Nothing Weekend

This weekend I had nothing scheduled. Absolutely nothing. For the first time in many, many weeks, I didn’t have a ritual, or a Spirit Fair, or an event, or even a coffee meeting with friends.

calendar with nothing plannedAnd it was GLORIOUS!

I forgot how amazing it was to have 48 hours (actually a little more) to myself, and with my family. I watched a movie with my kids, and worked on some of my own projects, and slept in!

Having nothing planned didn’t mean I got nothing done. I finished editing the Healing the Waters Guided Meditation. (It’s available to purchase now, and all proceeds go to support the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.)

I also recorded and edited a new meditation is the Walks With the Goddess series. It’s not up yet, but I will let you know as soon as it is. (Just FYI, that process takes a lot longer than one would expect, even me!)

I did a lot of laundry. I had help, though – my youngest now knows how to do laundry.

I got some sanding done on the staff I am working on for the upcoming Spring Mysteries Festival.

And I helped my youngest work on his Young Entrepreneurs project – we did some math and made some beeswax (mmmm, beeswax) candles. We’ve still got more to do, and we made a good start.

I slept in. Two days in a row. I lounged in bed and snuggled with my husband and read my book and played games on my phone.

I stayed in my pajamas and didn’t leave my house.

Are there other things I could have done this weekend? Of course. Was there any better way I could have spent my weekend? No way. It was perfect.

Wishing you a nothing weekend sometime soon.

Blessings,

Mary

When the Universe Tells You to Slow Down…

The last few weeks have been extremely busy and stressful for me. What am I talking about? Heck, the last few *months* have been busy and stressful. But the last few weeks I have been going 7 days a week – work Tuesday through Saturday, Farmer’s Market on Sundays, coaching on Mondays, and classes Monday through Friday after work. Add to that being part of the bargaining committee for the Union contract at work, and that May and June are some of the busiest months at the theatre, and my stress levels were pretty high up there.

Being forced to slow down is the same as being handed an invitation to slow down.Well, the Universe told me it was time to slow down. A week ago Saturday, as I was leaving work on our last super busy weekend, I fell on the stairs and twisted my ankle. I was already feeling rushed and extra frustrated because I was supposed to lead ritual at 7:30 pm. Originally I had been scheduled to be off at 5 pm, and then at the last minute my schedule was changed to work until 7 pm. It was 7:15 already, and I was finally leaving, and I slipped off the bottom step and went down.

My husband came to get me, and I was sitting on the steps with ice on my ankle in a fair amount of pain while we filled out an incident report. So instead of going out to lead ritual, I went to the emergency room to make sure my ankle wasn’t broken. Originally I thought I would still be able to go to the Farmer’s Market the next morning, but decided to listen to the Universe’s urging to slow down, and I stayed home.

As if the sore ankle wasn’t enough, mid-week I succumbed to the virus that my husband and son had the week before. I stayed home in bed on Wednesday. Thankfully I had no classes this week, though I did take part in one of the rituals online, and I had a birthday party for my middle son. So it was still a pretty busy week.

Today is thankfully a pretty quiet day. I was able to sleep in, and I don’t have plans to go anywhere today. I’m staying home, snuggled in my bed reading, and resting, and probably doing a little bit of homework. I’m listening to the Universe, though, and working on taking care of me. Because when the Universe tells you to slow down, you better listen! I don’t need any harder lessons, thanks!

I am really looking forward to having some time off work. It is coming right on time.

Have you been invited to slow down lately? In what ways?

Blessings,

Mary

Artemis is Selfish

In our society today, being selfish is an extremely negative way to be. It is an insult, something that is totally frowned on. From very early on we are taught to share and take other people’s feelings into account when making a decision.

The world revolves around meWe are all selfish in some way, however. It really is in our nature to think of our own needs first. And that is as it should be. I am the center of my own Universe, just as you are the center of your own Universe. If I do not take care of my own needs first, I will not be able to give anything to anyone else. It is like the flight attendants say at the beginning of every flight – put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help someone else with theirs. If you can’t breathe, you’re not going to be of use to anyone!

It is when that personal wants and desires are held to the exclusion of other people’s welfare that it becomes problematic. If I am always making decisions based on what I want without ever considering what my family wants, I am going to have a mutiny on my hands before long.

