Archive | Instrumental – The Care of a Creative Soul

Instrumental: Farmbox Adventures by Melissa A. Bartell

Two years ago, driving home from a visit to my husband’s family in South Dakota, we were in rural Nebraska when we passed by a lush, green, field. It was the kind of farmland typical of a postcard image, and it was beautiful, until we saw the sign “Presented by Monsanto” at the corner of the field, just outside the fence, and our hearts fell.

Summer Farmbox by Melissa A. BartellNearly ten years ago, on another trip to South Dakota, we saw the number of family farms that had been bought by commercial soybean growers, and found an eerie response in the fact that the high school had been made smaller, and the population was going down.

Both of these images have haunted me for years, but even though I strive to buy vegetables in season, to buy locally-sourced or organic products whenever possible, when you live in Outer Suburbia doing so can be a challenge, and while my city does have a farmer’s market that operates throughout the year, its hours are far too early to be compatible with my extremely nocturnal tendencies.

Ironically, it was my friend Tabitha (she of Sunday Sensations) who gave me the key to making a difference in my own life, as well as in my community. She’d mentioned her recent delivery from a local-to-her CSA (community supported agriculture) organization, and it spurred me to find something similar in my own neighborhood.

Choosing a CSA was easy for me: of the several that exist in my region, only one delivers to my address. I spent the weekend of my birthday reading all their information, and made my first order that week. Thus began my relationship with FarmboxDelivery.com.

While many CSAs operate as co-ops – you buy shares and get a box that represents the number of shares you have – this one is a bit simpler. They have several ‘sizes’ of boxes ranging from wee (which is apparently their most popular option, and, they say, is ideal for a two-adult household) to boxes large enough for corporations to share out (or use in the company kitchen, maybe?), and we also have the option of choosing all fruit, all vegetables, or a mix.

Even better, there’s a way to ban certain items from ever showing up in my box. I’m one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap (this is genetic – it means I lack a specific enzyme), so I’ve asked that they never deliver cilantro. Similarly, I’m not a fan of kale (and as someone who is extremely hypothyroid, I’m not supposed to eat it, anyway) so I’ve asked them never to send me that.

My CSA allows me to customize my box, as well. Every Friday, I can access the list of the next week’s box, and if there’s something I have too much of, or isn’t included but is available, I can add or change a few items. As well, I can add some meats, dairy, and eggs, all from local farmers. We’ve become big fans of the cherry-smoked bacon and Mexican-style ground chicken sausage we can get, and I no longer buy milk in the grocery store unless I’m making something that requires a lot of it. The milk we get with our farm box isn’t raw, but it is low-temperature pasteurized, and it comes with the cream on top.

In addition to exploring many of the various add-on options, I’m having a blast discovering new-to-me vegetables, or learning new ways of preparing familiar ones. Farmbox Sausage by Melissa A. Bartell

This fall, I’ve received acorn squash three times, butternut squash once, and delicata squash twice, and the latter was previously unknown to me. Another week, I received Swiss chard, which I’d never cooked before, and really enjoyed trying.

Even though the farm box I receive is meant for two people, there are days when I’m just not in the mood to cook, or I’m not home. When we had to make an emergency trip to South Dakota over Labor Day weekend because my mother-in-law died, the friend who kindly took care of my dogs was invited to take home anything that wouldn’t keep, and when we get behind on using things, she isn’t offended if I beg her to take things off my hands, so they won’t go to waste.

My Wednesday night routine now involves setting the empty carton from the previous week’s farm box out on the front porch (along with any empty egg cartons or cold-bags) to be picked up when the new box is dropped on Thursday.

My new Thursday ritual is opening the new farm box.

Often, I am greeted by the earthy smell of potatoes – they leave them loose in the box – but equally frequently the first thing I encounter is the greens. (I confess, I often sing “The Witch’s Rap” from Into the Woods when I’m unboxing lettuces and other greens. My life is a musical, after all.)

