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Rock Aching Against Water

Original art and blessing by Connla Freyjason; Thrud from a previous render by Daniel P. for Iaconagraphy (Thrud image only available at Red Bubble by clicking this image; opens in new tab)

I have spent most of my life attempting to emulate the famous Bruce Lee quote “Be water, my friend”, but for the past two weeks, I’ve felt more like the rock than the water: rock aching against water.  Most of you already know that we’re in the midst of selling our home and attempting to find and buy a new one, and I’ve said before: moving is hard.  As we go deeper and deeper down this tangled path, however, I’m discovering more and more every day that those three words are really too mild of a statement for precisely how difficult this entire scenario actually is.  “Be water, my friend” went flying out the window, leaving nary a feather behind, somewhere around June 11th, and it’s been all uphill from there!

For a moment, let’s talk about what that quote means, before we talk about its opposite.  In full, Bruce Lee said:

“Don’t get set into one form; adapt it, and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.  Empty your mind; be formless; shapeless–like water.  Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup.  You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.  You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.  Now, water can flow, or it can crash.  Be water, my friend.”

Basically, what this means it that you shouldn’t get locked into patterns; that you should basically learn to “roll with the punches”, and somehow keep landing on your feet.  It requires being mindful of your environment and surrounding situations to the point that you can easily “change your shape” to fit that environment and those situations–the way water becomes a cup, or a bottle, or a teapot.  It implies that you are adaptable; that you can take virtually any situation and “make it your own”; take command of it; know when to flow, and when to crash. Ultimately, “being like water” means being completely open to the fact that there are infinite possibilities open to us; it means being hard and soft at the same time; it means accepting the possibilities of success and failure equally. It is to believe that anything can happen, and that it actually might.  From a Heathen perspective, it means being comfortable with the ebb and flow of Wyrd, rather than afraid of that ebb and flow.  When we close ourselves off to all of that, we remove any chance for a sense of accomplishment, relegating ourselves to a constant state of feeling stymied, trapped, out of control, and basically doomed.  

And that is where being the rock, instead of the water, comes into this discussion.  Rocks don’t typically move.  They are static entities; their shape is their shape, and they aren’t exactly legendary for adapting.  Instead of adapting, they break and erode.  Generally, with a rock, “what you see is what you get”, which is why we have phrases like “written in stone” and “set in stone” to denote things that are unchangeable or immutable.  Rather than changing its environment, a rock is changed by its environment: moss grows, or the rock is broken apart by rushing water, or eroded into sand.  “Rock people” (as opposed to “water people”) see Wyrd as something which is likewise set in stone, and they live in an environment of fearing that Wyrd.  It is a life of feeling as though something unknown is constantly impending, and almost every creature alive fears the unknown.

Up until June 11th, I was doing a fairly decent job of “being water”, instead of “being rock”, with this whole home-selling-home-buying scenario.  I had dutifully packed up most of my office without batting an eye, looking upon the whole affair as the first key to a new future in our lives together. I was, in fact, actually excited about the whole thing.  I had begun shopping around online for potential new home prospects, and we had already toured a few open houses. I began embracing the whole concept of “mobile home living” and the “mobile home lifestyle”, which honestly tugged at my California-born heartstrings in ways that I couldn’t even begin to readily describe to my partner or anyone else.  I began feverishly creating home-plans (complete with decor motifs and furniture placement) at Roomstyler, and researching everything I could find on home makeovers (including fantastic accent wall treatments).  I resolved that I was going to become the “ultimate house husband” upon moving to our new locale, complete with all that such entails, right down to making sure dinner was on the table promptly at 5:30 every day when my Beloved gets home.  And I was super excited about all of that.  Wyrd would take us where we needed to be, and I had ultimate faith in the Gods in bringing us there.  So what changed?  How did I suddenly go from “water” to “rock”?

