother, who had been diagnosed with metastatic small cell lung cancer. It was a terminal case. I felt it my duty to take care of her, and, though it caused me great sorrow to watch her die, I have never regretted tending to her in her final moments.

But, Lord, the pain! The heartache of seeing a vibrant woman decay each day, to see her body dwindle away to nothing but skin and cancer-ridden bones.

By the time the cancer had spread to every part of her body, including her brain, I was dying with her, though I didn’t know it at the time. She was the last member of my immediate family. I was losing her, losing what was left of my lineage, losing myself. I wanted to curl up beside her in bed and wrap myself around her withered body, to merge with her and give her some of my life, or take away some of her death.

Gramma died around 4:15 a.m. on a Friday morning in June. We had set up two beds in the basement, because of the convenient appliances and lavatory already situated there, and we slept toe to head in bed to bed.  For no reason, or for a very certain reason, I suddenly awoke at 4:15, a tiresomely wee hour of the morn during which I was usually out cold. I went to check on Gramma. Her body was still warm—her chest artificially heaved one last time, bulging from the operation of the oxygen tank ticking nearby. She was dead, and my dynasty was gone.

What happened next is what I only later realized was my attempt at killing myself. I’d never contemplated suicide, not before this point in my life, not during, and not after. I was too afraid of death.

I am, after all, an academic at heart (and brain). Years of schooling have taught me to analyze everything and break it down. I am predisposed to figuring things out. For every question, there is an answer. And I am programmed to find that answer at all costs.

The greatest curse of the learned mind is the difficulty inherent in resolving faith with intellectual thought patterns. Faith is belief in something without proof, the very thing for which we scholars are always on the hunt. So how, pray tell, is the academically-inclined individual to believe in something she can’t prove when the need for proof is so deeply rooted in her nature?

For me, this dilemma comes acutely into play on matters of the hereafter—the concepts of an afterlife, life after death, heaven and hell, whatever you choose to call it.

Question: What happens after one dies?

Answer: [Unknown]

I need to know that answer. I am programmed to find it. But I can’t. I’ve tried countless times, and the results were nil. So the question remains unanswered, and I am rendered hopeless, crippled by my fear of the unknown.

And, for that reason, I’ve flushed out any thoughts of suicide. I’m immune to them. Suicide would make me confront a question I can’t answer, and it might give me an answer I don’t like, or give me nothing at all.

But just because I’ve never been suicidal, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try to kill myself.

The method of annihilation I chose was one to obliterate all thought and feeling while preserving life. I was killing myself slowly and cruelly, taking my time.

I became a raging alcoholic through and through. Sure, I’d been an occasional drunk for years. College keggers, weekend benders, and 20-something birthdays saw to that. But after the loss of my grandmother, when I was for the first time ever completely alone in a home that once housed five, I became a full-blown alcoholic.

The alcohol was destroying my brain and my body, as well as my social ties and reputation. So too it was destroying my thinking and reason. I put myself in incredibly dangerous situations time after time, and, to this day, I am amazed that I survived.

I drove drunk, and sometimes drank as I drove. I picked up dozens of men in the bars, and had love affairs that lasted less than one night. Casual sex made me feel alive. Men made me feel good. I needed that assurance, so much so that I didn’t even care that the sex was unprotected most of the time.

I wanted to die. I never said it back then, didn’t allow myself to think it either; but hindsight later saw this as the case. I missed my family and wanted to be with them. I refused to abruptly take my life for fear of the unknown. But the slow draining of my soul was bringing me closer and closer to my beclouded goal.

I was at conflict with myself. Part of me wanted to die, and part of me wanted to live. I wanted to believe in the concept of an afterlife, to see myself being one day reunited with my lost loved ones. But my logic could not bring me to this conclusion. My mentality would not permit me to fathom an other-world existence.

I saw life as a finite line, with a distinct starting point and a distinct end. Nothing thrived beyond either point. If I could not bring to mind thoughts that existed before I was born, then, it follows, there could be no thoughts for me to bring to mind after I died. There was no way there could be any thought after death, let alone life after death. Any other argument was moot.

The panic attacks that resulted from this train of thought were intense, overwhelming at times. They took my breath away, but left me with enough breath to still be alive, albeit in a state of not truly living.