As I write this, we’ve just finished a lovely dinner of broiled teriyaki salmon, Yukon gold potatoes sautéed with yellow onions and garlic, and a salad of green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and except for the garlic, every vegetable came from my farm box. This is a fairly usual occurrence now, and there are some nights when I try to make an entire meal solely from farm box products (so far, our favorite is quiche made with the afore-mentioned chicken sausage and mushrooms).

You might be asking me, is it worth the money? Well, I pay about $25/week for my box. $5 of that is a delivery fee but when I add milk and eggs, the total isn’t much different, because I’m over the minimum price for free delivery. It’s probably slightly more expensive doing this than it would be just buying veggies at the store, but not only does it mean I’m not heading to the grocery store as often, I’m also supporting local farmers, which is vitally important.

If only my CSA delivered coffee, I’d be completely happy.

Farmbox Unboxing by Melissa A. Bartell

About the author: Melissa A. Bartell

Melissa is a writer, voice actor, podcaster, itinerant musician, voracious reader, and collector of hats and rescue dogs. She is the author of The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Holiday Tub. You can learn more about her on her blog, listen to her podcast, or connect with her on on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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Instrumental: Managing Anxiety by Bella Cirovic

I struggle with anxiety.

When it first began, it was a blessing to learn that the symptoms I had been experiencing were not my physical health going bad or me going nuts: it was anxiety. There are a couple of things about anxiety I didn’t know: it’s the body’s natural response to fear. Yes, fear! A deep rooted, rational or irrational, tucked away in the depths of your brain, fear. The mind / body connection is so tightly intertwined that one teensy little trigger… a word, a photo, a place… can set the anxiety into motion and the body like magic, responds.

How am I working through it? Well, it takes a village to keep me in check. My anxiety tends to be heightened during the dark and colder months, a season we are just entering now.  I have gathered my top three go to moves to help me through it. Maybe they might be of help to you.

I have a tight circle of close friends who I can call and spill my guts to. The spilling part is the most important. Keeping things bottled up and withholding leads to isolation. The absolute worst feeling in the world is when you feel like you’re all alone. I have to make that call, open up, let it out, and trust that my friends will listen and hold onto whatever I have to share. Difficult? Yes. Necessary? Oh, yes. It’s been a tremendous help.

Because anxiety is a physical response my body often feels sore, like when you haven’t worked out in months and then you do and your muscles get sore and tender. I’ve created a special blend of oils that I pour into a roller ball bottle to massage on my pulse points and right into the muscles. I then massage and love on the tender parts. My favorite oils to use for this purpose is a combination of lavender, peppermint, and chamomile. Add a few drops of each to a carrier base like almond oil and use when necessary.

Meditation has helped tremendously! My favorite way to do that is to cd on or download an meditation app on my phone. I’ve found a couple of meditation guides that focus on anxiety and fears that I like and every morning before I shower, I plug in my headphones, and relax to the calming music. It’s refreshing. I try to keep my mind and heart open to receiving what the music has to offer, and I find that it relaxes me and releases me into the day very gently.

On a particularly rough day, I might plug into the meditation before I go to bed. However you meditate – whatever that practice may look like for you – it can’t hurt, it can only help. My favorite app for meditation is: Relax from Andrew Johnson.

I’ve only touched on three of my go-to practices here and what they all hold in common is that I have to show up. I have to conjure up the courage to reach out, to make that time, to fill the bottle with oils, to let go of what I should be doing to make time for my meditation. I have to let go and give in – and I believe that is what self care and self kindness means. It’s allowing yourself the TIME to focus on yourself and your healing. This is so vital to us so that we can show up in the other areas of our lives as a better version of ourselves, a more relaxed and rejuvenated version.

What are your go to moves for dealing with anxiety through the darker months?

