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Trust

Trust. What does the mean to you? How important is it to you? How do you feel when there is no trust or when a previous bond of trust has been broken?

What is trust? Is it a feeling, an emotion? Is it an instinct? It is certainly built up over time and through experience. It can be a split second decision to throw caution to the wind and decide to trust or place blind faith in something greater ie religion. Trust is something we place in others, in ourselves and in situations. It is earned yet can be lost in a single moment. It can be taken for granted. Can it ever be regained once broken or will it always have fracture lines?

Recently I have come to question trust in my own life, both in myself and in others. A mutual bond of trust has broken. It broke due to the disparities in our expectations of each other and the values we hold, which, had they been communicated, may have gone some way to remedying a situation before the house came down. Sadly, it is the way of life though isn’t it? We each have core values and beliefs that we hold as truths. They are ours and ours alone. We cannot expect anyone else to adhere to these as they will have their own set of values. There may be a cross over and similarities, but just as each person is unique, so too are their truths, their perception of the truth and their trust in their own truth. When they don’t align, relationships and friendships may come to an impasse and dissolve.

Trust and truth are words and instincts I have been wrangling with. We all want people to be honest and truthful. We see post after post all across the interwebs on every platform about living in our truth, standing in our truth, trusting our intuition, trusting ourselves, but the truth of the matter is that that is scary! It can be deeply unpleaseant to the point of ugly – what if you don’t like or agree with the truth? Can you trust it? Can you trust yourself to handle the truth? Do you trust yourself to honour your truth when all around are in opposition or don’t understand? Can you trust the person delivering the truth; yourself or another? To take that leap of faith and be bold and trust, whatever it is you need to trust is to be brave and vulnerable.

The essence of trust is in the vulnerability. You allow yourself to be vulnerable with another and trust them with that. I’m hearing Brene Brown’s voice in my head as I type, without vulnerability there is no trust! And I think, that that is why once trust has been damaged it is sooo hard to repair it because we allowed ourselves to open and let our guard down therefore it hurts so much when we feel we have been disregarded or betrayed.

I think the biggest trust we have to have is in ourselves. I don’t see that we can fully trust another without fully trusting and believing in ourselves – despite what we might think! Being honest and truthful with ourselves first; to know who we are and what our values are will hold us steady when these are challenged or crossed. A truth for me is the desire to shy away from [avoid] confrontation as I don’t like to hurt other people, but I have learned that not trusting myself to face a situation from a point of honesty has not protected another from hurt but rather hurt both of us.

As scary as it is, I have resolved within myself to trust myself and speak my truth no matter what, because anything less is simply not respecting me, my boundaries, my health. I’m not going to violate the trust I’ve placed in myself to make others feel better about themselves. Other people’s reactions are not my responsibility. I have trust that each person I come across will be accountable and responsible for their own actions, thoughts and opinions. And that’s a truth!

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Magic Rewilding

Magic Rewilding

Do you believe in magic?

You don’t have to; its all around you. YOU are magic.

Do you believe me? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. All around us we are told we need to do this or have that inorder to “make magic” (whatever that means to you). The internet and some chain stores have caught on to the current trend for all things witchcraft, paganism, spirituality, and a hotch potch of all things appropriated from oppressed cultures and you can buy all manner of accoutrements and paraphernalia to “do it right”.

When did it all get so complicated and prescribed?

In the capitalist age, the next big thing is always on the horizon. Some fads come and go with their 1 minute of fame while others have the longevity. Right now, the New Age is in vogue. And there is a money to be made. Money is magic, right? Nope!

Shop bought magic isn’t YOUR magic.

In my humble opinion, we need to simplify spirituality and rewild magic not commercialise it.

I invite you to question and be honest with yourself. Figure out what you believe [in] and why. Are your beliefs something you’ve been told or something you’ve been drawn or called to? Did you connect with something because you read about it were told about it or were informed that this is the right way?

How often do you go outside? To be barefoot and touch the earth, taste fresh produce, dance in the rain, talk to the wind, smell the flowers and hug a tree? When was the last time you moon bathed, star gazed or howled into the night? Rose with the sun and slept with the moon, disregarded the Gregorian calendar to live by the lunar cycle, new moon to dark moon? Were still or ran free along the beach at the waters edge, or through the woods, open hillside or city parkland?

We are nature; we are a part of nature not apart from nature!

Do we need to buy that particular stone because it holds a particular energy, or do we see a stone on the ground and appreciate its beauty and how it feels in our hand, so take it home instead? Do we need to buy that bunch of flowers with the right colour of petals or candle in that certain colour? Or would using what we have found in nature or what we already have in the home work just as well? Does that spell kit with the candle and the “smudge stick” (stolen from Native American heritage) and the prescribed “spell” have more power than the words spelled, written or spoken, by the person setting those intentions, which are imbued with their energy and feelings? Which leads me on to correspondences.

There are prescribed correspondences for EVERYTHING! Certain colours, crystals, essential oils, incense, candles, ribbons, herbs, flowers, foods, animals, times of the day, days of the week, seasons, numbers, weather conditions, elements, trees, astrological placement of the planets, etc et that NEED to be adhered to for “magic” to work, to do it right. Bollocks to that! Why? Because like with nearly everything else in life, magic has been caught and caged for capitalism. To need most of this stuff means to buy it. But do you know what you can’t buy? Intuition. You cannot buy intuition because, that, my friend is not for sale! And nothing is more potent that trusting personal intuition; it’s the most valuable tool you have at your disposal. It needs to be worked and exercised and above all, trusted and listened to. Everything else is fluff and fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of fluff and fun – of course I have a cauldron! Yes, I divine using tarot and oracle decks. All I am saying is that we don’t need it .

