Myths + 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

 

 

People We Know

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


Morning Musings, Myths + Healing

When Little Girls Call Themselves "Trash" & How We Talk To Ourselves

Photo by Mike O'Shea

Photo by Mike O'Shea

One of the privileges of working in a clothing store is being able to witness women in a sometimes-vulnerable state. 

What is happening when we interact with clothing in front of strangers? There are issues of class, issues of "fitting in",  of presenting the right image, of how we perceive our bodies, of trying to delicately support one another in this context without being overly personal, without being overly impersonal. 

All of these interactions is a dance, and believe you me, if you are really trying to follow The Four Agreements, or if you are going through a shift that makes you sensitive, you will unearth a lot of information about yourself in these interactions.

The other day someone tried something on, and afterwards she said, "Maybe I'll come back when I don't look like a big fat monster." I told her, "I have days where I feel that way, too, but it's just a feeling." And I believe that. No bullshit. Maybe your weight fluctuates in a range of 20 lbs like mine has for my entire life since I turned eleven years old, but where do we learn to talk to ourselves like this? I actually asked this particular person that question. She looked at me and sort of snapped out of her automatic way of talking to herself and said, "I don't know."   

Yesterday I was searching the internet to find out how to make the words in your Instagram stories move. This youtube video came up. A girl who was about 10-14 years-old with the sweetest voice, started to explain the information I was seeking in simple terms. In the video, to show her example, she took a photo of herself. After saying "This one is ugly, let me take another one," She then says, "Say you're trying to type, I look like trash, because I do, I look like trash," and she then scribbles her face out and continues her demo using a photo with her face scribbled out to demonstrate this technology feature to the world.

This broke my heart. This little girl was putting herself out there in the world to teach people something. Inherently, she knows she has something to offer. And it actually seems like she is having fun with the video. She says it's her first tutorial at some point and says, "I hope you enjoyed this."

This amatuer tutorial  had 9,000 views and it actually was really helpful to me, and I found what I was looking for.

I was heartened and relieved to see that several of the comments were from other strangers who felt the way I did, they told her, "You're beautiful, don't ever talk about yourself like that."

This nonchalant, sweetly-spoken self abuse is something I hear everyday. I hear women vocalize their body dysmorphia all of the time. I hear older women in their sixties talk about their bodies in hurtful harmful ways. I hear myself do it all of the time. What is this? 

I have never seen a cat or a dog or a flower or a tree or a child and thought to myself, "I would like you better if....  or You're okay, but you would be beautiful if.... "

Whenever I talk to people before a reiki session, one of the most common patterns (and I am currently working on this too) is the level of judgment and harshness we have on ourselves that causes us to talk in a way to ourselves we would never speak to a friend, a sister or a stranger.

I would never look at another three year-old business and say, "You don't know what you're doing. At this point in time you should be doing three times better than you are." I would never look at another woman and say, "Why do you work so hard to exercise if you're going to eat that." I tire as I write this. Just thinking of it drains me. It makes me sad to my core to hear how we talk about ourselves as women. I know this isn't specific to any one gender, but I bear witness to women the most and every little dig is harmful. It gets stored in us like a muscle memory.

How do we address this? What do we do to stop, what I believe, is actual madness?

For me, there are three things that really help. 

1. The Breath: When I am overwhelmed, running from one task to another, and start muttering to myself, why are you being slow, what's wrong with- I just stop. I pretend to be a computer just closing all the windows. And in the blank space, I take three deep breaths. (I have written about this before, and I am ecstatic that they teach children these things in Sesame Street videos.)

2. Talking Back To It: When I am trying something on and it doesn't look like I wanted it to, or when I am cooking and I over salt something, or when I do anything I begin to judge myself harshly for, when I hear the voice saying, "Why do you look like that? or Did you seriously do this same mistake again?" If I am alone, I will actually say out loud "SHUT UP." If  am in the shop or in public, I will say it silently. This sounds silly, but what it trains you to do is to stop yourself from abusing yourself. This is a big deal. It's difficult. It requires patience and pause. It's an everyday practice for me, so be easy of yourself if you have to do this every day a few times an hour. It's okay.

3. I Ask Who It Belongs To: When I hear a voice that is derogatory and mean, whether it's directed at someone else, or directed at myself, I will ask it, "Whose is this?" I decided recently that there is no way that this belongs to me. This comes from years of trying to fit in with cool kids in middle school, trying to act like I am different "than a regular person" in my early twenties, and years and years of emotional and self-worth challenges that occur when you work in the service industry. Learning to "other" customers and to treat your fellow/sister staff members as "inside the club" is an old habit I picked up because the capitalist system we live in often made me feel "less than" because I was "serving" others. This idea is just an idea. This does not come from inside of us. I don't know any little kid who thinks about certain people having more value than others. They're guided by a compass that searches for what is most joyful to them.  And yes, they're not good at sharing sometimes, but it does not come from a place of needing status and power, and to put others down to elevate themselves. It comes from a place of knowing they deserve joy. These ideas of status and power are not not ours. So next time you hear that dark, mean entity, just be like, Sorry, you have to go somewhere else.

Most importantly, when you hear these voices, don't demonize them, and in turn, demonize a part of yourself. Speak to these shadowy energies without judgment. Because they aren't yours. They are harmless if you "decharge" their meaning.

 Do we all have darkness, anxieties, fears? I imagine so. But we don't have to hate ourselves for being complex, for being sad, for having shadows. Make space to feel the feelings and they just pass. Notice if you're holding your breath or if your muscles are contracting and give them a second to relax. What also really helps me is just crying my eyes out. I can literally feel the toxins flowing out of me when I cry. And I feel totally cleansed after letting myself be vulnerable in that way. I don't totally understand it, but I know it works and it feels so good that sometimes I just start laughing afterwards, feeling so much lighter. 