About the Author: Bella Cirovic

Bella Cirovic BioBella Cirovic is a photographer and writer who lives with her husband and daughter in the suburbs outside of NYC. She writes on the subjects of self care, body love and nourishment, crystals, essential oils, and family life. Catch up with Bella at her blog: She Told Stories

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Instrumental: The Shadow Side by Dona Murphy

“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson wrote this as a children’s poem. He was definitely on to something well beyond the physical shadow he describes here. The unknown, dark side of our personality may seem at best to be a nuisance and better off repressed or ignored. At worst, it is uncharted territory filled with everything we’d rather not do or be. It is the side of our own human natures containing the dark, the shameful, the primitive. The frightening and the unacceptable.

The shadow resides in our unconscious minds. It helps us adapt to the demands of socialization. We begin learning from a very young age what is and isn’t acceptable to those around us – our families and society. We learn to repress and reject thoughts or actions that fail to meet family expectations or don’t conform to social norms. We banish them underground – into the under-conscious, abandoning them to the shadow world.

It’s that banishment and attempt at abandonment that causes a lot of trouble and grief. We reject parts of ourselves or refuse to recognize them to gain approval and acceptance. What usually happens is that these disowned feelings come out in the form of a projection. What we reject and deny in ourselves we then see in the behavior or motivation of others. We then label them bad people, our enemies.

If only we could see the gold hidden in the dark corners.

The child in Stevenson’s poem disapproves of the antics of his physical shadow much as we do with our psychic one. We judge these aspects, we want them to change. We want them to be well-behaved, predictable “good” little girls and boys.

Like most dangerous things, the shadow is a better servant than it is a master. Much of what we find there is dangerous and damaging. When we act on our most primitive, violent impulses – killing, dominating or preying on weaker beings – our lizard-brain denies us the chance to realize our highest human purpose.

Knowing and accepting that we feel these things is ok. Acting on them is not ok.

We can exercise good judgment without being judgmental. By acknowledging the full spectrum of human nature from the highest aspirations to the lowest urges we can mine the gold of self-discovery and self-knowledge. We gain deeper understanding and compassion for ourselves and our fellow human beings. We find a great source of empowerment and a wellspring of creativity.

 

The author who wrote the poem quoted here also wrote the novella, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The term “Jekyll and Hyde personality” describes a person whose behavior is changeable, unpredictable and frightening. The doctor struggles with his own good and evil tendencies. He creates a potion meant to hide and control the evil within himself. Instead, he unleashes it. The potion transforms him into a mysterious, cruel and violent being. His inner demon becomes his outer being and runs loose in the world. In this Victorian gothic cautionary tale, Jekyll completely transforms into the evil and repulsive Hyde. What we resist does persist.

We can turn our mistakes and wrong actions into opportunities for change. Instead we hide them out of guilt and shame.

Failure is a learning experience, not a reason to discount or belittle ourselves. Was there any shame in being an infant and not yet knowing how to use language or do arithmetic? No – we didn’t know how to do those things, but we learned.

We all do things wrong. Sometimes it’s purely accidental. Sometimes it arises out of momentary thoughtlessness or selfishness. Either way, these can be a source of healthy remorse. There is a healing process when we honestly own our behavior and offer an apology: “I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to hurt you” or “I’m sorry, I won’t do that again”. It’s healing for us and for others. Instead of a hidden shame we have an opportunity to learn and grow in our humanity.

I’ve been on a long journey to discover and befriend my own shadow. I’ve had the privilege in my tarot reading and intuitive coaching practice to assist my clients with their own shadow work and to facilitate healing and self-love through self-knowledge. When we can clearly see our shadow, we can also see our light.

Seeing both creates not perfection but harmony and creativity. We have within each of us both the light and the dark; together they generate tremendous transformative and transformational power.

I can’t think of a better way to close than by quoting Carl G. Jung, the psychiatrist who first proposed the theory of the shadow or shadow self:

Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries. Only monkeys parade with it.”