Do I think our ancestors needed to have the right correspondences to work? Nope, I believe they used what they had, a cauldron was an actual cooking receptacle and followed intuition. No need to over complicate for what is essentially the essence of the New Age; Social Media and our audience. That is not real.

People new or exploring a different path may find what others have done, a useful insight to what may work for them, and I will always recommend reading books, books and more books, but above all, I would tell everyone to trust themselves, question everything and keep it simple. And it shouldn’t cost you a small fortune either!

My word for 2019 is Depth, and part of the work I’ve been doing has been around questioning why I do what I do, including my spiritual practice. Over the many years I have been walking this path I have tried various ways of doing and shoe-horning other people’s way into my way, its very much been trial and error. I resisted the Divine Feminine for a number of years as had been atheist since about 12 years years old. What I have come to realise and appreciate is that if something is presented to me and it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get to stay, equally, as I grow and learn and explore, if something no longer fits, it is released to leave space. William Morris’ famous quote:

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

is very relevant here and therefore my cauldron stays, it being both beautiful and useful – and fun! I prefer to go with my feelings and mood at any particular time rather than what someone else has decreed as the right way or right “correspondence”. Symbolism is personal too, how I interpret the meaning or feeling attached to whatever I am working with or on.

I’ve also chucked the need to follow set rituals including my own. At the last full moon I went dancing instead of doing what I would normally with meditation and tarot and journal. Mixing it up and going with what I’m feeling and called to do instead of self imposed rituals has been a form of rewilding my own magic and simplifying my spirituality.

I don’t live my path to only pick it up to perform rituals at New and Full Moon time with all sorts of paraphernalia. I just need myself, my intuition and calling it in and living it daily. Magic is already in me, in you, in us; in all our uniqueness. No rules are needed to be told how to use it or for why, it just needs to be allowed to be felt, to be released, to be rewilded.

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Perimenopause. WTF?

I’m tired, so tired. Most of the time. I can count on one hand the number of nights in the past few months where I have gotten a fully rested night’s sleep without waking for no apparent reason – and that’s once I actually get to sleep. My bed is too warm despite sleeping with the window open. I keep getting headaches even though I have upped my water intake to ensure I am drinking at least 2ltrs per day which of course just exacerbates my granny bladder. My already dry eyes feel like swollen bouncy balls in my sandpaper sockets as they dry further. I am generally happy to go with the flow of the day to day, but push my button and I WILL explode without warning (this is your warning!). I have zero tolerance for bullshit, drama and other folk’s nonsense. My patience is limited and my time precious; when and with whom I chose to spend it is carefully decided. I am easily distracted and find it hard to focus on anything or anyone for any length of time. I am changing. My body is changing. I feel heavy and bloated (I’m actually the heaviest I’ve ever been outwith pregnancy). I am becoming and growing into myself, into the real me. I crave more and more time alone; peace and solitude are my holy grail. I’m done with striving, with pleasing others at my own expense or judging myself or being judges by other people’s standards. And this is just the start.

Hello Perimenopause!

Did I mention that I am also only 40? I didn’t think I’d have to think about this stuff for another 8 year or so. That was part of my ignorance about menopause and perimenopause. Hell, until 3 years ago I had never even HEARD of perimenopause until a woman I know mentioned that she had been perimenopausal for 8 years as she was approaching her 50th birthday. WTF?

I KNOW I am not alone in what was menopausal ignorance. How do I know this? BECAUSE IT’S NEVER DISCUSSED! We are only just coming around to openly discussing menstruation without using code words and hiding tampons. There was still a minor hoo-ha when an advert showed red rather then blue menstruation blood on the TV last year.

But this is a big fucking deal – it , like menstruation, will affect half the bloody population! Where is all the chat from our elder women about The Change?

There are some women now starting to use their voices and internet platforms to share their own experiences, but the over arching theme in all of them, this one included, the the sheer lack of information about menopause, specifically perimenopause in our general knowledge about our own bodies.

What do you know about menopause? Before I started looking specifically into it last year, my knowledge was thus : menopause means the end of periods, happens between ages 48-52, you get hot flushes and sweaty restless nights, mood swings and for some people, depression too. Oh and HRT of course. There. That was my understanding and extremely scant knowledge of what was to come in my menstrual future.

It is NOT ok for us to be so poorly prepared.

As someone who considers themselves fairly well versed in the workings of the womb and menstrual health, having had pre-cancerous cells removed from my cervix at 30, a miscarriage at 32 and a run of tests taken last year, I take the health of my lady parts seriously. Early 2018 I started experiencing changes however. I had constant nausea (this wasn’t new, I’ve had intermittent periods of persistent nausea for a few years), feeling full after just starting my meals, constantly needing to pee, bloating, disturbed sleep, less cramping just before my bleed was due (when I used to have awful cramps) which moved to awful cramping at ovulation instead, lots of headaches and an unpredictable temperament. The Dr ran blood tests and sent me for a scan of my ovaries. All bloods “came back fine” just needed to up my iron (again, nothing new there) and scan showed “nothing out the ordinary”. Ok, so I am functioning normally, and there’s nothing to worry about (I was just glad that it wasn’t ovarian cancer as my symptoms were pointing in that direction after some internet investigation or early menopause), so WHAT was causing the shift? Nothing more from GP was said, I got my iron pills and carried on with life. Of course, not all the changes in my body stopped, some in the past year have increased! Through my own research I have come to discover that while my GP told me that the UK average for women going through the menopause was 48-52 ( there is a younger and older range to the spectrum, as required in order to ascertain the average), she at no point mentioned perimenopause and that the start of this phase is perfectly normal for women my age! Seriously??

