Yes, that’s a bobcat outside my window…
It showed up at Rally! More about that to come. First some breaths for the quality and superpowers of Devotion!
Questions of Devotion
What am I devoting myself to?
(And is this my yes?)
(And is this current?)
(And what happens when I immerse in the devotion?)
Devoted to the question itself
What happens when I devote myself to devotion?
Can I live the question, to paraphrase Rilke, without needing to know what is on the other side…
Or maybe there is no other side, just concentric circles rippling out from this question as it drops into consciousness, a stone skipping in the waters of mind, in this body of water, this time period in which I am dedicated to the devotions of Devotion.
Unanticipated consequences (not a bad thing, just a thing)
In the month of Devotion, I also became the witchiest witch, a sorceress in an enchanted garden.
This was an unanticipated and possibly unintended consequence of devoting myself to devotion, but maybe also a secret wish, the witching-wish of the self who already sees herself as a wild witchy wonder.
Strange things happened this month, an unexpected snow-storm in the desert, a long crack in a windshield, a bobcat suddenly appearing and napping contentedly on my porch in the sun. A sign, or possibly a familiar, a pantalaimon-esque vision, hard to say.
It was a magical and wild moment.
A wild cat patronus to keep me company as I transform into a panther myself.
A striking moment (of magic)
Wild cats are strange and beautiful, fully embodied, self-contained.
Something else: they are striking (both meanings), and they are patient because patience is what leads to the striking, they know what they want. I often know what I want but I will hide it from myself.
This too is part of the devotional secret ops: patience and trust in patience, desire and trust in desire. And of course allowing the process of becoming to take as long as it takes.
Process (Devotion —-> Magic)
I didn’t have a plan or an agenda for what Devotion might lead to.
I was devoting myself to the Devotion itself, the experience of devoting.
But it turned out that Devotion was a form of magic, and that devoting myself to being in the magical experiences was the next indicated step of being someone who is devoted to devotion.
Asking these questions became devotional practice.
Naming my Complete Willingness Units became devotional practice.
Breathing, crying, cooking, walking outside to be in awe of the sunset. Devotional practice.
And the month of Devotion brought me to the month of Magic…
What needs to happen backwards?
This is another question for witches and also for engineers: reverse-engineering, working backwards, turning around (or upside down), walking backwards for proprioception, focus, epiphanies and memory.
When I go the other way (Widdershins!), I remember what I want, I return to center.
Opposites balance. Reverse to reconfigure.
Change your place to change your fortune.
Change the setting. Begin again.
In yoga and dance and movement there is always a favorite side, one that just seems to work better. A yoga friend, Cynthia, calls this “the side that is a little more joyful”, ah hello joyful side.
In skateboarding there’s goofy and regular.
I once took a tap dance workshop for lindy-hoppers (I am neither a tap dancer nor a lindy hopper but I like cross-training and learning new things as long as they are in the category of “I don’t care enough about this to mind that I am terrible at it”), and the instructor said something like “now you’ll discover that one foot can’t learn choreo!”
But there is a trick for that. Kind of.
I don’t know if this trick helps me learn better but it helps with the frustration, and not being in my frustration helps me learn better.
Also I have a special brain that learns at its own very unique and non-linear pace that sometimes is not even recognizable as a pace, so I will take all the tricks I can get.
Getting tricky with this trick
Instead of thinking “good side vs bad side”, it’s JUST AS EASY to think about our favorite side and second-favorite side, and I highly recommend this approach because it leads to very good things like smiling.
It helps me remember that I can choose to approach the experience of being in my body as something that is interesting and playful as opposed to just constantly frustrating.
Trying things as a someone in my body is not always super fun. This month involved back pain and shoulder pain and sad-heart times.
But I am devoted to Curiosity and Presence, and I like learning more about my container, getting to know my favorite side and my second-favorite side.
I like rolling around on the floor learning about [embodied] and [here now] and [all parts of me are worthy of love even if sometimes this is hard for me to remember or act upon].
I spent a month sitting cross-legged in my second-favorite way (yes), and now it is my favorite way and also I am more flexible now.
Or: Things can change.
Or: Sometimes some things can change.
It can be useful and interesting to play, observe, take notes, try things, try other things. If this brings us joy.
Many happy returns
This month I spent a lot of time with the concept of returning to center, and learned that a lot of return to center turns out to be return to sender.
Like when I get a sudden mystery-migraine and it is just the energy of the world, or someone trying to be in my head instead of using their words.
RETURN TO SENDER!
What a marvelous spell. All that is mine returns to me, everyone else’s energy goes back to source.
Ha, it is yet again a devastating day for my imaginary enemies (my current favorite phrase, via @iankarmel) as I am returned to my center, everything else has been returned to sender, and I am migraine-free plus my hair is perfect, ta da, a glorious day of successful devotional secret ops.
Some days of course less glorious than others…
But that too is part of the process of devoting yourself to devotion.
Sitting with [x] is not always fun, no matter the [x]. And it also isn’t required. We can change our approach, switch things up, play at the edges, take a detour, go the other way around, add magic.
This month I devoted myself to Wild Clarity and being a sorceress (proxy, maybe).
Each morning I sat for a seven minute meditation: inhaling WILD and exhaling CLARITY, and then following whatever thread came up and breathing that.
I AM A SORCERESS / I AM A WILD CARD / LIGHT HEARTED / I CAN BREATHE LIGHT
The Devotion Sutras
I don’t know what this means but I found it on a note I wrote to myself in the middle of the night.