About the Author: Dona Murphy

Dona Murphy is the owner of Destiny Tarot. She lives and works in Lake Bluff Illinois as a Tarot reader, Intuitive Counselor and Life Coach. Dona combines her metaphysical and spiritual studies, natural gifts and real-world experience to help her clients solve problems and live their best lives. As she says, “The cards don’t predict your future, they help you create it”.

Instrumental: In Light & Shadow by Kelli May-Krenz

Being seen fully in light and knowing strength can be found in the shadows.

For me being in the light is living fully and being seen. There is a beauty in embracing all that you are with truth. I think our pasts are like shadows. Finding ways to take the hard pasts, the shadows if you will and turn them into light. Living fully and practicing putting light around dark places that no longer serve us helps us breathe new life into our days.

Practicing seeing the light out of shadow is much like a yoga practice, a new walking routine – the more we practice the more we are allowed to start feeling better.

Learning to live on the bright side of light is freeing to your soul.

One of the most incredible strengths we can give ourselves is to practice daily on letting go. Letting go of old patterns, old hurts, dark stuff gives us the permission and room to fill up with more light and goodness. Perhaps inside those shadows are the lessons that give us peace, hope and more self love.

I often admire at the end of each day, dusk. You know that moody time when light seems to quietly pass and rest. The soft shadows that remain show us a new way of seeing, searching, listening to how these moments make us feel.

What if we could write down, hold onto those feelings we have when we see the light become a shadow. I believe it is at that time we start really seeing and noticing. In the noticing we can learn so much about who we are, what makes us special.

Once we start noticing and looking at moments from different perspectives we begin growing in new ways. Light sneaks in.

I know that my daily practice of noticing has helped me live in the moment. Living in the moment is living in the light. Learning from the shadow lessons.

I find magic in these shadow lessons. Being aware of what shadows you hold inside and really taking time to explore those feeling can help us learn comfort in our own skin.

Being a light  for others is a very sacred gift to give – simply showing up to listen. So many times it is in the listening we actually fill ourselves up.

I love knowing that from shadows comes light. Without the dance of the shadow and light movement seeing life would remain the same. Taking the really hard moments and gathering light around them (by listening hard to your truths) will forever chase the shadows.

 

I have taken some very hard events in my life and practiced seeing light around them. Looking from above these dark shadows and seeing my light lesson, it is not easy but, I promise with practice it starts becoming a habit.

Often, I write what I am seeking until light appears to show me how to find peace. Start simply by looking, listening and writing down moments that fill you up. What about those moments have a common thread? Simple acts of slowing down and being kind to you will start you on your way.

Creating a daily journal of what you notice, how you feel in the morning versus how your feeling a night helps you to see what makes you feel most alive. Goodness is always waiting for you to see, listen and love more. Loving your shadows and light in your life will be a changing force. I wish this for all of us with great love.

About the Author: Kelli May-Krenz

Kelli May-Krenz BioKelli May-Krenz is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator with more than 20 years’ experience. Her ability to capture, express and visually communicate the needs and visions of her clients has produced designs and promotional materials for everything from independent boutiques to Fortune 500 companies.

Her new stationery line, Pearl Button’s World, recently debuted at the National Stationery Show – where two of her designs were selected as finalist for Best in Show – and she has been featured in an array of print publications including Somerset Studio, Art Journaling, Somerset Life, Somerset Memories, Somerset Apprentice, Room to Create and Uppercase magazine.

Connect with Kelly on Facebook and Instagram.

Instrumental: You Are Here by Melissa Cynova

I got a call from a friend who’d had a truly unbearable year. There appeared to be no end in sight, and instead of calling for a tarot reading for her future, she just wanted to know where she was – right now.

Tarot readings don’t always go the way we expect. You can do a reading to see if you should get a divorce, and find that your partner isn’t the only person who created space between the two of you. That allowing the only sex that enters the relationship to happen when you flip each other off while passing in the hall. You could go to the cards asking why you can’t move up in your company, and the cards will tell you that you are in the wrong career.

