Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 29 of my Month of Groovy Geekery: Spirituality

This past month of Facebook, I've been making daily posts about the things that I geek out over (here's a link to my initial post on the subject: ).  It's been a lot of fun, challenging at times (like when we were away on a FREE trip to New Mexico and I didn't have the best Internet connection.  Maybe it was the extraterrestrials near Taos??), but I did it and am now embarking on my next-to-last day of the thirty.  These are the things I wish to bring along into my NEXT 52 years on this lovely blue marble.

My Geekery spans many worlds and disciplines - that's what makes me (and YOU) a unique individual.  I've posted missives and video links and photos about a wide range of topics, from Monty Python to Barbies, Mid-Century Modernism to Beagles - and the Beatles.  And let us not forget Disneyland and vintage clothing and Pee Wee Herman.  But now as I begin to wind down the list, I'm coming upon that which really matters.  Really, REALLY matters.

Day 29 of my Month of Groovy Geekery is spirituality.  My own particular brand of spirituality.  I call it Christlakotapaganamasteism.

You got that?

I've been a spiritual seeker all my life (and am working on a book about my experiences), but in the last few years, certain belief systems have decided to stick onto my soul  and find a restful place. Pay close attention to the following:

I am a Christian.  I follow Jesus's teachings about love and compassion.
I subscribe to many of the philosophies of the Lakota Sioux, who believe we are All One, and that all living things on Mother Earth matter.
I practice Neo-Pagan principles of positive magic, gratitude, giving, and loving esoteric ways.
I meditate using a Primordial Sound mantra which I've received by studying with Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center (where I will receive my certification in meditation instruction later this year).

Seems like quite a soup, huh?  Might look like it, but when I re-read my declaration, what came up for me was that it can be crystallized into one word: LOVE.  My spiritual practice is about love.  Under that umbrella are all positive, life-affirming things, like gratitude and gentleness and acceptance and giving.  All else is fear-based and have no place in my philosophy.

Serena agrees with belief system.  And says, "Namaste, baby!"

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Clearing, cleaning, enlightening: all hail the Mighty Closet Purge of 2015!

If the other mystics are right and clearing things out allows for wonderful things to flow in, I'll be winning the Powerball jackpot of at least 2 Million Dollars tonight ...

For approximately 2 full hours today, I plowed through my closet and parted with three boxes of clothes plus one huge plastic tub of shoes.

This has been a long time coming, folks.  I've had a pile of sweaters on a top shelf of my closet that were so ponderously unwieldy, they kept falling on my head every time I went to get a big sweater.  I had so many sweaters piled upon sweaters, that I forgot I had about 30% of them.  Long neglected sweaters saw the light of day today, some for the first time in years.

And clothes got thrown in the boxes.  Worn-out clothes, some clothes that are rather new but not very well made.  They did not fair so well with simple washing - they are now a mere memory.

Some poignant moments were had.  I realized that a good chunk of beautiful vintage short cardigans had been neglected by me fora long while because of my weight gain.  Now that I'm well on my way to my perfect weight again, I'm unearthing these beauties.  I'm also having "come to Jesus" moments about certain sweaters that were always too small, but were bought on Ebay from sellers with "no return" policies.  These lovelies are now in my office, waiting to have their very own Ebay sale ... this time from THIS Ebay seller who DOES allow returns.

I feel lighter, happier, cleaner.  I welcome all the good energy to come streaming in.  I acknowledge the fact that, by turning 52, I' am pressing a reset button by Maya standards, and I gratefully allow myself to cast off that which no longer serves me or makes me shine.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Month of Groovy Geekery!! (what does being a geek mean to YOU?)

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.  Brown paper packages tied up with strings.  These are a few of my favorite things." - "My Favorite Things" from "the Sound of Music"

Favorite things are what light you up on a gloomy day.  Things that jazz you, get you excited about being a sentient being on this big, blue marble.

Favorite things get you goosey.  They can also make you a geek if they become heightened and taken into your soul.

No, not the "biting the heads of chickens" kind of geekery.  I'm talking about when people really delve into a topic so thoroughly they can taste it.  Things that make you a little bit of a freak.  I'm talking full absorption into a certain thing that ignites, inspires, and makes a day a journey into creativity and play, rather than a walk through the doldrums.  Things that actually redefine "favorite".  Things that become necessities.

