This year’s Creativity Prayer

infant CEO hawks Karo!_4914464575_oI am Pagan, but I often use the term “God” rather than Goddess or specifics. This offends my fellow Pagans at times, and since getting offended about another person’s non-invasive religious practices, I mostly ignore them. God in my mind is Good Orderly Direction. God has also never been a gendered concept to me.

Digression:

Leaving the church wasn’t about seeing the female in God. It was, at least partially, about how the women in the church with me were treated and expected to behave. It was about the expectations placed on me that devalued my talents and abilities as a human being. It was about not wanting to spend my life baking cookies as a form of social competition and making catty comments about fellow congregants. It satisfied the women I was raised with, but all it did was make me see them as less than worthwhile human beings. I just wanted to hang out with the person (?) that answered me when I prayed with questions.  That being doesn’t hang out in churches but will come in if you happen to be there. That’s what the whole Pagan thing has always been about for me.

Prayer

Hello God –

How are you? Really?

I am getting a lot better about asking you for help with the small stuff, but there’s still some resistance. I think it’s your reminder that the big problems – war, pestilence, crazed police officers – every single bit of that can only be truly resolved with small steps. Billions upon billions of small steps.

Please help me stop resisting the impulse to ask for help. Please help me tell the people I love what I really need, and give me the courage to tell the people I trust what I’m experiencing. Help me find friends – you helped me build a strong network of wonderful friends of diverse backgrounds and interest in the Twin Cities, and now I need your help doing the same in the Bay Area. Remind me that it took time and effort before and it takes time and effort now. Remind me to ask myself “Why am I doing this for myself?”

Please help me get my writing groove back. Help me find the place where the words come easy and fast, where the ego steps aside all the way through the last draft, and help me find a way to be a good quality writer while stepping up how much I produce. Please help me get some clarity about my career. I don’t know exactly who I am, and I don’t know exactly what I want beyond the surface needs of money and security.

Help me disengage from my sense of obligation, since I feel like right now it’s my most negative motivator and a manifestation of my inner critic. Obviously I still need to meet deadlines and do the work I am paid for as a matter of acting honorably – but please help me break from the sense that “people need this, and so I must…”  Free me from doing things simply because I get paid – help me find work that will put me in that blessed state of flow and union with you.

Amen, So Mote It Be

 

 

 

Believing Mirrors

boys behind bars!_4795635876_oBelieving Mirrors are people that reflect back belief that you are a worthwhile individual who can accomplish what you set out to do. I have a significant list – I have become incredibly lucky in the people I find since I started this path.

1. Mike – he really is my fanboy. I’ve had to block him from notebook reading over it.

2. Lisa – she has believed in me and supported me since the late 90s.

3. Ruth – she’s smart about things, and reminds me that effort for effort’s sake is not a good reason to do anything.

3. Xiane – we haven’t talked lately and I miss her, but when we do connect it’s always about mutual encouragement.

4. Cynthia – she looks to the heart of the trouble, and helps me step back a little when working things out.

5. Tonya G – I kind of wish she and Cynthia could meet. They’d adore each other. She’s always been my chief sane maker.

I have more at this point in my life – so many more. But I still have a weird thing about the number 6 and don’t want to assign it to anyone I care about.

25 Wishes

Priestess of Delphi by John Collier Probably the one I have the most in common with of all the great ancient priestesses.
Priestess of Delphi by John Collier
Probably the one I have the most in common with of all the great ancient priestesses.

1. I wish I could get around the city easier.

2. I wish I had more friends here – a lot more friends.

3. I wish I could find the more hidden occult shops.

4. I wish I spoke Spanish/remembered Spanish better.

5. I wish I had friends to go dancing with.

6. I wish I could finally polish off my reading stack. Someday, someway.

7. I wish I could find a writing program I can afford.

8. I wish I could find poets that were as amazing as my poetry group in Minnesota.

9. I wish I knew exactly where I wanted to point my career right now.

10. I wish I didn’t feel an obligation tug of war with Fat Chic.

11. I wish I could finish this consent culture essay and feel right about it.

12. I wish I had more time to stretch and see to my physical health every day.

13. I wish I could do all the exercise, all the social, and all the professional things I need to do.

14. I wish I had more time for that Lynda thing – it’s not really working out in terms of time commitment. :(

15. I wish I didn’t feel so overwhelmed all the time.

16. I wish Mike and I could both establish strong support systems out here.

17. I wish there was more Pagan stuff in SF itself, but since almost no one can afford it…

18. I wish I could find a decent therapist out here.

19. I wish I could feel at peace with the rest of my past. I’ve buried the crap with my family, now it’s the stuff that I’m actually culpable for.

20. I wish I could fly up to see my friend Joe.

21. I wish I could travel to see Lisa and Tonya – they are all in that direction too.

Wait a minute, they are all in that direction. Why am I still sitting here?

22. I wish I had a clear sense of my place with my volunteer gig.

23. I wish I had some form of steady income of my own again.

24. I wish I could overcome my 1:1 social anxiety issues.

25. I wish I could take a vacation on my own – or maybe get in on a writer’s retreat. Maybe after I do that portfolio.

The Shame Exercise: Trigger Warning

1865 - Who's Bit My Apple_4857258310_lThis one is harder for me than most because I have had too much shaming in my life. Being a fat, nerdy, relatively poor kid will do that.