The question you ask doesn’t always point to the answer, and the answer is often found in fear. Fear of that hard conversation that might put your relationship back on track. Fear that you’ve invested time, money and training in a career that doesn’t work for you.

Instead of looking into the future, it can be more helpful to find out what tools you have in hand, which things are holding you down, and which can lift you up. What is here, right now, to help you deal with getting through the day. Sometimes, you can’t believe the Instagram shininess that encourages you that everything will be ok in the end – but the end isn’t here yet.

Sometimes you just need to know that right now, here and now, you are ok.

You Are Here Spread:

(Cards in a cross – one on top, one left, one right, and one at the bottom)

Card 1 – What can you reach for – right now – that will help lift you up?

Card 2 – What can you release that is making your day more difficult?

Card 3 – What tool is within reach that will help you have a position of strength?

Card 4 – What will hold you up until the light at the end of the tunnel gets closer? What if your main support?

This reading can be repeated as often as you need it. When you want to move forward, you can tuck it in your back pocket for the next time. Remember that often, when you don’t know where to go, the best thing to do is sit down. Gain your strength, and breathe.

About the Author: Melissa Cynova

Melissa Cynova is owner of Little Fox Tarot, and has been reading tarot cards and teaching classes since 1989. She can be found in the St. Louis area, and is available for personal readings, parties and beginner and advanced tarot classes. Her first book, Kitchen Table Tarot, was recently published by Llewellyn Publishing. Melissa lives in St. Louis with her kiddos, her husband, Joe, two cats, two dogs and her tortoise, Phil.

You can reach Melissa at lis@littlefoxtarot.com. She is on Twitter and Instagram under Little Fox Tarot. Go ahead and schedule a reading – she already knows you want one.

Editor’s Note:  Tarot Cards are from the “Pagan Otherworlds Tarot” Deck.

My First Kriya Yoga by Dona Murphy

I am not a morning person.

At 5:30 a.m., the 40-day kriya yoga practice I committed to seems like a terrible idea. There is faint light coming through my bedroom windows. The shadows hide danger – slippers I could trip over. A cold hairball left by my elderly cat; ready and waiting for my careless foot.

This is life in the gray. I want my life orderly and organized. Light, bright and clear over here please; dark, obscure and unknown over there. Where I can keep an eye on you, or better yet – a lid. Accelerating through bright flashes and dark voids is disorienting. The chaos feels a lot like living under a strobe light. Without the music. Without the Moet. Without the molly but with all the bashing and bruising of a righteous molly-whop.

Repeating patterns are what I see as I brew tea and prepare myself for this morning’s meditation. Daily I work to discard what no longer serves, to see old patterns dissolve while new ones take shape. Transcending both the old and the new by being in the present moment, in the breath, is the challenge of the morning. Every morning.

Today joy bubbles up and I laugh for no reason as I begin to chant. My hands form the mudras. Yesterday morning I wept. I had no other way to expel the rage and sorrow that climbed up my throat and had to come out but for which I found no words.

I’m riding a roller coaster – and how I hate roller coasters. But how else can the spark within grow and find its own expression? What lives in us ready to destroy and negate is also ready to create and affirm. Unleashing it is frightening, exhilarating, seductive – necessary.

Enhanced expression and communication is the purpose of this practice. I serve my clients through speaking (and active listening), so I can’t work without my voice. I’ve suffered with a bad respiratory infection including laryngitis through most of this. The Universe was not going for subtlety. I began to question how I could help my clients find their voices – if I couldn’t use, find or trust my own.

As day 35 drew to a close I was healthy, my voice was strong and I knew I was in the home stretch. I knew I could complete this and I felt clean and ready to receive. I reached day 40 primed and ready to say “yes” – to anything and everything. I am welcoming what I am offered; ready to embrace and accept and celebrate.

