I’m a #SlowDigitalAdvocate Are You? Setting Boundaries in the Online World

I’m a #SlowDigitalAdvocate Are You? Setting Boundaries in the Online World

Folks I’ve wanted to make this post for SO LONG! It feels great to finally make the space to share this concept with you because I want you to get involved too! I’ve had the idea for a digital banner for us to unite under, one that promotes better communication and helps us manage folks expectations. Read on, share the link and hashtag and join a new way of showing up online!

Boundaries are something that come into allot of the work I do; promoting folks to set boundaries for a better Winter during Winter’s Embrace, or create new boundaries to get their life more on track through Labyrinth Life Coaching, or passing on suggestions that arise from tarot readings. Boundaries are often how we create or maintain change in our lives, but don’t you think the online areas of our lives often get left out?

So what’s the concept? SLOW DIGITAL ADVOCATE! I’m sure nearly everyone who reads this has at some point experienced either someone demanding an answer or reply online, or has felt that nagging feeling that it’s been ages since someone contacted you online so you really must reply, but then you realise it was only this morning/yesterday/2 days etc since they got in touch.

As our means of communication have sped up, so has the expected speed of response. Don’t get me wrong, there are of course, certain roles, jobs, times when it’s right to expect of folks to be online and ready to respond to you quickly, but is that really the case for most of us, most of the time?

My work is to help folks re-connect to nature and themselves as a part of nature, and all too often the digital world gets in the way. How can we expect to make meaningful connection to the world around us when our mind/emotions are scattered by the barrage of information and calls on our attention. How can we truly sit with ourselves and connect deeply when our phone is pinging away every few minutes? All I’m asking here is that you make space occasionally with intention to be receptive, not distracted. Turn notifications off occasionally, turn off data, leave your phone behind – whatever feels right for you.

Another facet to this for some people, may be the need for appreciation towards the words we use in digital communication, the tone of how we connect with people, the time spent thinking of the human, personal, friendly, loving, honest, upfront, REAL ways we want to communicate (though maybe not for a pizza order!?).

So what is a Slow Digital Advocate? Someone who not only advocates for slower ways of communicating some of the time, but also someone who isn’t afraid to (where possible), to hold strong boundaries around their digital communication. This might look like creating office hours, turning wifi off beyond a certain time or on a certain day, creating a social media post or email signature that tells people you aren’t always online and that they need to not expect an instant response. These are just some of the ways that I have taken this concept to heart in my own life.

Now that I will be creating a tinyURL from this post, I can add it to my email signatures and social media bios and I have a pithy phrase that sums up my attitude and expectations around digital communication. Now I need YOUR help! If you’re tired of late night messages, harassing emails, paranoid responses to you wanting to take your time or have some real rest, please share the link to this post, the hashtag #SlowDigitalAdvocate (capitalised for added accessibility) or the social media posts and add them to your bios and signatures. Tell the world that you too are a Slow Digital Advocate and let’s start to shift the expectation that we are forever available! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one. Let me know how this lands and if you plan to share this concept in the comments below or on socials.

Give Permission to Your Animal Self: Hibernation, Rest & Cauldron Time

Give Permission to Your Animal Self: Hibernation, Rest & Cauldron Time

In a recent session for the Winter’s Embrace course cohort, we were reminding ourselves our the animal self within us and I wanted to share that reminder here.

I believe that in Winter, more than at any other time of year, it is vital to give ourselves permission to listen to, and act upon the voice within us, within our bodies and minds, asking us to slow down and rest.

Within the dark heart of Winter, it is ironic and problematic that we are presented with Christmas as a small window of time when we are allowed to slow down, but with the expectation that this is a fleeting pause that comes sandwiched in between intense preparation for this period with extra planning, social engagements, purchases, expectations and pressures piled on top of our usual responsibilities.

The dreamy and cheery vision of a restful Yule is for many an illusion. So, how can we find more balance between heeding the call on us to respond to Winter as the rest of nature does, by slowing down, resting more of hibernation? Here’s a few thoughts…

Firstly, let’s get the difficult one out of the way – boundaries! If we are unhappy with either the amount of restful time or the expectations placed on us during Winter celebrations, the main way in which we can create change is to ask ourselves what needs to change, what causes us discomfort or unease, and set boundaries that honour our needs. Setting boundaries isn’t too hard, but it can get tricky when you need to communicate and maintain them in the face of friends, family or colleagues. But changing our behaviour and our expectations, not only benefits us, but also shows others that they have a choice in how they move through this time. For example, one boundary I’ve set around this time which has had such a big positive impact for me is releasing gift giving and receiving (for more on reconsidering gifts, making boundaries around Yule and more, get your free Reframing Christmas zine download here). I know this won’t be for everyone, but it’s a good example of big change that can help you feel more in alignment with yourself rather than acting out of pressure or guilt.

