Healing

Lingering Pain & What Science Has to Do With It

Aries. The first sign of the zodiac. 

Known for it's courageousness and fearlessness. The energy of initiation and sometimes self centeredness.

The feeling of growth isn't always joyous. 

Just because a warrior pushes forth doesn't mean she isn't scared.

I will never forget the first time I met Nicole Adriana Casanova at a workshop.

She looked at me, and said, "The information is going to be a little different, because it's being channeled," and while I was crying in a group of mostly strangers, about how lost I felt and how sure I was that I was an alien, she said,

"What you are doing now isn't that different from what you would be doing if you weren't scared."

That was about two years ago. 

I have a really selective memory, but this was something that stuck with me, and still rings in my ears when I am habitually beating myself up.

As I look around my community, I notice that the main impetus for starting deeper relationships with my customers is the moment they realize they can experience relief and comfort.

I have rather painful social anxiety. If you knew me when I was growing up, or even met me in the shop, you would never guess the flutter of emotional chaos that happens while I am sitting at my desk. The list of things to do. The partial awareness of others' feelings mixed with a bad habit of guessing what someone might expect of me. It's akin to watching  a movie, reading a book and listening to a podcast while trying to have a conversation. My body goes into a fight or flight response (which has resulted in a hip socket issues) because somewhere my brain inherited this idea that my likeability or ability to be of service, to make 'the other' feel better would make me valuable ...

Would keep me from being outcast or thrown away.

And so, this contentious moment of stress happens each time a person walks in my door. I have to get past this chatter, start to juggle whatever task my one-woman operation of a business requires that I do, and find a way to say hello, how are you?

And that's the moment when something really beautiful happens.

I'm not sure why, but I have three guesses:
a) Because I have spent time and money working on calling really beautiful energy into my space,
b) something about me personally, or maybe
c)  it's just the nature of a space in which women's bodies interact with objects...

Whatever it is, it creates a dynamic in which women feel they can talk to me. 

Feel they can let down the protective drawbridge they have around themselves.

Feel like they can put down a weight they didn't even know they were carrying because they've been holding it so long they don't remember life without the weight of it.

(Like when you're in yoga class and they suggest you that you relax your jaw and you suddenly realize the nearly imperceptible stress suddenly leaving your body.)

Why is the way we feel in our beds sitting alone so different from how we feel walking on the sidewalk?

Why does it feel like we have to hold our bodies and faces and emotions together when we are outside. What are we projecting and protecting? Who are we presenting and more importantly, who are we hiding?


This mutual assumption that we must hold everything together and hide ourselves away or we will somehow reveal to everyone around us that we don't know what we are doing makes me sad. 


It's like being in a room full of people being afraid that some evil authority figure is going to get us if we aren't Stepford Wives and not being sure who or what this "authority" figure is or what he/she looks like.

Imagine living with all of that tension, one day realizing there was never anyone there to punish us. That nothing was ever going to happen if we relaxed and found out what was on the other side of control. Control of our image, our expression, how we emote. 

It is fucking exhausting to be out in a world full of rules we all blindly accept that no one necessarily agreed to. 

And scientific studies about epigenetics have shown that we can store memories of our ancestors in our bodies; so that our fears, traumas, ideas of carrying ancestral burdens or past-life memories is more than just a New Age theory. It's a biological reality. 

In the post-colonial world, this makes it highly likely we have the memories of  either committing or suffering from acts of violence, terror, and oppression stored in our bodies or that in our DNA we have stored the skill of repressing our own needs, own beliefs, own gut instincts so that our ancestors could survive the times we lived in. 

Are we ready to heal this trauma so we don't continue to hand it down to our sons and daughters?

Are we ready to take responsibility for the ways in which we change our cultural norms?

Will we be the generation to question ideas of what it means to be strong? What it means to serve our communities, to have success, etc?

This plays out for me a lot in business.

Often I find that I operate with an understanding of deep loyalty to those around me, a communal spirit of sharing and communicating with my fellow + sister local businesses, the implicit responsibility that we all have for on another to discuss what the rules of conscientious competition are, to be able to discuss how we function as  small business community, how we can hold each other up or live in a world without support.

I have often been met with the phrase: "It's just business."

Nothing exists in a vacuum. It is precisely the nature of thoughts like "It's just business," that allow systemic exploitation, poor ethical practices and disjointed communities to view one another as competitive threats rather than band together in solidarity against entities that are holding more resources and power than we can even wrap our brain around as small businesses and members of the working class.
 

It is never just business.


It is always about love, courage and creativity. It is always about deciding what's important to you: your relationships, your neighborhood, your community of artists and business owners, or your survival.

And sometimes the needs of yourself and you community run counter to one another... at first. But with a little heart opening, the willingness to engage in what are sometimes awkward uncomfortable conversations, and the courage  to be vulnerable, to relax those fight or flight muscles and say what's really on your mind,
beyond the spiritual bypassing, love and light fluffiness, by engaging in the grief and pain that we have inherited and lies beneath the barriers of polite society, that is where the creative alchemy has limitless potential beyond your wildest dreams. 

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Healing

What is "Going Within?" Like Actually

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Do you ever just forget about yourself?

Like actually, love other people so much, and get so excited about life that you find yourself forgetting to drink water, eat lunch on time or haven’t started any of your own projects because you’ve been answering your texts, and scrolling through your feed and you’re under the spell of being in your mind and outside of your body?

I have. I probably spent about ten years in that space. I just wanted to be the best at my job (bartending and retail) and I wanted everyone else to be happy (going out, and making people laugh, and drinking and smoking) and make sure my house was acceptably clean.


I gained twenty pounds once and did not notice.

I just forget about myself.

I forget about my body and I forget about how this is all feeling for me. I am really good at understanding how to create an experience for others. I know exactly how and why it unfolds.

