Walking My Talk

Come find me on Instagram for peeks into my personal practice and other shenanigans.

I like to think that one of the most important things I foster as a teacher and creative enabler is PRACTICE. And by that, I don’t mean ‘sketch for 2 hours a day’, though that could certainly be a part of it. When I say ‘practice’, I say it like one might say ‘yoga practice’ or ‘meditation practice’. I want to get people into their painty spaces (wherever they may be) on the regular, meeting themselves on the page, falling in love with whatever they see reflected back at them in the mirror of their journals.

I don’t know about you, but the only way for me to ensure that I do anything consistently is to make space for it as a regular PRACTICE. If I wait for inspiration to strike, or if I just do it when I ‘feel like it’, I lose steam very quickly. If my motivation is the end product, samesies. Steamless. Juiceless. Interest wanes, and I move on. But if I think of what I do as a practice, and if I know my reasons why I’m doing it as such, things shift for me.

Why I Engage Creativity As A Practice

If you were to ask me what my most important goal in life might be, I would tell you that it is to be self-possessed. I know that’s a big goal, and I know I’m not quite there yet, but my heart’s deepest desire is to know and love myself in all my parts so much, so fiercely, so consistently, that I cannot be knocked off course by anyone or anything else. I want to, in the face of a storm, declare that I am the storm. I want to, when feeling buffeted by waves, declare that I am the wave. I want to ride life. I don’t want it riding me.

If I know anything about riding life it is that it requires self-awareness. It requires regular visits to the internal landscape where the truth of my reality resides. It also requires self-compassion, because if you’re riding your life (as opposed to letting it ride you) you know yourself to be ultimately responsible for your every response. You are in charge. The buck stops with you. The good, the bad, the ugly, it’s all on you, and that’s a heavy responsibility to bear if you’re doing it without self-compassion.

This practice of meeting myself on the page, whether through written or art journaling, allows me to know myself much more deeply than I might otherwise, and knowing myself deeply allows me to have more self-compassion than I might otherwise. In an atmosphere of self-compassion, I can try and fail, grapple, soar, plummet, weigh, sift, heal, and grow under the watchful and tender eye of a self that loves herself like a mother loves her babe.

And, given where I come from, that’s huge.

Huge.

Somewhere over the last couple of years, I fell out of practice. Everything I did, I did for work, and because it was for work, I was focused on technique, focused on teaching, out of alignment with my deepest desire (which is to be self-possessed). Everything I did, I did for your eyes, not my own.

I had other practices that kept me somewhat in touch with that self that makes magic, and I made a lot of beautiful, worthy spreads for you all to engage in the classes I was teaching, but I started to feel lonely for my *self*. I started to wonder where *I’d* wandered off to. I longed to woo myself back into alignment, to woo that wild child within me to come play, to reveal herself to me anew.

I needed to revisit my own reasons why I do this thing I do, and I needed to recommit to it. I needed to rebuild trust with the self I’d all but abandoned.

Last year, I made a decision to shift things around a bit so that I’d have more time for my personal PRACTICE. I went monthly with BOD instead of bi-weekly, which made *all the difference* and freed up so much time that I could gently ease myself back into the daily routine of meeting myself on the page with the video camera OFF. When the new schedule went into effect, I dusted off a journal given to me by a beloved friend, and I returned to my practice with gusto. The spreads I make in this journal are for me and me alone. I may share images of them, but I don’t feel compelled to explain them, film their creation, or otherwise leverage them for work.

It’s had an enormous impact.

I forgot, while I was off trying to run a business, how effective art journaling is for sifting and weighing the contents of my soul. I’d forgotten how good it was as a way to self-soothe, to bring more self-compassion into my every day. I’d forgotten what a lovely way it was to be in conversation with myself – with all my parts. I’d forgotten how nourishing it was, and how this kind of unfettered creativity seeds more creativity. The less I practice, the less inspired I feel. The less in touch with myself I feel. The less self-possessed. The more I practice, the more ‘in my own skin’ I feel. The more beloved. The more seen. The more attended to.

So, I’m walking my talk.

