Month: August 2012

10 Things for which I am Grateful

This is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s book the Prosperous Heart.

I am grateful for

  1. the loving and generally amused support of my partner, Mike. He is 100% behind my pursuit of a career as a writer, and he accepts that there’s so much more to me than one thing – that I am not ONLY a Pagan, or only a priestess, or only a fatshion blogger, or only a perfume crafter, or only a dancer, or only a sci-fi fan. That I need all these elements in my life and a few more not always listed to feel as close to fulfilled as any person can.
  2. for my friends Chelo and Jondel. I don’t forget about either of them, and they were quite vocal in their support of me as a writer when graduate school was obviously becoming a soul-killing exercise.
  3. for the odd thing inside me that makes me reach out to those who are not visibly “my own.” My tribe is a hidden one, and much more colorful, noisy, and likely to challenge social norms – even norms held to by other Pagans – than some other tribes out there.
  4. for my beautiful, big, fat, muscular and fatty linebacker-on-a-woman’s body. It’s where my pleasure lives. I need my body to have sex and dance, my two favorite things in the world (writing is a physical necessity.) I suppose I need to change that line about the linebacker – there are women who play professional American football now, so there are women linebackers. And this is awesome.
  5. for another abstract thing within me that allowed me to mostly reject the expectations of my family. DAR meetings are boring and filled with female social violence. Ball State had an appalling sexual assault rate in the 90s. Despite enormous familial pressure coupled with their lying to my face about pressuring me, I was still able to say no, and weather the temper tantrums and what amounted to a murder attempt that followed. I’m not sure my subconscious IS a child – I was not consciously aware of why I was making these choices until years later, and now that I am, I have to wonder if there’s a grownup running around in that part of my brain who really, really looks out for me.
  6. for finding the shamanic dance group. I feel like this fills something I have yearned for since I first found out how good it feels to just let loose and dance as a teenager. Apparently there’s a radical change coming, and hopefully it’s one a)I can afford to participate in, since the local 5 Rhythms workshop is still out of my financial reach, and b)that maybe I can get to more easily in the winter.
  7. for Lisa, who has been part of my life and a career lifeline for wow, 14 years? Her sanity, support, and willingness to share her experiences has made the tough things I’ve faced over the years more bearable.
  8. for finding an immunologist who actually gives a shit that I spend 250 – 340 days a year in pain at varying degrees of low-level noise to out-and-out crippling, and is treating the disease and not the fatness.
  9. for figuring out the key to not going batshit crazy on steroids is to not eat sugar and to keep my cortisol down.
  10. for the Artist’s Way. I knew I was blocked, but I didn’t know how badly or why. I realize I’m dealing with a lot of pain, and since Dad died revisiting pain I had thought was resolved, but new bad behavior ripped open new wounds for me. That’s OK – thanks to this path I’m dealing with it as it happens. I’m also judging my work less and making better things because of it.
  11. Bonus: I got to meet A. while visiting with friends in the Smoky mountains. It was a wonderful experience, and I was happy to be there to get to know her, and I hope that what I shared with her will actually work for her in her life.

