Start Your Quest | 9 Gamification Tarot Spreads to Level Up Your Life!

Level Up, Productivity, Spreads, Tarot
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If you are living your life, chasing your dreams, and planning your success and you need to spice things up, to have a little more excitement in the process–gamification is the perfect way to add some positive and motivating vibes to your game. In this post, I want to share with you 9 gamification-themed tarot spread, through a series of questions, pep talks and spread pictures. I want to inspire you to be your best, because I know you have so much potential in you! We all do!! I want you to know that you are awesome and your life can be anything that you choose to create!!


Success isn’t deserved..it is taken!

Do you just want to play and participate in the game, or do you want to win?
What’s your ultimate quest in life? What is your dream? What kind of hero do you want to be?

Select Your Hero. Get your head in the game. Check in with your vision. Know who you are. Know who you want to become. Eddie Pinero said in his motivational speech: You are not your past. You are your future–what defines you is the steps that you take to close the distance between you and your dreams.

Get ready to level up. 

Select Your Hero Tarot Spread

The road to success isn’t a race…it is a marathon! 

If you’re always sprinting, you are going to run out of breath. Are you in this for the long run, or what? How can you allow yourself to have the strength to keep going?

Stop at necessary checkpoints. Save the game for later. Take the time to nourish yourself and your strength. You can’t fight wars on an empty stomach, you can’t keep running when you are tired, and you can’t win at life if you have no more HP (health points!) to last you to the boss levels!

Rest regularly, not just when you need to, and most certainly not when you are forced to. 

Checkpoint Tarot Spread

Shit happens. In fact, it is guaranteed to happen!

Did you just lose your footing? Did something go wrong? What are the challenges that you currently face? How did it take you by surprise? How can you solve these challenges?

Glitches are not supposed to happen, but they happen anyway. Luckily, there is nothing that you, the Hero, can’t fix. Solve the glitches in your life by re-establishing your footing and focusing on solving the problems at hand. Feel the muscles in your body. Sink into your strength. Nothing can beat you, you hear? Because you are frigging badass!!!

Keep calm and carry on! 

Glitched Tarot Spread

Experiencing delays? Giving in to procrastination? 

Are you being forced to slow down when you’re just gaining momentum? Something’s killing your juju’s and your vibes? Are you self-sabotaging yourself by putting off the work that needs to be done? Are you procrastinating? Are you finding excuses for yourself and delaying your progress?

Whatever the reason, let’s not let this epic lag drag us down! Be patience and keep a clear head. It’s not about forcing your way out–it is about applied force as well as conscious patience. Sometimes all we can do is wait. Sometimes we have to de-couch-potato ourselves and get our butts moving. Whatever it is, let nothing deter you and your progress!

Whatever you do, don’t stop and don’t give up!

Epically Lagging Tarot Spread

Haters gonna hate! 

Are people aggravating you? Criticizing you and sabotaging your success, blocking you from your confidence and your dreams? Are there trolls, tricky and difficult forces that stand in your way that you must deal with?

Block and delete these trolls!  Don’t let these trolls get to you. If you feel something–if you’re angry or upset, know that this is a validation that you are working towards something you care about. Of course you care about how you are perceived and received. But let no one shake your confidence and topple your dreams. You don’t have to put up with this. Let yourself be upset once, and then never again by the same trigger!

Believe in yourself and your process! Commit to your dreams and to your life! 

Troll Alert Tarot Spread

Life is a neverending journey of growth!

Feeling like your skills aren’t enough? Feeling inexperienced? How can you get to where you want to be? How can you become the person that you want to become? How bad do you want it?

There’s nothing you can do but LEVEL UP! Well, what is there to do? I guess the only thing you can do is to get better at what you are doing, acquire the skills you need and become the best thing there is! Become a bigger and better Hero by sharpening your weapons and expanding your skills and talents. Just imagine: your growth is limitless! You can literally grow and level up for the rest of your life!

Have faith in your own potential and be prepared to work hard for it!

Level Up Tarot Spread

Achieving success is simple, but never easy!

Are you ready? This is what you’ve been working hard for! What is your biggest challenge? What is that one thing outside of your comfort zone that you know you need to do in order to succeed? What are you afraid of?

Boss Fights aren’t something horrible that threatens your dreams, your existence or your sense of self.  They are a testament to the strength you have cultivated! All the EXP’s (experience points) you have collected for your Hero, all the new skills and talents you have acquired, and all the new items and gadgets that you now have in your arsenal–now is the time to unleash them! Face your Boss Fights and rise to the next level in life–or get stuck in that same stage, forever!

Push through your challenges with courage to unlock new chapters in life! 

Boss Fight Tarot Spread

Recognize your own efforts and the steps you have taken to succeed! 

Did you fight your Boss Fights? Did you win? Did you do great? Are you happy about your progress? Do you realize how far you have come and how much you have grown? Do you realize just how awesome you have become?

Celebrating your high scores as you clear the stage! Don’t ever stop to give up, to give in or to admit you have lost–but do take the time to recognize your own success and your own hard work! What are the qualities and accomplishments that you have amassed? How have you gotten closer to your dreams, or how have your dreams expanded and grown bigger than your wildest imaginations? What are the “secrets”t o your success? And what did you gain from it?

Embody your success and appreciate all that you have created, and keep going!

Stage Cleared Tarot Spread

Are you ready for the next stage? 

Are you finished with your project? Your cycle of goals and tactics? Are you ready for the next stage? Are you ready to move forward and achieve even more success?

Unlock the next new stage and push on! Now a bigger and better Hero, you know how to kickass in the game of life! You are ready to take on anything. You are ready for any challenges that come your way. Nothing can stop your momentum, because you are a juggernaut on your way to eternal victory!!!

Keep playing the game. Keep winning! 

New Stage Unlocked Tarot Spread


You’re awesome!

Thank you for reading this post from start to finish. I hope you make the best use out of these spreads and I hope that they will add a little fun for you when you are out there conquering life! Also, by the way: I am offering all of these readings over at my tarot shop on Etsy, so if you are interested in getting a creative and motivational tarot reading from me, here is an exclusive 15% off promo code that is only to you peeps who follow (or stumble upon) my blog. ❤ I looooove talking about life as if leveling up and conquering bosses. I get super pumped and excited–so let’s get pumped and let’s totally ace this game of life together!!

Level Up with a Creative & Motivational Tarot Reading!

 

6 Tarot Spreads to Kick-start the New Year

Blog, Level Up, Productivity, Spreads

tarot spread jumpstart 2018 bannerNew year, new me, new resolutions, new quests, new energy, new direction, new map…just, NEW!! Now that the calendar has finished resetting, here’s a few energetically charged tarot spreads to give you a power boost and jumpstart the next 12 months, to connect with the big picture and plan accordingly, and to ground yourself in the story that is unfolding so that you can make the best out of 2018.

Some of the spreads that are included here are previously published on my Instagram, some are new and are just making their debut via this blog post, and one of them (just letting you know right off the bat) is a sneak peek into a collection of productivity-themed spreads book that I’ve created as part of the Productivity and Planning Toolkit, available on my Etsy shop for 25% off right now.  But anyhoo, all of these spreads are selected because they align with the theme of the new year: welcoming and inviting in new energies, getting pumped and ready, connecting with your authentic self and purpose, and planning ahead.

Alright, now that’s out of the way–let’s get started!

2017 Year Map

The Year Map Spread. This is my go-to when I want to gain insight and channel messages from the cards for the year ahead. The Year Map Spread serves as a forecast that will shed light to the major spiritual trajectories, attitudes and energies that encompass an entire year–energies that penetrate all areas of one’s life regardless of career, relationship or personal development. This is an ideal spread if you want to look at the big picture and the life lessons that are in store for you in 2018!

Next Level Spread

Next Level Spread: a gamified sequel to its previous chapter, Stage Cleared Spread, Next Level Spread is designed for you to look at life through the lens of an RPG game and its main objective is to help you download epic quests to complete, identify power-up’s and revamp your heroic profile so you’re all glorious and ready. It’s jampacked with the theme of confidence, self-empowerment and creative gaming concepts that can be applied to any endeavours you choose to embark on in life. You can use this for 2018, or you can use it for any ventures that you go on, really. A new job, a new project, a new relationship, a new month, or just any situation that arises.

Productivity Profile Spread.png

Productivity Profile Spread: This is one of my favourite spreads, ever! I believe that everybody has a unique way of being productive–and productivity means so much more than just mechanistically producing products and conquering time slots. (If you want to read more about tarot and productivity, I started a few blog posts on this topic as part of the “Fool’s Journey through Productivity” series…it’s still ongoing and I really need to find the time to finish it haha) But yes. This spread will help you isolate and identify your productive powers, and help you become productive in your own way + find a productive lifestyle that is rooted in your own strengths and your own work rhythms!

True Calling Spread

True Callings Spread: Another Fables Den classic! It’s a new year, and while you’re riding this new year wave and that rejuvenated sense of self–this spread is perfect if you want to reconnect with your purpose, your mission to be more authentic and to pursue your passions in life. This spread will help you connect with your soul waves and shine bright as you answer and honour its callings! Time to get manifestin’, baby.

evolve spread

Evolve Spread: This is a deep one–this spread will help you tap into your ancestral connections, explore how the narratives embedded and encoded within your DNA are affecting you and work on how you can transform these entrenched narratives. This is a spread that taps into the ultimate “cosmic bird view”, looking at your life as if it is part of a whole, looking at your core traits and narratives as a choice, a state of being–if that makes sense. If you’re really into it, this spread can transcend your concept of space-time, and the linearity of your reality. (Mindbent, yet?)

IMG_20170708_114455_391

Breaking Bad Habits Spread: Get it? Breaking Bad? Breaking Bad Habits? 😀 This is one of the doodled spreads that were part of my Tarot Spread Machine. Since usually we include a healthy or positive habit that we are trying to build (or a bad habit we are trying to break) as part of our new year resolutions, this seems a fitting selection to be included in this line-up!

keep calm and tarot on

Year Map, True Calling & Breaking Bad Readings are all available on my Etsy. ❤ If you’re interested in picking up a reading from me, make sure to check out my shop! If you want to find out more about me as a reader and how I read, click here to check out my Services and Policies page! 