Artemis was definitely selfish. She asked her father for several very specific gifts at a young age, and received them. She knew exactly what she wanted and was committed to protecting her interests. And she definitely had the wherewithal to do so! She shot or cursed those who entered her realm without permission, or those who took advantage of her companions, or even those who insulted her mother.

But she also helped her mother deliver her twin brother. She rescued young women who were going to be sacrificed or married against their will. She protected the forests and wild places.

So the guidance I am receiving from Artemis right now is that it is ok to be selfish. I need to make sure that I take care of myself first. Protect my personal interests, and then protect the interests of those I care about. I can be a warrior for others, but only if I am a warrior for myself first.

And that is partly why this post is late this week. I was taking care of myself first. 🙂

Blessings,

Mary

How to Recover from Hell Week

Last week was particularly busy for my family. It seems the theater bug has bitten my whole family.

Missoula Children’s Theater came to town this past week. If you haven’t heard of them, they run a wonderful program for children. Two actor-directors travel around in a red F150. It carries the whole set, scripts, costumes and props to put on a one-hour play, usually a version of a well-known fairy tale. Children from all of the local schools are invited to audition after school on Monday. Those who are chosen rehearse all week, and perform twice on Saturday. At the end of the evening, the actor-directors pack up their truck and move on to the next community.

All three of my boys auditioned, and all three got parts in The Pied Piper!

A few weeks ago, my husband received a call and was asked to audition for a reader’s theater production of Norm Foster’s The Foursome. Reader’s Theater is where the actors read from scripts. They use limited sets, props and costumes, relying primarily on expression to convey the meaning of the play. His performances were also this week.

Stop. RelaxSo basically, because of other events scheduled for Sunday and Monday of last week, it has been a pretty crazy two weeks. My husband and I declared this Sunday a day of rest.

I slept in for the first time in…quite a while. I had a very strong desire to stay in my pajamas and not do anything all day, except maybe surf the net. And then the sun started shining through the front window, and it called me to move my body. So I compromised. I put on my yoga clothes and did yoga for the first time since sometime last fall. Or maybe even last summer.

I forget how much I enjoy the yoga DVD I have. (Jada Fire’s Expressive Yoga for the Soul if you are interested.) And I was truly amazed at how much stronger and more flexible I am since I have been working out on the Wave Vibration Fitness Machine at my chiropractor’s office. Some day I’m going to get one to use at home!

It felt so good to have a day with nothing really planned. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the projects I am involved in. I sometimes forget that I need to schedule down time as well. Rest and relaxation are an important part of keeping balanced and maintaining positive mental health. When balance and mental health are not looked after, everything else becomes much more difficult.

The only thing I scheduled for the day was a phone call with a friend that I hadn’t talked to in ages. It was refreshing and energizing to catch up with her, and laugh with her. Again, it definitely helped with the balance and positive mental health.

I am very grateful that I, and my husband, took a day off, a day of nothing, a day of rest.

Blessings,

Mary

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Chaos

Maybe. I might put it off until tomorrow, though. Did I mention I’m a procrastinator sometimes?

Last week was extremely busy for me – more packed than my usually crazy schedule. We loaded the set into the theater on Sunday, rehearsed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then had shows from Wednesday – Sunday (2 on Saturday). After the show yesterday, we struck the set, and took it all back to the clubhouse.

Today, I slept in. And I’m still in my pj’s. I have a few self-care things planned for my day, before the Peaceful Woman meet-up tonight. But I’m relishing this tiny amount of down time before I go back to work tomorrow.

So, I’m keeping this post very short, because it is too close to being like work right now. I may be back next week with something less fluffy. We’ll see.

Blessings,

Mary

Changing My Mind to Change My Reality

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

In coming out from my trip to the Underworld (otherwise known as emotional breakdown, depression, freak out, etc), I remembered this quote from Einstein.  If I really want to change my circumstances, I need to change how I think about them.

Change My MindI had two conversations last week with friends that helped me get more clarity about what it is that I am really wanting. (Incidentally, both of them are Peaceful Women.) The first happened by synchronicity – because it certainly wasn’t planned, nor was it an accident.

