An Unapologetically ADHD Introduction & Stuff About Comfort Zones

I did it! I made a YouTube video! I am sharing it here in case anyone who follows this blog would also happen to enjoy watching my videos!

More are coming soon! I think my first Real Topic will be about my spiritual journey. Or something. Exciting stuff!!

 

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The Power of Baby Steps As an All-or-Nothing Thinker

One of the most devious cognitive distortions that regularly stops me in my tracks is “all-or-nothing thinking.” It’s one of the mental patterns that work directly against the beautiful process of neuroplasticity and can easily lock us into harmful behaviors and habits which keep us from achieving our goals.

Once you begin to make changes in your life that will make you a healthier and more well-adjusted adult, it can also be difficult to recognize how far you’ve come, because the slow progression of baby step after baby step can begin to feel so natural. All-or-nothing thinkers are often extremely self-critical (gotta love that Virgo/6th House energy), so even though we may  be doing “better” than we were a year ago, we still aren’t “where we want to be” yet.

This cycle was shot down when I re-discovered some bullet journals from two-and-a-half years ago, back when I was planting the seeds of time management. I was able to see how far I actually had come, and even though I still experience many rough days, I would not have gotten to this point if I hadn’t started somewhere. 

One example of this is the absolute bane of my existence: dishes. [Cue horror movie screech]. I grew up with a dishwasher in the house, so when I started college and shortly moved into my first apartment, I no longer had such a privilege. To put it mildly, the sink was a disaster. OK, maybe it didn’t grow entire cities of mold, but some of my dishes would sometimes develop a green film and sometimes some more solid stuff.

But there was also no way that I could suddenly become the kind of person who washes dishes right after they’ve been used. So I took baby steps. Many of these won’t make sense to you if you don’t have mental or physical disability, so save your judgement or “quick fixes” unless you actually know what it’s like.

Baby Step #1: Make sure that all food is removed from dishes before letting them soak. This wasn’t difficult because I don’t usually let food sit in the sink, but sometimes stuff cakes onto the dishes, ok??

Baby Step #2: Keep the “soaking process” fresh. This means that I don’t let the water sit for more than a couple days, because let’s be real, I could totally forget about the dishes for a day or two. Or more. I never said this wasn’t gross.

Baby Step #3: Only soak items once, then rinse them, and then keep them dry until you’re ready to wash them.

Baby Step #4: Keep the sink empty. (I’m still working on this one, but it’s getting better. Still, I have some pretty rough weeks). This means that the sink will be free of clutter and therefore far more inviting for me to actually clean the stuff that’s waiting in the plastic tub on the counter.

Baby Step #5: Only keep the counter tub filled. This means that the sink is clear and that the counter space around the tub is clear of any excess dishes and mugs. This only happens during my best weeks, and I can probably count maybe… two of them, over the past year. Usually I’m operating at Baby Step #3, and during rough weeks, I’m at Baby Step #2.

Baby Step #6: Wash dishes once you’re done using them. The Holy Grail. Will we ever find the energy, the executive function, the discipline required to achieve this Baby Step? The world may never know.

Some of these stages lasted for weeks, and others for months. It is safe to say, however, that I have never experienced the same gross moldy stuff in over a year. And like I mentioned in one of the steps, it isn’t always a steady line of progression. Sometimes I revert back to a previous step because that’s all I’m able to do. The best thing I’ve learned is to not beat yourself up about it and treat yourself gently.

I’ve also “given in” and started using paper plates. This was a moral and ecological dilemma for me, but I decided that my ability to actually eat food was far more important than the near-insignificant impact that my individual actions have on the environment, and I am not giving into internalized ableism. Disabled people require things that are not always eco-friendly. This is OK. If you can find (and afford) eco-friendly alternatives, do what feels right for you. I know I’ll be using compostable plates as soon as I can afford it, but that’s just not the case right now.

There is so much more that I could say about the Baby Steps I have taken until today, but I’ll save those for another post (or perhaps a YouTube video once I’ve gathered enough confidence to get started). Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to discuss further, especially regarding household chores and general Adulting. I know that my mental health conditions aren’t the most severe, but I hope that my experience gives you some hope and motivation.

If you never start, you’ll never know how far you’ll go. What baby step will you take today?


A note on diagnosis: If I had never realized that the reason for my many “shortcomings” and “failures” in life were the result of undiagnosed ADHD, I probably would have never taken the leap to get my life together. Diagnoses do not necessarily “box people in”–they can actually liberate you, in many ways. If you or your child are struggling or “falling behind” in ways that most peers seem to have no problem, I would definitely consider getting an assessment. There is absolutely no shame in getting what you need in order to live your best life.