Why is Menopuase not a hot topic of conversation? Why aren’t we discussing it with our mothers or aunties or friends? Why aren’t our Drs discussing it with us when we present our symptoms? Why is it, when it is in conversation, regarded with doom and gloom and scorn? Why is HRT to immediate go-to cure? Why do people think it needs a cure? Why is it to be hidden? Yet another taboo of the female form!

So, let’s chat.

First of all, the word symptoms. I’m not down with calling my experiences “symptoms” and here’s why:

  • Oxford Dictionary : ” (i) a physical or mental feature which is regarded as indicating a condition of disease, and (ii) an indication of the existence of something, especially of an undesirable situation”
  • Cambridge Dictionary : ” (i) any feeling of illness or physical or mental change that is caused by a particular disease and (ii) any single problem that is caused by and shows a more serious general problem”

Do you see my point? Perimenopause and menopause is NOT a disease nor a health problem! Language is important. Frame this big event in our lives as an “undesirable situation” and your frame the societal attitude and engender the shame and need for taboo. It devalues women, in particular our mental health and emotional strength and belittles what our bodies are experiencing; effectively our second puberty! What it doesn’t do is celebrate that this is our time!!! Instead of “symptoms” how about just naming the changes as that, “changes” or “experiences”? Symptoms also has a very medical/clinical energy around the word for a stage in our life that is not medical but a transition as we progress through the cycle of life.

There is a power behind “The Change”; a casting off of the fucks given, a determination to be true and feeling whole. Or at least it ought to be. Instead we may find crippling insecurity and anxiety, long unexpressed and suppressed rage and tension working its way to the surface accompanied by tears. We NEED to feel this stuff, accept it and let it go – WITHOUT being told we are depressed or “hormonal” and given multiple prescriptions for anti depressants and HRT. Yes, we are hormonal but not in a bad way, and yes, some people are actually depressed but how many woman are told they are when all they are truly feeling is the release of toxicity that they had held since their maiden years, bursting its way through? It’s not allowed, it has to remain contained and hidden, you crazy lady. Oh, really?

I have already been told that HRT is the way to go by elder women. “It’ll make you feel better with the mood swings.” “It helped keep my emotions in check” etc etc. Personally, I don’t care about keeping my emotions in check. I want to feel what my body is experiencing not numb it out and effectively be punished by being silenced for it. If people around me are uncomfortable with the metamorphosis into the woman I am becoming, that’s not my problem. This is a rebirth, one I am not stifling to accommodate the delicate expectations of those who are uncomfortable with a woman in her power. Resting bitch face? Nope, regular face where every wrinkle has earned its right to be there, where aging has its own beauty and is a privilege. Not tolerating bullshit or annoyances I would have in the past does not mean I’m grumpy, it means I am honouring myself and my boundaries as opposed to pandering to make someone else feel good. If however, my experiences cause me issues and problems in myself, then I will seek advice from my GP so will not rule out HRT altogether at this point – who knows what the coming decade holds!

So, going back to what I said further up about my knowledge being, at best, scant, is that the actual menopause isn’t recognised until we have had a full 12 months with out a menstrual bleed. Only then are we considered to have reached menopause. (UK average is 51 years old) We are no longer fertile. 1 in 100 women experience it before the age of 40! All the perimenopausal changes we experience leading up to the menopause can start in our 30s! Once the body has gone through the menopause, the changes can still be experienced for a further 4 years or so, when we are then referred to as post menopausal.

A good read for facts about the physical changes and what to expect are

I have self diagnosed myself through my research as perimenopausal, but am going to see GP to make sure (and to rule out anything else untoward, just incase). I feel this is the most sensible approach to take particularly due to my age being in the younger end of the spectrum.

What are your thought and experiences with perimenopause? I’d love to find out and get a conversation going. There are not enough conversations and discussions around this – sharing the good and the bad, empowering and debilitating and educating the next wave of women and men and future generations in what it is to experience this transition as best prepared as possible.

Lissa x

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I Want To Break Free

I want to break free!

Free from rules, shoulds, judgement (including self imposed), standards and expectations in my day to day life, my online life and in my spiritual practice.

To be fair, I have cast off many of the shackles holding me down and back, but I still feel stifled, suffocated, stressed and overwhelmed.

I have written before about the need to simplify and slow down. In my efforts to do so I seem to have picked up other rules and must dos to replace what I let go!

FFS!!

