What Should You Do if Turkey Day is Kind of a Bummer?

What Should You Do if Turkey Day is Kind of a Bummer?

I’m more of a stuffing and mashed potatoes gal than a turkey lover (poor little things!). But I know that, regardless of which food is your favorite, for many people, the holidays are not always all they’re cracked up to be. The Hallmark Channel movies, television commercials, and grocery store decorations make Thanksgiving look amazing, almost ethereal. And, indeed, the end of the year holidays are supposed to be loving and lovely. Thanksgiving (despite the American mythology and hypocrisy involved in the supposed reason for the holiday) should be a day of giving thanks, feeling grateful, appreciating the fall weather, enjoying the blessing of good food and loving company. But it’s not that way for everyone.

So, I wanted to honor and respect those for whom Thanksgiving is a dreaded holiday. It could be due to fractured family relationships, lack of money, isolation from others, seasonal depression, illness, eating disorders, etc.

First of all, you are not alone. Although it may not seem like it because we all wear social masks, this holiday is difficult for many people. So, while it seems like you are the only one who is feeling blue right now, you are not.

Secondly, it’s only one day. Be grateful that, unlike Hanukkah, Thanksgiving does not last eight days. Only one! And feel free to make it as short as possible. If you decide to only make an appearance, rather than hang out at the parties all day, do what you need to do. If you are going to be alone on that day, use it as an excuse to treat yourself like royalty. What have you always wanted to do but it feels too extravagant, or a waste of time? Do it! Treat it as your job to make yourself happy today.

Thirdly, that being said, if you want to be sad, then be sad. Allow yourself to experience the full gamut of emotions without guilt. Do what you need to do – cry, write in a journal, or join an online chat group and vent. Often, the best way to get over something is to go straight through it. So, allow yourself to feel every feeling you’ve been avoiding.

Fourthly, there’s a full moon tomorrow! Bless the Goddess! So, if you are a Wiccan, a Wiccan-in-training, or just a spiritual seeker, take the opportunity to learn about esbats, the monthly honoring of the lunar cycles. Instead of viewing November 22 as Thanksgiving, view it as a celebration of the Goddess. Enjoy Her energy. Feel her joy. Celebrate the power of the Divine Feminine (whether you are male or female). Have a glass of wine and toast Mother Earth for her bounty and generosity!

Have faith that things will get better.  And if you feel like reaching out, please reach out. I will answer you.

 

Peace and love,

Raven

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Visualization & Magic for Spiritual Activism

Lions don’t play. You can look at them and know that. They don’t go around bothering people or starting trouble (like people do), but they are not called King of the Jungle for nothing. They protect what’s theirs.

As spiritual beings wandering around in a world of suffering, the World is ours. We have a job to do. There is no need to force our beliefs on anyone. However, as people fostering a connection with the Divine on a daily basis, we owe it to the people around us to use our spiritual gifts, talents, and capacities (whatever they may be) to leave this world a little better than we found it. All it takes is willingness, a little time, and the ability to see what it is we are trying to create. The ability to visualize what you want is the key to creating anything in the here and now.

I learned a powerful lesson in visualization one day while listening to a motivational video by Tony Robbins. He had the audience do an exercise where they raised their right arm, shoulder height, in front of them. While facing forward, they circled the arm behind them as far as they possibly could, and noted how far they were able to go.

Then he had them rest that arm and go through the exercise again – only in the mind. First, visualize the arm lifting forward, in front of you, then, mentally reach the arm around and behind you, this time 20% farther than the spot you were able to reach physically.

Then you bring the arm back around in the mind, and do it again. This time, reach ¾ around the body, in your mind. Rest again. During the final visualization, you see your arm reaching 360 degrees all the way around your body, like Elastic Man. I had nothing else better to do at the time, so I played along with Tony and did the exercise.

The final step was to raise the arm – not in the mind, this time, but in reality. Lift it forward, then reach around. I was absolutely shocked to see how much further I could go than the first time!

Could I go 360 degrees around my whole body? No, of course not. But I got much further than I seemed to be physically capable of the first time. It was a clear demonstration of the power of the mind, the power of visualization. This is the power we tap into when we do a spell, a healing, a reading, or a prayer. This power is not completely understood, but it is well-documented.