Drunk, desperate, and degraded, I was on a downward spiral, a road to nowhere. I was either intoxicated or overcome with anxiety every second of every day. I needed help, but I was too proud to seek it.

I’d kept so much sadness, fear, and longing inside of me for so long. I needed to let it out. I needed to tell someone my story. And the person I chose to tell was myself.

Ever since I was a child, I’d always dreamed of someday being an author. I fantasized about writing a book, having it published, and having other people read my words.

I was constantly tossing different book ideas around in my head, but never followed through with any of them until I decided to stick with the one thing that always stuck with me—the tragic and compelling story of my own life.

Pride, one of my most pronounced character defects, prevented me from writing anything autobiographical. So I decided to fictionalize my experiences. I would use my personal facts as the skeleton for a tome to be fleshed out with exaggerated details, brow-raising side stories, and shocking plot twists.

That tome came to be called “in wake of water.” It was published in Nov. 2011, by The Artists’ Orchard, LLC.

Loosely mirroring the losses I endured, “in wake of water” is a work of fiction which centers on a suicidal female who is driven to die because she operates under the assumption that death will reunite her with her deceased family members.

Countering the female lead’s beliefs are the thoughts and actions of the main male character, Tad, who is apprehensive about all aspects of life and death and who greatly fears the unknown.

Sound familiar? These two characters represent two parts of one psyche: mine.

The female character is my Id, the impulsive me that wants only instant gratification. Tad is my demanding Super-ego, who scrutinizes everything and requires adherence to objective guidelines.

As author, I took on the third role in Sigmund Freud’s infamous model. I became my own Ego, writing to strike a balance between the dissimilar needs of my fictitious tragic heroes. I did this for literary effect, so that I could tell an interesting, well-rounded story. But by the end of writing “in wake of water,” I’d achieved something else as well.

What I worked out in order to create good fiction ended up also creating good non-fiction. My writing had inadvertently been cathartic. I faced thoughts and feelings I’d tried to bury under books, drown in vodka, or find in the bulge beneath some random man’s zipper. I became familiar with myself and slew some inner demons. I achieved a sense of closure and of peace.

Writing, pitching, and publishing also helped me become and stay sober, though my sobriety is largely attributable to the fact that I later had children. So in a very real, tangible way, my writing helped save my life, by front-lining the rescue of my brain cells and liver.

But the intangible ways in which it saved my life are far more profound and long-lasting.

Bringing my inside pain to the outside was like popping a pimple that would otherwise have festered to fatal infection. The ugly sickness seeped out of me and left me clear-complexioned—and clear-minded.

For the first time in years, I was able to open my heart and my eyes, and, when I opened the latter, what I saw was amazing. I saw an open door. Finally! So I stood up, put myself back together, and walked through it.

On the other side there was a field, a surreal expanse of splendor, prospect, and perspective. When I stepped out onto that field, I heard something thunderous sound behind me. The door I’d just used for exit crashed shut and spontaneously combusted. I didn’t have to look back to know that it wasn’t there anymore.

I had once and for all escaped my never-ending hallway and found a place in my own nature, a place where all those fabled doors simply did not exist.

No longer did I need to frame my life in terms of openings and closings, in terms of losing this and gaining that, or in terms of something arising when something else was crushed. I would embrace these things as separate occurrences, each independent of the other, such that I’d find no entitlement tethered to suffering, no panic tethered to joy. And so came my release from the most pronounced shackles of my human condition. I was set free to run about the field and enjoy it.

Now, mind you, the field I’ve found is like any other out there. There are rocks to stumble over and upon, thorns on wild roses, and bramble. I have been hurt and have fallen quite a few times, but I always get back up and move on. There’s so much more out there to explore, discover, and write about. I ain’t gonna let a few bumps and bruises get in my way.

 

Described as a “psychological and thoughtful novel of suspense” by Midwest Book Review, “in wake of water” is available for purchase in traditional and digital formats on Amazon. To buy, follow the link on my Amazon author profile, http://amazon.com/author/sbrmartin, where you will also find a link to my second novel, “pig,” which was released as a Kindle Edition eBook on June 11, 2012.

Follow “in wake of water” on Facebook at http://facebook.com/inwakeofwater

Posted on July 12, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Welcome to Awesome Your Life

If you're visiting this site because you've seen the posters up around Pittsburgh - welcome. I'm guessing you're someone who's curious and open to change. That curiosity is itself a triumph of spirit - so kudos. You might want to peruse the illustrious archives of this site or check out my free book, Caring for Your Genius.

