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Sunday, March 31, 2013

All Fools Day





Happy foolishness! Today is April Fool’s Day, well known for pranks and trickery and general silliness.

No one really knows how the day originated, although the most popular theory claims that it came about when the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian calendar in 1582.  According to this theory, some people didn’t get the message about the change, and tried to celebrate New Year’s (previously observed on April 1st instead of January 1st) on the wrong date. These poor folks were teased for being “April Fools.”

Other theories suggest that April Fool’s Day was derived from the Roman holiday of Veneralia, which celebrated the goddess Venus. According to Barbara Ardinger, “to the Romans, it was All Fools Day. They spent the day doing foolish things and playing pranks.” (2) It is also possible that there is an association with the Spring Equinox, when Mother Nature is known for playing her own tricks.
Still, whatever its origins, whether you call it All Fools Day or April Fool’s Day, it gives us the opportunity to indulge our playful side. But I look at it as a time to be more serious as well. (Reverence and mirth, after all, are at the core of all we do.)

Let’s take a look at my favorite Fool, The Fool card from the tarot. This card is number 0; either the beginning or the end of the Major Arcana cards, depending on the book you are looking in. Since all things are circular, maybe he’s both!

The most common representation of The Fool is as a young man with his possessions hanging in a bag on the end of his staff, cheerfully preparing to step off the side of a cliff. His little dog dances gaily at his feet.

Popular tarot expert Mary K. Greer, in her book Tarot for Yourself: A workbook for personal transformation, gives the following as some possible interpretations of The Fool: “Leaping off into some new phase of life. Free-spirited. Carefree. Being open to experience. Acting on impulse without thought or plan. Spontaneity. Childlike enthusiasm. Innocence. Lack of inhibitions. Footloose and fancy free. Being silly. Frivolity. Trusting in the universe. Experiencing life in the here and now—from moment to moment. Optimism.”

Doesn’t that all sound wonderful? Who among us wouldn’t like to have a little more of those qualities in our mundane lives?

So today, on All Fool’s day, let’s resolve to let ourselves be foolish. Let us live a little more freely, be open to what the universe has to offer and put aside our fear of change, even if just for a day.

What do you dream of doing? What would you change about your life if you could gather up your courage and take that leap of faith? Is there something you’ve been longing to do, but have held back from out of a fear of looking foolish?
Well, today’s the day! Make a wish list for yourself of all those dreams you keep in that dusty, “I just don’t dare,” corner of your mind and heart. Do you want a new job or a new career? Have you been pining for the guy next door, but lacking the courage to ask him out? Is there a writer or an artist, a singer, actor or comedian inside you, longing to be brought out into the shining light of day?

Today, on All Fool’s Day, why not pick one of the aspects of The Fool and make it your own? Choose to be more spontaneous or optimistic. Take a leap of faith. Trust in the universe to help you make your dreams come true.

And if things don’t work out the way you’d hoped, and you make a fool of yourself, so what? At least on April Fool’s Day, you’ll have plenty of company.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spiritual Spring Cleaning



Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Ritual: according to the Encarta Dictionary, the observance of actions or procedures in a set, ordered, and ceremonial way.

We all have rituals. Some of them are practical, like the routine we have before we go to bed. (In my house, that goes something like this – lock the doors, turn off the computers, clean the litter boxes, turn off the lights throughout the house, brush teeth, pee, go to bed with a book. Yes, I lead a glamorous and exciting life…why do you ask?) Some rituals are spiritual, whether that means observing a particular holiday, or lighting a candle on an altar.

Some are a combination of both. In many ways, these are my favorite kinds of ritual. I’m a pragmatic kind of woman…if I can accomplish two purposes with one act, I’m a happy camper.

One of my yearly rituals is something I like to call “Spiritual Spring Cleaning.” You might say that this is something of a specialty of mine. I’ve given workshops about it at Pantheacon and other Pagan conferences, written about it in my various books, and in articles in the Llewellyn annuals. All that means, really, is that it is one of my favorite things to do, and I like sharing it with others.

You don’t have to be a Witch to do spiritual spring cleaning. It just requires  mindful focus and a little extra effort. This is how I do it, but as with everything else, you are welcome to change my approach to better suit your own needs and inclinations.

The Purpose: To cleanse your personal space (home, apartment, whatever) on a level that goes deeper than simply sweeping the floor and dusting off the spider plants.

