About TheGlitterBitch

Socially awkward and nerdy artisan that lives for coffee, crochet, and glitter.

Can you chart someone’s sexual orientation?

Thankfully, NO!!!!

Although, there are lots of astrology and numerology sites out there that would have you believe otherwise. This has been on my mind lately, because it’s PRIDE time of year and there has been a lot in the news lately about the SCOTUS decision in regards to gay marriage in the USA. Our gay neighbors to the south can finally get married.

I read an article once, and I haven’t been able to find it since, where the astrologer in question basically said that trying to determine sexual orientation via a chart, no matter how well-intentioned, comes from a place of discrimination because the astrologer or numerologist is looking for things that are considered to be abnormal. I tend to support this opinion. Sexual orientation is not abnormal – we all have one, even the folks who aren’t sexual. It’s normal – no matter what your orientation is.

My opinion on this started to form in the 90s when I was card reading at Little Mysteries. Obviously not all of the clients were straight but the Tarot deck that I was using contained traditional male/female binary images with traditional meanings. This was frustrating to me because the cards felt limiting. I switched to a deck that contained extra cards for the gay community – but no one wanted to choose them for the deck. Leaving them in was redundant because now there would be three Lovers cards and three of each court card.

So that was no good, either. It also further pigeon-holed people because now if you weren’t straight you must have been gay.

And, of course, few people wanted to out themselves to the fortune teller by picking the gay cards.

Head – desk. Repeat.

In the twenty years since, there has been a great deal of opening up concerning this aspect of the Sexual Revolution that started when my mother was a teenager. People are much more open now, and we are aware of those that challenge the binaries of male/female or straight/gay. It’s a lot to take in, and with the terminology changing all the farking time, it is a confusing arena for most of us.

My belief is still that you can not determine a person’s sexual orientation with any sort of numerology chart, no matter how many Master Numbers they have, no matter their Soul Numbers, nope, zip, nada, not happening.

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I defer to the work of noted researcher Alfred Kinsey, who spent more time studying human sexuality than anyone else on earth:

Males (and later females, as well) do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual.

The heterosexuality or homosexuality of many individuals is not an all-or-none proposition.

There is a tendency to consider anything in human behavior that is unusual, not well known, or not well understood, as neurotic, psychopathic, immature, perverse, or the expression of some other sort of psychologic disturbance.

What this means is that for humanity, sexuality exists on a spectrum and just because we don’t “get it” doesn’t make it wrong. The Kinsey scale of sexual behaviour contained seven categories, not two, and even this was felt to be limiting.

We are fluid creatures and not the same throughout our lifetimes. Not everyone acts on this. Some people are not comfortable leaving a heterosexual framework even if they have feelings that place them elsewhere on the spectrum. Others have no problem with flowing from one end of the spectrum to the other and do so with ease. The same can be said for any one of the sexual paradigms that exists; there will always be those at home in one category over another, who may never feel the urge to explore anything else or those who can’t wait to sample from the whole damned buffet.

BUT our sexual identity makes up a huge chunk of who we are, so this is, understandably, something we seek answers to when we investigate charts. I’ve had clients insist that I need to show them the numbers or planets that showed their husband was secretly gay or that could help them prevent their daughter from “turning into a lesbian”. Confidentiality issues aside – I just can’t help you with that. What our maps of consciousness can show us, is the process of evolution that we undergo in the whole of our lives as we live and learn, and make choices based on our free will. The numbers can point to a preponderance of masculine or feminine energy within us but that does not firmly dictate who we become because the energy of the numbers themselves operates on a spectrum. Ultimately, whatever place on the sexual scale that we occupy at whatever time in our lives, is wherever we are supposed to be, in that area of our life.

If you don’t like that, well….tough tits.

If we had all the answers, and they were cut and dried absolutes, we’d have no reason to get out of bed!!

 

 

 

451 – another set of repeating numbers

This is another post about repeating numbers popping up in someone’s life. The person in question is a professional peer and friend who is seeing “451”, whether it’s being displayed on her clock face or turning up elsewhere in life.

4s are about working hard within prescribed limits. For some of us, especially those in creative industries, four can be a boring number. It’s not the most exciting, being all about dependability, stability, and security. 5s are about turning points and challenges that push us to make a choice. 1s are about taking initiative and making some hard decisions. So in essence, my friend (who is a very motivated 8 Life Path that eats, sleeps, and breathes her business) has come to a turning point and she can either continue to play it safe in regards to her work or she can step out of the box and push forward. As an 8 life path she has an affinity with the 4, so taking traditional routes to business development would work.  However, 8 and 1 go really well together, too, because both numbers would throw their neighbors into traffic if it meant succeeding in their plans for world domination. Being familiar with her overall chart, I say go with the 1 energy, knowing that at the very least, either path would work. She’s not the sort of person that would be happy to just be doing fine.

