I’m (Not) Offended

I do my best to avoid being offended. Like, ever. For anything.

That doesn’t mean nothing is offensive. I mean, c’mon. There is plenty to be offended about. (There’s also plenty to be joyful about, but that’s a different conversation.)

Counting myself out of the ranks of offended is also not out of some glowing-holy kindness to all the asshats of the world.

I don’t like being offended. It feels like a loss of control to me.

If I find myself bothered by what someone else is doing, if a feeling of offense grows, then I’m enslaved to the notion the situation must be altered for me to be happy and whole. Eek! Because how often does that end well, hmm?

If you require outside cooperation to be happy, you’re screwed.  Freedom comes from being grounded to who YOU are, no matter what sort of asshattery is going down. Freedom is knowing one’s worth so clearly, outside confirmation would be superfluous.

I won’t say I never find myself uttering a gasp or getting a little hot flash. I just don’t roll in it. I move on as soon as I possibly can. Because really, who wants to pay attention to that sort of crap? I can stand around sniffing the trash or I can look for the flowers to smell. There’s plenty of both in the world.

If I don’t worry so much about what other people are doing. I’ve found my life goes a lot smoother. Offense by its nature puts you in a place of being tied to how other people are doing. I’ve got a limited amount of time to frolic upon this Earth. You can be damn sure I’m going to spend it having the best time I can conjure.

Offended or not, be well, friends.

Signed Dix “I’m Not Challenging You to Offend Me Now” Zen Goddess

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From Spiritual Spinach to Painless Practice

For a very, very long time, I felt like an utter failure when it comes to spiritual practices. You know. Those pesky, vibration-rasing things all the woo-woo guru types will suggest?

“This will change your life!” they say, with the gleam of magick in their eye. They are pretty adamant, and I don’t think they’re wrong.

Except, what if you suck at it?

Top of that list is meditation. Hell, I advise meditation, too. Awesome. We’re in agreement. It’s a wonderful, powerful tool. Same page here.

Except, except, except…I could never stay focused on “nothingness” (whatever that means). The more tangible just-focus-on-breathing-advice was a little easier to follow. But during the full 20 minutes or so earmarked for meditation? Uh, no.

And while guided meditations are easier because they give my very active mind something to latch on to, that felt kind of like cheating. If I weren’t a meditation failure, I wouldn’t need to listen to someone describing pretty forests to get my Zen groove on.

It never took long into one of my meditation resolutions before I found myself outright dreading practice time. Sometimes, I got it “right enough” that I’d feel okay about the exercise overall. It wasn’t joy-driven, though, and I knew I wanted it to be. I always tried to find ways to be more relaxed about it, but as often or not I just ended up feeling like an ADD elementary schooler, impatiently waiting for the recess bell.

Are we done yet? Can I mark this off my list and move on to something I want to do?

“But this is good for me,” I’d insist to myself. Maybe not a tasty treat, but valuable. This is what I did over and over until eventually, I realized I’d relegated practice to the realm of Spiritual Spinach!

“Meh” on the gotta-have-it index, but oh-so-good-for-you, so eat up anywho.

Bleh! That’s no fun and it’s certainly demotivating. So I’ve done my best to change this.

I am very loose about what I classify as “practice.” I prefer simple activities that are easy and flexible, so most of my choices fit into that category. But if you enjoy more involved practice or ritual, there’s nothing wrong with that, either! Things I consider spiritual practices might include crocheting while listening to certain videos, or binaural beats on the headphones while making dinner, or filling pages of my Joy Journal. I’m a firm believer that it’s not what you’re doing that counts nearly as much as HOW you’re doing it.

I’ve come up with some new guidelines for myself on the topic and I’ve got to say, they are really amping up my Spiritual Practice Mojo. So I thought I’d share them with you. ♥

Dixie’s Rules for Spiritual Practices

  • It MUST feel good.
  • Zero self-criticism.
  • Mindfulness matters, but it’s all okay.

If my practices don’t leave me feeling good–expansive, connected, grounded and happy? Something is amiss and it’s not serving me. I realized that for me at least, it’s GOT to feel good! Good feelings are my indication what I’m doing is working for me. If it fails this test, there’s no reason to continue.

Nothing is going to feel good when I’m criticizing myself. Being Zen requires a total commitment to being at peace with the now. Where I am is all right because it has to be all right. It’s where I am! No “shoulds” need apply. I am in the perfect place, right where I stand. This one takes some ongoing attention to stay there, but it’s a sweet spot when you find it.

