"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Our Fun Feline Fae Tea Party!

So, when I found out about the fantastic Mad Tea Party being hosted over at A Fanciful Twist, I knew it would be a perfect thing to become a part of. Why, you might ask? Well, for several reasons. First, on the very day that it starts, we had already planned our annual Big Backyard Bash! And believe me, do we ever have some whimsical, fae, phantasmagorical, mad-in-a-good-way friends! Second, I have just been researching in my journals in order to write the preface to my book, Starcat's Corner: Essays on Pagan Living (you just knew I was going to sneak in another book reference, didn't you?). The time I was diving into was when I went to Vermont Witch Camp in 2005, and the theme was....drumroll please...Through the Looking Glass! So obviously it was all cosmically meant to be! So I present to you, for your viewing pleasure (whether or not you made it here in person)....Our Fun Feline Fae Tea Party!

First, we happened to drink some delicious potion...I guess that's how it begins sometimes, right?

Here is BlackLion enjoying the Stargazer lilies that are Quester's pride and joy:

We had some lovely fae feline folk show up for the gathering...

And even a Mad Hatter type!

Plus hoopers, dancers, and some of our musician friends.

There were people spread all through the backyard, near the fire pit, the tribe of kids playing football and having an epic battle in the field, a couple of visiting dogs, and endless dishes of delicious foods and drinks!

We even had a sighting of our friend Godzilla, though I don't have a picture...

Here's Dryst enjoying himself (and hamming it up):

I received some very cools gifts, even though it's not my birthday. One had a lizard friend on it!

This fae feline version of a Mad Tea Party really rocked!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Starcat's Favorites: Preparing and Awaiting

This week I was awaiting the return of Quester and ElvenTiger. I was preparing for our annual Big Backyard Bash. I was meditating on my self-worth, friendship, nurturing, and lots of other ponderings. I was drumming and cleaning and polishing and reading and writing and lots of other ings. And lo and behold, it's the evening before the big party, and both of my dear ones are home safe. We celebrated with quesadillas and a game of Mexican Train Dominoes.

Here this week's gleanings:

You know those crazy things you'd like to do but are kind of afraid to, or just never quite get to? Do them! Go for it!

Supportive community is a wonderful thing.

Mercury is retrograde. I could kind of tell. Yes, I am indeed a Virgo and a writer.

I'm not really a photographer, but this sounds pretty fun. I might even play along.

After the party will come the quiet. I plan to revel in it.

I'm off to bed now, to dream the gathering into existence. I'll have a very special party post to share with you tomorrow or the next day. Blessings!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Blast From the Past

In the process of writing the preface for my book (yeah, it's Starcat's Corner: Essays on Pagan Living, hope you're not sick of hearing about it yet! hee hee), I was looking back over my journal from 2005, getting back in the mindset of my adventure at Vermont Witch Camp, which was when the book was first inspired. I decided to go back and read that entire journal, as it seemed to have been a time of great transformation and inspiration for me. I feel like I'm on the cusp of that type of radical positive change once again. I'm wrapped in my chrysalis, sometimes doubting I'll ever truly be a butterfly, but still catching dream glimpses of flight and deep blue skies.

So, this particular passage seemed especially relevant, and I thought I'd share it here. I even looked up the Rob Brezsny horoscope that I reference in the journal entry (thank you Rob for your awesome archives!).

Virgo, 10/6/05, by Rob Brezsny:
In his "MuseLetter," Richard Heinberg writes that Jesus "taught renunciation of ephemeral desires, fearless and carefree public behavior, and contempt for riches." This happens to be a precise prescription for those of you who hope to put yourself in maximum alignment with cosmic rhythms in the coming week. I suggest you suspend your pursuit of the relatively trivial goals that soak up an inordinate amount of your attention, and instead intensify your devotion to your single most important reason for living. This should help you lose your unnecessary inhibitions. It should also free you from any delusions you might have that greed is normal or that you need more than enough of anything.

Journal entry, 10/6/05, by Starcat:
My Brezsny horoscope for this week tells me to let go of distractions and focus on the primary reason I'm here. To which I was like, what? I have to choose just one?! Five of them immediately came to mind: to give and receive love (not just among humans, but all beings), to project positive energy to help with the birthing of the new reality, healing/Reiki, writing, and music (dancing, singing, drumming). How do I focus in on "the" thing, then? Or maybe the primary thing is my attitude, the way I am in the world, my mindfulness practice. I tend to get distracted by connection points, by relationships with other people, especially new people. But I should just be myself and do my Work, and let the rest take care of itself as I go. Which is, I guess, what Brezsny was saying.