10 of Wands: Fighting Through Creative Overwhelm + Tarot Spread

Blog, Creativity & Writing, Level Up, Productivity

10 of wands fighting through creative overwhelm blog picSucks to be human, doesn’t it?

To be stuck in a physical body that is only capable of moving in a linear fashion while multiple streams of creative energies, impulses and inspirations are fighting to come through you, shouting to get your attention, seeking to be born, to be manifested, to be brought into this world.

To be painfully linear. When our inner magic demands otherwise. When all we want to do is everything, AT ONCE. And we get frustrated when we have to divide our attention, to fragment our time and energy, to make sense of the flood of creative abundance that is coming through, to choose. How? How can we possibly choose?

Or rather, how can we choose the right one to focus one? How would we know?

Creativity is abstract. It cannot be boxed in, having no boundaries. It’s raw, it’s transformative, and it is stuff of life. If we could transcend the space-time that is our bodies, we would all be gods, worlds and dimensions springing from our fingertips. Alas, we are bound to earth’s physics. It’s a curse and a blessing. We are forced to sleep, to eat, to prioritize. We cannot achieve omnipotence and do everything at once. But we are of the stuff of gods. Creativity is in our nature. As human being, we are all born with the power to create. When it comes to creative overwhelm, the real challenge is really how to properly function as an incredibly creative being. How do we contain creativity? How do we organize it? How do work through the overwhelming pressure of creative potential, of things seeking to be born? And most importantly, how can we be productive with our creativity? 

Having a relaxed attitude and open mind can really help you reframe your frustration into something positive. 

If you are experiencing creative overwhelm, it is a sign that you are in the flow of overwhelming creative abundance. It’s a good thing! And something to be grateful for. You are experiencing creative overwhelm because you have cultivated enough space within yourself to open yourself up to creativity. This shows that you are coming from a place of real authenticity and intuitive flow. Think of it this way: instead of dealing with the usual psychological and emotional junk and tendencies that are derailing you from your highest good and honest creative expression, you are struggling to figure out what to do with your creative self. What a problem, right?

Understandably, these impulses are difficult to sort through because they are all a genuine part of you–and can you choose between parts of yourself when they are all, well, you!? Despite the challenge to generate focus and productivity, they are all a reflection of how strong your creativity is, how much you want to do with your life and how much potential that you see with all the trajectories that are being thrown at you, that extend into possible futures that speak to your heart’s desire.

All in all, you are starting at an incredibly righteous place!

Have a realistic understanding and concept of time, how time works, how much you are able to get done in a designated period, and how much time an activity actually consumes.

Most of the time, we are so concerned about productivity, we forget that everything inevitably takes time. When things take time, we lose patience because we lose our sense of progress. We feel like we’re either doing something wrong or not doing enough. We become extremely critical with our time management skills because we know that time is an unchanging commodity. We get 24 hours a day and that’s it, no special favors and shortcuts (and we have the same hours of Beyonce, for Goodness’ sakes!) Which means that when we’re not spending that 24 hours efficiently, we must be wasting time, no? Things can get very “blamey” and toxic from there, and we don’t want to get into that stressful thought-loop.We need to remember that we can measure our progress with a lot of things: for example, how much happiness and fulfillment we experience, how much useful data we have collected that can be of use later on in the future, how many ideas we have managed to sort through despite not having executed any of those ideas, how many social and emotional connections we have made…etc. These are few of the many things that can be used to validate creative progress and productivity.

Think long term.

If you are short-sighted with your goals, you become frustrated when you don’t meet those goals. For example, if you are running an online business and your goal is to “make money”, you become disappointed and discouraged when you don’t make any money because your designated “marker” of progress is money. And no money = no progress.

If you stretch your vision far enough, however, you will know that everything you are doing is for the growth and development of your online business, which includes many things: making money, building an online presence, discovering and growing your brand, creating engaging content, figuring out your creative vision, examining your journey, re-calibrating–these are all valuable “currencies” that may not appear to have met one or few of your goals, but you have to look at how your experiences and your efforts may have served you in the long run, or how they can be useful in different ways.

When you think long term, the decisions you make will become more meaningful because you understand that what you are doing right now are all various forms and levels of currencies that you are investing, which will pay off in different ways and feed off of each other in the future. Not to mention that when you think long term, you will make sure that you are spending your time and energy wisely and at the right places. Having a long term vision will really be a key feature that streamlines your creative and productive process.

Sorting through that bundle of “wands” like a boss. 

If you recall the RWS depiction of 10 of Wands, you will know how strenuous looking and back-pain inducing that picture is. It seems to portray arduous and difficult labour and burden. However, if you practice reframing this picture into something positive that presents a unique challenge (that you can overcome), your sense of pressure and stress will lighten up significantly. That dude has 10 wands at his disposal. Sure, he’s bitten off more than he could chew by trying to carry 10 of them at the same time (which I’m sure we all do with our grocery bags), but he’s still got 10 incredible power sources within his arms.

So if you’re suffering from creative overwhelm right now, all I can say is: keep calm and carry on. If you stretch the span of time far enough into the future–you will realize that this perceived “burden” is on burden at all. You can figure out how many wands you are able to carry and with how many trips. You can figure out the best ways to store those wands and to utilize their power. You can figure out when you are going to utilize those power and for what.

You can realize that creative overwhelm is, in fact, a sign of incredible abundance and quite honestly is a blessing disguised as a first-world problem curse. 😉

Does 10 of Wands also signify “creative overwhelm” to you? How do you interpret the 10 of Wands? Do you have any cool tricks or tips for dealing with creative overwhelm? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts below! 

And of course, here is a tarot spread to help you make sense of your creative overwhelm and power through it! xo

Creative Overwhelm Spread

Wrapping Up 2017: 6 Tarot Spreads to Help You Make the Best of Your Year

Blog, Level Up, Productivity, Spreads
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Honestly, 2017 went by in a blink of an eye. I cannot believe it is almost December. For me personally, this year has been a challenging year with hard and bone-deep lessons. I was called to ride the waves of my grief and losses, as well as face my inner demons at a cellular level. Phew. It’s been a thunderous heck of a year, and my deck of cards (khem, my numerous decks of cards…#notadeckjunkie) has been absolutely crucial in aiding my journey of self-discovery, self-love and healing.
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Some of the spreads I am going to share with you are spreads that I have used to ground and anchor myself in the face of challenge. Some spreads are newly designed to help you reflect on what has transpired in 2017 thus far, on how you have grown and what is your 2017 “punch line”. I hope these spreads will help you get the most out of your year, cultivate wisdom and empowerment, and level up! Here they are:

Into the Woods

Into the Woods: a spread for self reflection, deep contemplation and spiritual questions

  1. “At the Edge of the Woods” The spirit of the wood greets you, ready to take you on a journey. What is your purpose in entering this dream-space of deep contemplation and reflection?
  2.  “The Path into the Woods” What will help you navigate your journey as you traverse through the moonlit paths of your innerscapes?
  3.  The Wind in the Trees”: What are the energies that surround you?
  4.  “Reflections”: What do you see in yourself?
  5. “Relic from the Forest”: What is the wisdom that you must take with you when you leave the Woods?
  6. “At the Edge of the Woods, Once More”: How has the Woods or this Inner Journey transformed you?

Threshold Spread

The Threshold: a spread for exploring the important themes and lessons in 2017

  1. The Beginning: What were your visions and hopes at the beginning of the year?
  2. The Story of 2017: What is the overarching theme that defined the year of 2017?
  3. Challenge: What are the challenges that you had to face, the shadows or ego-based tendencies that you had to overcome in 2017?
  4. Lesson: What did you learn this year?
  5. Power-Up: What gave you strength? How did you power through the difficulties and challenges? What was your source of confidence and empowerment?
  6. Build: How can you use the powers you have “upped”, the lessons that you’ve worked through, the wisdom that you’ve gained to get ready for next year?
  7. Threshold of 2018: What is ending–and what is beginning? What are the new energies that are coming in for 2018?

Stage Cleared Spread

Stage Cleared: a RPG and game-themed spread for examining the “stats” and skills that you have accumulated  and reflecting on how you have grown and “leveled up” this year

  1. High Scores: Why are you worthy as the Hero or Heroine of your own story?
  2. Epic Replay: What has been your epic moment of glory and/or your defining moment?
  3. HP (Health Points) Increase: How have you grown in energy, vitality and purpose?
  4. MP (Magic Points) Increase: How have you grown in your ability to create and manifest your dreams?
  5. Attack Increase: How have you become better at problem solving and overcoming challenges?
  6. Defense Increase: How have you gotten better at coping with pressure, stress and negative inputs?
  7. Level Up! How have you grown as a person in general?

Epic Report Spread

The Epic Report: a spread for examining the various areas of your life. This spread can be used in many ways, depending on the overall theme that you would like to address. For example, you can use this spread as an annual “report” spread to get a general idea of how you did with each category. You can use this as a trouble-shooting spread and draw cards to see how you can level up in each area of life. You can also do a gratitude-themed spread and pull cards for things that you can be grateful for in each area.

Other suggested themes: ups and downs (draw 2 cards for each category), things in need of releasing, things in need of healing, advice, weekly/monthly/bi-annually check in’s, etc.

  1. Business/Career
  2. Relationships
  3. Health
  4. Finance
  5. Self-Development
  6. Spirituality
  7. Life Vision/Purpose

Synthesizer Spread

The Synthesizer Spread: a spread used to convert negative energy and input into positive and empowering energy

  1. The Blackhole: What has been a negative experience/source of negativity that is draining the life out of you?
  2. Filtering Suckage: How can you release and process the negativity?
  3. Extracting Energy: How can you grow from these negative experiences? What is a lesson you have learned and what is something useful you have extracted from this pool of negativity?
  4. Good Energy: What is a source of positivity that you can maintain or already have?
  5. Synthesizing: How can you convert the negative energy into positive energies and personal power?
  6. New Element: What is the brand new superpower that now exist within you?