Maybe it’s from watching all the women in my family stay up all night cooking and cleaning so that during the party they’re too tired to actually enjoy it. Or maybe it’s some other innate quality, but I AM OVER IT.

And if I don’t start paying attention to myself my body is going to betray me.

How do we end this cycle so that we don’t suddenly realize that the tiny itchy spot on our ankle has turned into a bizarre rash we need to go to the doctor for (yes this really happened), or that maybe we have been working out with a pulled a muscle for the last year and a half.

Well I can think of six ways:

  1. In the moment, if I notice I have started to rush myself for no reason, or if I have been in zombie scroll mode, or if I start to get anxious and begin to do too many things at once, I say to myself, (outloud if I can). Shhhh... Or I’ll say, Stop. I take three deep breaths to return to my body and then move on. It’s easy for this one moment of anxious energy to snowball out of control. Practicing this purposeful pause has helped me immensely. It’s a practice, but it works.

  2. Don’t wait. When you’re hungry. When you need to use the bathroom. When you’re super tired. Just don’t wait until you’re feeling sick. It sounds super common sense but the deepest practices you will ever have will be minute changes you make in the moment that slow down how you are doing things, not what you’re doing. Have you ever paid attention to the way you walk and how your feet hit the ground, and if your heel touches first or the ball of your feet? This is a remarkably different experience than staring at your phone while trying to catch the subway. Listen to your body. If it gets boring, then even better. That sort of restless feeling we have when we slow down is just our repressed feelings and pains trying to tell us something and then us trying to run away. Don’t run away!

3. Eat or drink something that anchors you. I had a beautiful session with the talented Filipina Medium Angela Angel, (yes that’s her real legal name), and during our session, I was repeatedly asked to take a drink of water or have some food to ground myself.

I forget to drink water all the time. So, I bought a copper cup I really love and the first thing I do when I get into my shop in the morning is to fill the cup up. No matter what. I cannot open the door or turn the lights on until I fill up the cup. The second thing I do around 3 PM (because I know at 4 I will be dizzy from hunger) is to fill boil water and make a cup of Rose City Chocolate tea (with rooibos, honeybush, raw cocoa nibs, rose petals & rosehips) so I can have a little bit of sweetness and absorb the medicine of the rose: love, subtle sweet unconditional love, and also return to my body.

4. Seek community where self care is the goal. Maybe it’s yoga class. Maybe it’s breathwork. Maybe it’s just a tea date with your friend who is an amazing listener. Maybe it’s therapy. Use your people-pleasing habits to please yourself. If I schedule something for myself, I will keep pushing it back, but if I have committed to another person or place, I will show up. It’s a little way to trick myself into taking care and dedicating time to myself. (Making a massage, acupuncture or manicure appointment definitely counts by the way).

5. Seek counsel. This could be traditional psychotherapy, but it could also mean sitting quietly and asking your guides, your higher self  or whatever belief system you have- maybe it’s just your subconscious or the universe-, for answers.

I have friends who are talented tarot readers, astrologers, or mediums. Whenever I check in with them it helps me take a much longer view of my life so I can return to my center. When I’m always looking left and right to what everyone else needs I can veer into a place I didn’t mean to go to. And while I believe that our narratives aren’t linear at all, I also think that looking up once in a while, or getting to a really high up place where you can see all the scenery or to a really quiet place where you can see what is going on underneath or within is extremely necessary for fulfillment and self knowledge.

6. And Lastly, CLOSE THE POSE! This is something I taught myself last year but still have to practice. Astrologically speaking, I am a cardinal sign (Aries), what this means is I am a starter, I love the beginning, I love to start things. Sometimes I start three things at once. And the wrapping up of things feels boring and difficult and it’s hard for me to pause in between projects.  But one day during yoga, I really started thinking about how all energy is a series of motions and to create a “flow” you need to finish the pose you are in, fully express it before transitioning into another. Maybe I don’t need to have thirteen tabs open on my computer at a time while I am text messaging someone and listening to music. Maybe, sometimes, I can look at one thing at a time, I can fold all the laundry and put it away before checking my email. I can wrap up an event and think about what I learned from it, where it felt really aligned and places that I would rather do a different way.

Give yourself the time and space in between activities to acknowledge what you just did. This is part of what ceremony and ritual is about. Creating a habit of noticing who and what we are. But rituals and ceremonies don’t exist in a vacuum. The experience of being grateful, being quiet, and thinking about what has just transpired is something you can take with you in your everyday. When you get home from the grocery store. Write a paper. Throw a party. Whatever it is. Sit in the quiet trail where the motion has petered off and soak it up.

 

 

As I write this I am thinking about all the ways I need to follow the advice of my own higher self, need to have a day where I can actually do nothing, receive the beautiful input of my dreams, and balance my naturally yang energy, slowly becoming comfortable with the fact that the stillness of the moment is its own reward.

Healing

Deep Heart Work: Who Am I Part 1000

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Around October of last year, I was one-class deep in my Astrology 101 Course, raring to go into deep study of birth charts so I could understand and share this ancient wisdom tradition with the people I love, and the community I serve.

But then....

A week into astrology school I found out I was admitted into an entrepreneurial program called 10,000 Small Businesses, and I had to immediately make a decision: Was I going to study the stars, which I intrinsically know would be part of my path just not exactly how or when... or was I going to get the business education I always wished I had for free. 

I decided I wanted to go through the business program. It was not only something that couldn't be deferred but also was something I got into by the skin of my teeth. (I'm pretty sure I was the last scholar admitted into the program.)

I had a lot of ideas about what business education is about, and at the time it felt like I was choosing to take the rational more materialistic *less risky* and more "responsible" path when I got to this fork in the road; what I am learning, or perhaps more accurately, what I am remembering, is that all work is energy work, all work is spiritual work, if you are doing it from that place.