And it’s good to be back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Music Crush + My Mini Me

LOOK AT MY MINI ME!

My daughter arrived on Friday, and we have been completely wrapped up in the comfort that is the two of us in the same space at the same time. There is a feeling of ‘home’ that happens when my girl is here that is ineffable. I wish I could find words, but love like this – fierce, protective (both of us), honest, true – is beyond my writerly reach. It is purely good. That’s all I got. Purely. Good.

She got to spend time with my boyfriend, too, and they adore one another. We were sitting there in the auditorium talking before the show started, and she was telling me what it’s like for her to watch him and I together. She tells me that there’s this thing he does with his eyes when he looks at me that feels to her like ‘home’. Y’all, she CRIED. In PUBLIC. It was the sweetest thing ever.

We called him last night so she could tell him how she feels about him, about us, and she cried a little more.

Yes, my mini me is just as tender a wee beastie as I am.

Anyway…he gives her ‘worthy of my mom’ feels, and that is saying something, yes? Yes.

*And now I’m crying, for fuck sakes. Moving on!*

We went to see Marianas Trench yesterday – my daughter’s 31st birthday present. We did the whole VIP Meet & Greet thing, and while I had a really good time, I hate to admit it, but I feel like maybe I’m getting too old for and cranky for *waves at all of that*. At least, the part where you stand in line for hours and then stand on your feet for a few more hours. I’m aching all over, y’all! BUT! The show was really good, the band was thoughtful, and I admire their musicality (even if they’re not really my jam), and my daughter was absolutely thrilled with the whole affair.

The opening act, though….OH MY HEART. I am slain.

Wilderhood? Meet Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine. 

The voice on this one. It’s something like Adele and Amy Winehouse had a baby and Janis Joplin is the Godmother. I have not been this obsessed with a new music crush since I discovered LP. 

Just wanted to share. :)

xo

Effy

P.S. Floor seats? Never again. I would rather sit up in the nosebleed section where I can sit the fuck down and enjoy the show. *LOL* The VIP lounge and early seating, however? All the YES to THAT!

 

 

 

OHAI! I AM ALIVE!

My beautiful daughter and I.

Hello, hello, hello! It’s been a long time since last we typed, eh?

Aside from some promo stuff, I haven’t properly written here in eleventy million years, and you’ve probably forgotten all about me! All good, though. I know you’ll wander back when you’re ready and we can clink mugs together once more.

As I type, my daughter is on a train from Ottawa to Kitchener to spend her birthday weekend with me, so I got up super early this morning so I could keep the train on the tracks with my mind, like mother’s do. She’s due in at 12:30, and I CANNOT WAIT TO SQUISH HER FACE. We’re having a little party here for family with cake and Fireball whisky and Caesars and beer and wine and whatever else folks bring, and then tomorrow, I’m taking her to see Mariana’s Trench – first for a meet and greet, and then the concert itself. She’s all kinds of kermit flails over it, and I am thrilled about that. She’s going to be here ’till Monday, and we have the usual stuff planned for the rest of her visit – hollandaise sauce at some point, a lot of sitting around together doing our own thing, watching something on Netflix.

We are the best of friends, my eldest child and I, and if you’ve ever hung out with us together in the same room, you know we are eerily similar. Like, we have the same facial expressions, and we finish one another’s sentences. She is so like me, but then again, she is also so unlike me. We’re both pretty flowers in the garden called life, but where I’m a thistle, she’s a rose. Where I’m all sharp edges, she’s a soft place to land.

She was the first person to call me Mama, and I am grateful to her every day for the role motherhood played in growing me, and for the friendship we’ve built together. I don’t know how I got so lucky. I just wanted you to know.

Speaking of Motherhood

Salem Bowie Floofenhauser Wild

Four weeks ago, I picked up this little beauty from a farm about an hour from here. This is Salem, the newest member of my fur family. She’s a Pomsky, which is a breed created by crossing a Siberian Husky mom with a Pomeranian dad. (You can imagine why you’d never do it the other way around, right?). I’m not into designer breeds, but I fell in total FACE LOVE when I was window shopping on Kijiji, idly scanning the ‘puppies for sale’ ads one day when I really needed a pick me up. There she was, with her heterochromia and so much attitude that I could *feel* her through the screen. I knew she was mine the moment I laid eyes on her.