Treasure Spread

Treasure Spread: a spread to help you tap into the energy of abundance and wealth by recognizing the treasures that you do have to attract more riches into your life

  1. Abundance: What already exists in your life that carries the energy of abundance?
  2. Gratitude: What is something you can be grateful for?
  3. Luck: What has been an act of synchronicity, a flash of miracle that has given you an “abundance boost”?
  4. Wisdom: What is a lesson that you have learned in your abundance journey?
  5. Generosity: How can you share the wealth and abundance that you already have?
  6. Love: How can you anchor yourself in the energy of love as you seek to expand with more abundance?

keep calm and tarot on

Both Into the Woods and Threshold are available on my Etsy. If you’re interested in picking up a reading from me, make sure to check out my shop! If you want to find out more about me as a reader and how I read, click here to check out my Services and Policies page! 

Money Matters: 10 Journal Prompts for Attracting Abundance

Exercises & Journal Prompts, Journaling Prompts, Level Up, Productivity

Abundance Journal Prompts banner

1. How do you define the word “abundance”? What does it mean to have an abundant life?

Depending on your upbringing, worldview, personality and needs, your definition of abundance is going to be different from everybody else’s. Cultivate your unique sense of abundance to avoid toxic comparison paradigms when you are trying to grow your wealth!

2. What are some of the attitudes and beliefs surrounding money that you grew up with?

For example, how did your parents handle money? What was considered frugal, and what was considered wasteful? (You can make a chart or graph to represent the opposite sides of the spectrum and explore what falls in the “Temperance”, or the balance zone for you. What’s “just right?”)  How have these attitudes and beliefs affected you and the way you spend your money?

3. Reflect on your experiences with money so far.

Abundance is the experience that we have with money. Have they been mostly positive? Negative? Overflow? Lack? Both? Ups and downs? Be as specific as you can. If your experience has been largely positive–positive in what way? List specific examples e.g. The money that I earn allows me to support myself, my family and the charities that I believe in (positive). E.g. I have always struggled to make ends meet. Life goes on but this stops me from enjoying the pleasures of life (negative). Once you have reflected–what can you do to shifts your attitudes and steer your experiences towards the direction that you want?

4. Money can’t buy happiness. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

More often than not, the answer to this question isn’t absolute. It’s a bit of a yes and a bit no, or a lot of yes and some no.

5. What are your favourite abundance affirmations or mantars? Why are they your favourites? How have they helped you so far in your pursuit of more abundance?

Finding the kind of words and vocabulary that you resonate with is a great way because it helps you use more specific language to set personal goals, because you’ll be writing them down with words that vibrate on your frequency.

6. What are your least favourite abundance affirmations or mantras?

(You don’t have to “hate” them per se, but these would be affirmations and mantras that you don’t personally jam with, or feels disconnected towards). Why is that? Is it the word choice? The concept itself? Does this point to some of your unresolved issues or emotions in money in any way? How can you work towards resolving it?

7. Do you believe you are worth the money you are making, or worth the money that you are trying to attract? 

Your sense of worth and confidence have a direct and crucial connection to your sense of abundance. Do you feel like you deserve to have more money? If not, why do you think you are feeling this way? How can you cultivate a more empowered perspective on your self worth and money?

8. How do you define “success”? How does this affect  your understanding and experience of abundance?

Conventional definitions of success often place pressure on how much we are supposed to have and how we are supposed to live our lives in order to be happy or “abundant”.

9. Do you think money is a good thing or a bad thing?

What are some of the positive associations or positive things you can do with money? What are some of the negative associations or negative things you can do with money? Try doing a free-association exercise with “money” in the centre. You can try using a mind-map or just jot down whatever words or concepts that pop up as you brainstorm. Why do you think you associate money with the things you have written down? How can this insight help you attract more abundance?

10. Other than the life essentials, what is something that you are willing to spend money on–something that brings you genuine joy?

(E.g. a new book, a new tarot deck, classes to develop your talent, investing in a Kickstarter, etc) How does this reflect what you want in life and who you are as a person? Knowing the kind of experiences you want to have (through spending money and purchasing a product or a service) will strengthen your sense of purpose when you are working hard and trying to attract more money. It also allows you to feel like the things you are spending money on are worth your time and effort.

The Emperor’s Way: Rule Your “Kingdom” and the Power of Divine Masculine

Level Up, Productivity

The Fool’s Journey towards Productivity: IV The Emperor

emperorEmperor is definitely the guy we want to talk to when it comes to productivity.

He’s the obvious choice, isn’t it? He’s the ruler of his kingdom, the supreme figurehead of power, authority, action and production. He’s got so much control over his domain and how can we not feature him on the productivity panel!?

Productivity is often associated with the word “control”. If you are trying to build a habit, you gotta exercise control. If you are trying to beat the clock and the “hands” of fate, you gotta exercise control. You gotta stay on top of your game and you gotta stay in control. Yes, in a very real sense, the Emperor keeps his kingdom up and running and function because of his power to control his people’s affairs. He is able to command and utilize the necessary resources to achieve what needs to be done.

In short, he gets things done. While he is the obvious candidate for a conversation about productivity, I can’t help but think that we as a society have gotten it backwards.

There seems to be this insidious idea that we must first be in the seat of power to be able to exercise control. If we don’t have power to begin with, we have no control over our lives or the situations or people we become involved with. Disempowerment is definitely related to a sense of lack of control. When you feel disempowered for whatever reason, you would slip into passive acceptance and passively accept your life as it is. This kind of passivity then exacerbates into numbness and aimlessness. At this point, you are so far away from the Emperor archetype and the throne of your power, you don’t think you have any power at all.

The Emperor may be an archetype that is radiating control and authority. But both control and authority are powerful indicators of the Emperor-manifest, and definitely align with the Emperor’s core values and core archetype existence–but they are not the Emperor’s source of power.

Indeed, the Emperor’s source of power isn‘t control.

The two main sources of Emperor’s ability to control and project authority are responsibility and choice. A functioning Emperor archetype is responsible for the affairs of his kingdom and his people. He is the manifesting agent for the macrocosm of his people, and he aligns himself with the collective agenda and well-being. As the Emperor, he is responsible for ensuring the prosperity of his kingdom as well as the continuous growth of his kingdom. Because of this he needs to be farsighted and perceptive of the various influences and factors that come into play when he has to make a decision that will affect the future of his domain. Even at the top of his throne, he knows that he has to work with finite resources that can only allow him to accomplish certain priorities over others.

Therefore, a lesson from the Emperor archetype is to know that depending on where you are in life, what your current goal and vision is for yourself, who you are seeking to become and how you are involved with your environment and your circumstances–you will have to make decisions that prioritize one thing over the other. This isn’t necessarily an act of sacrifice, which connotes the idea that you have to be willing to give up something to achieve something else, or you have to give up something in order to get what you want. It’s more about choosing your focus so you can dedicate your time, energy and heart to something that is relevant and important for you right now so things can get done.

Indeed, you are responsible for that. You are responsible for showing up for yourself, for the dreams you want to pull from the ethereal into reality and into physical being. You are responsible for making sure you are doing what needs to be done, for aligning yourself to your heart and your visions, and for keeping the promises that you have made for yourself so that your “kingdom” or the “kingdom” you are trying to create will flourish under your rule. If you do not pledge your sense of duty to your dreams, who will? If you aren’t sitting at the seat of your power, who is? When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. You win when you take responsibility for the kingdom that is yours and the things you want to create and you claim your throne for yourself. Or you surrender your seat of power to someone else and allow yourself to become dictated by life’s circumstance.

(Yes, that is a Game of Thrones reference. Aren’t you excited for the last season? Waiting is absolutely grueling.)

Another source of the Emperor’s power is choice.

This is where your sense of control comes from because when you are sitting at the seat of your power, you  believe in the power and the impact of your choices. You believe and know that each and every one of your choice has an effect or consequence, and that your choices are essentially you exercising your power as the ruler of your domain or your life to create the outcomes that you want. As the Emperor, or the ruler, you are not subject to the whims of anyone. You get to decide what you want your life to look like and you get to decide what is good for you. (Don’t go on a selfish decision-making spree, however. That is the act of a Tyrant, not an Emperor.)

The Emperor archetype teaches us that our choices have power. Whatever it is that we choose (or don’t choose) has a direct impact on the reality that we inhabit and create. By acknowledging the power in your ability to choose, you will be able to tap into the power of transformation and manifestation. By acknowledging the power of choice, you are taking responsibility for yourself and your life because, hey, since you are so powerful, you have no excuse NOT to create the life that you want!

Productivity is no longer something intangible or an unattainable status–

with each choice that you make (to experiment, to take better care of yourself, to get to know yourself better, to incorporate the things that you’ve learned into your daily creative practice and lifestyle), you are becoming more productive. You are making productive choices by keeping yourself accountable and reminding yourself of what you want to achieve in life and the kind of person you want to be in life. And you are becoming more productive when you acknowledge that your choices are powerful, and by choosing differently or sticking with a choice that benefits you, you can become the boss of your life.

The Empress’ Way: Productivity & the Divine Feminine

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The Fool’s Journey towards Productivity: III The Empress

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Productivity or being productive is typically a more “Divine Masculine” thing, since productivity = action, momentum and discipline.

There is, of course, a Divine Feminine side to this, just like there is a Divine Feminine side to all things and all aspects of life. Seriously, one cannot exist without the other. We need the Yin and the Yang, baby!

So what can we learn from the Empress archetype when it comes to being productive? If you’ve been following this tarot + productivity series, you will probably have already learned that productivity isn’t just about producing products and consistently pumping stuff out. Productivity is how well you rock at being yourself and creating a lifestyle that brings out your best in all areas of your life. In addition to producing products and ensuring that happens (that’s the Emperor, by the way, which is the next post!), we need to, first and foremost, ensure that we are capable of making that happen. We need to make sure that we are well and ready to overcome what life throws at us and set out to achieve what we want to achieve.