Her response is that this made total sense. She’s been hiding and second guessing herself because of issues with some business rivals.

My thoughts are twofold: Firstly, people only have power over you if you give it to them. Secondly, when we’re in a position to sit back and reflect on the past, our adversaries don’t seem to be that big of a deal most of the time.

When we fulfill our soul agreements with each other, including the ones we have with the stark-raving assholes, they fall away because the work we had to do is now done. Worrying about them keeps them tied to our energy because we unconsciously summon them back again and again, to give them more power.

 

 

Things the Universe has taught me

In each of us are heroes; speak to them and they will come forth.

  • There is no such a thing as a bad number/rune/card, etc. People are constantly trying to jam things into dichotomies. Good/bad, rich/poor, light/dark and all that other nonsense. Vibrational patterns exist on a spectrum. They are extremely fluid. There is no such thing as a bad number. You can be living the less than shit hot aspects of that vibrational energy, but that doesn’t make it a bad number. It means that you are living below your potential. It’s not the energy’s fault that you’re not vibrating at your best. Numbers are symbols of differing manifestations of universal energy patterns. What we do with that energy is what determines if it is good or bad in our perception. The energy itself is neutral. If you don’t like what you’ve been served, then by all means, feel free not to eat……OR…….learn to like something new and stop resisting change.
  • We need to grow where we are planted. Quite frequently we expect the heavens to open, the skies to fill with sunbeams and birds, and angels to sing down hymns when we embark on The Path. It rarely happens that way. Instead, as I mentioned above, we usually get served a plateload of crap that we don’t feel we ordered. The end result is always your choice. You can choose to react by not eating, and go hungry instead. Nothing will change. You won’t move ahead in life, but you won’t go backwards, either. You can choose to resist change and send the plate back. “Universe, this is not what I wanted…..how did you get liver and onions out of seafood linguine?” Again, you won’t move forward in life. Finally, you can choose to eat what has been put in front of you, knowing that you will derive some goodness out of it. Liver and onions are two of my least favourite foods, which is why they got used as an example – but there are lots of people out there who love them. They are good for you, even if they taste like a heaping helping of punishment and sadness. In the first two cases, I can promise you, the Universe will keep sending you dishes of liver and onions until you get the point and take a bite. What point is that? That you need to master what is in front of you before you can put your toys down and move onwards. In the military this is called “embracing the suck”. For 99.9% of us, this is the route that the Universe takes.
  • When we begin to understand the patterns of the Universe at play in our lives, we can see how those patterns interact and manifest within ourselves and the world around us. We can also start to see why our souls would have chosen the lives and experiences that they did. The things that we feel are unpleasant and awful from the point of view of our base, physical existence, are generally viewed by your higher self as necessary for greater happiness and learning.
  • Nothing is an accident. A lot of oracles focus heavily on the positive and this creates a problem for people when their lives begin to manifest the negative aspects of vibrational patterns. If it’s good, we believe it’s meant to be. If it’s bad, we believe we’ve incurred some sort of divine wrath. Not you, not your name, not the time you were born, not the circumstances of your life, not the culture or country you were born into – none of it is an accident. Your friends, parents, enemies, lovers, teachers, bullies, neighbors, muggers, thieves – none of it is an accident. We often have a hard time accepting this because we don’t want to deal with negative things. It is damned difficult to believe that we would set ourselves up for an abusive marriage, for example, or for a short, miserable life as a starving baby. Our soul knows what it needs in each lifetime to learn and grow and we make those agreements with those around us to help us on our path because their role in our lives is also part of important experiences in their life. It doesn’t always means that those agreements are pleasant or nice in any way. Sometimes they downright suck – sometimes your soul mate is there to break your heart and stomp all over it, or to cut you off in traffic so that you end up wrapped around a telephone pole. You don’t have to like these agreements, or agree with them in any way, but these things have happened to you (or will happen to you) and your reaction to them becomes part of who you are.
  • We are never alone on the journey. Whether you want to call them spirit guides, angels, ancestral spirits, shadows, spiritual companions, ascended masters – whatever, call them what you want. They are there. Some of us reach out to them specifically through meditation or projection. Most of us, once we become fully attuned to the reality of physical existence, never know our unseen companions but they are there. We in the West are especially skeptical of this and do not come from a culture that teaches or allows for positive contact with the unseen realms of existence. This awareness can be regained but it takes work to overcome the mental filters that many of us have. It starts by paying attention to the forces at work in our lives, to our dreams, and to those little voices or urges that seem to happen at just the right time. The map of consciousness that you choose can be helpful, provided it isn’t dogmatic or negative in its regard to human interaction with spirit. If it is, then I highly suggest getting a new map.
  • We are not blank slates. When my son was born, one relative suggested that he was mindless, and “like a little animal” in that little animals must be empty. I used to watch him make eye contact with who knows what, while he sat in his little baby carrier, babbling away and making hand gestures. When he was three, he told me that he liked to visit the baby room at day care because he could talk to the babies about heaven, because he was starting to forget and this made him sad. He would look up at me with big blue eyes and smile, showing his little dimples and say “Mommy? Do you remember when I was big and you were little? You would sit on my lap and I would play the spoons for you.” (my grandfather Tom played the spoons for me a couple of times when I was small.) or “Do you remember when we were married? I made you those (pointing to a French pastry we were sharing at a sidewalk cafe in Halifax one summer afternoon) every day and you always said that’s why you married me.” Many esoteric sciences offer a peek into past lives so that we can see the patterns and arrangements that we have had with those in our lives because quite often we have always been there for each other, playing out eternal cycles.

