A New Phase…

As I have written elsewhere, I think on Facebook, a very difficult situation is drawing to a close for me. As it comes to a happy end, paperwork and all, I have felt a ridiculously huge amount of stress lift off my shoulders. I felt a sudden ten percent jump (approximately) in functioning! So so much stress was suddenly gone, and now I feel a new shift in myself. I feel like I came to a turning point, was suddenly placed back in the driver’s wheel of my life, and some decisions were made. Namely, I’m going to be delving back into my spiritual practice and trying to recenter. I want to return to my roots as a pagan and Buddhist, and to feel myself grow.

So! I got myself a new sketchbook to make into a BOS, I made some concrete weight loss and spiritual practice goals (including taking a buddhist meditation class from a local Tibetan nun!) And I am trying to be gentler and more mindful of myself in my day to day experience. Oh, and yoga. I have been doing yoga twice a day now for a week, following short “yoga with Adrienne ” videos. I have to say I’m really enjoying her videos, and feel very pleased with myself for doing them!

And yet I find myself looking to my fresh new book of shadows and wondering… what shall I put in there? What would you counsel, friends and new readers? I am thinking of revisiting the elder futhark, but beyond that and buddhist meditations, I feel a little lost as to what to do with my shiny new notebook. Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

As always, I wish you all the best! Have you recently had any spiritual turn around? Let me know what you did, or what you’d advise to do!

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Anxiety tips for COVID 19, Spiritually Speaking

flowers on opened book
Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.com

What with the sudden influx of people checking out my mental illness posts, I took a wild guess that people were reaching out for help. So, behold! I’ve decided to put together some self-help tips that try and take into consideration our limitations due to the pandemic. I mainly focused upon anxiety and worry, as it seems that’s what most people are dealing with in these trying times.

  • smudge/burn incense that is purifying and banishing of all negative energy. I am particularly prone to burning cinnamon (yes, the spice). Just pile it into a little pyramid (no bigger than an inch tall or wide, otherwise it might be too much heat for your holder), and light with a match.
  • Do a guided meditation (like this one) where you visualize yourself giving up all your worries to your favorite spirit.
    • Sit down comfortably. Close your eyes and relax. Or cry a little bit, that’s okay too. But whatever you do, relax and let your emotions come bubbling up to the surface. Feel them, hold them. Place your hands on your chest and try and, stretching your hands forward, visualize yourself taking these worries as tangible objects out of your chest and holding them out. Now, pray to a healing deity (my thoughts go to Bast or Sekhmet for this one). Ask them to take your worries away, to heal them and guide you through this pandemic safely.
      • The prayer can go something lie “I pray to you, O Great Sekhmet. Here are my worries, my inner plague. Please erase them from me, leaving me wiser and calmer. Let me, by your guiding grace, pass through this pandemic unharmed.”
    • After this, clap your hands and dust them off away from yourself. They are now empty and your worries are symbolically gone. Rest, focusing on feelings of rejuvenation and calmness.
  • Paint a Dagaz rune on your scarf/mask to help keep the virus out. You can use consecrated water to trace it invisibly as well.
  • Meditate on ice, Isa rune, to calm down and help you reach stillness. Visualize the rune in your chest, wherever you feel your worry the most. Breathe it in and feel it filling you, swelling and cooling down your worry. Exhale and feel it absorbing your worries and transforming them into cold calm.
  • Write down on a piece of paper a list of all things that are worrying you about this pandemic. Light a candle to Sekhmet or your favorite deity (simply say “I devote this candle to ___, to function as a channel of true speech between us” as you light it, or use your favorite invocation), and light the paper with the candle. Allow it to burn as you pray for her powers to destroy not only your worries but all harm that may come to you through this pandemic.
    • Prayer could go something like this. “O Great Sekhmet, here is a list of all that worries me, all that I fear. Please, with your burning powers, O Great Eye of Ra, destroy my worries and all harm that may come to me. Keep me and mine safe from this pandemic, this virus that engulfs the world.”
  • Offer up a prayer for all affected by the disease, such as This Brilliant One

 

I hope this was useful ❤  If you are suffering from something particular and want a prayer or ideas on how to cope with it spiritually, feel free to message me (I can send it to you privately) @ mdaoust245@gmail.com

flowers on opened book
Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.com

Moving and Claiming my own Inner Power

I’ve moved!

No, not on the internet. Physically, IRL, I’ve moved!