I didn’t become a morning person. On day 41 I slept in.

I still don’t like roller-coasters. You won’t see me at the local street fair or at Six Flags Great America even though it’s only a few miles away from where I live. You will see me here, often I hope. I’ve kindled the light inside and climbed out of the comfort zone where it was oh-so-easy to hide.

One of the greatest gifts of working with my clients is the chance to learn while teaching. I have the opportunity to grow by nurturing growth in another. The generous mentor and teacher leading the kriya shared her own experiences with us. She was transparent about her own challenges and triumphs, highs and lows. This gave me the freedom and space to do likewise with my own, and I am grateful.

The light, the dark, and all the various shades of gray look different to me now. They’ve opened to me for exploration and integration. The colors of the spectrum are alive in my body and in the world I look at with new awareness.

Good day.

About the Author: Dona Murphy

Dona Murphy is the owner of Destiny Tarot. She lives and works in Lake Bluff Illinois as a Tarot reader, Intuitive Counselor and Life Coach. Dona combines her metaphysical and spiritual studies, natural gifts and real-world experience to help her clients solve problems and live their best lives. As she says, “The cards don’t predict your future, they help you create it”.

The Lavender Farm by Bella Cirovic

We made no travel plans for the summer, opting instead to take day trips to little known destinations up to an hour from our home that boasted promises of magic and beauty.

A google search for such places helped produce our list of sights to see this season. It’s how we came upon the lavender farm, an oasis of purple tucked in the hills near the shoreline of our fine state.

What a wondrous day we had walking amongst all of those sweet smelling lavender bushes, sipping lavender lemonade, and eating coffee cake drizzled with purple flowers and honey.

This day was a treat for our senses not to mention balm for our hearts.

So I ask you, if you were to search for a magical place near your home, what do you think you will find? What’s stopping you from going there?

About the Author: Bella Cirovic

Bella Cirovic BioBella Cirovic is a photographer and writer who lives with her husband and daughter in the suburbs outside of NYC. She writes on the subjects of self care, body love and nourishment, crystals, essential oils, and family life. Catch up with Bella at her blog: She Told Stories

Goat Milk and Love by Clay Robeson

As a teen growing up in rural California, I couldn’t wait to get out of the country, away from the farm, and off to The Big City. Too much quiet, not enough hustle. Too much peace, not enough bustle. How on Earth could I get my groove back, if there was no beat to groove to?

As an adult, after seven years in Metro Boston and having just hit the 14-year mark in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have a groove and a beat. They’re kind of relentless, and if I don’t pay proper attention, the record starts to skip and I find myself taking involuntary time-outs to recover.  It’s the moments of calm and peace that were once so reviled that help me recharge so I can keep on dancing to the incessant rhythm of the Big City.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

City Grazing, San Francisco

 

Thankfully, I found an oasis of calm and peace a mere 5-minute drive/10-minute bike ride/20-minute walk from my house, within the city limits.  And much to my chagrin, it somewhat resembles the farm.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

The view of San Francisco from my back porch,
with City Grazing visible in the foreground
(the white rounded structure to the lower right)

Tucked in the Southeast corner of San Francisco, just north of Candlestick Point is a small, active railyard within which hides a shipping-container-cum-hay-barn attached to a paddock that is home to about 80 goats.  They aren’t pets.  They are working goats. They are employed by City Grazing a (soon to be) non-profit landscaping company.

Photo Credit: Jeanne Park

My first visit to City Grazing in 2015, hanging out with Spock.
(Photo credit: Jeanne Park)

Every Saturday morning, sometime between 7:30 and 9:00, I make my way to the paddock. The goats recognize the sound of an incoming car, which is why I try to ride or walk there when the weather is nice, so I can spy on them lazing in the morning sun for a few moments.  Eventually though, one of them spies me and all hell bleats loose.  Relatively speaking, of course.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

Tipsy, basking in post-brunch bliss.

