Growing + manifesting in May

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It’s May Day. I having one of those moments where the last couple of weeks have gone by so quickly, I’m all, ‘what? It’s not March?!’ moments. Probably not helped by the fact that spring here has been a rather on the chilly side.

So, the perfect time to stop for half an hour and have myself a little backyard ritual to celebrate May Day or Beltane.

My Goddess oracle card for today was Changing Woman, with the message “All of life’s seasons bring blessings. Appreciate them.” This felt super apt, as so much in my life has changed over the last year, and it prodded me into actually taking time today to appreciate the nature that’s finally blooming in my garden.

As it often the case for me, the first part of my mini backyard ritual was just pottering around the garden with my camera, savouring the beauty. Accompanied by both my cats, who wanted to know what I was doing and rub themselves against my legs, normally as I was trying to squat down to photograph something.

I was planning on sitting outside to do the writey bit, but despite the sunshine it was actually surprisingly chilly outside, so I retreated back indoors. Using some of my favourite sparkley gel pens I made a short list of what I am growing, what I am giving my attention to and what I am manifesting. These three headings were inspired partly by the luxuriant growth in the garden, and partly by Glennie Kindred’s writing about Beltane.

My last note, Changing Woman and seasonally inspired note, was a wish to appreciate more. Not in a horrible forced way, but just for more heart-felt spontaneous appreciation to appear in my life.

beltane energy

Then I tied my list to the cherry blossom tree in the garden. I somehow feel that having the written expression of my desires soaking up the sunshine is powerful.

So, what would you like to grow and to energise now?

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Discover Epona: Prosperity, Fertility, Intuition

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Goddess Epona by Susan Boulet

I’ve been sharing monthly goddesses via my newsletter for a few months now, and feel that it’s time to start sharing this on the blog too!

April’s Goddess is Epona

Epona is a Celtic goddess who was associated with horses and fertility, often being associated with foals, cornucopias and ears of wheat, as well as the moon. She was also the only Celtic goddess to be adopted into the Roman pantheon.

In ancient Celtic rituals of kingship, Epona, in the form of a white horse, transmitted sovereignty to the king. She was also a psychopomp, someone who guides souls after their death.

So, inspired by both Epona and the spring, here are some self-discovery questions:

What is fertile in my life right now?

Where am experiencing abundance and prosperity?

In the transitions I am going through right now, who or what is guiding me?

How happy am I following my instinct or intuition?

How can I invite Epona’s blessings of prosperity, sovereignty, and intuition into my life?

If you want to invite the blessings of Epona into your life:

Try lighting a white candle and spending a few quiet minutes asking for her support and guidance with bringing them into your life. If you wanted to make a symbolic offering to her, how about donating to a horse welfare charity?

I hope you enjoy this short and sweet note from me and Epona! I have a real soft spot for this goddess (probably all the playing with My Little Pony as a child!), there’s something so comforting yet refreshing about her!

Lots of love, Jane.

PS – I’ll be playing with this myself and reporting back, either on the blog or on Facebook. Looking forward to seeing what I discover!

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My belly, my self

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belly love (Jane Cronin)

Have you ever tried to move or find awareness in part your body, and all you can connect to is numbmess?

This was what happened to me when I started learning belly dance back in October. The pelvic lock was one of the first moves that I started to learn. It’s a simple tilt of the pelvis, powered by the muscles of the lower abdomen rather than by the glutes or back.

In the first couple of weeks, as I focused in on that part of my body, I was surprised to find that I was getting the body awareness equivalent of a blank space of map. I always consider myself to be pretty aware and tuned in to my body, and yet somehow for years I’d ignored this part of me so thoroughly that I didn’t even know I was doing it.

Then I was introduced to belly rolls – a move where you push and pull your belly in and out to make a wave shape. The first time I tried this, I was shocked to realise that part of me was shocked – pushing my stomach out, instead of pulling it in? In dance?!

Fair to say, how I feel about my belly has radically changed.

For the first time ever, I’m appreciating the strength and beauty of this part of my body – the way it can power and create beautiful shapes, and the simple pleasure of using it.

This has gone hand in hand with feeling more and more at home and happy in my self too, which I don’t think is entirely co-incidence.

I’ve suddenly realising how our lower bellies are ignored and shamed in our society. Even in the world of yoga and meditation, this is an area to be pulled in, tucked, and ignored. How many yoga nidra recordings have I listened to where the whole body is covered – except the area between navel and thigh?

