I’ve been taking time to observe my own work and lifestyle habits to improve productivity as an artist and entrepreneur, which led me to notice the pros and cons of my greatest blessing and curse: overthinking. Overanalyzing past events is my comfort zone to an obsessive point. I review my behavior and the behaviors of others in social settings, I’ll reevaluate my work schedule repeatedly (especially when random changes occur), and I can become far too immersed in hypothetical “what if’s” regarding past events believing that even though what I suspect could hypothetically happen didn’t happen at all, I should prepare for the likelihood that it does happen anyway. It’s strange that as a artist, my inspiration and work appear as bursts of energy which is a present consumption, but with almost everything else, I always need a plan and lacking a plan in anyway makes me feel incredibly lost.
The greatest pro of thinking like this is building resilience and maturity. I really value being introspective because it provides many opportunities to learn. However, the greatest con is rarely being in the present moment. This habit combined with intrusive thoughts and dissociation really isn’t fun; it’s time consuming self-torture on bad days. So, this week I practiced mindfulness techniques more frequently as an attempt to rewire my brain in a way. I get hit with intrusive thoughts on a daily basis, so addressing the truthfulness of those thoughts, as in understanding why the thought came up, how it makes me feel, and how practical it is to stew over the thought, is a struggle and conscious effort every damn time.
Redirecting my overthinking for more productive means is also a conscious effort and doing so keeps me in a present state of mind, which is a great pro. In the past, my overthinking would simply lead to spiraling and catastrophizing. Now my critical nature works more in my favor when self-care and dignity are kept in mind.
Just wanted to share this because I know I’m not alone in this. My fellow artists, autodidacts, nerds, and the like will perceive their analytical nature as a burden all too often and to be honest it really can become this powerful and reckless force disguised as meticulousness. Acknowledging how overanalyzing is a comfort zone we need to step out of helps change our self-perception into something more fulfilling without any radical change. If we naturally are critical and creative thinkers, then we can’t help that, but the least we can do is apply our great minds to tasks that help us embrace our potential. I’m just so tired of falling victim to the coulds/shoulds I’ve internalized. Let’s just be.
“…is an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions, and embarrassing fears. This archetype is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos, and the unknown.” – Loner Wolf
The shadow is an archetype formed in the unconscious or subconscious coined by clinical psychologist and mystic Carl G. Jung. Working with your shadow requires confronting and embracing repressed feelings. Confronting one’s shadow can be done through divination, meditation, creative projects, journaling, therapy/counseling, and many other ways. If you find that you’re able to honestly express yourself through writing and journaling, you will love the Shadow Work Journal on Loner Wolf, a spiritual mentorship site run by Mateo Sol and Aletheia Luna. This year, I’ve decided to combine divination techniques with their shadow journaling prompts and have found it to be a very thoughtful collection of prompts that help you address what needs confronting and what self-care needs require more attention. My previous shadow work sessions focused on confrontation and I rarely gave myself self-care time. I wanted to give the journal a try because I was very impressed by Loner Wolf’s breakdown of the shadow self and all its potential.
So What’s The Point?
The point of shadow work is to work on the part of yourself that you have labeled as “evil” or “shameful” and instead of turning away from it, you see the shadow for what it is, starting with the fact that you are the shadow. Rejecting any part of yourself often develops into subconscious defense mechanisms, losing your sense of self, robbing yourself of autonomy, and even losing touch with reality. Psychologically, the repression of an aspect of the self creates a dissonance between one’s personal reality and reality as it is. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Repression in itself is a defense mechanism and defending ourselves is innate. However, defense mechanisms can build into unhealthy and unwanted habits.
Those of us who need to work with our shadow see ourselves pushing our loved ones away, having trouble connecting with others, struggling to see ourselves in a realistic light, believing negative and inaccurate perceptions without challenging them, hurting ourselves and others more than we meant to… the list goes on. The point of shadow work is to take that step towards understanding ourselves. Additionally, don’t believe that this is just for the “spiritual” person. The aspects of shadow work has appeared through works of art, philosophical discussions, scientific studies on humanity, and even in our particular day-to-day events where we have these epiphanies about ourselves. Shadow work in itself is a reflective process and I strongly recommend reading Loner Wolf’s article on the Shadow Self and take that step towards self-actualization.
Lost to ambiguity, I’m nothing. Obstacles with no substance nor logic conquer all. Circumstances are conspiracies. My anger’s self-righteousness must win the war. All in life plans to witness my reactivity and self-destruction because, of course, the world revolves around my demise; saying otherwise is a risky lie. Read full poem on Vocal. Photo Credit: […]
Wow, I talk about perfectionism a lot don’t I? Lol, well that’s because it haunts the f**k out of me. I’m a very ambitious, but sensitive person. I have big ideas that turn into elaborate, yet overwhelming strategies, and have issues altering those strategies only because I get stuck in a strong spell of the […]
The delusions surrounding are endless. Layer after layer of “I have to do this” and “I need to do that” when it’s all really a choice in the end, my choice.