Having moved house in the summer I wondered if the feels and energy lack were to do with that.  However, I have come to realise that it’s much more; runs much deeper.  My brain and being are saturated with images (including my own) , books, recommendations, advice and how-tos on EVERYTHING.  So instead of waiting for my digital detox and life assessment in January, I’m spending the remainder of the year unpacking what serves and what doesn’t. I’m checking in with all that sees its way into my life; how I am spending each of the 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, even 365 days a year. In no particular order, under the microscope so far are:

  • Morning Routine – why do I do what I do, when I do. How does it make me feel? Could I change it, would it make a difference, does it need to?
  • Home/ Family – our settling in period has passed, what’s working, what isn’t and why? Balancing family needs and my own (not currently in balance, but is that elusive balance the new Holy Grail?)
  • Fulfillment – what makes me feel fulfilled? What do I need inorder to feel fulfilled? Where is the lack? How do I address this?
  • Values – what are my true values? How am I recognising and therefore honouring them, or not as the case may be?
  • Priorities – I have so many plates spinning – what are my priorities and why?  Where are my top priorities sitting in my to-do lists currently?
  • Spiritual practice/path – why do I look outside of myself for the answers rather than seeking from within? What am I seeking? Why do I deem external knowledge, particularly printed or internet wisdom as more important than my own – espcially when in conflict with my own experience or opinion?
  • Time / Calendar –  how do I use and measure time?What system(s) work best for me? Are arbitrary dates causing more unrest? Is it possible to rise with the sun and sleep with the moon in this day and age?

This list is not finite and I may add more as I see fit. For instance, the coming full moon I will be holding a private ritual, but I don’t know yet what that will look like – will feel into it at the time and see what comes up; without the use of astrology or new age/spiritual prescription.

I know what I want, what I crave.

Simplicity.

Simplify my practice, just going with my internal calling and needs. Heeding our intuition is a super power!  I love learning and seeking out new information to enhance and grow my own knowledge, but I don’t like being told or preached to, preferring to feel into what I trust and what I accept. But more and more I feel so much of the knowledge and purported wisdom is heavy and laden with the ‘right way’ or cultural appropriation, which goes against my personal ethos.

I want to break free, let go of it all and start a-new, with clarity, purpose and a healthy dose of realism inorder to be the best version of myself for me and my family (because currently I know I am not!)  rather than constantly trying to silencing my inner voice which is screaming to be heard and released!

I know I need rewilding and freedom to just be, whatever the fuck that means!

Earlier today a friend sent me the quote below which summed up exactly how she was feeling. Talk about synchronicity!

simple
Image and quote uncredited from Pinterest

What do you need to break free from?

Lx

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If you could turn back time, would you?

If you could turn back time, would you?

The clocks went back at the weekend and so too did my mind and imagination!  An old friend sent me a couple of photos from when we were at school (the first being my 17th birthday and they surprised me with cake in English class, the second being our last day at high school). How young we were, just at the threshold of life.

I posted the photo to my instagram account and was asked

“Curious…if you could share anything about the journey of growing up with the girl in this pic now, what would it be?”

which got me thinking about what would I say to the girl in that picture.  I replied with the following :

“I’ve always wondered what I’d do differently if I had my time again (answer = most of it!) but been giving your qu some thought and through all the mistakes and wrong decisions and poor behaviour and choices, I keep coming back to the same thing: Stay true to you, don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t, you don’t have to overcompensate, you are enough and make the best decisions for the right reasons when you remember that 🙏💖 oh and the world is there to be seen and experienced so go and do both!!! ✨”

I’ve been think about this question ever since.  If I could have my time again what would I do differently; answer is pretty much everything! It was then that I realised that conclusion was was a pretty sad state of affairs, because the my choices have led me to where I am now.

Remembering back to when I was 17, who I was and what I wanted, and reflecting on the path that has led me to today, I can see that very little of what I have done and achieved has really been in line with that girl.

I didn’t want to marry or have children. I wanted to travel.  Up until I was 17 I wanted to go to Glasgow School of Art and from age 10 I wanted to be an interior designer, but then self doubt made its presence known along with the comparison to other people. From then I wanted to be a woman with power and authority. I craved independence and the desire to “fly the nest” so sought out university courses which would lead to high flying careers (of course I picked the wrong university, the wrong course and so dropped out).  I also harboured dreams of being arrested(!) but for something worthy and for a good cause, like protesting or doing something radical for Greenpeace.  I remember striving for approval, yet wanting and needing to be “different”. I hated societal confines and knew there had to be more; I was capable of more, but more of what?? I loved most things alternative but was chained to convention, a chain that took years to finally break. It took several bouts of illness and a permanent health condition and numerous well paid but highly stressful  to finally stop and reassess. I spent years in the barren lands chasing dreams that weren’t really mine, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, instead of years in the wilderness following my truth.

Now forty and I am once again taking stock and reassessing where and who I am.  It’s like I’m back at the start of knowing and understanding who I am but with the lived experience behind me.  No I don’t still want to go to Glasgow School of Art and become an interior designer, but I am still creative and need to express that. I know what I want to do, am just finding the confidence to push past the inposter complex to achieve my dreams.

Instead of being sad and melancholy over what ifs or shoulds, I am grateful for the experiences I have had and the lessons learned as I am sat here, a woman who has lived, loved, lost and laughed. A lot! I am who I am because of me. I can’t change my past, but I can learn from it and grow from there.  This second half of life will be all the richer for it.

Looking back, while I strayed way off course from my true north and made highly questionable choices, I can say that no, I wouldn’t change it.  I like love me and who I am today, and I love my family. Who is to say I would be that lucky if I had taken a different route.

1995

Now it’s my turn to ask you: If you could turn back time, would you?

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40

I’ve taken my 40th jaunt around the sun.

My 30s are now behind me with my 20s now a memory.

I’ve hit “mid life”.

I’ve never looked forwards to a birthday more!