Now I could rant about how tiring it was, how dramatic the day we moved ‘the big stuff’ was, but I have found something more interesting to talk about.

You see, I’ve been fortunate enough to move into the countryside. And lo and behold, I’m relaxing in a way, on a deeper level, than I have in recent times. It feels good on the soul, like I’m putting a balm on a wound. My night spasms have gotten better. I’m sleeping better. I feel like I can just sit and relax, without having to ‘do something’. My hypervigilance is at an all-time low.

Is living in nature the only solution? Well, no. I currently upped my anti-depressant,  have started seeing changes in my body due to the hormones I’m taking, and have moved next to a friend (with my lovely wife). But all this together? It seems to be doing me wonders.

But, to take a note from my last appointment with my psychiatrist, what am I doing to make things go well? You see, I tend to focus upon the negative, but when things go well (as they are now) I tend to place the power into my circumstances. In doing so, I give my situation all the power over myself and leave none for me.

So. What am I doing that is making me better? I feel like I am ‘individuating’ as Jung would say. I take the time to relax and ‘just be’. I sit outside and meditate next to my little pond (yes I have a mucky little pond haha). I spend time out of doors relaxing in nature and near trees. I seperate my will from that of others.

What about that last point?

You see, I tend to allow others to define me. If they disagree with my being trans, it throws me all into a kerfuffle to say the least. But lately, I visited a church as a way of meeting my local community (and met no locals, surprisingly). In said church, during the sermon, the pastor railed on about the ‘attack on the family structure’ and various other things. As a trans person sitting there, I knew that he was railing about people like me.

And, surprisingly, I didn’t let it bother me. I kept myself from giving a damn. I seperated myself, my desires and life and beliefs, from his.

I also decided to not go back to that church despite the social pressure to go back. Another step forward for me, choosing my own health over the desires of others. It was difficult, but I did it.

And that’s all for now, lovelies. I hope this has helped some of you, or at least shone a bit of light on how various factors can help our mental health. I’ll try and take some nice pictures of my new home for y’all!

Psychosis and Meditation

So I’m not sure how to write this. Part of me wants to retell you my story, about how I used to meditate so much. Part of me wants to just dive in with my revelation of the morning.

Let’s start with my history then. I used to meditate a LOT. In my teens, I used to do (unsupervised) meditations where I could push myself into ecstasy, could feel the chemistry changing in my brain, could push myself into euphoria, and generally felt enlightened. Then, around age 18, I had what I refer to as my first psychotic break. While lying in bed and doing nothing particular, I was suddenly euphoric, on pink and blue fluffy clouds. In the following few days I became convinced my best friend was possessed by a demon, and got lost in familiar places.

Well, in the ensuing shit-storm that was my life for the next few years, I kept trying to meditate. It often inexplicably made things worse. Like just a few months ago, I tried meditating five times a day and inexplicably started having what I believe are psychotic symptoms again (feeling oneness with the divine, seeing ‘patterns’ everywhere, illogical thoughts, etc).

Now here’s the thing -> Meditation can cause brief psychotic episodes.

WHAT?!

I know, right? But after speaking with my psychiatrist who told me that meditation seemed to be a trigger for my derealization and recently wanting to meditate again, I did a little bit of googling this morning.

“Meditation can act as a stressor in vulnerable patients who may develop a transient psychosis with polymorphic symptomatology.”

“In fact, unguided meditation practices can be harmful for people with a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder and have indeed been documented as worsening the psychotic symptoms of some individuals.”

And here I was, trying to ‘meditate my way’ out of it, believing that meditation could only help. Well no!

I’ve linked the articles in my quotes above, but the jist is that unsupervised meditation can cause temporay psychotic symptoms in people who’ve had the symptoms before.

The key things here seem to be ‘unguided’ meditation, wherein the person goes into deep trances unsupervised. I’m guessing that these states can be triggers for the derealization and other symptoms. At least that’s how I experienced it.

Furthermore, the good news is that these symptoms are temporary. My psychotic symptoms after intense meditation went away on their own. They were short term. So the good news is that if you get fresh symptoms after meditating, chances are they will go away.

The bad news is that my long-term symptoms never went away in my periods of low meditation. They still need medication, but are very well controlled.

Anyways, I’m not a doctor nor am I trying to frighten anyone. But please, please, be cautious about meditating if you already have experienced psychotic symptoms. It may bring them back, and even if you don’t have psychotic symptoms, I still urge caution!