Two good friends

This post has been a long time in the making. I’d write a bit, decide I shouldn’t write about it, delete stuff, then come back to it. I’ve now decided to go ahead with it, though. Many of us probably go through this type of personal crisis without knowing fully how to deal with it, as most of our relationship ending information revolves around romantic partners. Also, we’re told to never ditch our girlfriends, as if they are infallible women who will always have our backs.

My longest friendship ended at the end of last year, and, even though I hadn’t seen her in person for nearly a decade, I still referred to her as my best friend. She had never referred to me has her best friend, but I thought it was a way of her not wanting to seem to keen. Strange, looking back, to think of all the times when others came first. When she moved far away and didn’t tell me. When backhanded compliments became a new language for me to learn.

I know that everyone is doing the best that they can at any given time, but I found myself unable to tolerate the personal digs and general toxicity of the relationship. I tried for a long time but realised that I always felt bad after talking to her. Sometimes, I’d feel bad for days. I became guarded in our conversations, as any admission of weakness would be exploited, and confidences leaked to others. And so I ended it.

For the first few weeks, I was shaky and sad. It felt like a breakup, which it was in its way. Now three months on, this topic is still hard to write about, but I’ve realised that being her friend is not part of my identity. Moreover, ending such a toxic relationship allowed me to see my way through a depression I’d found myself in. Rather than isolating myself, I reconnected with two friends I really love. I wonder what I was waiting for.

When I think of minimising, my first thought revolves around the physical stuff that clutters my space. However, minimising the stuff is just one step on this road, and it makes you realise everything you can no longer tolerate.

Doing what little I can

I don’t know how everyone around me is so calm. Everyone goes to work, walks their dogs, buys lunch from Pret, and through all of it I’m frightened. Last week, my dreams were all about evacuating, as if we were on the run. I’ve woken up wondering what we could take with us if we had to leave in a hurry. Logic tells me that there is nothing to fear, as life carries on for us as usual.

Still, my bones feel the urge to run. It could be that this trait is in my very DNA, passed down from generations of nomads to my more immediate ancestors, fleeing persecution. Maybe this trait has filtered its way down to me, distilled into a concentrated hypersensitivity that has me obsessing over current events. My browsing history is clogged with variations on ‘safest countries in the world’ as I try to consider options. It doesn’t help that I just read Some Girls, Some Hats And Hitler: A True StoryTrudi Kanter’s electric memoir, recalling her escape from Vienna to London in the late 1930s.

And yet, I understand that this obsession with flight seems absurd at the present time – and thank God, because our world is a fragile one. My mind flits between thoughts such as these to trying to amend everything over which I have any control, from our home’s decor to my hair colour. In all of this, mindfulness has taken a backseat.

So, I went back to my foundation and opened A%20Calendar of Catholic DevotionA Calendar of Catholic Devotion, which provides a bit of reflection on saintly lives every day. One of the saints whose story stood out to me was that of Margaret of Hungary. As a young princess, she was ‘gifted’ to a convent. After a short life choosing to work the lowliest jobs in the order, and barely sustaining herself with food, she died at the age of 28.

I have mixed feelings about this woman being canonised after such a life. Surely the saints are venerated because of the example that they provide to us, and she was a woman venerated for her obedience and extreme fasting. Today, one might wonder if she was trying to starve herself out of her own misery. Though her father tried to reclaim her in order to arrange a political marriage, she refused and instead received Consecration of the Virgins to prevent this from becoming a further issue.

My first thought was that self-starvation is still a method that young girls use to exact a measure of control over their own lives. But perhaps I am being too cynical. Perhaps the lesson here is one of self-restraint and an ability to recognise when humility is required. Thus, I would like to know how I can best overcome feelings of helplessness and learn when to be humble. It seems strange that feelings of helplessness and arrogance should go hand in hand, but I know that they do. People often deem endeavours unworthy because they believe that their individual effort is unremarkable. But each action creates a ripple in the waters around us, and here I am reminded of that famous Sydney Smith quote: ‘It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.’

Though it hardly seems like enough, I’ll take the time to donate to organisations assisting refugees, and try to spread kindness to those in my life. It feels pathetically small, but it is better than doing nothing. For now, I will do what little I can; when I have the resources to do more, I will be able to take larger actions.

Adjusting to a New Space

Change has always been a tricky thing for me to negotiate, but the last year has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Leaving our home of six years was a sad experience for me, even if I knew that doing so would bring us more space. Living in the same flat for so long allowed us to really make our mark on the place – the walls had all been painted to suit our tastes, we’d had the kitchen redone, and even had the living room fitted with the carpet from my husband’s childhood bedroom. We put a lot of ourselves into it. It was also the home where I’d found a lot of healing, and where my true spiritual journey began.