Filed under: Prosperous Heart

Prosperous Heart: Three Circumstances in which I Have Taken a Risk

  1. Moving to Minnesota. While the state is really, really hard on its outsiders, it was still far better than being surrounded by people who were so eager to get control of me that they were plotting to take away every possible adult choice and right I had, while telling people it was “my choice” and explaining how I felt about things that they a)had either never asked me how I felt about or b)had asked me about, and then declared I felt a way about it that I most certainly didn’t. For example, there is no circumstance in which I could possibly be jealous of my sister – her life is exactly what I strive to avoid – it’s not just quiet desperation, it’s “be silent and lead by example” meaning of course “be silent and don’t lead,” while dressing like crap, eating crap, and being unable to manage the finances necessary to keep basic cable on. Living here and learning from the local feminists gave me the courage to tell my mother I’d call the police if she ever hit me again – and that was the only thing that stopped her. Minnesota has been very, very hard on me over the years – but it is still far preferable to what would have happened if I’d stayed within a day’s drive of my family.
  2. Every time I share a poem or fictional story I’ve written, it’s a risk. I was left feeling like a talentless hack thanks to a)my sister choosing the most cutting thing she could say about anything I wrote when she managed to grab it out of my hands (now explained by her never trying to actually publish ever, while still talking about it like it has meaning to her) and b)the rather rough-trod approach of an MFA program where most of the students kept to a really pretentious aesthetic. In my sister’s case, her greatest fear was that I would surpass her – she was the sexy ingenue, and even teachers would comment about how they expected her to be whatever it is Diablo Cody has become but that I might be a good editor for her. That I have the writing practice probably doesn’t parse with those people, and when I commit, I get the recognition on a national scale that my sister got locally without even really writing. As to the MFA program, it didn’t help that my background wasn’t literature, it was journalism, and while I enjoy reading I fucking HATE lit programs and what they do to the personalities of lit students. I’d like those programs more if they insisted that for every book read, the lit student had to go out and teach inner city school kids how to read as a program requirement – SOMETHING to get them grounded and to understand that being literate as they are taught in the program is an aspect of deep, deep privilege that actually separates them from society and seriously reduces their ability to connect to those outside their socioeconomic class of birth. I suspect most of the authors read in those programs feel the same way I do about it.
  3. Choosing to trust Mike and commit to writing full time. It was so much of a risk that I didn’t genuinely commit to full time writing until after I started the artist’s way – the perfume business was a way I came up with of preventing that full-time writing. (I love perfume, but it’s best contained to my personal religious practice.)  It’s still a scary commitment to me, and I chafe at the dependent situation I’m in – clearly that’s not Mike’s fault, that’s my family’s. Dependence to my mind still equals a situation where someone will abuse me or one where I am guaranteed to be let down in the moments I genuinely need help, and while Mike and I have had some issues with the male entitlement he was raised with (not consciously, for the most part, thank the Gods and that Jesus fellow,) I’m still safer here. I’m also on the long game, and I’m a very, very patient woman. I will have independence again – but I have to earn it the way I’m earning it now, and it has to take time because clearly I needed to at least express and address the wounds left by decades of mistreatment.

Filed under: Prosperous Heart

The Prosperous Heart: One Passionate Interest I have explored fully

One passionate interest I have explored fully… the occult. I always found it fascinating, even in high school, but in college it really grabbed my attention and has been something I’ve stayed engaged with ever since. So engaged that I’ve deliberately introduced non-Pagans into my life and pursued a few non-Pagan interests to balance myself out, as I realized how very much over-engagement produces tunnel vision. Pagans with similar views show up at these things, more often than not.

It’s still something I love – it has everything that speaks to me: herbalism/botany, poetry and active encouragement of creative thought (in the healthy sectors, anyway,) myth, lore – and again, in the healthy sectors, you are encouraged to try things even if they might fail. That last part is the real reason so much of the world is terrified of all occultism. It’s why there’s so much artwork that intersects with the occult, too. Art is a magical practice, a healing session, and way of alchemizing fresh conversations.

As to another person so engaged, I can’t think of anyone I know who is living. Maybe Da Vinci – he was the kind of guy who liked to try things, and didn’t feel overly committed to one discipline to the exclusion of others. He’s been “speaking” to me a lot lately, and I think I should read up on him – I am of the new generation of “more than one thing” and only the fearful and unimaginative believe that a person should limit themselves to one interest only.

 

 

Filed under: Prosperous Heart

Isaac Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame

If I had to pick the single most valuable contribution Isaac Bonewits (RIP) made to Pagan culture, it was his Cult Danger Evaluation frame. I’m actually a bit stunned how few of the newer Pagans actually heard of it – maybe I’m rare in that I read every single appendix notation made in Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon. It seems like it’s been a bit forgotten lately, which is a shame -because it’s a high quality reality check every coven, Pagan org, or vehicle of any other religion. I used it as a foundation for academic work years ago, and it still holds up. In fact, I should file it away for the next time I have real students (it does happen from time to time.)

Check it out, and check your own religious group against it if you’re in one. It might be worth rechecking once a year – it could be a real eye-opener.

