Saturday, 2 September 2017

Top 5 Books to Kick You in the Creative Ass

This year so far has been one of changes for me, where I'm feeling like I'm more myself again, and getting back on track. It's like I got sidetracked down a road without realizing it. Then one day you wake up and wonder how you got there. But that's a post for another day.  The point is that big part of rewilding or "unfucking" myself has been getting back to my creativity. For a while there I was so focused on adulting and on trying to be super positive woo woo that I told myself I didn't have time for it. And when I tried to do creative things, they just fell flat because I wasn't connected to my authentic self. The funny thing is that when you just be yourself your creativity comes back, and when you start creating more of your authenticity comes with it. The two walk hand in hand.

So with that in mind I would like to share my top 5 books for helping get your creativity back on track. These have been a Goddess send to me and not only help with artistry, but also I think with making me a happier more grounded and more spiritual person. You don't have to consider yourself an artist either to get something out of these books. We are all creative after all. 

1. "Art and Soul Reloaded" by Pam Grout
Okay, I just bought this book as it came out recently. So far I've found it to be a fun inspiring book to help one get their creative mojo back. It's a 52 week apprenticeship course, with a weekly reading and exercise to do. She also gives you lots of uplifting quotes and stories of famous writers/artists/actors etc. Who were told they sucked but persisted anyway, to inspire you on your journey. Examples of exercises include writing a rap song, make a costume, and think of 10 businesses you could start from home.

2. "How to be an Artist" by JoAnneh Nagler
This aptly titled book is about the nuts and bolts of the day to day. It includes advice on managing your priorities, your time and even your cash. It's a straightforward book that motivates while also giving it to you straight. I especially love that it's geared towards those of us that also have to work a regular job and have other responsibilities like family. (Hint - that's most artists).

3. "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield
If you are looking for someone to kick your creative ass, this book is it. It's all about overcoming resistance and just doing the work. It helps you to see where you are sabotaging yourself and how you can overcome. It's about showing up everyday to your craft and invoking the muse. This one is must have on the artist's bookshelf.

4. "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert
Another inspirational goodie, writer Elizabeth Gilbert of "Eat,Pray,Love" fame uses humour and personal stories to help you think about your creativity differently. She advises seeing your craft as a life long vocation and not demanding that you must make money from it. If you do great, but don't put that pressure on yourself. The book is divided into lots of bite size smaller chapters that make it an easy read. 

5. "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron
I have to include this classic that changed my life back when I was a floundering depressed 20 year old with a lot of creative energy to burn and little sense of direction. I credit it with helping me to get off my ass and join a band, and go to art school. Designed as a 12 week course with exercises and readings, she also gets you to journal and treat yourself to Artist dates. All of her books are great for re-setting yourself creatively, though I think this one, her first, is the best. 
As usual I will end the post with a song. If you're feeling off track and like you've been wasting time, this ones for you. 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Eclipse, Doreen Virtue and GNR or When the Shadows Come Out and Play

Every August I take a week off and dub it “Loulapaloosa”. It's a week of fun usually around my birthday, I take to enjoy myself and have a little break. This one was particularly eventful. I crossed into the USA briefly to pick up a record player (thanks BF), went to a Nordic spa, attended a concert by my fave band and there was an eclipse (only partial where I live) and the woo woo community went nuts when a certain new age author denounced the Tarot, mediumship and all forms of divination. Whew…what a week.

So let's start with the eclipse, which was total in parts of the USA, but only a partial where I live. I was disappointed that it was cloudy and rainy. I thought I'd miss it, but lucked out and went out when there was a small break in the clouds and caught a brief glimpse. Solar eclipses are funny things in astrology. The moon blocks the sun temporarily, our subconscious, our shadow comes out into the light, and if you haven't been owning your shit, it's going to get messy. Like any astrological event it will affect everyone differently, as we all have different birth charts. Some may barely feel it at all, and for some, well it's going to kick them in the butt pretty hard. And we saw that big time when the queen of feel good new age fluff did a giant about face and denounced Tarot cards (which she made millions on) mediumship and divination in general. She also announced that she felt one couldn't be both Christian and new age. Personally I don't believe that, as I know lots of people who believe in both. Spirituality is highly personal and doesn't always fit into neatly labelled boxes.

This is the problem if one is trying to be “love and Light” all the time - you are going to end up casting a very long shadow. I’ve seen it happen over and over again in my life. The people who are the most holier than thou, the ones who claim to be closest to God, the angels, the most pious etc. usually are the ones with the most to hide. They are also the ones with the biggest fears which they project on to others. They see demons everywhere and in everyone else except themselves. If you don't integrate and own your shadow, you will end up seeing monsters everywhere when you are really just running from yourself.