Why Do It: Some kinds of clutter and mess are obvious, like that pile of papers on the table and the laundry you meant to put away three weeks ago. But energy gets cluttered too, and by clearing and cleansing the space you live in, you can often lift yourself out of ruts you didn’t even know you were in, and clear the way for new and rewarding pursuits.

What You’ll Need: A sage smudge stick (or the cleansing incense of your choice), salt and water in a small bowl, a broom and some magickal cleansing oil and/or more salt & water mixture  or lemon juice (optional). If you have sea salt, that’s great, but even regular old table salt will do.

How You Do It: It couldn’t be easier.

If you are going to do a regular spring cleaning, as I do, you can do the spiritual spring cleaning either before or after (I like to do it afterwards, once you’ve stirred up all the stagnant energy by physically cleaning). Otherwise, you can do this by itself, at any time. In reality, I often do this in the fall, as well as the spring, to prepare my home for the long winter hibernation.

Starting either at the bottom of your house (the basement or first floor) or at the front door if you have an apartment, walk from room to room wafting your sage smudge stick and visualizing the smoke clearing and cleansing the space. Take extra care to go around all doors and windows, and any other entrances such as chimneys, since negative energy can come and go through these areas. If you can, open all the windows before you start, and visualize any negative energy or unwanted crap (yes, that’s the technical witchy term) going out the windows. If, as is often the case where I live, it is too cold to open them all, you can just open one window a crack at the end. Be sure to shut the window (s) once you have gotten rid of all the bad stuff.

Repeat the process with the bowl holding the mixture of salt and water, sprinkling it around the rooms with the tips of your fingers or a feather. In this case, you should visualize bright protective energy springing up wherever you walk. Again, take special care with doors and windows, and any spots that just don’t feel “right.”

For an extra boost, dip a broom (magickal or mundane) in a little water with either magickal protection and/or cleansing oils in it, or a squeeze of lemon juice (which is both cleansing and yummy smelling). Sweep your house as you normally would, but as you go, visualize any negative energy or old bad feelings (left over from arguments, bad days, whatever) being swept away as you go.

When you’re done, feel how light and clear your home feels, and open yourself up to new and wonderful things as they waft in on spring breezes.

Ritual—not just for holidays (or bedtime). Happy spring!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quick Important Question about My Online classes

Hi all!

As you know, I have been giving some online witchcraft and/or writing workshops over at my workshop loop -- I started this endeavor at the urging of a bunch of folks last year (and with the invaluable help of sometimes-co-teacher Heather Long). We had a hugely successful bunch of classes last year, and many requests for repeats and new classes this year.

Sadly, the turnout this year has been kinda sparse. I don't know if this is because of the economy, or if the folks who were interested already took the classes, or what. And honestly, it is fine--I love teaching the classes, but they do take time away from the writing.

We're trying to decide whether or not to continue giving the workshops at all, or maybe only give the couple of new ones we have lined up, and not the repeats from last year. It would really help me if you could let me know if you want and intend to take any of the following classes. Thanks as always for your support.

April – Spells & Spellcasting
May – Herbal Magick & Kitchen Alchemy
June– World Building for the Paranormal Author (Heather)
July – No Class
August – Pre-Writing Workshop (Heather)
September – Crystals & Gemstone Magick
 
I especially need to know about the next couple, so I can tell Heather whether or not to post the registration.
If you're not interested, no biggie. If you are, though, we need to hear from you. Thanks! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Feline Friday: The Ugly Week Version

Sorry today's Feline Friday is late...to be honest, it almost didn't get posted at all. Not because no cat did anything cute or photo-worthy this week (AS IF), but because this has been one of those Ugly and Frustrating weeks. Nothing truly terrible (like my author pal Nancy Holzner is dealing with--a diabetic husband in the hospital first fighting for his life, and now facing possible amputation...compared to that, my week was a piece of cake. Jeez. Also, check out her books here -- I loved them, and I think you will too. So let's send her lots of energy and strength and good wishes. And if you feel so inclined, go buy a book).

But still, it was One of Those Weeks. It started with a leak in the ceiling at The Artisans' Guild last Wednesday. Not Wednesday this week. LAST week, nine days ago. Add in one absentee landlord (unreachable), one sort-of building manager who turned out to be in Ohio for two weeks (also unreachable), one very nice real estate lady who would have helped, but didn't have keys to get into the apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors...and a LOT of water. Buckets and buckets of water. Coming from the ceiling. In an artists' cooperative shop filled with art. For eight days.
 The ceiling.
 The wet carpet.
The buckets. Many, may, buckets.