English: Author and Druidic priest Isaac Bonew...
English: Author and Druidic priest Isaac Bonewits at the 2004 Pagan Pride celebration in Battery Park, New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Prosperous Heart: 5 Acts of God

The purpose behind this exercise to recognize when Good Orderly Direction/Divine energy manifests itself in my life. I’m a priestess, I’m told over and over (though the religion part seems to be secondary/unimportant.) So Divine Direction shows up a lot.

It may not always show up for me – I receive for other people far more than I receive for myself. This isn’t because things aren’t given, it’s because there are a host of situations inner and outer that cause me not to hear/recognize what I’ve received. I suspect that’s how it is for most people.

Acts of G.O.D on my behalf:

The Louvre

  1. Recently, that there was no one around when I almost drove into that retaining wall on 35W. Mike doesn’t believe that our new tires are faulty, so maybe they’re just out to get me whenever it rains!
  2. The timing – when my ex bailed on me before I moved out to Minnesota and my family “put their foot down” and refused to help me move because it was “too far away” (too far from where they could abuse me) a series of circumstances came together to get me away from the abusive people in my life. Someone appeared who was willing to take me out there. There were serious problems in my relationship with the person that took me out there, and I think that was exactly the right goodbye for us. I’m still horrified and disgusted at my family’s reaction to my moving to Minnesota. I was legally an adult, and one they did not support. Moving to a different country shouldn’t have been an issue, let alone to another state. I don’t know where the hell both my mother and father got the idea they could forbid me to do things with my own life after I turned 18, especially since they didn’t support me financially or emotionally. I certainly wasn’t going to grant them that authority – by 17 I already knew what piss poor parenting I’d gotten from them. G.O.D saw too, and helped me get out.
  3. I don’t play the Lotto much, in part because I kind of suspected my father of gambling addiction. I also don’t generally win at slots. But somehow, whenever I needed money, I’d spend the last dollar in my wallet on a Lotto ticket and get a modest win – maybe $50 here, $75 there, to get me what I needed until my next paycheck arrived.
  4. With the best magic, you never really know if it works because if you did it right, nothing happens. I use a lot of protective magic. I think it’s kept my accidents down to minor incidents.
  5. My first night at Mankato State, a guy appeared as I was walking home from the restaurant I worked at and tried to force me into his car. I screamed and ran – literally into a police officer.

I’m sure there are more recent things – I’ve been praying more to find my soul family, and for my soul family to find me – and there are possibilities arriving, but much of it is still “let’s see where this leads.”

 

Filed under: Prosperous Heart

The Prosperous Heart: Week 3 Check-in

For the time being, I’m dispensing with the long explication intro. First of all, it’s tl;dr. Second, I think enough people (my 10-12 regulars – hi there!) that read me regularly understand that this is part of my extended work on the Artist’s Way. Yes, I do plan to teach it – it is after all the perfect balance of cultivating both creativity and faith, and it has made me a vastly better equipped priestess than any training received elsewhere. Teaching it is years down the road, in part because I want to go through every single book Julia has released first.

So, for the check in – last week I was on vacation in Gatlinburg, so my posts were running on autopilot. I wrote most of them during the second week of August in preparation. I also have been dealing with some serious health issues, because I’ve decided to make another volley at getting actual treatment for the chronic hiving problems. I found an immunologist who actually fully understands and takes the hiving issue seriously. He’s also the first person to try something different. It’s good, but there were side effects, and I may have inherited my father’s GERD, complicating things further. When you’re having a violent reaction to meds, your energy is not best assigned to creative tasks. Around this was also some drama not of my own making that was, alas, my responsibility to deal with – sometimes between sessions of dry-heaving. Under those circumstances, I’m not about to expect perfect conformity to any plan of improvement, financial or otherwise.

I’m also not ever going to eat an entire pack of Slim Jims in one sitting ever, ever again. I hadn’t done it in seven years, and now I remember why.

So, the check in:

Morning Pages: 6 out of 7. I skipped them on them yesterday because we had to drive from Gatlinburg to Atlanta for a noon flight. I spent the entire week struggling with my new intensified reactions to antihistamines and it was enough work to stay alert even after I downed two cans of Red Bull and broke my sugar fast to chow on some cotton candy in hopes of giving myself an energy boost. (Didn’t work, and my stomach really hates pure sugar now.)

