Self-Possession & Other Musings

This is x-posted from my newsletter.

If you’ve known me for any length of time at all, you know that my primary purpose, the #1 thing that drives me is self-possession. Whatever I’m doing, that’s the goal. I want to be my own authority. I want to know myself so intimately that everything I do is in alignment with my values.

Well, I lost myself there for a couple of years. A love affair and subsequent breakup, my son’s mental illness, which moved me to upend my life and move in with him only to turn around and upend my life and move out again six months later (we’re good now, though – we love GG! We just don’t love the illness that, without medication, makes him a bit of a bear to deal with, eh?), relocating to a new city in the middle of this damned panini, bone crushing loneliness, layer after layer of grief, intense trauma work in therapy….

…it should come as no surprise that wine o’clock started coming earlier and earlier in the day. I *know* I’m not alone.

Needless to say, I have been anything but “self-possessed”.

Twelve days ago at the stroke of midnight, I quietly and determinedly dumped all the alcohol in my home and rolled myself up in the blanket fort with the furbabes to have a nice long cry over my loss of control over my rate of consumption of alcohol. When I woke up the next morning, I signed up for an alcohol free challenge (gamefying things works for me), got my butt into a sober support group, and installed a sobriety tracker on my phone. I connected with a couple of people in my support group so we could “buddy up” and I’ve been alcohol free since.

Best. Decision. Ever.

This was me on Day Eight. LOOK AT MY EYES! Seriously.

The first three days were gnarly, let me tell you. Insomnia, tremors, difficulty regulating my temperature. My skin felt like it was going to crawl right off of my body. I was dizzy and wobbly and whoa. Slowly but surely, though, things improved. I started to sleep better. I woke up *without* anxiety and depression. My *vision* improved (did not know that was a thing, but it is a thing!). The tremors stopped. My digestion improved. My appetite came roaring back with voracious cravings for avocados and pan roasted tomatoes and sautéed greens and allllll the cheeeeeeese and olives and hummus and CUCUMBERS omg CUCUMBERS.

I stopped ordering in food because the crap I’d been eating wasn’t what my body wanted. I dusted off my chef’s knife and started cooking again. The dogs, who had been picking up on my frenetic alcohol fueled anxiety and acting out calmed right down and returned to their usual sweet, chilled out selves.

Seriously – I have never been able to get a decent picture of Salem unless she was sleeping because she *could not stay still*.

Look at this. LOOK!

Soooooo Mellllloooooow! *Happy Sigh*

Why am I telling you this?

I guess I want to you to know. I want you to know that while I’ve been plodding along over here through *waves at all of this*, life got to me. All the tools I had in my tool box – art journaling, spiritual practice, self-inquiry, therapy – lost their power in my life because I was soaking my brainmeats in cheap boxed chardonnay – and if that can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. If you’re in your own struggle with whatever, I want you to know that you *can claw yourself back from it*, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Help is out there and recovery is possible. A quick Google search will yield results – some free, some not free.

Here are the resources I’m leaning on:

One Year No Beer Alcohol Free Challenge – Daily videos and emails, gorgeous support group. Varying timed challenges (28 days, 90 days, 265 days – I signed up for the year because I am dead serious).

Alcohol Explained by William Porter – This was life changing for me because it perfectly explained what alcohol was doing to my brain and why it was so easy to fall prey to it, and so hard to let it go. Available on Kindle, too!

I Am Sober – an app that tracks money saved, calories saved (I didn’t care about this, but some might), hours saved (because you’re not really focused and functional when you’re low key buzzed all day). It prompts you to make a daily pledge and then do a nightly review. Very supportive. Available on both Android and IOS.

For those who prefer a more traditional route (AA), check out In The Rooms for 24/7 meetings and support. AA is not for me for reasons I won’t go into here, but it works for a lot of humans, so if it resonates, dooooo eeeeeet!

Okay, that’s enough of that.

My focus from here on out will be all of things that move me in the direction of my prayers – the art as magics, the self-inquiry, the vigilance against anything that knocks me off course, connection with other humans, pottery (which keeps me grounded), ritual and structure and good habits (like walking the dogs and that vitamin packed smoothie every morning and fizzy water with lemon and checking in with my alcohol free buddies). I may occasionally mention where I’m at on this journey, but one of the things I’ve learned over the last 11 days is that focusing on what I *do* want (to be clear-eyed and minded and energized and ALIVE IN THE WORLD) rather than on what I *don’t* want is the way through this thing.

In other words, this will not become a “sobriety newsletter”. I have a million other things to write about and focus on.
LIKE ALL OF THESE GOODIES!

First of all, I’ve got a special weekend workshop upcoming in which I will be decorating a new Sweet Trash Journal for use in 2022. This retreat will include a bunch of demos of how I use the journal! It’s being offered as a special price until December 13th! Get the details here:

Ten hours of live video instruction + replays + forever access for $27 until December 13th, at which point the price will go up to $45! I hope to see you in there. 