And it didn’t disappoint!!

Yes, it is just another number but to me it’s more than that. It feels like a complete new start; the dawn of the next phase in this life cycle. The Wild Woman phase, the Enchantress, the Medicine Woman, the Mage. Call it what you will, but our 40’s represent the journey into the Autumn years of life, the peri-menopausal years transitioning from our fertile mothering  years into that second puberty where we connect truly with who we are as women, owning our own person.  Of course not every woman takes until she’s 40 to reach this place of knowing herself, but I have, and have been on this journey for a long time.

In honour of such a milestone birthday I gathered my sisters in sacred circle and celebrated a beautiful and emotional time.  Nine of us sat in my livingroom and shared in stories, meditation, crafting, poetry, song, food and ritual. I felt incredibly blessed as my friend led the ceremony of leaving my thirties, with it’s lessons, regrets, achievements and acknowledgements, moving forward to face and embrace any fears of growing older (I have none, I LOVE this aging process and with the wisdom it brings as well as the grey hairs aka wisdom highlights!) and set intentions for this coming stage of my life. My women in my clan of choice also set intentions and wishes for me, which of course were burnt to release said intentions in the central cauldron.  My good old broom was put to good use in symbolically clearing away the old to make space for the new and with a twist on the the matrimonial jumping of the broom, I jumped my broom to cross over into this new phase and exciting times ahead.  Not a typical 40th birthday celebration, but a deeply felt one.

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As well as Circling, the other 40th biggie, was a gift to myself  (also from my 8yo as he wanted to gift it to me). I have wanted a new tattoo for a while and had a rough idea of what I wanted and the symbolism it needed to contain, but an inability to put it all together. I contacted the only artist I knew who would be able to create exactly what I wanted and as expected, it is stunning.

So I got my Goddess Butterfly with the moon and pearls and lace detail that I needed. I don’t think it is possible to love this tattoo more! The detail and artistry is exquisite – and no, it didn’t hurt. Having Fleetwood Mac playing in the background (love Fleetwood Mac) was an added bonus. Thank you Aphra x

Of course, no birthday is complete without cake….

cake

especially CHEESE CAKE!!!! My Mum pulled a blinder on the cake front this year. I had the chocolate & raspberry slice but when went back later, discovered Scottish Tablet flavour….Oh My Goddess, I have never tasted cheesecake so good!!!!

So far, this being 40 malarkay is proving to ace the 30’s – long may that continue.

Lissa

xx

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I’m Back!

Francesca M. Healy

Stick the kettle on, I’m back!

From where? The internet, or rather specifically, Social Media ~ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (yes I know Pinterest is technically a search engine rather than a social media platform, but shhh).

Why? I needed a break.

We all know that taking a Social Media holiday is good for us, especially if we use numerous platforms on a regular basis. But do we need to take a break from the screens or the content of our screens? Are we addicted to Facebook or just our phones?

I pondered this question as I was feeling frustrated and anxious and numb and bored and happy and joyful and tired all at the same time, every time I picked up my phone and began the habitual scrolling. My notifications have all been turned off since January, my phone is always on silent, it doesn’t even vibrate, yet still I had the compulsion to “check” it. I didn’t even have the apps installed, instead had to go through my browser to partake in the aforementioned “checking”. It had become mentally exhausting and somewhat toxic when dealing with some people and their rudeness. The time lost to that scrolling is just that; lost. For ever! What a complete waste of time and energy. And for what, really, at the end of the day?

It was time for an intervention. I would have said experiment, but in lieu of a hypothesis I’m going with intervention, a self imposed one. One month, no Social Media. Could I resist the temptation of a sneak peak? Would I last a whole month? What benefits were there to this? Was I completely shooting myself in the foot and be about to lose all my followers and customers? Would I feel completely out of the loop with friends and was I about to miss out on important stuff? What was I trying to prove and to whom? (nothing to no-one) How much time was I actually wasting and what could I do with it instead? What would I do at the end of the month? ( spoiler : no idea, hadn’t really thought that far ).

Starting at the New Moon in March, I went cold turkey. One full lunar cycle was my time frame, returning yesterday, at the following New Moon.

I did it! So, what did I learn? How do I feel? Was it worth it??? So many questions competing for answers inside my head.

I knew from having Social Media breaks in the past that I would be more productive in the use of my time, but what else would it teach me?

The 9 things I learned during my Social Media fast.

1.  I have to say I did not miss Facebook. I would go as far as to say that I could quite easily lose it and never log back in again, and this is without taking the Cambridge Analytica horror into account.  However, much of the organising and arranging of my 8 yo’s home ed meets, support and community takes place on Facebook, so coming away altogether is not practical. I certainly did not miss the “debates” and generally arsery of some of the people I am “friends” with. On the flip side, I missed a couple of pregnancy announcements were lovely to read (once I saw them after scrolling through a whole lot of tosh that littered my feed) and a few updates that I definitely want to know about. So, decision made. I have now unliked the vast majority of the pages I follow and left numerous groups that I constantly ignore in my scroll and never interact with and have unfollowed most of the people I am friends with (no offence). The latter one may seem a little harsh but I am making a conscious effort to use time better and not get lost in the virtual vortex that doesn’t really serve any purpose.  Which then leads to me tho think, as I am typing this, why unfollow and not unfriend? Because I don’t want to be mean. There you go!