Last night I was dreaming that I was soon to die, and I knew it. I was doing fine with it until I met some new people, one of them who, I think it was a guy but he was very androgynous, turned me on. Then I was talking to my Mom in the dream, telling her it was so unfair that I was going to die, because I couldn't make plans with this guy (and his friends) and get to know him/them. So even my dream was focused on that, on the balance between doing my Soul Work in the time I have, and being in relationship with others. The Work I'm called to do has elements of both, which is good, because I believe in "moderation in all things."

The things that stuck out from the entry were that the very things I listed as my "primary reasons" are now what I do much of the time! Writing, music (drumming in particular), and Reiki are a big part of my life, and the work I do for Feline Dreamers is all about helping bring the new consciousness to fruition. It feels good to see how I've been able to manifest my calling on so many levels. Sometimes it still feels like I'm only beginning. The other thing that I noticed is that I still feel this tension between relationships and inner creative work. It's one of the things I'm really working on intently lately.

I'm thankful that I keep these records of and for myself. I would never remember all this stuff otherwise. And I'm also grateful for the inspiration to do a bit of "journal mining," which comes from an excellent book I read recently, Harvesting Your Journals: Writing Tools to Enhance Your Growth & Creativity by Alison Strickland and Rosalie Deer Heart. Blessings!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Curiosity Informs the Cat

One of the (many) things I love about cats is their innate curiosity. One night at a Dark Follies band rehearsal, the man who was hosting the practice at his home had some friends stop by, a bit earlier than they'd said they would. They'd brought their big dog with them. The friends and the dog hung out in the kitchen until the end of the rehearsal, which was being held in the living room. The host has a couple of cats, one of whom is a yearling male named Timothy. Apparently this was Timothy's first encounter with a dog, up close and personal.

First, he backed away, tail and fur bristling, eyes wide. He streaked through the living room and hid upstairs. Before long, though, he returned, looking a bit calmer, and sneaked cautiously out toward the kitchen door. He saw the dog, and POOF! there went the fur again, and again he backed off. This time he only retreated to the living room, hiding under the skirts of one of the band members and peeking out. This back-and-forth process was repeated a few times, until Timothy could remain quite calm upon seeing the strange canine intruder.

The look on this adorable cat's face when he was moving forward toward the kitchen said it all: "It's scary, yes, but I just have to know! What is it?"

Timothy shows his curious nature...

Sure, I know curiosity sometimes gets cats into trouble, but more often than not, it probably entertains and informs them. It does me, anyway. I love to learn new things, and will often follow up with some research on an intriguing tidbit I've read or heard about. Even when I'm drawn to learn something that seems a bit on the frightening side, like performing music in front of an audience, most of the time I'm willing to put my discomfort aside and see what the situation has to teach me. And often it's very rewarding.

I think curiosity is an integral part of creativity and education. Without that wondering, that pondering - "How can I solve this problem?" "How can I craft something unique?" "What would happen if I...?" - there wouldn't be that strong drive to create something new. Inventors, scientists, and artists are motivated by this inner need to figure it out.

Without the desire to know, learning becomes rote and boring. Forced learning is an awful feeling. Just ask any kid sitting in a classroom, watching the clock while filling out repetitive worksheets. It's not that they don't want to learn; it's just that this wasn't where their curiosity would have taken them today.

Do you follow your own inner curiosity? The subjects that we find intriguing are different for each of us. Follow your intuition, stalking knowledge and wisdom like a persistent feline. When something captures your interest, follow up and learn more. See where it takes you. Let your curiosity lead you on a delightful path of life-long learning and joy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Toward a Broader Awareness

"Political awareness can become a tyranny of its own, not least because it locks us into the issues and perspectives of a particular time. But when we are looking at questions of the sacred, we move beyond time. To create the changes in consciousness needed to transform society at a deep level, we need insights broader that the issues of the moment can provide." - Starhawk

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Starcat's Favorites: In the Heart of Summer

Here we are in the heart of summer! We've been having a heat wave here in Maine, which I always enjoy. I suspect I might be the only one, though. Most folks were huddled up miserably with air conditioners and fans. I'm strange, I know, but I love being very warm! Some of my other lives must be nearer to the equator.

