The Shapes We Mae

MERMAID TAROT TUESDAY: The Star (reversed)

Inner GoddessLily MyersComment
from Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot.

from Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot.

Peace is elusive. That's the first sentence that popped into my head when I turned over this week's card, The Star. In Tarot, when a card shows up upside-down, it means that the energy is present but modified somehow. The Star card represents peace, healing, quiet, solitude--pretty much the opposite of anxiety. It's fitting, then, that I pulled this card right smack-dab in the middle of an anxiety freak-out!

Tarot always has a way of slapping me (kindly) in the face with what I need to remember. Seeing The Star reversed reminded me that, yes, peace is elusive, but it also always exists within us. That sense of inner calm always has the potential to be felt; it's always lying dormant in us. It's just that we cover it up with our incessant thoughts, plans, worries, and fears. And it's so NOT easy to just wipe those things away. I spent all afternoon freaking out about job and career plans, and I was not physically able to just breathe the worries away (I wish it worked like that, amiright?).

What did help, though, was reminding myself that I do not need to make any decisions right now. There is still time to gather information, ponder, reflect; in other words, I can make a decision in the future from a more centered place, not from this current frenzied one! Realizing that allowed some space, some breathing room. That's the reminder that The Star brings us: if we search for it, there is always that calm, still inner pool inside us. Maybe we can't feel it right now; maybe we just have to trust that we'll feel it tomorrow, or next week, or next month. (My current motto is "No decisions in May!")

As long as we know that The Star's energy--that calm, still inner peace--resides within us somewhere, then it's okay that we don't feel it right now. That's what the card's reversal is telling us: you won't feel calm all the time (duh), and that's fine. Sometimes I get pissed off at all the mindfulness-love-and-light talk when it sounds like we should always be grounded and centered. WE'RE NOT ALWAYS GONNA BE GROUNDED AND CENTERED!!!!!!!!!!! But if we can remember that we can return to that more centered place, and that we will inevitably return there, therein lies the Star's grace.

I've found that as I've gotten older, I know more tools and shortcuts to get back to that inner-calm-Star place. I know the music that gets me there (Laura Marling all the way! Listen to her latest album, "Semper Femina"). I know that breathing slowly and deliberately actually helps. I know that I can turn off the screens and look out my window and remember that so many other things exist in the world besides my current task or drama. Over the years, experiencing and then recovering from anxiety episodes, I've learned that I do overcome them. Anxiety sucks, and in the moment it's nearly unbearable. It hasn't gotten more fun over time, but I do have more proof that I can withstand it, and that does help.

So, whatever is getting you anxious this week, or confused, or worried-- let it be. It might not go away just yet (um, the astrological theme for May is instability, thank you very much, Mystic Mamma). You may not feel that peaceful Star feeling right now. But it does exist within you, always. You can, and will, find your way back to it. Try to stay still and feel that small, still pool within you. That one teeny part of you that is stable, and calm, and watching everything unfold, and saying oh darling, it will be okay. The Star promises us that this voice is always inside us, even when it's whispering. Even when we can't hear it. It's there.

It's a great week to: slow down, breathe deeply, meditate, close your eyes, unplug, go into nature, take a solo walk, journal, talk nicely to yourself, reach out for support, lean on someone's shoulder, focus on the natural world, sip tea, gaze out your window. Avoid decision-making, over-achieving, or pushing yourself too hard.

Happy star-gazing! xo

YOUR MAGIC WORDS

Mindful Media, Inner GoddessLily MyersComment
Firm believer in the power pose. Posin' before my talk, "Your Magic Words," at TEDx Wellesley College.

Firm believer in the power pose. Posin' before my talk, "Your Magic Words," at TEDx Wellesley College.

HEY there! As you may have noticed from our long hiatus, May has been a cray-cray month-- has it been for you too? My trusty source for all things astrological, Mystic Mamma, predicted that the theme for May would be instability-- and boy, was that right. The beautiful thing about instability, though, is that old patterns get shaken up and left behind, and we can put new patterns, new intentions, new habits in their place. So, here's to instability!!