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Why “Mindful Magick?”

I just really, really love alliteration and over-used buzzwords.

Magick is known as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” In other words, magick is what happens when there is something you want and you make it happen.

Without plunging too deep into solipsism, our minds (our experiences, beliefs, upbringing, neurological wiring, etc.) create our reality–or at least, our perception of the world around us and how we interact with it. Being aware of our mindset is a key step in creating our reality, or in other words: making magick.

One thing that typically keeps someone from believing in the power of magick is the existence of stage magicians (Houdini) and the idea that a magic wand and an incantation will turn a teacup into a mouse.

Magick is really about opening yourself up to the infinite possibilities of the universe through coincidences, or rather, synchronicity. This is where the concept of the Law of Attraction (LOA) comes into play. (The link for LOA discusses the ancient understanding of the concept, rather than the “New Age revival” version).

Where “woo-woo” meets science (kind of):

At the risk of over-simplification, magick can be understood as using the Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon to your advantage. When you begin to rewire your brain to achieve the desired results (such as: more motivation to achieve your goals, a more optimistic perspective, more opportunities for financial growth, finding love), you will start to notice certain details of daily life that allow this change to speed up. You might make different decisions throughout your day-to-day interactions that bring you closer to what you want out of life, because you have primed your brain to make these changes. Many successful people have reported that they visualize going through their day before it happens so that they can feel more prepared and motivated when it comes.

Have you seen those neat “vision boards” that keep popping up on blogs and YouTube channels? These were definitely popularized by people who are interested in LOA, and of course they won’t work for everybody. It’s also entirely possible that  most of the things on that vision board may not come true, just like how our To-Do lists seem to never get checked off completely (especially the truly… optimistic ones). It’s not enough to just slap some pictures on a board or to write down your To-Do list, but it might help if you actively picture yourself completing each important task with as little resistance as possible so that you’re more likely to get it done.

This is all thanks to neuroplasticity! When you are in some control over the connections that are continuously forming in your brain, you are in a sense making magick. The brain is constantly being programmed by new input/information and our interpretation of it, and we can consciously choose to program it in a way that suits our goals. This can be done in using various methods, but the most common and most effective forms are through meditation, hypnosis, and even lucid dreaming.

Of course, limitations do exist. Studies involving able-bodied persons performing the mental practice of an instrument or a sport have shown far greater results than, for example, stroke patients (some, however, have shown greater levels of success). This is why I think that it is more effective to understand one’s limitations (emotional, mental, physical) so that they don’t feel “cheated” by magick. I will write a post later about the importance of taking (and celebrating) “baby steps,” in all areas of life (especially when you have a disability or are part of marginalized groups). The goal is to reduce the number of limitations you encounter through a consistent practice of magick and self-improvement and empowerment. I will go deeper into this concept as well.

Why would I want to use magick?

For starters, it can allow you to override the self-defeating voice/narrative in your mind so that you can do things that you previously thought were impossible. Many people also use these techniques to overwrite or reconcile past traumas (please explore this at your own discretion/risk and consult with a professional if you do choose to undergo shadow work) and to dig deep within the psyche to understand where our limiting beliefs and internal narrator come from. This is why many people who practice magick say that the first step is to “decondition” your mind and to get back to who you were before society (family, teachers, media) told you what to believe about yourself. This will open doors that you never knew existed and will allow you to reach your true potential.

But what about the Witchy Stuff?

Of course, the main thing that separates the current wave of self-improvement and self-help communities with those who practice magick is the utilization of traditionally Pagan tools and ritual: herbs, crystals, things found in nature, drawing sigils, invoking deities, and all that cool stuff.

The use of ritual can be seen as a way to turbo-charge the brain for change. Just like how vision boards may not work for everyone, different ritual techniques are used by different practitioners. Magick ritual can be as brief as drawing a sigil with honey while adding it to your morning tea or it can be as extensive as adorning yourself in robes for a candle-lit ritual complete with twenty-six different herbs and crystals, incantation, and hours of meditation and visualization. Different strokes for different folx. And some magick rituals need more attention and energy than others.

