One of the things I constantly struggle with in my everyday life is productivity. We (especially here in the U.S.) live in a society that idolizes working ourselves to death and being productive every single second of the day. I for one just can't do that--but it piques my anxiety not to at least try.
It's this super-vicious circle, and I'm not ashamed to say I've talked to my therapist about it a lot. She told me something last week that really hit home (admittedly, she saw it in a meme, but that's because she's awesome):
Sloths have survived thousands of years--by doing absolutely nothing.
And this morning, while scrolling through Twitter for my day job, I came across this article, which has a fabulous headline: To avoid extinction it's about 'survival of the laziest,' study suggests.
It seemed like pretty convenient timing, you know? One of those "hey, pay attention!" moments that may or may not be a poke from something in the universe. But the meaning is clear.
It's okay to fucking rest.
It's okay to take a damn break.
You don't need to feel guilty about taking care of yourself.
It's a hard lesson to learn, especially when everything around us is pressuring us to do more, create more, work more, just so we can survive. But what good is survival without taking the time to recover, rest, and actually enjoy our time here?
I know it's easier said than done, especially if you're an outcast like me, or you're struggling to put food on the table every day. But I think it's important to be able to take even just a five-minute break now and then to take a deep breath and remind yourself that you're awesome regardless of what you produce (or don't).
Our humanity, our worth, is not tied to our productivity. It's tied simply to our existence. You're amazing just by being here.
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My roommate and I have recently been watching a lot of Buzzfeed Unsolved, and it's got me thinking about spirits, the ways we interact with them, and how our own brains help or hurt that. It probably helps that I've started writing an e-course about spirit work, but we're totally going to blame the show. Because reasons.
Paranormal investigation focuses on trying to find real, solid, scientifically-acceptable proof that spirits (mainly ghosts and other post-human entities) exist. They use tools like motion cameras/lights, video and audio recorders, and all sorts of other technology. The problem, in my opinion, is that spirits don't exist on this plane--so how would they trigger motion lights or show up on video?
So, okay, that sounds crazy. Dismissing paranormal investigators by saying they're doing it wrong. But in my experience, they are.
Spirits, especially in the context of a spiritual practice (since that's all I can really talk about), aren't generally throwing things around or creating intense physical sensations. Most of the time, it's a very subtle thing that even those of us who have been doing this work for decades can miss or misinterpret. When a spirit worker talks about "hearing" or "seeing" a spirit, more often than not, we're talking about things that happened inside our heads or in dreams/mediation or some other subjective, non-physical experience.
For me, what matters the most in dealing with spirits isn't physical, solid proof that they exist. It's belief that they do, and they want to interact with us*. Which, you know, would put paranormal investigators out of business.
I think it's important to remember if you're interested in working with spirits in any capacity that there will likely never be scientific proof that you're not crazy. Maybe it is all in our heads. Maybe we are talking to entities from other planes or the ghosts of the deceased. Maybe it's some combination thereof. We'll never know.
But, honestly, I don't think that's a bad thing. Healthy doubt is good in this work, after all.
* Of course, don't believe everything you experience or let belief get in the way of good discernment, but that's a blot post for another day.
Last night, I held my very first book release party ever. I'm not going to lie--I was anxious as hell all day leading up to it. But it was actually a fantastic experience.
The fantastic people at Turn A Page Bookshop in Aurora, Colorado hosted the party for On the Tightrope: A Loki Devotional. A group of my good friends (and my parents, gasp) came to celebrate with me and listen to me read poetry in public for the first time in ages. It's always nice to be reminded of the support system and encouragement in your life.
But the important part for my blog readers (are you there?) who weren't at the party and didn't get in on pre-orders of the book, is that On the Tightrope is now officially available for regular purchase!
The physical book can be bought on Amazon and special ordered through your local bookstores, including Barnes and Noble (hello, dream come true!). Or if you're in the Denver area and desperately need it ASAP, Turn a Page has a few copies left. If you prefer a digital version, you can grab the PDF ebook from my shop here on the site.
And to wrap up this post, this week's TGIF:
P.S. If you've got a sec, stop by the newsletter page to help me decide which freebie to create first (and then, you know, subscribe so you can get it when it's ready).
This week has been a little crazy and scattered as I've tried to work through some new plans and ideas for this business (including starting to offer some art prints and opening a Redbubble store--both of which will be growing soon).
For those of you in the Denver area, come join me on Thursday, August 16th, 6p.m. for the On the Tightrope launch party at Turn a Page Bookshop. There will be sweets (my mom's kickass chocolate chip cookies), some savory snacks, copies of the devotional for sale, and my random-ass Loki playlist. It'll be good times. Plus, Turn a Page will be keeping a few copies to sell on consignment afterward. My book's going to be in a real bookshop, y'all!
And now this week's TGIF:
I was chatting with my friend Olivia from Leafing Out Gardening (who happened to do the illustrations for On the Tightrope (preorders open until August 8!)) yesterday about spirit work and she said something interesting:
"All of the spirit workers I know are some of the most down-to-earth people I know."
This struck me because I think there's this conception that spirit workers are caught up in woo and wanting to be special and the sheer drama and thrill of interacting with entities on another plane. People think that folks who claim to be working with spirits or have spirit companions etc. are looking for attention, positioning themselves to be "better than" others, gloating, or what have you.
I can't deny that there are certainly some people out there who fall into that camp. Hell, I had a phase where I was trying to interact with as many different types of spirits as I could to make myself feel special and better about myself. (High school was rough, y'all.)
But I think it's a disservice to spirit workers and the spirits they deal with to assume they're out-of-touch with reality or just seeking attention.
In my opinion, good spirit workers are masters of discernment. They're aware that sometimes their own brains interfere, or that everything might be a figment of their imagination. They don't take things at face value, but also don't get mired in the doubt swamp (oh, gods, this is so hard, let me tell you). They generally don't go around crowing about the spirits in their lives to just anyone, though I know some who do have blogs dedicated specifically to spirit work and recording/sharing experiences to help others. And, most of all, they never use their experience or connections to manipulate/gaslight/abuse/generally make others feel bad.
I guess my point here is let's stop making spirit work something that's super out there and woo and crazy. Instead, let's maybe try to focus on the fact that this is something everyone can do if they want to, no special skills required. Just patience, practice, trust, and learning.
It's Friday! Huzzah! (Let's not talk about the horrible affliction that is the "working for the weekend" mentality perpetuated by capitalism as part of the vicious cycle of trying to trick us into being content with our wage slavery jobs. Holy crap, I sound like some sort of conspiracy theorist. Anyway.)
One of the things I've been meaning to do for a while that kept slipping through the cracks is some sort of gratitude practice. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown discusses one of the things she does and I figured I'd give it a shot--publicly here--for a couple reasons:
The general gist is listing out a T.G.I.F.:
So, here we go with week one.
* Faith in this context can be either spiritual/religious or more open-ended and mundane This section is probably going to change around a lot as I figure out more of what "faith" means to me personally.
Nonir is a queer pagan nerd and writes about various things in those realms.