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Salt lamps found 4 Salt Candle Tea Light Holders (Bundle)here; just starting on a new journal found Baroque Damask Journal (Diary, Notebook)here.

Thus, moving into a house where another family had clearly made their mark (quite often irreparably through the anaglypta) was a shock to the system. However, the month of December was mostly spent redecorating my office and our bedroom. Though it took a week and a half just to remove the overpowering wallpaper in the office, I was so pleased once it was gone. This was, in part, because it was making me ill – wallpaper glue is wheat based, and I am allergic to wheat. This meant a fortnight of breathing difficulty, vomiting and flailing emotions. My husband is so lucky.

Once that was finished, holes were filled in and cracks got smoothed over. Perhaps they were the reason that the previous owners put the wallpaper up in the first place. Now, the paint is a pale blush shade, and I’ve repainted the desk (a vintage pine dressing table that had seen better days) and the chaise legs (also scuffed and grubby) a glossy white, and dyed both the desk stool and chaise upholstery charcoal.IMG_0787.JPG

Thus, they now complement each other, and the Scandi cushion ties into my favourite appliqué curtains. I feel really pleased with the results, and more pleased knowing that I stuck with my old pieces of furniture to create the look I wanted. Though I was sorely tempted to go to IKEA for some new things, I must admit that what I have suits me fine. Both the chaise and desk were second hand pieces found on eBay some time ago, and I’m happy to be continuing their story.IMG_0794.JPG

All the pieces are now nestled in where they should be, and they are all little enough that a quick rearrange will make the room big enough to fit a bed should we have visitors. While the process was a tedious one, I now have a gorgeous study where I can read, write, do yoga and practice the vertical dance to my heart’s content. I even believe the cat approves. However, the most important result of the decoration process was realising that, after it was finished, I finally felt as if I belonged in the house. Perhaps after a few more improvements are made, it really will feel like home – which I feel is so important for accomplishing good work.

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Step Aside, Ego

This commitment to the path of Tarot requires that I discard the ego. This is often a solitary path, working with my intuition in quiet determination. It may be a struggle for me to remember that this journey is not about me, or my desires, or a projection of my own glamour to the outside world. This journey is about learning an old art and using the knowledge in the world around me for the highest good.

This may not be an inviting calling, but I know that it is mine. My ego still makes its presence known, however. It might manifest in an obsession for material things, or even in my desire for monetary success so that I can write a cheque to my husband for £50,000. There is even a bit of the ego in my hope to surprise him with money.

Thus, I need to recognise that there is no room for my ego on this path. Instead, I need to learn to follow my inner guidance so that my actions might best serve the world – to heal it, if only a little. For a Leo, this humble path may prove to be a great challenge , but perhaps that is the point – to make the commitment in spite of an inflated, boasting and fearful ego.

After all, this is not about me. This knowledge may choose to flow through me for the good of All, but any healing provided is not about me.

Therefore, I ask that my work here and out in the world be done for the highest good – the Earth’s and those around me – and may I know the call to service when it sounds.

The Art of Surrender

Yesterday, I put up a few things for auction on eBay to try to bolster my finances. I realised today, however, that I am still operating from a mindset of lack. So panicked am I about acquiring new things with the funds raised from the old that I check my sales an inordinate number of times every day. It’s crazy. Though I thought I was moving away from that mindset in the act of selling things I once loved, I’m still chasing the perfect       .

And so today I turn to Spirit to request a miracle. Please release me from me feelings of lack so that I might see my abundant disposition for what it truly is. All that I need, I have.

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Today, I started reading Wayne Dyer’s There%20Is a Spiritual Solution to Every ProblemThere is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and it got me thinking about how desperately I try to control every situation I am in. I don’t even consider myself to be a control freak, but I do find myself often obsessed with outcomes, trying to mentally sway the universe’s workings in my favour. I should know by now that the universe does not work that way. Instead, it responds best to the balancing act of detachment from the outcome paired with the vibrational energy of love. Settling into this state is something that I find tricky. The release has found me a couple of times, but I’ve had some difficulty calling it to me. Or, rather, sinking into it.

In his book, Dyer refers to this as surrender – turning the problem over to Spirit for it to be solved on our behalf. Furthermore, this surrender is necessary for the best outcome to reach us. Tension around an event and that ‘refresh energy’ (that abysmal disposition in which one refreshes one’s inbox, feed or browser) sabotages our efforts, sending the wrong message to the universe.

And so I would like to reflect on the necessity of letting go. Predominately, I am speaking about this mental surrender, but it also helps to keep this in mind when dealing with one’s material goods. With the purchase of the house and a change in my financial circumstances, I found myself looking to the contents of my wardrobe to sustain me. I am very grateful that I have been able to sell some of my clothes and shoes, and as I delved into this clear out, I was able to look at the items with a clearer eye. I asked myself, Is this still serving me?’ or ‘Would I purchase this today?’ If the answer was no, I offered it up.

