Encinitas Meditation Gardens

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(I really, really hope the pictures are showing up. I have been having crazy problems with pictures for this post.)

Okay, so, meditation isn’t exactly “witchy” in its own right, but there is a lot of crossover between “new age” folks and meditation, perhaps because meditation is most commonly associated with India (where it’s believed to have originated) and the Buddhist religion which originated there (fun fact: only 0.7% of India’s population is Buddhist, despite that being the religion’s country of origin). Many modern pagans and witches incorporate aspects of Buddhism into their practices, so meditation can be witchy, if a witch practices it.

(Not a stretch at all, right?)

I practice it, at least. And, even if it’s not meant to be a “witchy” place, the Meditation Gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas, CA is certainly a magical place.

Image of a small man-made waterfall lined at the edges with large rocks and surrounded by ferny plants.
Print available at Society6

Whenever I feel overwhelmed and anxious, this is my first destination. It was built to be a calming and spiritual place, where anyone of any religion can come and be in the presence of the Divine. That intent has carried on over the decades since Paramahansa Yogananda founded it in 1920.

It’s difficult not to find some measure of peace amongst the lush and varied plants which live there, sitting on a bench in the sun or shade and smelling the sea breeze making its way up the cliffside. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty, wrapped in California warmth and surrounded by beautiful flowers. I love looking out over the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean and reminding myself how small I really am—how small my problems really are—compared to all the world.

Image of the Pacific Ocean and a blue sky with low white clouds. The coastline can be seen in the distance and green plant life can be seen in the foreground.
Print available at Society6

The Garden is also home to some beautiful koi. Another favored spot of mine is a bench beneath a tree, overlooking one of the three ponds. It’s shaded and cool, and a good spot to really surround myself in the elements.

Small alcoves and many small, two-person benches are scattered throughout the garden, providing ample space to those who wish the sit and meditate (or just rest and enjoy the bounty of nature). If a bench isn’t your thing, there are also grassy expanses where one can sit and really feel the earth beneath them. It’s an amazing place to sit and journal, to reflect on life and spirit, or to just take a break.

It’s a popular place, so I recommend going during the week to avoid crowds, if you can. I can tell you from experience, it’s hard to block out the rest of the world when a screaming toddler runs into your backside.

To learn more about the Self-Realization Fellowship’s founder, Paramahansa Yogananda, I highly recommend picking up his autobiography:


Autobiography of a Yogi

I’ve read it twice and couldn’t put it down. Even just reading about his life gives me a sense of calm in the storm.

I love you all.


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Tips for Dealing with Unavoidable Anxiety

This post contains affiliate links. Please click here to read my disclosure policy.

In a perfect world, everything would come with a trigger warning. Before you walked into that restaurant, there would be a sign saying, “You will be seated next to a family with four screaming toddlers. May cause sensory overload.” In a perfect world, your boss would speak softly to you when you made mistakes, because they care about your struggles and don’t want to cause you anymore undue stress.

Unfortunately, reality doesn’t work like that. Sometimes, the only safe space you have is your bedroom and it’s far, far away.

Sometimes, you can’t avoid anxiety-inducing situations. But, you can manage them in the moment and come out the other side relatively unscathed. Read More

Marjorie Struthers-McLachlan

Misfit Marjorie is one of the coolest human beings on the internet. Consider donating to his travel fund?

Marjorie's Forgeries

I’ve mentioned IML several times over the past few months, but for the uninitiated, International Mr. Leather is an annual competition that takes place in Chicago during Memorial Day weekend. There are around 60 contestants every year, and at IML 40, I will be one of them.

I qualified for the contest about a year and a half ago (when I won the title of Mr. Firedancer Dallas 2016-2017, which is worth a story of its own one of these days), and at the time, I was like, “Nifty! I’ma go to IML at some unspecified point in the distant future. That’ll be a hoot.” However, now that the event is 11 weeks away, I’m like, “OMG OMG WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!” But hey, at least I don’t suffer from any kind of acute mental illness to make the situation even more terrifying, amirite?

[insert visual flashback effect…

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Excuse me while I scream incoherently into the void

My classes this semester are making me completely rethink my entire educational plan. This is not actually a bad thing.

School is stressful. This semester in particular has just been a nightmare unlike anything I have experienced before (I literally cannot miss one more day or either class without being dropped; it’s not even half-way through the semester). Every morning on my commute, all I can think is, “I cannot believe I am subjecting myself to this much anxiety. Why am I subjecting myself to this much anxiety?”

And that, my dear witches, is a good question.

Why am I subjecting myself to this much anxiety? What is it that I am trying to gain from school, and is what I’m trying to gain what I really want?

Which requires me to ask and answer the question: What do I really want?

A couple years ago, Pup bought me the Self Authoring suite developed my Dr. Jordan Peterson. I kind of played around with it, and it’s interesting and a little helpful. Pup suggested I use it to see if I can sort some stuff out. I figured, why not?

I did the first part of the Future Authoring program, which concludes with a fifteen minute free-write of what your ideal future looks like. I’ll spare you the details, but here’s what I mostly took away from it:

I am so on the wrong path.