The Jupiter-Uranus Trine

I don’t normally write too much about astrology but this is too good to keep to myself and I believe we should all take advantage of the energy because it won’t be coming back until 2019.

Expansive and benevolent Jupiter is trine Uranus, the radical artista. Not only are they in a golden trine ( 120 degree angle) but they are both in fire signs. Jupiter is in passionate, dramatic Leo and Uranus is in independent moving and shaking Aries.

What does this mean to you exactly?

It means that you totally need to keep your eyeballs open for windows of opportunity that give you a break from the ordinary. It also means that now is a pretty good time to create those windows as well. Earlier this year Jupiter was trine Uranus, in the beginning of March, but he was retrograde so things were pretty low-key. If you started anything then and it seemed to come to a grinding halt, now is a good time to pick up where you left off and get rolling again.

This is your golden key to the city, the chance to break free from confinement and shake things up a lot in a way that benefits you.

I just left an “Action Point” in my Personal Year (numerology) when I felt compelled to do something in regards to feeling held back in life and feeling the resulting  tense energy that one feels during this point in their year cycle. I knew this trine was coming so I’ve been putting this energy to good use. It’s too early to tell what is going to happen but I’m feeling very optimistic.

You’ve got just a few more days to take advantage of this amazing energy.

Do it, do it, do it!!!!

Maps of consciousness

“Maps of consciousness” is a phrase that is being thrown around all over the flaky new age place.

So aside from this phrase being used as a way to sound wordier than thou, what exactly does it mean?

A map of consciousness is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a map, first and foremost. Maps prevent us from going around in circles, getting lost in the woods, and banging into trees. Unless you’re using GPS, in which case you better make sure you download the latest map or you may find yourself in the middle of a swamp scratching your head. Maps of consciousness are those things offered by belief systems, esoterica, mystical teachings, schools of psychological thought, lifestyle concepts, and oracle tools such as astrology, numerology, runes, Tarot, bones, I Ching, and others. These maps are not static and they change depending on the time and culture in which they are used.

Obviously the map of consciousness that I am using here is numerology. Once the basic energies of numbers are learned and internalized, it becomes easy to see their vibrations at play in our lives. These maps give us information about our strengths and weaknesses. They don’t exactly lay out the path for us, but they help guide us with useful signposts along the way.

Your journey will be shaped by your attitude. The qualities of numbers, like planets, operate on a spectrum from really super fabulous to downright shitty. If you find that your Life Path number makes no sense to you at all, or that you can only relate to the negative parts, bear in mind that your Life Path shows you who you can become as a result of your journey. You can become a supercharged artist that changes the way people think about the world through your work in film or you can become an indecisive self-hating pain in the arse who never leaves the coffee shop because he is afraid of rejection. It’s totally up to you – the entire spectrum of energy is there for you to draw from.

Your journey in life may also take you down a well-worn path, experienced by many others. Don’t beat yourself up or be disappointed if this occurs. A lot of people start using maps of consciousness to fulfill some very physical, ego-based desires and then come up frustrated when they don’t become rich and famous, and they’re not happy with anything in front of them. We can’t all be icons in every lifetime. The trick is to remember that no one will experience that life exactly the same way that you do because no one will have in exactly the same energy that you do. We all have our place in the Universe and not one of us is more valuable than the other. If the world were comprised entirely of high energy famous people, who would stand out and inspire? They need us as much as we need them. We are all part of the same team, our energy overlapping and merging with each other constantly, throughout time and space.