ONE BAD ASS ART JOURNAL is now open for registration. EARLY BIRD PRICING IS $69. I’m really excited about this year since I wasn’t feeling very bad ass through 2021, but I’m definitely going into 2022 with my BAD ASS FULL PRESENT. Here are the details. 

FREEBIES FREEBIES!!

We have a full moon + info session on December 18th (Full Moon Actual) at 1 p.m. EST. Here is the link This gathering will include an hour long info session right off the top, and then we will move into a Full Moon Painting Party. Everyone who attends will get a coupon code for Moonshine 2022 AND a chance to win a spot.

There will be a replay offered to all attendees. If you can’t attend, but you want a replay, please hit reply to this email and I’ll send you one. 

We have a Solstice Releasingi Ceremony on December 22nd, 2021 at 1 p.m. EST. Here is the link. This gathering is open to the public, so feel free to tell your friends!

And FINALLY!

Book Of Days 2022 is filling up with beautiful faces and I hope you’ll join me for a gorgeous year of creativity presented to you by me and my deep diving, soul stirring, amazing guest artists!

Class is on sale for $99 (no coupon required) until December 31st at which point it will go up to $120 (still a fraction of what it’s worth!)

Sending you all my love,

xo
Effy

Beannacht – Farewell to 2019

YES PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE!!
 
Every year around this time, I create a ‘year-end’ project that I add to my teaching network to go out for free to all my peoples. This year was no exception! To access the free collection of year-end tutorials, please click here.
 
If you are already a student in my teaching network, simply click where it says “CLICK” and the workshop will be added to your dashboard. If you are not already a student, click where it says CLICK and fill out the registration form to get your free student account.
 
If you have signed up for this class in the past, just go find it in your dashboard, and enjoy!
 
This year’s offering is a spread that includes one of my favourite pieces of writing. I hope you take some time to yourself and create something with your favourite piece of writing!
 
In the meantime, I’m taking the rest of the year to finish unpacking! Wish me luck! See you soon!

Would you like to come and learn with me in 2020? Check out my teaching network at http://learn.effybird.com to take a look at what I’m offering!

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

Blog Along With Effy Day #4 – You Are The Storm

“One At A Time” Mixed media on paper.

Today, I want to offer you up some writing I did for Moonshine for the month of April. It feels good to be writing the way I’ve been writing for this program, and all feedback I’ve gotten has been super positive. I hear it over and over again, every time a new monthly PDF comes out, that the content is way more than anyone bargained for when they signed up. You can imagine how ridiculously happy this makes me.

April’s theme is “You are the storm” and we are exploring the idea of building resilience by *being with our feelings* instead of stuffing them, ignoring them, downplaying them, or tidying ourselves for ‘public consumption’ even when we are in private. It felt especially powerful to be writing about this in Spring, when the earth gets super messy. SUPER messy. Everything springing to life all willy nilly, mud everywhere, rain bruising tender shoots of green while nourishing them.

April is a particularly messy month for me, personally, too, since it includes within its calendar pages a particularly painful anniversary. What were we thinking, calling April Fool’s our anniversary? It’s a little like calling your child “Kali” and then coming up all surprised when she’s a total hell cat of a kid.

Anyway…I have been in the storm for grief for four years now, and in that time, I’ve had to befriend uncertainty, learn to be with grief in a fully embodied way, learn to tell the truth through tears more regularly than I’d like. I *could* have just cut him off entirely. I could have just amputated, and left the limb of our love wither and die. It might have been easier. It might have been a more ‘reasonable’ thing to do. But it wouldn’t have worked for me, because whatever there was of love between us was (and is) still in the thing, and I felt a spiritual imperative to preserve that part, to work through the rage, the sorrow, the death of what was dying without killing it all once and for all.

I may regret that. I don’t know. I know I’ve gotten a lot of judgement over these past four years about it all. What am I doing hosting him at my house every Friday? Friday is date night. Friday is for lovers. Why can’t I just get over it? Why am I still hanging on? Why do I give so much to someone who could *never show up*? What was wrong with me?

Well, nothing. I just don’t do endings the way I’m ‘supposed’ to, I guess. I navigate them by a different set of coordinates. I am not looking to get out from underneath the pain by any means necessary. I’m looking for metamorphosis, for alchemy. I’m looking to renegotiate terms and turn longing and desire into something that no longer turns itself on me and burns me to a crispy fried Goddess Of Never Not Broken.

And it’s working. I mean, I think it is. My therapist seems to agree. I have let this grief work me, work through me, work me over. I have let it shape my body, my face. I’ve learned new love languages. I’ve learned to love without laying claim, planting a flag of ownership, possessing a person.