What effect does this have on us?

Energetically, this is the seat of our creativity, our ability to take ideas and manifest them into form. It’s the stepping stone between our energetic root, and connection to being here, and our personal power.

Physically, it’s our core.

And yet we’re alienated from this part of ourselves.

I’m fascinated to see how my relationship with my body and my self develops as I progress as a belly dancer. Right now I’m working on being able to move my lower and upper abdominals separately, which is probably going to take a while. Which might be a good thing, giving me some time and space to adjust to this radical new notion of a belly isn’t beautiful only when it’s flat.

PS – If you’re intersted in belly dance, I’m learning through Datura Online, which I love and highly recommend.

bellydancelove (Jane Cronin)

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Spring Equinox: an invitation to step into my royal self

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vernalcatkinweb

Welcome, vernal equinox! This year you’re rather grey and chilly, and still beautiful.

When I originally started my Year Around the Sun series of blog posts, it was inspired by Glennie Kindred’s The Alchemist’s Journey. As my own journey around the sun has progressed, I’ve been wandered away from her framework for exploring the year, and now, with this equinox, I felt internal guidance to go back and look at the notes I took when I was reading her book.

And those notes I scribbled down at midsummer last year turned out to be just what I needed to read today. Kindred says of this time of year:

we are encouraged to seek our royal nature so we don’t fall prey to the distortion of diminishment and underestimate the vastness of ourselves and our abilities

She associates the vernal equinox, as dark turns into light, the yin months of dormancy and renewal turn into the yang months of action and growth, with the alchemist’s chymical wedding – a powerful symbol of unity and transcendence over seeming opposites.

These are some reflection questions I posed myself based on this idea.

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Where am I aware of “distortions of diminishment”?

Ooo. This is a hard one to answer, not because I’m not aware of these distortions, but because of the pain attached to them. Hello, pain. I see you.

At the moment, I’m aware of these distortions of diminishment when I undervalue myself and what I have to offer. I’m becoming aware of how habitual this is.

It is the voice that says “this will never work”, “why would anyone want this from you?” and a thousand other little corrosive loops of internal dialogue.

It’s the parts of me that believe I need something outside of me in order to be OK, in order to be ‘good enough’.

Where do I feel myself expressing my “royal nature”?

When I do those things that most connect me to myself: shamanic journeying, working with energy, creating. When I allow myself to be present with my pleasure in learning, creating and planning.

When I realise how much my life has changed in the last few years, and how I have been the catalyst for that.

Where do I want to to direct and transfer healing energy?

Towards those parts of the me that still see through the filters of diminishment!

What am I desiring?

I desire creative exploration and expansion: in my business, in my photography, in my writing, in my dancing, in my relationship with money.

Where do I want to transfer my energy from inside to outside?

Into the realignment of my website and services, and into the creation of Project Star. (Yes, that’s a codename, the details are still in secret development phase!)

Into radiant appreciation of my everyday.

Into experimenting with taking new self-portraits and writing ideas – enjoying my freedom to create and play.

<3

So, what about you? Does any of this strike a chord? Feel free to play with or adapt any of these questions, either in the comments or privately.

Lots of love, Jane. xo

vernalbudsweb

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Notes from a snowy garden

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The snowy garden is both literal and metaphorical. The last couple of weeks I’ve been deep in inspiration-retreat mode when it comes to Ardis, and winter is having her last hurrah here, with March snowstorms.

It’s also a place that came to me in shamanic journey I took yesterday, seeking guidance and support. This snowy garden is a place of great quiet and also great strength, where underneath the seeming dormancy you can hear the vibrant humming of life and vitality, replenishing and waiting, renewing and strengthening itself.

It’s a place of the in-between, a pause that seems awkward in our society where action is lauded and withdrawal or contemplation isn’t.

These are my postcards from exploring

Part of me has been chafing at the seeming inaction, fretting about time slipping away, monies and what-if-I’m-missing-opportunities. Ideas are bubbling up, yet every inch of my internal guidance system is telling me not to start putting things into practice right now.

This is so very much the opposite of how I tend to work and create, gleefully following the flashes of inspiration and throwing myself wholeheartedly into my projects. And, let’s be honest, my inner work ethic monitor is having a bit of a fit about it too, worried about ‘all the judgement!’ and also that somehow this is going to see me suddenly going from driven-and-hardworking to drifting aimlessly for the rest of my life, which is naturally associated with doom squared.