This also brought out our own shadows too. I personally was never a big fan. I have some decks and liked her earlier ones, but her later works always felt trite and fake. She was like a faux wedding cake that was all icing and no substance. Pretty to look at but no nutritional value. Still I took it for what it was and didn't invest myself in her. There are a lot of people that did though. They spent tons of money on expensive courses, feeling they needed to be certified by her to talk to angels or read cards. It's understandable that they would feel betrayed by her or let down in some fashion. I suppose it's a lesson for all of us to not put teachers on pedestals and that the real authority comes from within. As for my shadow, well I have to admit a little shaudenfraud watching the Angel whisperer fall to fear. I say to myself “see you are not so perfect.” I guess I have to work in my judgemental thoughts too. But I'll own that. 

I never trusted people who claimed to have special access to angels, God, or whoever else Celestial they believe in. We all have access to the other realm. It's learning to trust your particular intuition and gifts. It's not special, it's actually as common as dirt and as reliable. We just talk ourselves out of it and sometimes need to be reminded of our spiritual inheritance.

I also never trusted people who claimed to be perfect. I prefer people who are honest and who's demons are plain to see. I have much more respect for the flawed person who admits they fall down and are working on it. I guess that's why I love bands like my fave that I went to see this Thursday - Guns N Roses. I'll take Axl singing about his insecurities any day over the guru telling me what I need to eat and what book to read to be as “holy” as they are. I guess I just value honesty over appearing “good or “nice”. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is we all have our shadows, our stuff we have to deal with. It's a lot better to face them and befriend your demons rather than try running away from them or out holying them. They can actually be a source of strength and self knowledge. When you acknowledge them, they have less hold over you. For instance one of mine is anxiety. I have a pretty good imagination which anxiety loves to use to present me with all sorts of worst case scenarios and ruin any fun I might dare to try and have. As I'm also a sensitive person, I also have to watch myself in large crowds. Anxiety tried to use this against me to tell me not to go to the concert. Of course knowing myself I knew that anxieties arguments while persuasive, were really a bunch of creative lies. I did not try to ignore it, instead I borrowed a line from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic and told it “you can come along for the ride, but you are not in the drivers seat”. So I went anyway even with anxiety. And I had a great time.  And it refreshed my soul better than a cheap pack of angel cards ever could. 

In the spirit of letting go of letting go of what no longer serves you. Here's a little number I had the pleasure of seeing performed the other night.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Reaching the "Fuck It Point"

The past few weeks I've been working on a revamp of my website and social media. I wanted something that reflected my true self more, and is a more accurate reflection of my whole self. I think that for quite a while I was toning things down and leaving out certain elements of myself because I thought they wouldn't fit in with the new age/witchy community. I'm no longer willing to do that. If I'm going to put myself out there, then I'll put myself out there as myself and not a light/diet beige vanilla version of myself. 

This photo is pretty much my life, ponies, rock music, crystals and Tarot cards.

There's a fair amount of pressure within the new age community to be all love and Light and positivity all the time. Don't get me wrong, I believe in being positive generally, I just don't think it's realistic all the time. When you're going through big deep shit, like the death of someone close to you, a divorce, or have experienced assault or abuse, telling someone to “just be positive”, isn't just unhelpful, it's downright insulting. And I think that's where the new age community often gets it wrong. When we are going through tough stuff, we need honesty and realism, not fluffy platitudes like “it all happens for a reason” or that “it must be part of your life plan”. Wether you believe it's true or not doesn't matter, no one needs to hear that when they are struggling or grieving. 

There's lots of aspects of the community that are very me. I love tarot, astrology, oracle decks, crystals, yoga, and essential oils. And I don't suppress my colourful side either, I have rainbow hair and collect vintage my little ponies and love rainbow unicorns. But there's a part of me that does not fit in with the rest of the lightworker crew. I love hard rock and heavy metal, skulls, goth fashion and the spookier aspects of the paranormal. I've even had people in the community tell me that it's not good to like that stuff, that it's “lower energies”. We need the lower energies as much as we need the higher. For example your root chakra is not worse than your crown chakra, you need both to be a fully functioning person. And let's face it sex, and death, and the tough shit, and the things that go bump in the night are just as real and as valid as all the high vibe meditations, salt lamps and yoga retreats. 

For a while though I toned it down to be more acceptable. There is this point that many of us reach in our 40s, though some earlier or later, and some not at all, that I like to call - the Fuck It Point. This is the point where you truly do not give a shit whether someone thinks you are acceptable or not. If I someone doesn't like me or they judge me for listening to Iron Maiden or having rainbow hair, they’re not my people. We are trained, especially as women, to be “nice” and inoffensive, to make excuses for others poor behaviour and to tone ourselves down so as to not upset others. The new age community tells us to be all loving and to accept everyone which leads some to forget about discernment and to put up with things they shouldn't. At the Fuck It Point, you stop wasting your energy on others who want you to change for their comfort. You stop caring about appearing nice or good, and you care about the truth, about authenticity. 

I'd like to thank all of you who gave me some really lovely feedback about the changes on my website, other social media and on YouTube. It's nice to know I'm not alone in feeling this way, and that many of you have gone through some of the same things. I think we are all journeying towards being our authentic selves, and I'd love to have you along for the journey with me. 

In that spirit here's a little AC/DC “Back in Black”. I'm back peeps -wearing black as always.