More important than any ingredients we might use in a spell, or the flowery words we might use in a public prayer, is the vision we start with in our heads. We have to start any important endeavor with the end in mind. If we can “see” it, from the beginning to the end, we can achieve it. We can’t dictate how it will show up, but we can get much, much closer than if we don’t see it first.

But spiritual practice and magic are not just for ourselves. Getting a better job, making more money, or entering a loving relationship is wonderful. But, as Light beings, we are here to hold the space for the rest of humanity.

The world is becoming an increasingly violent, hostile place. We cannot bury our heads and ignore it just because we may personally be happy and content.  Our Divine mission and purpose (should we choose to accept it) is to bring the beauty of the Goddess to the planet in tangible form.

There are many ways we can make a difference, depending upon our unique gifts and talents. But it all starts in the mind. We have to “see” a world of love and harmony before we can create it. If we can see it, we can believe in it. Once we believe in it, we will do what it takes to make it happen, to the very best of our abilities.

So, how can we get better at visualization? We have to build our ability to visualize the same way we would build a muscle. Start with the “light weights.” For example, before you get out of bed, see yourself performing your normal routine. Do you make your bed first? Do you put coffee on? Do you meditate? (if so, yay, you!!) Whatever you do, stay in bed for a couple of minutes and see it first. It’ll be easy because it’s nothing special, it’s something you always do. You know exactly what it looks like already. But this practice builds your ability to visualize.

Eventually, work your way up to seeing other outside, routine, activities, such as meetings at work, or dates with your significant other. Imagine what you would like to have happen. See it clearly in your mind. Envision what is said, what is done, and what the mood is.

Over time, you can work up to seeing actual Light energy, moving from your hands, your eyes, or your heart towards someone or something. You can learn to direct this energy towards self-healing. or the healing of others. You will be able to envision things far in the future. Start small and build over time. Don’t strain. Stop as soon as you feel taxed. Ground yourself afterwards by picturing your fingers and toes wiggling in dark, rich soil. You can also ground yourself by eating something like a piece of fruit and focusing on the action of eating it. Grounding brings the mind back to normal, earthly life.

Spells are used to improve life in various ways. We can improve our own lives and the lives of the people around us. But everything starts in the mind.

Be patient with yourself and have fun. Be that king-of-the-jungle lion protecting the rest of the pride. You are absolutely qualified for this position. So, be about it! For all of our sakes.

Peace and love,

Raven

Are Your Relationships Helping or Hurting Your Spiritual Progress?

Are Your Relationships Helping or Hurting Your Spiritual Progress?

I posted on Instagram the other day about the power of relationships. It was a Les Brown quote: “What am I becoming because of this relationship?”

It got me to thinking. We often think of “relationships” only in terms of dating relationships. But, all of our relationships play a role in our lives. Sometimes, we are absent-minded about our relationships – meaning, we do not always think deeply about how they started, or how (or why, or IF) they should continue.

We meet people at a certain stage in our lives and, sometimes, due to nostalgia, or fear, we hold onto them long after they have ceased to feel nurturing or satisfying. It is good mental, spiritual, and emotional housekeeping to occasionally do an inventory of our relationships.

Asking the question “What am I becoming because of this relationship?” is a good starting point. If you ask this question, you will get answers. Here are some possible answers:

Because of this relationship, I am becoming…

  • More success-minded
  • More physically fit
  • More relaxed and cheerful
  • More optimistic, happier
  • More and more in debt
  • More stressed out and suspicious
  • Drained and unfocused
  • Angry, sad, and negative

Obviously, the way you answer this question can, and should, affect how you view this particular relationship. If your answers were more negative than positive, ask yourself why you are still involved with this person. Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of the person (afraid of making them mad, or having them think less of you)? Do you carry the limiting belief that being in ANY relationship, regardless of how toxic or unsatisfying is superior to being single?

If so, why do you have that belief? Who told you that? Is it actually true? Can you think of examples where it might not be true? Are you willing to sacrifice your future success – being all that you were created to be – just to avoid (temporarily) making someone mad (they will get over it, believe me). Are you insecure and overly dependent upon other people? What amazing things might be possible in your life if you were willing to distance yourself from negative or unproductive  relationships?

Asking yourself these questions requires bravery, honesty, and character. This is the beginning of wisdom. After a certain age, we ourselves are responsible for how our lives turn out. We alone will reap the consequences for our life choices. It is no one else’s fault, ultimately. You cannot blame your family, friends, lover, or spouse if you’re not succeeding, even if they are toxic and negative.