It sounds super corny, and I find that it's really hard to find ways to express the simplest truths without reiterating someone else's words, but whenever I feel really irritable and unsafe, and I'm working in the store or out in the world, I just remember, every single person out here was a child, and has a soul. And what this means is that whenever you send out a harsh word or a harsh judgment, you're just saying it to the collective, and whatever harmful intentions you put out to the collective, you're ingesting yourself.

Plus, no one know what anyone else is really thinking, so in the mental sphere, it's really you experiencing the toxicity the most. When you judge someone for "showing off" you're saying that to your inner child who wants to sing and belt out songs and wear 18 colors and doesn't even know HOW to give a f*ck. If you're saying "Why can't you move over for these other people on the subway, you have no manners." You are yelling at the part of yourself that wants to take up space, and be comfortable, that has the survival instinct to want things in a visceral way.

Yes you have to protect yourself. You can't give all of yourself away all of the time. (Kaypacha says, in order to bloom, a flower has to take in enough water and light to be something that gives back to the world.) Understand that it is not selfish to take what you need to blossom. And understand that everyone around you has the power to blossom too, if only we would give ourselves and one another, the chance, and take the first step of noticing how we treat ourselves and one another.

Morning Musings, Myths + Healing

Morning Musings: A 21 Day Project

My Wish in Elementary School

My Wish in Elementary School

Last night I attended a two -hour workshop led by Nicole Adriana Casanova. I was late. I got the time wrong. One year ago if I walked into a quiet sacred space of women I mostly didn't know sitting in a circle, I think I would have just decided to leave.

That's an old story.

I have been thinking a lot about narratives, the stories we tell ourselves individually and as a nation. I often think of this this political strategy tenet: I have read it several times regarding political PR. "If you're explaining, you're losing."

What does that mean exactly?

In politics, it means, there's a difference between "messaging" and "explaining."  I think of messaging as manipulation and explaining as education.

Why is it that our human brains differentiate these forms of information. 

It comes down to two things I suppose, The motivation of the speaker (trying to get you to do something versus trying to get you to understand something), and the motivation of the listener: emotional versus rational thinking.

The rational versus the intuitive. The scientist versus the artist. These concepts have always been presented as mutually exclusive.

Because I think about these concepts all the time, I am rather fascinated by left handedness.  Dr. Iain McGilchrist gives a beautiful TedTalk about why left-handedness and right handedness relate to our ways of thinking. He discusses the right brain (or left hand) as being the place where we understand concepts, implicit meaning that doesn't necessitate explaining. As a psychiatrist he saw that patients who had use of their left hemisphere, having their rational minds being completely functional, would look down at the arm that wasn't functioning and believe that it was someone else's, but were rather indifferent to their loss of bodily movement. Those who had their right brain (or intuitive hemisphere) intact had a more difficult time regaining motor function but were more devastated by their loss. The rational brain understood how to do things, but did not understand the value of what it was doing; the intuitive brain had a harder time taking the action steps, but understood the meaning of the situation implicitly.

His talk and his book, The Divided Brain, discuss how these two systems rely on one another equally. There is a parallel between the rise of "left brain/rational thinking coming to dominate and diminish our intuitive nature and patriarchal structures coming to dominate matriarchal societies. 

The divine feminine is receptive. It waits. It knows without explaining. It feels in the body and sees the value of pain.

The logical rational brain can help us when our intuitive side gets stuck, is wrong, is clogged, or wants to try and communicate its knowledge to another human being.

Here's the thing about a lot of the "woo woo" stuff that's getting popular right now. It's not about the esoteric having dominance over the rational and the visible. I mean, the concept of balance is a greco roman ideal. It's not about either/or. It's about mutual respect.

 

The wisdom of virgin forests and nature and the wisdom of diverse cities that house some of mankind's most precious technologies and artistic accomplishments don't compete intrinsically, unless one has no respect for the value of the other. 

Just as going to a medical doctor trained in medicine in the Western modern world can read a Deepak Chopra book without renouncing scientific theory, just as quantum physics and the idea of a spiritual world don't compete. 

All ideas break down into two concepts for me: power and narrative. These are the two structures that create our worlds. I can meditate, I can learn to undo all of the societal imprinting that tells me I could always be prettier, skinnier, richer, have more things, have a nicer home, but I also need to deal with the gravity and reality of power. 

I am fortunate, so I have a family and a life that gives me time to think about these things after work. I don't spend every second of everyday making sure I have food on the table or that my home is safe.  And when I think about who we have given power to in this country: organized religions, corporate entities and governments and laws we cannot easily understand, I see that the dominating narrative is that there is nothing we can do, or that it's us versus them, or that somehow intellectualizing everything is going to fix it. The narrative is that our survival, prosperity, and happiness is an individual disconnected idea. Energetically, this makes no sense. And physically, it makes no sense. Resources are precious, and natural and limited, and should be treated and shared as such. How can solar energy, land, airwaves, etc. belong to anyone but the collective. 

I believe we can be activists and also spiritual beings. I believe that understanding the fluidity of your personal power and how you experience reality will give you the compassion to understand someone you don't agree with. 

I am passionate about people being given true information. I believe that they can, as a whole, make good decisions for themselves, if they are given rational true ideas of the way the world works, if their fears and reptilian instincts aren't constantly being inflamed by commercials and explosive language.

When you are riled up, emotional, angry, is this when you make decisions? (I'm not demonizing emotions or anger, I'm just questioning why you would trust any friend or news source that seems to only deliver you information in a way that makes you upset. )

This has been my morning freestyle muse for today. I plan on freewheeling publicly for the next twenty days as a way to get over myself and dedicate myself to practice writing again. 

Thank you if you made this far. You are always in my heart.