To do that, we must take care of ourselves like a mother takes care of her children. This is when the Empress energy comes in. Your health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) is extremely important and is the core element that determines your productivity.

Simply put, you can’t be productive if you’re not healthy. If you are not performing at your optimal condition, then it is a no-brainer that you won’t be producing your best work. You need to take care of your body, your mind, and your spirit. I know this sometimes seems like a lot to ask, especially when the perks of adulting is usually having more than one person to take care of. Despite this, you definitely shouldn’t do this out of a sense of dreaded obligation, as if you’re doing some kind of inevitable maintenance work to ensure that you can keep on functioning the next day. Like omg, I hate it because it’s so much work, but I have to force myself to do it because it’s supposed to be good for me.

Whatever it is that you do to take care of yourself, do it with love. Take care of yourself because you are responsible for yourself, because you are responsible for your well-being and your happiness, and you are responsible because you know that you deserve to be at your best and happiest. I am not yet a mother and don’t know if I will ever be a mother, but I learn from my mother and her dedication to her children (namely, me, and my little brother). When she takes care of us, she does it out of love. Now that my brother and I are both adults, she still reminds us to wear a jacket on a cold day. She still gets mad when she finds out that we skipped lunch and starved for the whole afternoon at work. Taking care of yourself should be like that. You take care of yourself–you workout, you eat well, you talk to a friend when you are upset, you meditate to calm your tits down–you do those things out of love and nurture. Because you know you deserve better, and you deserve to be at your best.

Draw from your Inner Empress or Inner Mother energy and channel it towards yourself. If you’re having “childish temperaments” such as but I just want one more cookie! It’s chocolate-chip glazed with caramel! or I just want to stay up late and watch Netflix! I need to sleep but…it’s Orange is the New Black’s season finale! I can’t miss that! Time to be a gentle but stern motherly figure and recognize what’s best for yourself. But I’m an adult now! I can do whatever I want! Of course you can. Binge Netflix once in a while. Enjoy the guilty pleasures of life. Live. Love. Pray. But don’t do it at the expense of your health. Trust me, it’s not worth it. And your choices, no matter how small they may seem at the time, do add up if you choose to reenact those choices on a consistent basis. 

At this point, it seems like being healthy or taking care of yourself requires a lot of “sacrifice”, no?

It does seem like cultivating a healthy routine or self-care routine forces you to give up a lot of the things you love, or it may seem like you have to invest a lot of time, energy, and effort in order to maintain a healthy regimen. Being or staying healthy sounds like sacrifice. But being healthy is a good thing, so we must willingly sacrifice ourselves to the Health Supreme so that it may continue to reign in its domain…All! Hail! Health! Long! Live! Health!

Being healthy doesn’t need to be an oppressive thing. Being healthy doesn’t have to be charged with reluctance and negativity. This is when the other side of the Empress comes in. On top of embodying the Mother archetype, the Empress also embodies the Wild Woman archetype, and the Wild Woman is free, running across a field of gold with wind in her hair, enjoying life, lusting for more life, loving life. THIS should be the core, the essence, the heart of being and staying healthy and taking care of yourself.

This seems counter-intuitive, because a lot of our ideas about health require discipline (diet, exercise routines, habit building etc) and hard work. But take my word for it: health is freeing. Being healthy is freeing. It frees your body from ailments, aches, discomforts, and lethargy. If you are taking care of yourself, you are giving yourself the precious gift of life, energy, and expansion. You can’t expand when you’re shriveled up inside and outside. It frees you from physical and emotional toxins because now that you have so much more energy and so much more life, you are able to invest those energies into the things that you truly love. Creative expression. Purposeful work. Building and deepening relationships. Having fun.

Being healthy means allowing yourself to be the best version of yourself so that you can continue to build and become an even better version of yourself. Being healthy means creating space for the things that you love. Being healthy means freeing yourself and giving yourself more to live for.

And making health or healthier choices doesn’t need to be a chore or sacrifice. Think about it this way: while you have to give up some bad habits or work towards cultivating new ones, this is an opportunity for you to expand. You’re being called to expand. You are giving yourself a chance to be even better and happier. You are also giving yourself a chance to discover new things that you will enjoy and love, things that are both beneficial to your well-being as well as your happiness.

This is your life, you get to do whatever you want. Hate jogging? Then don’t jog. Join a dance class instead. Hate journaling and writing things down? Sing a song . Channel your feelings into musical notes instead of words. You are free to discover and create your own healthy lifestyle and your own healthy routines. You are the creator or creatrix and you are free to determine what is the best for you, what inspires you, and what will help your rock at this life and feel like you rock at this life. You are free to do that. You are free to do all of that for yourself, with love.

There is so much more the Empress archetype can offer on the topic of productivity. It’s one of the biggest archetypes in tarot and it is so for a reason. And seriously, the Empress and High Priestess need to team up and have a joined panel on this topic. Am I right!?

But for now, be the Mother. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Be the Wild Woman. Be free. Free yourself. Love life. Love what you’re here for and what you are able to do when you are at your best.

And most importantly, love yourself, again. Over and over and over.

The High Priestess’ Way: Make Space, Stay Still, and Play Tetris

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The Fool’s Journey towards Productivity: II High Priestess

productivity-high priestessComing from the Magician, The High Priestess’ way seems counter-intuitive. Productivity = actively producing, right?

If we’re not actively participating in the creation of our lives, then are we not wasting precious time? Shouldn’t we be always on the move, always working?

Those are rhetorical questions, by the way. Burn-out and exhaustion are real things for real human beings. Ironically, we are culturally and socially predisposed to regard burn-out as a sign of our weakness or incapability to excel in life. We give ourselves a lot of shit for it. This is especially true when the majority of our work is creative and self-expressive in nature. How are we supposed to get tired from that? How about folks who are working a not-so-favourable-job in order to put food on the table for themselves and their family!? How do we get out of that guilt-trip?

If we’re not busy or always doing something, we get criticized (by others or ourselves) to be lazy, procrastinatory, or unambitious. Or worse, we are said to be ungrateful, undeserving, and/or unworthy of free time. It’s a vicious cycle that feeds into the conflicting thoughts and paradoxes in our psyche regarding productivity, making us breathless…and unhealthy. Our desire to become or remain productive really is a slippery slope, is it not?

Well, this is when the High Priestess comes in. As gentle as she is, she gets straight to the point by telling us to “cut the crap” with our busy schedules.

How much of it are really productive work, and how much of it are automated modes of action in which we attempt to busy ourselves to create a sense of achievement or movement? Are we productive humans, or zombies posing as productive humans?

We need breathing room in our space-time. We need to break from our busy behaviorual and mental patterns and enter the space of stillness so we don’t lose sense of what we are trying to achieve and send our poor physical bodies into over-drive. We are mortals, by the way. Humans are mortals. I mean, even your almighty multi-tasking apps-in-the-background Smartphone or iPhone needs to be recharged every night to keep on rockin’. How are you not the same? After we move, we naturally need to pause. Not only is this how our creative and energetic cycles work, this is also just how our brain works. As human beings, we need to allow the information and experiences we have accumulated to be processed and “filed into the appropriate mental folders”. We need that space so our thoughts and energies can settle, and we create space by clearing the “cache” in our brain to ensure optimal performance.

If we don’t decompress, unwind and process all the “input” (emotional, mental, social, energetic, physical etc), all that information is going to overload your brain and your body because they’re ruthlessly piling on top of each other, squeezing and pushing each other down, trying to make room but failing.

You know that feeling when you get to high level Tetris, and those Z-shaped blocks just keep falling and you have absolutely nowhere to put them? While you panic, you desperately pray for an I-shaped bar to save you from your misery, but when it finally arrives, it lands right in the middle of your screwed up arrangement and goes off-screen, ending the round. Beep. Game over.

If you know what I’m talking about, you definitely don’t want to reenact this in real life. By the time you recognize your need for an “I-shaped block” and it finally comes, you would have been too burned out for the rescue. Need I remind you, as a human person (again), it is nearly impossible for something not to happen to your mortal self while dealing with this kind of pressure?

Like the game of Tetris, the game of life also needs to be strategic and well-paced.

One of the ways in which you can be strategic is, like mentioned before, to make and hold space for yourself so you have time to be still and engage with an inner dialogue with yourself. You are still actively creating, but you are simply switching gears. Instead of carving something out with a pick-axe, you are gently playing Tetris as you process your information and decompress slowly. Free more space for yourself so you have room for more creative work.

There are many ways to do this, and everybody may have a different mode of stillness and a different way of engaging with that stillness. Basically, you want to get a clear picture of how much stuff is there and has piled up in your psyche. How do you do this? Well, why, you ask, of course! You do this by engaging with meaningful and reflective conversations with yourself, asking yourself if you’re on the right track, reflecting on your answers and evaluating your progress, and adjusting course or seeking help to overcome the challenges you face. Journaling, blogging/vlogging, meditating, doing a tarot reading, getting a tarot reading done, and/or praying are all awesome ways to listen to yourself and unwind.

Once you’ve done that, you sort the information and your experiences in the right places.

Emotional garbage? That belongs with the rest of your garbage: the garbage can. Useful information and wisdom? File that for future reference and problem-solving. Screwing up your self-care routines? Analyze what’s not working and try something different next week. Loved ones demanding too much of your time? Figure out how to set healthy boundaries that benefit everyone…

Also, just so you know, it is unwise to try to do this while you’re going at 120 miles per hour. First of all, you won’t be able to do a good job. Second of all, distracted driving is dangerous, yo! And if you’ve driven a car or been a basket on a car (as in like, you just sat there while you are being driven somewhere), you will know that driving gets you to places, but it is also incredibly tiring after a while. Make sure you figure out where you bathroom breaks are, and make sure you drink plenty of fluids while you check over Google map to make sure you’re on the right path.

Take consistent breaks in life so you can consistently break a leg in life!

Not literally, of course. That would be terrible.

