I’m getting ready to record for the podcast I’m co-hosting with my friend Jess. We’d been co-hosting a local Red Tent women’s circle, and decided to take the content digital. Our hope is to connect with more people this way. So far, we’ve discussed the history of the Red Tent and importance of sacred space. We’re getting into finding your tribe and why the heck it matters on the next episode and a half. Our discussion of the feminine is completely inclusive, and we want people to engage through the podcast, blog, Instagram etc. You can find the podcast here: The Dynamic Feminine
We’re also on Instagram: @thedynamicfeminine
You can listen to the Podcast on Messy.fm, Spotify, and Google. (Apple is in the works)
We hope you’ll join us for discussion of all things womanhood.
Sometimes, just being yourself, in this world, is an act of revolt.
Recently, I found myself in group therapy, getting choked up, as we read a list about boundaries. To me, it read like a list of rights, freedoms that were being granted to me and acknowledged in that moment. It was overwhelming.
One of the things I’m working on is the amount of guilt and shame I feel, when I can logically say that I shouldn’t. It’s what I know in my heart and mind, but my spirit has been worn down by experience. I can believe in all my power, but unless I feel it, it’s difficult to act on.
When I do act like myself, and share things with others, that I truly feel, an opinion, belief, or fact that I know when they may not, I often experience guilt and shame for speaking up. Who am I to do or say something? Who am I to have an opinion? Who am I to be an authority on a subject? (EVEN WHEN I TRULY AM) How dare I have the audacity?!
The conditions are unacceptable, and I don’t like myself much when I accept them.
Why should I feel guilty for existing and breathing and having experiences and opinions? Others may not agree with me, but it doesn’t mean that I’m wrong – that something is inherently wrong with me.
IT’S A DIFFICULT MESSAGE TO UNLEARN.
And it’s not a coincidence that SO MANY WOMEN are out there talking about worth right now…
Here’s the list:
A boundary is the:
– Emotional and physical space between you and another person
– Demarcation of where you end and another begins and where you begin and another ends.
– Limit or line over which you will not allow anyone to cross because of the negative impact of its being crossed in the past.
– Established set of limits over your physical and emotional well-being which you expect others to respect in their relationship with you.
– Emotional and physical space you need in order to be the real you without the pressure from others to be something that you are not.
– Emotional and/or physical perimeter of your life which is or has been violated when you were emotionally, verbally, physically and/or sexually abused.
– Healthy emotional and physical distance you can maintain between you and another so that you do not become overly enmeshed and/or dependent.
– Appropriate amount of emotional and physical closeness you need to maintain so that you and another do not become too detached and/or overly independent.
– Balanced emotional and physical limits set on interacting with another so that you can achieve an interdependent relationship of independent beings who do not lose their personal identity, uniqueness and autonomy in the process.
– Clearly defined limits within which you are free to be yourself with no restrictions placed on you by others as how to think, feel or act.
– Set of parameters which make you a unique, autonomous and free individual who has the freedom to be a creative, original, idiosyncratic problem solver.
How does this read for you? Do you ever feel audacious just for being yourself?
If we’ve hung out in the past 6 years, I’ve probably made you download this app on your phone. Especially if you have complained about disorganization or keeping track of things. It’s just so. dang. helpful.
Google on Apple products? YES. – did you know that Apple products use Google service to support their cloud? Google does this stuff really well, let’s go with it…
COLOR CODING – art related notes are orange for me, shopping lists are blue, health stuff is purple… use whatever works for you
LABELS- these are keywords or hashtags, use them to sort your notes into categories. Some general ones I use: art, journal, read, submissions, shopping, health, podcast, writing, food, remember this. I also label specific projects this way: happiness project, magic oracle, book club.
ARCHIVED NOTES – this works really well with labels. I delete old shopping lists once they’re done, but I archive all my journal posts or research notes when I’m done with them. They’re not popping up, but they’re accessible through an easy search.
CHECK BOXES – or no check boxes. You can switch this up at any time on your note. You can also still see everything you’ve checked off. Before I go grocery shopping, I go to my grocery list, and uncheck things I got last time, but need to buy again. Saves time thinking about what I need, and having to type or write up a new list every time.
