Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 12

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

Final week on Riding the Dragon. The next book on deck: the Sound of Paper.

1. I don’t need to recommit to morning pages, I’m pretty well committed to them now. They help. I think they’re doing nothing, then I skip a few days, and I realize how very much they actually do. I suspect using a neti pot may be quite similar in some ways.

2. Time-outs do need some re-commitment. Part of my issue is just that I run out of energy and don’t want to do that, yet doing the time out recharges me. This week I went to the Mirror Maze for a time-out. It left me questioning reality in significant ways, and was worth the trip – and the Crowd Cut coupon. These photography walks, visits to new shops alone, the act of seeking new experiences - it all builds up a reserve I can draw from.

3. I have noticed synchronicity. It’s not always a synchronicity of opportunity – sometimes it’s a synchronicity of affirmation. I’d say the affirmation happens far more often than the opportunity type, perhaps because at this point it’s what I need more.

4. Oh, I intend to celebrate. :)

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 11

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

1. Morning pages are in place. I skip them twice a week give/take – I think that the damage is permanent on that one, alas, since my partner read them and reacted rather severely. I just don’t think he has a right to ALL of me, and I never will think so. Especially when I know there’s stuff of his own he stonewalls me on, as he learned to do from his family. The double standard offends me; I had enough of that bullshit growing up. So I do write them daily, but I tend not to write them when he’s home with me.

2. Time-outs/artist’s dates. I had a really good artist’s date last week, but this week I’ve managed to catch two different bugs in the course of the week, thus eliminating the possibility until I recover. As it is, I may just knock myself out in hopes the cold resolves itself while I’m sleeping.

3. I’m not sure I’ve seen synchronicity per se; I am seeing patterns emerging with friends that suggest it’s time for me to take a break of a week or two while I get caught up on things.

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 10

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

1. How have I handled goodbyes in the past? Continue reading

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 9

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

Where I work

1. Morning pages are very consistent, although I have taken weekends off here and there. I can always tell, though. However, shit is not building up nearly as much since I found a proper therapist and have made some painful but necessary steps in separating myself from my relatives. Without them pushing my buttons my head is amazingly clean.

2. I don’t feel good about my time-outs. This is partly because my efforts to have a healthier social life has responded like any garden I tend, and gone bumpercrop. Notice the keywords are “that I tend.” I’ve had a few gardens fail from neglect.

Susan Miller’s astrology zone indicates that the first part of my life has been about working through massive, HARSH, karma when it comes to all love and friendship based relationships. Apparently I’ve served my time and I’m on to the next part. This does, however, make solitary time-outs more difficult for me. I’m tempted to put efforts into buying another car, but going down to one was the smartest financial decision I’ve ever made and I don’t want to go back on that. Also, since I’m a woman of size, I’d look ridiculous on a Vespa. I may need to devise more “at home” time-outs, even if it’s just lining up youtube videos or watching the Muppet movies. I can’t be spontaneous with social invites for the most part because of transit, and mass transit while pleasant does take a big chunk of time. Also, a train line won’t be running past my apartment by 2030, and hopefully by then Mike and I will have a nice condo or townhouse plus dog.

3. Synchronicity isn’t always something I notice because it’s just so common to my life since I started practicing witchcraft in earnest. My Skeptic has been relegated to Daria fandom where she’s quite happy and useful, and I’m getting really good at turning inner criticism attacks into positive self-talk and sorting of “that’s crap/not true/strictly a sociological infection” from “OK, let’s go over an action plan.”

4. I’m both good and bad at self-care. My weekly skin and hair care routines have slid – in part because water aerobics has me confused as to whether the hair care treatments do a damn bit of good. (Vinegar on my hair after does help.) I sussed out that back pain has been interfering with my writing productivity, and telltale finger twitches have let me know I need my ergonomic keyboard back. So I now have a Futurama cast member’s head to sit on – it’s temporary, until we get a proper ergonomic chair. So I’m addressing issues, but skipping some stuff, too. I don’t have to be perfect anymore – thank the gods I’m out of corporate.