But, of course, it is not entirely quiet.

What I am discovering are deep new layers of internal stuff. Or rather they’re not new, they’re old, but the discovery that these are filters and beliefs rather than reality is something new.

Some of them have shocked me on my first discovery, because they seem like the very opposite of what I’ve thought I believed. But now I notice them, I can see how they’ve been boulders in the stream of my life, directing the current and flow, there for so long that I forgot to see them.

Right now I’m in the midst of exploring, of gently prising apart the layers, of healing and releasing and recreating. I’m already looking forward to telling you about my discoveries and journey when it feels like the right time.

Some of them directly relate to what I do here.

I’m becoming aware of the silent shoulds I’ve somehow created or absorbed.

That because I work with intuition, energy and spiritual practices like shamanism I’m expected to be some sort of tie-dye wearing, unkempt hippie who goes in for unicorns, lentils and crushed velvet.

I love the Tarot, goddess guidance, working with energy and intuition, chakras, meditation, shamanism and the spirits of nature. I also love retro fashion and style, wine, cocktails, make-up, modern art, corsets, burlesque and good food.

I am quite likely to go spend part of my day tuning into intuitive guidance and another going to an alternative fashion show that features retro latex dresses.

At some point in the past, I’d somehow talked myself into believing that I can either work with marketing and SEO and social media or I can do work with intuition and energy. Not only that, I’ve somehow been frozen into not deploying the very superpowers that other people pay me for to promote Ardis.

Oh gosh, and then there’s all the stuff about money. All the value judgements what charging certain amounts mean. Strangely enough, none of them are particularly positive. (Or positive at all).

And all the stuff about business. I’m fascinated by both mainstream business and the world of solotrepreneurs. I don’t find business language or concepts ‘icky’. I find them interesting and useful. For so long, I’ve absorbed other people’s stuff around this, attempting to fit a black-and-white distortion over my own feelings and inclinations.

That’s not to say that there’s necessarily anything wrong with any of these things. More that I’ve been realising how deep the ‘You’d really be better if you acted like someone else’ pattern went.

It feels so good to let all of this stuff go!

So, what am I going to do next?

The snow is still here, but it’s starting the melt. The ice on the pond is thinning. I’m beginning to see the paths I’m going to take become clear.

My writing is going to change. I’ve realised that for the last year or so I’ve been pressuring myself into writing what I would describe as an instructional manner. Which has its place, and I can see that there might still be posts I write that have a ‘how-to’ flavour to them.

But my main focus is going to be on my own personal and spiritual explorations, because writing about my path allows it to inspire others, to become a pool for reflection and a jumping off point for their own journeys.

In my work, I offer loving support and guided exploration at that point where my path runs parallel to theirs, where there is a natural intersection, as they explore and find their own paths and their own source of connection, inspiration and strength.

This is where my new services will be rooted. At the moment, as per usual, I have enough ideas that could keep me going for the next year or two. In the next week or two I’ll start the process of writing them down, and seeing which ones to explore and develop first.

If there’s something – a service, a product, a course on something – that you’d like to see from me, I’d be super interested to know.

Waving from the snowy garden with love, Jane. xo

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So, what’s the point?

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petworth woods web

Let it not be said that I shy away from those big ol’ thorny questions! This week’s musing is brought to you courtesy of my self-reflection as I consider what I want do with in this space now, looking back over the past year of everything I’ve created and facilitated at Jane of Ardis, and some last-minute nerves as I organised my first-ever charity night at my day job.

It’s all been coming down to the question of ‘What if it doesn’t work out?’ Or, as my monstourage* say, ‘What if everything goes wrong and then we’re doomed forever? DOOOOOOOOOMED, I tell you!’. (The last sentence imagine being said by Frazer from Dad’s Army. I have no idea how popular Dad’s Army is outside the UK, so if you have no idea what I’m talking about, or if you just fancy a laugh, watch the video below.)

* Monsters are what Havi describes those critical and doom filled inner-voices; often called the inner-critic. Personally, I find picturing them as brightly coloured fuzzball monsters very helpful in dissolving the fear and anxiety they bring with them.