NOTE SHARING – life changing. this is everything teamwork. It updates as you go. Often times, my husband will be like, ” heading to the store, add what you need to the list”. It’s also great for projects where multiple people are involved. Everyone can see what’s been done.
REMINDERS – need to be reminded of a note or list at a particular place or time – DING! you got that. (don’t forget that weird random thing you needed, but not right away, from Lowe’s next time you’re there)
FLEXIBILITY – Use Keep on your phone, computer, tablet, etc. Add written notes, photos, typed lists, links, voice notes… Also send notes to Google Docs if you need.
PINNING and ORGANIZATION – You can move the notes around manually on the interface if you wish, and you can pin notes to the top – I use this for a permanent list of all my doctors info, my grocery list, and my art supplies list. I’ll also pin anything really urgent or important.
SAVE TO KEEP – When doing other things online, I’ll use the share to keep option on my phone, or the save to keep option set up using a browser extension. SUPER EASY. one move, and it’s all there for later.
Do you remember those bracelets and t’s showing off this slogan in the 90’s? I always thought it was relevant – despite how my views on religion changed since then, Jesus is an example of radical moral behavior, and a perspective to consider when facing any situation.
As an empath, INFP, highly sensitive person, I find it helpful to have some guides to consider when I’m facing something difficult, or just plain confusion. Sometimes, I need a reminder of my own pillars of value, to look to when my own position feels swayed by all the sensory input coming from everywhere else. I’ve also found it difficult to connect with distant mystical figures, say, in the past, growing up in the Catholic church. I much prefer to have “gurus” that are here on Earth, living in this time, to serve as my guides.
A PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVE.
You’ve already heard me talk about Gretchen Rubin (a writer who studies happiness and human nature), and if you’re close to me in real life, you would also know that I’m a bit taken with Davey Havok ( musician, writer, actor, possible enigma?). I also have a ton of respect for Dr. Ginevra Liptan (doctor with fibromyalgia and founder of the Frida Center for Fibromyalgia). Let’s take a look at what I connect with in each of these individuals, and why I find them to be helpful reference points.
I really admire the way she can succinctly address an aspect of human nature. Her investigative nature and growth mindset are exemplary. The conversations she leads are full of curiosity and wonder, and often lead to greater self-knowledge. Gretchen’s focus is on making her life, and helping others make their lives, happier – and she is truly great at this.
Gretchen devised a system of looking at people and their tendencies that can be super helpful in navigating relationships of all kinds. She understands that the best way for one person to do something isn’t always the best way for another, and supports people finding their own best ways. Between writing books, reading books, podcasting, and live videos, she’s somehow also accessible, engaging with her readers, watchers, and listeners all the time. I feel like she’s a real person I can connect to.
Some things we share: interest in happiness, human nature, and growth. Connecting with the senses, enjoying smell, color, quotes, curating…
One of the reasons I find Gretchen’s work to be helpful is because when I’m struggling, I want to figure out something that works better. I don’t want to stay in the struggle, and Gretchen is a role model of figuring out your own system, what works for you, and believes in the importance of that.
Another huge thing is Gretchen’s focus on enjoyment in life. She’s been a point of reference as I navigate deconstruction of harmful and painful ideologies.
I came across Dr. Liptan and the Frida Center for Fibromyalgia years ago, around when I was seeking diagnosis. After being dismissed for years by doctor after doctor who would not believe what I was going through, it was validating to find a doctor who struggled with the exact same facets of the medical community. My husband and I have considered multiple times, moving to be near her and the Frida Center – Just to have someone who understands how to treat me.
Dr. Liptan has a wholistic approach to treatment, and views the doctor/patient relationship as a partnership for health. I wish she could hold a giant mandatory conference with all of the medical community about Fibromyalgia, what it is and how to treat it. However, she has written a manual for patients and their doctors, which I suppose is a much more reasonable approach 😉
Things we share: Patronage to Saint Frida, jewelry making, valuing of community, having fibromyalgia, being intelligent women on a quest for knowledge and healing, entrepreneurial spirit
Looking to Dr. Liptan has helped me deal with having fibromyalgia, and finding the right treatments to help. I believe in what she’s doing – I’ve donated some Frida themed jewelry I made for an art auction for the Frida Center, and am an affiliate for Frida Botanicals.