Prepping for our first open house, on the heels of our favorite future home prospect being pulled from the market, while suffering from the worst outbreak of pustular psoriasis we have ever endured started my downhill slide.  Still, I tried to remain hopeful, as we went that Wednesday to tour two other home prospects, the first of which we were both absolutely in love with.  Cat-in-tow, we went to tour two properties, both of which had promise, and I immediately came home and sat down the very next day and started plugging in our furniture and coming up with decorating motifs via Roomstyler.  Yes, I was terrified about where my health was taking me, but I kept reminding myself that soon our lifestyle would be way more laid back, and that somewhat helped me through. I continued to pray nightly (as I always do), even as I put my job on hold because I couldn’t write or even make art through the fever and the itching and the fear.  I tried to keep my chin up, and wade through the itching, the pain, and the knowledge that this could be the outbreak that ended both me and Michelle, and remain hopeful. I tried to stay water, my friends.

On the 22nd, that prospect we were in love with sold to another buyer.  I tried not to let that get me down, as my health was improving (however slightly), and instead focus on the other prospect we had toured.  The more of our furniture I crammed into the houseplan of it on Roomstyler, the more cramped it became, but I found “work arounds”, and kept plugging away.  “It’ll just be cozy”, I reminded myself and my partner; “and we love cozy, right?”  Meanwhile, we scheduled two more open houses, and I watched my Beloved work her tail off while I had to sit humbly by and try to “pray away the pain”.  I began to feel guilty that I couldn’t do as much as I had done around the house previously and internally beat myself up about that fact.  I began to pine for another property we had found that is totally our dreamhouse, but also totally un-financeable.  I began to hear the Princess Leia quote from Star Wars: A New Hope replayed over and over again inside my head, only with a real estate theme: “The more you tighten your grip, the more mobile homes will slip through your fingers”.  Except our “grip” didn’t feel tight at all; instead, it felt more and more like “one hand clapping”: an appendage constantly reaching out for what it wants, yet only grasping air. My downward spiral from “water” into “rock” had officially begun.

I am officially breakingeroding, and turning into sand.  Where once I sat out in the swing to watch the bunnies and the birds, and it would bring me peace, now I sit out in the swing and watch the bunnies and the birds to hide my tears.  What will life be like in a place where I can no longer hear the coyotes sing?  All I want to be able to do is look out my window and see a tree, and it doesn’t even have be my tree; it just needs to be a tree!  All the while I am constantly reminded that I am a financial disaster, living on the good graces of the people who love me, and cannot help with anything whatsoever except maybe a little housework here and there, and right now, I’m not even fully able to do that.  I feel like a piece of dandelion fluff blown on the wind; some magical thing, perhaps, to the eye of a child, but when it’s all said and done, wherever I come to land I will grow into a weed.  And weeds are a nuisance; they leech all of the good away.  My nightly prayers have begun to feel like something I say by rote.  Where once there was faith behind those words, now that faith has been replaced with a very definite desperation.  I still sing galdr, yet each time I do so, I am reminded of the two homes previously that I have tried to “galdr into existence” for us that have gone to other buyers, even as our own prospects grow ever more slim. I am spiraling ever deeper into a pit of despair, and I’m having a very hard time finding a way to climb back out of it. No longer caught up in the ebb and flow of Wyrd, it has instead become a wave which I fear will drown us all.  

This morning, I pulled Uruz for my daily rune-draw.  I do this every morning, asking the Gods to tell me Their intentions for me this day: how should I live; what should I do; to what should I put my energy?  Immediately, the blessing for Thrud which I had been led to create weeks ago popped into my mind, and most especially the line: As rock as it aches against water.  We don’t tend to think of the pain the rock endures, as it is broken apart by rushing water, until that moment when we have become that stone.  As Heathens, the words “the strength of mountains” sound like a fantastic thing to have; like something for which to actively strive.  That’s all well and good until one is actually asked to endure; then and only then does one realize just how tough it must be to be a mountain!  

So how does one go from being “rock” back to being “water”?  

Flip that switch in four steps:

  • Restore hope via gratitude.
  • Give yourself permission to believe in miracles; in infinite possibilities.
  • Define your ultimate possibility.
  • Ultimately believe in your ultimate possibility.

