Dealing with an Eeyore

This post is another that comes from one of my friends and semi-regular readers. We’ve all dealt with people whose spiritual vibration is lower than ours. I hesitate to use the word toxic because I don’t think that’s always the case. Personally, I know I can sometimes get into a funk and be no fun to be around which I don’t technically think fits the word “toxic.” With that in mind, I’ll stick to lower vibrations. Think of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. He wasn’t toxic, just vibrated a little lower on the spiritual spectrum than his counterparts in the Hundred Acre Woods.

I think my friend asked me to write about that since I’ve recently had some experience in the area. Let me introduce you to our mutual friend, who I will just call Eeyore for the sake of anonymity. She had a setback in her professional life, followed in quick succession by a setback in her love life. Not a good combo. Our Eeyore grew up pretty sheltered but was raised by parents who are tradition and a little toxic. Unlike earlier in this post, toxic fits here. She is also naturally pessimistic and a little judgmental, but this was nothing too serious at first. After her setbacks, though, this character traits became a little problematic. She shifted from well-meaning, but a little needy to a raging narcissist who could not exercise the empathy and understanding that she desperately needed from other people.
Try as they might, several of Eeyore’s friends couldn’t handle what seemed to be a dramatic shift in her behavior. So, they stopped inviting her out as much as they had. When they did invite her out, she often made the hang-out session awkward by making off-color jokes, wallowing in their negative situation, and feeling personally attacked if anyone disagreed with her actions or offered suggestions on how to make things better. After a while, I was the only friend the Eeyore had left. In an attempt to salvage the relationship, while protecting myself from the effects of their lower vibrations, I did the following things.
1. Raising my shields

Like most magical practitioners, I am sensitive to the energy of others. This is 1000 times more true with it comes to my friends. Usually, I allow myself to remain open to them because I trust them to keep an eye out on the energy they send my way. In this situation, I had to protect myself.

Before hanging out with them, usually in my car outside on the bar/restaurant we usually met up at, I would close my eyes and do some deep breathing. Side note – I’m sure I looked crazy, but I’ve finally reached that point in my spiritual practice that I’m not pressed about what other people think about my practice. Back on topic – I would then run energy through each chakra point, starting from the root and moving up to energize myself. I would then run the energy back down from crown to root to clear any stagnant energy out. Then, I would run it back up. Once I reached the crown again, I would breath deeply until I felt fully charged up. Then, I would exhale with a little force and move the energy to my aura and feel it solidify, forming a nice little bubble of energy to stave off any negative energy that may be thrown at me.

After I got home, I would reverse the process and take a long shower to make sure nothing was lingering after the meeting.

2. Transform judgment into compassion
This is another preparation rite that involves basically talking to myself. I would list everything about Eeyore that bothered me. Every cringe-worthy thing! Then, I would take a few deep breaths and connect with the divine nature within me. Using this connection, I would reframe their behavior and my reaction to it. Instead of judgment, I offered compassion.

3. Set boundaries with yourself
Before going into a meeting with this person, I created the rules by which I would play. For example, I will have no more than two drinks. If I am unable to handle this person without being drunk, then the situation was unhealthy and would not serve either of us.
I also vowed to be 100% honest with her, even when it wouldn’t be easy. If she said something that I didn’t agree with, I would voice my opinion. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a person is to call them on their bullshit. To balance this, I promised to assume that their intentions were positive.
Finally, I promised myself that I would be willing to walk away from the friendship if it meant saving my own sanity and self-respect. This was important because Eeyore has a knack for making me out to be the bad guy when I didn’t support them in the way they thought I ought to.
4. Set boundaries with them

The first step in this is to share the boundaries you set with yourself with them directly. Answer any questions, but don’t allow them to alter your own rules of play. Then, move on and set boundaries that you would like them to adhere to as well as those they expect from you.

For example, I set the rule that we would not speak negatively of other friends. Eeyore asked me to allow them to vent without interruption before I offered any opinions or insight.

