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Laser Focus Recalibration

For the last month or so I have seen or heared the phrase “laser focus” everywhere I turn.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, the local eatery or boardroom. You can’t swing a deceased feline without being told to use your “laser focus”. Frankly the concept is nothing new.  It’s been around for years.  But why the resurgence?  Why now, and should we be worried? Let us first take a look at what laser focus actually is.

The Urban Dictionary defines laser focus as “Intensely paying attention to a single object, concept, person, or activity to the exclusion of everything else.” Really?  I thought it was some sort of high tech robot or something.  Just joking  Taken in context of the articles and videos I’ve seen laser focus is being used to hone in, concentrate on, your personal goals and dreams. Sounds great doesn’t it?  Focus is key in accomplishing any task, any goal.  But to focus on a single thing to the exclusion of any other? Will that work? Hmm, nothing could possibly go wrong now, could it?

Let me tell you a story.  Once, not too many years ago, there was a woman who worked for a man who spouted the phrase “laser focus” as his own personal litany. He worked hard, focused on his professional goals and became very successful in his chosen field.  However the beam of his laser focus was so small, so tight, that it blocked out everything around him.  His laser focus placed everything in his peripheral vision into the shadows, made it fuzzy, and therefore unimportant. He gave his wife and children not but cursory attention, preferring to spend his time at the office instead of at a romantic dinner or a child’s soccer game.  He neglected his long-time friends, often cancelling dates for dinner or an outing. He worked such long hours his health suffered, the beam of his laser so tiny it did not allow him the time or opportunity to pay attention to what his body was telling him. To make a very long story short, he lost his wife to a tennis pro who gave her the attention he withheld. After the divorce the children went with the wife.  The beam of his laser focus turned on him, like one of those cheap laser pointers, causing him to chase after the red dot of a happy life. Yes, his original goals were all met. His laser focus garnered him great success in business, but it ruined his personal life in the process.

This is just one story of  both the success and failure of using “laser focus”.  I’ve lived through, and heard of, many more.  Yet we are still using this as an axiom for the way we should live our professional and personal lives. Why?  Are we missing something?  If it only works on one aspect of our lives and we lose so much more in the process why do we keep doing this? Is there a way to recalibrate our laser focus so that our minds are pointed on our goal but we do not miss out on the rest of life while we do so? Yes. Yes we can.

May I suggest a two-pronged approach to this recalibration. First, try widening the beam of your laser focus. Widening the beam keeps the laser center pointed on the goal while the broadened beam allows a soft light to shine on everything around you. Let that light dispel the shadows of your original beam while keeping the ultimate goal illuminated, shining. Your goal remains ever in your sight but shares the light with those who love and need you.

Second, turn it off at regular intervals.  Don’t be afraid to take a day trip, a vacation.  Go enjoy a soccer game, a movie, a romantic dinner with your significant other. Have a night out with the girls, go to a football game with your buddies. Turn off the laser focus, rest your eyes, save some of that energy.  Take care of your loved ones, take care of yourself. The laser can be turned on again, its light shall always be there for you and within you.

Remember, while our goals and dreams are important, our relationships, our friends and families are even more important. We can continue to use our laser focus, achieving all that we want in our lives. We should use it, but use it wisely. With a few minor tweaks, a gentle recalibration to our beams, we can have it all. Success, fame, fortune, family and love, it is all within our reach.  The light just need to right.

Blessed Be!

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As Within, So Without

As a magickal practitioner I am very familiar with the axiom,  “As above, so below, as within, so without”. Attributed to Hermes Trimesgistus, the author of the Hermetic Principles, this saying could be considered one of the best known and one of the most studied principles in the magickal community.  I thought I had a great handle on its meaning until a few weeks ago.  It was then I fully realized what this principle truly meant in not only my magickal but my every day life.