As an adult, you get to choose who you spend your free time around. If you insist on spending time with people who belittle you, put you down, let you down, waste your time or money, laugh at your dreams, or encourage you to stay the same rather than evolve into the person you were meant to become – that’s “your bad.”  It is your responsibility to take your life seriously, and do for yourself whatever you need to do. If you don’t support, respect, and value yourself, please don’t expect anyone else to.

On the flip side, once you take the brave action of stepping out alone (or with fewer people) – even though you might feel lonely, afraid or insecure – the Universe rewards courage. Once you are free from any emotional or spiritual anchors, you will be surprised at what you can achieve! Some of those lingering bad habits might start falling away. You may shed all that procrastination and start working towards your dream-life. At the very least, you will no longer be limited by the mindset of your environment.

Don’t sell yourself short. You are a powerful being. You are the Greatness of Spirit living in human form. But as humans, we are sensitive to our environments. Our environments consist primarily of other people. We can love people where they are, for who they are, without allowing them to infect our own mindset, and limit our potential. It is important to be mindful about who we spend our time with. We need to consider what seeds they may be inadvertently planting in our consciousness.

People mean well. But, if they are unconscious, they are subject to the prevailing negative, toxic mental attitudes that flourish in society. If you want to break away from mediocrity and do something different, you have to do something different.

Take the brave step and set the boundaries you need to set. Allow your greatness to shine unhindered and undimmed. You’ll be glad you did!

Peace and love,

Raven

Why I Believe in Visualization Now

I was listening to a Tony Robbins YouTube video today while doing something else. But one of his exercises made me pay attention. He had the listeners stand up.

So, what the hell, I stood up.

He said “point your right arm and right index finger straight out in front of you.” Feeling dumb, I did it anyway.

Then, with both feet together and facing forward, he had us turn to the right as far as we could without straining, arm and finger outstretched. I wound up pointing to a little poster on my wall. Big whoop.

Then he had us sit down. This time we were to do the same thing. Only in our minds.

We were to imagine ourselves standing up, pointing our right arm and index finger straight forward. Then we had to imagine ourselves turning twice as far as we did before. Only in our minds. Then we were to do it again, imagining ourselves going three times as far. Finally, we were to imagine it once more, turning almost all the way around in our minds.

I saw what he was getting at, but I’m not a teenager. These bones can only do what they can do. Anyhow, as expected, he had us stand up again. This time for real. Point your arm and happy little index finger forward. Then turn to the right as far as possible.

WTF!!!!!??????

I went WAY past what I had previously done, teenager or no teenager. What?? I was blown away.

So, corny or not, I have to admit that there is something to this visualization thing. I tend to be skeptical of anything that sounds “woo-woo,” but, I’m also a pragmatist. If it works, it works.

Then I realized later, while I was editing one of my scripts, that I use visualization all the time when I write. I see everything before I write it. I have to. I watch a scene play out in my head first, then I try to figure out how to “direct” the action on the page. After I reread my edited script tonight, I felt like I had seen a movie. I always feel like that after reading any script.

So, maybe visualization isn’t so woo after all. Maybe I should keep doing it. Maybe, like Tony says, I, too can become “unstoppable.” Okay, too far.

Have a beautiful weekend of “seeing” whatever it is you’re working towards.

Peace and love,

Raven

You Get to Tell Your Own Life Story

The stories that we enjoy in our lives provide not only entertainment, but a source of catharsis – a way to experience certain aspects of life vicariously through a character. We experience these stories through movies, books, plays, musicals, puppet shows, television, even ghost stories told around a campfire.

I am fascinated by the craft of storytelling. I always enjoy a well-told story, regardless of medium, genre, director, starring actor, or length of movie.

But there are certain kinds of stories that can potentially harms us. Stories that we tell ourselves about why things happen, or what’s going to happen, can either help us or harm us, depending on the story.

For example, if a man gets rejected by a woman, he can tell himself that all women are bitches; that relationships are a waste of time; that women only go for jerks, and since he’s such a nice guy, that’s why he can’t get a date. Or, he can tell himself the truth – that there’s some internal dialogue running through his head that is causing him to act in ways that are off-putting. He can study men that know what they’re doing and imitate them. He can improve his self-esteem and attitude through other accomplishments and positive self-talk. He can choose to approach women that are more likely to respond. And he can ask for honest feedback from a female friend or relative.