I don’t want a fancy, super high-paying job with money to burn. I want to save enough money to put a down payment on a small house somewhere that is not San Diego (I specifically say outside of Denver, but really it could be anywhere that is not San Diego or Los Angeles) and earn enough money to pay my mortgage and my bills and have a little left over to put in a savings/retirement account. My ideal future involves gardening and chickens and writing and crafting.

My ideal future does not include telling people what they should eat, or why. It does not include lab coats or intermittent sighing at people who aren’t sticking to their Diet(tm). It doesn’t include sitting in a cold, sterile office looking at charts and cholesterol levels. It really doesn’t include anything which requires a degree, at all.

Of course, that’s my ideal future and I know that getting to that ideal means I’m going to have to slog through some shit. It’s easier to slog when you have a degree, so I think I still want to (or at least still plan to) get a degree. But, whether I’m going to stick with nutrition or go back to one of my previous majors… we’ll see. Nutrition is interesting and I’d like to understand it. I’m not sure if I want to devote the next six years of my life to what I want to be a temporary situation.

My school offers a number of certification programs and A.A. degrees. I’ve been looking at the long-game, and I think I stressed myself out too much worrying about, “Oh, but I need this to transfer here to enroll in this Bachelor’s/Master’s program…” I think maybe instead I should worry about developing a skill; even if I don’t have an advanced degree, at least I’ll have the skill.

Of course, my ideal future also changes at the drop of a hat, so who knows. That all might be totally meaningless by tomorrow morning. I just needed five minutes to think about something other than alge-blah and blah-ology. BLAH.

I love you all.


Let’s keep in touch! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Like my content? Consider buying me a coffee. Less time worrying about paying my bills means more time creating content.

Oops! Midterms!

I was planning to take a week-long hiatus during spring break (the last week of March) because the idea of one week where I don’t have to do anything makes my knees weak, but I totally forgot that midterms are a thing. Probably because this is the first semester in years where I’ve had classes with midterms I actually have to study for.

Blogging is important to me, but school and studying has to take priority, so I will not be able to update regularly until after that’s over. I may post updates (ie: rants) periodically as the mood strikes me. I’m also going to try very, very hard to keep up with reading.

Regularly posting will resume on April 2nd.

Thank you for your patience.

I love you all.

Book Review: The Path of a Christian Witch by Adelina St. Clair

This post contains affiliate links. Please click here to read my disclosure policy.

So, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been attending church, recently. While I didn’t think I’d actively dislike it, I will admit that I was surprised to find that I actually enjoy it, enough that I’ve gone weekly for the last five weeks.

I would not necessarily call myself any form of Christian, but I did mention that I’m intrigued by the idea of Christian witchcraft. So, I set out to find some research material.

Enter: The Path of a Christian Witch by Adelina St. Clair

The Overall Takaway: I would rate this book a 4/5 and recommend it to those interested in the niche faiths within the niche faiths. Read More

Google Maps Can Rot in Hell

I’m trying really hard not to let stress get me down. With school, that can be tough, because my biology class is so labor intensive. I hardly have time to breathe, let alone do anything else.

Spring Break is coming up, though. Just three more weeks of classes and then one glorious week off. I’m debating taking a break from everything (including blogging and social media) to relax and catch up on things which have fallen by the wayside.

Despite my best efforts to not let stress get to me, life seems to have not gotten the memo. Read More

A Witch’s Beginnings, part three

Part One.
Part Two.

Wicca has a “harm none” edict which felt stifling to me in my late teens and early twenties. Not that “harm none” isn’t a solid principle to adhere to, but so many of the resources I found at the time promoted a sort of spiritual altruism that I just couldn’t get on board with. I was young and angry and oh-so tired of being told that was wrong. Read More

Cake Craft

Once upon a time, I was a functional human being with hobbies and interests. One of those interests was cake decorating. I even took the Wilton classes offered through Michael’s about five years ago (I never finished and would like to retake them one of these days).

I’ve been too busy with school this week (I had my first exam on Wednesday) to do any cooking, so I don’t have a recipe or recent pictures to share.

So, instead, I want to share the cake I made for my lesson three final of my Wilton classes! Yay! Read More

A Witch’s Beginning: Part 2

Last week, I talked about my childhood background in Christianity and how I ended up drifting away from that, because there wasn’t much of an anchor there to begin with. Something I’ve learned through my years of searching is that spiritual connection, regardless of your religious belief, needs to be cultivated. I was never taught how to cultivate a relationship with Christianity, so it never truly developed.

So, when I began my search for religions, I wrote off all the majors as not for me. This left me not a lot of options. In fact, the only option left that I knew existed (but, by far, not the true only option left), was Wicca. Read More

Overwhelmed

On Wednesday, I went to a Galentine’s party with a girl I met at church, Alex. I forced myself to go because I’m trying very hard to meet new people and step out of my comfort zone. It was definitely out of my comfort zone. Read More

Cheesy Lasagna with Pork and Beef

Lasagna is one of my favorite dinners, because it’s actually relatively easy to make and I almost always have everything on hand. It can be assembled ahead of time and then popped in the oven when you get home from work/school/dancing naked in the woods in heathen ritual… whatever. It’s also cheesy and gooey and delicious.

lasagna

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