Counting: I didn’t count as I should have this week – I went on cash, and the vast majority of my expenses were pre-paid.  Also, it was my vacation, and I wanted a little break. There was also a demoralizing moment when I realized I’d only stashed $2 in my literal piggy bank.

Abstinence: I only really debt to myself, and I did allow myself a reset week. I think I may need to manage that differently. I’m trying to find ways to afford being social again, since this summer’s health commitment took me out of that stream and there’s a degree of do-over that comes with re-entry.

Walking: I did not consciously walk this week because of the vacation thing. There was walking in unbelievably muggy Smoky Mountain weather. Then I felt like I was lazy/sick. Then I remembered that I have a legitimate health thing with humidity, and that beating myself up about something I can’t actually help is really stupid. When I feel physically OK, I’m physically active. If I’m lazy, it’s because my body is protecting itself from allergens.

Time-Outs: I did work in a few meditation sessions as I could. I wound up taking 2-3 naps a day because of the environment change and because I don’t need nearly the volume of antihistamine that I’ve been taking for years, now that I’m on to new sinus stuff.

 

 

Filed under: Prosperous Heart

How same-sex marriage threatens heterosexual marriage

Homosexuality
Homosexuality (Photo credit: Hibr)

This essay began as an examination of modern marriage, in part because while I am married, I’m not a fan of heterosexual marriage as we know it. I adore my partner – and I insist he calls me a “partner” because “wife” seems to be a psychological trigger for all sorts of shenanigans I don’t care to live with. In the process of writing, I got to a possible truth: same sex marriage really DOES threaten heterosexual marriage. This is a thought process piece on how.

Marriage is a social contract. We may elevate it as a monogamous thing in Western society, but ultimately it’s not.  In the most down-home conservative of Christian relationships, any marriage involves not two people – it involves in most cases at minimum six : the bride, the groom, the bride’s parents, and the groom’s parents. (We are assuming in most cases two or more, discounting for death and illness.) Gender and sexuality has nothing to do with it. It’s all about society, and about romanticizing something that only became romantic in the late 1800s, in part so we can ignore some fairly uncomfortable truths about how we see women in society. The history of the wife runs so deep, slave-based, and offensive through the entire concept of that “traditional” marriage that I bridle whenever someone calls me someone’s wife. My partner calls me his “partner.” I only allow him to refer to me as a “wife” around the elderly and otherwise easily breakable.

Protest against a constitutional amendment ban...
Protest against a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage (Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue)

What do I mean that a marriage between a man and a woman involves at minimum six people?

Marriage used to involve conjoining property – on a princess in the tower level – and on the feudal level where most people got sold along with the land that they lived on, it was about finding a maid you could have sex with. Those involved contracts, and sometimes thousands of human beings wound up involved in your marriage.

Now, especially because the wedding industry is an evil and vampiric thing seeding its nightmarish white froth starting at Barbie or even before, it involves at the very least the bride, the groom, and their respective parents.

That right there alone is six people. If you’re a princess being traded in a real estate deal, your husband got you, plus a tract of land, plus a few thousand people. You got him, and a few thousand people if he died. If you were Marie Antoinette, you also wound up married to the most intensely overcrowded family possible, plus drama if you didn’t wear exactly that kerchief or that shoe.

Monogamy is assumed to equal two. But mothers with entitlement issues and no sense that their daughters are not supposed to live repetitions of their own experiences like to carry on with “opinions” about those relationships, and like to “order” grandchildren as if their daughters are babymaking factories born to gratify their grandmotherly egos.  Fathers of course want to feel like something about the whole thing empowers them or highlights their sperm motility or something. I don’t know – there’s a lot of “look at me crap” from the fathers when their daughters get married. A monogamous marriage is still a property arrangement, and I would argue also something of a farming arrangement. “How many foals can that filly pop out?”

Marriage isn’t to your partner, to the parent of your future children. It’s to a stream of social expectations. When you get married, you marry the millions and they get to project their cultural expectations on you, especially if you’re a woman.

We’re a society built on affirming men’s egos, even though ego affirmation tends to produce rotten human beings. Ultimately, a thinking bride should recognize that the “happiest day of her life” is essentially her own funeral – her identity dissolves after that, because the whole of society insists she change her name, but not her husband, and that she assume a load of social roles and duties in addition to whatever the hell it is she already does to earn income. If she put in the ring and then laid down in a coffin while yelling “Get that baby in me, the gestation machine is open until the first soccer practice!” the traditional ceremony would be a lot more truthful.