Slowly, that miracle – a change in perspective – has come to me, reminding me of how greedy I have been in the past. I have collected a large number of clothes in the past by sheer force of will. Sometimes, there was not even any joy in the purchases, just a defence against this pervasive feeling of lack, which always made its way back into my life no matter how decadent the purchase had been.

Therefore, I now wish to express my gratitude for everything I have, and thank the universe for anything I might get in return for the things which are no longer serving me. May I put it to good use.

Clearing a New Home

Recently, my husband and I bought a new house. Though I seriously underestimated the stress that moving would cause, slowly but surely we are nearing a state where all of our possessions are not in boxes.

However, in my frantic daily routine of putting things away, selling the excess and generally organising our new home, I have hardly taken a moment to simply be still and thankful for what we have. After all, it’s so special that, after years of believing that we could not afford a house, one which we could materialised on the market. Here, there is space for our lovely tarantula, for our feisty cat to run around, and for my husband and me to stretch our legs and enjoy our dwelling.

Yet, I came to the realisation earlier today that I was so concerned with changing it – the wallpaper in one room, the layout in another – that I had forgotten to practice gratitude. So I lit a few candles at the altar (on the draining board, as requested by the Ancestors) and took a moment to feel gratitude for everything we have – for our lovely garden, our home itself, our good fortune, and the companionship and love which my husband and I share.

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It also felt like the right time to air the energy in the house, which I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to do. (Or, more likely, I had the opportunity and spent it whining about the wasps in the garden.) So I lit my smudge stick and swept its smoky, acrid incense over our walls, in the corners where energy lingers as well as over our bed. At each point, I made requests for our continued safety, health and progress.

Finally, my mind stilled. No longer am I obsessing over where my desk could go or whether I could tolerate wallpaper. Instead, I felt a profound – and newly bestowed – sense of peace.

Furthermore, as one who has perused A Course in Miracles, I can see how this ties in with the definition of ‘miracle’ as defined by the Course: essentially, a correction in perception. So, as I am beginning to understand, wisdom corrects our perception, allowing us to see the world more clearly. Suddenly I am no longer focusing on my greed. Instead, I am looking on my life with gratitude and joy.

Mabon: A Time for Harmony

Today marks the Autumn Equinox, and a time to ensure that one’s own life is in balance. In the past year, I feel that I have reaped many successes, and there is much to be grateful for. Though these are becoming fewer when it comes to material conquests, for the first time in ages I’m writing again. Stories are being spun in my hands, and I’m so proud to have finished pieces.

Moreover, I have ideas regarding where I want my work to progress. I have a vision for Lady Hamilton, both as an extension of myself and for the website. That creative, sexy minx will be inspiring women to understand that the alluring and the crafty can go together. As women, we do not need to shun one part of ourselves in favour of another.

However, this year has been a big one for my spirituality as a whole. Its seems appropriate to discuss this now, on the final pagan holiday on the Wheel of the Year. I have begun to see clearly that all our spiritual paths are leading to the same sacred place. That said, not all will lead us as effectively, and in this we need to use our own judgement. What is right for one seeker may not be right for another. We all have souls in need of different lessons, and so we must be open to new paths for growth.

Anyway, most organised and unorganised disciplines advocate of loving those around us, but some go deeper, teaching us that we are all one – with each other, with the Earth, with all living beings. To believe this is to live lightly, to tread delicately on our Earth Mother, to know that any harm we do is harm done to ourselves. Likewise, to send love and understanding out to others is to receive it.

In the past year, I have learned that we all make mistakes, and we are all doing the best we can on our particular path. After feeling stagnant for years, this time of reflection has allowed me to look on my own life with new eyes. I’ve come to appreciate the miracle of life for its own sake, rather than resenting this gift that I’ve been given.

I have read before that you need to go down to the depths of your soul to understand yourself and your own nature. I feel that this step was taken, whether I had intended to or not. And now, in keeping with the necessary balance, I have swung back into a different type of understanding. We are all forever learning, and our own spirituality is a lens through which we see the world. From there, all other elements of the self branch off. We are, first and foremost, spiritual beings, of and connected to the source of all life. Any teachings which tell us otherwise keep us apart and small.

It is in this spirit that I have started exploring my own spiritual understanding. Detailing my progress in this matter is expected to be part of this blog’s content. However, I will be including my other passions, including my writing and crafting as well. In keeping with today’s spirit, all elements must be in balance.

And so I wish to profess my gratitude to the universe and forces at work in my life. Thank you for being here today, thank you for the abundance bestowed upon us, thank you for the health of myself and those around me, thank you for my inspiration and enthusiasm in all matters.