One thing that's come up for me a lot during this cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs month is MAGIC. In the wake of difficult interpersonal drama, endless confusion about jobs and future plans, I have found my magical practices deepening. I've been turning to the Tarot more often, studying my dreams, and collecting herbs and tinctures for focus, clarity, and healing. It's been fascinating to see that when things got rough, I turned to magic. I was so happy that my instinct was to turn to my passion, rather than away from it, during this unstable time.

Magic comes in many forms. A common definition that I like a lot is "creating change in conformity with your will." By this definition, anytime you focus your intentions to create change, you are practicing magic! A spell is basically a clearly articulated intention, and you don't need to be into crystals or Tarot to do that! In fact, I see writing itself as an act of magic. I gave a talk on this subject at last year's TEDx Wellesley College conference, in February of 2016. It took me a while to get my hands on the video, and even longer to post it. But here it finally is, my attempt at explaining how I see magic, storytelling, and feminism as all connected. I hope you enjoy!

CRYIN' TO COLBIE CALLAIT

Body Love, Inner GoddessLily MyersComment

TRUE STORY: A few weeks ago, I got in my car, turned on the radio and heard the beginnings of a pop song I'd never heard before. I was about to change the channel when I started listening to the lyrics: "You don't have to try so hard/ You don't have to give it all away..." and GURLS, I STARTED BAWLING. Lolz. I'm not a frequent cryer (Kate can attest to that) so I was pretty darn surprised. Colbie Callait's song about not needing to try so hard --poppy and cliche as that may be-- just hit me so damn hard. Because, like most girls, I've spent most of my life feeling like I do need to try so hard. Every message I've received from the media, social norms, and mainstream advertising has told me to worship one version of beauty, and to nearly kill myself trying to attain it.

Of course, I don't subscribe to that belief AT ALL-- not rationally, anyway. But those messages sink in so deeply that even when we know better, we're constantly judging ourselves, trying to reach a narrow definition of perfection. Thankfully, as I get older I feel less desperate pressure to conform to this, but the feelings still arise. I'm in a phase now of mourning for my younger self; mourning the minutes and hours and months I lost to hating my body, obsessively exercising, scrutinizing myself, and believing I was ugly. I think I was crying in that car for all those thoughts that ate away at me during my adolescence. I was crying for all the mornings I woke up and immediately thought about my weight. For the times I stared at myself in the mirror and saw only ugly. For the countless other girls experiencing the same destructive thoughts.

I was crying from relief, too. Because if the message of the song is true-- that we can simply breathe, can be ourselves, can stop trying so damn hard-- isn't that the most relieving feeling ever? If we are already enough, if we are perfect in our own way, if we "don't need to change a single thing", as Callait sings, isn't that the most amazing realization? What space might that open up in our lives? How much time and power could we claim back if we really believed it?

She captures the relief so well when she sings: "Take your makeup off/ let your hair down/ take a breath/ look into the mirror, at yourself/ don't you like you?" Cause that's the most important question, right? When you're all alone, can you feel your own presence, your unique spirit, your aliveness? Can you face yourself, boldly and bare-faced, with no judgement? Can you see the absolutely unique perfection that you are? It's a helluva long process, but it can begin now, and it can begin with just one breath. Cause she's absolutely right. You really don't have to try so hard.

I've also been shamelessly belting along to "Scars to Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara. Same deal. Love it so much. Here's to self-love pop that's catchy AF!!!!!!!!!

YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY

Kate WeinerComment

I'm having one of those days where I feel like a poop person because I guess I'm just like every other human and have ups and downs WHY. So I went to the Whole Foods to do my grocery shopping (I bet you didn't know I am actually a Patagonia-clad mama to Juniper and Jasper—my Australian shepards) and then I suddenly remembered how a year and a half ago, newly graduated from college and living in a dangerously unventilated attic, I used to go to the Whole Foods to forage for free samples after my job on a farm. 

Suddenly, that memory—of rolling into the Whole Foods in my dirty shortalls, prowling for free food—warmed my heart. Because it made me realize that in the last two years, I have come a LONG way. 

