2023 Birthday Musings: Friendships, Poetry, Death & Social Media

Nuzzled in a submarine valley of surreality, I am 1,800 meters under water; inhaling sand at the bottom of the world…

The Earth is simultaneously blatantly aggressive and dreamlike, and each blink (and rapid closing of my eyes) shuttles me between microcosms, causing vertigo from the ricochet.

I am alive, I am stirred. I am drowsing, I am insomnolent. I am asleep, I am entombed. I am inspired, I am still.

I am resolute, and I am "cogito, ergo sum" –– thinking and feeling the collectiveness of existence (both mine and humanity’s) so very deeply.

It’s in this numinous space that I “collect” another birthday like a relic on a china shelf.

It feels timeless, as if I’m either going to be this age for a very long time, or as if this transit (whether astrological or world events-based) is going to hoard storage on my body’s hard drive for an extended period –– or until I’m forced to make space.

Like many other things, I meant to write this last week (and share it on my actual birthday, November 8), but what is “time” when so much is occurring in the ephemeral, in-between space?

Last year, I created a birthday tradition that involves sharing lessons that I’ve gleaned in the 365 days prior, but this year’s teachings feel more like a lifestyle (or a perspective) shift…

They’re like tattoos: visible (and impossible to ignore) whenever I look in a mirror; permanent and embedded into my skin. They’re seeped into me forever, and only time will tell what the impacts will be… 

On This Birthday, I Have Learned:

1) Intimacy in Friendship is Essential

Bella wat Lake Como

There was a time when I allowed new friends to meet me, but not to know me. I would permit them to share my orbit, but never come close enough to collide, or make an impact (on me).

The rationale behind my strategic elusiveness wasn’t frivolous or unfounded. I hadn’t always been that way, but during my first Saturn Return, I went through a series of painful friendship breakups that shuddered me shut. The scenarios were blindsiding and bizarre –– etched with twisted plots that could’ve been penned by a Hollywood screenwriter –– and crammed into a thriller that ended in an unsatisfying cliffhanger.

For instance, one of my closest friends “broke up” with me shortly after her wedding (in which I was a bridesmaid) because I became a “mirror” for her life –– and what I later understood were her own perceived shortcomings, unfulfilled desires and self-imposed limitations.

I wrote about healing from that situation, and the process of actualization, in my book, The Muse's Guide to Reinvention.” I also wrote about the concept of “mirrors”–– and how reflections can sometimes erupt in irrational, violent, defensive and fearful reactions in "the Other.”

Though they’ll never disappear, those stagnant memories (and scars) have since faded, which has left me in a space where I’m now willing, and open, to the idea of allowing fresh air in.

I credit this mostly to time, but also to a nervous system that is now regulated –– and at ease. Over a year ago, I began studying equine-assisted healing in a horse-human trauma recovery program; primarily for the purposes of adding a new modality to my “Sacral Alchemy” coaching repertoire.

Instead, what has happened is that some of my own shadows have been vanquished in the interim, and I’ve also gained a newfound appreciation for community ­­–– and intimate friends.

During one of the in-person intensives for my training, I shared a space with three other women whose openness, vulnerability, trust, intuitiveness and bravery made me realize just how beautiful it can be to discharge, let your guard down, and allow others to “see” and accept you as you are.

Now that I’ve experienced it, I want more of it, and I find I’m no longer interested in swimming only in pools that I can see the bottom of. I attribute this revelation to the power of horse magick, and just how impactful healing with horses can be.

2) Poetry, Music & Art are Like Air: Life-Sustaining

Inspiration is an infinite loop rounding in an ouroboros. Like the serpent, it devours its own tail and rebirths itself –– endlessly.

I’ll never forget having writer’s block for three years… Whenever I tried to write, my pen transformed into fire and my hand into wax, and I’d melt into puddles of hot nothing all over the paper.

I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was a little girl, and that love for words transformed into a compulsion to write –– EVERYTHING. Poems, short stories, songs, channeled, free-flowing thoughts; and even reported pieces (after I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism).

Words were my savior, and my sanctuary, and I found God (and myself) in the words that would spill out of me whenever I got too full (inside) and needed to purge.

Looking back in retrospect, I can see that other elements of my creativity suffered following the capsizing of my ability to float words like water… I didn’t make music anymore either, and to an extent, nor did I dream.