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 8

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

1. Who am I? What are my group affiliations?
Self Portrait in Two Mirrors

I am a strong, independent priestess. I am a writer. I am a witch. I am an herbalist that needs to formalize my knowledge. I am an organizer – and a damn good one, albeit relatively unsung at the moment. I am the person who knows how to say no and when to say yes. I am a journalist – because that will never end. I am meant, at some point, to be a sociologist. It’s what I know I should have done coming out of high school but I allowed my family’s fucked up worldview to lead me astray from my truth. Besides, what the hell is wrong with being a social worker?

2. Morning pages – I did them. This week focusing more on purging family dynamics memories. I believe this is related to the work I’m doing, because the screwed up family patterns may explain my struggles with work and organization politics. Studying up this year on female social violence has also proved invaluable, and made hanging out at a local pub once a week a lot more pleasant for me (because I can shut that shit down RIGHT NOW without being mean.)

By recognizing how the patterns of how silence and unspoken rules fall – and why that’s bad – I can break unspoken rules and get something more productive and healthy from my interactions. I ended up with the rebel slot despite trying to please and support my family because I broke the unspoken rules. All those unspoken rules led to me +purdah, so having my family hate me and treat me like dirt is unsurprising, but worth the price of getting the fuck away from that. It also explains why most of what I deal with now is people demanding my silence – there’s really nothing I do that sets anyone off beyond expressing an opinion. Which means I’m breaking things that need to be broken.

I also realized that I in terms of group dynamics, I am the de facto scapegoat and mirror, but most people tell themselves they see me as the leader/charmer or some variation of organizer. On a subconscious level, some individuals assume “having things in common” means that a person is a reflection of themselves. Frankly, after a childhood with people constantly trying to force me to conform to some screwed up image of themselves, I don’t respond well to interactions where people talk ONLY about themselves and their interests. It’s possible to bore me with things I actually like that way. I do think that I can certainly be the actual leader/organizer, now that I know where these patterns and “silent rules” come from and I know that they can all be broken, mostly by the simple act of saying something.

3. My time-outs have been a bit lame of late. I need to do another one soon.

4. I have noticed changes in my group interactions, and I have a new opportunity in that a recurring interaction has appeared again. The people I’m working with are trying to do some overt manipulation, and I’ve been mistaken in trying to tell them “why no.” What I need to do is have them explain to me “Why yes.” I’m pretty sure that enthusiasm has overridden consideration for logistics.

5. I could do better with self-care and time-outs. I tried doing a back to back at the gym last night and almost passed out during yoga. Qigong was worked in, and it happened after that. So while it could be dehydration, it could be a Qigong thing or breathing wrong or something. Still, making sure I hit the gym, but I need to get back on my weekly program of skin buffing, facials and hot oil treatments. They really do make a visible difference.

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 7

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

View from Montparnasse Tower
View from Monrparnasse Tower in Paris - photo by Diana Rajchel

1. Right now my morning pages aren’t suggesting changes per se; they’re pointing out relational patterns. I think I’m digging into why other people project their crap onto me so much, especially the idea that because they feel a certain way about me I must feel that way about them. It’s weird, and I’ve looked over journals and situations to recognize that it’s not me, but since it’s a pattern that recurs in my life, it is me, somehow. I can’t control what other people do, so I’m either picking the wrong relationships over time based on a subconscious thread I don’t yet recognize or my mirroring patterns that I use when establishing rapport are biting me in the ass.
2. One of my last time-outs got a bit unpleasant as I got subjected to some flat-out misogynistic presumption at a comic book store. I’ll go to the one on Washington from now on. They stare, but they don’t put their foots in their mouths. I don’t have a time-out scheduled this week, and since I was ill last week I fell out of rhythm on my gym schedule. Hoping to get that back this week.
3. I am pretty good with the open-minded in general. I haven’t had synchronicity but I have had strong “guiding voice” this week, stronger than I’ve felt in a long time. Of course, what it’s saying right now is “keep your mouth shut,” and leading me to memories of an old work situation where I was the scapegoat/blame monkey for problems in the company that truly had nothing to do with me.