She’s 14 weeks old now, and is already so much a part of what goes on around here that it feels like she’s always been here. She and her big sister, Sookie, have established pack order (Sookie is the boss of her), and half the training that goes on around here is done *by* Sookie who knows what’s what and who’s who (I’m the boss of Sookie). She beds down in the family nest every night and doesn’t budge until morning, which is very unusual for a puppy this young. She has her manic, gizmo moments, which we all call ‘crazy hour’, but she is also mellow a good part of the day, too, as long as she has one of my slippers nearby. Sybil, my cat, adores tormenting her, and she and Sookie play like they’re litter mates.

Some of you may remember that I lost a dog last year. She came to me as a rescue, and within six months, she herniated the discs in her back to the point where she could no longer even be touched without crying. It was heartbreaking, and even though she was only with us for a very short time, both Sookie and I really felt her loss. Salem has been a part of our healing. She completes the pack, and enlivens the household with her derpy, adorable face, and her irresistible antics.

She’s a blessing, y’all.

 

 

In Other News

My programs all opened in late December or Early January, and things are going gorgeously. I’m making so much art this year, and really digging into knowing myself in my parts. I’m keeping four journals this year – one a private art journal, the second my Book Of Days, the third, my Sweet Trash Journal, and the fourth, a private bullet journal that I use for tracking habits, media I consume, and ‘what was beautiful today’ spreads that include everything I find that delights or inspires me. The art I’m making this year shows a lot of progress, and I feel like I’m finding my style and my voice. Having a practice like the one I’ve developed over the years since I started doing this thing I do means that I have no choice but to grow my skills. It’s also grown my intimacy with myself and the world around me in ways that I could never have imagined.

Art I’ve made so far this year.

And yet more art I’ve made so far this year.

I’m still anxious, still recovering from C-PTSD, still working through trauma layered upon trauma layered upon trauma, and that sometimes makes for some pretty bad fucking days, but over all, I’m happy. I love my work. I love my people. I love this life I made for myself out of the ashes of The Tower experience that began in 2014. I’ve learned some things about myself over this last half year or so that I believe will help me progress, though. Feeling the feelings that have been stored in my body for 45 plus years will not kill me. I can do my work, and function in the world. There is value in showing up with all of this stuff on board, being honest about it, being transparent about my process. I’ve fallen in love with my own way of being in the world and I rarely second guess that. If I get criticized for it, I am now more likely to assume that’s a you problem, not a me problem. I’ve gotten better at boundaries. I’ve gotten better at self-care. I make a lot of space in my life for the sacred to arrive, and even take root.

Depending on the day, you will find me somewhere between totally together and never not broken on the floor, but I keep on keeping on, no matter what life throws my way, and I’m pretty proud of that.

In February, I dusted off a space that had been just kind of sitting there, and turned it into a HUB OF MIXED MEDIA MADNESS we call The Wilderhood. You might come for the art, but you’ll stay for the love. It is very much like my ‘outer court’ coven, a gathering place for my Wildlings, who are the most loving, generous, talented, kind people in the universe. Also, bad ass. SO BAD ASS. So many of my coterie are doing their own work, showing up, sharing their process, healing by leaps and bounds through the power of meeting themselves on the page. I am very proud of my community. Very proud. And I’m a devotee.

I’ve also got a quiet little pack of Wildlings over on Patreon, where I teach A Year Of Rumi as a month to month offering.

Here’s a peak at this month’s lesson.

VIEW ON YOUTUBE

Speaking Of YouTube

I’ve dusted off my YouTube channel as well, and purged it of a whole bunch of odds and ends that no longer belonged there, making the speed paintings infinitely more findable. I plan on uploading new things there on the regular, so please consider subscribing. 

And, I think that’s it for now…

There’s so much more, but it would take me forever to type it all out, and I feel like this is a good start.