This is a challenging time to be alive.  Many of us are suffering right now because the messages we've received from our culture about how to be happy just don't make sense any longer.  We're hungry for love, magic, community and joy.  We're hungry for ways of being in the world that don't violate our souls.

But it's difficult to make the journey to magic and joy when worries and sadnesses speak so loudly.  I've seen incredibly beautiful and brilliant people destroy themselves because they couldn't find a way to live their truth.

I would certainly have destroyed myself if various forces hadn't intervened in my life and taught me ways to positively alter my perception by questioning the old patterns and beliefs that kept me stuck in fear and misery.

Since I've been able to free myself from unhappiness to a very large extent, my aim now is to be present to you as a catalyst for your evolution and freedom.  The method I use to do this is called compassionate inquiry.   It's a method that's based on The Work of Byron Katie and informed by my doctoral research on the way that great poets and artists uncover radically transformative insights.  You can learn more about compassionate inquiry here.

If you're interested in becoming free from painful patterns and moving into a life that's overflowing with love and beauty and creation, I'd love to work with you in counseling sessions.  You can feel free to introduce yourself to me or contact me your questions at sweetsongofjoy at gmail dot com.

 

 

Posted on June 23, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Making Stuff Happen: Practical Organizing

Because I'm lovey-dovey and generally absent-minded, I need tools and habits and tricks to get myself to generate happenings on this material plane.  Those tools and habits and tricks are generally discussed (in corporate-speak, by very corporate-y people) under the name "productivity" (an awful term that makes me think of the modern lust to commodify everything) or (even worse!) "life hacks."  I would find the term "life hack" to be acceptable if it referred to the process of fundamentally wiping out yucky cultural programming and replacing it with a fresh, ecstatic operating system a la Terrence McKenna- but, alas -  usually when people say "life hack" they really mean "neat tip to help me reach a completely boring and conventional goal.")  I prefer the term "generation" to "productivity."

So I've developed a process that helps me to make manifest all the wonderful things I want to see.  This process is heavily inspired by David Allen's Getting Things Done.  Getting Things Done, or GTD as it's known by its many accolytes, is a productivity system that can be used for just about any purpose.  I highly recommend the book - but be forewarned - its target audience is 50 year old corporate CEOs who play golf like it's their religion.  This means it doesn't much appeal to most of us counter-cultural types - which is unfortunate.  Because we at the living edge of consciousness need to be just as empowered to complete projects as the old guard of the old paradigm.  In fact, we need it way more.

I call my process "making stuff happen" instead of "getting things done" - in part because I find that "done" never really occurs.  I'm never done with my life.  I'm hardly ever even done with particular projects.  It's very similar to Allen's system, but it makes some important adjustments and allowances.  Also, I've written it up here just specifically for you, my fellow love bombs.

Making Stuff Happen: How to Do It

1. Devote at least 15 minutes to de-cluttering your environment and gathering stuff together that you have to deal with.

If you're like me you live in a jungle of books, clothes, bowls of tastiness, cups and art projects.  Before your thinker will work properly, I invite you to buckle down and tidy up a bit.  This might be painful.  It always is for me.  Why? Because it involves making decisions about what to do with that clutter.  The trick to this is to accept that these decisions involve pain and to embrace that pain.  Sometimes the decisions are easy: the dirty plates go in the sink.  But sometimes they're tough: where do I put these random bottles of vitamins my mom gave me? I'll never take them if I put them away. I'll forget about them.  For the purpose of this decluttering, the default answer is: it's okay to hide stuff away and forget about it.  Sorry, bottle of B-3 at the bottom of my bathroom drawer.

2. Make a giant master list of everything you want to make happen.

Sit down in your glorious de-cluttered space and make a big sprawling list of everything that's on your mind.  This list must include both giant projects ("Compose an album of songs that are hymns from the ancient Babylonian love cult that exists only in my mind"; "Throw a giant consciousness party so great that it would make Alex Grey's brain melt"; "Salvage democracy") and also the little tiny niggling details that are buzzing about your brain ("figure out how to get stains from last week's bachannal off the sheets"; "buy more coconut oil.")