About three weeks ago I began having stomach issues.  Sharp shooting pains, cramping, nausea, and several other issues I won’t discuss in this blog.  These were similar to the symptoms I had before my gallbladder was removed and which often occurred after the surgery. This time, however, the symptoms had magnified, increasing in duration and intensity.  Why was I still dealing with this?  Why was it suddenly worse? Being true to form I went on “high alert” and immediately decided to “fix” myself.  But where to start? My herbal books? Medical references? The internet? Then it came to me one night as I was tossing and turning in bed from the pain and subsequent worry.  “As within, so without.”  As if the phrase had become my new personal mantra, it kept repeating in my frantic brain.  But what did it mean?

The answer was truly simplistic.  I needed to take a hard look at what I was taking into my body and see how that what was reflecting on the outside. Whatever I eat or drink becomes a part of me. If I take in healthy, nutritious foods those nutrients contribute to a healthy body.  A healthy body makes me feel good, causing me to smile more, move more, and produce the glow of good health.  As within so without. Well, duh!

I began a quest to heal my insides. I cut all the things that seemed to be a major trigger. Gone was alcohol, any fried or fatty foods, and (gasp) chocolate.  My friends know I like nothing better than a glass or two of wine after a long day at work, so you understand how difficult this was. Next, I began working on cutting down on the caffeine and sugars.   Within days my stomach, my insides,  began to feel much better. But I was still having discomfort at strange times.  So I sat, made a mental list of what I had been eating at those times, then realized it wasn’t just food that was affecting me, it was my mood, environment, and attitude.

What we think, hear, see, feel, and experience becomes a part of us.   A bad day shows on our face. Mental stress can manifest as slumped shoulders, tight muscles, a clenched jaw.  A great day brings a spring to your step, a light heart, renewed energy and positive outlook . Constant emotional fatigue, worry and anxiety can cause physical malaise, often manifesting in a variety of symptoms, such as stomach pains, headaches, extreme fatigue, and muscular aches.  Continued joy, brought about by letting go of the stress, refusing to bow to pressure and emotional turmoil, reflects in our smile, and has the wonderful side effect of a relaxed mind and body. Again, as within, so without.

Once I’d identified what the hell was going on in this fluffy, out of shape, stressed out body, what was I going to do about it? Well, I was going to continue with my trend towards eating healthy and ramp it up a bit. My husband is on board with the changes so we shall be planning meals, shopping and preparing food together.  Not only will our meals be healthier , we get to spend more time together. A complete win/win.

The exercise may be a bit trickier.  As I am writing this I am babying a hyper extended knee which precludes me from several forms of exercise.  But it won’t be injured for long and a gentle walk can still be taken even with the injury.  Who knows, I may even use that gym membership I have (the only time I’ve been to that gym is when I signed up). Start slow then gain momentum.  It can happen!

The stress provides its own set of difficulties to overcome. My work environment is not the best for me and the job itself leaves me completely unfulfilled (but it pays extremely well and the benefits kick ass). I am trying to make the best of it, but it has been difficult.  What I can do is work on my attitude about the job and find ways to better deal with the constant stream of crap. Meditation, exercise (there’s that word again), singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite Stevie Nicks, anything to release the pressure valve.

Game plan in hand, sticky note stuck to my mirror and monitor and the Kybalion on my altar, I now move forward towards good health and joy. Sometimes the answers have always been with you.  You just have to open your eyes and reexamine what you thought you knew.

As within, so without.  May this seemingly simple phrase aid you in your own journey to health and happiness.

Blessed Be.

 

 

 

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Keeping the “I” in Witch

It’s Friday evening and you stumble home from another grueling work week. Your brain has assumed the consistency of tapioca pudding and the tightness in your neck and shoulders is showing no sign of letting up. Oh, no.  You suddenly recall that tonight is the full moon. Your magickal mind immediately turns towards ritual and communion,. Your body, however, is definitely unwilling,  What’s a witch to do?