Another note on baby steps: Unless you’re a super powerful magician or if you don’t have issues with attention and learning difficulties, performing a ritual to get an A in your class might not be the best route. Or, in my situation, a spell for “Academic Success.” What the hell is that? Vagueness and magick don’t go very well together if you want specific, concrete results. However, you could light some yellow and orange candles, heat up some peppermint and citrus oil in a simmer pot, and perform a spell that will help you focus on your note-taking and/or studying, you are far more likely to see positive results. At least, that’s how it is in my situation. Do what feels right for you.

One last thing:

I am not an expert. This blog post is a living document. I am constantly learning more every day. Ideas mentioned in this post may be explored further in future posts. Let me know which ideas you would like me to expand on in the comments section.

I am also not here to convince you that magick is real. I just want to share my current understanding of how we can all harness our personal power, and if you are interested to read more on what I’ve learned and experienced, please feel free to stick around.

Eventually I’ll figure out a posting schedule, but… ADHD & depression is a challenge.

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Blog/Life Update, Mental Health, Goals, and Tarot Card Combinations

It has been about 8 months since I decided that I was going to build Mindful Magick (Musings and Shoppe) as a space online for sharing my experience with mental health management, paganism, tarot, astrology, and how these four things have come together to make my life so much better.

There are plenty of little notes and thought-blurbs in my notebook that will grow into actual blog posts, but I’m continuing to hold that off until I have a better grasp on the most important part of Mindful Magick–working directly with those who come to me for readings and interpretations. I do, however, post fairly regularly to Instagram and Facebook, if you’d like to keep up with me on there. 

Last night I created a page on this blog dedicated to my brief interpretations of tarot card combinations. Check them out here.

It currently takes about a month for me to complete a satisfactory astrology report, complete with cheesy and carefully curated stock photos, a hand-drawn chart, intuitive insights/perspectives, and questions for self-reflection on the part of the querent. This is because I believe that people know themselves best, and my readings simply allow them to tap into their own intuition and inner knowing. I’ve done maybe 5 or 6 Official Astrology Reports for people so far this year, as well as many face-to-face overviews of friends’ charts for the past couple years. Needless to say, my skills are improving and my intuition is strengthening every time and it’s all very exciting. I’ll be sure to get some reviews/testimonies as soon as I can.

I also believe that tarot readers and astrologers should receive readings from other intuitives, because as self-reflective as we might be, we certainly may miss crucial elements of our own psyche. And how can we help others navigate their subconscious if we can’t do that for ourselves? It’s also refreshing to get dragged through the mud by someone else, especially if that’s what you’ve been doing for your own querents/clients. Don’t worry, it’s done lovingly, and never without consent.

Over the past year or so, I have been battling with some intense fear. It seems that, once I clawed myself out of the pits of depression (or cleared the fog, whatever metaphor), I found myself consumed with an existential dread. I had spent such a long period of time wishing that I was dead that, once I realized how good it was to be alive and how much there was to live for, I was terrified of losing that opportunity.

This isn’t to say that my fears were completely “irrational.” The 2016 Presidential Election would probably send anyone who is paying attention into despair and fear of imminent societal collapse. As I got over this fear (mostly thanks to the passage of time, isolation, the fact that I am a white US citizen, and the belief that no matter how fucked up our “leaders” are, I have enough faith in the people of the world and myself to stand up for justice), I found myself entrenched by a new fear. It was much more personal and close-to-home, but still a little bit far-fetched. But it had just enough truth in it that my amygdala was like, “Hey, you should be afraid of this.” Eventually, as I got over this fear, another one crept in. This time, it was characterized by suspicion, hypervigilance, and general mistrust of the motives of my friends.

So, in general: Scorpio problems.

As you can guess, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to overcome these fears and trust my intuition more. Just like when I started to manage the depression (which, I must add, couldn’t have been done without finding the right diagnosis and medication for me at the time), I went back to hypnosis and guided meditation among other techniques and methods of facing my mental blockages head on. Since my brain’s primary feature is executive dysfunction, it’s typically quite difficult for me to actually… do things. So I like when I can put on some headphones before falling asleep, with the intention of letting my subconscious do what it can to dissect these fears.

(Also, this just in: you don’t need to understand the basis of your fear in order to categorize it as a fear. The whole point of magick, especially chaos magick, is the ability to choose which beliefs belong to you and which beliefs control your actions).