Think about every area of life in which you've committed to make any outcome happen.  Are you committed to becoming vegan, to keeping your cat fed, to resolving your inner conflict over feeding meat to your cat? You've got to write all that stuff down, no matter how big or how small.

3. Figure out a single little "next step" for every item on your giant master list, do it if it'll take less than 10 minutes and organize reminders for your next steps on index cards and on your calendar.

Once you've got your giant list of all the stuff that you want to make happen (it's usually at least three or four pages long for me), take a deep breath.  That was the easy part.  Now, time for more decision-making!

You've got to figure out, one by one, a tiny little "next step" for every item on your big list.  Get yourself pumped up and excited for this decision mode.  You are a decision-making divinity!  Remember that it's seriously okay for some of your decisions to suck and be inadequate.  The universe has a way of adjusting for that.  The important thing is that you not stay stuck and paralyzed by how much there is to make happen and finding the most perfect, best possible way to make it happen. There is no best possible way.  Instead, get busy deciding what's the most possible way. Find a next, tiny, minute thing you could do to materialize every last thing on your list, even things you're not completely sure that you truly want to do.

If the next tiny thing you could do to advance each of your projects would take less than two minutes, go ahead and just do it.

For all the other next steps, make sure you have a little system of index cards and a calender set up to hold written reminders of them.

Here's how I do this: I take a pile of index cards. At the top of each card, I write the name of a specific context in which I do various stuff.  So, "Home" "Out and About in the Neighborhood" "Facebook" "Phone" "With Sophie" "At Grocery Store" "Email" "Google," etc.  After I have all my little index cards set up, I take a look at my master list.  Let's say the top thing on the list is "Compose an album of songs from the ancient Babylonian love cult that exists only in my mind." I have to ask myself: Okay, Carolyn - what's the very next tiny little step that you could do to make this happen?

After much painful reflection, I decide that the next little step I could do for my Babylonian love cult concept album would be to set some time aside to try to hum up a fresh melody.  I'd probably want to do that at home.  So on my index card labeled "Home" I write, "Spend fifteen minutes dreaming up a new melody  for the love cult album and record it on my phone."  I also go ahead and pencil in an appointment with myself on my calendar.  10 am Monday is my time to hum.  Then, because my album is a project that will require many more steps to ultimately make it happen, I have to make sure I have a reminder in place that will tell me to come back to it and think of a new next step for it (after I've completed the one I just wrote down). So I create another index card.  This one is titled "Projects." On "Projects" I write "Complete Babylonian love cult album."

The next item on my master list is "buy more coconut oil." That one's easy. I write that down on the "Grocery Store" index card and forget about it.  The third item on my list is "Salvage democracy." Hmmmm. That's a tough one. I'm not even 100% sure I want to be responsible for that.  But for now, I just ask myself: what's the next tiny little thing I could do to make it happen? Well, I think consensus-decision making processes are the future of democracy.  So I guess I need to learn more about those.  Better look on my friend Caroline's website to see if she's teaching a workshop on the subject any time soon. This takes less than two minutes, so I just go ahead and do it.  Let's say I find out she's teaching just the workshop I need next Saturday at 1.  I go ahead and put that on my calendar. Then, since salvaging democracy is a big project unto itself (unlike buying coconut oil) I stick "Salvage democracy" onto my "Projects" index card.

By the time I'm done with this, I usually have two Projects card that are packed front-and-back with the names of about sixty projects ranging from "Reach unconditional love consciousness" to "Do laundry."

I also have about ten context-specific index cards that are full of next steps and a calendar all filled up with Very Important things to do.

The point of all this "next tiny step" thinking is that it breaks down any resistance that comes from uncertainty, and gives me momentum to move forward with confidence.

4. Make Stuff Happen

After all this laborious thoughtful decision making has been done, it's only left to hit the ground and start doing the steps you listed.  My index cards usually contain enough specific instructions to keep me going for three or four days.

5. Spend a Lot of Time Meditating and Reflecting

This isn't one of Allen's instructions for Getting Things Done, but I've read all about how he's quietly an spiritual weirdo (like us) so it probably is part of his own practice.  This is super-important because if you don't spend a lot of time meditating and cultivating your higher consciousness, it's really super easy to become so obsessed with the little niggling details of making stuff happen that you lose all perspective.  Like, maybe it's not really my job to salvage democracy.  I won't know that, though, unless I go within and really find that answer for myself.  Until I do it'll sit on my Projects list, demanding that I come up with next steps to actualize it.  Through meditation and reflection I can learn to let go of Projects that aren't truly important to me and to keep the ones that are.