The Magician’s Way: Choose, Create & Innovate

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The Fool’s Journey towards Productivity: I The Magician

18516063_10158592037860580_1524707383_nThe Magician is definitely one of the power-archetypes to connect with when it comes to the productivity.I mean, just look at him: the master of four elements and all!

Without a doubt, his ability to locate the resources and energies he needs, his adaptability and flexibility, and his infinitely creative genius–he is perhaps one of the most competent problem solvers in the major arcana. Magical, right?

The Magician is all about creativity and innovation, and this powerful Shaper of Destiny should be your go-to archetype when you need to make conscious changes in your life.

Often, what is lowering our productivity is our unexamined routines. Routines are programmed into our daily lives to provide structure and they help us get things done on a regular basis. Examining our routines can be incredibly insightful because not only do they reveal what our priorities are and where we think our priorities are, it also reveals where our priorities aren’t, or where we think our priorities aren’t. In short, they can tell us how we have chosen, consciously or unconsciously, to organize our lives.

The routines we place in our lives should be things that are meaningful and beneficial to us.

When we are unaware of the choices that we have made (or failed to make, which is a choice in and of itself), when we are disconnected from our power to make choices that may transform our lives–we passively fall into our routines rather than actively choosing them. And when we’re not aware of the regular activities that we passively or actively commit ourselves to, we’re just like zombies, aren’t we? Brainless, lifeless lumps of meat sashaying through life looking for the next cup of coffee.

This is why awareness is so important. If you have no idea why you have certain routines, or you’re not even sure if you have routines–then the first thing you need to do before you knock on The Magician’s door for his aid is to get to know yourself and your routines. The Magician is, literally, number one in tarot’s major arcana. In numerology, the number 1 represents identity and singularity. The Magician is powerful because he is sure of himself. His magic comes from his powerful sense of identity, which generates more power and further solidifies who he is. You must be inspired to do the same if you want to meet him at his level and if you wish to lead a more productive lifestyle.

So time to wake up and get conscious! Consider the following questions (think aloud, journal, or use them as spread positions in a tarot reading):

  1. What are your regular routines? Why do you have these routines?
  2. If you’re not really sure if you have anything that you will call “routine”, what are some of the things you do repeatedly and on a regular basis? For example, you may not consider sleeping at 2:30-3:00AM everyday to be a “routine”, but it is something that you do regularly. It is, by definition, a routine, even though an unhealthy one.
  3. What are some of the feelings that arise when you hear the word “routine”? Are they positive or negative? Why?

After you cultivate your awareness towards your routines and productive patterns, it’s time to assemble the “four elements”, or your resources. An important point to make here is that you should never feel like you “need to have the four elements ready” before you can truly begin any productive work. That is your procrastination talking, so beat it down with a frying pan (or Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot. It’s thick enough to cause severe internal bleeding).

A true Magician can conjure the four elements anytime, anywhere because he recognizes that these four elements are always available to him and perfectly within reach.

You don’t need to wait until you’ve signed up for yoga classes or purchased a new planner for your productive ventures. You just need to be creative with locating resources that you currently have, transforming the resources that you currently have, and utilizing the resources that you currently have. From there, you can continue to build and upgrade your productive gears and routines.

Remember, the magic exists within The Magician, not outside of him. He is an archetype that emphasizes the potency of one’s inherent power–but only if one is conscious of it. The most important lesson of The Magician when it comes to productivity is you need to recognize that you have the power to create and lead a productive lifestyle. The magic comes from you and it can only work if it comes from you. The first step towards productivity is your own recognition of your own power and that you are perfectly capable of becoming productive. You need to have and own the confidence that you can do this. Really, you can. There may be things you still have to figure out and habits you still have to build–it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are capable of becoming productive. You got this. You’re so ready. You are BORN ready. 

The Fool’s Way: Have Fun being Productive! (Seriously, No Sarcasm Intended)

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The Fool’s Journey towards Productivity: 0 The Fool

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At first glance, The Fool archetype perhaps isn’t the best role model for productivity.

In fact, he is too much of a free spirit to be tied down to a conventional module to ensure productive work. You need to apply strict discipline and stick to some kind of regime in order to be successful in this productivity biz, no?

Consistency is definitely very important. You can’t expect to create lasting changes without consistency. Having that said, though, if you’re just following the rules and doing the same things over and over again and hoping to regulate your life through carefully managed patterns–if you’re doing only that, isn’t that a bit…well, boring?

The first thing you should know about becoming productive is that it is not a status you obtain. It’s not something where you accumulate your efforts until you reach this “productivity” threshold and then you are, henceforth, forevermore, productive.

You don’t just suddenly “become” a productive person. Productivity is a process. It is a choice you make everyday. Your productivity is defined by the choices that you make consistently, and the choices you make will come to define your space of productivity. You can use that space however you want; you can decorate it however you want. Everybody is going to have a different way of utilizing that space and everybody is going to have a different set of aesthetics when it comes to renovating it. A room isn’t done in a day! You can’t flip a switch and expect the room to be completely furnished in a blink of an eye. It takes both interest and dedication to create the ideal productivity space that works for you.

And just like a real room in real life, it is always in flux. You move your desk around when you need to make space for this new cabinet that you’ve purchased. You put two nails into the wall when you need to hang up Picasso’s abstract art. You are always working on this space so that it is a reflection of who you are and what you need at that very moment. Productivity is the same way. It is a constant process of choosing, creating, reevaluating, and revamping that reflects who you are as a person and what you currently need.

How this space looks is a choice you make every day. If you are constantly maintaining its cleanliness, then it will be consistently clean. If you are constantly turning a blind eye to the month-old sock that have taken residence underneath your desk, then you’ll always be seeing and smelling that sock. One day you may choose to remove it, and then it will be gone once and for all. But once you take off your socks again and choose to ignore it once more, then you are back to smelling that old sock.

Speaking of choices, how do you know if you are making the right choices?

Indeed, the second thing you can take away from The Fool’s archetype when it comes to productivity is that you have to be willing to experiment and explore the outcomes of your choices.

The Fool is all about adventure, after all! If you are committed to making changes, then you must incorporate some new choices to your productivity plate to experiment new flavours. If you always eat a burger for lunch, then you will always be tasting a burger for lunch.

You may ask: why go on an adventure when you are comfortable with what you have already? What if you’re perfectly fine with burgers, and it’s like, your favourite food?

Of course, don’t just switch for the sake of switching. If your favourite lunch item is actually a burger, by all means continue eating burgers for lunch. If something is working for you and helps set your productive pace, don’t discard it just for the sake of wanting something new. But like I mentioned before, if you are looking for a different experience of productivity, then you have to be open to the possibility that trying something new may allow you to experience something better, or develop new insights and/or appreciation towards your current mode of productivity. Experimenting with new things is not necessarily abandoning the old–it’s more about reaching out from your comfort zone and evaluating your options. You are essentially experimenting with the choices you can make and checking out to see if these new choices benefit your current lifestyle and to see if they can add to your routines.

But what if those experiments all fail and have nothing to stand for given the time and effort you’ve put in!? Now wouldn’t be depressing!?

Perhaps, the most important message from The Fool is that while you are experimenting with the outcome of your choices, you shouldn’t be overly concerned about the outcome.

Wait, what?

The Fool is a fun guy. He’s also a fun-loving guy. This archetype does things just because he wants to. He chooses to focus on the fun and the process of having fun instead of where he may ultimately end up. If you only take away one thing from The Fool, then take away his fun-loving spirit. Carry it with you. Fold it like a neat paper charm next to your heart. Remember that if you’re constantly labouring to be productive, you are truly missing out on life. Even if you are constantly pumping out things that you would deem to be “products” (word counts, house chores, a work task, etc) and constantly “producing” large quantities of “goods”, if you’re not happy, then you are not having the quality life you deserve.

Quality over quantity, right? A productive life is more than just pumping out productive goods 24/7.

The Fool will tell you this. Try focusing on the fact that you are trying new things to spice up your routine and to invite new energies in your life. By being open and carefree, you are making space for the changes that you want to see. That’s what positive changes are all about–you have to make room first for the things you want to attract into your life! How can you ask the Universe to deliver a new spiritual furniture if you haven’t even cleared up the space for it?

And last but not least, you should also focus on the fact that you are doing this for yourself.

You are experimenting and trying out new things to bring positive changes into your life. Even if absolutely nothing productive is produced from your ventures to explore new ways to be productive (now that’s a sentence-ful, isn’t it?), you should be happy about the fact that you are doing something for your own benefit and your own growth. Recognizing your own desire and efforts to live a happier and more productive life should make you feel more productive. You’re doing something. You’re doing something to change up the energy and patterns that have governed and come to define your life.

This should be super exciting, right? I mean, just the fact that you are wanting something good for yourself. And you’re doing something every day to cultivate a better lifestyle. A better you. 

If you ask me, that’s definitely a productive thing to do. If you’re not doing stuff, creating stuff or producing stuff for yourself, what’s the point? If you’re just slaving to match the conventional definition (notice I said conventional) of productivity, what’s the point? What’s the point if you’re not doing it for you?

And isn’t that the whole point of being “productive”? To have a point in what you’re doing? To have the results mean something to you? To have them account for something?

You’re doing this for you. You are actively unlocking new chapters and exploring unchartered areas in your life and your surroundings. An undeniable result of this is that your world is going to get bigger. It will inevitably get bigger, because you’ve started walking around and paying attention to what it has to offer–and what more it has to offer.

Now we’re talkin’. With all that extra space, we can do some real work and real renovations. Time to paint the walls pumpkin orange like you’ve always wanted!

Oh, orange isn’t your thing? Maybe just me, then.

A Fool’s Journey towards Productivity

Productivity

Productivity. An elusive yet potent word that oppresses the collective conscious of industrialized mankind. If we’re not productive, we are lazy worthless human beings undeserving of success and love. *cue tragic orchestral music of epic proportions*

If only procrastination isn’t a thing. We’d much more productive. Really, we would. But productivity is so much more than what meets the eye. There’s a lot of subtle layers and dimensions to it. Being productive, contrary to popular belief, is so much more than just producing “products”, or having physical evidence that quantifies your work. It takes more than just a compulsory to-do list to accomplish a state of productivity.