That's right. Eight days of starting each morning by emptying all those buckets, then running the wet vac and emptying that, then trying yet again to call the landlord, then explaining the situation to the various artists (and customers) who came in. Not to mention the poor artists whose work had been up on those walls, and had to be taken down and propped in corners...

And then, of course, there was this:
Which, hey, is not unexpected in March in upstate NY, but meant shoveling at home, and then at the shop, and then at home again, after we got 3 inches of snow followed by freezing rain and sleet, followed by another three inches of snow.

And then there was the artist who somehow mysteriously unplugged the keyboard at the shop and then we couldn't get it to work again...but nevermind that.

And, of course, there was other stuff, but I'm too tired to type about it. So instead, I'll give you this:
 No--you're not seeing double. That's Mystic on the right, and his mama Minerva on the left. He's much larger, and had a cute spot on one side of his upper lip instead of Minerva's two little lipstick dots, but otherwise, their coloring is pretty much identical.
And that's Magic, who clearly is feeling about the way I am about this week. TGI freaking F.

On the bright side, they finally got in upstairs and tracked the water down to a leaking water heater in an empty apartment, so the water has stopped coming through the ceiling, and hopefully the Giant Mess will be cleaned up next week. The keyboard is working again too, thanks to Dan, my wonderful computer guy (and ex-brother in-law, current friend). And the other stuff is better, if not completely dealt with.

Here's hoping your week was not quite this interesting :-)

Don't forget that if you want to sign up for the upcoming Witchcraft 201 class (which won't be given again this year or next), registration closes Sunday 6 PM EST register HERE

And I promise, I'm going to send out the Spring newsletter...NEXT WEEK.

Friday, March 15, 2013

TGI (Feline) Friday!

Wow--is it just me, or has this been a REALLY long and REALLY tough week?

Frankly, most of my issues were fairly minor (albeit annoying and exhausting), like yet another leak at the shop (which necessitated a lot of running around and moving artists' work out of the danger zone, and emptying of buckets, and unsuccessfully trying to chase down our absentee landlord and his in-theory local building manager who turned out to be in freaking OHIO for the week), and a fibromyalgia flare-up because of the wacky weather.

But some of my friends have been dealing with real crises. And annoying and exhausting is still annoying and exhausting. Did y'all have a tough week too?

I hope not, but if you did, here are a few quick reminders, and then some Feline Friday pictures to cheer you up. I also highly recommend a cute little book of poetry written by cats (you heard me) that a friend gave me for Yule. It is so funny, I am only reading a few at a time, and saving them for the days I really need them. It's called I COULD PEE ON THIS, and it is as funny as anything I have ever read.

Okay--reminders:
The spring newsletter will go out next week (I hope). Still not too late to sign up to get it at the bottom of the page here at my website .
Also, you still have until Sunday the 24th to sign up for the great Witchcraft 201 class over at the Workshop loop and the new "WHEEL OF THE YEAR" class is still open for registration too, since it is ongoing. I hope to put up the Spring Equinox post this weekend, so go sign up now!

While I'm reminding you of stuff, have you read my paranormal romance eBook yet? Witch Ever Way You Can

Yeesh--enough of all that. Time for cute cat pics!!!

I got a new catnip pillow from the artist at the shop who makes them. Mystic has been hogging it, as you can see.
 
Magic, on the other hand, is a purist. She's rather just have the floor and a patch of sunlight.

I hope you find someplace comfy to stretch out and relax this weekend!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Newsletter Time!

As some of you know, I put out a (theoretically) quarterly newsletter, to let everyone know what thrilling things I've been up to. Well, okay, there is hardly ever anything REALLY thrilling to report, but, hey, you never know. 

Anyway, it is almost time for the spring edition of the newsletter, so if you want to receive it and you aren't signed up, you can go to my website and sign up at the bottom of the page. 

Hey--what are you still doing here?! Go on, sign up! Tell all your friends to sign up! Tell your cat to sign up. (Really, Magic the Cat says so.)

And this time, there might even be some exciting news...just sayin'.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Few Questions for Y'all

I'm pondering some options and would love some input from the folks who are kind enough to follow me here.