The first step is the restoration of hope.  That’s the “thing” I lost a good grasp on, starting around June 11th, and then pretty much totally on the 22nd.  As this proverbial stone has continued rolling downhill like an avalanche, things have come to feel more and more hopeless. And, as in that famous quote from the TV series Lost, “hope is a dangerous thing to lose“.  Perhaps the easiest way to flip our brains from a “doom cycle” back to a “hope cycle” is via gratitude.  Being grateful for the things around us provides the rational mind–that part of the brain that tends to be the “doomsayer” in the first place–with evidence that good things can and do, in fact, happen after all.  I end every day, no matter how shitty, with a litany of gratitude to the Gods for every single good thing that happened throughout that day, no matter how small: everything from “thank you for that heron that flew by my window this afternoon at two o’clock” to “thank you for time with my Beloved and Kili”.  So, clearly, I have a relatively decent “gratitude system” already in place, yet here I am still: a rock, instead of water.

Restoring hope should begin to pave the way for a restoration of the belief in infinite possibilities.  In other words, giving oneself permission to honestly believe in miracles.  Two weeks ago, I wholeheartedly did; now, notsomuch.  I believe that was the true turning point for me, with going from water to rock.  One can only be told so many times that something is impossible before one actually gets with the program and realizes that something is, in fact, impossible. And once we reach that point, miracles cease being a possibility.  The permission to believe in them is officially revoked.  Author Marianne Williamson, famous for her books on alternative spirituality, including A Course In Miracles, has this to say about giving oneself permission to believe in miracles:

“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love–from a belief in what is not real, to faith in that which is.  That shift in perception changes everything.”

Breaking that down from a strictly Heathen perspective, believing in miracles means understanding, accepting, and (most importantly) allowing the concept that all of those infinite possibilities–all of those miracles–are not utangard, but instead, innangard.  In other words, miracles aren’t something that happen to someone else out there in the big somewhere elsebut are instead right there, waiting for us, within our own circle of influence.  We fear what is outside our circle of influence, while we love what is inside our circle of influence.  When all of those infinite possibilities becomes things which are outside of that circle of influence–when we have that “one hand clapping” feeling that I described earlier, which makes us feel very out of control–we come to fear those possibilities, rather than love them.  The further we push possibility away from us, the more we come to fear it, and the more out of control we subsequently feel.  

So the third step is to define your ultimate possibility.  Your ultimate possibility should be the best possible outcome, based on the good things already being detailed by your personal “gratitude system“.  By basing the ultimate possibility on things which are already happening within our present circle of influence, all of those infinite possibilities become innangard, rather than utangard. My ultimate possibility, therefore, would be an attainable home that is sustainable by me, even given all of our health issues, which will require me to show off my interior design skills in effectively homemaking, because that is the “part of this bargain” which is actually within my circle of influence.  I cannot buy us a house; I can’t make that happen.  But I can make it a home. I cannot control whether or not there are trees in our yard-to-come, but I can learn to garden and grow things inside as well as outside. Home-buying is outside my circle of influence; it is utangardHomemaking, however, is something at which I excel–something I have always longed for the opportunity to actually do–and is therefore inside; it is innangard.

The final step, then, is to believe ultimately in that ultimate possibility.  Believing ultimately means that you put your heart and soul (all four parts of it!) into making that ultimate possibility an ultimate reality.  In my case, that means that rather than pinning all my hopes and dreams on this specific property, or that one, I instead put all of that energy into learning and preparing to do all of the things that are congruent with my ultimate possibility.  For example, if I want to be able to look out my window and see a tree, I need to start learning how to either plant one, paint one, or otherwise create one, rather than sitting around crying and moaning about “please, Gods, give me a tree!”  If I’m so obsessed with having “a room with a view”, instead of pinning everything on a specific property that has that view (which could just as easily slip away as not), I need to be developing creative ways to make a room have a view.

Ultimately, Wyrd is neither shaped for us nor set in stone: it ebbs and flows and changes with our every breath and our ever-changing attitudes.  When we trap ourselves in a cycle of hopelessness, then that becomes our Wyrd.  Instead of running like rabbits from shadows in the dark–from those things which are outside our circle of influence–we must come to realize that such behavior simply calls our worst fears to us.  By living our lives that way, we are literally bringing the worst possible Wyrd into existence.  Instead, we must focus on those things which we can control–those things which are inside our circle of influence–and take charge of those things.  Be grateful for them, and then do something with them and about them.  Even if it requires the strength of mountains; even if it hurts, like rock aching against water. 

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…A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away….