That sounds very discouraging, doesn’t it. But fear not! Productivity is really a spectrum. It’s a journey. It’s not just an either/or situation in which you are either productive or you’re not. Being productive, like self-love, is a choice you make every day. You choose to engage in the tasks or creative projects that will make you feel productive. You get to work and you get things done. And on some days, when your emotional space is occupied by something else, you may have less inclination to make a productive choice. But that’s okay, too. We’re not robots working in a factory. We shouldn’t define ourselves or judge our worth based on our productive status or our rate of production.

But we do that all the time, don’t we? As you can see, the simple issue of “productivity” isn’t simple at all. It’s actually a very complex issue. Because feeling productive is in direct correlation to feeling empowered and confident. It’s tied to our sense of worth. It’s tied to our identity because often the things that make us feel productive are the things that we feel are worth our time-things that we feel need to be done.

For me, becoming productive means becoming better at being who you are. Being “productive” is about becoming more of yourself, accomplishing the things that you want to do and expressing yourself through your actions and the work you have chosen to be involved with.

How do you be more productive? Well. *cracks knuckles, stretches back* You’ll have to go on a journey with me to explore the ocean-depths of this topic. There are so many things we need to see and do on this grand adventure. If you’re familiar with tarot’s major arcana, you may have an idea about what I am planning to do with this series. Oh, did I mention this is a blog series?

I’m going to write a series of blog posts about productivity and how you can be productive while referencing the 22 archetypes from tarot’s major arcana and using them as a reference point to relay my ideas. While I intend to tap into the archeyptal energies of each card in the context of productivity, I haven’t exactly mapped out my ideas to the tee. As much as I have “planned” to create a blog series on productivity and archetypes, just like you, I’m going on an adventurous ride. There are key ideas I want to hit with certain archetypes for sure, but this blog series is going to be excitingly explorative. Wooooot!

But to start with, I would like to reinforce the idea that a call towards productivity is so much more than just “I want to get more work done”. It’s a call to living a richer, fuller life in which we are creatively and constantly expressing who we are through our choices. It’s a call to a better life, a better self, and a better future. If you feel like you’re not doing much or you’re falling behind, chances are you may be stuck in the stinky and dreary bog of disempowerment, sinking slowly with a quiet despair. When we’re not productive, we feel unconfident. When we feel unconfident, we don’t want to be productive. Aye, it’s a vicious cycle. What a curse to be a first worlder, right?

So let’s be productive. Let’s go on this Fool’s journey together. (And BTW, I’m not calling you a fool. The Fool is the first card in tarot’s major arcana-the first archetype I am going to invite into our conversation of productivity. He’s an awesome dude. Or she, since the Fool doesn’t really have a set gender. Archetypes generally don’t; they are embodiments of thought-patterns and energy and–)

Anyways. I am getting ahead of myself. I hope that you will enjoy this series and benefit from it. I learned so much on my personal journey of productivity and I can’t wait to share it with you. 🙂

-Kimberly, out. For now.

Threshold Mapping: Hero Status Report + Mark Your North Star

Level Up, Productivity

threshold-mapping-part-2

Hero Status Report: Connect with your super powers and establish heroic status

The Status Report is probably my favourite part, because this is where you get to construct a personal “avatar” that represents your strengths, your weaknesses, and your preferred mode of productive pace. This phase of the threshold mapping encourages you to recognize what you already have and what you are working towards, finding peace and empowerment in accepting that you have your own way of shining and succeeding, and what brings out the best in you is unique to you. You’re your own brand of hero, and you don’t need to be like anybody else.

This kind of sounds like yet another self-reflective process–true! But since we are preparing for the year ahead, Status Report or Avatar Construction will focus on things that will enable you to be your best productive and motivated self.

What is your personal brand of heroism?

Outline your strengths or heroic attributes in the following areas and explain how these strengths will help you accomplish your goals and create a successful year.

These categories are suggestive; as long as you create categories that section your life in a meaningful way, then by all means go ahead! Remember, it’s your own process and anything that works best to your advantage, do it!

  • Spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical
  • Career, relationships, health, spirit, family
  • Use the seven chakras (from root to crown) to symbolically represents the various areas of life
  • Or, create your own categories!

Identify your Hero Passives.

Passives are (yet another game term) abilities that requires no input from the player to be used. That means it activates automatically and “runs in the background” no matter what happens. This could be a physical action that you do which empowers you, or it could be an aspect of your personality. For example, you get up at 6AM in the morning to workout. This is a routine that happens no matter what goes on in your life, so it could be considered a “passive” (even though you technically have to put effort in it). Or, you are naturally helpful and compassionate. This is something that happens naturally and allows you to cement your relationships with others, in both your personal and professional life. These things help strengthen your “hero status” and help empower you in your day to day life.

Identify your tragic flaw as a hero.

Nobody is perfect, and just as we are empowered by our strengths, we are also challenged by our weaknesses. Hint: our biggest flaws or perceived flaws are, more often than not, the shadow side of our inherent strengths. For example, if you are a naturally giving person, the light aspect of this personality trait would  be that it is easy for you to show care and affection for people. The shadow side would be that you may struggle with personal boundaries and people who can be slightly or frequently manipulative. “Being giving” can be a strength if channeled at the right places, but it can become a “tragic flaw” if you give too much and exhaust yourself to the point of energetic and emotional depletion.

Once you have identified your “tragic flaw”, know that this is part of who you are and approach it from a place of acceptance. Then, ask yourself how can you equip yourself in a way that will help you circumvent some of the challenges that come with that tragic flow, and how you can best improve it.

Identify what’s in your backpack, or heroic sac!

You can come up for your own “bag”–my vocabulary for fashion or clothing items are quite limited, so indulge my total lackness of nouns. But yeah, these are resources and tools of empowerment that you can carry with you or gain access to that are outside of your own person. The items in your backpack could be: your best friend who will support you in your relationship dramas, your family doctor who will help keep your health conditions in check, a workshop you can go to to strengthen your writing, a website or blog that sheds light on a wise but humourouse light on parenting, etc. Basically, things that will help you in the upcoming year. When you are “organizing your backpack” for the “journey ahead”, pick 3 essential or core item that you can repeatedly access for the upcoming year, and explain why you have chosen these items over others.

Identify your loyal steed.

In epic quests and heroic tales, your steed, be it a gallant stallion or a majestic unicorn or a ferocious squirrel (chuckle), it represents your mobility and your primary “way” of navigating across the landscape of life and is absolutely essential for any kind of questing. This is the fun part: since your steed represents mobility–ask yourself: what animal reflects your personal sense of “pace”? Are you a fearless charger (rhinos, stallions) or a pouncer (panthers, leopards) or a pack creature (wolves, penguins)? Let me give you my example: my loyal steed is a panda. My sense of pace or the way I am productive is not defined by the speed, burst, or force. In truth, I am very relaxed and slow moving, and that’s just the way I like it. I surround myself with my favourite activities and I pursue my goals patiently, enjoying every moment slowly. I take joy in the steady pace and gradual but sure success. I also like the idea of balance, wisdom, and fuzziness. So panda is perfect for me.

Remember, your loyal steed is totally changeable and you can even have more than one for various life situations. Take the opportunity to reflect on your sense of progress and how you “work” and what works best for you.

Mark Your North Star: Connect with your  purpose and never get lost!

Mark your North Star on your year map.

Your North Star represents your purpose for this year. You should outline your phrase like you would phrase a tarot question: open, spacious, with lots of room for growth and magical things to happen. 😉 This is different from goal setting, which requires more specific language and achievable outcomes. Your overarching purpose shouldn’t be a number or making x number of figures a year. Setting something that specific can be very limiting. (Think about it-there is only one way that purpose could happen! If it doesn’t, then what?) Instead, it should something that helps you connect with your vision for yourself and your life in an empowering and authentic way. It should radiate possibility and potential, and it should be something that motivates you on a deeper level. For example, making six figures a year may be something you want to achieve, but you shouldn’t use that as your North Star or to fuel your sense of purpose. It could be one of the ways in which your purpose is manifested, but it shouldn’t be equated with purpose. Instead, you want to make your purpose into something like “expanding on my expertise in a career that I find meaningful and rewarding and exploring with bold decisions that take me out of my comfort zone.” It should be something that allows you to expand in more than one way and allows you to express yourself as an individual. It should be something that can “happen” in more ways than one.

Here are a few questions and prompts to help you get started:

  • Write a “North Star” statement in 2-3 sentences. If you can’t trim it down immediately, start with more than 3 than gradually refine it until it is concise. Remember your high school and college days in which you have to write thesis statements for your term paper?
  • Alternatively, vision boarding would be the perfect activity to help you mark your North Star. Create a collage of pictures that resonate with your passions, your ideals and how you envision your future.
  • Why did you choose this particular North Star over others?
  • How can your North Star keep you on track in 2017?
  • Consider your sense of purpose. How has it evolved throughout the years?
  • Where do you think your current North Star will lead you?

And that’s it, folks! (For now!)

I hope you enjoyed the concept of threshold mapping and have decided to take on a few activities suggested in this blog post. Next, a series of “year jumpstarters activities” to help you level up your life!

xo
Kimberly

Threshold Mapping Part 1: Metaphorize Your Life + The Chronicle

Level Up, Productivity

 threshold-mapping-part-1What is threshold mapping?

Hello, hello. Welcome to the first ever threshold mapping post! 🙂 In this post, you will learn about what exactly is threshold mapping and how you can use it as a fun system to organize and map out your life. Let’s get right into it!

Threshold mapping is part of a productivity system that taps into the concept of gamification (applying various aspects of a game such as scoring points, completing quests, and/or competing with other players) as well as creative imagining to allow you to engage your goals and visions in a fun, personalized and dynamic way. (I am tentatively calling this productivity system “imaginarium”, since it’s a really cool word describing “a place devoted to imagination”, but I haven’t settled!)