When we use a map of consciousness to work on our own path, we can find contentment faster than if we covet someone else’s life. Our trip is intensely personal and it will change as time circles outward. Very, very few of us get a straight line from A to B with little in between. Most of us will get a confusing trip around the mulberry bush that goes here, there, and everywhere, moving back on itself, then jumping forward, then turning left, then going nowhere for a while, then doing something else. As you travel through the Universe, it changes you and you change it. This is living and you should get to it 🙂

Using numerology in daily living

Esoteric systems show us a different way to look at the world around us. Numerology teaches us to look at how the vibrations of numbers play out in our everyday lives. Perhaps you are seeing a certain number everywhere you go.  In 2009, a coworker confided in me that she saw 444 all the time. She awoke at 4:44am every morning without fail, at work she would always look up at the clock right at 4:44pm, her orders were totalling up to $4.44 at the coffee shop – it was both amusing and irritating to her. She knew I “did something” with numbers so she asked, because she really wanted to make it stop. Four is the number of hearth and home. Multiple 4s repeating all the time are the Universe’s way of telling you to slow down and pay attention to issues relating to family and friends. We talked for a bit and I ascertained that her health was good, she wasn’t up to her eyeballs in family drama, and she hadn’t made any sparkly new friends that lit her up like a Christmas tree (multiple 4s can also show themselves when soul mates appear).

Then she told me that she was adopted. She had known this for some time, but recently – just before she started seeing all these 4s – she’d come across some information regarding her birth mother. In fact, she could create the opportunity to meet this woman. She was struggling to process all of this and was agonizing over making that call.

Aaaaaahh!!!!

Clearly the soul agreement between my coworker and her birth mother was not yet fulfilled. I urged her to consider that if not the Universe, then her own unconscious mind, was telling her through the constant repetition of the number four to make contact. It was time to fulfill the soul agreement between these two soul mates so that everyone concerned could move on in life. Why else would this information be dropped into her lap unexpectedly?

After a few more days spent fretting, my coworker made the call and reconnected with her birth mother. I have no idea what the outcome of this was, beyond her letting me know that as soon as she did this, the constant display of the number four stopped.

Numbers, planets, stars, runes, colours – these things all spring to life when we begin to pay attention to them. Usually it is more subtle than what I related above but sometimes the Universe is hip to the fact that some people need to be hit over the head before they will pay attention, and it proceeds accordingly. Numbers lay out basic patterns that help us to make sense of our lives. When you have an awareness of them, you can start to use that energy to make positive change in your life. For others this awareness may come through a different set of symbols (some people are more attracted to playing cards or Tarot cards, for example) but the idea is the same.

When I was feeling caged in and frustrated by absolutely everything in my little universe, I started seeing ads in my browser for trips abroad, clients started telling me about places they were going, I would open up magazines and the pages would fall open to articles about living or working in other countries. This is the energy of my 5 Life Path in action, telling me that it is time to get back on the path, that the M-F 9-5 is not for me. Since I don’t believe in sitting around waiting for things to happen (also a 5 Life Path trait) I started creating my own opportunities for travel: a quick road trip to Edmonton, another little one down to Fargo, a longer one down to Omaha and Kansas City. Later this fall I will be traveling to London and when finances allow, I will be returning to Qatar. I am not worrying about the money to afford all this – the money will be there. I know this from experience – when I am on the path, the floodgates open up relative to my needs and it is always taken care of.

Numerology helps us to answer questions about our physical existence (career, finances, home, travel, romance) and questions about our spiritual existence (“Why am I here?”, “Why does this life feel like such a struggle?”) It helps us to put our energy in perspective and to live our lives in the best way possible.

 

Mindfulness

Just be in the moment

We hear this term A LOT these days. A few years ago, the term “mindfulness” was rarely heard and now it’s everywhere. Kabat-Zinn, a teacher of mindfulness meditation says that it is the gentle effort to continuously present with an experience.

It is the practice of intentionally focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting what is being experienced without judgement. It is stopping to smell the roses. The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism. Most religions, though, involve some sort of meditative practice that shifts your thoughts away from daily worries to attention to the moment.

The Huffington Post published an article a while back, outlining several benefits of mindfulness training.

How mindfulness can help you

People who practice mindfulness are generally less likely to become mired down in worries about a future that has yet to manifest or regret the past. People who practice mindfulness are also less preoccupied with notions of success and self-esteem. Unlike a lot of others, they are not normally motivated by fear.

Physically, mindfulness techniques have been employed by mainstream health care professionals to treat things such as stress, heart disease, hypertension, and sleep disorders. Mental conditions that have been helped with mindfulness training include depression, substance abuse, and anxiety.