5. Create distance

It may be necessary to create distance, both in time spent and emotional investment. The more time you spend with a negative person, the more the opportunity exists for their influence to impact you.

For me, I stopped hanging out with Eeyore without other people present. I also limited our interactions to once per week. Finally, I limited sharing any information with them that I thought was special or gave them an opportunity to use it against me. I stopped sharing stories of past hangouts with our mutual friends or plans for future hangouts. Eeyore didn’t hear about a new romantic interest in my life or any of my excursions into Feri training.

6. Cut the tie
If time, boundaries, and distance don’t improve the situation, it may be appropriate to end the relationship. If you feel comfortable, explain why you are choosing this path. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t explain.
Furthermore, don’t be guilted into giving another chance. If you feel it warranted, sure, but don’t let someone make you feel that you are required to continue with a relationship that doesn’t serve you.

Overall, situations like the one I’ve described are pretty shitty. It’s important to be there for someone you care about, but it’s not your responsibility to heal everyone! Do what’s best for you and if the best thing for you is to get the hell out of a bad situation, lace up your shoes and run buddy! It’s completely possible to care about someone and want the best for them but never to want to see them again. In the end, do what’s best for you and your physical, spiritual, and mental health.

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Walking the Spiral – The Ups and Downs of Spirituality

“The closer you get to the light, the bigger your shadow becomes.” – Kingdom Hearts

 

Most people turn to a spiritual practice to improve their life. What most people fail to understand is that the spiritual journey isn’t an easy path to walk. Additionally, the spiritual journey doesn’t really have a final destination. A spiritual journey continues throughout the rest of your life and as you progress you will new aspects of your life that bring tension against your development.

Most magical, spiritual practices use the spiral as a symbol of our spiritual journey. As you walk the spiral, you may be getting closer to the center, your end goal, but you may still find yourself passing through similar obstacles and lessons. In my belief and experience, these common issues are there to help gauge our progression. As we get closer to our spiritual center, our shadow aspects tend to come out with greater force than they did earlier on in our practice, or at least that how it appears. In reality, it may just be because we become are more aware of our complexes and have learned to recognize them for what they are as we grow spiritually.

Let me give you an example. One of my reoccurring issues manifests in my life as an intense fear of criticism. When I started curling a few years ago, my first skip was an amazing man named Tim. He was patient and helped me grow as a curler. However, as time went on and I made similar mistakes over and over again, he got a little tougher on me. As soon as Tim’s tough love approach started, I immediately wanted to quit. I lied to myself and said that I hated curling, but what I really hated was that someone was criticizing me. After beating myself up and doing more than my fair share of pouting, I realized that Tim was just trying to help me improve because if I were doing well, I’d love curling even more. With that mindset, I was able to reset and be open to instruction. I was good, and I knew that I would never have to struggle with feeling criticized again.

Then, the next year started, and I was with a skip named John. John was a monster. That may sound unfair, but he was a shit-talking, broom throwing tyrant, who told me to go fuck myself more than he said my name. He was once joking with me and called me a clown, and that was honestly the nicest thing he ever said to me. I went through my normal pattern of vowing to quit curling and being so in my emotions that I neglected to see that he had the same goal as Tim, to make me better at a sport I loved. Sure, he’s technique was different, but he just wanted to see me get better. I let go of my emotional reaction, and with John’s help, our team won the Men’s League for the curling club.

Again, I thought I was good, but this season started, and I am with a skip named Jeff. He has a reputation for being a worse tyrant than John. I immediately researched the refund policy to see if I could still quit and get my money back. Then, I saw my name on the plaque of winners. It reminded me that I had dealt with this before and this was my chance not to let it bother me. So, I grounded myself, and I’ve been mostly okay with Jeff since.

I’ve have seen the same response from spiritual people when they encounter more difficult issues such as depression, addiction, and financial distress. When things aren’t going as well as we’ve planned, we tend to forget that we are witches and resort to old patterns. What follows are a few tips that I use when I’m going through a downswing in my spiritual journey.