To recalibrate, I remind myself that it’s not about what I should or have or need to do, but what I want to do. Responsibility is only efficient if you’re working towards an achievement you genuinely desire.
All I want is to be, to speak, be heard, to create, be seen. That only requires a gentle and persistent attentiveness to the soul.
Over this exhausting week, I took moments to praise past creations I was hesitant to share. I’ve decided to follow through with exposing them again, rekindling my music and my poetry.
The research for my dark fantasy novel series has led to a nonfiction book idea actually. It was unexpected, but I think it was a necessary concept that can be manifested into a kind of “guide for creative spirits” thing. All things in time though.
Self-trust and being grounded is so important for me right now. I want to share how refocusing on those two things over and over again is such an excellent anchor that we tend to let go of when distractions occur. I recently listened to the podcast What in the Wyrd by Kelley Harrell, which is basically about life lessons we can attain from the elder futhark aka the Nordic runes used for divination and other magical uses. The most recent episode discussed accountability and soul tending relating to the rune thurisaz, which is all about how there are many types of powers that want to survive. Depending on the power, the extent at which we try to keep that power alive can be out of desperation or integrity or whatever. That also depends on how efficient our soul tending is. Going back to my point, self-trust and being grounded keeps one’s inner power alive and burning, but sometimes us creatives forget that.
I write, I create, and I am because I’m aspiring to stop straying away from myself and forgetting my power to the point that it ends up dying. I don’t want to go back there. Never again.
Lately, I’ve been battling these intrusive thoughts I have about people. I think those of us with mild social anxiety tend to allow our personal realities orbit around the perceptions of others, even when we don’t agree with them. I guess I could even chalk that up to how I was raised. Even when you disagreed and expressed how you really feel, you’re shut down by your parent or some other authority figure, because that was the law. No voice. Just compliance. What a toxic trap to fall into and get comfortable with.
Today, there are so many of my opinions and views I keep to myself especially around family, but I challenge myself to be more outspoken around friends and on my art platform of course because it’s out of my comfort zone not just to speak up, but to also be heard. What words I know would fall on deaf ears in my family or in other social circles I save to scream through a poem, song, essay, research article, digital painting, and more. Being so determined to be heard is so out of my comfort zone, as well as listening to others who resonate on the same mental and emotional wavelength as me. The more I’ve done this, the less I’m worried about being “found out” by the family or whoever else has nothing better to do than be judgmental of my non-conforming essence. Leaving the toxic comfort zone I grew up in has made it easier to breathe.
As an American witnessing many different viewpoints and influences rise in this country, revolutionary and otherwise, it’s now more important than ever to know where you stand, not necessarily to feed into the “us vs. them” dynamic, but to establish a sense of self as many different types of influences try to wash over us like a tidal wave. Stand tall in your truth and live it.
During my meditations this week, I accepted an important sacrifice I had to make. Sacrifice is strange to me. Sometimes I go out of the way trying to find a way where I can get everything I want without losing anything. I try to strategize, work around the way people perceive me, hoping I can […]
Look, dreamcatchers aren’t “aesthetic” investments. The regalia of indigenous American tribes aren’t Halloween costumes. Instead, you should invest in this wonderful list of Native American brands I found on Tumblr, where the artistry is spectacular and deserves more recognition. I really love Jamie Okuma‘s work (her work is in the featured image above [click here […]
Self-improvement is a process, not a race. I keep forgetting that and my subconscious becomes so opportunistic that I end up reverting to old ways of thinking and being. Trusting in the progress we make as people who are trying to make better decisions in life requires us to be brave enough to trust ourselves even when the unexpected or the uncontrollable occur. Let mistakes happen. Tap into that raw emotion that rises up, analyze those old habits, accept why you gave into them, then take that experience and do better. It’s not easy and it’s not a race. Let’s give ourselves permission to explore and adapt to the process of self-improvement.
Holding high standards for ourselves eventually lead to us saying somthing along the lines of, “I’m just not good enough.” I just wrote about that in my VPD. I’m so sick of those thoughts. They make me angry, not at myself, but I do go down memory lane and remember what led to me being this way towards myself and others sometimes.
Forgiveness is overrated and underrated. It’s the most bittersweet thing we can give ourselves and we can practice doing that more often by recognizing and accepting our flaws. Additionally, we can remember that accepting our flaws doesn’t mean our flaws define us entirely.
My VPD I’m posting on Vocal today is about transitioning from being a confident editor who’s really good at brainstorming to an anxious writer being too hard on themselves. I’m going to challenge myself today, and if you’d like to join me as a fellow perfectionist go ahead, to direct my inner critic solely on the story and not let it branch off into other territory such as my identity, intelligence, or anything else that’s personal. The goal with the second draft is to refine the story and just do my best as a hardworking and vulnerable writer. I treasure my vulnerability. I treasure my flaws. If I were talking to a friend, I wouldn’t want them to be down on themselves because of mistakes they made while working on their life’s passion. Recognizing areas that need improvement is better than being delusional. I’m going to trust myself to do better and be better without tearing myself down.