I want to be more present here in the weeks and months to come, since blogging is something I intend to do daily come April 2019 (expect poems! Many poems!), and there’s no time like the present to get into a good habit. Blogging might be ‘dead’, but its good for me, so even if there’s no one out there,

I will always return to this patient box of light where my words can find a home, and my heart can be unburdened.

As always, my loves, I will see you in all of our places.

xo

Effy

 

 

 

Hello From The Other Side

I figured, since so many of you have left lovely letters in my inbox, that I’d update you on where I’m at. :)

Since last we typed, I caught a virus which lead to an ‘exacerbation’ – basically, my asthma got uncontrollably worse due to the inflammation caused by the virus that had moved into my respiratory system. I’ve been on prednisone and a couple of new puffers in order to reduce the inflammation, and I am happy to report that I am *finally* seeing some improvement. I can breathe much better than I could last week, and though I am still coughing, it isn’t quite as all encompassing an experience as it has been. I can make it from the couch to the kitchen without gripping furniture for support (the shortness of breath has been off the hook) which is nice, and I actually managed to eat solid food yesterday.

Yesterday was the first ‘close to human’ I’ve felt since the virus hit on the 5th of September, and I pulled out a limited palette of things to play with in order to remind myself that I *could still paint*. Believe me, after ten days of doing nothing but moving from bed to couch to bed again, one can forget what one is made of, and that was definitely my experience.

I came into the studio and put on a movie on the lap top (Eat, Pray, Love), pulled out a journal a friend made me years ago, and made a solemn vow to myself that I would not judge the outcome. I would just *play* for the sake of playing. I reached for whatever delighted me (in this case, fluorescent pink paint, turquois pthalo, black pen, pink and blue Tombow markers, gold paint, a stencil, a couple of Faber Castell Pitt Pens, and a white paint marker) and I just made stuff for the sake of making stuff.

It was like getting reacquainted with my inner artist, who had been hiding in a blanket fort under a pile of Vicks scented Kleenex.

Oh, hello. Are you still in there? Think you might want to come out and play?

Painting while under the influence of NyQuil is really interesting. There’s something about this stuff that depersonalizes me – meaning, I don’t feel like myself at all while I’m on it. I feel like I’m outside of myself watching myself. It is very difficult to get in touch with what’s happening on the inside of the equation. Numb is a good descriptor, along with foggy, and pretty much ‘out of it’. Still, the flinging of paint without caring about outcomes let me reach through that fog so that I could shake hands with myself once more after ten or so days of being relatively unknown to myself. It was a bit like an archeological dig. Oh, yes. There I am, under the rubble of exhaustion and an overwhelming list of blown deadlines. There I am, still complicated as ever, still grappling as usual, still half bewildered and half determined, still somehow *here*.

I know that in the big scheme of things this ten day ‘down and out’ experience of mine is no big deal. I was able to adjust things, tweak things, beg off, switch out. I survived. My business survived. But it is *scary* when something like this happens and you have absolutely no control over it. There are no sick days to call in. There’s no one to pick up the slack. It’s just you and this alarming new normal wherein two hours of upright are too many, and you can forget about painting or writing anything coherent. You’re lucky if you can make tea.

It’s made me think. Made me wonder how I can create a life in which there is time for the inevitable frailties of the body. Made me miss being partnered up so that when the chips are down, there’s someone there to change the sheets and make the soup. Made me question the way I schedule myself down to the very last second of every single month, week, day, hour.

I’m still thinking.

Meanwhile, here I am, making the most of the time I have with you this morning by coming in here to share that I am alive and mending. I also wanted to share the journaling I did yesterday in my bid for freedom from the artless, NyQuil haze. Click through them to see them full size. They’re unusual for me. A bit on the psychedelic side, colour wise. Looser than my usual fare. Less concerned with outcomes. I like them a lot, and I especially like the honesty in the sentiment I included on gold paper. “I’m willing to find out…”

CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THEM FULL SIZED

And that’s me for now, on the mend.

xo

Effy

Your Piece Of The Work, And Mine.

