Since I posted quite a lot about manifestation last winter, I figured a check-in was due. Let’s see.
Six months ago I didn’t have a job. A friend lent me money to pay rent. I couldn’t manage my finances at all. I was drinking every day, trying to quit cigarettes, my relationship was in the toilet and our car’s busted out back window had admitted enough rain into the carpet and seat that mold began to grow there. Dishes were piled in the sink for days at a time. I would hardly go outside for days at a time. I called all of my contacts every day–by that I mean the handful of people I talk to. I hated myself and the people I love hated me pretty well as well. I”d ruined an opportunity to work in an organic, scratch kitchen that was my dream job and I was feeling pretty damned sorry for myself.
Now I am working full time selling healthy food to people. We both got out of the service industry right before the pandemic hit, found our way into grocery stores, and then the pandemic hit and we worked all through it. I am teaching cooking classes and writing for my company’s blog. I’m running every day. DJ and I have a steady income, a new car, and are moving into a two-bedroom apartment next month. I regularly keep up with the chores and cooking. We’re cooking up plans for a business, a family.
While significant change takes a little bit of effort every day (sometimes a lot every day), for changes to become habits and habits to manifest as results, I was stuck in a rut for a while there before the upward trend started, just bumping up against what felt like an invisible wall.
Resistance to change, time to adapt to new perception in a new place after being in the same familiar one for thirty years, addiction, fear, and clinging to identifying labels for security were holding me back from enthusiastically moving forward into what is an objectively good life I think. I’m blessed.
Appreciation I think is where it starts. I think this is why people with depression sometimes use humor to cope. It’s not always easy to see a silver lining or a route to hope, but laughter can cut through depression better than most things. A dark sense of humor can become a gateway to a more optimistic outlook and a more optimistic outlook can and does create positive outcomes if acted upon. I think most people have this capability to think about doing something, learn about doing something, envision doing something, set out to do something, and get it done given enough time.
That being said, I think there are things we can set out to do that are timeless: heal family wounds, maintain and strengthen the bonds of our currently existing relationships, cultivate inner peace that we may bring peace to our days and to others, test the self, hold to values that have been tested and proven to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Test those values all the time and question always how this can be done better. I don’t think achievement, joy, kindness, intelligence, passion, ingenuity, and resources are lacking in the world but media does perpetuate fear because we engage more readily on a subconscious biological level with a fight or flight response and because this fear causes us to consume more media in which we are looking for answers to mitigate those fears.
Our instincts know things that have been informed by thousands of years of evolution and those instincts can be trained and honed, but I was allowing mine to be trained and honed by the hatred, anger, and fear mongering media.
Step one: No More Social Media.
Be the Lighthouse.
I don’t know who, if anyone anymore, might read here, but a lot of what I explore is how consciousness shifts, how personality changes, and how we engage with dialogues about sanity.
What I’ve been doing for a while now is recording the events that mark shifts in my consciousness, between identities, archetypal encounters, personalities, dreamscapes, and values, over the course of a lifetime. We are complex, multi-faceted, multi-talented creatures that have been taught to distrust our instincts.
I would argue there has never been a better time to proceed through life on instinct, since there has never been so much knowledge available with which to inform and train one’s instincts. The original explorers of consciousness via instinct and knowledge were known as shamans. Neo shamanism is experiencing a resurgence in the west, I would guess because, like Campbell’s hero, the shaman ventures beyond the realms of sanity and the civilized to bring the boons of knowledge back from the dark mother, nature, chaos, introversion, receptivity, vulnerability, aloneness to the sun father, analysis, order, consciousness, community.
So this is the magic my people work with—a resurgence of divine femininity and intuition.
I think the reason I liked Augusten Burroughs’ Toil&Trouble so much is he explained how he understood magic, topically with anecdotes with which I identified, and then named this term for me: Chaos magic.
If I’d been introduced to that term another way, the word might have sounded too out there for me to stand by: Chaos.
But out of chaos comes order and by god here we are doing this thing called life. The proteins for life and the likelihood of their synthesis is less than the number of observable number of atoms in the universe (Narby, 75).