It is a time of personal unrest.  A brave band of Spirits, operating from the no-longer-secret base of the 5′ 1″ Italian woman they oft-inhabit, have gained their first victories in this small graphic design business.  During this ongoing battle, said 5’1″ Italian woman has done her level best to stay out of the way and out of the fray, for the sake of her own sanity.

Yesterday, Carrie Fisher passed away: Princess Leia became One with the Force.

It’s time to pop my head in…..It’s time for the teeny tiny Italian woman (and sometime Twi’lek) who often serves as the Rebel Secret Base to open her mouth (and use her typing fingers)….

Thirty-eight years ago….

Most of my little friends saw Star Wars: A New Hope at it’s original release in 1977.  I was the kid who hid behind the couch every time the commercial would air because it terrified me. What was I afraid of specifically? Well, let’s have a go at that first commercial, shall we?

I was afraid of the Jawa.  That’s right: the Jawa. Potentially the most innocuous thing in that entire trailer for the “average child”, right?  I mean, when compared to Darth Vader and a Tusken Raider, a Jawa’s just a comical little critter that makes silly noises and has a penchant for droids.  But at the age of 5 in 1977, I was, in many ways, just as “weird” as I am now.  I have had abilities my entire life, as discussed in previous posts (before we went the graphic design track), and even at the age of five, I saw things no one else could (and by this, I mean spirits/non-corporeal entities). It just so happened that it was around that age that we were living in an extremely haunted house, and the figures which stalked me even to school from that house were robed, faceless figures. Hence, Jawas freaking me out completely.

So I didn’t see Star Wars until it’s re-release in 1978.  By that point, in order to function in elementary school society at all, you pretty much had to see this film.  So I went with my Mama and my Mema. And thus began a lifelong love affair.

Princess Leia wasn’t a Disney princess (she still isn’t, regardless of who owns the rights!).  I was a six year old girl who had been confronted her whole life with the paradigms of Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, and I was none of them.  I wasn’t blonde.  I wasn’t beautiful–people often mistook me for a little boy–and I definitely wasn’t into the concept of simply occupying myself with singing to the local wildlife til some dude showed up on a big white horse. (I was way more interested in the horse than the dude!)  No, I wanted to play with Matchbox cars, and dinosaurs, and toy bows and arrows and toy swords and toy guns. And now, suddenly, here was a princess who did all those things! (Okay, maybe not the cars or the dinosaurs, but droids and wookiees are close enough!) Not only that, but when faced with the concept of a “mystical energy field” (i.e., The Force), she was not only perfectly okay with that, she saw that only the guy who knew about that stuff could save the entire Galaxy! And she didn’t flit around singing to the local wildlife waiting on some dude to come rescue her: she grabbed the blaster herself and yelled at Han Solo: “Into the garbage chute, flyboy!”  I found who I wanted to be when I grew up: I wanted to be Princess Leia.

Thirty-six years ago….

Two years later, I got a very special present for my birthday: the release of The Empire Strikes Back. (Released on May 21, 1980; for those keeping score, my birthday is May 24, and I would’ve been 8.)  The first and second grade had been turbulent years for me. I had a nightmare teacher in the first grade which led my Mother to have me tested for being Academically Gifted (turns out I am). That also almost led to my Mother seeking psychiatric placement with a group rate for the both of us, because I nearly drove her insane.  We continued to live in that extremely haunted house through all of this as well; believe me, that didn’t help.  Something repeatedly pulled me out of bed at night and under the bed. I was already having night terrors from the teacher predicament. My Mother didn’t sleep very much at all, nor did I. I lived in a constant state of terror. The second grade was a wee bit better, apart from frequent arguments (and threatened full-on fist fights) on the playground when someone refused to realize that I was Princess Leia at recess.  At the beginning of the third grade, I met my future best-friend-for-life: you all know her as Wilde Dandelion. But we were quickly separated, as our teacher ended his tenure at the school, and his class was shuffled off to numerous other classrooms. We would see each other often at recess–she always understood that I was Princess Leia, dammit!–but apart from that, we didn’t get to really develop the bond that we so craved.  At the end of the third grade, it was announced that my family was moving to a different school district, and that her family was moving even further away. The only thing that saved that summer (and that rescued me in the subsequent fourth grade) was the release of The Empire Strikes Back.