Part of what they ask us to do in our class is define what it is we do, who we serve, and exactly what it is we offer in as few words as possible. 

This is painstakingly difficult for me. 

When I was kid I had to write a book report on Matthew Henderson, the Arctic explorer and I had to redo it because it was 18 pages longer than the 3 page suggested length. I was a fourth grader. Editing down has never been my thing. 

In parallel to my entrepreneurial education, I have been deep diving into psychotherapy (at the suggestion of a karuna reiki practitioner, Radical Reiki) and I have found that much of my people-pleasing and empathic awareness of others' feelings and what they need is something that I had developed as a child, because for whatever reason, to be liked felt like something my very survival depended upon. 

These two practices (and I use this word because both business school and therapy require showing up with full presence and having the attitude that there is much to be discovered) have both brought me to the same question: What do I have to offer that is both fulfilling to me and something I feel brings value to my community? What I have learned is that running to be "of service" to your loved ones is a way to run away from yourself, and also at times, can be a way of taking away someone else's lessons to be learned. (That friend of yours who always has to borrow money might figure it out if you would just stop coming to their rescue.)

What I am learning at the age of 34 is that without being beloved by others, nurturing them, being of service to them, listening and guiding, using myself as a research laboratory so I can share what works with them, reading different books for them, I am not entirely sure who I am. I have become so good at feeling other people's feelings and trying to make them feel better that I never made space to feel my own.

Recently my psychotherapist suggested I read the book, The Drama of the Gifted Child, (which my psychology major friends think is passe but which I find endlessly enlightening and impactful.) 

"At first it will be mortifying to see that she is not always good, understanding, tolerant, controlled, and, above all, without needs, for these have been the basis of her self-respect."  
"The Drama of the Gifted Child" - Alice Miller

I am learning to have my own needs met. Being in service of others is completely natural to me. It's unsettlingly easy. What requires much more effort, much more discomfort, is thinking about my own needs and prioritizing them. I have been repressing and suppressing anything that causes conflict for so long that it feels foreign to actually figure out "how I am." On top of that, because I am highly sensitive but so good at hiding my own feelings from myself when they're just too much to deal with, I have spent decades creating a false division between people who can 'control" their feelings and people who can't. (And feeling a subconscious disdain for people who throw tantrums, burst into tears or scream with joy without reading the room.) 

I think part of the reason why I can't decide on any one task, identity, business or job description is because it involves the risk of failure, the burden of success, and perhaps most tenuous of all things, it involves removing identities I have built to please certain kinds of people. Shedding these identities means possibly losing some of my friends, some of my protective personas, and actually having to figure out what's beneath. 

It involves the unknown. 

I love to think about things. (Two out of three of the most important components of my astrological chart are air signs... )

I love to be theoretical. Theoretically I am progressive, experimental, rebellious and brave.

In practice, my palms sweat in group situations, my heart races when I think about doing something for the first time, I feel embarrassed when I push on a door and then realize it says pull, if I walk into a restaurant where I don't know if I am supposed to seat myself. I am riddled with anxiety faced with the smallest possibility that I might "mess something up."

What is true in theory is not often true in practice. The body provides information, the social interaction provides information that the brain thinks "makes no sense." But it's still true information even if our rational mind doesn't know what to do with it. And the irrationality of it suggests that there are other valuable metrics for information besides logic.

So what is Myths of Creation. What is my value to my community. 

This where things get hairy. 

Myths of Creation is a retail space that disagrees with most tenets of poorly-regulated modern capitalism. (But a company spawned by an individual who knows what it's like to want things and to love to collect things.) 

Myths of Creation is a space in which we negotiate with great empathy. Where we connect to one another upon the basis that above anything else, I plan on looking at you exactly as you are, without social pretense, without wanting anything from you and that if I treat you that way you will make intelligent decisions on your own, that will empower and guide you to learn about yourself, and show parts of yourself to the world that you never even knew were there.

Myths of Creation is a space intent on filling gaps in the education system: about the history of spirituality, about how our ancestry might impact us on a genetic level, about what a sense of self is, about what to do with emotions, about how to "de-condition" yourself. About navigating spaces so you can imbue your everyday actions with meaning and beauty. 

Myths of Creation is a clothing store where you can actually afford something. 
Myths of Creation is a curatorial service and an experience generator. It's a social experiment. It's a living art project. It's a subtle performance art piece constantly happening. It's creating a business that aligns with spirituality. It's a balance of scientific inquiry and deep narrative digging. It's the energetic equivalent of golden drapes hanging from the ceiling enveloping and wrapping you up until you feel golden. It's someone actually seeing you and asking nothing of you. It's someone giving you space if you don't feel like being seen. It's a place to take a deep breath. 

What do we offer? Who do serve? What do we envision?

We envision lightness in your heart. We envision finding your inner light and learning how to brighten it, change it's color, dim it, and then setting you out into the world to shine it as only you can.

 It's a poem your neighbor wrote. It's someones five years of experience looking at the palms of strangers hands and distilling their knowledge into an hour. It's a place that allows you to drop the nonsensical limiting beliefs we inherit from our parents (who inherited it from their parents) and replace them with something you have invented, something you can intentionally agree to. 

I envision Myths creating a communal way of educating ourselves. Where we each learn and each teach, without hierarchy or the necessity of degrees but with great humility and a sense of responsibility. I envision interviews and media. Art and sound. I envision making music with my friends and constant experiments in courage. Facing fears together without pretense or the need to be famous except from among one another. I envision the greatest revolution of our time being in learning how to grow our own food, make our own clothes, make our own art and trading it among one another so we can begin to remember how objects come to be. Remember patience, remembering texture, remember seasons, remember working with what's in front of us. So we won't buy them so impulsively and trash them without a second thought. 

