Stories of Spirit…The Holidays [boundaries, new traditions & self care]

I love the holiday season.  I love the lights, the music, and the holiday cheer.  I do not like expectations, over-doing, and giving for the sake of ‘have to’.  I gave all of that up a long time ago.

About 15 years ago I had a major opening to Spirit which I refer to as ‘the November Incident’.  It was so all-consuming that it takes up two chapters in my book Jump Girl, the initiation, and art of a Spirit Speaker.  (release date-2/13/2018).

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562306/jump-girl-by-salicrow/9781623171926/

During the November Incident, the world of spirit opened to me so intensely that I had a hard time keeping up with my daily life; let alone performing the holiday magic I had done for so many years.  I even struggled with being present at my favorite holiday party; spending 15 minutes locked in the bathroom, trying to regain a sense of center.

Now, I understand that the shamanic opening I experienced during the November Incident is far outside of the normal range.  But all the same, it taught me that I like many people do way too much during the holiday season.  We run around in a hubbub of ribbons, candy and shopping centers, filling our obligatory list of buying, visiting and celebration.  But the pace that most of us keep at this time, and the to-do list we create for ourselves has a tendency to suck any holiday spirit we may have from our tired, over-stimulated souls.

During the November Incident, I was forced to slow down.  I did not have the mental capacity, nor the physical energy for hours of shopping, nor did I have the focus to withstand hours of holiday parties I didn’t really want to be at.  Instead, I chose to slow down, do less, spend less, and be more present.  The functions I did attend, I did because I wanted to.  The gifts I gave came from my heart.  I stopped the bullshit of ‘I need to have something for everyone’, and chose instead to give of myself.

Many years have passed since Spirit ripped the veil from my sight, but the holiday traditions I chose at my time of opening are the ones I continue today.  I have stepped away from shopping malls, and ridiculous baking list, instead choosing to spend time with people I love.  I send Yule cards instead of buying gifts, some are real with my handwritten blessings inscribed on paper, some of virtual, but they all mean something.  My gift giving list has been greatly reduced, as I feel we all have way too much as it is, and no one needs me to buy them a cheese slicer with matching knife set.

My opening gave me permission to stop doing.  I was able to step back from the obligation that the holiday season has become and found in it the feeling of happiness, and celebration I knew as a child.  I love coffee dates with old friends, holiday music playing on the radio, and I love the lights & greenery.  I do not want presents, and specifically ask my children and family members not to give me gifts, unless they felt a deep calling to do so.  To my children and grandchildren, I give gifts of things they need, like tires, car batteries, bed sheets, and socks.  When it comes to toys I choose wisely, I ask myself if they will still enjoy it after the ribbons, bows, paper, and sugar have worn off.

When approaching the holidays this year I suggest you ask yourself a few questions.  “Do I want to do this?”,  “Will my item be appreciated, or am I just buying for the sake of giving?”, “What do I need?”  “What do the people on my list need?”, “How do I want to celebrate this year?”

Traditions are not just something from the past that we must recreate.  They all came from somewhere, at some point they were new, fun and worth repeating.  Which means we can create new traditions now, traditions that fit our lifestyle and beliefs.  We can choose to have a tree or decorate a houseplant.  We can choose to not decorate at all.  We can choose to eat pizza for Christmas dinner instead of holiday hams and hours of cooking.  We can designate a pajama holiday instead of a fancy dress event.  We can choose to be happy for the holidays instead of overstressed, sugar bombed and broke.

My work with the Beloved Dead has shown me that we do not give a flying-fuck what we got for Christmas from Grandma when we were 8.  What we remember is the house filled with laughter, the smell of yummy food, and the feeling of love.  We remember emotions, events, and silly stories.  So go out and make memories that feel good.  Stop doing what others expect, create new boundaries that keep you happy and healthy during the holiday season, and remember to spread love.  It’s what it’s all about folks.

spreading love-salicrow

Advertisements

Stories of Spirit…Embracing the Darkest Night {winter solstice, reflection & permission to change}

I love Winter.  I am not an avid outdoors person, I do not ski, nor do ice-fish, ride snow machines or partake in any of the other winter hobbies New England is associated with. I love Winter for the dark and cozy.  I love the nestled in sleepy day feel of it.  Dark skies do not make me sad, in fact, I crave them for they make me want to look deep inside myself and see who and what I am becoming.

The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year.  In the Northern Hemisphere it is the time when we are the furthest away from the sun. It is a time that has been celebrated for time on end, culture after culture recreating the stories behind the celebrations that all share a common thread…rebirth.

Rebirth, the very sound of the word brings up feelings of deep change and letting go of what no longer serves us.  It speaks of cleanliness of the soul and of opportunity to recreate who we are and what we stand for.  Many of us consciously take part in this alteration when we speak our words of resolution on New Years.  We state to ourselves and others that we are going to make a change.  Unfortunately, most people do not follow through on their resolutions.  I believe this to be in part because we set our resolutions to unrealistic levels, like losing 50lbs & giving up cigarettes cold turkey.  Not that these things are impossible, but without a plan they are unplausible.  Most people do not take their desire for change beyond the initial idea, they do not create a plan or direct their energy at it willfully.  What would happen if we did?