This hypothetical man has two story choices: 1) The world is against me or (2) I can do this; I’m going to figure it out.

Likewise, we all have two story choices: the Woe-is-me-why-doesn’t-somebody-help-me story or the I’ve-got-what-it-takes-to-make-a-great-life-so-let’s-get-after-it story. I like choice number two, myself.

But, like all stories, our life stories have authors. We are the authors of our own stories. We have the free will to tell whichever story we choose. If the woe-is-me story line works for you, you should continue writing it. If you’re tired of that story and want to write a new one, you absolutely can!

Best of luck to all of us as we become better authors of our Life Stories.

Peace and love,

Raven

The Relationship Between Weight Loss and Money Management

As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead. What is 2018 going to look like? You don’t have to wait around to find out. You can take the initiative to make 2018 amazing and beautiful.

One of the most clichéd New Year’s resolutions is weight loss. It’s a joke. In January, the gyms are packed to the gills. By the end of February, it’s like a skeleton crew on a ghost ship. Interestingly, the same is true with budgeting. The word “budgeting” has about as much glamour as the word “diet.” Nobody wants to hear it.  Just hearing the words makes people crunch up their faces into a wrinkled ball of scorn.  Yuck.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Budgeting and dieting don’t have to be “Things We’re Mostly Likely To Fail At.” Both practices can become so natural that they become automatic and effortless. Both require similar skills. Because I’m one of those weird people who actually likes both dieting and budgeting, I want to share the similarities I’ve noticed about both practices.

Before I start, let me acknowledge that words are powerful. Let’s change the word diet to “way of eating,” “food choices,” “body fuel,” or whatever floats your boat. I refer to my food choices as a balanced way of eating. Call it whatever sounds good to you. I also budget my money at the beginning of every month. I call it a Spending Plan, not a budget. And I use Everydollar.com to help me.

So, these are the ways I’ve discovered that healthy eating is similar to smart money management:

Both benefit from a written plan. With both money and food calories, it is so easy to lose track of what you’re doing. A couple of cookies here, a trip to McDonald’s there. At the end of the year, you’re somehow carrying around 10 extra pounds. Where did the fat come from? Why won’t it go away? Same is true with money. You put $100 in your wallet. Four days later, there’s $35.00. Or, maybe, you have a zero balance on a credit card, wander into a couple of movies, or breeze through a few restaurants. Next thing you know, you’re carrying a balance you can’t pay. Really? How did that happen? You stare at your paycheck stub in disbelief. Where does it all go? (This is why you need a Spending Plan – and a Food Plan).

Both require attention to detail. Just as a slab of butter, a little bit of syrup, or a splash of ketchup add up to pounds on the waistline, a magazine here, and a candy bar there add up to an empty wallet. There’s no need to be obsessive. But, at the same time, those “little things” are not nothing. They add up.

Both require delayed gratification. Let’s say you have your planned budget for Christmas. You’ve stuck to it quite nicely. But then you start looking at all the nice things you’ve bought for other people.  But, hey! What about you? You want something too, dammit! You look longingly into the store windows, and your eyes fall in love with something. You have to have it. You’ll pay it off later. You want it NOW!! Same thing happens with food. You’re hungry. You were good and went to the grocery store the other day. You know your fridge is full of lovely vegetables. Which you have to…chop. Your nose catches wind of something fried… or barbequed. And, look! There’s a drive-through window! You abandon your vegetables and let them rot. You want some yummy food…NOW!

Both require discipline. Money planning and healthy eating are not punishments. They can be easy and fun. But, in the culture we live in, there is no way to avoid the fact that living successfully requires discipline. It is so easy just screw it and do what everyone else is doing – accruing debt and gaining weight. But, this does not have to be you. With just a little bit of willingness, you can rise above mediocrity and live an excellent life.

Both will set you free if you let them. Having control over your money, and what you put in your mouth, will raise your opinion of yourself. It can be hard, especially at first. But once you master yourself – which is the hardest thing to do, to control your own mind and behavior – there is nothing else out there that will be impossible to you. You will have a quiet confidence about yourself which no one will be able to shake – no man, no woman, no politician, no circumstance. Once you master yourself, you can master anything. And you can turn around and help someone else.

If you want help establishing either a spending plan or a healthy eating plan, consider hiring a wellness coach. At Grown Folks Fitness, that’s what we do. Contact me today for further information.

Peace and love,

Raven