What does this mean for us as of today? It means reaching out to folks to host workshops, curating more ritual tools and books and creations that will enable you to need what is outside of you less and discover what's inside of you more. It means (and this is the big one) a few less of the things I have always been good at finding: clothes, shoes, etc. It means being really really picky about what hangs on these hangers and sits on these shelves and perhaps not offering the immediate euphoria of ever-changing objects at the pace that I have in the last three years, but slowing it down to rebuild the core of who I am and what we need. 

I'm rebuilding the home inside myself and rebuilding the home that this store has been for me. 

Stretching out to offer reiki, tarot and sometimes teaching what I know about astrology has been the utmost rewarding part of my business in the last six months. This in addition to writing has awakened a part of me that I told to be quiet for the last six years, and I'm letting her have a much bigger say in what goes on from now on.

Happy Full Blue Blood Moon Eclipse. 

Til next time,
Xenia





 

Healing

Experiments in Ritual and Science

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When I was in school, I wanted to be everything: I wanted to be pretty and popular and smart. I wanted to be a complete individual but also felt if people didn't understand me or accept me, or weren't enthusiastic about me and my ideas, then there was some sort of misunderstanding or injustice involved. 

I wanted to be authentically me and also needed universal approval.

I went to school for writing. Reading and writing and music were and are my first love. If you want to write fiction, imagining events as if you are watching them from above is a really beautiful and useful skill. If you are trying to figure out what you want, having that "omniscient" viewpoint as your own is debilitating and confusing (not to mention, prone to false ideas, because, you are after all, not looking at anything from some detached perspective, you are a person with a singular point of view.)

I have recently returned to talk therapy, where I have learned that I'm so in my head that I can easily dissociate from my body when I am not comfortable. (I could write an entire article about how this all coincides with my birth chart, but that's for another day). So l have been practicing being in my body with its sensations and not running away from it when there is discomfort, anxiety, etc. (I want to note that the person who referred me to talk therapy was a very powerful reiki healer, Shannon, or Radical Reiki. I mention this because I believe that it is to our great benefit that we not compartmentalize our spiritual, artistic and scientific faculties or create competition between them.)

This past year I got really into Abraham Hicks, and her clever and straight-forward way of explaining the Law of Attraction. I know there are a lot of people who criticize the law of attraction, and I definitely think there is a danger of washing over difficult subjects, and systemic historical justice when one works with the idea that we are all attracting the energy that we are putting out there, but in general, I very much believe that it is worth asking yourself, what your energy is. And it's not a simple process at all.

So before we get into the criticisms of the Law of Attraction, which generally states that the Universe delivers our reality by matching our energetic vibration, let's suspend our disbelief and really dig into how to find out how to examine your energy.

On an episode of The Unmistakable Creative, I recently heard Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School Srini Pillay, discuss the importance of the subconscious with goal setting. In particular, he discusses money. He talks about the idea that he dislikes that political narrative that the "rich get richer" because it ingrains in our subconscious that having money is something that a bad person does, or that having money is not a noble goal, and that if someone has money, there is some sort of injustice involved. 

I bring this up, not to talk about politics, but to bring up an example of how our cultural subconscious beliefs go so deep, and are absorbed passively from our early childhood in such a way that working with "our energy" is an incredibly long process. For me, I know that before I really learn to work with the law of attraction, I have to examine what it is I think I deserve, why it is that I feel responsible for everyone else's feelings (often putting mine on the back burner) and how to reprogram my own heart to understand that when I receive positive things, that I am not taking them away from anyone. 

I could go on and on about this topic but the most beautiful realizations of this past year for me have been that the spiritual work I have been doing and the scientific inquiry I have around learning the ethics of business, the psychology of worth, the habits of people who live in countries with the longest lifespan, how to make human connection, all point to the very same truths, no matter which lens you decide to put on: that we all very much need to feel like our authentic selves, and that this involves facing that which makes us feel scared and uncomfortable and learning to share and connect with others so that we feel like we aren't sleep walking through life or living in order to avoid fear of the unknown, because let's face it, every single thing we have done that has brought us fulfillment, joy or the nurturing and sharing of our gifts, has been scary, and unknown before we did it. 

Some really interesting easy things I learned in this last year:

  • Gratitude lists work. Training yourself to find positive gifts in your life sets off the happiness circuitry of your brain.
  • Talking to yourself in the second person works! Brendan Burchard and Srini Pillay, both did academic studies where they found that those who address themselves by their first names in self talk, saying, Xenia, you're going to to have a great time sending this newsletter, actually experience positive neural activity and better results from their positive self talk.
  • Gay Hendricks, a renowned psychologist, recently said in an interview (again on The Unmistakable Creative), that when he talks to all of the highest paid, CEO's and asks what is the one thing they all want, it's simply ten minutes to think quietly, and the time to be completely alone to just think.  I mention this because over and over again, from spiritual teachers to behavioral psychologists, ten minutes of meditation is said to make shifts in consciousness and life quality that are profound and long-lasting. If you don't have time to meditate, simply sitting in ten minutes of non-distracted present reflection also causes positive benefits.
  • The Law of Attraction recommends the same technique some psychologists call "Distraction Therapy." If there is a thought you have that recurs, ask yourself, "Is this helpful?" Most worries about subjects you cannot control or about people that ultimately have to handle their own growth challenges, actually aren't helping. If a thought isn't helpful, Gay Hendricks suggests distraction therapy. That means if you are worrying about getting a promotion obsessively and there's nothing you can do to sway it, go outside and take a walk, eat a piece of chocolate, listen to music. Abraham Hicks similarly discusses that if you are worrying about something you can't change and it feels like it's lowering your vibration, to simply not think of it. Whatever that subject is, has attached itself to a negative energy, whether that be lack, unfairness, helplessness or anger. *I say this with a gentle understanding that it won't jive with the activist part of your soul, but I would say, that if it's something you feel you can help with activism, then it doesn't fall under this category. Because calling your senators and giving helps, whereas crying about the state of the world in general, (while I have done it) might not want to be the place you want your heart to land every day for days. 