This executive dysfunction also makes it difficult for me to incorporate anything remotely similar to ceremonial ritual into my life unless I am 100% “divinely inspired” to do so. I have multiple little notebooks now. Honestly, it took me a long time to get to this point, especially because I wanted to go completely “digital,” but I digress. One journal is for writing down my random thoughts, inspiration, and a-ha moments. Another is for writing down the things I am grateful for, and occasionally the synchronicities (usually in the form of numbers) that particularly stand out to me. The other one is for visualization and manifestation. I write my future into existence by using the present-tense. I write my goals. I dream big, and then I dream bigger. I don’t need a whole lot for myself, but as a Taurus Rising and Scorpio Sun, I understand the power of money.

I want money to flow through me, so that I can take care of my basic needs and then some, and then so I can support others. See, I have my opinions about how others should spend their money and I certainly do not believe that the wealth gap should exist. People should not be starving to death or unable to afford their fucking insulin while others shit into gold-plated toilets. Because of this, I have been forced to confront my own relationship with money. “Who am I to earn money for myself by doing what I love when others don’t have the same luxury?” That sort of thing.

But I have come to understand that I am more than deserving of making a life for myself, because I don’t do it simply for myself. I do it so that I can support my mother, so that I can give back to my brother for helping a single mom send her child to college, so that I can lift up my friends and treat them to nice birthday gifts and food and travel, so that I can help marginalized communities and the global community. This sounds extremely “liberal” of me, and maybe it is, but at least I’m doing what I can so that I can take care of myself and direct more money into the hands of people who actually give a shit about making the world a better place.

And if you believe in my mission and purpose and want to support me and my vision, here is my Patreon. I don’t have many features on there at this point in time, but the rewards do include some tarot readings written for you by yours truly (me). When school starts and I pick my radio show back up, I’ll start having many more ideas regarding the kind of content I’ll create for you. But of course, there are many individuals and organizations who could also use the money. It’s entirely up to you, but even $1 would go a long way.

If you’ve gotten this far in this blog post, I commend you. It means so much to me that you would even be on my page in the first place. I hope that the things I write about are at least somewhat relevant, and I hope I convey my thoughts and ideas in a relatively straight-forward way. Run-on sentences are my greatest vice.

Sooner than later, I’ll actually make some real blog posts about the topics that I really want to discuss. I’ll probably just write a bunch of them over the course of a day or a week (thanks, ADHD) and schedule them to be posted every week or every other week. Stay tuned.

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Weekly Elemental Tarot Spread

Here’s a tarot spread that I use every week to help feel more grounded and prepared for the next seven days. Even if my other routines get ignored because I’m too tired or stressed or depressed, this always helps.

weekly elemental tarot reading

I use this as a way to reset my deck and my Self. I separate the deck into each suit and the Majors and I draw a card from each stack.

When I do this spread for friends and clients, my technique is slightly different. I don’t separate the suits, but I do cut the deck into five parts and let the querent choose a stack for each element, from which they will draw their own card. I’m not too particular about letting others touch my deck, but I know some readers are. Whatever works for you works for you!

You can do this spread at any time, and I sometimes do this spread in the middle of the week if I’m feeling super not put together.

Click here to read more about my Tarot and Astrology services if you are interested in getting a reading with me! Otherwise, enjoy the spread!

Check out the post on Pinterest, too!

(Pre-First Post) First Blog Post

 

Thanks to anxiety, procrastination, writer’s block, and family holiday time, I have yet to create my first blog post. I’d like to get my blog off on the right foot, but I also want to introduce myself to the community sooner than later!

I’ve created this blog as a means to share my experience in this world and hopefully add something of substance to our collective understanding of what it means to be human.

The last two years have been a Big Time for me, as I was finally diagnosed with ADHD-PI (predominantly inattentive). Much of the depression and anxiety that had built up over the past two decades was a result of the many insecurities, shortcomings, and general struggles caused by the undiagnosed and unrecognized neuro-divergency.

As an Education major, and thanks to the plethora of TedTalks on YouTube, the concept of “neuroplasticity” made its way into my consciousness. And, as a Scorpio sun who has many prominent 8th House planets and aspects, I am a big fan of the “phoenix effect.” I’m not (too) afraid of casting out that which is holding me back in order to make room for self-actualization. (I will definitely create multiple posts about how minimalism has improved my life).

Astrology and tarot have provided a tremendous amount of insight into who I am and who I can be. I use both of these tools in my magick practice to help me overcome blockages and to recognize my full potential. This past October was only my second Samhain celebration, so I am still at the very beginning of my path. I have a lot to learn, and I am hoping you will join me.

You can find me on Instagram and Facebook, and you can check out my shop here!