Men may actually enact some sort of funeral/dead man walking tradition before their weddings. It’s actually the point of a bachelor party – it’s a wake for the man’s “single life.” The irony is that men not only have the fewest expectations dumped on them as the result of marriage, they are often rewarded and empowered for it. Entrapping a women into lifelong servitude gives them life. Married men live longer,  are the second happiest (after unmarried women) and receive all kinds of socio-economic benefits. The only expectation laid on them is that they quit having sex with other people – and often enough, men aren’t even really held to that standard. Yes, men and women both cheat, but men are forgiven for it more easily despite the reality that their less-complex hormones make them just as capable as women of controlling their sexual impulses. Men still don’t face the shaming to the degree that women do for infidelity.

A man and a woman don’t marry each other, not really. They form a union and assume a specific role in society. The romantic concept of marriage with a healthy couple happens long before the marriage. Marriage itself is a unifying of assets, a woman becoming an asset (and an undervalued one at that) and is then presenting the couple to family and friends as representatives of greater society as a union meant to empower the man while dissolving the woman – and women are brainwashed into not seeing that they’re usually being lured to their psychological deaths.

 

Society is a crappy marriage partner, one of the most abusive out there. It needs to change. It needs something that burns the white dress and asks dad to drive the kids to soccer practice. It needs to be slapped around a lot. As it is, I’m going through a socially approved marriage and all I’ve gotten is this lousy health insurance. I love my partner. My relationship to Society? Not so good.

Marriage between people of the same gender makes good ol’ Society turn a bit red and start blustering Bible quotes. The representatives of society that does this don’t actually give a damn that the Bible says it’s wrong – the same passage also bans pork chops, and yet that moralizing doesn’t reach the dinner table. Yet eating pork affects far more people than what goes on behind the closed door of a bedroom. The more conservative the person, the more that person is about rules that makes his/her life convenient and supports his/her sense of entitlement – and the less it is about actual morality. Homophobia/anti-gay sentiment has nothing to do with someone’s “morals.” Real morals are about who is actually harmed, and about understanding that there are some things that are more bad, and some things that are less bad. Let’s face it – for reading Christians, the Bible itself considers homosexuality no worse than eating your bacon at breakfast. There are risks with both. But there are risks with heterosexual sex and undercooking a steak, too.

I operate from the current stereotype that gay couples overtake neighborhoods and raise property values, that they give children homes that would otherwise not get them because most straight couples are quite vain and selfish about their genetic material,  that gay men are often unconscious of how misogynistic they are (being gay does not mean you’re not capable of hate, but being gay in my generation is giving a lot of human beings a free pass on other damaging-to-the-world stuff that needs correction, something I hope the next generation confronts when being gay isn’t an excuse for a straight person’s monstrosity)  and that thanks to same-sex couples, that 1955 Emily Post bullshit is being overturned as the ill-mannered self-congratulation and invasive gender role assignment that it actually is. Gay couples are eager, contributing citizens. Gay people are people, and as a group they’re highly motivated to make the world a better place. Gay isn’t catching, and gay is really, really not a choice – it’s one of the reasons I’m leaving it to the next generation or two to call out the thread of misogynistic bullshit, and ask people of all orientations to knock off the bullshit with the sassy gay friend stereotype. A gay woman shouldn’t be forced between either plaid/or lipstic, and a gay man should only wave his hand around a lot if he wants to.

Gay couples of either gender (or all genders, perhaps queer couples would be the right term since the meanings change?) are one way to upend Society’s abusive marriage contract. Why? Because Society won’t know who to dump the role of “wife” on, and suddenly marriage does become a partnership of equals striving to be healthy together.

The reality of marriage is that it is a business contract. Love is not required to get married. Nobody screens that, and I’m willing to guess far more women are pressured by parents and through societal programming into loveless marriages than they care to admit. Dying alone isn’t bad, but we’ve convinced ourselves that it is the worst thing possible. It’s not. Besides, you’ll be dead, so you won’t be embarrassed about the alone part. The rider on the contract places massive pressure on a woman to become a wife – but very little pressure on a man to become a “husband.” Husband itself is offensive, as it is otherwise used as a term for managing farm animals.