Mindfulness training can help an individual to accept something that is happening to them – especially something painful – as opposed to avoiding something. We all know that things only get worse when we seek to avoid them. Mindfulness helps to deal with things head on.

Basic mindfulness techniques

Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. A good technique is called “Box Breathing”. Inhale to a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale to a count of 4, and hold for 4. Allow thoughts to enter and leave without judgement. Your focus should be on your breathing.

Notice your body and how it feels. Allow sensations such as itches to occur without judgement. Let them pass. You can do this throughout the day by taking a few minutes to focus on different body parts.

Accept emotions as they occur, without judgement. If you are angry, allow yourself a few moments to experience anger. Know what it is, give it a name, but don’t belittle yourself or try to explain to yourself why you are angry. Just know that this emotion will pass and let it leave your body as quickly as it came.

Stay with things

Accepting joy is easy. Accepting an itch is easy. Accepting anger, fear, joint pain, a headache, or the craving for a drink is not so easy. With practice, though, your self awareness expands and with that a greater acceptance of the depth and breadth of your life’s experiences. When your mind starts to wander, simply redirect it back to breathing. Don’t worry if you can’t do this all the time or right away. It takes practice to still the inner chatter within ourselves and we can have a thousand starts. When this happens, simply dust yourself off, tell your inner critic to get knotted, and focus on your breathing.

Your laughter looks like purple fireworks

image from courses.evanbradley.net

image from courses.evanbradley.net

It’s Autism Awareness Month and although I am not Autistic, I am technically on the spectrum, having ADD and Synaesthesia. So in support of greater awareness, I am making a little post here about what it’s like to have Synaesthesia. I’m sure you’re all aware of ADD/ADHD 🙂

What it is: Synaesthesia is a neurological condition. For those of us who have it, our brains make what researchers consider to be “inappropriate correspondences” between things. For example, maybe some folks think that the number 7 is sky blue and friendly. There are different forms of synaesthesia. I have chromesthesia. When I hear sounds, I see colours. There is actually more to my synaesthesia than just this, but chromesthesia is the most commonly known one.

  1. We aren’t crazy. It’s hard to tell people that you see the colour green or smell hydraulic fluid when the next door neighbor speaks and not come off as more than a little bit strange. Or that you taste grapefruit in your mouth when you smell a daisy. When I was small, my favourite things to do were drawing and colouring. I especially loved making coloured patches on paper with my crayons and then covering it with black, and etching the drawing out of that. The swirls of changing colours in the lines of my drawing reminded me of the colour displays that I saw constantly. Although I expressed my synaesthesia through art while growing up, I never mentioned it directly. I just assumed that everyone saw this way. In junior high I learned that I was unique when I made a remark about the pink cloud that appeared when my science teacher spoke. One of my classmates looked at me and said “Are you on fucking mushrooms?” A week later I took a chance and asked a friend if she could see the noises that the birds were making. “Ummm, Nicole, you can’t see noises. God you’re weird sometimes.” Oooookay. Shutting up now.
  2. We aren’t suffering. I hate hearing that. I don’t “suffer” from anything. I’m quite happy. Yes, it’s overwhelming sometimes, but I can assure you that I am in no way suffering. It took me a while to accept this, but I’m quite pleased with who I am. I’ve only ever known one other synaesthete, but I’m pretty certain that the bulk of us are not suffering. I enjoy having an enhanced sense of perception. I was kind of hoping that my son would have it, since his biological father is the only other synaesthete that I’ve ever known, but apparently two synaesthetes don’t make little synaesthetes. UPDATE: We DID make a little synaesthete!! I brought this blog post up to my son today (April 25th) and I mentioned the skin sensations. It seems the doctor focused on things like numbers and colours. He feels like he’s getting a massage when certain people speak to him. Joy!! He’s not a little guy for those who might wonder. He’s a 20 year old rugby playing hairstylist.
  3. We can get overwhelmed easily. For me, a conversation, music, noises in general produce a full-throttle sensory experience. Your voice produces colours. I will smell it and taste it as well. Your conversation will make my skin tingle like someone is spreading baby powder on me. For me, music intensifies everything. In small scale settings this is quite manageable. However, big events like trade shows and awards dinners, or places like the mall at Christmastime or Sunday afternoon at Costco – hundreds of people giving me the same experience that a few of you do – not so shit hot. Likewise for dance clubs and techno bars. Fifteen minutes in a crowded dance bar gets me more than a little wound up. I’m an introvert by necessity. I require solitude to decompress from the overstimulation. When I was little I was written off as being overly emotional because no one knew what was going on. My quality of life does not suffer – I’m not a bar person, thankfully, and I get my groceries on Monday morning when it’s just me and the old ladies. Fire drills? Road work? Don’t get me started. I make adjustments for things because I know my limitations.
  4. We are not stereotypes. It is commonly believed that all synaesthetes are autistic/ADHD, extremely artistic, left handed, and terrible at math. This is not true…..says the left-handed fibre artist with ADD who barely made it through math. But it’s not true!!! According to researchers there are right handed, non-creative individuals who don’t pick butterflies out of the air, got straight A’s in math, AND they are synaesthetes, too. They insist on this. OK?
  5. We may have some strange coping methods. Don’t judge. I find the greatest tranquility comes from military style physical training and meditation. Many of us discover in adolescence that alcohol can make synaesthesia go away temporarily – or at the very least become dull. BUT becoming an alcoholic is not a coping strategy that I recommend. At the end of the day, after being bombarded with a truckload of sensory information, I put on my ear buds and allow myself about 30 minutes of full on immersion. I fall into lala land with a playlist of artists whose work I find helps me to unwind. I listen to a lot of Max Richter, Anna Von Hausswolff, Olafur Arnalds, and Sebastian Bach. My favourite, hands down. is Sebastian. Most of you know who he is. His voice flows like water in the air. If you’re only familiar with his work in heavy metal then you’re missing out. Max Richter’s work is used in a lot of movies. You probably know his music without realizing it. My favourite album is currently the Disconnect soundtrack. Anna Von Hausswolff is absolutely brilliant. I like to play her a lot when I’m designing crochet pieces. Her songs hang in the air like the Northern Lights. If she ever comes to Winnipeg, I am so camping out for tickets. Olafur Arnalds I’ve only discovered recently, but the music of his that I have on my phone causes me to see snow falling and to smell cinnamon rolls. <– I don’t get to pick what I experience but damn, you have to love a man whose music makes you smell baked goods!!