5. Do It All Over Again

After about three or four days I complete most of the tasks on my next step index cards.  That means it's time to take a look at my Projects card and decide on new next steps that have to happen.  Then I have to organize those next steps onto fresh cards and keep rolling.  Yes, this means I end up spending a lot of time with index cards.  But it's so worth it.  Because those index cards become like little brains that think for me when my mind is numb.  When I'm sitting in front of my computer, tempted to just watch more Robert Anton Wilson videos and  play on Facebook yet desiring to be productive, I can glance at those cards and get simple, direct instructions about what stuff to do to move my projects ahead.  It's a cool feeling.

In Conclusion

Whoah, man.  That's a lot.  My best wishes to you in your own process of making stuff happen.

 

image: [Anosmia]

Posted on June 22, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

You Might be a Love Bomb If...

love bomb At the Evolver Convergence, multiple people referred to me as a "love bomb."  I'd never heard quite this appellation before, but since there was such widespread consensus about it, I figured it must mean something quite specific.  So, I've decided to take up the term to specifically describe sexy, far-out people who do lots of organizing and nurturing in their communities for the purpose of bringing about the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible (i.e., the gift world).

I've noticed that every Evolver Sporeganizer is a love bomb, but there are plenty non-sporeganizer love bombs out in the world.  (Although if you are a love bomb, you'd probably adore sporeganizing for Evolver! If you're interested in doing that, you should email me at sweetsongofjoy at gmail dot com and I'll introduce you to folks who can help you get started).

So, you might be a love bomb if:

  • You've hosted 3 or more potlucks in the past twelve months.
  • You're brimming with ideas for gorgeous events that positively transform people's awareness. You sometimes get so excited about these events that you can't sleep.
  • You often find yourself carrying big bags of magic to-and-from events. My bag of magic often includes crayons, musical instruments, peacock feathers, masking tape, glitter, cookies, crystals, Mardi Gras masks and lamps - yours might entail records, instruments, books, power cords and sceptres of unspeakable power. Whatever's in there, though, it's magic.
  • When inviting friends to a small gathering you sincerely consider the balance of sun signs (i.e., you don't really want to invite ALL Scorpios, do you?)
  • You devote considerable time each day to some kind of spiritual practice. You consider your organizing work to be itself a kind of devotional service to the universe and a spiritual practice.
  • You've spent more time making Facebook invitations and posting flyers in your lifetime than you really care to admit.
  • You're highly intuitive.
  • You  just want to see people freely connecting and engaging and loving each other and you're pretty damn great at making that happen.
  • You consider your events to be major successes if while attending them you feel like you're on MDMA without having taken anything and you can tell other people are feeling the same way.

... if this is going on in your life, you might be a love bomb!

I'm sure my list wasn't at all exhaustive - so now I ask you, love bombs - please tell me in the comments section - what are other tell-tale signs of love-bombness?

image: [celesteh]

Posted on June 20, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

The Evolver Convergence: A Report

I was privileged to help organize (along with Sophie Batchelor, Annie Derek, Chad Mosesso, all the fab people at Evolver HQ and a ton of volunteers) the first Evolver Convergence which happened in Pittsburgh this past weekend.

Since I'd been sporeganizing for the past year I thought I knew all about the wonders that can come from bringing together gorgeous geniuses. I figured that the Convergence would be lovely and I'd have a great time and meet some grand people and business as usual, etc. etc.

What a vast, vast underestimation. By the end of the Convergence on Sunday, our outpouring of love and wisdom synchronously brought us an astounding quadruple rainbow which we all rushed out to see.

So how did we do that?

Energetically speaking - with so much deep heart opening and harmonizing. I felt not only that we were talking about evolution, but actively bringing it about just by being with one another in such an environment of intention and deep thought and beauty. I've been to a lot of spiritual retreats and festivals and parties in my lifetime, but I've never experienced so much optimism, joy and deeply personal connection at an event. From talking to others, I gather that this was a shared sense. I'm still so awe-struck.