I will definitely explore more on this topic in the future. If you have read this far, thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Profiles

What is a soul tattoo: And how to avoid black magic

Send Love & Light to Ashley Glynn, The Woman Who Made My Soul Tattoo

 Photography by Natalie Cleveland from Wadulisiwoman.com

Photography by Natalie Cleveland from Wadulisiwoman.com

In the summer of 2017 I was magnetized by the work of Wadulisi Woman, also known as Ashley Glynn. After periodically being hypnotised by her work on Instagram, I received a medicinal soul tattoo from her.

What is a Soul Tattoo?

Ashley Glynn had been working for many years in New York, and like many of us, she had more than one job. She worked as a tarot reader professionally among other kinds of work, and she found her heart really drawn towards other forms of healing work (an interest that she had been nurturing since her childhood), as well as evolving her love for illustration.

As she worked with reiki, and embraced her intuition, she imagined something called a soul tattoo. What she imagined ran counter to the masculine-dominated machine-based tattoo culture. What she imagined involved hand-poked tattoos (an ancient medicine that has its roots in indigenous warrior cultures, including my own Filipino lineage), and the imagery of the tattoo itself as a ceremony of healing specially designed for each client. 

In our ceremony, Ashley cleansed the space, poured both of us tea, and invoked the healing Japanese technique of reiki, in which a practitioner is able to channel and direct universal life energy to move energetic, emotional and sometimes physical blockages in the client. When I received my soul tattoo, Ashley gave me tarot reading about my life path. (This is no longer part of her process.)

Her readings and relationships of the cards are intuitive, so her interpretations were incredibly unique. Her reading pointed to my desire to do more one-on-one work as a healer, and to also document that process a writer. She also shed light on some of my challenges: learning to build  confidence and get comfortable going within, being comfortable standing in my power, and learning to trust the universe enough to dismantle my existing structures in order to rebuild something that would be more in service of my soul's desires.

After the reading, Ashley sweetly told me about an image she had seen when she woke up earlier that morning. It was an eye, an eye that was connected to healing and psychic intuition. After we worked out my life path number using my birthday, (It's a 6, the sign of the harmonizer/caretaker) and the flowers I identify with most, Ashely began to draw.

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As I quietly sat, choosing what music I wanted to listen to, Ashley came up with a drawing and gently asked if I was happy with what she intuited or if I preferred doing something more collaborative. 

I was really happy with the imagery, and the power of what she intuited; being the impulsive Aries that I am, I dove right into the inking ceremony. While she worked on making sure the placement was exactly where I wanted it, I got so lost in the conversation about astrology and the body, and all of the incredible knowledge this fairy-like being held in her heart and mind that I completely lost track of time. After what felt like twenty minutes, (I am sure this was more like an hour) we were finished, and I walked out with deep confidence and elation. I felt like I had eaten a whole bar of chocolate. 

Ashley and I stayed in touch, and in the next weeks to follow, I would continue to meet others who had soul tattoos (a future reiki client), as well as find out that friends of mine had received soul tattoos (including an old friend from middle school who I reconnected with by coincidence when we both showed up to the same reiki I attunement).

Ashley is a rather wonderful manifestor. I knew she was scheduled to move soon when I emailed her, but I had no idea that I had snuck onto her books right before her waiting list would grow from 2-3 years after some beautiful articles and videos written about her on Refinery 29 and  Racked .

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I love to follow Ashley Glynn's adventures on Instagram. She is still wandering from city to city being guided by her intuition and her heart. She continues to see clients as she goes from city-to-city. Recently in her Instagram stories, I heard her beautiful feminine voice answering questions and addressing some negativity she had been receiving about her work as her practice was growing. 

Although this disheartened me, I had no doubt that she would be strong enough to stand in her power. But it did point out a pattern we often see in human behavior. When others begin to see others dreams come true, their gifts come to light, we ask Why Them and Not Me? 

This is an innocent enough question if you ask it with an open heart. With an open heart, the answer might be beautiful. The answer might be that this person is trusting the universe, working with her authentic self, making no compromises, and braving the unknown. 

When we say negative things, even negative words, it is a form of black magic. It is energetically harmful. It is akin to putting a hex on someone. We should all feel empowered to criticize systems and entities that are harmful, but to judge and criticize one another without healing, rehabilitation or better understanding in mind simply puts more black magic into the ether for all of us. Please join me in sending love and light to Ash Glynn. She 's showing all of us who dream to create our own art forms and to travel with freedom that it's totally possible if you just let go. 

Healing

The Book That Created A Sisterhood

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Last year around this time, I had a hankering to contact Sarah Gottesdiener about her ritual workbook the Many Moons Workbook. I ordered the minimum 20 books even though I had pretty bad luck selling books (which was super sad for a bibliophile and trained writer.) I didn't move any and gave the first one to a friend (Melissa of Morphologically), who in turn wanted to gift one to a friend. 

I had no idea what I had my hands on. I had no idea at the time that I had snuck in as one of the last new stockists she would take for the year or the project in general. She posted me as one of her last stockists with any books left and within five minutes I had sold out of every last copy I had. 

Several volumes later, I have found this book, created much so respect, full authenticity and little ego is really lifting up Sarah's contributors, her community and our community here in Brooklyn. The knowledge of how to work with every moon cycle helps us connect to the earth and also to the energy of the cosmos, to our subconsciouses and to each other. It begs that we ask the difficult questions.

And when I don't have time to cast a circle, I always have time to read the text, which I find to be a special kind of magic in and of itself. 