Why we need hobbies

Ravenshawl

Ravenshawl

I was reading something once, years ago, I *think* written in a book by Leslie Edgerton (“Your Clients and You”) about the folks in my trade (cosmetology) being the hardest partiers on the trade show circuit. I don’t doubt this for an instant, having been in the industry now for 18 years. We have a lot of crapulence to let go of at the end of the day. In this regard we are no different then other creative fields like film and music.

Personally, I crochet. My mother taught me how to knit and crochet when I was a child. I picked it up again as an adult when I needed a way to pass the long winters in Manitoba. When I sit down with my hooks and yarn and start designing something, I am focused like a laser beam for hours. Ideas flow and I can let go mentally and physically. In my case it has started turning into a second career over the years because I now sell my designs.

When we focus on something that is relaxing and interesting to us, we enter what is known as an alpha brain wave state. This is the state that people enter into when they meditate and/or exercise. Not only does this help us to be less irritating to those around us by way of destressing, this deep focus on something not related to work helps to create new neural pathways. (You will get sick of hearing me talk about your brain, but I do not care.) These information highways in our brain allow us to see things differently and ultimately will provide us with a different way of thinking in all areas of our lives.

Focused minds also think more creatively because the alpha brain wave state allows inspiration in. We have access to levels of intuition closed off to us during less mindful, scattered moments. Although we are a society that is focused on multitasking, unitasking – focusing on ONE THING ONLY – is much healthier. Multitasking may be socially acceptable and desired in the workplace but it is unhealthy and contributes to the disconnect that many of us feel.

Having a hobby also gives you something interesting to talk about. The more you do, the more interesting you become. Interesting people are attractive people. They are folks whose energy is buzzing because they are experiencing things, not sitting on their asses in front of a television set or laptop wasting their life watching other people live. When you have things to do, you change and grow as an individual. If you are currently stagnating professionally, try taking a cooking class or painting class, or join a sports team – but do something away from work. See how you are in a few weeks. You probably won’t hate your place in the universe like you did when you weren’t doing anything for yourself.

Doing something in your spare time also gets you out there meeting new people. Whether it’s strangers in the yarn aisle at Michael’s, or new team mates in the beer league hockey team, you are interacting with people in a different way. We spend a huge chunk of our lives at work and while we may be the professionals with all the knowledge and talent, ultimately we are there to serve the public and make people happy. After a while this can wear on you. Nobody wants to be servile all the time, especially during stressful times of the year in one’s industry. It’s nice to be able to make yourself happy and enjoy new accomplishments in an environment where you have more control over your level of interaction than you do at work. You may have to make nice with a client who is  a colossal asshole because their appointment pays your bills, but you don’t have to be nice to the prissy bitch in the book club. In fact, you don’t have to talk to her at all. You can surround yourself with people that you want to be around or you can even be by yourself.