Be where you are, focusing on what you’re doing. What makes an activity a true spiritual practice for me is much less about the activity than it is about the energy I’m bringing to said activity. The “chop wood, carry water” paradigm of Zen has this right. Do I always manage an impressive level of mindfulness? Oh God, no! Not even close (as mentioned in the video). But hey, no self-criticism, Dixie! The mindfulness factor varies from day to day, whatever mindfulness I manage benefits me, be it a little or a lot.

Really, it boils down to finding ways to connect to the broader world, inner reality–your spirit, the soul, light, the Universe, God, whome/dixiblog/domains/afoolsjourney.com/public_htmlver or however you envision this to be, on an ongoing basis. It’s little bits of time you carve out and dedicate to connection, because connection is important to you. It’s a gift you give yourself. It’s an opportunity to get into the vibration of joy and love and appreciation, and practice that energy until it’s second nature.

That’s how I managed to move my own spiritual practices from taking my medicine to something I love. Here’s hoping the same for you!

Do you have spiritual practices? What helps you keep them fresh and effective?

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Dealing with Discord

I’m not trying to be preachy, really. This is just how I keep feeling good amidst strife. And if it can help encourage somebody else to feel better, I figure that’s worth the risk of sounding like an ass.

And it’s true.

Almost everybody means well. They just have vastly divergent visions of 'well.' #OnMyRadar Click To Tweet

Of course, however you feel is fine. Feelings aren’t right or wrong. They just are. If you want to stay good and pissed for a good, long while, far be it from me to boss your pissed-off-personage around. Plus, feelings are sticky–they hang around a while because one thought draws another like it and so once you ramp up a good head of steam, it isn’t always easy to shift gears.

But for whatever it’s worth, to the extent a person is both willing and able…if you can edge towards feeling better and you’re of a mind try, it sure can help a body stay on center.

And anything that helps you stay on center is a powerful force for good in your life.  I wish that for us all.

Much Love,

Dix

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Moon Signs Blanket: A Little Woo in Crochet

Crochet is therapy. And art.

I used to crochet in high school–during a difficult time. I wasn’t getting along with my folks so well. I was breaking free from a whole lot that wasn’t me. And you know, the crochet was shockingly helpful.

A whole lot of angst, frustration and pain was burned off, right into those stitches.

So now, I completely understand, folks that use crochet to grieve, to heal, to meditate. The work requires just enough attention to distract and clear the mind, but not so much you have to focus heavily for most of it. It’s very zen.

My daughter recently took up crochet. “They crochet all the time on “Orange is the New Black,” and it made me want to learn.”

Which inspired me to pull out my yarn and hooks again, after some thirty-five-ish odd years.

I’d heard of a Temperature Gauge blanket and loved the idea. You do a few rows a day, choosing the color from a predetermined palette to represent the temperature. So it becomes a tangible representation of that time period, when you birthed it.

But I wanted something more…astrological.

I wasn’t super clear on the plan. You know, because the Temperature Gauge notion is all about the random. I’m great with random. Whereas, the moon goes through signs in a predictable order.

“Okay, I will just use whatever yarn matched where the moon was, when I was working on the blanket.”

But that’s kind of tough to purchase the yarn based on such a premise, when you don’t know how much work you’ll be doing in each sign. And besides, I wanted to be sure and include all the signs. What if I crocheted like a madwoman in an Aries moon but slept through the Pisces moon? Would not work.

So I settled for doing the work in order, making sure I did at least some work with the current moon sign during each moon. Because if I had too many rules, it would suck out the joy. I had different types of yarns and different size skeins. I was badly out of practice crocheting. But it didn’t matter if it was perfect. Only that I got something out of it. And I did!

But this wasn’t about making a blanket. Not really. I have been following the moon. It seemed a way to creatively connect to the energy of each moon sign. I had SO MUCH FUN picking out the yarn for each sign.

Astrological Yarn Choices

  • For Aries, I was looking for fire! I could have done more red, but this is what we found and Aries didn’t want to wait for a better fit.
  • Taurus had to have some green, with an earthy vibe. And soft! Taurus insisted on being soft. Wouldn’t budge on the point.
  • Gemini insisted on boldly multicolored–it’s the only thing that distracted from the bother I couldn’t find the right sparkle yarn. Next time, Gemini.
  • Cancer was going to be silvery like the moon reflecting on a lake, but let Aquairus have the silver yarn instead, because Mamas do that. So a quiet, peaceful pool of blue, Cancer was.
  • Leo came in a different, more fussy form–a hank, you know, for the special yarns–and was not as flexible as I would have liked. But Leo sure looked great in the final show, as you’d expect.
  • Virgo is modestly sporting the hues of a spring garden. There wasn’t quite enough. Must encourage Virgo to take a full turn next time.
  • Libra is pretty and dainty in jewel tones. I’d have liked a more dramatic showing for Libra, but she didn’t want to be treated differently than anyone else.
  • Scorpio blends the colors of night, with purple for power and depth.
  • Sagittarius expansively casts tones of an exoctic sunset.
  • Capricorn refused to be anything but boring–not realizing those flecks would make the final section look like it had fuzz! Capricorn is mortified, but stoically denies it.
  • Aquairus has a hint of futuristic, metallic shimmer, like the Star card who shares it’s modern, planetary association of Uranus.
  • Pisces is just muddling together the colors of the sea–not as soft as it should be, but Pisces quickly forgets that.