OK. THIS MAN IS GORGEOUS. Let’s move past that.
AFI is one of my all time favorite bands, and I’ve loved every side project Davey’s been involved in, or song he lends his voice to from other bands. Punk, rock, electronic, hardcore, new wave…it all resonates with me. Not to mention he’s an amazing performer – who has also somehow found time to do film and stage acting, and write some novels. PROLIFIC.
Some things we share: Fall children with Nov. birthdays. Stardust. Fire signs. Not eating meat. Catholic upbringing. Being straight edge. Painful, romantic, mysterious insides. Interest in fashion and expression.
One of the reasons I’ve always been able to turn to his work for comfort is that it doesn’t shy away from the deepest and painful emotions, that particular darkness. In fact, his work honors it, and values what we learn there. Being someone who is always in pain, who is sensitive both physically and emotionally, I’ve found myself able to draw on Davey’s conviction and combination of strength/vulnerability.
You can check out a Spotify playlist with a bunch of Davey’s music here:
Now that you’ve heard about mine, I’d love to hear about your “gurus” and how they guide or inspire you. Are they real and present, from a past time, or fictional? Let me know!
One of the things about growth is that not everyone gets it. While I embrace it, those around me don’t always understand, sometimes resist, and sometimes are just stuck somewhere I don’t really want to put myself.
It sucks to keep looking back at someone you love, see them stuck and suffering, and know that you can’t just pick them up and make them come with you.
I also experience this sort of dissonance with people. It comes from my own intuition, – claircognizance of their higher self. I realized that I’ve often been confused about people’s actions, and it’s led me to hang on to relationships when I really shouldn’t have, misinterpret intentions, actions… What I understood was a sense of their potential, who they are, if they serve their higher self, but just because I can sense it, doesn’t mean they’re aware, or capable of choosing to serve it at the time.
With people in my life, I can explain, nudge, ask questions to help them, but I can’t make them do anything. It’s not that I don’t want to continue a lot of relationships, but that I don’t want myself in certain situations any longer because it’s not healthy for me.
This innate knowing has caused an ache in me, between what I know, and what is. It’s a deep yearning for people to be free of everything that holds them back from being their higher self. I dislike that there is no good way to talk about this, that won’t make people dismissive of it because it sounds to far out. But it’s practical. It’s like seeing something, or reading something, and then understanding it. It’s frustrating like watching someone try to put together some complicated lego castle without using the instructions – everything is off and the drawbridge won’t move…but you know it could, if they’d just adjust a few pieces…
I can’t move your pieces, but I don’t want to lose you in the moat, and I can’t go in there again, any more than I can re-believe in the magic of Santa.
I might be a little obsessed when it comes to getting happier with Gretchen Rubin, but with good reason! This is one of my favorite podcasts, and I think I’ve recommended it to everyone I know at this point, because it’s so helpful, insightful, and accessible. There’s also this INFP love of personality investigation, and Gretchen is a great guide along that path.
This week, her idea to try at home is to invest in your identities. The podcast discusses how our identities are important to us, our sense of self, worth, place etc. The “try this at home” encourages us to reflect upon our identities and if we’re investing in them according to their importance to us.
This coincides with some self work I’ve been doing this year, my motto being “EMBRACE BEING MULTI-PASSIONATE”. Funny that I couldn’t come up with a word for 2019, so I picked this motto – quite appropriate.
What’s this about being multi-passionate? Well, I wanted to look at the things I love, and increase their volume in my life. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at how I spend my energy (when my body literally doesn’t do a good job of making it) and learning to make better choices for my needs and wellness. I wanted to make sure this resource was spent in the places I wanted to grow, not wasted. We all have some sort of limit on our resources. I think of this as a sort of budget for the good in life. (Umm, budgeting isn’t really fun, but this feels more like dreaming up plans and finding space for them).
I can’t say that I have just one thing I’m passionate about. Yeah, I’ve always loved art, but that’s incredibly broad! I feel like I needed to accept that I’ve got multiple things I’m passionate about in order to properly feed them all. Sometimes the things on my passion list have overlap – like when I get to take my nieces and nephews to the art museum (we’ve got #auntielife & #artlife happening together). And other times, they’re more singular experiences. Combining multiple things I’m passionate about definitely increases the happiness factor. Like going for a walk in nature, with my dog, and taking photos. (#pantheism, #furmom, #artmaking).