Here's a loose summary:

On Friday at the Wherehouse (a freaky visionary art studio made extra-special with extraordinary and unique-to-the-Convergence art installations by Sophie Batchelor, Zev Rechter, Laurie Shapiro, Hannah Thompson and North Star), Jonathan Talat-Phillips activated our chakras and loosened us up with his own bold story of spiritual awakening and extra-terrestrial encounters. Then we heard the meltingly strange music of Ivory Weeds and Dean Cercone Jr.

First thing on Saturday, Charles Eisenstein led us to speak freely and deeply to one another of our most cherished dreams for the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible and also to name our own gifts and the gifts of the person next to us. And all of this occurred in the auspiciously super-golden and angel-crowned sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Shadyside (a very progressive church and community center that we in Pittsburgh are so blessed to have). With this help, we were vibrating and resonating and open at all levels, most especially at the heart level.

Throughout the day on Saturday we enjoyed workshops and panels from truly gifted leaders, teachers and healers that continued to ground us in our bodies and sense of connection to the cosmos and each other.

Daniel Pinchbeck anchored the day with a talk on enjoying the transformation of our world. What I got from Daniel's talk was a momentous sense of possibility and inspiration.

On Saturday night we returned to the Wherehouse Art Studio decked out in eye-popping costumes for the Inner Divinity Costume Party. I saw incarnations of Kwan Yin, Venus, Sai Baba, Adonis, Freya, Odr, and Artemis. Also present were Kabuki demons, wild wolf women, forest nymphs and glow-stick elves from the future. I was thrilled to hear a sumptuous spectrum of sounds throughout the night - everything from mind-bending electronica to progressive rock to conscious hip hop to psychedelic gypsy accordion brass!. I was most excited by Lungs Face Feet (the gypsy-ish brass band) who performed in red Mandarin suits and took us fully into another dimension.

The talks and panels resumed on Sunday at a leisurely pace as we were all recovering from the grandness of the party. For me the highlight of the day on Sunday was getting to participate in the Evolver Network Roundtable wherein sporeganizers from around the country spoke about what they've been doing in their city and what Evolver means to them. It was beautiful to realize that so many of us doing this deep work are brilliant and powerful women. Daniel and Jonathan-Talat both mentioned the need for us ladies to step up and do speaking engagements in more places and I could so feel the need for that.

On Sunday night we sporeganizers managed to get ourselves over to the lovely Verde Mexican Restaurant for a fantastic meal together (we totally took the place over and Evolver'd it up! I loved our raucous toasts!) and then, by a miraculous feat of spontaneous organization, got it together to have a bon fire over on the other side of town at the magnificently beautiful Bandi Shaum plateau. Bandi Shaum is a spot not many in Pittsburgh know about. It overlooks the city's downtown and it's also a quite glorious wilderness. Professional musicians from Chaibaba showed up and drummed for us.

Sitting on a blanket cuddled up with old friends and new ones I felt continually dazzled - between the beauty of the bright brilliant full moon, the fire itself, the vista of the city, and the faces of the incredible beloved evolvers all around.

On Monday we gathered together once more, now just the sporeganizers, to talk about our dreams and get help with our challenges. That conversation was so energizing - and so glorious for me as the lucky Pittsburgh sporeganizer deluged with new talented volunteers!

After the Sporeganizer's Summit I was treated to a dream massage by two pairs of loving and gifted hands. (Thank you Jeanine and David!!) Those of us still in town were treated to a beautiful dinner at Verity Grace's place in Highland Park.

Today I quite unexpectedly and synchronously ran into Verity again while getting lunch in my neighborhood (she's a Pittsburgher but I'd never met her before the Convergence) and she took me to a Venus Transit Viewing party.

I can tell the synchronicities are just beginning to super-speed up for me. I'm starting to feel that Terrence McKenna was really really really right on when he talked about how the interconnections just start racing together in 2012. I can feel the shift evolving into presence - how about you?

I hope that everyone will write about their experiences with the Convergence - I've just scratched the surface with this summary, I could go so much deeper into my own personal reflections and processing - and I know I'll need to soon.

In the meantime, here's a video of us prepping the Wherehouse for the festivities - gives a sense of the scope of the amazing art present:

httpv://youtu.be/17sHWVrEGik