In which I turn my paradigm on it’s head

Yes, I confess, for me the point of doing something is generally that it goes well – however I’m defining that. It might be getting what I consider to be a ‘good’ grade in an assessment for my MA, having a social media campaign return results above and beyond the target, getting ‘good’ photos from a shoot. I am often very goal-oriented and love ticking things of lists. In many regards this is super helpful – it means I’m self-motivated, driven and Get Things Done.

It also means that I have a tendency to see anything that doesn’t ‘go right’, by which I mean go according to My Grand Plan, as abject faliure, at which point please cue, if not wailing and gnashing of teeth, then at least recrimination and frustration. Surely if things haven’t ‘gone right’ then it means they’ve ‘gone wrong’, and that somewhere there’s the shadow of blame and reproach lingering, just waiting to pay an extended visit.

However, I have been working with this pattern for the last couple of years, breathing some space into the perfectionist tendencies.

What if nothing has to be split into ‘going right’ and ‘going wrong’?

A question that brought with it mind and spirit easing relief.

And permission to jetison the stress of this constant labelling: good, bad. It’s good to be good and bad to bad, and the constant resulting fracturing and fissuring of our daily experience.

When I step away from this, what is left?

If the point of doing something is no longer for it to ‘go right’, then, for me, the point becomes: learning, growth, evolution, exploration.

The point is learning that I am OK and that I am enough, even when ‘things go wrong’.

It is being able to discern doorways and possibilities, even if I’m experiencing events as tough.

It is having the courage to get up and do what I’m drawn towards, even though the outcome is in no way assured.

It is having the the courage, strength, endurance, determination and lionheartedness* to follow and immerse myself in what is calling to me.

It is living wholeheartedly, creating what sings to me, being the living entwining of spirit and matter and dancing the Royal Road**.

This is the point, for me, now.

No doubt it will change, as I do.

No doubt yours is different, ideally fitted to you.

*Yes, totally a made-up word. Aren’t they all at some point?

** The Royal Road is a concept explained to me in a shamanism workshop by Simon Buxton of the Sacred Trust. The idea of it is that before we come into incarnations, our spirits choose experiences that will help us fulfill our highest potential, and that we can choose to walk the Royal Road and meet this obligations.

Comment Love: What is the point for you? Is there anything here which sings to your heart?

Thoughts and sparks very welcome.

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On making changes

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skies at beachey head

Today I took down all the pages on this website with products and services on them. Which, yes, means that they are currently unavailable.

This feels – freeing, slightly terrifying and most of all surprisingly right.

I’ve been toying with the idea for a few weeks now, and the hardest bit by far was admitting to myself that what I was doing wasn’t working for me right now at all. Despite all the love, hard work, energy and resources that had been poured into creating it.

There was so many internal promptings saying that in order for that work to be worthwhile, to mean something, I needed to keep on doing just as I had been. The voice that says that things are either wrong or right, and if I stop doing this, then that’s admitting that I’m wrong.

Luckily, I was able to see this for the fear and distortion that it was. That it’s quite possible that how I had things set up was just right for me from last spring, but now I have changed and learnt and grown so much, that I have such a radically new sense of what I have to offer the world, so that it’s time to realign and recreate.

This is totally fine. The first step is letting go of what was here, so that there’s space for what is incoming to appear.

Just as I’ve been clearing out my physical space, so it seems I’m also clearing out my business space.

What is going to happen next?

Well, I’m not quite sure. I have several inklings of doorways that are beckoning me to step through them.

I’m going to keep blogging and writing and leaving myself a written trail of scarlet fibre as I navigate myself through the labyrinth.

Right now, I’m creating an intentional space for new growth to blossom.

<3

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When things are hard

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west pier snow

Because, yes, sometimes things are hard. And by things, I mean life.

Sometimes there is hard and pain and tears and regret and all sorts of other not-particularly-delightful to experience feelings washing about. I have experienced quite a bit of this over the last few weeks.

And this is one thing that has helped, words that I’ve been whispering into my own ear.

It’s all part of wholeness

That painful emotions and experiences are part of human experience. It’s OK to be in them. It’s OK to be in them so much that focusing on anything else is difficult. It says nothing bad about me as a person.

It’s part of life, part of the messy process of living loving experimenting getting-out-there-and-doing-it.

Sadness and grief and remorse and wishing-things-were-different are part of wholeness, part of the ecology of our existence.