Sarah may not be making these books forever. Despite their wild popularity, and the fact that we can barely hold onto them, her ethical practices make this a labor of love, in which she breaks even. Please honor her sweet intentions and the vulnerable way in which she shares her knowledge and gifts and join us in going through this limited edition workbook or gift it to a friend. It is made of love and light and helps you make deep peace with the shadow and the dark. It is a love letter to life itself.

 

Healing

Into the Great Wide Open

 The Garden. Costume design from Mistic Krewe of Comus' 1873 'Missing Links' parade. by Charles Briton. New Orleans.

The Garden. Costume design from Mistic Krewe of Comus' 1873 'Missing Links' parade. by Charles Briton. New Orleans.

 

Recently, I sent out a newsletter expressing that both my gut feeling and observational judgment tell me that shifts in retail will be so profoundly momentous that the very idea of what it means to acquire something in a commercial way will be unrecognizable in ten years.

Already the family mall crawl seems to be a dying artform. We used to get in our Sunday best and sort of slowly amble around the curated safe space of the physical suburban world that made up nearly twenty percent of my adolescent experiences: THE MALL.

While I’m acutely aware that it is our human nature to romanticize that which might be lost (in this case, a Macy’s and a food court), it still saddens me to think of the experiences we had in the analog world slowly disappearing. I think about The Wonder Years and how it would feel if on a Saturday night, all the kids got together virtually instead of at a burger spot.  This is a very long-winded way of saying, I don't think normal stores will exist for very long and I'm not interested in fighting the sort of sweeping change that reforms culture so profoundly that some jobs become extinct and others are invented.

In the last local election I voted entirely in protest of the current administration as it's quite obvious to me that unregulated development is pushing artists out of New York City. At the same time, whenever I listen to Abraham Hicks (a brilliant teacher of the law of attraction and predecessor of Louise Hay) talk about how we only manage our own realities with our thoughts and vibrations, that always feels better and truer than fighting city hall (And yet I still wonder, is what she is saying, true? Is this just escapism? Does this explain entire nations of impoverished people and natural disasters? I'm still figuring out how I can understand this.)

As you can see, I am  in touch with the macrocosm. The what if, and my place in the world at large. I am very comfortable swimming in the world of ideas. Where I have less dexterity is the physical task-oriented to world. It feels heavy and clumsy and slow, and often I wonder how long I will have to deal with people who don't believe that anything invisible exists even though they use microwaves and cell phones everyday.

What this means:  can think myself into oblivion until there's no step that I can take, and I've thought myself onto an island.

Which is recently what I have done with my business.


I am currently a scholar in the Tory Burch Foundation’s education program. The TBF Foundation is teaching us to assimilate traditional business concepts into our already-existing businesses, and we are being taught to evaluate which options will bring us revenue so we can hire, and employee beautiful people and grow and grow and grow.

And yet, everyday I listen to Abraham Hicks talk about being in alignment with you inner being: which means making decisions based on how you want to feel, always going towards what feels good. Her  teachings center around controlling your vibration by going towards joy at all times.

I see quite clearly that these two ways of looking at the world are at complete odds. And I profoundly respect both of them. I believe in the vibrational and energetic world. I also believe in having my rent paid on time and having savings.

So what is a retail store that is barely afloat with it’s affordable offerings and limited marketing budget to do?

Well, here’s what feels good and brings me joy.

Offering mini readings and providing space for incredibly talented creative healers and teachers to connect with the gorgeous community we have cultivated with the four walls of 421 Graham Avenue. (I also happen to know that there is no way this can grow my revenue in any meaningful way. )

Why am I going in all of these different directions?

I am changing inside. I don’t see my gifts in any linear way. I know that I’m really good at predicting fashion trends about a year ahead of time. I know that I am good at being incredibly honest with my clients about what is best for them. I know that I have a lot of integrity in my offerings and that I have often sacrificed my well-being to serve others (which is unhealthy patterning, and not good for anyone!) I also know that as I dig deeper into my own personal work, I am finding that I have work on the foundation of my own sense of self.

This work on myself is teaching me that I have lived my life feeling responsible for everyone else's feelings. Which led me to think everyone else was also responsible for my feelings. That if I always thought about what other's needed, they would do the same for me, and in a way, owe it to me.

Guess what! This is not only not how the universe works according to Abraham Hicks and Teal Swan, and Louise Hay, but it's also just really unhealthy.

What would I be doing if I didn't want to make sure everyone else was happy? If I didn't need them to feel that way so I could control their impression of me? If I wasn't in need of everyone's approval? I don't know. I started thinking about it when I was 31, and I'm still trying to shed the guilt of actually thinking about myself.

I am always trying to connect the dots and patterns to see the shape of what is truly emerging, but what I am finding is that in this exact moment, I need to allow myself to make more dots and worry about the picture later. That I need to trust that there is a picture I have no control over, that is much bigger than me, and that if I just follow my urge to heal myself and share my gifts in small ways, that a picture that is much bigger than me will come into being on its own, and I will find my happy corner in it.

Healing

What is Business? And the Feeling of WTF When You're Changing

Happy Full Moon in Taurus.

 Plate from The Once and Future Gardener

Plate from The Once and Future Gardener

 

Happy November to all of you. Happy whatever stage and moment of life you are in right now as you are reading this. Moment of stillness. Moment of joy.

We are in a pivotal moment at Myths of Creation. We have been here for about three years and we are surviving. We are alive. By the grace of Goddess, loved ones and our customers, we exist.

What’s going on in this pivotal moment? We are discovering that the nature of the retail landscape is changing… has changed. I remember when I worked for an online magazine that had trouble gaining advertisers because advertisers couldn’t understand what online content was. Now we live in an era in which having miniature touchscreen computers in our pockets seems totally unremarkable. (I mean, honestly have you ever sat and looked at your smart phone and thought about how the screen needs to sense where your fingers are, and that the keys on your phone don’t even really exist except as programming language?)  