 

  1. Take preventative measures

Just like with physical health, our spiritual health requires preventative care. Kelly Ann Maddox once said in a video that she uses the times when things are going well to keep up with her daily practice as a way to gather strength for any obstacle that may just be around the corner.

In her book, Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson talks about taking the good days and making them amazing, so she has a reserve to take into the bad days on her journey with depression.

As spiritual people, we can use our practice to fill our energy wells so that we have a storeroom of power to draw from during difficult times.

 

  1. Embrace the sacred Toddler

When things aren’t working well for me and become overwhelming for me, I get really sad, and then really pissed off. I used to stay away from the altar when I was upset, but then I realized that the Divine that gave me life also gave me my emotions. They are a vital part of me.

So, when I get angry, I may spend a day walking by my altar with my middle finger in the air, but I eventually find my way back. Then, I let it out. I tell my patrons just how pissed I am that they have seemingly abandoned me. I rant and rave, and when I’m done, I find this stillness. Then, through journaling, art, or divination, I find the cause of the situation and am ready to move forward.

  1. Look for the lesson

Inside every struggle is a nugget of spiritual truth. Every obstacle brings with it a lesson that you may need to learn. Don’t just contemplate the fact that there’s a lesson, bust out your spiritual magnifying glass and Sherlock Holmes that shit.

Discover what the lesson is. Narrow it down to a concise sentence. For example, for my situation with the curling club, I narrowed it down to “Criticism helps me grow.”

Once you understand the lesson, look for other examples of this lesson at play in your every day. Before you leave your house say “How can I learn more about this today?” and embark on your day ready to learn.

  1. Lean on your tribe

During times of difficulty, the first things most of us do is pull away from those who care about us. I think this is a subconscious way of protecting them. It could also be rooted in feelings of shame or unworthiness. Your tribe will always be there (and if they aren’t, they aren’t your tribe!).

Talk to you friends. Let them know what’s going on. Accept the help they give you.

  1. Don’t quit

When we experience hardships despite our spiritual practice, it’s easy to chalk it up as a wasted endeavor and walk away from our practice. Regardless of what your practice is, you are going to have hardships. It’s a fact of life and an opportunity to put your spiritual toolbox to use.

Keep up your daily practice in whatever capacity you are able. This will help you refill you well, even if only slightly, and you’ll be better equipped to handle the shenanigans that life sometimes throws our way.

I hope this is helpful and would love to hear any tips I may have missed. This post was the result of a recommendation from a friend of mine. If there are any topics that you’d like to see me write about, leave me a comment.

Dianne Sylvan Inspired Blog Challenge – A Letter to My Past Self

Joe,
You’re feeling on top of the world. You’ve made a career for yourself with this company! You get to travel the world, experience other cultures, and help people improve their lives. You are becoming a great trainer and cultivating so much experience. Brace yourself, because you’re out to be knocked off your pedestal.
The traveling team is about to be disbanded and though you have a great track record, one conversation you had with a hiring manager a year ago is going to cost you the opportunity to keep your job. You’re going to be angry, but you will acquiesce and comply with direction from your manager that you disagree with.
You’re going to be asked to travel one last time to launch a collection agency because you are the only one in the organization with the experience to do so. You’re going to be asked to prepare your competition for an interview that you weren’t given the opportunity to participate in. You’ll even be asked to train your replacement. Even though you’re going to be furious and feel like your being taken advantage of, you’ll look back at this as a lesson in composure and professionalism. You’ll eventually look back on this and be happy that you were able to help these mediocre trainers hone their skills before they were thrown into a situation that they weren’t prepared for. You’ll also be very happy when you hear that everyone who had a hand in your departure would slowly resign as the department deteriorated. You’ll feel bad for being happy at their demise. Don’t they deserved it and you earned the right to be petty.
The Universe is going to look out for you. You’ll land a new job almost immediately. It won’t be what you want, and your managers won’t be able to offer you development, but you’ll learn how to be self-directed and adaptable. You’ll finally be able to create your own training material, and this experience will set you up for success you didn’t know you’d ever want. You’ll also meet someone who will be impressed with your work, and since Columbus is so small, this relationship will pay off in big ways.
After a year at the new company, you’ll start recognizing the signs of imminent disaster. You’ll see that the organization is slowly dismantling your team and you’ll trust your instincts. You’ll look for a job and land an amazing opportunity in no time. When you turn in your resignation, your manager will try to tell you that your job is secure. Don’t believe her. Within the first week of your new job, you’ll hear that the rest of the team was laid off.
Your new job will start off rocky. The new boss will be clueless, but will ultimately be replaced by someone that old colleague will sing your praises to. You’ll also have issues with a coworker, but give her time, she’ll become one of your biggest confidants. In no time at all, you will be in your element and ready for any challenge they can throw at you.
Keep it up; you’ve fucking got this.