So how do we actively engage this transmutation?
If you haven’t read any of my journal entries yet, then maybe you don’t know I appear to be batshit crazy, or at least flitting up against the entrance to the cave of batshit crazy. That’s fine with me. I had to stop caring about whether or not I was sane. It is what it is.
Make believe is a powerful tool, and visualization. Athletes use visualization techniques, as do yogis, and you better believe that the better you can visualize something, the more likely you are to be able to achieve that goal. There’s something about doing the reps.
Our subconscious minds are powerful tools. When we envision something we desire, spend time with that idea in our minds, especially if that vision makes us feel good, the subconscious brain will work to focus more on that, so opportunities for creating the envisioned result start to appear as though out of nowhere, when really our unconscious mind has simply been trained to look for those clues. This is what people who practice manifestation perceive as synchronicity. Similarly, I think there are some synchronicities that appear too mystifying to pass off as mere chance.
Note: We perceive so very little of reality that consciously looking for these opportunities without letting the subconscious do the work of seeking via feeling and visualization is far more taxing and far less likely to yield results.
Values: Humility. Curiosity. Light-heartedness.
I have three careers: Cook, Teacher, Writer. Six months ago I was writing thinking it would go nowhere.
At work, we write nightly e-mails to let the Managers and CEOs know what operations look like in the store on a day-to-day basis. My manager asks me to please not write the same thing every night since that’s what most of the employees do and she has to read them all.
Every day, I start telling a story in the nightly email and the regional manager so enjoys reading them so much, she asks me to reach out to bloggers for collaborations. I look into it, realize we should probably have a company blog if we’re going to reach out, and a week later, we have a blog for which I’m now collaborating with an RD to write about nutrition and health.
As for the cooking classes, I originally applied at the grocery store to teach the classes they hold there, but they needed a grocery clerk, which has proven beneficial to my health and sanity as it is a very mellow job. Being a line cook for 12 years was enough for me. I need regular meals and snacks and pee breaks now and a busy line in July calls for a catheter and colostomy bag if you plan on eating or drinking at all. Just kidding (only kinda).
How a job at a grocery store became a job that encompasses all three of my careers might be a resulting mix of luck, persistence, patience, and hard work, but it seemed to happen naturally and all at once. Like one day I was a clerk and the next I was doing all the things I’d set out to do.
Fundamental shifts in how I spend my time and what I value occurred as well, and it’s these, I think, that create the real changes.
The Value of Time:
When I quit drinking, for example, I had to acknowledge that I drank because I didn’t value myself and my time, didn’t want to put the effort in to test my abilities against the challenges that stood between me and my goals, and didn’t want to face the feelings of worthlessness instilled in me by my own lack of integrity and by others’ responses to that lack of integrity.
I’d wasted quite a lot of my time wallowing in alcohol because alcohol distanced me enough from any sensation of ambition or hope for something better that I could go one more day leaving that call unheeded. Alcohol was a panacea against realizing myself, my limitations, and my abilities. Instead of testing myself, I was trying to preserve myself in time, make it stand still, pickling my liver until I was ready to move forward again only to discover the waiting weakens and the longer I wait the harder it gets to start. Just do. Just stop now and do.
I realized alcohol was primarily a thief of my time, so I started to ask myself, what do you want to spend your time doing? That’s what you should spend your time thinking about. Work became easier when I started enjoying my time at home instead of drinking it away.
I was wrong I was so wrong~
There’s no better place to start.
Right and wrong are subjective and we ultimately must live with ourselves alone and die alone so instead of being right or wrong lets just be relaxed and kind.
Sometimes when you’re relaxed and kind, people who aren’t relaxed and kind feel more unsettled in their own skin. People compare. Don’t compare yourself to others just to who you were yesterday and all that. I started to be more understanding of people because it feels better.
A nurse comes in to the grocery store where I work and yells at me about needing to enforce how people in the store wear their masks, then asks me for a couple scoops of ice cream, which seems to me the most likely place in the store for the potential of transmission if it’s going to occur here. She’s probably tired and needed to blow off some steam. I like to have ice cream after blowing off steam too.