As technology grows in this exponential way, our behaviors evolve around it, and the way we function as humans changes neurologically. In turn, this changes our collective cultural values shift without giving us a breath to take a step back and ask ourselves “Why are we doing what we are doing? And who is it serving and does it feel good?

We are all learning about an environment that is largely unknown. Meanwhile, our collective is going through a moment of unearthing shared subconscious issues that need healing: issues of power, corruption, repression, injustice and violence. As a group we are demolishing the safety of the structures that exist because they aren’t working.

What does this have to do with Myths of Creation?

It means that the brick and mortar store model isn’t necessarily something that can thrive as is. Everyday I talk to shop owners who find the effect of rising rents and being outpriced by suppliers who are based out of lower property value locations selling online or major retailers who are moving into their neighborhoods because no one else can afford to rent there.

I built this company, this brick and mortar and this team of people who supports me based on the idea that we should all feel like we can access whatever it is that we want: that it is us who decide the value of things, not some external market force. And yet the tides of change affect me; they affect all of us.

For the last three weeks I have been part a a small business growth program and within the program we are asked to succinctly articulate what it is that we do.
At this exact moment, I don’t really know how to answer that.

I tell my colleagues that the Myths of Creation mission is to assist others in the process of figuring out who they really are and what they really want, to help them focus and expand their self perception, working with the medium of clothing and energetic objects to aid them on their journey of both discovering and expressing what they find.

I explained, “I think it’s really unhealthy for people to wear things because other people told them it was the right thing to like.”

Someone responded to that “So you’re kind of an anti-trend space?”

“NOOOO!” I said. I hadn’t articulated it well in my mind, so I couldn’t do it in real life either. So let me try again.

I don’t like things just because other people do. But I also don’t dislike things because other people do. What I am attempting to do is actually come from a place where I am discerning my likes and dislikes from within. Learning to  consciously decide what brings me joy from the inside with no regard for how I might be perceived outside.

Can I always do this? No. Not yet.  It’s really hard. But I am definitely getting better at it.

In many areas of my life I am constantly deferring authority to other people. Famous people. Magazines. Experts. Scholars. Friends. My parents. The one thing in my life that I find it natural and easy to be an authority on is how I dress myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely inspired and influenced by others. (See Bjork reference from earlier) I totally googled Emma Watson’s dress after I saw her on SNL and swooned over old photographs of Natalie Wood and all of the costumes on The Deuce. But I don’t value these things because someone else does. I receive these external  images into my mind and store them like tools in a tool bag. It means I have now added someone else’s visionary possibility into my own. But I am tapping into my own sensibility at all times. Choosing what feels good based on how I feel and nothing else.


My hope is in that by realizing you are free to choose whatever you want, in the realm of how you express yourself through your clothing, that you (and I) will realize that this power transfers and already exists within any area of your life. Whether it is financial literacy, healthy relationships, or a new language you want to learn. I am hoping we will break down the false belief that many of us have inherited from a young age: that the authority to learn how to “do things properly” is outside of us or that there are simply some things “we aren’t good at.”

 

(I had a really hard time articulating what my “business” does in the context of a business education setting. I was like… “Umm… I sell clothes and help people heal?”

 

My whole point is that I wanted to share in a transparent way that we are finding that being a clothing store isn’t enough. It’s not enough for me to be fulfilled. It’s not enough in an economy where I am competing against Chinese factories selling shoes for $13 who can now reach the customers in brooklyn using Facebook ads. It’s not enough to just try to compete with Amazon. It is not enough for me and it is not enough for you. Because I believe life can be easy and graceful and rewarding if you are willing to go towards what feels good and drop what simply doesn’t make sense anymore.

So what happens next?

We don’t know. We don’t know and it’s scary (but also exciting.)
Here is what we do now (for now.)
 

We are going to try to expand our online offerings so that those of you who have moved (and there are a lot of you), can continue to be part of our community.

 

We are going to be offering things that really help you (and me) get to know where we are and expand the ways we think about the world. We have a monthly mini astrology reading series with Courtney of Vibrant Soul Astrology on Sundays from 2-6. (The next one is this Sunday November 5th! Please message me if you want an appointment. These went really fast last time. It’s $20 for 15 minutes and you need your birthtime!)

Also we have REALLY EXCITING and amazing news. We are currently developing workshops healer and medicine maker Jordan of Ostara Apothecary. Our first workshop is next week Thursday November 9th at 7:30 PM. A topic I am deeply passionate about and feel truly in need of more education on, the first workshop is called “Your Sensitivity is Your SuperPower: An Empath Empowerment Workshop.” It’s $25 in advance and $30 day of! Space is extremely limited so please let us know if you can make it.

We will continue to be carrying beautiful tools created with your body, spirit, mind and heart’s wellness deeply infused into them. Tarot and Oracle decks from Spirit Speak, Love Letters to Earth by Nicole Adriana Casanova (an incredibly powerful and intelligent healer), Spirit Work Aura Sprays infused with crystal essences, reiki and essential oils that come with a downloadable audio file to meditate to as well as an e-book on suggested rituals.https://www.spirit-speak.com/

We have so much to share and we want to continue to share and grow in our authenticity with you. We want to learn to feed our souls, be compassionate and learn from our emotional bodies as well as actually exist with comfort on this here planet. We don’t want to feel like our spirit lives one way and our day-to-day lives in another way. We want to innovate an entirely new way of existing as a business and as human beings without jarring our past self or throwing out our present moment. And we want to do it with you. So thanks for reading and please do stay tuned in (tapped in and turned on.)