I'm thinking of running a series of contests/giveaways leading up to my birthday at the end of April, and possibly culminating in the ePub release of another one of my paranormal romances [this one is called KING ME! and is is about a modern witch who accidentally brings back King Arthur to save the world. Oops.]
I'm also debating giving a different class up on the witchcraft/workshop loop, and possibly offering some extra services on the side.

SO...which, if any of these, would you be interested in?

1) A new eBook (it would probably be priced at $2.99 like the 1st one)
2) A workshop on "Fast and Easy Edit as You Go" tips. That one would probably be 4 days/$15
3) Tarot readings via either Skype or phone
4) Professional editing (fees would vary, depending on the amount of editing needed/wanted)
5)Giveaway of this year's Sabbats Almanac from Llewellyn (including a Yule ritual and summary by me)
6) Giveaway of a signed copy of Circle, Coven & Grove (my first book, now out of print)
7) Giveaway of a signed copy of my most recent book, Everyday Witch Book of Rituals
8) Giveaway of editing/feedback on up to 10 pages of your writing
9) Some other giveaway (tell me what you want!)


You can answer by simply listing numbers (3, 5 & 7, for instance) or by giving specifics for which ones you'd want and why. Thanks for helping me figure out what I'm doing next!!!!

Deborah

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring Forward: Time for Change



Anyone who has ever read one of my books (or articles, or talked to me for more than five minutes) knows that I believe that spirituality isn’t something that should be limited to a few special days of the year. Like most witches, I celebrate the full moons and the Sabbats (the eight holidays of the Pagan Wheel of the Year). But I also try to find ways to turn days not usually used for religious practice into an excuse for stretching my spiritual muscles. This kind of thing doesn’t just work for witches, either. Anyone can do it.

Take tonight, for instance (or tomorrow at 2 AM, if you want to get technical). For most of the United States, this marks the time change, when we move our clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Since this can be confusing, at both ends of the year, people often remember with this mnemonic device: Spring forward/Fall back.

Look at what we’ve got here—Time Change and Spring Forward. If this isn’t a good time for changing our personal patterns and moving forward with those changes, I don’t know what is!

I decided to use this day as a springboard for making one positive change. In this case, I’m going to push myself to finally act on a goal I’ve had for ages. For months (OKAY, years), I’ve been saying I was going to get back to a regular meditation practice. I’ve had times in my life when I meditated daily, and it always made me feel calmer, more balanced, and more energized.

But for some reason (ahem—probably having to do with obsessively working on my writing—ahem), I haven’t managed to move forward with this goal. I’ve even gone so far as to take out my beautiful handmade mediation cushion and put it on the couch so I would see it every day, and be reminded that I want to be doing this. And periodically, I’ll notice it, and say, “Oh, yeah—meditation cushion!” But that’s as far as it got. [Please tell me this isn’t just me. It’s not, right?]

So here we are, at the Time of Change, Springing Forward. And I have made a commitment to myself that starting tomorrow, with the new time shift, I will make at least 10 minutes every day to sit on my cushion and meditate. Moving forward with positive purpose. The time change is kind of annoying, since at this point in the year we will be losing an hour of sleep for a night. But we will also be gaining more daylight, and therefore more “active” time. I intend to put that to good use.

If you decide to use the time change to move yourself into forward motion, what one thing would you pick to change or move forward with?



Friday, March 8, 2013

Feline Friday: The It's Still Winter Version

This is what I woke up to this morning

Eight inches of snow, and it is still falling. I'm going to have to keep this short, since my plow guy hasn't shown up yet, and I may have to dig out the LONG driveway to get out to work. Yes, of course I'm going. I live in upstate NY. We don't let 8 inches of snow stop us. (Although it might slow us the heck down.)
I have a long driveway. The top picture shows the section behind the house, and then there's this part that runs next to the house down to the road. You know, where the big plow has already deposited plenty of snow. (And this pic is from yesterday, when it was just starting, hence the NOT 8 inches of snow. I had such hopes...)

On the bright side, I also got a pleasant surprise when I looked out at the bird feeder before breakfast.
It's hard to tell, between being shot out a window, and the falling snow, but those are red-winged black birds one of my favorite birds and also the first bird to herald the return of spring, arriving about a month before the robins. So it may look like winter out there, but spring is coming!