Learning to be more mindful about the areas in my life that need rest is still a fairly new experience. Do you still have that “daily grind” mentality, where you must work hard whenever your workdays are and ignore yourself anytime your mind, body, or spirit is screaming “I NEED A BREAK!!” ? It’s important to have discipline in life, but I think too many of us think discipline means working hard without recognizing what you need. The labor laws of our society shouldn’t dictate how much rest we deserve; we should be deciding that.
Then again, some of us feel guilty when we’re resting for too long. I get antsy and restless every time I don’t write on my blog, give myself a break from the novel, or take a step back from an article. To me, that means I’m lacking mindfulness when it comes to rest. My brain needs time to rest so I can write again. My soul needs peace so I’ll be inspired to write. My body needs rest even if I am sitting at my desk or in my bed a good part of the day. All of our needs in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sense deserve a moment of rejuvenation. I know some of us may give ourselves a day or two of rest and still feel like we didn’t get enough. All the more reason to see the day you scheduled as the rest day as a practice. It takes time to learn what exactly you need to help give your mind, body, and soul an energetic reset.
These sources can help you get started:
If you’re an empath or hypersensitive person, read this article to learn about grounding techniques that help prevent breakdowns.
If you’d like help thinking about how you can cleanse your living space and empower yourself, read this article.
If you struggle to see what you have in life that could possibly make your situation better when there’s so much you don’t have, read this article.
A lot of the hatred, heartbreak, and loss recently may persuade some of us to hide away or run away. I woke up feeling that way, then decided to do an ancestral and karmic oracle reading. I used The Shaman’s Oracle deck to speak with my ancestors who communicated an awesome message of resilience reminding me that fear can be hurtful and paralyzing, which is all the more reason to set boundaries and take time to retreat so you can reflect on the truth of the situation, but there’s no need to forget your own strength. There are traditions in the past many tried to oppress, but they still live on. There are those who cultivated their skills in the midst of being afraid and became prolific figures in history and in modern times. Right now we have so many protests, petitions, and other forms of speaking out against injustice and unfairness. While fighting for integrity and acknowledging our fear, we shouldn’t forget our power and our right to live because that is how our freedom lives on.
It’s appalling that there are people to this day who believe some lives are less valued than others, but those same people are ignorant of the fact that they don’t have authority over another’s life. What fear teaches us when we see those same people do wicked things to others is to be cautious as we forge our own path. Sometimes a brash and outspoken rebellion isn’t as significant as a patient strategy that can abolish oppression for the long-term. Acknowledging our fear and being thoughtful of what is and isn’t in our control is what maintains freedom because then our fear doesn’t become a card the oppressor can play whenever they want.
I hope this isn’t being interpreted as a suggestion to be passive and tolerant of injustice, but rather as encouragement on the establishment of autonomy, keeping our power. There is hope, but if your heart is angry and seeking revenge, the hardest blow you can land is striving to live your best life. The people who take the oppressive route are clowns refusing to reflect on their own pain and insecurity, which is not our responsibility, but theirs. All the more reason to make sure we speak out about accountability and continue the fight for integrity without losing our will to live or abandoning our gratitude for life.
The way this message was told to me started with the dancer of fear (acknowledging fear and pain, cautious and resilient), then the ancestor of boundaries (setting boundaries, respecting yourself), then the shaman of tradition (deep memories, ancestral wisdom, remembering the past), then the ancestor of skill (utilizing skills and powers to daily life) and lastly the ancestor of hope (strength to achieve goals for the long term, even during adversity).
The stones on top of the cards are two malachite (the green ones), two Botswana agate, and in the middle is lodelite.
In the past, I have burdened myself with future outcomes, whether they’re hypothetical or have a high probability of happening and this has only brought distress in my life. It became so apparent that I think like this that other people exploited it to have me do what they wanted rather than have my best interest at heart. It’s heartbreaking to me how competitive our society can be. It’s admirable to have resilience and enough self-control to reach achievements and all, but it should be pointed out more often that our need for validation from others or the things we have is basically asking them to manhandle us with puppet strings. What’s even worse is that this kind of behavior is reinforced constantly, encouraging us to let shallow outsiders or materialistic means determine our worth.
We’re in a storm of changes aren’t we? We’re used to emotional roller coasters, but some of us have plateaued in a strange acceptance and caution, trying to avoid sinking into apathy, nihilism, or the like. That’s how I feel anyway. Trying to keep my head above water while swimming out into an ocean of unknown situations.
To break that plateau, I’ve been told the best thing to do is dive below the surface and trust myself to adapt to what’s to come. By that, I mean remembering what is significant in my life, expanding upon why it means so much, and let that be the fire that keeps me going.
I went from a water metaphor to a fire metaphor…
By the way, my short story will be published this week. More info coming soon.