Something else that I recommend strongly is to really make rest a priority. That won’t happen automatically, believe me I know – there’s always more I know I could be doing. So until you block out a little time specifically to slow down and enjoy some restful time, alone or with others, it won’t land in your lap.

There’s a few different ways you can approach this. You might want to take advantage of the long nights to get a few extra hours rest in the evenings if that’s a possibility. Or you may want to consider a set time period where you will only do light activities and minimal chores and responsibilities. This year, for me this looked like clearing out jobs form my diary that can wait until next year and putting a message out on social media that I’m hibernating so would be less active online and in my business generally. I’ve been choosing to read and make dried orange and popcorn tree decorations instead of planning a new course for example. You can include taking some time off work maybe, or trying to find some extra childminding if that’s one of your needs.

If you want to go deeper into rest, I’d really recommend taking some Cauldron Time. This is my name for taking a set period of time (from a few hours to a few weeks, whatever is possible), to really set aside everyday pressures and slow right down. My Cauldron Times usually include walks, yoga, ritual, sleep, reading, journaling, detox and digital detox, but you will know what is right for you that is self-loving and deeply restful. If you want to know more about this, you can take the pre-recorded course, ‘Into the Cauldron’ here, or read more about it in this Instagram post.

I want to finish off by cycling back around to where we started, with our animal selves. Animals are wonderful at acting on their needs and they do so (presumably) free from guilt, unlike us human-animals. It’s so important to acknowledge that our natural state is to be impacted by the seasons and weather, but long gone are the day where we were free to respond to the needs of our bodies and minds as a collective, societally. Therefore when I say things like, ‘rest is radical’, ‘re-enchantment is resistance’, I really do mean that in heeding what our bodies and minds are asking us to do in response to, in this case, Winter, we are actively de-stabilising the extractive society that has raised us with deep productivity conditioning, and we are showing others this is possible too.

The expectations of social pressure are often so deeply ingrained in us that we don’t notice it, and Christmas and the Gregorian New Year are choc full of these pressures. I want you to hear me when I say that it is in no way selfish, it is a beautiful, radical, natural act to prioritise rest and slowing down. I know it’s not easy, and can be a tightrope walk to navigate these issues, but I want you to know that you have the power to give yourself permission to explore rest, and that whenever you do so, I am cheering you on, with great respect and with a vision for new ways of living burning quietly within me.

Blessings during this sacred pause of Solstice time, from my cocoon to yours

Moss xx

A Fools Leap Helping Me to ‘Know Thyself’

A Fools Leap Helping Me to ‘Know Thyself’

I’ve always admired the easy leap of faith taken by the fool of the tarot, seemingly content in ambling off the edge of a cliff. Didn’t they see the edge or are they embracing the descent into new ways of being and thinking, turning their life upside down joyously?
 
 
 
 
When it comes to turning my life upside down, I’m a quintessential Libra, living up to my sun sign as I spend many moons weighing the pros and cons, dreaming into change, making lists, consulting the tarot, seeking guidance from my deities and advice from friends.
 
 
So I want to tell you about a big decision I’ve made recently, but also some of the impacts and insights that have come with it, as well as share with you some of the tools I’ve used along the way.
 
 
The decision it’s taken me all year to make is to give up my permanent contract at the library where I’ve worked for 18 years and switch to a zero hour contract. I have done this before and I know there will be enough hours available that I will be ok for money, but the lack of certainty has still made it a difficult decision. The reason I’ve chosen this option, is that I can’t yet make a living from my business only, but the extra flexibility and more time I can spend on my business will really help.
 
 
The thing that pushed me to decide, was seeing that I wasn’t following some advice that I often give to others; that in order to make change in our lives, we first have to make space for it. I had been expecting my life to change drastically, but without creating the conditions for that change to happen. Once I realised that, there was no other reason I could see not to take the leap – fool or not.
 