Gay people have been involved in business partnerships throughout history. Clearly being homosexual has no effect whatsoever on a person’s ability to handle a business arrangement. It certainly has no impact on how that person may or may not handle a marriage.

And ultimately, same sex marriages do threaten traditional marriage – by giving women a clear example of how a marriage done free of gender role assignment might NOT have to suck. Most of western society is built on conning women into working for free or for very little. Churches, schools, and hospitals would crumble without that essential con-job. Cookies at PTA meetings would all but disappear. This is why the conservative men are scared. If women see an example where the white dress does not have to equal a soul-death, they’ll get some uppity ideas about being treated like people.

Then the men will have to take turns baking cookies and driving the kids to soccer practice.

Those poor, poor over-privileged straight dudes, especially those suppressing their higher-end Kinsey scores. They might have to contribute to this Society thing that they take all the credit for.

Of course I’m going to vote No on the Minnesota marriage amendment act. It’s the best thing I could possibly do for fellow married straight women, AND for my gay neighbors.

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The Prosperous Heart: 5 Things I’d like to do that I can’t quite bankroll yet

The following entry is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s work The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough.

It might make for uncomfortable reading.

Often what follows, as a course of the exercise, is personal – sometimes jarringly so. I prefer to aim for as much openness as possible about my past, about my family dysfunction, and about my current health and emotional challenges now. My present as I write this is quite stable, but my past is something of a lingering disease – and there is the possibility that the lingering disease may actually be literal, rather than metaphorical. Money is more taboo to discuss than even sex, sexual violence, or misogyny from populations as suppressed and oppressed as women.  What is silenced most of all are the later in life protests of the targets of emotional and physical abuses – “get over it” is in fact “shut up about it,” because shutting up preserves the abuser’s power by ensuring that that person will never be held accountable – that’s what silence does. This also creates a situation where the target’s silence contributes to the abuser’s ability to persuade herself or himself that the behavior “wasn’t that bad” thus enabling that person to seek a high by abusing another day, whether that’s a person or a substance.  While it is not the case for everyone, the work I do via Julia Cameron’s projects brings out these memories and maladies – and the scream breaks the spell.

There is also a very positive side to this work for me in that I am a stronger, better committed writer. I plunge into this work as one path to total healing. Most people just want to get working on their art. It works for that – just remember to forgive yourself for what you do to yourself, and stay accountable for what you do to others. That’s really the simplest way to function.

I’m also wondering if “bankroll” should also include “timeroll.” I have more projects than I do bandwidth.

Thing I can’t quite bankroll:
Go to one of those dance or shamanic intensives.

One free thing I can do in that direction:
Look through meetup for similar services/experiences.

Thing I can’t quite bankroll:
Start the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Course

One free thing I can do in that direction:
Read the site forums.

Thing I can’t quite bankroll:
Go to Pantheacon

One free thing I can do in that direction:
Look into whether sending me would make a compelling Kickstarter campaign. Also, perhaps blog about my dilemma.

Thing I can’t quite bankroll:
An Hourcar membership.

One free thing I can do in that direction:
See if a traditional car rental might be a better fit.

Thing I can’t quite bankroll:
A professionally designed author website.

One free thing I can do in that direction:
Read up/find online Dreamweaver tutorials, so I can do what I can to update myself.

Filed under: Prosperous Heart

The Prosperous Heart: 5 Areas in which I have Enough

The following entry is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s work The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough.

It might make for uncomfortable reading.

Often what follows, as a course of the exercise, is personal – sometimes jarringly so. I prefer to aim for as much openness as possible about my past, about my family dysfunction, and about my current health and emotional challenges now. My present as I write this is quite stable, but my past is something of a lingering disease – and there is the possibility that the lingering disease may actually be literal, rather than metaphorical. Money is more taboo to discuss than even sex, sexual violence, or misogyny from populations as suppressed and oppressed as women.  What is silenced most of all are the later in life protests of the targets of emotional and physical abuses – “get over it” is in fact “shut up about it,” because shutting up preserves the abuser’s power by ensuring that that person will never be held accountable – that’s what silence does. This also creates a situation where the target’s silence contributes to the abuser’s ability to persuade herself or himself that the behavior “wasn’t that bad” thus enabling that person to seek a high by abusing another day, whether that’s a person or a substance.  While it is not the case for everyone, the work I do via Julia Cameron’s projects brings out these memories and maladies – and the scream breaks the spell.