I was on the Peaceful Woman conference line because I thought there was supposed to be a group call.  Only three of us ended up being on the call, so we started to share what had been going on recently for each of us.  I listened to the exciting things that the other two had been doing, and I almost didn’t want to share. I did anyway, and one of the women asked me a question about my situation that many have asked before about why my husband doesn’t do something different.

My first thought was, “Great. Here I go again having to defend choices my husband and I have made.” I briefly explained, and she simply answered, “OK. That’s the vision that I will hold for you then.”

I was shocked. I thanked her right away, and told her how much it meant to me that she didn’t question me or my choices. She just accepted me, and told me she would hold positive space for me. It helped me realize that part of what contributed to my meltdown was having to defend my choices from other people’s suggestions. I was craving this kind of support – acceptance of where I am, and assistance in holding the vision of what I want to create.

Later in the week, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with another Peaceful Woman who is also an amazing Life Coach.  She helped me find even more clarity about why I was feeling so stressed (by uncovering exactly what about my changed circumstances at work was challenging my values), and why I was sabotaging myself from continuing all my positive habits (because they are things I have control over, and I was feeling very out of control in other areas of my life). Simply having the higher awareness of what was really going on for me opened up the space in me to shift my perception.

She also acknowledged me for the growth I have experienced, and for the steps I have already taken to change my perception. I have spoken my truth more fully, and I am beginning to integrate this visit to the Underworld into my entire being, in support of positive change. By crying out to the Universe for help, and being honest that I don’t know what the next step is, the Universe has placed at least three new opportunities before me to provide the help I was asking for.

That’s another interesting shift for me. I don’t feel bad or regret having this meltdown, as I might have done in the past. It is not a sign of weakness. I know that this is part of a cycle towards my own spiritual evolution.

And so I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about myself.  By getting such a clear message about what I don’t want, and taking the time to explore what led me to this place, I am so much more clear on what it is that I do want. I’m not all the way there yet. And I feel so much better about how I’ve begun.

Blessings,

Mary

Paying the Sleep Mafia

Beauty SleepIt has been a solid week of me making the effort to get to sleep earlier, and I’m starting to feel the difference. A little.

It’s been quite an effort on my part this past week to have the lights out by 10:00 pm, my self-imposed bedtime.  I’ve had to re-think how much I can accomplish each night when I get home from work, and how many extra-curricular activities I am going to schedule for myself and my family. I’ve had to decide exactly what my priorities are – is it more important to me that I write in my journal, or watch the video I borrowed from the library so i can return it on time?

I’ve been diligent and conscious of each of these decisions all week and for the first few days, it just wasn’t enough.  In fact, after two days of going to bed earlier, it was even harder to get up the next morning! I felt like the sleep mafia had come and demanded payment all at once for all the sleep I had ever missed. I even moved my meditation time back 20 minutes so I could catch a few more zzzzz’s.

Now, a full week in, it is a little easier to wake up, though on Sunday when I didn’t have to be awake at a certain time, inertia tied me to the bed extra long. 🙂

We don’t always realize how important something like sleep is until it starts making a noticeable effect on our daily life. For me that amounted to increased difficulty getting up in the morning, and low energy throughout the day. Then, what really triggered me to take action: I could not focus during my daily meditation.  My mind flitted from one thing to another, or I fell back to sleep.

I’m going to continue this week to get to bed as close to 10:00 pm as i can, though it will be interesting with the conference I am going to this weekend for work. I’m determined to keep the sleep mafia, and more importantly, my body, happy though.

Some good advice that a friend once gave me, and that has not always been easy to follow: “Listen to your body.  And then do what it says!”

Blessings,

Mary

The Balance Between BE-ing and DO-ing

I’ve noticed a trend in my life.  I either get stuck in the DO-ing-ness of my life, or drift off into the BE-ing-ness of it. The balance between the two is elusive.

Not long ago, I was all DO-ing.  My days were scheduled to the minute, and I got a lot done.  My DO-ing times can be very productive.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t want to DO anymore.  I just wanted to BE.  In these BE-ing times, its all about me.  I read fiction. I sleep.  I avoid checking my email for days at a time. I really want to hibernate, or go be a hermit. Its not that I DO nothing.  I still go to work, and I am still taking care of my family.