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 6

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

In this check-in, I’m asked to make a list of pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned in my life. I’ve actually learned many, perhaps a few have stuck. The ones that seem relevant to me right now:
1)Be easy on yourself. There will always be people in the world looking for an excuse to be hard on you, so no need to do their job for them, because they’re going to do it anyway.
2)When people are hard on you, especially as an adult, it’s because they’re turning attention away from something in their own lives they don’t want to deal with. This may not be universal, but does seem to be specific to my own experience.
3)Taking a positive approach to life is hard work, much harder work than the usual negativity flow.
4)Context is everything, and few people share full context – because few people pause to really listen and understand another person’s full context.
5)You cannot stay in a relationship where a person has contempt for you and expect to have a healthy life. This is true even (especially?) if the person regarding you with contempt is your own parent.

Not my wisdom, but encountered in the Happiness Project for marriages – and I think it applies to all relationships. Relationships are damaged by these behaviors:
Contempt (the worst)
Stonewalling (the next worst)
Criticism – fixable, but over time is corrosive
Defensiveness – fixable, but over time is erosive
This is usually applied to couples that divorce, but it is also applies to family relationships, friendships, even co-worker relationships. It is possible to deliver feedback without making it a critique of a person’s character. It is possible to respond to feedback without making it about justifying your behaviors.

2)Morning pages are still going. I already acknowledged that the media fast did not succeed this time, because it’s just too harsh. Creating a sense of poverty is the exact opposite of what the artist’s way experience is supposed to produce, and this coincided with a point where a)I have a huge review pile that’s already past deadline since 3 books are about 2012 prophecies and b)I had already cut my TV watching to a weekends only policy that I was struggling with, as I used that as a timeout. I don’t want to do timeouts in the evening on weekdays, because that’s workout time and time with Mike (around his thesis.)

I still need to do the file clipping exercise, so I’m doing that today around my reading and going dancing tonight. :)

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 5

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

1. Yes, I am very consistent with the morning pages. Less so on days when my partner is working from home/around – I tend to use 750Words.com on those days. I just wish they’d let you turn off some of the “reward” features as it often seems like punishment that goes against the intention that morning pages serve. I feel better when I journal a lot; I’m considering taking up more journaling/sketching in the evening again.
2. I still have some financial bugaboos related to setting myself impossible standards while young. I am finally at an age where I can see direct results of my hard work, however, and that makes it a lot easier on me.
3. Benevolent synchronicity: I can’t say I have noticed a change in that respect recently. I’ve certainly encountered people who wish to interact more, for whatever that’s worth.
4. I indulged myself in a lovely day at the museum, complete with lunch at the museum’s restaurant. it was quite nice.

Riding the Dragon: My Thoughts on God (do not read if offended by belief systems that differ from your own.)

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

This exercise asks you to compare your beliefs about God in childhood to your beliefs about God as an adult. So there is religion discussed. Here is where I remind people: I am a Wiccan polytheist, and as an adult, I see all this “there can be only one,” and “there is only one way,” mentality as a con job best left to the Highlander series. If you are offended by religious views that do not harm you but are different from your own, skip reading this one.

Old ideas about God/Divinity

  • THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!
  • Public prayer equates with public lies – prayer is sacred and thus private
  • “Don’t look at me!” Seriously, Exodus says some explicit stuff about not picturing God, so the whole bearded guy in the sky common to this culture is one I actually saw as a touch blasphemous
  • “There are other sheep not of my fold.” Jesus was a religious pluralist.
  • Give from your poverty; it means more.
  • If you are serious enough about your faith you should be Much To Worried About The World to take joy in anything.
  • Enlightened people will naturally see the way of Christianity/monotheism/the way “everybody” does it.
  • There’s a hell – it’s a convenient place you can mentally send everyone who disagrees with you.
  • There’s a plan, and no one has to discuss it with your let alone get your consent.
  • Of COURSE the Bible is true.
  • Any signs of a sense of humor = you are not holy.
  • Women were made from Adam’s Rib, or we were made equal, there’s two versions.
  • You can be happy when you’re dead.
  • We won’t really know until we’re dead.