There is also a very positive side to this work for me in that I am a stronger, better committed writer. I plunge into this work as one path to total healing. Most people just want to get working on their art. It works for that – just remember to forgive yourself for what you do to yourself, and stay accountable for what you do to others. That’s really the simplest way to function.

  1. My car is awesome. It’s compact, but has a roomy interior. The gas mileage is amazing, the maintenance notifications always have meaning. I think I may buy cars the same way from now on – way less stressful than the whole lot-and-dealership scenario.
  2. My office. I like sharing an office/studio with Mike. While I am gunning for a ritual room (especially since things got weird when Mike wanted a snack while I was doing a working recently) as far as the shared office space goes, it’s a good one.
  3. This apartment. Yes, we’re shopping for a condo, but the truth is, I love this apartment. It’s the perfect apartment for Mike and I both. I’m only leaving it because we’re back to rent hikes.
  4. Entertainment. I have plenty, a massive abundance of it, and I love that.
  5. My museum memberships. I get so much mileage and pleasure out of them!

Filed under: Prosperous Heart

The Prosperous Heart: 3 Losses that Turned into Gains

The following entry is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s work The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough.

It might make for uncomfortable reading.

Often what follows, as a course of the exercise, is personal – sometimes jarringly so. I prefer to aim for as much openness as possible about my past, about my family dysfunction, and about my current health and emotional challenges now. My present as I write this is quite stable, but my past is something of a lingering disease – and there is the possibility that the lingering disease may actually be literal, rather than metaphorical. Money is more taboo to discuss than even sex, sexual violence, or misogyny from populations as suppressed and oppressed as women.  What is silenced most of all are the later in life protests of the targets of emotional and physical abuses – “get over it” is in fact “shut up about it,” because shutting up preserves the abuser’s power by ensuring that that person will never be held accountable – that’s what silence does. This also creates a situation where the target’s silence contributes to the abuser’s ability to persuade herself or himself that the behavior “wasn’t that bad” thus enabling that person to seek a high by abusing another day, whether that’s a person or a substance.  While it is not the case for everyone, the work I do via Julia Cameron’s projects brings out these memories and maladies – and the scream breaks the spell.

There is also a very positive side to this work for me in that I am a stronger, better committed writer. I plunge into this work as one path to total healing. Most people just want to get working on their art. It works for that – just remember to forgive yourself for what you do to yourself, and stay accountable for what you do to others. That’s really the simplest way to function.

1. Most recently, the Doctor Who marathon situation had multiple elements of loss becoming gain:
Loss: “No, you can’t have licensing.”
Gain: “But you can play programming we provide with full BBC approval.”

Loss: “I’m sorry, but multiple theaters simply don’t want your business/are worried about licensing, etc. etc.”
Gain: “Here’s the State of the Art media facility available at the very place you started having your meetups.”

Loss: Ego Boy.
Gain: Peace of Mind. I’m not patient with legitimate celebrities. I don’t have the energy to soothe the mood swings of someone with delusions of celebrity. Mood swings = not taking responsibility for your actions. There’s no room in my life for that shit.

2. The loss you’ve watched me struggle and vent about here: my family.

Loss: My father, and the emotional acknowledgement he was the only one to bother to offer, as limited as it was.
Gain: I have no remaining reason to interact with the people that want the most control over my life while deserving it the absolute least.  My father had already extracted a deathbed promise I’d go through with the wedding – and really, I should have waited but Mike steamrollered me on it. He then demanded I “not abandon them,” referring to his remaining family. Sorry Dad, only one deathbed promise per customer. You used up your credit limit.

3. My shifting identity.

Loss: The safety of approval, of knowing I’m “doing it right” and the smug self-acceptance that comes with conformity.
Gain: Everything. I am so much better than who I was raised to be.

Filed under: Prosperous Heart