Last week, I asked some Facebook friends to define geekery for me.  Some of the responses:

  • "Generally a geek is considered as someone that has excessive knowledge and enthusiasm towards a specialized subject / activity. "
  • "Geek, real geek, to me, has always been people who think outside the norm in everything but sports (because they have their own lingo). Who's creativity in their chosen interest is unlimited."
    "Geek: one who has a deep and abiding passion and completist level of knowledge about some subject be it theatre, SFF, a particular tv show, knitting, etc..."
  • "Geekiness is beyond fandom. It's total immersion in a subject matter, to the extent that you want to know as much about it as you can. You form passionate opinions about the topic. Your tribe becomes your fellow geeks."

    •  "It means different things different people and each group feels they have it right. I have to agree with the nerdest definition. It means really loving something and pursuing it with passion. You can be a movie geek, computer geek, sports geek,etc"
  •  "Everyone is a geek."

As you can see, the question elicited a lot of responses.  And, you know, they're all right, really.

What do I geek out about?  Oh, colorful, whimsical, beautiful things.  Like Disney, beagles, England, Monty Python, vintage clothing, tarot ... the list goes on for quite a while.

The list goes on for at least a month.  So that's what I'll do with that period of time: relish something I geek over each day for the entire month of February.  I challenge you to do something similar.  After all, it's a cold, short month.  Why not give it a little love?

Truth be told, I'm already two days in, with little Facebook posts about 80s pop music and videos, and "Downton Abbey".  I won't be doing a blog post for each thing because, frankly, I don't have the emotional bandwidth for it these days, especially with what I'm dealing with with Daddy.  But I CAN, at the very least, publicly acknowledge those things on Facebook I get grooved about in a sticky, gooey, "all in" sort of way. It's a form of gratitude work.  It's thanking God for giving me those connections with places, people and things that make my heart sing.  I think it's a healthy way to check in, especially near your birthday.  And especially when you're going to be celebrating a 52nd birthday, when you supposedly press a "reset button".  It's my way of claiming, "These things make me the me I wish to keep around for the next 52 years."

These are the things that stay.  These are the things that matter.

What I geek out about the most?  This guy.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Maya and Mercury and Meeting of Minds.

In a scant two weeks' time, I'll be turning 52.  At first, I was like, "Meh, who cares?  What sort of birthday is 52?  It's not a big milestone ending in a zero or five, it's not a prime number, it's just ho-hum and what it is.  Bah for 52".

But then I went to Mexico.

Ben and I took a cruise back in November and one of our ports of call was Cozymel.  We had a day trip that included such tomfoolery as a tequila tasting (hosted by a gent who, for all intents and purposes, was a wacky Fred Armisen character) and a stop for lunch that offered unlimited burritos and fresh guacamole.  We also had the great fortune to visit the Instituto Nacional De Anthropologia E Historia and visit some Maya holy places. Our tour guide was amazing and took great pride in his heritage and history; embarrassingly, I learned more about Mexican culture in that short 4-hour day trip than I had in almost 52 years on this planet, embarrassing because last time I looked, Mexico is our southern neighbor.

But what stayed with me the most about that afternoon was the lesson on the Maya calendar - and the significance of the number 52.

You see, 52 is quite an auspicious number for the Maya.The calendar takes 52 years to cycle around.  So when you hit 52 years, the cycle begins again.  It is a time of rebirth, renewal, and hitting the "reset button".

Which brings me to me right now, with my Dad in hospice.  I know the end is coming closer for him and I know that a certain part of me will fall away once he does.  I had a horoscope reading with a dear friend last week; she pointed out that our rising signs are the same (Leo, a positive boon for actors), and that there are various conjunctions which signify a karmic connection. My friend said, "When you lose the parent your closest to, it's like a part of your soul gets ripped out."

In the next few weeks, I'm going to be doing some self-inquiry.  About what losing Daddy means.  About what "setting the reset button" means for me on many levels.

Ah, but if you've been paying attention, you'll also notice that Mercury plays a part.  Seems as though Mercury is in Aquarius, my Sun Sign, from January 4th through March 12th.  It brings great inspiration, of finding new awareness, of peeling back facades, of tapping into your own brand of genius.