And at the same time, it’s OK not to love this

I don’t have to be all ‘look what lesson I’m learning’, or try and force myself into perma-optimism and away from what I’m feeling.

Really, sometimes some things just suck. So, yeah, 100% permission to experience things as sucking.

Sometimes the only thing to do is take care of yourself

So I did. Ridiculously glad of all the time I’ve spent hanging out in the Fluent Self community over the last three years or so, because I have my list of things that help when things suck and was actually able to apply it.

Mainly, this has involved reading, and tea, and dance, and yoga, and walking, and just not pushing myself. Giving myself the space to feel the emotions, even when that was hard, and for them to flow through me.

Breakdown to realign

Yes, and then this little realisation snuck in. About how sometimes things need to break down or break apart in order to realign.

I’m suddenly seeing all the places where I’ve been shoulding myself, and how this has caused stasis as I was torn between what I truly desire and what I thought I should want.

I’m also seeing the parts of relationships (to people, things, ambitions) that were built on pain and not-enoughness, and understanding that these need to either change or crumble, and accepting the crumbling as liberation.

So this is where I am, busy creating my road-map through (and hopefully out of) hard times. I’m still drawing and colouring, but at least right now I can say ‘I wonder where this is taking me’.

Much love.

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Welcoming the growing light

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imbolc sky

In the last couple of days I’ve noticed how it’s suddenly much lighter in the late afternoon, and spotted fat buds appearing on the plants. It’s Imbolc, or Candlemas, the first stirrings of spring after winter.

Spring cleaning is a thing!

This was the first change that I noticed of the turning season. Suddenly, my midwinter desire to nest and contemplate was joined by the urge to clean and clear out. I’ve been throwing away, recycling, rearranging and sorting.

One of the figures associated with this time of year is Brighid, goddess and saint, and this is her festival. It’s a festival of springs – fresh, sweet water bubbling up from the earth.

And that’s what clearing stuff out has felt like – making from for fresh energy in my space and life. Which has been, shall we say, interesting so far? I’m seeing things that I need to let go off, even though doing so is super painful. (Because even when it’s useful, and for the best, sometimes change is hard!) As I’ve done so though, I’m noticing how other people or ideas or desires are suddenly returning to me.

So fascinated with how clearing space physically is linked to internal changes and life changes.

A teeny tiny Imbolc ritual

Or Candlemas. I really prefer this name for this season. The word Candlemas evokes a row of candles being lit, light returning, which seems more appropriate to me.

candlemas

So, I simply lit a single tea-light, and watched it burn, silently planting my wish for blossoming. I carried it carefully about the room, bringing this fresh light into every corner.

I was going to let it burn out in one go, but then realised that I had things I needed do in other parts of the house, and having two curious little furballs, I’m loathe to ever leave a candle burning unattended. So it burned for 15 minutes, and that was perfect: those few minutes taken to recognise the shifting of the seasons, and of my world.

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Because sometimes it takes as long as it takes

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And sometimes it takes playing and exploring in different ways too.

As I wrote about last week, I’m dancing with the rekindled desire to draw, to photograph, to mess around with paints. And letting the desire to write (or at least, write for the blog and in other structured ways) take a nap for a while.

So I thought I’d share some of my explorations with you. A big thank you to The Art Journaler, for helping me rekindle this flame of creative discovery!

ittakesaslongasittakes

I shared this one on my Facebook page earlier in the week, and I’m sharing it again, because this is just so important, and so hard sometimes, and so very much reflects what’s going on internally for me at the book.

lifecomesfromdeath

Because it does. We’re constantly in this huge, beautiful, terrifying, amazing cycle of birth and death, of creation and destruction, of construction and deconstruction. The more I’ve learned to accept this and to play with it, the more I’ve been able discover the doorways to peace and being-OK-with-myself and new gorgeous experiences.

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This one’s going up in my being re-created (see above) altar space. It expresses visually in a way I find difficult to do in words the sheer joy and magic and delight of playing with intuition and discovering myself.

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IacceptLove

Love gets two pictures. The first photo I love, the second, finished, page, not so much, especially at first. I found the paint over-powering in comparison to the rest of the page elements and I totally messed up first time round, and ended up having to do part of it over. So messy, not what I expected, a bit over-powering, and yet somehow still bringing a smile to my face and a glow to my heart? Yeah, that’d be love alright.

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