NOTE: This post is part curated from my archives (the Bed Head Diaries), and part present day.

The world is hugely heavy right now, and my life is hugely heavy.

A purse dump of happenings:

I am in the middle of a unexpected move, which is a positive change, (I have a view that isn’t my neighbours doing the naked dash and a dishwasher and a gorgeous walk in shower, and my rent went up but only by about $50 a week), but it’s a change that came at crunch time for several projects I’m working on. This means I am a frazzled mess. Like, seriously frazzled. Grateful for my friends who show up big time and put up with the ‘I’m going to stick a fork in your face’ look that takes over my usually pleasant features while I’m a frazzled mess. And,

I had to put my lovely dog, Sasha, down at the end of May, which broke my heart and broke the dam that held back some long unresolved grief. And,

I am supposed to be going on vacation on from the 13th of June to the 17th of June, and this move, and all the work that is due has to be completed before I leave. And,

Anthony Bourdain died. I can’t even talk about it without crying. You have no idea what he means to me, what role he’s played in my spiritual lineage. I am devastated. And this triggered some more long unresolved grief. And,

My relationship with my ex has shifted from every Friday on my couch to I only ever see him when necessary. We are distant with one another. We are civil, but not warm. We are, finally, exes, and it feels fucking awful and I do not want this even though it’s what’s good for both of us at this time. And,

I have a huge tax bill about to come due, and it is very huge. Did I mention huge? It’s huge. And,

Other stuff I can’t talk about because discretion and not airing other people’s bad behaviour out on my laundry line. And,

The world. This whole fucking world. This scary, enormous fucking heavy fucking world.

This is me today.

I am trying for soft. I am trying for willing to be open to the possibility that everything is falling apart so better things can come together. I am trying for gentle, with myself, with you…

I am luggage under my eyes. I am so stressed, I can *literally* barely focus my eyes, which will *not stop twitching*. I am procrastitweeting and procrastiworking and procrastidoodling and procrastipanicking.

I am spent, but still pushing. I am my shadow written all over my face. I am ‘woe’ and ‘why me’ and #firstworldproblems and whine and wine.

I am also premenstrual, and I have been eating utter crap, and I am retaining water, and my eyes keep leaking without notice.

I am inconsolable, and walking around holding my guts in, and wondering what the point is. I am worst case scenarios. I am unable to recognize my own face in the mirror (who is this haggard looking person?) I am worn. the fuck. out. I am ready for a change, and yet terrified of what change will bring.

I am terrified. I am lonely. I am struggling. I am striving, but definitely not, at this particular moment in time, thriving.

Maybe you are some of the above, too, or all of the above or some combination of some of the above + stuff I can’t even imagine. Or maybe you’re just fine. (Could you send me some of that? With some dark chocolate and a Valium? Thank you.)

Wherever you’re at, I offer you this:

We’re going to be okay. I believe it even when I don’t believe it. I believe it because the story isn’t over yet. There is still story left in the story. We’re just in a really shitty part of the book. Let’s keep reading, okay? Take my hand. Hold on tight. Flip the page.

We’re going to be okay.

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”  – The Talmud

Hold my hand. We’ve got this. We’re going to be okay.

xo
Effy

 

Not What I Signed Up For, Or Is It?

Things have been really heavy, both ‘out there’ and ‘in here’ for me over the last couple of weeks, and I’m feeling the need to unpack some of it today. I am going to hone in on the ‘out there’ stuff. Please bear with me, because these thoughts are flying out of my fingers faster than I can think.

Out There, there are conversations happening about racism and cultural misappropriation that I have felt convicted to attend because I teach spiritual things. As a teacher of said spiritual things, I find it really important to address things like sourcing our spiritual modalities with integrity, with respect for the cultures from which we draw our practices. My personal stance has been to examine all of my practices, and ask myself if they actually belong to me. I even went so far as to have a DNA test so I could get a grip on my blood lineage. What am I made of? What were the pre-Christian practices of my ancestors? A lot of this work has been inspired by Leesa Renee Hall, who teaches expressive writing, and runs a ‘Decolonize Your Ancestry’ program on her Patreon.