30 Days of Magic – Day 21: Reflections

I recently began studying with a Feri group and it has revitalized my daily practice. Each morning, after feeding the dogs and putting on the coffee pot, I move to the altar to get my day started. As part of my daily practice, I pull an oracle card to see what lessons the day has in store for me.

Lately, I’ve been using the Sacred Rebels Oracle by Alanna Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison. Today, I pulled the “Visions of Life Beyond Death” card. While the standard interpretation of the card speaks to embracing what they call Sacred Vision. However, what stood out to me was the peacock featured on the card. In some of the reading I’ve done on the Melek Taus as the Blue God of Feri, he is referenced as the balance of earthly and celestial realms. Meditating on this led me to contemplate the Iron Pentacle. So, I decided to work with the Peacock Angel and the point of Self on the Iron Pentacle.

I cast my circle and lit two candles, red and blue, on each side. In the air above my altar, I drew the Iron Pentacle. I saw the point aligned with the powers of Self grow brighter. I breathed in this energy deeply and exhaled the energy onto the face of the mirror placed on the center of my altar. On the face of the mirror, I visualized an all-seeing eye burning brightly and willed the mirror to help uncover the pieces of myself that I try to leave below the surface.

At once, the images flashed behind my eyes. I saw my positive aspects balanced with my shadow aspects. I saw being kind and generous juxtaposed with my tendency to be accommodating even when it is to my detriment. I saw my drive for success pair with my fear of failure and my desire to make new friends with my fear of being judged by others.

As the experience ended, I recorded my thoughts in my Book of Shadows. I saw the Iron Pentacle fade from view and thanked the Peacock Angel for attending to my circle. As I snuffed the candles, I whispered: “I would know myself in all my parts.”

30 Days of Magic – Day 10: Creating Opportunities

I have worked in training and development for over a decade. Teaching people new skills, developing their talent, and helping them move forward in their careers is my passion. When I accepted my current position, it was because the company didn’t have a training and development department. Instead, they asked each department manager to train their own staff. When I was hired, the plan was for me to start with one department and slowly branch out to others. Sadly, during my time spent with our contact center, I became a pivotal member of the team and subsequently have had little time to dedicate to other departments.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the impact I have on the contact center team, but this wasn’t what I signed up for. I’ve made small moves and have been successful at getting into other departments to train their employees, but I keep getting pulled back to the contact center. Things came to a head today when I was asked to have a team of contact center employees report to me. This would permanently change my career path, and I know I wouldn’t be happy in the role.
I wandered to the third floor, which is currently under construction, and ducked into the restroom. I glanced down at the Ganesh tattoo on my forearm and began to pray. I expressed my gratitude for the success I have had so far but asked him to open the door for what I truly wanted to do. I asked for an opportunity to show my skills to the decision makers of the company in hopes that they would opt to use me in other departments.
I headed back to my desk and got lost in work. As I was packing up for the day, my phone rang. It was a program manager for the safety department of our parent company. She told that there was a safety training initiative and needed someone to lead the training session for our company. She said she already cleared it with my boss and that I would need to work at our corporate headquarters for a few days to learn the material. Afterward, I would begin training our entire organization, including the decision makers.
I floated out of the office and was on a high the entire drive home. Though prayer isn’t magic in the traditional sense, my plea to Ganesh did help me to co-create my reality. I think the best magic is magic aimed at creating an opportunity, rather than simply manifesting the desired outcome. I’m so excited for the opportunity I was able to (co)create today.