It also speaks of new worlds that can be created by the meeting of minds.  Much is on my plate that could very well bloom into creative work that, with all due humility, could touch upon genius.  Mozart was credited as saying that genius is the product of love and passion and conviction in what you do, when you're willing to take the leap into the unknown.  Sounds like a good thing to try when one comes upon their 52nd birthday.

I feel a beautiful shift occurring at the soul level.  Some sadness is certain, but also a tremendous amount of love, exploration, gratitude, and alchemy.

My daily question: "What's the alchemy of the day? What is created anew?"

I'll be sharing my discoveries of the next month or so.  I feel blessed to have this venue to be able to fill you all in on my findings.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Three Wise Men, Advent, Waiting, and Looking Forward: My Three Wise Goals for the Holiday Season

Full disclosure: this is a tough Yuletide for me.

I usually get into the holiday spirit on Thanksgiving.  The Macy's parade usually does it for me, as they have a Class A Santa in a Top Drawer Sled.  This year, Ben and I were fortunate enough to enjoy the start of the season on a Disney Cruise and in the Magic Kingdom , a trip we'd been saving up for over three years.  THAT usually does it for me (because a Disney Christmas is a thing of beauty), but my Ho-Ho-Holiday Meter barely budged. I looked forward to my annual viewing of  "A Charlie Brown Christmas", only to find that ABC butchered it, removing the snowball throwing, the snowflake tasting, and even Shermie's line, "Every year it's the same.  I'm always a shepherd." Depressing, disappointing, and deflating.

This time of year is usually festooned with parties and dinners, allowing for reconnecting with family and friends, with silly sweaters and wacky gift exchanges, but this year has a lot of changes and challenges:  some family members are needing to sell their home, one family member passed a few months ago, work is slower than it's been all year, Chicago is bracing for its coldest winter since 1904, and then there's my Daddy, who's been in hospice care since mid-May.  When people ask me how he is, I simply say he's "Old Man River": he just keeps rolling along. I treasure the moments when his eyes are open, when he smiles one of his "all the angels are in their rightful places" smiles - because those moments are rare. Mostly, Daddy sits with his eyes closed or sleeps, listens to Big Band music or Me-TV, and is fed slowly and carefully via syringe by his angel-on-Earth caregiver.

And so I wait.  I've been is a state of waiting, of holding my breath, for months now. About Daddy, about work, about so many things.  The ground around me feels shaky. Uncertainty looms around every corner. Waiting, fearing, but very little Looking Forward to anything, as much as I try.  My Gratitude work keeps me connected to Spirit, but just barely.

I started thinking about Advent earlier this week, when a dear friend of mine gave me two Advent calendars, with the little windows and the tiny chocolates.  Although this dear one is basically shut-in because of some extreme medical conditions, she took the time to get these sweet little German Advent calendars for us.  This simple gesture started to crack the ice surrounding my heart. And it made me think about Advent, the four weeks when Christians typically start to look forward and anticipate Christmas, the festival celebrating Jesus's birth.

The Three Wise Men.  The Bible says they followed a star which took them to the Christ child.  They gifted him with rare, luxurious things to honor his divinity. Many theories agree that they were not "Three Kings from the Orient" but rather three astrologers, regal in the authority granted them due to their wisdom and knowledge of the stars. They utilized their knowledge which showed them something incredible was coming; it was written in the stars.

My knowledge of astrology is limited, but this I do know: Mars is in my Sun sign, Aquarius, until January 12.  That covers the entire holiday time frame. And what does Mars do?  Brings energy, vitality, courage and determination to a situation.  Mars is pretty much on Red Bull most of the time.  It's wise to treat Mars gingerly, because all that energy can get to be a bit spazzy. But still, it's more benefic than not.

So where is this going? It's reminding me that I most certainly do have the power within to bravely, powerfully go forth with my life. So, in the spirit of Looking Forward, I promise myself Three Wise Goals, gifts I give myself (that are not material) during this holiday season, which I'll put forth presently to honor MY divinity (Note: even if Mars isn't in your Sun sign, I challenge you to take this on,  See how it might shift you out of a holiday doldrum.). I'm even going to be fancy and name them after the three Wise Men:

My Three Wise Goals for Holiday 2014

1. Gaspar - Once a week, I promise myself a special meditation practice.  I might add unique music, incense, or take the meditation out on the road, meditating in a different location. I'll call this my "Frankincense" gift.