New ideas about God/Divinity

  • Public prayer equates with public lies – prayer is sacred and thus private.
  • Gnosticism: we’re all right. Absolutely each and every one of us. Especially those that disagree. There’s just one. There’s more than one. There’s none. There’s all.
  • Adam had a first wife named Lilith; just like many women who think for themselves, she took a look at this submissive crap, said “fuck that!” and found a beach to hang out on. Eve was the next wife, made without spine. Spineless women have been elevated while punished ever since. Women with proper vertebrae have been cast as demons – and still have a much better time.
  • Nope, the Bible’s not true – i.e. it’s not the word of God, it’s the word of a whole bunch of men, some wise, some not, most politically motivated. This is also true of the New Testament, which really should have stopped at the be attitudes.
  • We do not need an instruction book to know how to be good, do good, and love good.
  • The story of Christ is not the “Greatest Story Ever Told.” There are many, many other better stories.
  • We won’t really know until we’re dead.
  • Religious belief is a neurological function (this is a recent finding.) I am religious because I am inclined to be deeply religious; there are scores of people faking religious belief because of the same degree of social pressure that has been placed on the homosexual to appear straight.
  • From direct mystical experience: Jesus is a very sweet, passionate, kind of short Arabic man who is completely mortified by modern Christianity. When he said he was the “son of God,” he meant ALL men are the sons of God. I don’t pray to him as much these days, but he still answers with “Diana! I’m so happy to hear from you!” All this belief directed at him has made him a deity, though.
  • Whether man created deity or deity created man is a bit chicken and egg.
  • Poverty does not make me more spiritual.
  • Prosperity does not make me less spiritual.
  • My actions and how I spend my time/direct my energy is what makes me spiritual.
  • God(s) very much have a sense of humor, and more importantly, they have a sense of humor about themselves.
  • Happiness now is in fact sacred, and makes you more inclined to do good, be good, and love good.

 

Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 4

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

Reminder to self: you don’t have to do EVERY exercise.
1. Morning pages: still do them, still need them. I call them “stashing my crazy” but they really stash what drives me crazy. I’m still on that odd fence between authenticity and getting along with people; a recent situation came up where I do have to consider how much I value the friendship. If I’m too authentic, I could lose two friends, but there are behavior patterns over years I’m not happy with. It’s a tough call. I also have been in poor physical and mental health in recent years, and I’m doing SO MUCH better than the last two times my friends saw me, I’m not sure if that would make a difference in behavior.
2. Are you using any other “reflective technologies?” – hm, I’ve found if I meditate, I don’t overeat. I do go for walks, especially since Minnesota is experiencing a west coast winter at the moment. A health scare has kept me out of the gym for two weeks, but I’m going back next week and looking forward to it.
3. Maintaining time-outs? No. December has been crazy overpacked. While I know I need one, I’m also working hard to improve my connection with friendships and that’s time consuming. I’m going to see a slowdown in January, at least.
4. Are you beginning to be more lovingly candid with friends/family? My short answer is no, but this is also because I’m already pretty straightforward with people. I had a conversation the other day where I asked someone point blank if I was the only person that was honest with him. (He said only in one context. I’m not part of other parts of his life.) The big frustration for me is that to improve my social life, I often have to spend time biting my tongue. There are a few people I am safe – or THEY are safe – with me being 100% candid. It’s not that I criticize people, but we run into disagreements, like one the other night where an avid biker insisted that automobile drivers run stoplights in the face of oncoming cars just as much as bicyclists do. (Void in Portland, where I’ve seen bikers honor traffic law beautifully.) She insisted it was my perception, but I’m equally positive a collection of traffic camera data will indicate my perception is pretty damn close to the facts. It’s a hard road between authenticity and constant, unnecessary conflict.