We’ve all been there. Exhausted, stretched thin, there doesn’t seem to be enough time for witchcraft let alone taking care of yourself.  Yet we all know how important it is to take care of ourselves,  Our craft truly suffers when we are ill, run down, and energetically drained.  Still, we want, no need, to be there for our deities, our covens, and circles.  We are driven to practice, to connect with our magickal side. So how do we go about giving ourselves a well-needed rest, combined with a bit of pampering, and still practice our craft?  How do we keep the “I” in Witch?

In answer to that question I have listed below several ways you can give yourself the care and pampering your body and mind needs while still working on your craft.  Many of these require little to no special tools other than yourself and a few items you probably already have in your herbal cabinet or kitchen shelves.  Creating these items with intention and then allowing yourself to indulge in self-care will only strengthen you and your magick.

  • Give yourself an herbal bath:  Create a simple herbal bath with Epson salts and a few drops of your favorite essential oils such as lavender, rose, and sage.  As you add these into the water picture the ingredients taking away your cares and fatigue.  Relax in the warm waters and see the worries and stress sluicing off of your body and into the fragrant water. Arise from the bath feeling energized and refreshed and watch as the waters swirl down the drain taking with it your strife and lack of energy.
  • Meditate: Yes, meditation. It is one of the most beneficial and magickal ways we can pamper ourselves.  Even 10 to 15 minutes a day will make the world of difference in your mundane and magickal energy levels, not to mention the boost it gives to your general well-being.
  • Imbibe of the sacred chocolate: Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is a mood enhancer and anti-oxidant.  Magickal, and well, it’s chocolate.  Enough said.
  • Give your feet a good soak and scrub: If a full bath is not possible try a good foot soak and a sugar scrub. I always have a box of Epsom salts and “Mom’s” sugar jar that I have imbued with healing energies and stress relief.  On those stressful days I set the kettle on the stove to boil, set out the foot tub filled part way with cold water and add the salts.  When the hot water is ready I add it to my desired temperature. Then the bliss begins. Let your tootsies soak for a bit then grab a palm full of the sugar. Add a bit of the foot soak water to the sugar then start gently scrubbing your feet. Feel the stress slough off with each stroke, along with any rough spots and calluses. Rinse your feet when done, and as with the bath, watch the worry and stress flow down the drain as you pour out the water.  Ahh, the wonderful feeling of clean feet and no worries.
  • Listen to your favorite “Witchy” music: For me, nothing releases the stress, worries, and daily crap like listening to my favorite music, especially of the “witchy” kind.  My personal favorite, Stevie Nicks.  I turn it up load, sing, dance, and just revel in the beat and the sound.  Before you know it, stress be gone.
  • Indulge in a good cry: Yes, cry.  Talk your Deities.  Offer up your woes to their care. If you don’t work with the Gods then offer it to the Universe. Weep. Scream. Implore. Cry buckets. Get it all out. There is amazing therapeutic benefits loaded into a good cry.
  • Get a massage or Reiki treatment: Body and energy workers are some of the most magickal people I know, whether they realize it or not. They transform, transmute, move and manipulate the energies currently in our bodies,  changing them into something entirely different, something more beneficial.  A great massage therapist or Reiki practitioner will relieve you of your stress and replace that destructive energy with love and peace. If you haven’t had a treatment before I highly recommend one.  Don’t stop at just massage or Reiki.  There are many other healing modalities that are equally as beneficial. Explore and find one that works for you.
  • Soak in a hot tub in the light of the Moon:  If you are fortunate enough to own a hot tub or spa (alas, I am still saving up for this) a glorious soak under a full (or new, dark) moon is a fabulous way to relax and feel especially connected to the Elements and to your magick.  While the jets pulsate your tension away, the Moon will fill your essence with Its energies, renewing your body and spirit.

Life is full of stress, both in our mundane and magickal lives. Work, home, family, covens, kids, and responsibilities, all of these bring us both joy and stress.  How we handle that pressure can be magickal as well as practical. It is my wish that the few simple suggestions that I have made will aid you in placing that “I” back in witch. May your stress melt away and your magick forever thrive. Blessed Be!