I have a Facebook page for Wild Sister Rising as well as 2 groups (one private circle group and one public shop group) which took up a lot of my time. Moving back into these spaces I have decided that I will use the page to post only my own stuff and for the groups, I am as yet uncertain.

2. Nor Twitter, I had 2 accounts. One that I had since 2012 and one I started when I started this blog. I deleted the old account and kept the WSR account. Having read through my feed and clicked into specific accounts of some people I follow, I found out a cyber friend had had a bereavement and I felt awful, but the rest of Twitter was still the ranty, anxiety inducing echo chamber it always was. I’ll keep it until after the Eurovision Song Contest and then reassess its need to me (and probably delete). I have to stay until 12th May as 4 of us watch Eurovison in our respective homes across the country, and discuss it on twitter over drinks, cheesecake and other various nibbles – it’s hilarious and in the the style of the late Terry Wogan, our commentary usually gets more caustic and witty as the booze cabinet is worked through.

3. I did initially miss instagram as I enjoy the app. But, since I stopped using it, I haven’t taken a single insta-worthy photo. In fact I don’t think I have taken any photos other than one of (A) on his birthday! Everywhere we have been, everything we have done has been completely enjoyed and experienced as it was, in the moment and was fully present rather than thinking about taking a picture to share.  And I am totally ok with that. I clicked into a couple of friends’ accounts and went through their pictures, to get back up to date (Hi Eilidh! She has the best hashtags in the instaverse) but have yet to post anything myself yet as have not had any inclination to take a picture or video. I think there will be a distinct reduction in the number of posts I share here from now on.

4. Pinterest failed me – or rather I failed in staying away… I nipped back on to send my tattoo board to the artist who is preparing/drawing up my new tattoo (a wee birthday present to myself). I only went on to send her my board, but then started looking for more ideas and inspiration and fell down the rabbit hole. It was a productive use of my time, even if I did stray off course and start searching for other things too… To be honest Pinterest is my favourite of the 4 so I don’t feel in the least bit bad about falling off the wagon.

5. I was free to use my time for things that actually served me and made my life richer. A couple of the activities that replaced my phone addiction were reading and yoga. I finished several books, including one which I heartily recommend, Burning Woman by Lucy H Pearce. In the absence of a kundalini yoga class in my area, found a great teacher on YouTube and have begun a daily practice. I’m now working through a 40 day Sadhana and loving it, even though I am ridiculously stecky!

6. The source of my headaches has been found! I have been suffering awful and regular headaches. My shoulders were stiff, my neck was stiff and my jaw was becoming increasingly tight. I knew myself when I was mindlessly scrolling through my phone and read something that angered me or pissed me off, or low and behold, if someone should interrupt me during this very important task, I could feel the instant tension and the audible inhale alerted me that I was in pretty bad shape. Off to get it sorted. I didn’t need a relaxing aromatherapy back massage I need deep tissue manipulation and so made an appointment with a sports therapy centre. After 2 sessions,  a lot of discomfort, and a thorough workout on my poor muscles (including having my jaw muscles worked on from inside my mouth – unusual but with phenomenal results) my headaches are gone and I have movement in my neck and shoulders where the tension previously held them captive. The woman who worked on me was shocked at how “solid” my back muscles were – oops! A month of not having my head tilted at a downward angle and not filling my head with the angst and rants of the interwebs has helped enormously. Plus I am not as easy to piss off or annoy, there is a notable reduction in my anxiety and irritability.

7. Proper conversations.  Having not being involved in or aware of news and conversations happening online, when I met with friends I was finding out information for the first time and face to face. I was back to having conversations. And not ones that start with “Did you see … on Facebook?” This pleases me immensely.

8. Opportunity to review Values, Desires and Needs.  I crave simplicity, connection and solitude/space. Writing is important to me as is continually learning about and exploring my passions, deep connections with friends – in person, trying new things, such as ecstatic dance and kundalini yoga, spending time alone to recharge and get clarity has been vital.

9. FOMO isn’t real. The world still spins, politics continue, events happen, we show up or we don’t. If I want to know something I can deliberately go and find out about it, ask someone about it. If I see a headline on the front page of the newspaper I am perfectly able to go and research the truth of it myself rather than take the paper at face value – I don’t need to know everything that is happening at every second of the day.

If you are someone who can take or leave your phone or Social Media, then this post probably doesn’t resonate, but I am not one of those people.  I am now making deliberate choices, becoming far more discerning about how, when and why I am opening one of these apps to engage in whatever is presented from the blue glare.  Social Media is not going anywhere and we live in a digital world where technology is king, but that doesn’t mean that it has to take over our lives, or dictate what we see, read, are exposed to, based on algorythms.

In answer to my question “Was it worth it?”, I have to conclude that YES, my month long abstention was absolutely worth it.

I’d love to know how other people live with and manage their phone addictions and constant Social Media bombardment – do you ever feel the need to take a break but scared to? Or are you one of those folk who doesn’t have any issues and can pop onto facebook purely in the interest of friendship? Please feel free to leave a comment to share your experience.

Lx

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Imbolc

Imbolc (1)

The Wheel of the Year turns once more and now we, in the Northern Hemisphere, are awakening to the first rustlings of Spring and the Sabbat of Imbolc.

As the light lengthens, so the cold strengthens

Depending upon your point of view, Imbolc represents the start of Spring, the inbetween-ey time between Winter and Spring, or consider it be to very much a  Winter festival with Spring still a while off yet.