Our family's summer is going pretty well. We've been having lots of fun swimming in the ponds and river. Dryst went to a day-long concert with his friends, and ElvenTiger is getting ready for summer camp. The super hot weather has passed for now, but it's still sunny and pleasant. I hope you're enjoying yourself this lovely July!

Here are some links for your weekend amusement.

If you're looking for a fantastic novel to read this summer, I very highly recommend this one. I couldn't put it down until I was done.

We're getting ready to host a big party next weekend, so I started thinking about some deep cleaning and organizing. This post brought a new level of thoughtfulness to the process.

BlackLion has been doing some transformation, and is seeking out some additional joyful community to enrich his experience.

While we're on the topic of community, here's a great article on why women (and men too, I suspect) thrive more in tribes.

It's summer, traditionally a time to relax, yet often we still push ourselves to be productive. How do you find a balance?

Here's one for my fellow introverts, and those who love them.

Have a super fabulous fun week!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Camp Ponderings

My beloved 13-year-old, the beautiful ElvenTiger, is going to summer camp in a couple of days. It's her first significant time away from family; she'll be gone for a week. She's going with her best friend, who she's known since she was three, and whose idea it was that they go together this time (her friend went last year and loved it).

Lots of thoughts and emotions are swirling around in my psyche. I remember how terribly homesick I was the first time I went away to summer camp...and how much I ended up loving it by the end of the session. I know that ElvenTiger is more poised and confident than I was at the same age, and that's reassuring.

I will miss my girl all week. I call her my "follow-cat," as she follows me around in that feline way: "No, of course I'm not following you, I'm just doing my own thing. So, what'cha doin'?" We do a lot of fun things together, and she's very helpful with the everyday tasks of life, like shopping and cooking and deciding what to do next. We enjoy a lot of the same things, like baking and swimming and crafts and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Quester went up north to see his parents for a few days (his Dad's health is not so good). When he left, he and ElvenTiger were saying goodbye, and noted that they wouldn't see each other for ten days, the longest they'd ever been apart. When she turned away, ElvenTiger was in tears. Quester was the kids' primary caregiver for many years. I wondered if her feelings were tied in with worries about going away, but when I asked, she said it was just that she'd miss her Dad.

She's growing up, and it's a joy to see her blossom. At the same time, I'm a Mom, so I worry. She'll be fine, though. She's a magickal, fae being, full of creativity and verve. She has her own life.

I will miss her, and she will miss home. We will both learn from it. And that's as it should be.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Exploring Alternate Lives

One of the exercises in the first week of The Artist's Way is to answer this question: "If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?" The answers probably could be very elaborate, but the author lists some examples, most of which are professions (firefighter, rock star, surgeon, and the like).

I believe in reincarnation. Yes, I'm fully aware that although this belief feels right to me, I have no way of truly knowing what happens after death until it's my turn to die. I'm comfortable with that. The Mysteries are just that...a mystery. A couple of other existences that have come to me quite vividly include a Native American man in the Pacific Northwest, and a life as a priestess somewhere in the British Isles (where my Mom and I were sisters).

But anyway, rather than calling these "past lives," I prefer the term "alternate lives." That's because, after reading and studying the Seth material and other channeled work, I've come to also believe that, looking at the big picture, time is simultaneous. Yes, here on the Earth plane we're immersed in a world of linear time, yet I think that's only one thin slice of the bigger reality that is the Multiverse. So I see the other lives I'm connected with personally as all happening at once. I can consciously tap into and learn from them, if I choose. Or I can simply learn from them through our subconscious connection, and perhaps visit some of them in dreams.

Those beliefs affected the way I approached the exercise, though the instructions did say not to overthink it, so I simply wrote down the first few ideas that came into my mind. Here, then, are a few of my alternate lives: a dancer, a yoga teacher, a massage and polarity therapist (aka healer), a librarian, and a Buddhist nun.

The librarian one is a no-brainer. I actually feel like I serve as one of the many librarians in a huge multi-cultural center (Alexandria? A future place where space travel is common? Someplace big). I find it interesting that the majority of these five lives are very much centered on the physical body, which is an area I felt challenged earlier in this life. I found my physical strength and grace as an adult, after feeling very awkward in my body as a child and teen, and I have learned that I most enjoy pursuits like swimming, hiking, and yoga, rather than competitive sports or gym workouts. I can totally see the dancer thing; when I dance, though I've had no formal training, I'm transported to a whole different level of awareness.

