This is the last planned episode of my Friday night fangirling. If you have questions about Tarot, Reiki, Meditation, or anything, let me know that in the comments and I’ll write more on-topic posts to fill the gap. If I don’t know the answer, you’ll get a resounding I dunno or if you ask/say/spam anything inappropriate, the comment will be incinerated in bright blue bolt of hexfire. I’m hoping to spark some conversation with all of this.
I’ve never watched Marie Kondo. In a way, this whole ‘kitten whiskers’ series of posts has been about favorite things that “spark joy” as she says. If so, I may have failed.
It wasn’t my vision for this series to be about sparking “joy.” To my mind, joy is euphoric, yes, but also misty, temporary and insubstantial like cotton candy or whipped cream topping on a dessert. I had really hoped to spark substantial contentment, like a big bowl of ramen noodles or something filling and nourishing instead of sweet fluff. My goal was to bring attention to simple pleasures and little things to comfort, encourage and anchor our sanity during these strange days.
One of the things that sparks contentment, that sparks that comfortable-in-your-own-skin feeling for me is the warrior archetype. Yes, women have a warrior archetype too. Don’t let Athena, Queen Boudica, Mulan, Joan of Arc, or the 400 women who fought in the American Civil War hear you say otherwise (Psychology Today, Smithsonian Magazine) In other words, the things that spark my happy place into existence also tends to inspire some thread of badassedness at the same time. To me, “warrior” is not in the slightest realated the toxic masculine violence that is stepping to the fore in right wing America. That is the exact opposite of a warrior. I’m talking about the self-development, self-mastery kind of warriorhood. I have a looooong way to go with that sort of thing. It sparks a sense of satisfaction to think I’m on even the sparest beginning of that path. When I think warrior, I think of things like
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front front of him, but because he loves what is behind him” – G.K. Chesterson
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power” – attr. Tao Te Ching
Things that spark that sort of mindset make me happy.
ART & POETRY
Fringe and free, artists and poets give zero f*cks for social mores and expectations. They are warriors in defense of every aspect of the human experience good and bad, light and dark. Some of us are gleefully hellbound. Which is why one of my current favorites is Ryan Summers. We’ve never met in person, but I’ve enjoyed every bit of his work. I’m touched by his deep kindness every time we’ve talked via social media (most recently instagram where he is @HellBoundBlack) We first talked through the online poetry group “we drink because we’re poets.” His poetry collection L’aria Onyx (written under nom de plume Sahm Ataine King) is gritty, real, almost skeletal in the sense that his poetry lays bare the bones of life. It reminds me of the Dada art movement with an echo of Japanese wabi sabe giving a result that finds power and life in dark imperfections.
His photography is his poetry transformed into image.
Please take a look at his Instagram and his new shirt design brand. Maybe you will be sparked along your chosen path too. Please support artists, photographers and poets.
I like coffee.
The taste, the aroma (and the caffeine) spark much more than happy badassedness. It sparks basic brainwaves. Like Sheriff Hopper said in the Netflix series Stranger Things “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation. Coffee. And contemplation.”
A couple of weeks ago I reached out for permission to mention and link to my new favorite local coffee houses, even though I don’t live near enough to visit often. They never replied, so I’ll respect that just say they are in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh (with a second site in McKees Rocks) and their name rhymes with Plack Pforge Toffee. The iced coffee there is the best I’ve ever sucked into my face hole. Considering the oceans of the stuff I’ve had over the past *mumble mumble* years that is saying something. They are not your mother’s coffee house. Oh no. These guys have a goth metal pagan aesthetic that is as satisfying as the Sumatra dark roast. If you see me wandering around in a hoodie that says “darkness brewing eternal” you’ll know I did a little local shopping. Please support your favorite local small businesses.
I used to teach Taijiquan (Tai Chi) then I learned that I know nothing. I have a black belt in Kung Fu. Then I learned I know less than nothing. It was a ton of fun, regardless. If you try it, please find a qualified teacher and do your best to avoid belt mills and over-testosteroned cobra-kai-esque mashugana mishegoss. Look for your Mister Miyagi. Look for your Socrates from Peaceful Warrior. They exist. Don’t give up. If you are lucky enough to live in the D.C. area, Master Nick Gracenin is one of the absolute best, truly world class.
Books will feed whatever archetype is your happy place. They can spark joy, spark contentment, spark badass, and everything in between. The ones coming to mind tonight include:
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
Scholar Warrior by Deng Ming-Dao
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By by Carol Pearson
Made another playlist of music that sparks you-know-what, at least for me. I hope you enjoy. The last song is a hands down favorite. It is Jackie Chan singing General’s Mandate in Madarin. Our Sifu uses it for his demonstration forms. Master Gracenin plus Jackie Chan equals pure unadulterated motivation.
Thank all of you for reading. You … all of you…being here with this… THAT sparks joy.
Best to all – R.