And then, I start feeling like I am wasting my time, because I am not DO-ing anything productive. But I don’t want to. But I need to keep the commitments I have made. And on and on goes the conversation in my head.

Balance between Being and DoingSo how do I keep a balance between my DO-ing and my BE-ing?  That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? 🙂

Knowing that balance is not a static position, but one that is fluid, in constant adjustment, helps. There is no one thing that I can do and suddenly achieve balance for the rest of my life.  It’s something I have to work at.

So here are some things I am DO-ing to incorporate BE-ing into my days:

  • I set aside time each day to BE. Part of that is my morning meditation, part of it is my daily walk.  Part of it is writing in my journal.  While all of these are still “activities”, they aren’t about achieving an immediate goal, or accomplishing a task. They contribute more to my over-all well-being.
  • I set an intention each morning for something I would like to accomplish that day.  This way I make sure I am not drifting through my days getting nothing done.

What things do you do to balance BE-ing and Do-ing?  I’d love to hear your ideas, and add more tools to my toolkit!

Blessings,

Mary

Happy Valentine’s Day to ME!

Ah, Valentine’s Day.  Festival of LOVE. Favorite holiday of florists, jewelers and candy shop owners.  A day that reminds of of whether we have a wonderful relationship, a not-so-hot relationship, or just a cat.

Valentine’s Day seems to either be very romantic, or very depressing for most people I know.  My husband generally refuses to celebrate because it is a “Hallmark Holiday,” an excuse for retailers to guilt people into spending. When we first got married, I was upset by this.  Now, I’ve decided to take a different view of this day.

This Valentine’s Day, I am going to honor the most important person in my life, the one I love and admire the most: ME!I Love ME!

It’s not about the flowers and the chocolates.  It’s about honoring myself. I’m taking time to fill up my cup, to be open about where I am at and what I am feeling.  To pamper myself in small, but significant ways.  The best part is, I don’t need to spend a dime to make myself feel important and loved.

So, I had a nice long soak in the bath, and did every beauty treatment on myself that I could.  I painted my toenails, and treated my hair.  I masqued my face and shaved my legs.  I even used an aromatherapy sea salt scrub.  I took my time reading a book, and cut out a pattern for a dress I plan to make.  I took a long walk in the woods with my boys, and made chocolate chip cookies.  There was no rush at all to the day.

I feel wonderful! I feel pampered and appreciated, and most of all, I feel loved.  I’m not dependent on others to feel this way.  But when I truly love myself, others reflect it back to me.  And that is a truly precious gift to give myself!

Just doing some searching online, it turns out that February 13th is “Madly in Love with ME Day!” Without knowing about it, I totally embraced that holiday!

How will you love yourself today?

Blessings,

Mary

Self Care

I’ve spoken before about the importance of ritual.  One of the rituals I have re-introduced in my week is that of self care.

My first daily self care practice is meditation.  I have my alarm set early so that I can meditate before I get my boys up, or get myself ready for the rest of the day.  My daily meditation really helps keep me centered throughout the day, and sets the tone for the day.  The days I do not meditate, I feel “off”.  So even when I would rather just roll over and go back to sleep, I meditate. (Though sometimes a little unconsciousness works its way into my meditation time…)

I also drink lots of water each day.  I have a water bottle I really love, and so it’s a lot easier to drink more water.  It’s amazing how a little thing like a special water bottle can make a difference to how much water I drink.

Another daily self care practice is to taking a walk.  I was finding it challenging to schedule a specific time for physical activity that I could do every day.  I decided I would just go for a walk every day, whenever I could fit it in.  Sometimes, it happens in the morning before I go to work.  Sometimes it happens in the middle of the day, or right before I go to bed.  Whenever it happens, I take care of myself by going for a walk.

My big self care ritual happens once a week.  I run a hot bubble bath for myself, and do as much pampering of myself as I can. Sometimes I light a candle, sometimes I read, sometimes I just soak in the tub.  I give myself the spa treatment.  Sometimes a facial, sometimes a pedicure, whatever strikes me as what I need that week.

The point is to help me feel special, pampered, and well taken care of. Now, if only my bathroom looked more like this:

spa treatment

photo by maxymedia

What do you do to self care?

Blessings,

Mary