Having a hobby can also open up doors to new opportunities. This  year I am submitting several of my Tunisian crochet designs to magazines. I don’t know if they’ll be accepted but my work has been well received in the TC community for a few years now so I have my fingers crossed. In fact, a lot of the current wave of knit and crochet designers are not professionally trained designers at all – they’re people just like me who enjoyed something and turned it into a second or third career, or side gig. You see this in other crafting fields like scrapbooking, candlemaking, art journaling, and soapmaking, too. I wouldn’t take up a hobby specifically to make money because then it will feel just like…..ugh…..work…..but when it’s enjoyable AND you can pay the bills – well that’s a whole new ball game, now isn’t it?

Ultimately, having a hobby is just plain FUN. It is awesome to feel like a little kid again, holding up your crooked scarf or sort-of-puffy pastries that you made, all by yourself, to show off to your friends and family. Everyone needs to have fun just for its own sake 🙂

 

Bad behaviours that keep creative professionals stuck at go

We all need a plan. amazon.com

We all need a plan. amazon.com

This post was inspired by a great little free ebook by Owen, over at Marketing Tools For Artists. When I read what he had to say I got excited because I’ve been trying to figure out how to say this, and his words gave me a jumping point. Even though this ebook may not be geared towards your industry, it’s worth a read, anyway. 

I love what I do!! I heart divination in a big huge way, since I was a teenager.  Even when I have veered off into other fields, I have always brought divination with me. My salon clients know that they can ask me the occasional question. I use the principles of sacred geometry and runes in my mandalas and other crochet creations. I love to travel and being self-employed is important in that regard because if I worked for someone else I might not have the freedom to see the world. I love that I can be my creative artsy-fartsy self all the live long day and not get held to the same standard of boring that others are. I love that not stuck in an office processing documents because although that may be heavenly to some, it’s medieval torture to me. I love that my income potential is unlimited, I love that I’m in an environment hand-tailored for left brained freaky people such as myself, an environment that allows me to succeed in a predominantly right-brained culture – because all you logical people that think you rule the world, you need me to help you figure out the bumps in the road – oh yes, people would fall over if they knew how many big business decisions are made using oracle systems like astrology and numerology.

 

That’s right, folks, world domination one reading at a time.

BUT

Big but…..

A lot of us don’t stay at this very long. In fact, I can guarantee that most of the students I taught in aren’t doing this right now. This makes me sad – it really, really does – I know people say that all the time “That makes me sad”, but I’m telling you the truth. I know that not all of us will be raving successes in the holistic field, but surely more of us could be doing better. Because I genuinely hate to see people throw away a perfectly good opportunity, I have thought long and hard about why this could be. I have come up with a list of what I believe are behaviours that need to change among artsy-fartsy folks in many fields:

  1. Not sticking to a specific method and/or getting to know a system really well. Hand in hand with this is not taking the time to master a technique. If you mix oracles and consistently produce poor readings then stop doing that!! I’ve ranted about this before, but if you’re going to invest in learning divination, then take the time out to get to know the system you are using. Don’t start filling gaps with other tools. Some divinatory systems are better than others for certain types of exploration but you won’t know this if you keep flitting around. This means that some things just won’t work together no matter how much you try to force them. If you constantly go system hopping looking for the next shiny oracle to make your readings easier, you will deny yourself the opportunity to really grow and develop your skill set. Explore a divinatory system to its fullest and exploit the hell out of it before you decide to throw your cards/stones/sticks into the Closet of Shame.
  2. Not developing a solid routine. Creative chaos is a beautiful thing that brings a tear to my eye, but underneath that spread out mess of crystals, cards, random papers with inspired writing scribbled on them has to be an underlying process to keep you organized and on track. Your divinatory process will go to hell quickly and not manifest in brilliance without a plan. This is true of anything that you do, whether it is readings, healings, magic, or even drywalling. Half-assery helps no one.
  3. Trying to please everyone. Creative fields attract a lot of heart-centred people pleasers that end up getting burned out and bitter quickly. You can’t please everyone and sooner or later you will learn that lesson. Don’t take it personally when it happens, although you probably will. I’ll be here for hugs when you need them and a kind push back into the frying pan. Spend some quality time really thinking about who your ideal client is and then work your ass off to attract that client. Do your best for everyone, but be selective when building your client base. You don’t have to take everyone and do everything.
  4. Not paying enough attention to the business end of things. In your first year or two of your fabulously cool magical endeavours take every fun artsy-fartsy seminar. Go to New Age expos to watch well known witches and other ethereal folks do fabulous things. Knock yourself out. At some point you will figure out that the foofoo classes are all the same, regardless of the focus of your study. You don’t need to watch every witch cast every spell. You don’t need to see a hundred different demonstrations on techniques that you already know how to do. Develop your own style and start setting aside your professional development budget for seminars and classes on things like: marketing, payroll, labour laws, understanding client behaviour, blogging/social media, business planning – things that will enhance your career education and make your foundation that much more solid. There’s no point to giving a brilliant Tarot reading if you don’t know how to promote yourself. If you build it, they won’t come if they don’t know.
  5. Not charging properly. Get over your hangups NOW about making money. This one really sticks in my craw because I get really tired of seeing people complain about not making money, but then not charging what they’re worth. Stop being emotional about your client’s money. If s/he is there for an appointment, they can afford you.
  6. For the love of all that is glittery and sacred – and I’m squinting right at you sweet, sweet pagan folk – stop taking things out in trade for crap that doesn’t benefit you. You will start to feel very, very resentful after a while, “OMG here comes Raven AHHHGAIN. I bet she wants a reading and I bet she’s going to offer to pay me in fucking candles AHHHGAIN.” You are every bit as entitled as anyone else in this world to receive useful payment for services rendered. Sometimes it’s nice to take things out in trade but if you don’t draw clear boundaries around this you’ll end up with a closet full of magic beans and candles, and no rent money in the cookie jar.
  7. Having unrealistic expectations about their path to success. Having intuitive talent is only a small part of this. I will say this until I am blue in the face: the most successful of us are NOT the most talented. The most successful professionals in any field are the ones who can hustle and get their names out there and keep them out there. Quite often, their work is no better than anyone else’s, and in some cases it’s full of little mistakes once you start looking closely. The difference between those of us who become well known and those of us who don’t is that whether they are conscious of it or not, industry celebrities use exposure as a tool to keep moving forward, not as a means to an end. blogs, magazine interviews, YouTube channels, Instagram pages – these are all tools and the more you acquire, the harder you have to work to stay relevant. It’s also important to bear in mind that exposure exposes you – all of you – it opens your work and life up to praise and criticism.
  8. Before you hit the road to embark on your (hopefully) successful career path, give some thought to what being successful actually means to you. Is it peer recognition? Awards? Having a huge client base? Being able to go to Mexico every year? Owning a home? Getting a column in a magazine? Being on a TV show? I never thought of myself as successful until someone in the industry told me that they thought I was, a few years ago. As soon as I started to shift my perception of what success was, to something that actually suited me, things changed and suddenly the universe became a far less threatening place.
  9. Not taking time to understand client needs. If you’re like most of us in heart-centred fields, you take in-person clients and that constitutes the bulk of your income. It’s a good idea to put the bulk of your energy into the place that pays you the most. For most of us, the clients pay our bills, not the strangers clicking the hearts on Instagram. Communication is a big part of understanding client needs. This part may not apply to you, depending on what field you are in, but the next time you’re doling out advice about their kids or marriage, stop for a moment and ask them what they want from you, too. This is powerful because most of your clients are women and most women are socialized to put their needs aside.
  10. Not having a plan. For years I winged it and for years I was frustrated and it sucked to be me. Business plans are not just for people who want to open a business. They are for employees, too. They are for file clerks, receptionists, hairstyling assistants, actors, teachers, Tarot readers, estheticians, sculptors, Reiki Masters, and ditch diggers, too. They can be as complex or as simple as you want to make them. What a business plan does is allows you to plan out your future in nice little bites that don’t seem quite so intimidating once you map it all out. An ideal starting point for those of us in this industry is the Right Brained Business Plan, by Jennifer Lee. This book makes business planning fun and sparkly, for those of us who are more about flinging glitter than we are about charts and columns. A good business plan sets out a yearly goal (for example: being 100% booked) and then quarterly goals for that year (for example: perfecting one type of reading every quarter), followed by monthly goals (for example: write an email newsletter to your clients every month, or film a relevant YouTube video) and then weekly goals (for example: order supplies every Monday, sit down and update client data files with info that may have been missed, call back the ones who haven’t seen you in a while), and daily goals (for example: dust the work area before opening, straighten up the photographs and paintings on the walls, capture some data on every client that comes to see you, if you have social media then spend 20 minutes every day engaging with your followers). These are all things that will work together to get you to being 100% booked and if you create a plan and follow it daily, you will see success.

Being creative is amazing and wonderful AND hella farking frustrating, but before you write off your industry and go for the day job you should give it one more, ORGANIZED try 🙂