I'm never sure when or how growth happens but it is always so riotously beautiful to me when you take a step out of your life and look back at the many sad, gorgeous, happy, strange, and unsettling moments that guided you to where you are now. A year and a half ago, I was subletting from this god awful couple who hid all the pots and pans from me after I accidentally used their frozen pizza tray to roast veggies. I supplemented my job on a farm—where I was nearly fired for not cleaning the radishes enough—with three part-time gigs. I would've been lost if not for my rad friend Linda, who volunteered on the farm where I worked and had  seen some s**t. Linda was in her fifties and worked as a cook on a tugboat. She inspired me to just go for it, and so I did. 

The summer wrapped up and I moved home to work at my dream farm-to-table venue where I spent an eerily warm fall helping with weddings (not my dream) and I was sad and unsure and wracked with eco-anxiety. So I found work in San Diego, where my first room was in a damp apartment condo managed by a crack dealing landlord, and I cried a lot because I still felt sad and unsure and wracked with eco-anxiety. The first meal that I ate in that windowless kitchen was with rainbow chard and blood red beets. In my haste, I'd forgotten to wash the veg clean of the sand. So I made a big pot of rocks, really, and took one bite and cried (again), because I was tired of not doing anything right and living in houses that weren't my home.

So I moved again, this time two blocks from the beach, and then again, to a family friend's home, and then to the mountains because I wanted to swim in alpine lakes. And then I lost my job, and sifted through an endless slew of freelance gigs, and I found a new job, and a new home. And I filled my room with plants that put me at peace because it's always been my dream to live in a little Eden so full of snake plants and philodendrons that you can barely find the bed. 

And somewhere—sandwiched in between the sadnesses that clawed their way like weeds, in between the houses that didn't hold me close, in between the loves I let go—good things bloomed, gave life to people and places and moments I am forever grateful for. I won awards for my environmental activism and traveled the country speaking to communities about sustainability. I was paid for pieces that were published. I garnered grants to fund my art. I have made things that are beautiful and that I'm proud of. I have felt so very sad but also so very alive with hope.

I don't know where I'll be in the next few months. I'm thinking a treehouse. But I love knowing that I can trust that whatever I do, it will bring me closer to where I want to be—even if I can't name it yet, or may never be able to. There's beauty in recognizing that growth always happens, that homes & loves & plans dissolve only to come back together. Again. And again. And again. 

MERMAID TAROT TUESDAY: The Chariot

Inner GoddessLily MyersComment

Sometimes a card jumps out of the deck while I'm shuffling, and I just know it's the right one. It's like the deck is taking over my shuffling, like, yeah, we got this from here. This week, on the 7th day of March, the 7th card of the Major Arcana jumped out: The Chariot.

This is one of the most energizing cards in the deck. Its key word is momentum. The Chariot is about forward motion, sitting in the driver's seat in confidence. It's about steering. Whatever direction you want to go in, now is the perfect time to take direct actions to go there. This card reminds us that we hold the reins (the reins of the metaphorical pink dolphins, yes). We're always in the driver's seat; we can find a way to change or affect any situation. There's always an action for us to take.

If you have major goals, this card is a strong nudge to start working more concretely on them. If there are any blockages you feel have been stopping you from working toward these goals, this card is like a permission slip to simply override them. It's a pass-go-and-do-collect-200 card: just keep moving forward, it says, and don't worry about every little thing along the way. The important thing is maintaining momentum and not falling into stagnation. So don't worry if the circumstances aren't perfect; they never will be. Just take a step forward.

The truth is, you have no idea of the places you'll end up. Your potential is quite literally limitless. Often we think we can predict where our actions will get us, but we can't. The island-fantasy-land pictured on this Chariot card reminds us that when we take action to pursue our goals, we can end up in places better and dreamier than we ever imagined. Trust that your actions will take you to newer, bigger and better places. Even if it feels like you're blindly taking steps forward, that's fine. That's how you get somewhere new.

Change is the only constant in our lives. The Chariot celebrates change, affirming that motion is what keeps everything fresh, exciting, and alive. Since everything's changing anyway, why not take the reins and decide what direction you want to go in? You're in the driver's seat (er, shell), you mermaid!

It's a great week to: make a vision board, work on applications, continue a project that's stagnated, set goals in your planner, make a list of life-goals, send messages or requests you've been meaning to send, finish your half-done to-do list, run or dance, start a project, assume a leadership position.

Happy driving, mermaidz. xo