The mayhem of the goat yard is nothing compared to the mayhem of day-to-day life. I give hay and water to the goats, feed the yard cats, and throw feed to the chickens, isolated from the city that exists within shouting distance of where I stand. The rhythm, for a moment, silenced. The groove slowed in a peaceful, quiet manner.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

Udo, ever stoic.

The goats all have names, and while I don’t know them all, for the most part they all know and recognize me.  This affords me the opportunity to slip into the paddock and scratch some noggins and ears without causing a stampede. Usually.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

Mothers Fulla and Freya with babies Brinkman, Daniella and Queenie.

The hour or two I spend there is generally one of the best parts of my weekend.  Especially this time of year, when there are baby goats to be found.  This season, there are about a dozen newborns ranging in age from a month and a half or so, to two weeks old.  I found the youngest two, Carol and Tim, one morning rather unexpectedly a few weeks ago.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

Space Cowboy and Milkman at the Udder Bucket.

Their mother, Frigga, is a newcomer to the yard — a failed dairy goat if memory serves. We were aware she was pregnant, but we didn’t know just HOW pregnant.  And so, at 7:30 one bright Saturday morning in July, as I was preparing the Udder Bucket for the orphans who were still nursing, I heard a bleat that was far too high pitched.  Peeking into the paddock, I saw Tim standing all alone in the middle of the yard looking rather confused.  I pulled him and his sister into the nursery section of the hay container and rounded up their mother.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

Carol and Tim’s first meal.

I spent much longer at the yard than I planned to that morning, helping Carol and Tim with their first meal. Somehow, I also managed to be holding both when they decided to have their first pee.  But despite that, I found myself unable to put down these two little creatures who smell strongly of Goat Milk and Love.

Photo Credit: Clay Robeson

Carol and Tim, standing strong.

About the author: Clay Robeson

Clay RobesonClay is an improvisor, photographer, puppeteer and part-time goat herd living in San Francisco. He likes to make things.

To learn more about Clay, or find his social media links, go here: https://about.me/ClayR.

You can also visit the City Grazing website.

 

Instrumental: Put Down the Cards by Melissa Cynova

I’ve been reading tarot cards since I was 14, but a few years ago, I fell out of love with it. I would book a reading, and start dreading it. I would still give the reading to my client, but I felt like I was being annoyed by the intrusion into my time. To give you an idea of how weird this was for me, I LOVE doing readings.

It’s my favorite thing. I have, in the past, read for 6-8 hours without a break and the time just flew by.

Right then, though. I was done. It didn’t make me light up anymore, and what’s more? I didn’t care.

In my personal life, I’d just gone through a pretty rough divorce and was adjusting to shared custody for the first time after having been a stay at home mom for seven years straight. I was lonely for the first time in a long time. I had large swaths of time that used to be filled with kiddos. You’d think, right, that I’d be anxious to fill the time with my favorite thing.

The problem was that my soul was bruised. It’s hard to dive into someone else’s psyche (or even your own) when you’re sad.

So, for the first time in twenty something years, I put my cards down. I told my clients I was taking the summer off, and I walked away from them.

I have to tell you, I didn’t miss them at all. I slept a lot. I cleaned my house and spent time with my friends. When I had my kids, I was wholly invested in them. I didn’t miss my cards.

Until I did.

It only took about three weeks for me to miss it, but I’d set a date and by god, I was going to stick to it. When I finally did come back to readings, I was in LOVE again. Whatever it was that went away was back, and I felt like myself again. I was looking forward to readings and to playing with my cards again, and I felt refreshed.

Even the thing you love the best can become a burden if you’re not feeling your best. Even that thing that drives you can drive you crazy. If that happens, walk away. For a few minutes, for a day, for a week. Even for a summer.

For everything, there is a season, after all.