“Imaginarium” calls for the ability or willingness to construct a personal metaphor to centralize the many areas of your life. In creating a metaphor that threads the different parts of your life together (such as career, spirituality, relationships, etc) you can perceive your life in a manner that is streamlined, coherent and meaningful. This helps you gain a coherent and powerful sense of progress as well as focus.

In short, it’s a productivity system that aims to make being organized and productive fun and more meaningful for you. Branching off of imaginarium’s gamification and creative planning, threshold mapping follows the same core concepts, but specifically, it primarily focuses on the transitional periods in life (new years, career changes, relationship cycles etc). Hence, the term “threshold”.

Create a metaphor for your life. Is life a race, an adventure, a journey, a quest, a mountain climb? Or is it a playground, a garden, a business, a store, a space odyssey, an heroic epic? Pick a metaphor that holds personal meaning for yourself.

The threshold mapping in this blog post will use metaphors that mostly focus on the images and vocabulary of mapping, journeying and epic questing.

The Breakdown

Threshold mapping focuses on transitional periods in life. Right now, new year is the most relevant, but really, you can use it and apply its concepts to any kind of transitions.

It has three main focuses:

  1. The Past: a reflective chronicling  of your experiences in the previous year
  2. The Present: a self-exploratory exercise that promotes self awareness and understanding as well as identify your strengths and weaknesses
  3. The Future: a positive process of visioneering to generate momentum + connect with your sense of purpose + solidify your goals for the new year

The Chronicle: Yell the story of your previous year and make the best out of your experiences

Chronicle means a “factual written account of important or historical events in the order of their occurrence.” This portion of threshold mapping focuses on the process of reflection and evaluation on yourself, your experiences, your successes and failures, your transformative journey through the past 12 months of the year. During the chronicle stage, you allow yourself the opportunity to recount all the important events and lessons as well as to examine and extract their embedded wisdom. To live is to learn, and we cannot learn if we do not take pause and internalize what we have learned.

You can do this in several ways. Threshold mapping is completely and utterly flexible. It’s meant to inspire you to connect with your strengths and engage in self-betterment through the authentic and creative expression of your voice.There are literally so many things you can do to self reflect. You can journal, you can perform a ritual (alone or with a friend), you can discuss your insights with someone who is willing to hold space for you, you can create a visual (and actual) map if you’re up for it, you can make a poster or vision board that captures the important milestones of the previous year, or you can give yourself a tarot reading. It doesn’t really matter what you do or how you do it, the important thing here is that you take the time to process your experience and “externalize” it one way or another.

Here are some “points of entry” to help you get started:

Important Landmarks

On your “map”, in whatever shape or form, note down the important and worthwhile “landmarks” or “milestones” that have held meaning and/or impacted you in a significant way. You can note down these events literally, or give them a fun, creative name, such as the Breakup Bog of Eternal Stench (shout out to Labyrinth), The Glorious Climb Up Mount Promotion, Stung by a Love Bee, The Caffeinated Curse of Sleepless Nights….

Use your imagination! Ask your inner child to participate, or your inner poet. This is definitely up his or her alley.

Stroke of Luck

Count your blessings! When did you feel lucky in the year of 2016? Who made you feel lucky? I like to think that “luck” comes from gratitude, and a genuine appreciation for the opportunities and blessings that have come your way. It’s all about perspective. I know you’re probably tired of hearing the glass half full or glass half empty analogy, but I’m going to throw it at you anyway. More importantly, if you have a glass half filled with water, in my opinion, you should go ahead and pour yourself more water and fill it to the brim! In fact, make yourself a cup of tea while you’re at it. Switch the boring glass of water into a cozy ceramic mug. Pour in some fluffy hot chocolate powder and marshmallows. Make your glass colourful! And take note of all the colours, place them at the tip of your tongue, savour them. And then, you slowly swallow, taking them towards the stomach of your happy memories.

Life isn’t just about being happy with what you’ve got. It’s also about creating more goodness and happiness with what you’ve got. Why settle for just half a glass!?

Feats of Courage

You may have expected it: now that we have counted our blessings and taken note of the good times, we also have to look into the bad and the ugly. Life isn’t the same without moments of challenge in which we must rise to the occasion. Optimism isn’t about only focusing on the good things or looking at life through a rose-tinted lens so everything is “all love and goodness”. I personally don’t buy that. Optimism is about knowing that despite the hardship, we have the agency to make the right choices to empower ourselves and make things better. And the incredible resilience that we display during those moments of challenge–those are true feats of courage. So how have you been brave in the last 12 months? How have you risen to the occasion and faced a formidable challenge? How have you displayed and tapped into your inner strength and advanced courageously? Recognize the power that you have and the power that you are building.

Wisdom

Note down your lessons and the wisdom you have gained throughout the year. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn from your relationships? What did you learn about life? Note down anything that has helped you reach a better understanding of yourself and how your “reality” works–anything that has inspired you or helped you grow. For example, under “The Caffeinated Curse of Sleeplessly Nights”, you can write (or illustrate!) something like “a much dreaded but long-forthcoming lesson in self care. I realized that conviction to proper sleeping habits is what broke the caffeinated curse.”

Portal

What new territories have you ventured into this past year? What is something you have experienced for the first time? What are the “new areas” that you have explored? Where did these portals lead? Were they what you expected? How did you feel? For example, you can note down: Found a secret passage way to the Pond of the Singing Frogs–a group of terrible singers aspiring to be decent karaoke participants. Finally, a non-judgement and non-sarcasm space where I can stretch my throat and make off-pitched noises. Went there for two sessions but got distracted by work–definitely going to commit more in 2017!

Fog of War

For those of you who don’t know–this is a game term that describes the unexplored areas on a battlefield or game map, and therefore the area’s landscapes or features will not be revealed. For this item: what have you not explored but would like to? What is something that you have knowledge of or are aware of, but you haven’t actually ventured into that particular area of interest? For example, you’ve always wanted to attend an annual professional networking event downtown, but you’ve never actually attended despite your interest. This might be something you want to mark on your map for the upcoming year, like this: A glass staircase for nervous, newbie writers wearing lead shoes and clumsy hair. Destination? Unknown. Actual fragility of the staircase? Unknown. Creatures residing at the top of the stairs? Glitter? Will have to mark this on my map for the upcoming months.

Additional Categories

Here are a few “honourable mentions” that didn’t make the big list, but I thought I would include them here to give you some ideas!

  • Angels (or personify important aspects of your life + bring them to life using mythical creatures that you know of): angels can be mentors, healers, counselors, and/or true friends who care about you and your well-being.
  • Tricksters (you were expecting demons or devil, weren’t you?): tricksters are people (or events) that show up in your life to specifically mess it up so you are given the opportunity to put it back together again in a better way. A trickster experience isn’t always fun and it’s oftentimes difficult or highly inconvenient. But hey, it’s all about the lessons that we learn!
  • Plot Ninjas: Borrowed this term from Nano Wrimo. 😉 Plot Ninjas are WTF moments that you have experienced–things that come out of nowhere and seem so random that you don’t really understand how it’s connected to your life, and you are still processing it even as the year ends.
  • Plot Bunnies: Again, borrowed this from Nano Wrimo. These are “story impulses” or your personal impulse to live out an aspect of your story or a new story. What’s something you’ve been meaning to do and it’s been on the back of your head for like, months? This one is kind of similar to the fog of war.

Your story has so many treasures and precious gifts. Did you enjoy unearthing them?

Like I said–this is not the end. Only the beginning! I hope this blog post has inspired you to see yourself in a new light and appreciate the experiences that you have had. Stay tuned for part 2: Hero Status Report + Mark Your North Star!

So much love,
Kim

5 Ways to be Productive in 2017

Level Up, Productivity
5-ways-to-be-productiveSick of procrastinating and setting half-assed goals that disintegrate and collapse upon themselves in just about 2.6 weeks? In that case, this blog post is for you! *cue infomercial music*
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Alright, joking aside–I won’t venture to say that this post will cure your productivity issues completely, but hopefully it will inspire you to start searching for a meaningful and personalized productivity system that reflects who you are as a person and brings out your best. After all, if you are frustrated about being unproductive or not being productive enough, you are consciously or unconsciously recognizing your desire for positive change and transformation. And that is an awesome thing!Here are 5 ways, or 5 things for you to consider if you plan on cultivating more productivity in your day to day life.

1. Recognize that productivity is highly personal and individual.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” productivity system that is going to magically solve all of your problems. Figuring out your sweet spot or peak performance mode takes diligent practice, curious exploration and active experimentation. If your efforts and plans to be more productive fail (or succeed only partially) in the beginning, don’t be dissuaded by your “perceived” lack of progress. If you’re still going, you ain’t losing. If you have never before seriously considered how you can be productive in the best of ways, then it is only natural that it takes several tries to figure out what makes you tick. If anything, you have succeeded in eliminating what does not work for you, which gives you permission to move on to try something better. Keep calm and carry on!

2. Explore what “productivity” means to you & discover the things that make you feel productive.

As mentioned before, productivity is highly personal and individual. While we can agree that being productive universally means “actively producing large mounts of goods” or “having something to show for”, we all have our own unique definitions of what “productivity” means. More precisely, what does it mean to feel productive? Instead of trying to quantify your efforts and section them accordingly so that they will fit the limited space-time and work-mode allowed by the conventional definition of “productivity”, think about the last time you feel productive.That’s a long-winded sentence, I know. Phew!

What makes you feel productive and how can you cultivate that feeling more? If you are a mother, does it mean involving yourself with your children’s personal lives and engaging in meaningful conversations? If you are a writer, does it mean hitting that daily word count goal? Or does it simply mean a good hearty journaling sessions in which you’ve processed your current life lessons and worked through some of the emotional blockages you are having? Often, the things that make us feel productive are the activities we enjoy, value, and find meaningful. Identifying the things that make you feel “productive” will also help you identify and discover the things you may want to prioritize more.