First and foremost we need to give ourselves permission to change, we all have the right to change direction and become someone different.  I say permission because most of us are unwittingly controlled by who we see ourselves as/the story we tell of self, and who others believe us to be.  We follow patterns and routines that reinforce our story, often to our disadvantage.  We use words like ‘always’ and statements like ‘that’s just the way it is’ to tell ourselves that we cannot change.  We do not do this intentionally, but we do it so often that we move through life like a car stuck in a rut; pulled by the direction worn before us.

How many of you do this?  How many of you speak to yourselves in words that prevent change?  How many of you have gone beyond the odds and transformed yourself into who you wanted to be?

True resolution comes through looking deeply at that which we want to change.  It is about seeing it for what it is and telling ourselves that we have free will.  We can continue to follow our life as set before us, or we can direct our will to make the changes we want.  We can only do this if we are honest with ourselves and look at the why of what holds us back.  Why do we continue to take self-defeating actions?  Why do we set ourselves up for failure?  What are our biggest challenges?

These questions help us get to the root of our behaviors, and show us what our true obstacles are.  If we know who/what we are up against we will be better prepared to face it.

How does all of this connect to the Winter Solstice?  Resolutions…

I am a big fan of manifesting.  I believe we are co-creators of our reality, that we actively engage in creating the world we live in.  If we are seeking to make a change, to alter our path we are wise to use all of the tools and allies available to us.  Which includes astronomical events; such as the Winter Solstice, and the mass belief of others.  That’s right use the belief of others to our advantage.

The power of belief is amazing, and the more people believing in something the stronger the likelihood of manifesting it.  Which means, if millions of people see the dark of winter as the best time for making changes, then it is.  For we will have the collective will to support us in our endeavors.  This has always been available to us, just most of us haven’t thought of it from this perspective.

The Winter Solstice is about celebrating life, and the return of light.  It is about dreaming and looking forward to, about rebirth and recreation.  Whether you choose to set your change in motion on Solstice Night (December 21st) or wait for New Years does not matter.  What does matter is that you take the time between now and then to really think on what you wish to change, what you want to let go of, what you want to become, what obstacles you will need to overcome and what allies you have along the path?

When my children were little I use to tell them that “God does not help the lazy”.  This was my way of saying you can’t just sit around doing nothing and expect God to come clean up your mess for you.  You need to actively be working on fixing and creating the life you want to lead.  When we do that we become activated.  We become change makers and creators and then we feel the hand of higher power helping us along the way.

I am not saying God/Goddess doesn’t care about the downtrodden, the sick or the helpless.  I am saying if you want to make a change then you need to be actively involved in doing so!

For those of you living close to the Kingdom, I will be hosting a Solstice Candle Ceremony @ the Grindstone Cafe on Saturday the 16th at 2pm. Come join me, light a candle and put your dreams into motion.  For those of you reading this from afar here is a quick little something you can do at home.

You will need- a candle (any kind), yourself and an item to represent your desired change.

Sit quietly in a dark room with only the light of your candle (and maybe the Yule tree)

Imagine a spark of white light in the center of your heart chakra.  With every breath it expands out around you, above you and below you, surrounding you in an egg shaped sphere of protective energy, filled with love.

Call upon God/Goddess in whatever way fits you best, ask them to join you.

Call upon your ancestors, particularly the ones who you feel would be most helpful in the work ahead of you.

*speak out loud…this is important, in speaking our words out loud we are setting them in motion, we are demanding they be heard, by ourselves and the universe.

Speak clearly of your desire for change; making your statements in the affirmative.  “I will become healthier and stronger in the year to come.”  “I will create a better relationship with myself”. etc.

Next, ask the Gods & your ancestors to help you with the obstacles.  “Please remind me to take healthy chances.”  “Please remind me that my voice matters.”

All the while holding your item in your hand.  See the item as a talisman, a sign of your commitment to change.  Like a lucky rabbit’s foot or a holy symbol, it is there to remind you of your goal and of your dedication to self.

When you have finished your dedication to change, thank your ancestors and the gods and close your circle by blowing out the candle.

*****************************************************************************************

No matter how difficult it may seem, we are all capable of change.  We do not need to follow the rutted path before us.  We can manifest ourselves into that which we want to be.  We all have a story, and that story holds wounding.  It is up to us to decide how we use that wounding.  Will it be a weight that holds us down, or will it be the fire that forges us?

My own story of being beaten into form at the forge of life is in my book ‘Jump Girl, the initiation and art of a Spirit Speaker’, which comes out on February 13th, 2018.  Here is a link for those of you interested in my story.  As always, thanks for reading folks.

spreading love-salicrow

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562306/jump-girl-by-salicrow/9781623171926/