It feels better to say, “Okay,” let her yell a second, and then say, “Okay,” again and continue ringing up her purchases. There’s a pause and some beeping and scanning while she realizes that she’s yelling at a clerk about masks who is wearing a mask, that she has no reason to yell at me, everyone in the store is properly masked. It is hilarious when she asks for ice cream. She needs it.
To me, this feels lighthearted. Let her blow off steam. Who am I?
My identity has primarily been formed as a backdrop of people’s projections in the past. I stand quiet and watch and people talk at me and I listen and am in the space of their emotions, their motivations, their desires because this is the space I’m in.
When faced with something for which one has no language to categorize nor mythology to contextualize, we are left in a zone of receptivity in which we face ourselves against what is. Without language, we have no personality. Without personality, the possibilities to become are infinite. I argue it’s no words and labels and definitions which hold us back from our unrealized potentials quite often as well.
“We introduce our focus of study—personality and language—with the words of Louis Milic (Milic, 1966, p. 82):
The fundamental assumption is that the style of a writer is an idiosyn- cratic selection of the resources of the language more or less forced upon him by the combination of individual differences summarized under the term “personality”. This selection might be called a set of preferences ex- cept that this term suggests that the process is mainly conscious and willed. Although it is doubtless true that some part of the process of composition is deliberate and conscious, especially at the level of meaning, much of it is not fully conscious and it is this part which is of greater interest to the stu- dent of style. The reason is obvious: The unconscious stylistic decisions are less likely to be affected by the occasional and temporary characteris- tic of a given composition (its subject matter) and are more likely to reveal something the writer might be struggling to conceal. If we are interested in his personality, such information would naturally be of great interest […]”
Alastair James Gill, PHD, University of Edinburgh 2003.http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.65.217&rep=rep1&type=pdf
As a writer, or as someone who watches, we learn to see the personality of a person is defined quite often by what they do not do or say. Like a person who doesn’t react to being called names probably has a pretty solid self-esteem. A person who says, “Let’s work hard today everyone,” is probably the most likely to pop off for a smoke break in ten minutes. People don’t usually say what they mean.
Our words are actually quite powerful in this way. They lay the foundations for the structures of our thought, for what we believe possible, and they create the symbolic pathways by which we hope to achieve our goals. We learn to ask for things or say no, communicate desires and boundaries, and words appear to be the first in a series of communications which defined the personality.
As a kid who didn’t talk much, a defined personality isn’t something I would say I carried around with me from person to person. Again, I felt more like people were seeing projections of themselves when we spoke than they were seeing me.
The more I put into words, the more I commit to the suggestion of a personality, the less possibility. Am I making sense? This is a sensation I’m having trouble expressing in this context t but may make more sense in my book which is in its organization phase.
Because I was the kind of kid who turned stress into focus and creativity and because alcoholism took so much from me and because I’m not drinking and things are clearing up again, it seems necessary to write it all down on a book.
The memories started coming back after a night I spent in jail a couple weeks ago. I slipped up, drank a bottle of cooking wine, locked myself out of the apartment and through a rock through the glass door to get back in. Someone had shattered it not two months before, so I guess my drunken brain remembered this and thought it would be the best way to go about it. The cops thought I was a burglar or looter and I was held in mod-security for a day on felony property destruction with malicious intent.
They dropped the charges and we paid for the door (DJ helped me out and even talked to my mom…I love that man) and I remembered the people I love who’ve been to jail and we’ll just say a lot of things about my life and choices became clear.
The cops here in Seattle are pretty ruthless lately too. The protests have not improved their cuddliness factor.
So I’m writing. I’m writing about the changes fundamental personality shifts have required of me (changes that I’ve documented in detail and which are not well-known to psychologists—how do humans change their behavior—and of the influence of alcohol on myself, friends, and family.
A person who undergoes these transformations needs close friends to remind them sometimes of the correct course. When all the possibilities arise, it’s easier to be unkind than kind. Reminders help us to do the hard work of learning to be kinder than we were yesterday.