I’m also making connections with my trauma work in therapy. Staying grounded often takes layered approaches – mindfully engaging multiple senses at once. Embracing multi-passionate-ness enables me to see how everything can work together better, and dissociate less. I can be a sick person who also is a leader, an artist, an activist, a friend, a family member, a writer, and a magic player. Taking steps to invest in identities that resonate with my true self has obvious benefit, even though the work isn’t always as obvious or easy.
Awareness is the start of it, and Gretchen provides us with a wonderful prompt with her “try this at home”, to become more aware of our identities and examine what we want to put more time, money, and energy into.
Gretchen mentioned in the podcast that it is good to have multiple identities so that if one changes or shifts into something else, you aren’t lost. I think this is the strength of being multi-passionate, the more I layer these identities and passions, the stronger my sense of self and my happiness with being who I am in the world.
The past couple of years, for my mom’s birthday, we’ve gone to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. We spend the day hanging out and enjoying some family time with the little ones. It’s a really wonderful, engaging space, with lots of color and art to cheer up a gray mid-February weekend!
There are so many opportunities to interact with the art at the museum. This piece is Text Rain, by Camille Utterback and Romy Achituv, 2001.
This area was also particularly fun for me, watching the kids interacting with versions of classic works, like this one of Van Gogh’s “Cafe at Night”, where you can switch lights on and off.
The whimsical and delightful works by Patricia Bellan-Gillen on this floor of the museum are some of my favorites. You can see more images of the installation on her website: http://patriciabellangillen.com/
This is just a snippet of my faves this time around. If you’ve got kids in your life, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is something you’d definitely enjoy.
CBD is everywhere right now, and so is the (mis)information surrounding it.
It seems like no one understands much, and the industry is taking advantage of the buzz, adding it to everything from coffee to lip gloss.
It sounds promising, but so frustrating to try to figure out everything – form, potency, legality, extraction method, purity, dosage, regulation. Where does one even start?! I get frustrated with it all, because none of the labeling is easily comparable, making it almost impossible to make sense across the market. Oh, but I have tried! And I’m here for you, my friends!
I’m sharing this Q & A straight from the website of Frida Botanicals, developed by Dr. Ginevra Liptan, a doctor with fibromyalgia, who founded the Frida Center for Fibromyalgia.
What is CBD? Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-intoxicating component of the cannabis plant with enormous therapeutic potential. Researchers are currently studying the effects of CBD on a wide range of conditions including chronic pain, insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, epilepsy, and more.
Do I need a medical card to buy or use CBD? The CBD we use to make our products comes from hemp, which means that no medical card is required.
Are CBD products legal in all 50 states? Yes, as long as they are derived from hemp, not marijuana, and contain less than 0.3% THC. The products sold from this website are considered nutritional supplements or personal care products according to the FDA.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana? Although both hemp and “marijuana” are technically variants of the Cannabis sativa plant, there are significant differences between them. Hemp is considered “industrial” under current regulations, and is defined as having less than 0.3% THC. Marijuana generally refers to cannabis sativa plants that have a high concentration of THC, and the word stems from the recreational use of THC-rich cannabis for the purpose of getting “high.”
Will CBD make me feel high? Unless doses above our label recommendations are taken, there should be no euphoric effects. “Relaxing but not intoxicating” is how some of Dr. Liptan’s patients have described it.
What kind of testing and analysis is performed on your products? All our CBD products are third-party tested for the 3 Ps: purity, potency, and pesticides, with results published on our website for each batch.
How is your CBD extracted? Our CBD is extracted from the hemp plant using a supercritical CO2 process. Although it can be costlier and requires skill and experience to do correctly, extraction using CO2 is a safer and more reliable method for obtaining pure hemp oil than using solvents, which then have to be filtered out. This means that we are able to offer you one of the cleanest forms of CBD extract possible.
Will CBD help me with my (insert illness here)? Due to FDA regulations, we cannot make claims about whether or not our products can help with specific ailments. Learn more about the science of CBD and research on various conditions here.