Regardless of how the Sabbat is considered, it remains one of the least celebrated of the 8 seasonal markers, to be honoured in the natural year. This is possibly due to people not understanding its significance or unsure of the associations with milk! So what on earth is Imbolc?

Imbolc, or Imbolg or Oimelc depending on your Celtic heritage, generally means “in the belly” or “ewe’s milk” – the ewe’s are lactating, we have milk once more and deep in the belly of mother nature, life is stirring and awakening. This is a festival of renewal and purification and as such, a far more appropriate time for making and sticking to new resolutions and goals. January is still very much a time of hibernation, darkness and heavy soul nourishing food not about diets and lack, but February with its longer and lightening evenings has a more spritely feel; a lighter feel both in the sky and in mood.

We are familiar with the solar festivals which quarter the year into the seasons : Spring / Autumn Equinoxes and Summer / Winter Solstices, but there are 4 cross quarter fire festivals which complete the 8 Sabbats on the Wheel Of The Year: Imbolc / Beltane / Lammas / Samhain. The solar markers are masculine energies while the fire festivals are very much feminine. Imbolc has an incredibly feminine feel to me. All that is happening on and around Imbolc is happening down here on and in the earth; Mother Nature, Gaia, Earth Mother.  It is also the first festival in the cycle where the Maiden aspect of the triple Goddess is honoured. She is also known as Brigid, Bride, Brig and is associated with poetry, healing, fertility, fire energy (and skills relating to fire home hearth  or forge), inspiration and muse.

Imbolc is absolutely a time for women; mothers & daughters, friends, female family members spending time together, perhaps learning a new skill or just enjoying being in one another’s company, outwith the daily chores of home.  Last night after the sun was down and the moon was high (made all the more magnificent by the fact she was a super blue full moon) I gathered with 3 other women for an evening of Ecstatic Dance, a new experience for me and one which I will definitely be repeating.

There are many ways to honour this sacred time, whether you celebrate it as I do from sunset on 31st January, or the 1/2 Feb or around the lunar Imbolc or just when you feel the season start to shift, the actual calendar date is not important, there is no dogma dictating set times for the cross quarters, just what feels right for you. Alternatively you may not consider Imbolc at all, and look upon Candlemass as a marker in your year, or may not have anything at all and the start of February is the start of a new month as per any other. But if you wish to celebrate Imbolc you may wish to stock up on the candles (symbolic of the returning light, plus it is a fire festival), gather your girlfriends or relatives for a meal or a sacred circle, go out into nature (even if that just means your garden) and observe it; what do you notice, smell, hear, feel? Begin the purification of your home and by that I mean Spring Clean!! But go gently, a little at a time, just like nature, not a full on KonMari over one weekend or scrub the place from top to bottom until it stinks of bleach, easy does it (and hold back on the bleach, not good for nature or for you). Cultivate your own rituals and practices that you can revisit each year and reflect on the previous one. I have a bag of snow in the freezer that I collected the other week when it was lying thick in the ground. I will place this in a bowl with a candle to gently melt, taking with it the last of winter as the heat and light of the sun returns. I also make my own butter at Imbolc and use the butter milk to make scones.  If you want to see my previous Imbolc celebrations, you can here.

I hope you have a wonderful Imbolc, Imbolg or Pinch Punch First of the Month.

White Rabbits White Rabbit White Rabbits.

Lissa

x

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With The End Comes A New Beginning

Wild Sister Rising (22)

Hogmanay 2017.

Out with the old, in with the new.

This year is coming to its close as we await, almost impatiently, the dawn of 2018. Well, not so much dawn, but midnight (close enough).  The ringing of the bells, heralding the New Year’s arrival. Celebrations across the globe as 2018 greets each time zone in turn, with its promise of better to come. Renewed hope to be, to achieve, to have, to do, better.

There’s that old adage that makes in annual presence known : New Year New Me! *cue the eye roll and audible groan*

Who has made their resolutions? A list of things that will make us thinner, fitter, healthier, richer and will never see the light of 5th January but are made to make us “better” than the person we are right now. Nah, me either. Don’t believe in them. At best they are half arsed attempts at bettering ourselves where we feel we are not enough. No thanks. While the ever so trite “New Year New Me” is all bollocks in  my opinion, I do set goals and intentions, make plans and dabble in some cosmic ordering. It’s totally different…it is!

Before we get all tied up in the revels and the countdown to midnight, I’d like to take a moment to ponder the year we are leaving behind.  It really has been a quite a defining year, globally and personally.

The world is a mess, this we know. 2017 confirmed it; Trump, politics, terrorism, white supremacy, natural disasters induced by climate change…need I go on?

BUT!!

2017 has been a phenomenal  year for a great many positive and wonderful things.  Standing up, being seen, having a voice and using it too has been a major thread running through 2017. People have had enough and coming together to stand up against injustice and inequality. The #MeToo campaign which showed Hollywood and the patriarchy at large that abuse, assault, rape and the overall degradation of women by both powerful men and your average Joe are no longer accepted as an open secret or (from the women’s perspective) shrouded in shame, nor are these men protected . Women EVERYWHERE have stood up and voiced their solidarity, sharing their own experiences. We don’t need to go into the details, the simple #MeToo was powerful enough to highlight the sheer scale of the problem that women face daily just going about their business.

Times, they are a changin’.