There isn’t just an “I felt shamed when.” It was a constant state of shame – shame for wanting to go trick-or-treating as a fat kid, shame for showing up in public, shame for eating at family gatherings – and equal shame if I tried to refuse to eat because of emotional tension, illness, or too much verbal abuse from my mother and sister around the dinner table. I wasn’t allowed anything but emotional eating, and the people around me were fully conscious and proud of what they did to me. That’s just who they are – awful.

So when I find myself shaming someone, it’s almost 100% me trying to correct some evil I see in the world. Shaming the guy who objectifies and plows through women. Shaming people that are violent. Shaming people that vote for religion to infiltrate schools, spreading the evil of ignorance that they are convinced is good. It doesn’t matter if I am right, or at least convinced I am right. It isn’t effective, but somehow I still feel pushed to do it sometimes.

I won’t shame people about their bodies, about their sexual preferences, about their genders, and certainly not about their art, no matter how awful I think it might be. I just don’t do that.

5 Imperfections

paint by number!_5907794262_oIf I didn’t have to do it perfectly I’d

1. make that zine.

2. put together a writer’s portfolio modeled on whatever Iowa Writer’s workshop uses

3. apply for a grad school program in sociology

4. start a city spirit exploration society in San Francisco

5. find a place around here to work as a tarot reader

Artists Are…

caffeine problem_5709050608_o
1. frequently undervalued.

2. undervalued by themselves.

3. people that need to express things both good and bad more than most.

4. likely to wilt when forced to repress themselves.

5. playful.

6. in need of the day jobs – not because they can’t make it, but because they need the  collection of stimuli. Better that they get good day jobs.

7. best when they treat art as a discipline rather than as a punishment.

8. fun.

9. not nearly as serious in their work as the people that give lectures about them in museums.

10. people that make the world a much more interesting place to live.

5 Dreaded Activities and their remedies

Honestly, there’s not much I dread doing these days – not even taxes. Unless I am uncertain of a person’s reaction, most stuff is more about having too many things to do and having to pick and choose what becomes a habit and what doesn’t. Or it’s the kind of thing where adding an element of fun is probably dangerous.

5 things I dread:

1. Asking an old professor for a reference. It’s embarrassing and uncomfortable for me – I don’t know why, it just is.

Make it fun: Actually make a chart and use stickers for every one I actually get up the nerve to ask, should I ever actually finish my graduate degree?

2.  Dealing with gross things.

Two words: Video documentary.

3. Tedious things: tagging photos, learning code, learning how to get whatever ridiculous database program to work properly…

Put on music that helps me focus. Set timers. The tedium fades.

4. Talking to someone when I don’t know how they’ll react.

There is no way to make this fun. Ever. NONE.

5. Any medical appointment

Have stuff to do with me, or have someone to chat with to distract me/bitch to.

Self-Expression: 5 Creative Endeavors I could try

At this point, I’m wondering if there are any creative endeavors I haven’t tried. I’m also in a much-needed resting period so making myself think about this is a bit forced.

infant CEO hawks Karo!_4914464575_o

I am making up to myself for a childhood best summarized as, “Here, you’re doing this – forever. We really don’t care if it fits.” I’ve moved from resentment of my parents to a sort of objectivized pain for my childhood self over that. I have to remind myself that when I do these things, it’s not just to amuse myself. I’m doing them for her.

1. The zine. I still haven’t made a zine.

2. Taking a drawing class. Something super duper basic, from cross-hatch lines and perspective, etc. I have poked at some classes on Itunes but I think whatever passes for community ed might go a lot further.

3. I’m already working through a series of spoken spells based on numerological arrangement. It’s a poetry form, really. It’s just not one I can easily workshop to the poets I know.

4. Something is swirling in my mind related to Saint Francis, San Francisco, and a sort of spiritual-travel handbook for urban oriented Pagans.

5. That pictoral book of houses of worship I wanted to make. I feel the need for a good photography review first, though. I’m not loving what I’ve been seeing on my camera lately.

5 Examples of Respect

  1. “Please” “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” All three phrases are very necessary in long-term relationships of any kind.
  2. When it is clear that someone doesn’t want to talk about something, or doesn’t want to interact with others/specific people, giving them their space instead of trying to force the issue. “What’s bothering you?” the first time is legitimate inquiry. Anytime after that, it’s just being invasive and rude. People talk when they’re ready – and they may not talk to you.
  3. Introductions. Proper introductions actually do matter. It helps break ice for people when they get more than “Name, name, have at!” It demonstrates that you have given thought to both people when you make said introduction. Even people with strong personalities can be a bit shy. I should know since I’m one of them.
  4. Checking in before making a request, and listening to what that person says rather than pushing your own agenda. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said very clearly “I am too busy right now,” and had people request manuscript feedback or some other non-profiting, non-reciprocated favor.
  5. Asking permission instead of demonstrating entitlement to forgiveness. I’m not obligated on that latter one, especially if you actually harm me or someone I love.

In smaller ways:

  1. Bothering to properly use a turn signal.
  2. At grocery stores, making sure the person behind you gets a divider bar.
  3. Some women are different about this, and their reasons are valid. But I don’t feel somehow less feminist or patronized when someone opens a door for me. I feel appreciated, acknowledged, and valued when someone does it.
  4. Making eye contact with wait staff. Exchanging pleasantries with them.
  5. Taking responsibility for your own spoiler exposure. This demonstrates respect and awareness that the Internet does not revolve around you. (Admittedly spoilers don’t bother me.)