I rode the storm, and now I am the storm.

Anyway, here’s the PDF from Moonshine for April. May it serve you well.

RIGHT CLICK TO SAVE AS

About The Blog Along

Every year, twice a year, once in April, and again in September, I blog every day for a month, and invite others to do the same. We have a Facebook group, and in that group the only rule is that for every link you post to your own blog, you go off and read three other blogs and leave a comment. This is simply a way to ensure that a community happens rather than just a ‘promo’ group. You’re welcome to join in as long as you are willing to read and comment on three blogs for every blog you post. Click here to join us!  If you’re too busy for that, you’re welcome to just blog on your own for a month. Easy peasy. No one is keeping score. There are no prizes except that you get to build your own readership by regularly populating your blog with good content.

To read all my entries for the Blogalong, please click here to access the Blogalong With Effy Category on my blog.

Blog Along Day #2 – BuJo + BuJo Bin

I bought this super cool art bin a few month’s ago while out for lunch with my friend, Sal. She and I hit up Curry’s, as we often do, and this bin called my name. I thought I might do some kind of traveler’s kit with it so that I could indulge in some ‘out of the house’ art adventures, but you know what happened? I brought it home and didn’t look at it again.It got put on top of a very high bookshelf because I had zero room for it anywhere else, and I totally forgot it existed.

A few months after, Sal and I were out for lunch again, and this time, we hit up Micheal’s. I picked up some stuff for my BuJo – some stamps, stickers, and a few other things – and I said “I have no idea where I’m going to put all this stuff. This BuJo thing is getting out of hand!” and she reminded me of the art bin I bought months ago. My BuJo Bin got put together that very afternoon, and I’ve been using it ever since.

Check this out!

Before: I kept everything in a large tote bag and just dumped it out when I wanted to play.

After – Ahhhhhhhhh. Both my inner child (who has always loved boxes of things like this) and my inner Libra are verra verra happy with this.

So, without further ado, here is a video walk through of my Sweet Trash + Bujo Journals, My new Tarot Journal, and My Bujo Bin! Enjoy!

View On Vimeo

I’ve added the BuJo stuff to the Sweet Trash Journal Class I produced (for free!) last year! You can have the whole class if you like! Just click through this image to register.

See you tomorrow!!

xo
Effy

About The Blog Along

Every year, twice a year, once in April, and again in September, I blog every day for a month, and invite others to do the same. We have a Facebook group, and in that group the only rule is that for every link you post to your own blog, you go off and read three other blogs and leave a comment. This is simply a way to ensure that a community happens rather than just a ‘promo’ group. You’re welcome to join in as long as you are willing to read and comment on three blogs for every blog you post. Click here to join us!  If you’re too busy for that, you’re welcome to just blog on your own for a month. Easy peasy. No one is keeping score. There are no prizes except that you get to build your own readership by regularly populating your blog with good content.

To read all my entries for the Blogalong, please click here to access the Blogalong With Effy Category on my blog.

Journal52 – Week #51 – Release + A Year End Freebie

Ready for 2018? Get Journal52 two ways!

CLICK FOR DETAILS!

ONWARD!!

Every week in 2017, you will receive a new prompt card from Effy Wild. Designed to jump start your next art journal spread, these cards are printable for your future use as well, so you can expect to collect 52 cards by the end of the year! Each card comes with a word, definition, synonyms, art prompt, and ‘oracle prompt’. You can copy/paste this information for your own records, and use it & the card in meditation, or in written or art journaling as you see fit!

Want to commune with over 11 100 art journalers? Join our Facebook Group Here!

Want Journal52 in your inbox? Click here to get RSS to e-mail.

Week #51 – Release

Feel free to save this image, and print it for your own personal use as an art journal prompt card OR as an oracle/meditation card.In sharing your responses to these prompts on line, I ask that you use the following format:

“This week I’m working with the prompt “word” from Effy Wild’s Journal52 <linked to http://journal52.com>. You can find the prompt and art card here. <permalink to the post for that week.>.

Please don’t lift the cards or written prompts from my website to share in your own spaces. Direct folks to the original post at journal52.com so they can find it themselves.

Feel free to copy/paste this information for your own records:


Release

Set free from restraint. Let go. Relief or deliverance from sorrow, suffering, or trouble. The state of being freed.

Synonyms
Emancipation, liberation, unbinding, unchained, unfettered.

Prompt
Consider what you’d like to release and leave behind. Create a spread that expresses the sense of relief and release you might feel when you let go.

Oracle
What needs to be released? What are you most wanting to let go of? What might come about if you release control, expectations, what no longer serves you, or what binds you?

As usual, do what you want, and use what you have! And check out the news regarding Journal52 in 2018 by CLICKING HERE. 

And here’s a freebie for you to see you through the long dark winter!

Totally on me. :) See you next week

xo
Effy