 
This was during the Summer, and I spent these months asking my employer for details of the process. By the time Lughnasadh arrived, I had officially given notice, effective from Samhain (I had to right?). There are a lot of details about the process that I won’t bore you with, but that make the transitional months between contracts a REALLY tough time ahead. Giving my notice had been really empowering, and I felt great about taking a leap of faith in favour of my business, but by Lughnasadh I was really worried about how I was going to cope financially during the 3 month transition period.
 
I did a lot of reflection at Lughnasadh around the themes of this seasonal celebration: harvest, abundance and sacrifice. I was very grateful to receive insights that reminded me of the role of sacrifice in the harvest. There’s no apples without the shedding of leaves beforehand, for example. So, I was able to reframe these difficulties as a necessary sacrifice in preparation for (hopefully) a future harvest of increased income from my business. Don’t get me wrong, this insight didn’t wave a magic wand making all my fears disappear, but it certainly soothed me.
 
 
My final realisations around this have come from revisiting a wonderful free zine download called ‘our bodies as authentic business mentors’ by the wonderful Yarrow Magdalena (sign up to their newsletter for the download here). The beautiful text and gentle journal prompts asked me to check in with my body, where I was surprised to discover grief. When I went deeper with this I came to see that I had unwittingly created a narrative at some point, about how I expected my business to grow steadily, meaning I would naturally arrive at a point where I would give up my library work entirely to focus on my business. A neat little story I hadn’t even realised I’d internalised and was even grieving the loss of!
 
 
Wrapped up in these experiences you can see the power of reflection and listening to the body. It feels like we can move through our everyday life incorporating narratives and limiting beliefs without even realising, even when they can cause us difficulties in moving forward and growing.
 
 
I’d really recommend trying practices that connect you to your body to identify your feelings. Once you have that you can ask where these feelings are coming from. Also, any tool or resource that allows you to question yourself is well worth the time. Remember that leaping fool? Tarot is a favourite tool of mine, both in reading for myself, and for the client readings I offer through my website (here). It never ceases to amaze me the way that divination can bring new perspectives sharply into focus, like an outspoken dear friend.
 
 
Finally, if you’re eager to do such work but need some radical support, do check out the Labyrinth Life Coaching page of the website (here), as I’d dearly love to support you on the path to such insights and on the quest, as it says on the ancient temple ruins of Apollo at Delpi, to ‘know thyself.’

What Am I Grieving? – Some Ancestral Illumination

What Am I Grieving? – Some Ancestral Illumination

Firstly, a little request to be gentle with your comments. This piece contains some deeply personal spiritual experiences and gnosis. This type of experience is hugely symbolic and meaningful to me as the practitioner, but can be hard to translate into words. It takes vulnerability to bring these spiritual visions into the light of public scrutiny so I ask that if you can’t relate, please keep it to yourself with my hopes for your own profound spiritual insights. Thank you.

Finishing the Boudica series of novels (by Manda Scott) was tough and as I read of the inevitable death of The Boudica, knowing what that has meant for the Britain I now inhabit, I honour that grief that laid thick on my heart and in my bones for many months.

To be honest, I’ve always resented the Romans for conquering this island, bringing their nailed God and concept of ‘civitas’ – citizenship, and what it was to be civilised. I know this is naive, and I’ve accepted that I am a naive soul and that’s ok. Of course, I know the Roman invasion was but one spoke in the wheel of those who have sought to crush us with religiosity, law, and later disenchantment, industrialisation, patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism and all the other things I perceive as having challenged the beauty of living on this amazing planet.

But my body and soul always seem to look to the past for answers. I try not to romanticise the life of those on these isles before me, and am careful with the archeological and historical sources I put my trust in. But still, I feel in my many visits to ancient barrows, stone circles, grave mounds, sacred springs, chalk figures and museums, a grave loss of something colossal, and that loss was a world where the imprint of humans on the land was far less than the presence of nature, when we were just another species among many.

Of course, to be human is to strive and I’m no primitivist (I think). We always would have grown, our technology blooming from flint to microchip, but oh to live in a time when the Gods were among us rather than profit being god!

But it is this present sense of loss that interests me as well as the archaeological reality of Iron Age life. Boudica remains a symbol and the feelings raised by these books are in response to my internalised sense of loss based on my personal imaginings of pre-Roman and pre-Christian cosmologies and praxis. And these cosmologies have been for me, a balm against the current capitalist hellscape in which we find ourselves today.

