Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Exercise Gratitude

My sister-in-law has a sign in her house that says Choose Happiness. It initially bothered me, because I thought, Sure, easy to say, but there are so many things in our lives that we CAN'T choose, and it's ok to be upset about them! This is true, but it ignores the truth inherent in the sign: we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to it, and the attitude and energy we bring into a space.

It would be easy for me to be upset today. I work 12 hours a day an hour away from home. I'm an adjunct professor, so I have no office, not even a cubicle. When I have time between classes, there is nowhere for me to go except for a noisy hallway. My first class begins at 8am, and I am not a morning person. It is a struggle to get to bed and to fall asleep at night, and it is a very big challenge to wake up and get out of bed and get moving in the morning.

But ever since I picked up a few extra classes, I've been spending my time between classes in outdoor space reading, meditating, relaxing, journaling, and having "me" time. Now that it's getting colder, I've had to spend that time in my car, but today as I was lying in the front seat, the driver's side fully reclined, the sun room shade open and the window cracked to catch a breeze, I stared up at the beautiful blue sky and fluffy white clouds and silhouettes of trees still covered in gorgeous autumn foliage. The sound of dry leaves blowing across the pavement, and my brand new Young Living Orb diffuser releasing bursts of Stress Away into the air. I felt so happy. I meditated for two minutes. I listened to a witchy podcast. I closed my eyes and rested, and I felt so grateful for this time.

It's easy to be upset dwelling on all the things I don't have--and believe me, last week I was deeply entrenched in depression--but in this season of Samhain, as I look ahead to the upcoming year, I want to commit to choosing happiness and exercising gratitude.

Check this out: I have to be thrilled at how lucky I am for this: my mother dogsits for my dear pup on the days I teach, so he doesn't have to be alone longer than his bladder can stand. I typically go to her house to pick him up straight from work and have dinner and hang out with my parents. Well, tonight she and my dad were going to a concert, so I assumed I'd grab some takeout and head home, but she'd gotten me my favorite takeout, and it was still hot when I arrived! I ate supper, then took a long bath in their whirlpool tub and now I feel so blissed out!

I lead a very lucky life. I will strive to remember this more often.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Welcome & a Samhain spread

Welcome to my little corner of the web! I've been itching to get back to blogging, and Samhain season seemed like the perfect time for a fresh start, seeing as it's Witch's New Year.

I've kept a lot of blogs over the years, sometimes more successfully than others. I'm currently in a season of regrowth, and I wanted to record this journey with you in hopes that you might find it helpful and illuminating.

The last few months, I’ve really been getting back into tarot, and it brings me so much joy, not to mention a lot of great things to think about! 
I’m still devastated at not being able to find my favorite deck, The Collective Tarot (now out of print), and losing it put me off the cards entirely for awhile, but I’ve decided I can’t let that hold me back any longer.

One thing that has really strengthened my intuition and deepened the stories I get from the cards is incorporating the use of essential oils in my readings. All my decks are consecrated and blessed, and I usually draw a pentagram in frankincense oil on the box as I’m blessing it, but I’ve started rubbing oil on my forehead and wrists before I shuffle the deck and lay out a spread.

The oil with the highest spiritual vibration for me at this moment is Young Living’s 3 Wise Men. It’s a blend of Sandalwood (Santalum album), juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and J.scopulorum), frankincense (Boswellia carteri), spruce (Picea mariana) and myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) in a base of almond oil, so I can rub it directly onto my skin, and I have found that it really promotes a sense of reverence and spirituality. Plus I love the aroma, and I’ve used it often enough now that it signals to my brain, “ok, this is a spiritual moment,” and helps me ease into the proper frame of mine.
I have used standard grocery store brand oils before, with much less success, and you can’t beat the blends from Young Living. (If you're interested in getting your own oils to help deepen your spiritual practice, let me know! I have a 20% off coupon to share that is quite the deal!)

The spreads pictured here are two different Samhain spreads suggested by Kelly-Ann Maddox of The Four Queens on YouTube. 
The first one above is just a mini three card spread, and I used my newest deck, the Emily Dickinson tarot from Factory Hollow Press. This deck is gorgeous, but I fear it might be more of a novelty deck. It’s definitely not recommended for a beginner, as there are no instructions and the minor arcana have different names than the traditional deck. I got a lot out of my reading because I’m a poetry scholar, so I know Dickinson’s work intimately, and the cards draw on resonances in her poems, letters, and life, so in order to gain the most from it, you really need to know her work. 
The next few spreads are from the Medieval Scapini deck, which is the first deck I ever owned. I love its creepy imagery for a more detailed Samhain reading.
Both readings have been just incredibly illuminating for me, and I’m thrilled I’m getting back into tarot!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Skype Job Interview

Friday I have a job interview over Skype. I'm very excited for the interview, but I'm nervous, too, because I've never used Skype for professional purposes. I looked up a lot of Skype interview tips online, and found a lot of good advice that I'm going to aggregate here.

  • Dress from head-to-toe like you are going to a job interview. Don't throw a blazer on over pjs, for example. Feeling fully professional will help you come across that way. My friend Sara said you should look your absolute best for a Skype interview.
  • Do a test run to make sure the technology works, and that you're comfortable. If possible, hook the computer up directly to the internet, rather than relying on wi-fi. Close all other programs.
  • Look directly at the camera, because then it will look like you are looking them in the eye.
  • Make sure your Skype username is professional (mine is my first initial and my last name)
  • Consider your surroundings. Don't try to Skype in a noisy location, or with a lot of clutter in the background. If possible, stick to a neutral wall behind you. I'm going to set up a staging area in my bedroom, so I can close the door and keep out my cats, and have a plain beige wall behind me.
  • Sit back farther from the camera so they can see your hands, too. Body language is so important, so don't make yourself just a talking head.
  • Make sure you have good lighting in the room. Play around with lamps and overhead lighting to make sure you look your best.
  • Avoid patterned clothing, which tends to come across as too loud on screen. I'm hoping to wear a dark blazer with a pop of color shirt underneath.
  • It's easy to talk over people in Skype conversations, so make sure the other person is done speaking before you reply.
I have not had many job interviews, because most of my work has been part of my graduate school funding, so I was just given the job. I honestly don't think I realized how lucky I was until now.

I want this job so badly. If all goes well, it could be the last job interview (barring promotions) I ever have, and that idea is miraculously comforting, and also nerve wrecking. 

Have you ever had a Skype interview? 

Wish me luck!