There was my Princess again! Only this time, she wasn’t some woman in need of rescue in a diaphanous white gown and ridiculous hairdo; this time, she was a Rebel Commander in a distinguished military position, calling the shots.  Even when she did “girl it up” on Bespin, after kissing Han Solo, she was clearly in command.  As a little girl who felt completely out of control in her own life at the time, once again Princess Leia showed me not only who to be, but how to be.

Thirty-three years ago….

By the release of Return of the Jedi on the day after my birthday in 1983, I was in the sixth grade, and things were actually looking up in my little life.  I had a new best friend (with whom I’ve since lost touch over the years), I had begun to discover myself as a writer, I had my first boyfriend (also a Star Wars geek like me; he’s now very successful, a world-traveler, and soon to be married to an awesome gentleman), and I had decided that I wanted to go to Saint Andrews Presbyterian College when it came time for higher education.  I had been selected to go to a special summer camp for the Academically Gifted–my first time ever away from home for any extended period of time–and I was very excited about what my future held. For the most part, by that point in my life, I had been able to “stick my head in the sand” when it came to any psychic abilities I might possess, and what made me weird was my intelligence and the fact that I was a total geek, before geeks were actually even a thing.

I went to see Return of the Jedi with my Mom, my Mema (who had a thing for Han Solo), and my best friend at the time–the one with whom I’ve lost touch. As I did before going to see Empire Strikes Back, I did careful research on the hairstyles of Princess Leia (not easy to do in that time before the internet!), and dressed as her to go to the movies (I chose the Ewok Village hairstyle, for anybody whose curious; for Empire, I did the Hoth hairstyle).  And I was presented with yet more facets of my hero, Princess Leia: now, she not only held the rank of Captain in the Rebel Alliance, she was also an active spy running covert operations, a fairly decent pilot (speederbike scene on Endor), a sister to the “last of the Jedi”, and potentially a Jedi herself in the future!  Here was a woman who could pose as a bounty hunter one minute, still have self-respect and power in a teeny tiny slave outfit the next, and then play with spear-toting teddy bears the next, all with grace, style, and empowerment.  I could happily go off to camp, and away from my parents for the first time in my life, with her as my role model: who knew? Maybe there would be spear-toting teddy bears in the Appalachians….

During the long wait (thirty-two years, to be exact) between the release of Return of the Jedi and the release of The Force Awakens, I did what most young girls do: I grew up.  So did Carrie Fisher.  I remained a steadfast Star Wars nut–it’s practically a second religion for me, and that’s totally not an exaggeration.  My love of Leia got me through a lot in those years: through the onset of disabling psoriasis at the age of sixteen; through my discovery of Paganism (which led to death threats against me, also around the age of sixteen); through meeting my future husband (who is also a Star Wars geek: I still squee every time I tell him “I love you” and he replies with “I know”).  But, as I grew older, my focus switched, as it often does, from the Princess to the woman behind her: Carrie Fisher.  And then she got me through even more stuff: my parents’ divorce; my realization that some parts of my childhood were not what I remembered but something far, far worse; my continued struggle with my disability and the depression that goes along with it, and the continuing fact that I am not like other people: I see and experience things that most people don’t even want to think might exist. Her forthright take on the world, her humor, and her in-your-face Selfness taught me that I could be all of those things, too: that I don’t ever, ever have to be ashamed of who I am, because who I am is me, and I am my own Princess!

One year ago yesterday….

We went to see The Force Awakens at the Imax here in Massachusetts.  As I settled in to watch my Princess again for the first time in so long, I had no way of knowing that exactly a year later, I would be sitting here, feeling like this.  There was so much excitement as that opening crawl scurried up the screen. Once again, my hair was as close as I could get it to the teaser shots I had seen from the film. Only, this time, I wasn’t just the Princess; I was the General:

The excitement I felt was colored by a tinge of sadness–for over the years, between college and marriage and moving to Massachusetts and that moment as the Star Wars theme boomed through the butt-kickers in Jordan’s IMAX theater, I had both gained and given up a lot. And one of those things was my “second life” as a little lavender Twi’lek named Hiraani Luna.  You see, in those years at Star Wars Galaxies, for a brief moment of my life, my husband and I had finally gotten to live (albeit virtually) in that world where we actually belong: the world of Star Wars.  And I had been a freedom fighter, and a High Priestess, and a freer of slaves, who sometimes had to act the part of the slave to get the job done (just like Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi).  Now, sitting in that darkened theater was as close as I could come to living in that world again (SWG closed December 15, 2011).  