You can tell that Magic the cat is very impressed.
Samhain is just happy that it is still cold enough to run the pellet stove. That's her favorite winter-time perch.
Here's hoping that your Friday brings you a pleasant surprise (like red-winged blackbirds) and not 8 inches of snow. Unless you happen to like snow, in which case, you can have mine!

What is out your window today?




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Upcoming Classes: Witchcraft 201

For those of you who are interested in the classes I am giving, the next one up is Witchcraft 201, which is a more advanced workshop for those interesting in delving more deeply into the study of modern witchcraft (either for personal use, or as writing research). Here is the course description:

Introduction: Discussion, open forum for ideas, guidance and exploration. Wicca is not a complicated religion, the tenants of that religion are simple, direct. However, `advanced Wicca' is not an introduction into the Wiccan Rede or even how to cast a circle, although we can certainly discuss that. Advanced Wicca is about integrating your spirituality into your daily life, it's taking the essentials and boiling them down to the essence that is vital to your personal practice. Lessons will include discussion about specialization.
Time: 5 days
Costs: $20
Dates: March 25-29
This class takes many of the basic concepts introduced in 101 and 102, expands upon them and develops them further. This class is useful for writers who are doing research about Wicca, but does not generally include writer specific topics. This class is designed to help seekers increase their understanding as well as integrating spirituality and Wiccan choices in day-to-day life.

Also up in March, the Sabbats (Wheel of the Year) class continues with a look at Ostara, the Spring Equinox. This is a continuing year-long class that covers all eight major Pagan holidays, starting with Imbolc, which was posted last month. You can join in at any time, since the information will be available until the end of the year for any holidays you might have missed earlier. The class is a single post for each sabbat, which includes an in-depth overview of the holiday, plus a ritual, and even a recipe or two. [Note: Heather Long and I are co-teaching this, taking turns. This is great, since you get more than one point of view! We are also co-teaching the 201 class, simultaneously.]

Classes are taught online, and payment is through Paypal. Invitations to the class loop are sent out a couple of days before class starts. Invitations to the sabbats class will go out right away, since it is ongoing.

You can sign up HERE

Keep in mind that we will probably not be giving either of these classes next year, so if you've been considering taking them, now's the time. I hope you'll join us!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Three of the Best: Jennifer Crusie, Lani Diane Rich and Katie Fforde

I read a lot. Often I have a couple of novels going at a time (one mellow one for before bed reading, and one more exciting one for first thing in the morning with breakfast). And my to-be-read pile is staggering. Okay...it's a whole shelf. OKAY--it's two whole shelves. And a partial other shelf. Don't judge me. "Hi, my name is Deborah and I am a book junky."

My fiction reading tastes are fairly eclectic: I grew up reading mostly science fiction and fantasy, then expanded into mysteries, paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and some contemporary romance and women's fiction. (I write in all those genres too. Except mystery, and I do have the start of a mystery novel hidden in a drawer somewhere.) I tend to read different things depending on the mood I'm in, and what I'm writing at the time.

[My critique partner, the amazing Lisa DiDio, and I had an interesting conversation about this recently. We have completely different approaches when it comes to what we read while we are in active writing mode. She avoids anything even close to what she's writing, and reads different genres so that other people's work can't affect her own. I, on the other hand, tend to immerse myself into whatever genre I'm writing at the time, so that my head stays in that "place." Interesting, yes? If you're a writer, which approach do you take?]

I also have what I consider to be "comfort reads." Like comfort food, only in book form. These are the authors I love so much that I will return to their books over and over again. I even buy their books in hardcover, if I can (gasp!).

During my recent weeks of dealing with The Cold from Hell, now renamed The Cold that Would Not Die, I reread a whole bunch of my favorite romances, written by three of my favorite authors: Jennifer Crusie, Lani Diane Rich, and Katie Fforde. All three tend to write fabulous quirky characters and have wonderful humorous voices. If you haven't heard of Katie Fforde, it is probably because she is British, but if you like warm, funny, true-to-the-heart romances, you should definitely seek her out. In fact, you should seek them all out.

There's a reason why I reread these books over and over, and that's the quality of the writing. As an author, I am always aware of how writers use words and imagery and build a world that draws the reader in. These three do all that as well as any writers I've ever read. I want to be them, when I grow up.