I already want to do it again! Get all the same kind of yarn, and try for a better match for each sign. Maybe variegated yarn for mutable signs, with single colors for fixed? Two strands for Gemini? Or maybe I could do big squares for each sign, with something that represents the energy worked in? So many options.

Now, when I look at yarn, I see the zodiac. Or chakra colors. Or Tarot cards. Or elemental energies. Or magick spells. Sabbat throws? Eclipse hats? Prosperity pillows? Who knows?!

And I love the creative process of it, even if kind of suck at the craftsmanship bits. Because I’m doing it for the JOY of creating it. Personally, I think there is no reason better.

My favorite (not surprisingly) was the Gemini moon yarn. I just ordered a boatload of it but don’t know what I’ll make with it yet…once I’m done with this one.

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Upper Chakra blanket, in progress.

Do you do any art for art’s sake?

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Not-So-Merry: Christmas Grief

All those traditional things that make Christmas special–home/dixiblog/domains/afoolsjourney.com/public_html, health, and family–can be the very same reminders that bring so much pain.

Christmas grief visits when what’s missing is much more glaring that what’s there.

I cannot wish “Merry Christmas” to someone for whom I know, it will feel anything but “merry.” I cannot bring myself to brightly say, “Happy New Year!” to someone who is wondering how the Hell they’re going to get through the year at all.

Happiness isn’t much of an option in some cases. “Functioning” is a more realistic wish.

“Wishing you a functional new year” isn’t exactly poetic now, is it?

So for those who are feeling that aching lack….I do have some holiday wishes for you.


Love

May you give and receive enough LOVE to sweeten, if even the tiniest bit, the bitterness life may have visited upon you.

Support

In whatever form it takes, may you receive and feel the SUPPORT to help you through the days and nights, now and to come.

Hope

May you catch glimmers of HOPE that every day will not hurt as much as today does.

Fortitude

May you find the FORTITUDE to get up each day, to take care of yourselves, and to continue through whatever pain you carry, as best you can.


Pain changes us. It can make us cold and emotionally shut down, or it can blast our hearts wide open.

We all have loss. We all bleed. It’s not a choice.

Be kind to everyone you meet. You never know what pain they carry in their hearts. Click To Tweet

How we go about living in light of the pain? How we honor ourselves, our loved ones and what we stand for? That’s a choice.

And from those I’ve watched do just this, I’ve learned SO MUCH grace. It’s beyond humbling. Thank you for that.

And if you have special people in your life? Consider this a reminder to let them know how much you appreciate them. Because nothing is permanent.

Whatever your situation this year, and whether or not Christmas Grief is a part of it…well…much love to you.

Dix

 

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How do you love yourself?

Love starts at home/dixiblog/domains/afoolsjourney.com/public_html.

Self-worth is not something you can get from other people.

Self-worth is a gift you give yourself–it sets the stage, the energetic tone, for how everyone else in your life treats you.

How you love yourself sets the tone for how others love you. #quotes Click To Tweet

Self-love protects you from ongoing toxic relationships. You have no need to wonder if you’ve somehow invited or deserve poor treatment.

You don’t need animosity, towards those who are unkind. Just detachment.

Detachment from negativity is easy if you don’t believe, deep down, negative assessments are correct.

But if the ugly rings true? It sticks.

Whatever resonates most strongly with our deepest held beliefs, we pay attention to and give it weight. We draw that energy like moths to flame, into our daily experience.

What do YOU pay attention to?

The people in our lives can feed us or bleed us. But we prime the pump by becoming willing receptacles of either experience, by way of our beliefs about ourselves.

Whatever you believe about yourself, you will find confirmation (and dismiss the incongruent). This is confirmation bias at it’s finest.

Don’t like the way people treat you?

Don’t bother trying to change them. It’s putting the heart of your happiness in the untrustworthy hands of another.

Instead, look to adjust what you believe about yourself. Once you change that, everything changes.

Have you found this to be true for you?

p.s. I’m checking out interest in doing a Tarot class, customized to the interests of the folks taking it. Since it’s my first go, I’m not charging much for it but am looking to make it a fun, worthwhile experience to anybody who’s participating. So give me a holler if you would like to look into it.

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