With love, warmth and fire,

Xenia,

Myths of Creation

 

 

Profiles

TALKING TO THE PEOPLE YOU PASS EVERYDAY: Caris Reid

 Lunar Baedeker, Caris Reid   48 x 36 inches. Acrylic on Wood. 2016

Lunar Baedeker, Caris Reid 

48 x 36 inches. Acrylic on Wood. 2016

Prologue : Writing About Art

I don't often write about art because I got so burnt out in the American higher education system. I never understood why I would spend so much money on becoming an expert on other people's thoughts about other people's work.

When we are children we are asked our favorite color, and no one asks why. Maybe we become attached to a shirt or a color that we wear obsessively as a security blanket. No one asks why. As we become adults we are afforded the privilege of asking ourselves the question of why, but also bear the suffocating burden that others will expect us to answer this question for them.

I still believe that when we look at a piece of art, we can like it the way that we like a leaf as a kid or a sunset as an adult. We recognize and behold that it is beautiful as it touches something preverbal and personal, but also has the potential to shift our cerebral world, to engage the workings of our mind, to inspire us to ask ourselves questions.

As a dear stylist friend once said while we were doing catalog, "It's a feeling."


Caris Reid, Former Graham Stop Dweller, Current Joshua Tree Resident

The symbols and sigils that are chosen for each painting is very intuitive. Some of the symbols have very specific personal meanings, others are commonplace, and some are more obscure. I want them to speak to the part of our brain that is beyond reason.-
— Caris Reid, The Radder

I met Caris Reid when I opened my store almost three years ago. She was wearing this brighter-than-cherries red soft wool coat. We got to talking and I discovered she was a painter. Here in Brooklyn, there's something really intimidating about meeting artists for me. I don't actually remember asking her much more about her work at that time. We saw each other from time to time at the shop, I spotted her on the instagram feed of my friend Glenn Lovrich's (who is constantly evolving as a hairstylist) and at that time, she was still what she had always been. A face and a neighbor, a sweet conversation and a memory of a beautiful image she made for me in her red jacket.

Then I connected with her social media account and saw her work. I saw that she was in Joshua Tree (where I took the only "for me" vacation of my adult life at the age of 33), and because I feel so deeply drawn to that particular desert, I became really interested in what she was doing out there. I'm a lot less shy when there's a machine or a piece of media between me and another person, and in this particular case, social media created a bridge where an everyday interaction might have remained shallow between us, out of politeness, and the "rules" of living in a densely-populate place.

I began exploring Caris Reid’s imagery: her instagram, her paintings and the feeling of connection between us was immediate (for me.) The paintings that grabbed me were her most recent works at the time, all part of a show in LA at the OCHI Gallery entitled Healer. Feeler. Seer. Seen. She created all of the work in Joshua Tree, which is a relatively small desert town that houses a national park full of joshua trees, which are trees that look like they came from Dr. Seuss’s imagination, (and are rumoured to have inspired some of his work.) The town is a tourist destination, a “getaway” from Los Angeles, but for many of its permanent residents and visitors, it holds a beautiful spiritual significance.

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With rainbow sunrises and sunsets, whipperwhirl sounds waking you in the mornings, the proximity of coyotes, snake and scorpions, and the commonplaceness of living off a dirt road, it brings a closeness to nature. There is deep quiet. A natural community (everyone seems to know everyone.) There are endless spaces to gaze upward at stars.It was in this space that Caris created the paintings in her show.

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The women she paints have the sort of intrinsic power that could belong to any powerful woman: the extremely caring nurse, the ancient shamanic healer, the caretaking and life-changing school librarian. They are ordinary but also are goddesses. Are fierce but also soft. They are warriors but at peace. They look directly at you, through you, they see you. Maybe you're someone who needs to be seen, and it feels good. Maybe you're someone who wants to hide and it feels really uncomfortable. Maybe you're both of those people all of the time and that's the feeling you feel.

 

The female archetypes she paints use the bright colors of a childhood, a time of purity, of unchecked imagination and courage. The bold one-dimensional lines suit the idea of folkloric and ancient storytelling  because these characters belong to a world that is different than the three-dimensional space we are all grounded in.. The one-dimensional world is the natural home to imagination. It is where the archetype, the collective unconscious, the seeds and symbols that we can intuitively understand reside before their tales become verbalized. (*In History of the Modern World, J.M. Roberts writes about all mammals’ ancestors having 2-D vision before they develop 3-D vision.)

One imagines each of the women depicted in the paintings exists in every culture, with every tradition having its own name and narrative, but that underneath she is fundamentally the same energy. The familiarity presents itself because it’s touching something in the memory of our DNA, and yet it’s unfamiliar because it sits at the edge of our subconscious.

This is the space of the cave painting. The discovery of someone else’s attempt to express and record what it means to be human at any point in time.

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We are called in these paintings to ask ourselves what a powerful woman is. Is she aggressive, sometimes quiet? Does she weep with unabashed despair? Who are the archetypes in our own lives, our own blood lineage and nuclear families, in our communities and friendships, in our archetypes and cultural symbols who illuminate the qualities of feminine power? And how can we reshape these to be truer, more reflective of who we are and what we hold to be our own powers, talents, toughness and softness?

Caris is reiki attuned, and has a spiritual path that is easily felt in her work, as well as an sharp intellect that is quickly recognized if you read any of her interviews. If you want to know more about her and her process, I highly encourage checking out this beautiful interview on The Radder. You will learn so much about how meditation plays into her work, as well as how this work fits into the larger body of her work. But before you click, IF YOU CAN, let the paintings speak to you directly. See if your subconscious feels touched, feels spoken to. If you’re moved in a way you don’t care to explain.

Caris's Glossary of Terms can be found at the gallery link below.

Caris Reid’s Show SUB ROSA Sept 7 - Oct 8, Denny Gallery