When I connected with my ancestors to try to better understand these feelings, the message I received was, ‘grief and sacred rage are a bridge to the ancestors.’ This is comforting and makes me consider the experiences of struggle amongst those who have come before me. All of our ancestors include victors and victims but in this situation I also got a very specific sensation –  that I can only express as an embodied sense of Albion, or the Spirit of Britain (though I acknowledge how problematic the wording is for the latter in a colonial context).

Albion remains, for me, an embodied concept that is brought to the fore when I experience folk tradition, hear myth brought alive, see museum objects, feel the sounds of folk music humm deep within me. I can’t tell you what exactly that feeling is conceptualising, other than to say that to revel in certain elements of folk culture burns a flame within me, and that flame is key in considering this loss and longing. It helps me feel like I’m accessing something not only from the past, but that helps me embody the thread of connection that remains with my ancestors, stretching back through time.

I feel these ancestral messages from my ritual will take a long time to process and will bring differing layers of insights as it sinks through my subconscious, but by far the most long-lasting part of my processing these insights came from a specific symbolic gift from the Otherworld, the triskele. Let me take you on a brief journey…

Deep within an Otherworldly journeying session I found myself far from my familiar haunts and in the most primordial place I’ve been so far, the darkness. I’ve been here before, an endless space of darkness that, far from being scary, is womb-like in its cocoon of safety. What I realised from this particular journey is that this place is timeless, meaning it contains all times, all places. The form that the gift of this realisation came in was the triskele, a symbol I’ve had a life-long connection to. The variation that I particularly like is where the triple spirals form a triangular space in the centre of the spirals. I was gifted the realisation that this primordial darkness I was experiencing WAS this central space of the triskele, and that this darkness, being home to all ancestors past, present and future, meant that truly nothing was lost in the Roman conquest of this land. All of the beauty, magic and potency of the days of Boudicca, the Druids and the tribes, is still here! I mean, wow! What a thing to arrive at! What a balm against the pain of the grief I’ve mentioned.

From this remarkable gift came a string of other insights. The Otherworld can never be taken from us, was a strong message I received that came with such a sense of belonging and relief. That no matter what oppression we face, we always have our inner landscape, our myths, our Gods and ancestors.

In discovering this came the knowledge that as spiritual seekers, our task is then to connect, to truly seek the ancestral wisdom that is our birth-right. Hmm I never thought I’d say something so cheesy, but I mean it with my whole heart. This is a life’s pursuit; to undo capitalist and productivity indoctrination in order to give ourselves permission to open up to such insights and relationships, but I feel deeply happy to know that I’m on this path.

So, drawing together these threads, what have I learnt? Firstly, the symbols created where myth and history blur, can continue to impact us, regardless of the form in which we experience them, and whether fact, fiction or something in between. Secondly, it’s more than OK to be deeply impacted by the past as history and legend provides a wellspring of psycho-spiritual inspiration, of awen and revelation. More than this, these insights are deeply healing in that they can help us deal with the rigours of living in this extractive and oppressive system. Lastly, the gift I was given through the triskele symbolism showed me that the wisdom of our ancestors remains accessible to us all. Ancestral wisdom lives on in us and can also be found in the Otherworld, and in seeking this knowledge we also renew and strengthen our relationships to our ancestors, whether they be of blood, of tradition or of place, as us Druids would have it.

A connection to ancestors has only been part of my life for a handful or years and, in truth, I didn’t know what people meant when they discussed accessing ancestral wisdom. So if that’s you right now, I can relate. I’d love to know if you’ve ever been gifted insights or knowledge from your ancestors and, if not, what do you think could be your first step on that path?

 

If you want to lean into some support in this world to help you forge practices to connect to ancestors or deity, if you could use some advice or broader perspectives about your spiritual path, whether fresh out the broom closet or looking to revive and reimagine your practices, I’m here for one-to-one spiritual coaching. My services via Labyrinth Life Coaching offer radical and spiritual support and I’d love to connect with you on a free call to chat about how I can help you (see the Labyrinth Life Coaching page of the website: https://www.walkthespiralpath.co.uk/coaching/ ).

 

May the voice of your Gods, guides and ancestors support you on the path…

Got Your Back? Un/Conventional Support Systems & Letting Our SPIRIT SPEAK

Got Your Back? Un/Conventional Support Systems & Letting Our SPIRIT SPEAK

Imposter syndrome is a reality for many of us and since starting Spiral Path at the start of 2021, it has surprised me many times by sneaking in and undermining me before I’ve even become aware of its presence. This has led me to understand the real importance of support systems. We’re going to look at the advice of mentors and like-minded folks, as well as spiritual support and acceptance as a part of this.