Except it wasn’t. And it isn’t.  

I am still that little lavender Twi’lek, and I am still Princess Leia, and I always will be.  That little lavender Twi’lek came out to dance at Templefest this year (dancing, for Tyrian Twi’leks, which is Hira’s “type”, is the ultimate form of spiritual expression).  And the General Organa in me put her foot down when I finally said “enough; I’m going to let my Spirits handle the business from now on and step back, and let the world deal with this is what I can do, and this is what they can do!”  I am who I am because Carrie Fisher (and, subsequently, Princess Leia) is/was who she is/was.  And I know I am one of millions of young women who can say that today. Thank you, Ms. Fisher…..and may the Force be with you…always….


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Welcome to 2016!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I certainly did (well, up until the last bits, but I’ll get into that in a minute).  I was very blessed to get to spend time with all sides of my family, both North and South; there was plenty of fantastic food (always my favorite part of anything–more on that in a minute as well), and the gifts both given and received were wonderful.  We also got to go and do some really special things, like Zoo Lights at Stone Zoo, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the IMAX, and a special screening of one of the Christmas episodes of Doctor Who on the big-screen in Danvers.  There was also time for introspection, and the opportunity to start taking how I run my business to the next level: which starts today!

One of my favorite holiday moments came as we were huddled around the table in Peabody as a family, and discussing our plans for the coming year.  My heart-adopted son, who is often brilliant, smiles across the table at me, gives me a double thumbs-up, and says “New year, new Mishy!”  Which got a resounding “Amen” from me and a returned double thumbs-up.  That kid gets me in ways that sometimes nobody else does. You see, underneath all these words in my blog, and in my books, and on Facebook, and underneath the charismatic Tarot Counselor, and the ordained minister, and the artist, there’s actually a woman who is shockingly unsure of herself; a woman who constantly second-guesses herself.  And I’m never going to get anywhere if I stay that woman, because that’s not being honest with me, and worse still, that’s not being honest with all of you. So, yes, “New year, new Mishy!”

I started to realize my need to “revamp” myself right before I took my holiday vacation.  I was in a fit of depression that there was no way anybody outside my immediate sphere was going to get to see (well, at least until this big reveal, like right now).  That caused me to take a deep, long, hard look at myself, and at my issues, and realize something very important: I’m just not comfortable in my own skin, but I hide it very, very well.  I’ve worked with some of you out there on similar issues, and I know that those of you with whom I’ve worked will find that very hard to swallow.  But I can come to you the way that I can, and help you the way that I can, precisely because I’m going through the same thing, and have been, for a very, very long time.  That realization led me to take some of my own advice, that I’ve given to some of you: I looked back on my life, and tried to find a time when I was comfortable in my own skin.  What I ultimately found was that I was far more comfortable in someone else’s, and that someone happens to be lavender….

Those of you who know me well know that I am a long-time roleplayer, and a dyed in the wool nerd-geek, so you won’t find it at all surprising that I might find inspiration in a character I played once, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.  You see, that’s where the lavender skin comes in: her name is HiraaniL’una, and she’s a Twi’lek priestess, dancer, pilot, and martial artist who I created at SWG. I lived in her skin for five years, until the game closed down in 2011.  There was something about that little lavender lady that had a mind-boggling effect on people.  Folks would literally gather in groups from all across the galaxy to watch her dance (even calling in guildies who were “stationed” off-world in such far away places as Mustafar or Restuss on Rori).  Everywhere she went, she caused something of a stir (which meant I completed Theatre Quest in record time!).  The other side effect of that, however, was that I was instantly in tell-hell every time I logged in: I literally couldn’t play for talking to people.  She was like a freaking people-magnet.  Why? Because she was charismatic, confident, and brilliant; all the things I want to be, but most of which, I’m not.  While the “tell-hell effect” seriously compromised my playtime, it’s something I desperately need right now in my business. I need to be a people-magnet, like Hira, yet I lack her charisma and her confidence.  I’m far more comfortable in her lavender skin than I am in my own, so it’s time to slip back into it (in a manner of speaking), five years on.

