Embracing Change?

Part of my daily practice is to write. I like to pull a card (Lenormand, Tarot, Oracle) then write about what it brings up in me. In our current climate, change has been a topic seemingly from everyone.

  • What do we do about change?
  • How do we create change?
  • How do we change things that are changing?
  • Can we change ourselves to adapt to our new climate?

And so it goes. I don’t think the discussion is new. I do think it is louder, more vociferous, more in-my-face than it has been. I also think it is showing me things that I cannot condone.

Violence in thought, word and/or deed is a big one for me.

All of that was on my mind when I wrote down the question for the day.

How can I embrace change more effectively?

If I am honest, I can admit that I was pretty sure I knew what my answer was. I would just have to embrace change as it came.

But the card I pulled forced me into a deeper way of looking at thing. A more profound yet far simpler answer was waiting for me in the turn of a card.

Using the Housewives Tarot (Quirk Books 2004), I flipped over the Three of Pentacles. And here is part of my journal entry.

Housewives Tarot Three of Pentacles
Housewives Tarot

Interesting. She’s doing the work to reinforce the shelf while the other three look on. Why are they not helping?

And that’s it in a small, encapsulated natural holder: nutshell. She doesn’t care that they are not helping. That they seem to be judging her work. She’s doing the work that needs to be done.

Her arms/hands are the tools. Left hand is a hammer. Right hand is a screwdriver. She didn’t have to stop to grab tools. She is Tools.

The work doesn’t scare her. She is as cheerful as a robin greeting spring. This isn’t about her. It isn’t about them. It isn’t even about the shelf.

It’s about the work itself.

She would be fixing something else if not this shelf. She’d be creating more plates. She’d be inventorying her environment to see what needed doing.

She would just do. It is where her joy is. In the doing.

Not the doing for others.
Just the very act of doing.

Today I do what needs to be done.

I end each journal entry with an affirmation. I tell my clients that affirmations are best said out-loud. I advocate that they are done three times three. By that I mean, say the affirmation three times. Do that three times a day so that you have a total of nine. Bare minimum!

And say them out loud. Look yourself in the eye in the mirror when you do this. Our brains process what we hear differently than when we read the same thing.

So what will you do about change? My answer turned out to be to just do the work that needs to be done. I guess the Universe is kicking me in the rump telling me to stop worrying about the efficacy of what I do and worry about the DO part of what I do.

Today I do what needs to be done. I know what I see that needs doing, but I don’t want to put words into your mouths. Instead please let me know in the comments what you will be doing.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Skipping From A-Z

News Flash! Arwen admits to being wrong.

Yellow flowerToday I go back in time. Not way, way back–but to just a little over two years ago. I was in Little Rock with my then beau. We were walking around the beautiful grounds at the Peabody Hotel. He took a picture of some tiny flowers.

In my head I thought, “Well that’s a delete…that camera can’t take good close-ups.”

As you can see from the picture, I was wrong. So it was a reminder that I need to wait for the outcome. I need to stop hurtling from A-Z without stopping for the experiences that come from start to finish.

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Today’s affirmation:

I experience life in each moment. I breathe in the here and the now of this moment. I feel my lungs fill up with breath and joy. I feel my lungs push out anticipation. I anticipate happiness. I embrace life. This moment of this day is perfect in every way. Loved and loving, I love each of you.

Seek joy, y’all!

Yellow Flowers, Poe, 2012

Risking Life+Limb

What’s a mouse to do when a snake is looking right at them?

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The Wooden Tarot Fool
The Wooden Tarot

#affirmation Some will hate today’s card, I’m sure. Me? I love it. It captures the message beautifully. What’s that message? Oh the one of taking risks, leaping without looking and assuming all is possible despite the odds.

Yep, it’s the Fool. And what an interesting fool it is! Here is a field mouse ready to take off on his or her next great adventure. The traditional stick features a flower as a bag. The cliff? Well that’s a snake. A boa from the looks of it. I love that the snake has moss and growth on it to represent the leap from security into the unknown.

Will the mouse make it? Will the snake win this time? Only the jump will answer that question.

Terrific interpretation of the Fool card. Swartz nailed this one. There’s danger and optimism clearly detailed here. I think this has to go on my top ten list of favorite Fool cards.

Today’s affirmation:

I am a fool. I am my own best friend. I encourage myself to take risks and make leaps of faith. I trust in the path I have chosen. I know that I will survive whatever is in front of me. Loved and loving, I love each of you.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

The Wooden Tarot, http://www.skullgarden.net/art/the-wooden-tarot/


NOTE: I have added a (c)A.L. Swartz to the images to protect the artist’s rights.

What Do You Do When Feces Fugit?

five-earthI decided to pull a card then write a powerful, empowering, positive affirmation. I knew it would be easy.

Then I drew this card.

Yeah. Not so easy.

Huddled in a makeshift shelter, this person seems to be just trying to make it through the night. I don’t think he or she is all about joy and seeking it. I’m reminded that there have been times in my life when seeking joy was about as much fun as pulling teeth.

And not as easy either.

But my constant push to seek joy isn’t some rose-colored phrase. I know shit happens. It happens to me as much as to anyone. What makes me different is that I realize it is simply shit and it is fleeing.

Feces Fugit

Shit flies. The trick is to find joy even in that.

So my affirmation for the Five of Earth (Gaian Tarot) is this:

I know how to seek shelter when necessary. I am blessed with knowing when to duck and cover. I am safe from the storms of life because I know how to honor all sides of me. I am loved and loving even in the midst of chaos.