About the Author: Melissa Cynova

Melissa Cynova is owner of Little Fox Tarot, and has been reading tarot cards and teaching classes since 1989. She can be found in the St. Louis area, and is available for personal readings, parties and beginner and advanced tarot classes. Her first book, Kitchen Table Tarot, was recently published by Llewellyn Publishing. Melissa lives in St. Louis with her kiddos, her husband, Joe, two cats, two dogs and her tortoise, Phil.

You can reach Melissa at lis@littlefoxtarot.com. She is on Twitter and Instagram under Little Fox Tarot. Go ahead and schedule a reading – she already knows you want one.

Instrumental: Turning to the Elements for Cleansing by Melissa Cynova

Regardless of the kind of energetic work you do – you’re probably aware that energy accumulates. Have you ever walked into a room where two people have just finished fighting? The air is thick and the energy is heated. Have you walked into an empty house and have just known that it was empty? The energy that flies around sometimes lands, sometimes sticks, sometimes screws up your mood or your day.

Now, imagine doing a dozen readings in a row with the same tarot deck. Every heartache. Every frustration and illness and romance and loss. It’s intense! Those intense emotions stick to your cards and make them feel – for lack of a better word – grody.

Whether you do reiki, runes or tarot.  Actually, even if you don’t do any similar work, as a creative, you are sensitive to the energy around you. So, yes, writers and artists, this is for you, too!

If you read for yourself or others, knowing how best to clean your tools is as important as how to take care of yourself. If you’re not grounded and centered, it’s hard to do your best work. I like to go to the elements when grounding myself and cleaning my cards. Here are some tips that might help you, too!

Care and Keeping of You Using the Elements

Earth:   Stomp your feet on the ground. Go running or walking. Lie down in the grass. Garden. Put your hands in the dirt. Pet your animals. Have really good sex. When I was a social worker, I would stop outside of my car before I left for the day and stomp my feet like crazy to get all of that (sometimes very negative) energy off me before I got home.

Air:  Breathe! Yoga breathing is outstanding. This breathing pattern by Dr. Andrew Weil works great for me: you breathe in for a four count, hold for seven, and exhale for eight. It feels great. You can read or meditate, too.

Fire:  Use a candle to meditate. I would say smoke, because that worked for me for a long time, but smoking is bad for you, so light a candle and stare at it for a bit. Send your energy to the wick and imagine it getting turned into smoke and blowing away.

Water:  Take a shower. Take off all of your jewelry and put it in water to disperse any energy it’s collected. Take a bath. Go for a swim. Stand in the rain.

 Care and Keeping of Your Cards*

Cleaning them energetically is a practice I would take up after every use if possible.

*Note: you can modify this for other spiritual or creative supplies, like your journal.

Earth:  Rap your knuckles on your card. Put the deck in order – Ace to King for each suit, Fool to World. Stack them up. Put them on the (clean) grass and let them go to ground for a bit. Clean with fanning powder.

Air: Use a sage or cedar stick to clean them with smoke. Breathe on them.

Fire: Tricky with flammable cards. I find that incense feels more fiery than sage sticks. Light a stick of incense or a candle in front of your cards and put your intent into the lighting of it. You can also put your cards out into the sunlight.

Water: Also tricky with cards. This might be me being weird, but I look to the Moon for water cleansing. It controls the tides, right? Put your cards on the windowsill in front of the moon and let them soak up the goodness.

Whatever your tools, the better you care for them, the better they’ll serve you.

About the Author: Melissa Cynova

Melissa CynovaMelissaC_Bio is owner of Little Fox Tarot, and has been reading tarot cards and teaching classes since 1989. She can be found in the St. Louis area, and is available for personal readings, parties and beginner and advanced tarot classes.  Melissa lives in St. Louis with her kiddos, her husband, Joe, and two cats, two dogs and her tortoise, Phil.

She is on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Go ahead and schedule a reading – she already knows you want one.

(The element lists were originally found in my book: Kitchen Table Tarot)

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