In the meanwhile, I try to learn everything I can from reading and rereading their many books. And they never get old, because these three authors are just that good.

Have you ever read any of their books, and if so, what did you think? And who are your favorite "comfort read" authors? Inquiring minds want to know.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Hibernation Vacation

I haven't taken a real vacation in years.

I've gone to a fair amount of conventions and conferences, including Pantheacon (a big Pagan convention in San Jose), RWA National conference in NYC, and a few smaller writing conferences. These trips are a blast--I get to meet up with other folks in the business, spend time with people I never get to see otherwise (like my Llewellyn editor Elysia Gallo and my agent Elaine Spencer, and lots of writer pals), learn new things, give workshops and presentations, and eat way too much yummy food. These trips are definitely fun, and a great change of pace from my regular life, but make no mistake: they're work, not a vacation.

Hell, I usually need a vacation when I get back from one :-)

The closest thing to a vacation I've had was probably three years ago, the last time the Blue Moon Circle gang (and families) took a three-day weekend and went to the Sterling Renaissance Faire. We used to do that almost every year, but people's schedules have gotten tighter, and of course, there's that whole money thing.

The truth is, it can be hard to find the time and money to take a real vacation, as much as we might all want to go sit on the beach with a good book, a fruity drink with an umbrella in it, and a cute cabana boy. (Wait, maybe that's just me.) But that doesn't mean that our bodies and spirits don't need a break from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

So this year, I'm planning to take a Hibernation Vacation.

And yes, I just made that up. But feel free to borrow the idea and use it yourself, in whichever way works best for you.

Here's how I envision the Hibernation Vacation:

For one thing, I'll be doing it at home. Way cheaper that way, and in some ways more relaxing. No packing, no traveling, and no worries about forgetting something important...

For another, the plan is to do less, instead of more. Most vacations involve running around like crazy, trying to cram as much as possible into the time you have. The hibernation vacation is all about UN-cramming your life.

The general idea is to remove as much of the daily pressure of life as possible. For instance, I normally write every day, for at least a few hours in the evening. For the duration of my hibernation vacation, I'm going to give myself permission not to do that. If I get an idea, I can jot it down. I can play with plans for future work. But no doing the work itself until later.

I will still have to go into the shop (I'd originally planned this for February, when we're closed an extra day and things are slow, so I wouldn't even have to do that much, but The Cold from Hell made me reschedule), but I'm not going to worry too much about running a million errands on the way home. And I'll be saying no to all social activities and requests from others.

When I am home, I am going to focus on reconnecting with my spiritual practice and my physical well being. I have been saying for months (ahem, maybe a year) that I was going to get back to meditating and a regular exercise program. But there never seems to be time to fit it into my schedule. I also want to focus more energy on my magickal practice, instead of just writing about it. (Yes, I see the irony there.)

 There are also things I've been saying I was going to do, such as re-learning to play guitar and crochet [see my previous blog post about the Creativity Cauldron], which never seem to make it to the top of the "to do" list. The hibernation vacation is the perfect space in time to allow myself to recharge my creative batteries by doing things that aren't "work" creativity (like writing or jewelry making). Things I do just for me, just for fun.

A shocking idea, isn't it!

These days, we all tend to be focused on what has to be done for others, or what we need to do to ensure our everyday survival and pay the bills. It is too easy to forget to fill the well we draw from every day...and then we hit a point where the well is empty, and we can't figure out why.

A hibernation vacation is a way to give yourself the gift of time: recharge your internal battery and hit the "reboot" button on some of your daily patterns that could use shaking up. It doesn't have to be a whole week. Take a weekend, if that's all you can spare, or even just a day. My friend Robin, who is married with kids, and runs a daycare, lives for the rare times when her hubby takes the kids out for the whole day and she gets to be all by herself and not cleaning anything. She takes a long bath, reads a book, actually sits down. A mini hibernation vacation that gives her a break from the constant need to always be there for someone.

Turn off your phone, stay off the internet, only watch fun things on the TV (no news, for goddess' sake!). Read a book. Make a list of the things you want to do for yourself that you never have time for, and do them. And don't forget to focus on your spiritual practice, whatever that might be. Go out at night and look at the stars. Listen to the rain or the sound of the waves. Or turn everything off and listen to the silence.

Then you can listen to yourself, and that's what a hibernation vacation is all about.

What would you do on a hibernation vacation? Something fun, I hope!

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