Recently I was feeling very stuck with something in my business. I realised I had unwittingly created a narrative about how I expected it to unfold and when it didn’t, I simply didn’t know what to do. I sought a range of advice and I got more than I bargained for! I didn’t just get an answer about how to move ahead, I received the realisation that the narrative, the plan I’d created for a particular offering wasn’t based on anything other than replicating what I had seen others do. I was so shocked when someone questioned why I was fighting so hard to make something work when, as they suggested, it could just run in a different way! A different way!? Why hadn’t I seen it?

On top of that, another source I turned to for help gave me some advice that was just so far from who I am and what Spiral Path is about, I started to doubt myself. If this professional business advisor was suggesting something so alien to me, surely I’m at fault?! Thankfully, after some rest and encouragement I came to see the huge difference between advice given by like-minded people versus conventional support. Those with a similar approach to business were just as grossed out by the tone of the suggestion as I was, soothing my worries and giving me the courage to ignore the suggestion. There is so much vulnerability in being an anti-capitalist small business owner with no business experience! I realised I’d given allot of weight to this advisor due to their job role, but in actuality, this did not translate to knowing me and my business, therefore it was down to ME which piece of their advice I take on, and which I release. Phew, what a relief!

Support systems can bring us realisations and relief and can look like any number of things. Perhaps it’s self-soothing methods to bring some space and perspective. Perhaps it’s a trusted friend helping you with the figures (what a legend!). For me in the case above, once the suggestion had been made by a friend that I could totally change the method I was trying (and failing) to use to deliver my BLOOM BLOCK offering, I knew I need my most trusted tool – the pros vs cons list. It may not strike you as cutting edge business planning, but I promise it’s not something to take for granted. When I started to think about my need to talk to you all about these themes and drew together some of the threads around it, I arrived at the insight that whenever I’ve done a pros vs cons list in the past, I actually knew beforehand what I had chosen, but I needed to put it down on paper so I could give myself permission to go with what my intuition was already shouting at me. Do you have any methods for allowing your inner voice to tell you what it already knows?

This realisation led me to bring in my spiritual support systems. I understood how in my spiritual life I’ve been open for many years to being led by my intuition and guides (did you know Spiral Path was a concept given to me by one of my deity? You can’t ignore something like that!) So why haven’t I been open to that with the running of my business? But when I made that list to decide if I should overhaul the BLOOM BLOCK process, it was my intuition, not my rational thinking that told me what was right. This type of planning then allows me to be value-led rather than disempowering myself by simply following others as I had been doing. So, moving forward, it’s exciting to see where my intuition might take Spiral Path now I’ve given it the reins.

And this leaning into acceptance is not just about giving space for my intuition to speak. I had a hot minute there, after accepting what the list was confirming, telling myself that to make a u-turn is not a failure! I’m not a politician after all! I probably blocked out my inner voice to try lessen the imposter syndrome, but if my business is truly heart-led, I need to create space for my heart to speak, as well as listen to those who understand my values and spirit.

Do you have people like this you can turn to? Do you use spiritual support systems? I’d love to hear. These questions are the reason why I started Labyrinth Life Coaching. I had never been able to find someone I could go to for support who shared my radical values. LLC provides radical support because we all live in a world where oppression and marginalisation shape us. To try to create change without acknowledging that is unfair, just as unfair as putting the emphasis on personal change only when it is system change that is so desperately needed too.

I’m so pleased to say that the full range of LLC offerings is now available to help you on your path. SEED SESSION gives you a potent one-off session to explore your goals and dreams through the body. BLOOM BLOCK is a 3 month coaching deep dive where we can form a plan and smash your barriers (and yes, I stopped trying to make the waiting list work and, thanks to some excellent advice, you can now start whenever is right for you!) and SPIRIT SPEAK is a one-shot of spiritual advice.

It’s my job to be part of your support system as we walk the labyrinth path together, deep into the heart of who you are, what your values are, what your hopes and dreams are and what your intuition is trying to tell you about them. This is the support I always dreamed of, and now it’s my honour to hold space for you. With radical coaching, personalised tools and your commitment coupled with my support, we can change your path.