3. Examine your relationship with time + definition of time.

This is perhaps something that is so important when it comes to productivity-but at the same time, extremely overlooked! Often, we are stressed out because we feel like we don’t have enough time to complete the tasks we mean to complete. Do you look at the clock and feel hurried, counting the hours or minutes that are slipping from you before you have to do something else? Or do you glance at your cellphone screen and feel absolutely confident about the flow of the day?

If you have a stressful relationship with time, it probably indicates that you are operating from a “place of lack”, which means that you have the tendency to become neurotic about “how much time you don’t have” instead of “how much time you still have”. Perception plays a key role in our relationship with time, and our relationship with time, directly or indirectly, impacts on our sense of empowerment and productivity. Therefore, it is so crucial to sit down and have a chat with your personal concept of “time”, and figure out a way to have a more positive relationship with time.

4. Choose productivity systems that make you feel GOOD.

There are so many of them out there available for your picking! Seriously, go to your preferred search engine and type “productivity systems” and you will be amazed at the resources available out there. One of them is bound to speak to you. And remember, you are under no obligation to follow a system to the tee. If only 60% of that system works for you, feel free to ditch the rest of that 40% and outsource the remaining productivity space elsewhere.

Focus on what makes you feel good and what benefits you. What you end up adopting into your personal productivity system should align with your sense of fun, purpose, and work pace. It should motivate you to engage with your work every day and allow you to see the potential of your work. Choose something that increases both your momentum and your excitement for the future. Going back to the key word: it should make you feel good!

5. Prioritize self-care; a.k.a. your HEALTH.

You! You are not a relentless machine, nor are you some divine incarnation with inexhaustible energy. You, YOU, are a human being. You need to eat well, rest well, take time for yourself so you can decompress and refuel. If you aren’t at your optimal, it is likely that you aren’t very productive either. Invest in yourself. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your pursuits as well as the people around you. It seems like such an obvious thing, but it’s funny that the busier we get, the more we tend to put off self-care, even though that is usually when we need it the most.

What are the things that would be considered self-care? Well, I think you know the drill: eat a wholesome diet, exercise regularly, process your experiences and emotions in healthy ways, meditate, enjoy some quiet time in solitude, connect/reconnect with your peeps, your culture or your family–do things that make YOU healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

However busy your life is, you absolutely NEED to take time for yourself. If you think it is selfish to dedicate time and effort for your own being, let me tell you that it is selfish not to. Being responsible for your own health and well-being IS being responsible for the people who depend on you. If you are unwell, how does that make them feel? On the contrary, if people around you aren’t very understanding of your need to put yourself first, how is that fair that you don’t get to be at your best? 

Your health and your body is exactly what you choose to put in.  Don’t wait until it’s too late, because unlike the majority of the mistakes we make in life, the choices you have made for your health are sometimes irreversible, and quite often, can literally and unfortunately, kill you.

The end? No, only the beginning!

I hope that this blog post contains some useful information that inspires you to be more productive in life. Also, if you are wondering about my threshold mapping posts–I will be publishing them next week, in 2 parts. It ended up being a couple thousand words and I need more time trimming down my babble–which is why I published this post first.

Anyhoo. What is your personal strategy when it comes to being productive? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay honest; stay true. See you next time & until then!

Kim,
curling back into a lazy ball & back into her den

The Struggle to Productively Produce and Be Happily Happy

Level Up, Productivity

the-struggle-to-productively-produce-and-be-happily-happy

Among other things, a lot of times I think about where this blog is headed. You know, things like developing a personal branding, putting forth a unique voice, creating content, creating regular content…the list goes on and on.

To be honest it’s a stressful quicksand that I don’t enjoy diving into. Yet, in the back of my head, a devilish little voice screams: But, but, you gotta be productive or you’re going nowhere!

Productive. What an immensely annoying word, like holy fucking shit. If I’m not productive–if I don’t have a plan–if I don’t set goals for myself, fulfill those goals and hold myself to a future vision or some kind of inspirational purpose–then I am not doing anything with my life. I am therefore not successful and/or wasting time. The other side of “not productive” is really a shitty place to be. It makes me feel fucking awful. Basically:

The massive lump of meanings that constitute the word “unproductive” = a downward spiral of diabolical self-criticism, negative self-talk, self-bullying, self-loathing, feelings of unworthiness and laziness….these little demons go in a loop and beat me senseless. Always punching me in the gut. And oh, don’t bring up the stress elephant that is always sitting on my shoulder, snickering and laughing at my misery, weighing me down…

The truth is the way we define productivity is incredibly and painstakingly linear. To-do lists. Short-term goals. Long-term goals. Future vision. I am exhausted by this timeline that I have yet to live. It’s just a straight line of things I haven’t done and a life that I have yet to accomplish. Trying to be productive in a linear fashion may work in the first two weeks, but it really glitches my system and screws up several of my internal organs. Most of all it drains my spirit. And the worst part of it is that I get burned out, then I take a long break, then I beat myself up for not trying hard enough or remaining “productive”.

Ugh!!! I WANT A CHANGE! (Do you?)

Personally, I don’t believe in long term goals (don’t shoot me yet). I don’t believe in working hard towards a future that I don’t yet exist in. What’s the point if you don’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labour right now? What’s the point if you’re not present in your own workings?

Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t just completely disregard the idea of working hard towards something. After all, some things take time. What I mean is that what we are working towards should not make us lose sight of the now and fall out of alignment. What we choose to align ourselves with is super important when it comes to being mindful and living in the moment. For me, I want my life to be an authentic + creative expression and manifestation of my innermost desires.

a fulfilling life = authentic expression + creative manifestation of spirit

What is the creative manifestation of my spirit? I know what makes one fulfilling is incredibly individual–ultimately, it is up to me to decide what I want in my life and discover what makes me happy. Rest assured, I know what makes me happy. Tarot makes me happy. Journaling makes me happy. Cultivating better relationships (be it my fam, my friends, and my cat) makes me happy. And of course being around the people I love makes me happy. Reading new age and wellness books makes me happy. Becoming exposed to new spiritual ideas and productivity systems makes me happy. Video gaming also makes me happy (yes I am a gamer. #shameless).

A lot of things make me happy. But I have yet to find my true groove when it comes to establishing and maintaining a lifestyle that brings me continuous satisfaction. Like I feel like I have yet to find a “core mode” of living that I approve of and feel passionate about–something that works, something that brings out the best of me and something that allows me to be productive and manifest my creative potential. At this point in my life, I feel like I am still looking for the final picture and slotting the pieces together.

I don’t mean that I want to establish a picturesque life in which everything is perfect and monotonous. Of course not. But I really, really, really feel like I want to get closer and closer to that “core”. I admit, I grew up a relatively sheltered child and I wasn’t confronted by the need to fully manage my own affairs until much later. It was only the end of last year that I consciously decided that I am finally going to rock at being self-employed. (I’ve always thought I would eventually get a full-time job teaching, but the idea of having a fixed timbletable handed to me by others just doesn’t jam with me) That was a big shift in my mentality and a major life transition. Once I decided that I am going to be the centre and solo creatrix of my life, there are, all of a sudden, so many things I need to sort out for myself.

One of them is, as the title suggests, how to be productive and cultivate a productive mode that is an authentic expression of I am. I really want something that honours my own creative rhythms and sense of pace. I know that. I know that I’m in a phase of my life where I am trying to create a new lifestyle and there are many things to figure out so it’s okay to give myself time and be patient with myself. Yet I get impatient. I grow frustrated when there doesn’t seem to be any movement or progress. I blame myself for being too comfortable in my own bubble and not trying hard enough.

I ask myself: Why am I doing this again? So I can live a life that is creative and a life that is my own. I must tattoo that somewhere on my body–seriously. I need to keep my desires close to my heart. The “why”. The ever powerful, juicy, and empowering why.

This is why I am doing what I’m doing. The journey can be confusing and frustrating and shitty as hell at times, but here’s why I am doing it. So I can live a life that is creative and a life that is my own. A life that is free and a true expression of who I am.

As I am writing this, this actually brings me comfort. Boy have I been repeatedly (and knowingly!) harsh in bringing myself down. Always “Kim you’re not good at this” or “Kim omg why on earth did you fail? So much resistance and self-bullying. Then guess what I say to myself? “Omg Kim why are you such a bully to yourself, stop it! You’re doing it wrong! You’re supposed to be self-loving!”

A double-bully trap. I just can’t win, can I!? Alright, so I can totally suck at this sometimes. But I suppose, suckage is just an opportunity for you to review what’s not working in your life so you can make improvements. And when it comes to self-love, it’s not a spiritual light switch that you can just switch on/off whenever you feel like it. There is no final boss level when it comes to the self-love journey–such is the nature of a journey. It is endless and it just lasts. Wait, it never ends!? Then what’s the point in trying? But that’s precisely the point. Trying. Striving. Surviving. Living. Being.

Strangely, at this juncture, I am remembering the glass half-empty and half-full analogy. So you’re either glass half-empty or half-full, right? It’s a matter of perspective. More importantly, it is a matter of choice. You can choose to view your reality through a shit lens and basically, everything sucks eternally. Or, you can choose to view your journey towards self-love or productivity or whatever in a positive manner: you’re always learning and growing and becoming better.

But hey, either way, you should just add some more hot water in it, add a delicious apple caramel black tea bag, stir it with some sweetener and top it with whipped cream. Now it’s the best fucking thing ever. I always try to be positive and I am generally a glass half-full type of girl. But why stop there? You can’t possibly be satisfied with only half a glass of water.

What you do with it is infinitely more meaningful and productive than trying to dissect it and find the best way to look at it. I mean, self-reflections are amazeballs. Of course you need to understand yourself better. But shine shine shine once you have found your light.

I want to leave you with this (but more like, a note to Dear Self).

Dear World (Self),

You are worthy.

You are a fire-breathing magic-brimming ass-kicking human wonder with the capacity of a thousand miracles. You are the grand centre of your universe, your own spirit-anchor.

Change the world with one toothy grin, one flamboyant teasing gaze, one burst of blossoming laughter.

Everything you want is just a dream away.

You can do it.

You know you can.