2. Balthasar - Maybe because the word "bath" is embedded in the name, I promise myself one weekly Magickal Bath, set with good intention, infused with deliciously-scented bubbles or salts, with maybe a glass of wine set on the edge of the tub because, you know, Wise Men (and ladies) need a little decadence once in a while. May this be my own personal "Myrrh"

3. Melchior - Of all the Magi's gifts, gold was the most precious.  So will this gift be, because it's about giving back.  Once a week, I shall give a present to someone who might not be expecting it.  Like a total stranger. And may each act be "Gold"en and blessed.

There.  I'm now actually Looking Forward rather than waiting or fearing. I thank God and my angels for enlightening me with this idea, and I hope you give it a try.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A very Carol Burnett Thanksgiving, circa 1970

You say your Thanksgiving weekend wouldn't be complete without a Youtube video from "The Carol Burnett Show" circa 1970, featuring groovy pilgrims, with special guest star Paul Lynde?

You're welcome.

Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Spooktober, Day 31: Happy Halloween, babies!

(Not to be confused with "Happy Halloween Babies", which would look like this:)

Infant Lil Monster Costume

Friends, I wish to thank you for following along this past month, while I posted various actual posts and semi-posts (like, just a photo or a video link), all revolving around the Halloween or Samhain theme.  It was a lot of fun for me, but sometimes daunting to keep to the one-per-day schedule.  Still, in looking back on the month, I'm pretty delighted with what I found, at times darned proud of my "scores".

And speaking of being daunted: what to write about on this, the Big Day, All Hallow's Eve, Samhain, a.k.a. "the Witches' New Year" What came up for me was the question, "What does Halloween mean to me?"

Growing up, it was all about Linus and the Sincere Pumpkin Patch, dressing up in creative, inexpensive costumes, trick or treating a little, but watching a LOT of classic horror films.  Playing the Disney Haunted Mansion album (which I would bring each year, without fail, to school, begging our teachers to allow us to trun down the lights and listen.  We were always thrilled with the chance to give it a spin, yawning in the face of what the "real" meaning of the day was supposed to be for us Lutheran kids: Reformation Day, when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the church door.). Having Mom put out the Gurley candles ("Don't burn 'em, Mom!"), hang up the cardboard decorations from the 60s and pour the candy corn into the little ghost-shaped bowl.  Apple cider, pumpkin pie. Listening to Chicago-area ghost hunter Richard Crowe on the radio late, late at night, telling us the story of Resurrection Mary for the umpteenth time - and loving every minute of it.

That was Halloween.  Take a stroll through this month's posts and you'll see I touch upon a lot of these classic holiday activities.  Oh - was almost remiss.  Here's the link to the Disney album, "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House":

Nowadays, with those icky, plastic pop-up "Halloween Spirit" stores, blood 'n guts costumes and zombie make-up, "haunted houses" you can pay to walk through to view really sickening scenarios that foul, not scary, and adult Halloween costumes that will turn any woman into a streetwalker, I start to wonder where the warmth has gone.  Where's the fun, the social aspect (that doesn't involve lots of alcohol)?  Where's the magic of Halloween?

What I'm starting to learn is this: the magic hasn't gone anywhere.  You just have to know where to look for it (hence, why I fashioned the posts this month that I did). But another aspect of Halloween that I'm now incorporating into my celebration is observing Samhain.  It's New Year's today!  And what an auspicious time (the pagans had it going ON!): the weather is turning, things are darkening and hiding for the winter.  There is a sense of "end of one year, beginning of the next" - even more so than at December 31.

So, this Samhain New Year, I resolve to look for the magick in the stillness that is soon to come, to use the quiet dark time to write, reflect, meditate, and weave positive magick for the good of all.  I thank God for this amazing year of seeking, learning, creating, mourning, and celebrating.

The origins of orange black as traditional Halloween colors date back to the ancient Celts.  Orange stood for the harvest, for the final celebration before the arrival of winter.  Black stood for death, for darkening, for Nature's "closing up shop" for the next several months, for "going within".

May your Halloween and Samhain be filled with celebration and harvesting of life, crativity, and love.  May you be blessed with time for quiet, inner reflection, allowing you to let go of things that have "died off", that are no longer needed or serving your Better Angels. And may you be filled with glee and happiness, like that spooky little monster baby at the top of this post.

Blessings and Peace,

The Mid-Century Mystic