My public posts about these subjects (mostly on Facebook) have resulted in a lot of push back, sometimes public, but mostly in the form of things landing in my inbox or PMs. Included amidst the push back are thoughtful messages in which important questions are being grappled with, and those aren’t the kinds of messages I’m talking about. I’m talking about messages in which people seem to want to debate me on my stance, point out how my stance is wrong, express anger or disappointment in me, or tell me how my stance is making them feel bad about their stance.

It’s been hard, and annoying, because I’m not the sensitivity police. I can’t tell anyone else what’s right or wrong for them. I can point out blatantly racist content or marketing, but I stay in my lane, by which I mean that I will arrive to back up the voices of BIPOC, but I don’t ‘go after’ these things on my own initiative. And I don’t ‘go after’ individuals who appear to be misappropriating culture unless they’re bringing it into my spaces in a way that harms or disrespects BIPOC. I don’t mean to be telling anyone what is or is not okay for *them*. I take a stance about my own personal convictions, and I establish what’s okay and not okay in my *spaces*, but it seems that taking that stance is interpreted as issuing orders or assuming I know about the contents of your character or your own soul.

I’m not the boss of you. Just because I think something is wrong for *me*, doesn’t mean I’m saying it’s wrong *for you*. I have no idea what’s wrong for you. I prefer to let you figure that out for yourself. Honestly, I have enough work to do over here in this little puddle of Effy flavoured goo without taking on other people’s work as well.

Sometimes what happens, I think, is people feel personally convicted by my personal convictions, and that is super uncomfortable. The thing I’m convicted about not doing – for example, smudging, using the word ‘tribe’ to describe my on line community, using the word ‘gypsy’ when I mean ‘free-spirited and colourful lifestyle’, or chakras, or deities from lands and cultures that have nothing to do with my ancestral lineage – is something they really enjoy, and so my eschewing it makes them feel bad about doing it. Instead of examining why they are feeling that way, people feel free to inundate my inbox with why I’m wrong and why I should continue smudging or using the word tribe or why I should just shut up about all of this political stuff and make art.

Like, I didn’t ask them. You know? I’ve drawn my conclusions on my own after much education from BIPOC. My stance is not up for tweaking or debate. I didn’t take it lightly. I took it after much personal examination.

But I’m not saying YOU can’t do whatever it is you want to do. I may have a boundary around what we share in the temple space I run (Moonshine), but it looks like this – “In this space, I’m asking for sensitivity around the use of spiritual modalities that belong to BIPOC. I don’t want memes about smudging in here. I don’t want discussions of ‘spirit animals’ in here. What you do in your own personal practice is none of my business, but in here, let’s keep our discussions to spiritual modalities that we can claim based on our ancestry. So if we’re white, we source our spiritual practices from our European ancestry.”

It seems this has set me up for a lot of extra work, because people get *pissed at me* for this, or they examine their own conscience around this and want me to help them untangle it (which is great, but it’s not really my area of expertise). I have a handy ‘you must do as your conscience dictates’ ready for these kinds of messages, which feels like good boundaries, but I’m not sure what to do with the people that *get upset with me* over my stance. Like, how do I answer those messages? What do I do about those? How do I say ‘you know, your stance and integrity are none of my business, and I’m not auditioning to be your Jiminy Cricket.”

There is a feeling arising out of all of this that when people follow my posts, or read my blog, and ‘reward’ me with their time, attention, likes, loves, etc. they feel a sense of entitlement about what I post in those spaces. If I’m posting about racism or cultural appropriation on my personal Facebook wall, and it upsets them, they feel entitled to ask me for my (unpaid) time in helping them resolve those feelings. Like, they want to continue feeling good about me, or good about themselves for liking my content, so they ask me to help them feel better about *me*.

But it seems like what they’re really asking is that I change my stance so they can feel more comfortable. It feels like they’re asking me to stand down on the cultural appropriation issue. “Let me smudge, let me ‘namaste’, let me ‘Aho’, let me ‘spirit animal’ without questioning it, without investigating my own right to do so…Let me feel okay with myself so I can continue feeling okay about you…”

Um…so not my job.