I tried to find outlets for creative expression on the Internet, but I didn’t realize the online world had become so stingy (and empty) until I sat at the table of Instagram’s recently launched app, Threads. There, the communion of intellect, philosophy, art and spirit is the culture. Authentic connectivity is in abundance, and no one cries about spilled wine because there’s endless reds, whites and champagnes in the pantry. Bread is broken and no one’s denied a piece, and I discover new artists and writers to I admire daily; absent of vapidness.

I find myself writing again, and not necessarily to share publicly, just as a form of release. There’s a delicious tingle and excitement that settles in your bones – and expands throughout your entire body – when you create something new, and it’s a joy that I don’t ever want to be without again.

I’m writing songs again, as well as creating what I’m calling “audio collages,” and I’ve recorded a guided meditation (set to music). Like a dam that has been unjammed, I’m making up for years of being in a wordless void, and the process has now become life-sustaining, just like air.

If you’re also searching for fresh air, join me on Threads @MusebyMidnight. I welcome your company there. 

3) Social Media is Best Navigated as a Long-Distance Relationship

Since it’s invention, I’ve never been “consistent” on social media. I have two oscillating modes: flurried inspiration or utterly disengaged.

I liken my method of social wayfinding to the Greek goddess Persephone’s never-ending cycle of descending into the Hades underworld, and then returning to the living in Spring.

As a Scorpio, I’m fascinated with life and death, so the comparison seems natural, but also apt. When I’m online, I’m planting seeds and engaging wholeheartedly with those on the same frequency, and when I’m not, I’m fully retreated into my own internal world; tending to the people I love and traveling with total awareness for the present. There is no in between.

One could also say it’s a bit like a long-distance relationship. I need to physically experience the world (and breathe it in) so that I may return to the online sphere with new reflections, inspiration, and intuitive messages. I believe that accessibility creates staleness, as well as a false overfamiliarity (and parasocial relationship with “the Other”), and I’ve never been comfortable with that. I actually dedicated a whole section of my book to privacy, its importance, and how I consider it to be the “last real currency on Earth.”

The online world knows what I choose to share, and nothing more, and I prefer it that way. There must be a separation between church and state, or the Internet will become your God and those who inhabit it, your idols. 

Perhaps it’s always been there, but since the pandemic touched our world, I’ve witnessed, and ascertained, that there’s a culture of global shame slithering across the Internet. Its venom is directed towards all who forsake the “Collective Rage.” This manic, group psychosis is a reaper, and its slowly adding more bodies to a pile in a monstrous fire; swallowing humanity whole. 

Freud warned us about it. He said that morality could be sadistic (i.e., the Sadistic Superego). We witches can hear the call, and we can smell a witch hunt like a hound tracks for blood... I will not placate witch hunters by feeding into “cancel-culture” and similar elements. I will engage when I desire to, and disconnect when it’s not serving me, and I’ll continue to position my life in a way that doesn’t make me reliant on social media for my social, economic, spiritual and emotional sustenance.

I coach women on how to navigate, and develop, their own long-distance relationships with social media; amidst numerous other complimentary life elements such as developing emotional regulation and harmony in their current relationships (and circumstances). You may learn more at SacralAlchemy.com.

4) Death Has a Standing Invitation, Plan Accordingly

Bella wat Lake Como

Oh, death. What a rank odor you leave behind… It permeates everything and I can still smell you even after many, many, many showers…

Death has touched me personally, and come incredibly close to others that I love this year. It rocks, and awakens, you in ways that you can’t begin to fathom unless you’ve been there. Grief, stress, heartbreak and even fear can find their way to you.

There’s no reasoning with death when it comes so the best you can do is be prepared to accept its kiss at any given time. Of course, mental and spiritual preparation are the obvious (and usually foremost) contentions for the living, but there are tangible, fleshy, human considerations that remain when our spirits no longer do.

For instance, taking proper precautions to ensure that assets are passed on to loved ones after death. I’ve realized that not everyone prioritizes establishing legal documents such as wills and trusts, and that each year, thousands allow their estate to descend into “Probate,” where thousands of families lose out on thousands of dollars and time.

There are also medical directives to be considered, or what one would want to become of them if they’re no longer mentally (or physically) sound enough to be their own advocates.

I suppose it’s simply a sobering that comes with age, but I think about my retirement often (and my death), and I’m actively taking measures to ensure my comfort in my golden years.

I’ve found it to be the saddest thing for someone to be at the end of their life, and yet full of regrets, anger and bitterness, and on this most recent birthday, I vowed to myself that I would never share that commonality.

As Atticus once said, “I hope to arrive to my death, late, in love, and a little drunk.”

*All photography was shot by me. © Muse by Midnight

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