And I am loved. While writing this, a dear friend called me to give me much needed advice on how to handle an injury. I think the Universe really outdid itself when it got me to Austin.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Five of Earth, Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert Limited Edition

Is That Affirmative?

zentangle037Today’s card is one of my tangles. This is a very repetitive zendala called a monotangle. That’s because it uses the same pattern over and over again.

It’s a time-honored tradition in spiritual work–this repetition. Buddhists do it. Catholics do it. Wiccans do it. Taking the same phrase and repeating it helps solidify that thought pattern.

You won’t be surprised when I tell you that’s one reason for “seek joy, y’all” all the time.

On my personal Facebook page, I do a daily affirmation (well nearly daily). It is my way of setting my day up. I begin with positive statements.

For today’s 180 second challenge (that’s just three minutes, my darlings), I want you to say an affirmation. It can be short. It can be simple. It must be in the present tense and positive.

For instance, the following is not a “good” affirmation:

I am going to not be sad today.

Change that to:

Today I am happy.

Short. Sweet. Positive.

I tend to make longer ones because, hey, I’m a writer and I’m wordy. Here is my affirmation for today.

I breathe in peace. I breathe out joy. I see beauty in each person I meet. I find the good in the world easily. Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

I’d love it if you would share yours with me.

Zendala, Arwen Lynch, 2012

Pssst! In Austin, TX? Check out out this upcoming class from Ginny Krauskopf, CZT. This is the woman who taught me the basics of Zentangle.

Beginning Zentangle – Austin, TX

April 13, 2013, 1:00 – 3:45

Whether you’ve been playing around with Zentangle for a while, or never drawn a single pattern, this class is for you! You’ll learn basic tangle patterns and get a kit to take home.

You can sign up for the class on the Austin page of Ginny’s website.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

Tarot & Food: Death & Shepard’s Pie

Mindfulness came in an unusual lesson for me. Death is what it took. Look, I don’t know about you, but when Death hits in my life, I need comfort food and I need it now. I don’t want to wait for a pie to bake or a roast to roast. I need something fast and hot and completely familiar to remind me that “this too shall pass.” Death is about hard, unyielding change and sometimes it is about physical loss.

What I need is my ultimate favorite comfort food, Shepard’s Pie. I almost always have the ingredients for it even when I am destitute. Let me share a story with you about the synchronicity of the pie that is the shepard’s. The one I now call Death Pie.

Back in the 90’s I lived in Lansing, MI on what can only be called the wrong side of the capital building. For those of you familiar with Lansing, I lived on Lahoma which was on the west side of the capital. Right. The side where you heard gunshots in the day, too.

My across-the-street-just-a-few-houses-down neighbors were Max and Bud. Max and Bud had been married forever and a week according to Maxine. Bud was one of those people you just never forget. He and Max had lived in that house on Lahoma street from when it was a good neighborhood through to the current incarnation of a drug and crime ridden slum.

And no one ever bothered them because they were the heart of the neighborhood. One night, my partner and I noticed an ambulance at their place. We didn’t worry too much because Bud had some heart problems so he occasionally had to make sudden trips to the ER.

The next morning we learned that Bud had died in his sleep. I was heartbroken. Max’s pain devastated me because I didn’t know what to do for her. So I did what any Southern woman would do. I turned to my fridge.

And realized I had nothing. T and I were living on someone else’s shoestrings–that’s how bad it was then. But I was determined to take them something so I dug out my last can of corn and my last roll of meat. Shepard’s pie wouldn’t have been my first choice for a dish to take to someone’s house like this, but it was my only option.

Max was at the funeral home when I walked over so I left the dish in the hands of another neighbor watching the house. I went home and cried for Max who had just lost her best friend. I cried for myself because I just felt so lost at the point. Realizing how broke we were and how far down in life I’d come really tore me up.

That night, Max came over. She didn’t come in. She just stood on my porch with this stunned look on her face and asked me, “How did you know?” When I asked her what she meant, a tear slipped down her softly wrinkled cheek.

“Last night before Bud went to bed, he asked me if I would make shepard’s pie for supper. I told him I would.” She grabbed my hand and squeezed it. “You made him his shepard’s pie. Thank you.” She also told me that she felt Bud must have come across the street since he knew she’d be too busy with funeral arrangements. She gave me a quick hug. “Bud always did love you girls.”

Death had not just come calling at Bud and Max’s that night. It had come strolling across the street into my world. I am grateful that I was able to answer Bud’s desire for shepard’s pie. I am grateful that I was able to get past my own feelings of inadequacy to just make the dish and deliver it. I learned a lot of lessons on Lahoma street but this is one that really stuck with me.

Shepard’s pie will always make me think of death but also of how we need to take care of ourselves. Comfort foods take care of us. Whether it is by reminding us of our childhood or some point in our lives, food can reacquaint us with those memories. So here’s a recipe for something fast, something comforting, and something that reminds me to listen to my gut even when I am sad.

Shepard’s Pie

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes, cooked
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 TBS butter
  • Salt,Pepper

Melt the butter. Saute the onion and garlic til the onions are translucent. Brown the hamburger meat in the same pan with the onions and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. I throw in some Tony’s Chachere’s. Drain the grease off.

Place the meat mixture in a deep oven-safe casserole dish. Put the corn in next. Sometimes I put the corn in first, then the meat. Put a cup of cheese on for the next layer. Now smooth the mashed potatoes over it like frosting. If you love potatoes, make more. Now put the rest of the cheese on top of the potatoes.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. I like the cheese all melty with bits of brown on the edges.

This is perfect for an evening meal where you throw together a salad and maybe some bread. Easy-peasy comfort food.

So what is your comfort food?

And are you doing NaNoWriMo? I am! I’m using . What’s your secret weapon?