So, try this exercise yourself. What would you do if you had five other lives to play with? You don't have to be restricted to listing careers. Imagine yourself as a different gender or sexual orientation. What would your life be like? Would you choose to have kids, or not? Where might you live? It's a fun way to begin to explore your alternative lives, and to give your imagination a good workout.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Starcat's Favorites: Digging In

Well, hello there! I guess I haven't written anything here since last week's favorites. I've been digging in deep this week, working on a few projects that kept me busy. This Wednesday was the kids' end-of-year portfolio review, so I got to look over all the things they did this past year, and see how things are going on our unschooling journey. The short answer is, very well indeed! In the process of creating portfolios, talking with the kids, and meeting with our certified teacher, I also got lots of ideas for things they'd each like to pursue beginning this fall. Which brings more work to do, but it's fun putting together resources and ideas.

Also, BlackLion and I were immersed in our first week of the twelve-week course The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I'm loving it! I did even more journal-writing than usual, and I plan to share some of it here on the blog. And of course, I've been working on my book, Starcat's Corner: Essays on Pagan Living. I received the copy edited manuscript and have been reviewing it and answering some of the publisher's questions. All of that, plus lots of swimming during the heat spell we've been having. Fun!

I did have time to find some lovely tidbits to share with you this weekend, though. Happy clicking!

Found this great new blog to check out - and I love her post on imaginal cells and surrender. Mmmm.....

There are benefits to being shy. Who knew? Well, I guess I did, but not back when I was younger and at the peak of my shyness and anxiety.

Three little words that will uplift your spirits...they might not be the ones you're thinking of, either.

I love this yummy post about making your life into an abundant garden. Tasty and nutritious!

Here's a rather intense, but excellent, article about the deep need for poets, dreamers, artists, and thinkers. We truly need the power of the imagination.

And in case you're feeling a bit overwhelmed this month, check out this energy report for July. Big doings!

Have a relaxing weekend...

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Starcat's Favorites: Encouragement and Rest

How is your July going so far? What types of fun things have you been up to? This week, I've been taking some extra time for rest, as I let my body heal and recover. I've also been swimming quite a bit, with the kids (we've been to the lake, river, and ocean, all in this one week!). I love to swim, and to spend relaxing time outdoors.

I've also been giving myself some encouragement, as this week's links will show. Sometimes you just need a little boost, to realize that you really are on the right path. Enjoy this week's findings, and have a blissful weekend!

Why is it that we so often think about how far we have to go, rather than celebrating where we've been? Here are some wise ways to recognize your progress.

Are you following your calling in some way? Are you sharing your talents with the world? Whether you are or not, here are some key questions to ask yourself.

We often think of education as something done in a classroom. Truly, you are learning in each moment, and from the things you choose to focus on. And so is everyone else.

Here are some seemingly simple, yet profound, ways to improve your life and have more fun in the process.

Do you love inspired quotes? You can probably tell that I do. Here's a collection of some awesome quotes to fire you up!

I love metta (loving-kindness) meditation, and I incorporate it into my regular spiritual practice. Here's a lovely guided metta meditation that will take you less than ten minutes. Try it and see what happens!

Blessings to you and yours, always.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Giving Myself a Boost

My back is feeling much better, thanks for asking! The all-natural cure included time, gentle yoga, rest, Reiki, heat and cold, and swimming. ElvenTiger gave me a great massage, too. She's got the healing touch, for certain. I'm really enjoying July thus far. I overdid it in June - I just had too much running around to do and too many events. It was fun, but simply too much. July is proceeding at a much more enjoyable pace. I'm resting, and healing (on several levels).

That's not to say I'm completely in vacation mode. I'm actually very excited about having stretches of time to work on my writing and other creative projects. And being a Virgo, I love to plan and organize. I've been intrigued by a writing challenge that one of my online friends is involved in. It's called A Round of Words in 80 Days. I was thinking of joining, but I just missed this particular round (which started July 1st), so I'm going to wait and see if I feel like leaping in this fall.

In the meantime, I just started reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and immediately fell in love with the whole idea. The daily journal-writing practice that I already do is adapted from this book, and the whole thing is a 12-week course on writing and spirituality, two of my favorite things! I'm in.

I think it'll give me a boost and open up my creative channels even more. It'll also help me with prioritizing my creativity. Often I get caught up in the cycle of the kids' activities, housework, cooking, outdoor fun, my part-time money-making gigs, etc. and find my craft on the back burner. I want to bump it higher up on the daily priority list. So be it!