30 Days of Magic – Day 4: A Sober Witch

My friends like to drink. More importantly, I like to drink. My friends and I generally meet up for happy hour a few times a week. We usually pair our cocktails with dinner or a board game. We spend a few hours together, and in the that time, I have a cocktail or two. We save our nights of crazy debauchery for special occasions.
This past month has been crazy though. One of my best friends was visiting from South Africa, another friend’s work schedule finally opened up, and another finished his degree. This led to several nights out on the town. The booze flowed freely, and we partied our faces off! While fun, the days after were miserable. I was spending so much time laying around or just going through the motions the days after a night out. More disturbing, I felt like I was having trouble cutting myself off.
In my younger years, I loved being the life of the party and had my fair share of drunken nights. I’ve always been able to stop drinking after one or two drinks. In fact, I would often offer to play designated driver and be the only one not drinking. This is what made my alcohol-related behaviors so concerning. Maybe I’m using alcohol to distract myself from something that requires my attention, but that I’m not ready to fully deal with.
With this realization, I decided that I was going to take some time away from drinking. Not only will this give me time to deal with whatever lies just below the surface that I’ve been ignoring, but it will give me a chance to make sure that I am still in control. Not to mention, a break from drinking will probably make my weight-loss efforts more fruitful.
Today, I charged a piece of amethyst, the stone of sobriety, to help me in my work. I visualized the energy radiating from the stone as lavender electricity. I let this electricity charge my aura and remove anything that was counter to my intentions. I then visualized myself sitting at the bar with my friends, still being the life of the party while drinking water. I saw myself at work the following day being productive and present in my interactions with everyone.

I then charged a piece of selenite to help me clear any blockages and to help me uncover the issues that need to be dealt with. I then said:

“I open myself as a vessel of light, truth, and transparency.
Let what is hidden within rise to the surface.”

I placed both of these stones on my altar with as a reminder of the oath I made to myself. So, I raise my glass (of soda water and lime) to this practice in self-control and self-discovery.

My Current Strengths as a Witch

I frequent Kelly-Ann Maddox’s YouTube channel, and in a recent video, she mentioned her Solitary Witch reading that she offers on her website. Clumsy segue – I’ve gotten a few readings from Kelly-Ann, and she’s amazing. Check her out!

When she mentioned her Solitary Witch reading, Kelly-Ann mentioned that the spread meanings where also great journaling prompts. The first card in her spread represents your currents strengths as a witch. As a journaling prompt, this got me thinking.

A few years ago, I would have listed my success with magic as my greatest strength. Whenever I work a spell, I usually see immediate results (even if they may be unintended). Due to this success, my spiritual path was dominated by operative magic.

Don’t get me wrong; I think magic is an important part of my spiritual practice. Magic allows you to co-create your reality, which in turn can help build confidence and self-reliance. However, over the past few years, I’ve realized that my spiritual practice has gotten a bit out of whack because it did not include the celebration of life, communion with Divinity, or personal growth and responsibility, all of which are aspects of Witchcraft that attracted me to the practice initially.

For the past year, I’ve tried to direct my spiritual practice to the area of self-development. Rather than try to react to my environment through magic, I’ve begun to use self-reflection and identify what lessons I can learn from the obstacles. I’ve also adopted a daily practice that has helped respond to life through my spirituality rather than my gut instincts. As a result, the survival instinct that caused me to react to pressures from life with resistance has transformed into an instinct that causes me to pause and find the reaction that is best for everyone involved. I’m not great at it, but I’m far from the place I was this time last year.

To support me on this path to self-mastery, I’ve found a teacher of a tradition that aligns with my practice. I begin work with her in June, and I’m excited, though I know it will be a lot of work.

So, what are your strengths as a Witch and how can you capitalize on it to dive deeper into your spiritual work?