Now, this little “Hira-piphany” only works when you factor in that I created her, so at the end of the day, she’s really me: she’s all the best parts of me; the parts of me that I am terrified, for whatever reason, to fully put out there into the world and embrace in my own human skin.  And, when you really think about it, aren’t we all much more comfortable when we can operate from behind a mask?  Really think about that for a moment. How many women do you know who wouldn’t step foot outside their house if they didn’t have on their “face” (their make-up)?  How many men do you know that wouldn’t be caught dead in public without a specific shirt or pair of pants that make them feel more self-assured?  Consider how rampant bullying is on the internet, precisely because people are hiding behind the mask of their computer screen! Or, consider how people behave at Halloween parties: put a person in a costume, and somehow they become more free-spirited, and more ready to take on the world, don’t they?

There isn’t anything fake about living within a persona, so long as that persona was already you to begin with, as is the case with Hiraani. So I don’t want any of you to think this “Hira-piphany” is somehow going to make what I do less sincere. This is simply the place I need to settle into right now, to better serve not only all of you, but also myself. Because I thought I’d already found authentic me, but clearly parts of her were still hiding in the shadows, afraid of “what will people think”.  As I’m writing this, and being this honest, I have to admit, I’m still a little worried about “what will people think”. But, as my heart-adopted son said: “New year, new Mishy”.  So, here I am, being possibly way-too-honest.  It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

I’ve committed to completely restructuring my life in 2016, beginning with my business, but really, in every aspect.  That commitment was brought sharply home twice this holiday season: on the 23rd of December, and again on the 29th.  On the 23rd, we had to say goodbye to our diva-puppy, Boo.  She had been sick for a few days–we thought it was just heat.  I hadn’t left her side for two days; my entire schedule and every waking moment came to center around that poor little dog. Then, at 6PM on the evening of the 23rd, she began to have seizures.  We rushed her to the emergency vet, but there was literally nothing we or they could do, except make her comfortable, and say goodbye.  The next day was Christmas Eve, and at noon, when Suzanne came home and I didn’t get to announce the usual “Look, Boo, Mama’s home!”, it became vibrantly apparent that having a puppy was part of my “life schedule” with which I couldn’t easily part.  I had already committed myself to restructuring my life (especially my work schedule), and then Boo made it clear to me that I was on exactly the right track.

The night of the 29th of December I got very sick.  I was literally up all night, but I’ll spare you the details. Suffice to say: I have diverticulitis.  This doesn’t just mean a temporary change to my diet until I get better; this means permanent changes not only to my diet but also to my exercise.  I am faced with yet another way in which I must restructure my life.  Be careful what you commit to: God might just take you seriously!

Food, and feeling full, are psychologically vital components of my existence, and as I struggle with these life changes that I’m presently being forced to make, I have to ask myself: why?  I mean, if you crave being full, doesn’t that imply that in some capacity, you feel empty? Why, yes, I’m finding; yes it does!  Which is another reason the “Hira-piphany” is so important:  I didn’t feel empty in that lavender skin; only in my own.  She had a dancer’s body (not a Balanchine ballerina, mind you, but athletic), and she danced all the time.  I haven’t danced except when at something where everybody is dancing in a very long time!  Maybe if I can get some of that other “good stuff” back in me, I won’t need to fill me with food; maybe if I danced more often, exercise wouldn’t seem such a chore.

“New year, new Mishy!”  Seeing my boy say that still makes me smile.  As is often the case, he is wise beyond his years, and I’m listening.  Some of the ways in which I’m listening might be more than a bit unconventional, but, hey, whatever works, right?  And hopefully this will mean I can help more and more of you in the coming year.  I’ve already revamped my Tarot Pages, so be sure and check that out, and next up I’ll be doing some tweaking to my newsletter and customer appreciation program, so if you’re not already on that list, please head on over and sign up!  I have projects galore to share with y’all in 2016, including possibly some new e-courses (I’ve always loved teaching!), and at least three new ebooks.  But the thing I’m the most excited about sharing with y’all is new improved Michelle.  I hope you’ll like her; I’ve sure missed her a whole bunch…..