Will CBD extract influence the results of a drug test? Most drug tests screen for the psychoactive compound THC, not Cannabidiol (CBD). However, full-spectrum hemp extracts may contain trace amounts of THC, so could cause a positive result when screening urine and blood specimens, especially when taken at high doses.
Is it safe? According to the World Health Organization’s November 2017 report, CBD exhibits no abuse or dependence potential.
Will CBD interact with my other medications? At high doses of CBD, it is possible that drug-herb interactions can occur. At lower doses of CBD, as suggested on our label, it is unlikely that significant drug-herb interactions will occur. However, always check with your primary health care practitioner before using this or any new supplement.
Still have more questions about the science of it all? Here are some links to appease your fierce quest for knowledge.
Knowing that CBD oil and hemp oil can be the same thing, but that hemp seed oil and CBD oil are not, and that variants of and everything in between exist, will help you. How? Because there are a million products out there that contain very little CBD, and are labeled deceivingly. This is your warning. It’s awful when I hear that someone got some crappy product thinking it would be beneficial, but they’re really getting a lot of additives, and an itty bitty bit of CBD, or just plain hemp seed oil.
As for my personal experiences, I am thrilled to have found how much CBD helps me. My symptoms are less severe across the board, experiencing less flu-like achiness, less post exertion recovery time, better mood regulation with anxiety, depression, and irritability. I’ve actually been able to go off of one medication that helped with nerve pain, but I didn’t want to be on because of the side effects. I take less medication over all, and have less dyscognition. All of this stuff adds up a greatly meaningful amount, and it’s beneficial in healing, unlike prescription medications that just cover up symptoms. CBD is one of the main tools in my arsenal now, and it’s here to stay.
The news may report many different things about this situation – Black Israelites, Native American war veterans, Catholic teens in MAGA hats… but it fails to report that this situation is really a product of institutionalized hatred and a gross lack of understanding.
I, myself, used to go with my Catholic church to the March for Life. It was taught that all life is sacred, and that was something I truly felt, so I went to stand up for it. It was there that I learned about peaceful protest and we delivered petitions to offices. The experience was sometimes scary, sometimes intense, but I’m glad to have had love at the heart of it. My brother and I were discussing recent events, and he remind me of the words behind the concept – we were taught “hate the sin, love the sinner”.
It was this love that allowed me change my perspective as I understood more.
Realize that I’ve only lived with having access to the internet for about half my life, I don’t expect my pre-internet self to have so much knowledge and awareness, but after, I consume it, trying to further my understanding.
Somehow, we take the wrong parts and radicalize them. I’m not entirely against radicalization, I just think that the only good way to be radical is through pure love and compassion. Jesus.
What else is the point? Power? Dominance? Ultimately these are workings of fear. Hate is it’s tool, and it prevents us from meaningful existence. It will dismantle no institutions, because it busies us with our personal judgements against one another. We are so afraid and hateful that the systems that keep us suffering, keep chugging along, and we are instruments of it’s manipulation.
The only way to break free is through love. Radical, table flipping, Jesus-level love.
Looking at this situation, I see the colors of money and manipulation. In red hats, and hateful words. This is an age of (mis)information. But the truth is there if you seek it. Don’t put faith in their systems, the only faith to be had is in holding compassion for each other.
I absolutely love our art museum. I’m not sure everyone locally realizes how lucky we are to have such a gem, to access so much art and history so easily. Recently, in response to the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, art museums opened their doors for free. Refuge, history, comfort, knowledge. The museums know how much we need art. Which is why the Westmoreland American Art Museum got rid of its suggested donation fee for good. That’s right, go visit the museum FOR FREE. Whenever.
What I find at the museum is not only a home as an artist, I find hope. I find strength, and connection. The paintings of local scenery and history give me context, something to hold onto when the world shakes me.
This opportunity is an invaluable gift.
I thank the people who make this possible, including those who said, yes to both paintings.
In the article, when given a choice between two very different paintings for acquisition, some said both, and put their money behind it.
I am also excited about the fact that one of these was a Mary Abbot, and that Barbara Jones (not my mom) gets the importance of the contributions of women artists, how they shaped the history, BUT WERE NOT GIVEN CREDIT.