On a personal level, 2017 has generally been a good’un.  I’m fortunate and grateful. The move from Always Learning Forever Growing to Wild Sister Rising with the addition of my shop and hosting the Sacred Sister Circle was a real achievement of which I am very proud.  My word of the year was Purpose (see blog post from 1st January ’17), and I think it’s fair to say that I found my purpose this year. I have been reading, learning and absorbing so much information in an effort to understand, awaken, and embrace my new found purpose.  It, unbeknown to me but with hindsight I see the evolution, has been a work in progress and a journey that has spanned a decade but been more concentrated in the past two years. This journey is far from over as I will continue to evolve, develop and grow, and live on purpose! And that requires a certain amount of change. I can feel the change in the air; it is most definitely afoot. The seeds of which have already been sown and are growing strong. Change is good, change enables growth rather stagnation and opens the mind, challenges point of view and offers the opportunity of lived/learned experience. It’s life. In the style of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race, only that here, there is no race. Some changes are long term, the fruits of which may not even see 2018.

With that in mind,  Change is my word for 2018.  I played around with Truth, Focus, Clarity and Connect, but kept coming back to Change. Plus I’m turning 40 in 6 months time! That’s a a big change in itself; a whole new era to be explored and I for one am super excited.

Whatever this New Year holds for you, I hope it offers love, health, peace, happiness and magic. I say, when the bell tolls, raise a glass to 2018 and to your fucking fabulous and magnificent self. Let your light shine bright tonight and every night (resolutions are not required).

Aw the best when it comes.

Slainte

Lx

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The Betwixt After Christmas

Wild Sister Rising (21)

And all through the house,

No-one was working

Except for my spouse.

 

And we are done!!! Christmas had been and gone. All the effort and planning and preparation and baking and making and shopping; sayonara. Adios. Cheerio. Mission accomplished. Only 307 days until I start planning the next one.

I am belly full and steeped in Baileys. The floors are covered in glitter from that bloody wrapping paper from Tesco that will probably still be there in 3 Christmases time. Call The Midwife Christmas episode has been watched and bawled over (this year’s was a particular doozy and had me in floods of tears) and today was the day I spent in my pj’s eating a random assortment of left overs, reading my new books and magazines, drinking tea and dreaming about taking all the decorations down.

Sadly my Husband missed this luxuriously slothful day as he works in retail and is back at work. His employers don’t do family time, just bottom line.

I don’t feel guilty for my day where I barely removed my arse from the couch (other than to replenish an empty tea cup) as this past month and a half have been a tad busy. According to the slew of memes and essays/articles, the prep for Christmas is essentially “women’s work”. The men folk wouldn’t have a clue how to put together a perfect and magical festive, apparently. Really? Nah, not buying it. For years, Hubby and I did Christmas pretty equally, apart from pressies and cards, he excels in the thoughtful gift department. It’s only in the past couple of years that it has fallen to me to “arrange” Christmas. All of it. But I’m not complaining, I LOVE it. It is easier for us to work it like this as Hubby’s shifts are anti-social and completely impractical for making good on much of the prep. However, once Boxing Day is here, I’m done. Over it until next year.

I wasn’t as organised this year as I usually am, but you know what? It all came together anyway. No stress, no pressure to make it “magical” or “perfect”. I tried one year to make it all magical and memorable for (A) when he was little, and it wasn’t magical, I was stressed to fuck as was he! And he hardly remembers it!!! Now we just do a couple of things we enjoy, keep it pretty low key, and focus on good food and spending time with those we want to. It becomes memorable when you do what you enjoy and if there’s no stress then its fun and therefore magical in itself without the manufactured fake nonsense and social media pressure. What more do we need?

Truth be told, I’d happily forgo Christmas and all its fuss and mania and just have Yule; the calm, relaxed, simple celebration a few days previous.  We celebrate both in our home – Yule for me and Christmas for the traditions of our families, which we have each grown up with and have brought to our wee family too.  I can just see the horror upon the face of my folks if I said we weren’t doing Crimbo. And on my husband’s and (A)’s too, come to think of it! Although neither of us or our families are religious, Christmas is a big deal!

But now, that’s all in the past. Having been glued to Christmas24 movie channel on Virgin Media since November, I can’t watch anymore of the Hallmark, made-for- TV Christmas movies. We are now in the betwixt. That limbo of not knowing what day it is, the lull between the indulgence of Christmas and the excitement of New Year.

Most people will return to work for the few days inbetween. These people probably don’t get to experience the full extent of the betwixt as I am guessing they will at least have a handle on what day it is. But if you are lucky enough not to be punching your card, enjoy this down time. Perfect, almost medicinal, for the introverted to have this time; to recharge, to chill out, to contemplate the year ending and plan the coming one, or if you’re like me – take down your decorations and tree! I like to bring the New Year in, into a clean house. I cherish the almost solitude that these few days provide. They are necessary.

We won’t be venturing far (other than to my sister’s a day), we will get outside though, to brace the cold cleansing winds, to clear the mind and banish the cabin fever that is starting to build. My 7yo will run and play and explore and have fun.  I just take in the stark beauty of winter and the delight of the kettle when we return home. The gentle pace of the week is welcome as I start to prepare both the house and myself  for 2018 (and ensure we get our steak pie in for New Year’s dinner).

Cordelia
The Goddess Oracle card I pulled this evening. Truth if ever there was.

I hope you have had a great festive period, however or if,  you celebrate, and enjoy the coming days before we bid farewell to 2017.

Lx