Because, first of all, I can’t ‘let you’ or ‘prevent you’ from doing anything, except in the context of what’s okay to share in my spaces. I have those boundaries in my spaces, not because I want to be the sensitivity police – good gods, y’all, I have enough to do without adding that to my job description.  I have the boundaries I have because my personal stance has attracted BIPOC into my spaces, and their safety from racist rhetoric and cultural misappropriation in my spaces *is my responsibility* as a holder of that space. If I’m welcoming in BIPOC, and then I’m encouraging or condoning practices that disrespect them or cause them harm, I’m a shitty facilitator. I don’t want to be a shitty facilitator.

But it seems that some people in my spaces are now uncomfortable. I hear things like “I’m walking on egg shells” or “I’m afraid to say anything”. So I’ve failed somehow, and I’m not sure how to fix it. Like, how do I say ‘this is my stance, your mileage may vary, just don’t bring it in here, please!’ in a way that won’t alienate people? Maybe that’s impossible. Maybe I should just accept that people will be alienated and maybe my content isn’t for those people. 

It would be really great, though, if they could decide that for themselves and just wander away, because I didn’t sign up for this part – this part where people feel free to ask me to help them be okay with me *when they are obviously not okay with me*.

Like, it’s okay to not be okay with me. Be not okay with me. Own that. Don’t ask me to fix it, because that is not my job.

It takes an enormous amount of self awareness and self-accountilbity to question your own sense of entitlement to the spiritual modalities of BIPOC. Why do you feel entitled? There’s a treasure trove of healing to be done around that question and I admit it isn’t for the faint of heart. That I ask people to do that in my paid content means I have to show up for the consequences of asking that. I admit I was ill-prepared for that. I blithely included these requests for self-examination in Moonshine expecting that the people who were going to be attracted to this program would have already made some headway in this area. It didn’t feel like such a big ask that we switch out misappropriated spiritual practices for practices that were not stolen from other cultures. It felt, in fact, like a no brainer.

I’m teaching art witchery. For me, that doesn’t include smudging or spirit animals or shamanic journeying or anything else that’s been sourced (stolen) from lineages that are not my own. I, personally, have no desire to end up as a thread on this forum, where plastic shamans are called out and examined. I have no desire to steal culture when I have so much of my own rightful ancestry to explore and indulge. I have a primarily pre-Christian European Witchcraft based practice that uses art as its primary method of raising energy toward the attainment of my desires. That’s what I’m trying to present. That’s my area of expertise. 

But it seems that because my witchcraft, which doesn’t include practices sourced from spiritual modalities I believe I have no right to use, bumps up against witchcrafts which include whitewashed, misappropriated spiritual practices, I’m now in an awkward position. I’m having to field a lot of ‘who do you think you are’ type ‘nobody tells me what to do’ style push back.

And I guess this is what I signed up for when I designed this program with requests that people respect BIPOC. Because in this time, and in this political climate, asking that people respect BIPOC is, apparently, super controversial (WTF?). Which makes me sick, because it really should be a no brainer. We are sourcing our energy from this land we’re living on – land we stole from First Nations. Let’s have some respect. We are sourcing our energy from this land we’re living on – land cultivated by and built on the backs of People of Color. Let’s have some respect.

Why is this so radical? Why is this such a big ask? 

I don’t know, but I’m here, showing up in all the ways I can, answering the questions – even the ones that are insults in disguise – and I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for this. I’m here to keep asking this ask. I’m here to design content that asks for respect for BIPOC. I’m here to help you create a spiritual modality that can enrich your art journaling practice, to help you create an art journaling practice that can energize and inform your spirituality. I might be failing, but I’m listening, and I’m trying. And if you’re not interested in sourcing your spiritual practices in a way that respects BIPOC, my work is not for you. And it saddens me that there are those of you who feel that way, but that’s okay. I can deal. I know there are just enough of you *that are* interested in that, so I’ll turn my attention there in the certainty that what I do serves *you*.

Thanks for listening.

Effy