Maybe breathing quietly for seven minutes in the morning is a devotional sutra.
Sometimes when I am breathing these breaths, I feel the need to make a sound and always, exactly when I am done making sound, the bell rings.
Spells and bells.
I am a resonant bell, devoted to Reverberation and Clarity.
It was that crappy day that rhymes with you-can-call-me-Al-entines day. Something-something Entwines Day.
To be clear: I like being solo, and also I insist on it. In fact let’s take that a few steps further; this is not about being content, although yes, I am content.
This is what I want. My life, on my terms.
And while I enjoy pretty much all aspects of The Life Solitudinal, especially being the sorceress of the witchy secret garden in the desert, I do not like this particular day. It is very much a return to sender sort of day.
So I devoted the day to investigating love, to discovering how I love.
More specifically, what does it mean to really and truly be the love of my life, to know and trust that I am my greatest love?
What does it mean to know and trust that I am always my greatest love?
What does wild self-treasuring (treasuring myself wildly, treasuring my Wild self) look like when I do not entrust this job to anyone else?
While lovers may come (they are welcome, hiiii) to treasure me and shower me with love and adore the form that holds me, that is different than the work of my life which is to cherish myself, to meet myself with the greatest tenderness and full-hearted admiration.
What does it mean to whisper to myself with love, all day long, and mean it?
You, my greatest love, my heart love, my bell of bells, this marvelous and fully magical being who is the container for this life.
The fruits of my devotion, and devotional fruits
What would Devotion look like if I were devoted to this Wild love of self?
Would I pile citrus fruits for my love who loves orchards and abundance? Would I buy her a bottle of wine with a name sure to delight her, smiling to myself, thinking of how she takes such pleasure in words and play?
Would I light candles just for her and whisper words of love? And what are words of love if not Devotional Spells?
My heart as a cauldron of love that is all for me. My breath a bell of reverberating love. My body as a vessel of love. All mine. Be mine, true self.
I kiss my palms and feel my own love radiate inward, outward. Devoted to cultivating this love.
Devoted to my magic
This is, of course, about the usual themes, even as it feels new:
Presence. Grace. Quiet.
The thrill of sky and mountains, horizon, possibility, expansive breath.
Remembering to pause, slowing my gazillion miles an hour mind-waves to sync up with body and breath (ah, the paradox of slow and steady is actually the secret to making speedy progress).
Creating sanctuary for myself while also committing to not hiding my sparkly essence from myself or the world.
Protecting my glow and my glow-state, everything that enhances my ability to access glow-state.
And of course trust in right timing, aka the superpower of What If All Timing Is Right Timing, which is the antidote to the monster belief that Everything Is Wrong.
Congruencing is the word I use for any form of making things more harmonious.
Sometimes this looks like washing dishes and folding laundry. Sometimes this is changing my position (new favorite leg), or moving a book to a new location.
I love the feeling of Yes Everything Is 10% More Congruent.
I am very often not in the mood to do the work of Congruencing itself.
When I remember to congruence like a sorceress — WHY YES I AM THE WITCHIEST WITCH, AND ACTING ON MY CLEAR INDICATED INTEL IS MY ACTUAL MAGIC, it brings me so much joy.
And yet — and this is the reprogramming of my life, so often I approach it eiher as a chore (ugh I have to clear this crap up because I can’t focus), or I fall for an old monster-story that says I am “procrastinating”.
Reality though is that clearing the path to clear the path is an effective way of getting to the projects I think I’m avoiding. It’s creating a state of Wild Clarity & Receptivity & Enhanced Powers/Skill/Magic that supports both me and my projects.
Some wisdom from The Sorceress
“You are getting so much right. Your experiments are grand and good, especially in devotion and ritual. Your instincts are so good.
You often experience your visceral allergic reaction to incongruence as a negative, and you think that your ADHD is essentially this but misnamed.
You are not wrong, my love, and sometimes it really does feel like disruption is your kryptonite. However, the flip side of that is that you always know what needs Congruencing, and this knowing is your superpower.
Do you understand? You are an interior/energy design genius, your art is in knowing exactly how spaces should feel inside you and outside of you.
Can you trust your instincts, celebrate this superpower and act on it?”
Asking questions (of Devotion and Magic)
Me: Please help, I don’t feel witchy or powerful or anything at all, I feel so distraught and lost.
Slightly Wiser Me: Ritual is the path, babe. It’s what you and the Sorceress share. You do it because it’s calming and grounding and helps you with your mission of Return To Center. She does it because that’s how she lives, and also because that’s where the magic lives, in the meeting places of Repetition and Intention.
Me: I can’t feel anything right now.
Slightly Wiser Me: If you want resonance to do its work, rippling outward and inward, you need to gather and make a circle, strike the bell, hear the bell, reverberate and BE REVERBERATED, be belled, feel it move through you.
(Haha I typed “feel it love through you”, and this is even better)
Asking is/as Devotional process
Me: I still do not want to do what needs to be done. I care so much about my projects but just cannot seem to focus on any aspect of any of them and I don’t know what to do about this Perception of Stuck, aka my favorite band, it’s just one guy.
Wiser Me: One step at a time, babe. Keep returning to center. Keep breathing and brewing. There is good intel in the perceived stuck just like there is good intel in the perceived crisis. You’re allowed to feel frustrated.
Me: But what do I doooo!?!?!
Wiser Me: You’ve got this, love. You follow the next indicated step. Glass of water. Load of laundry. Listen to your breath, the ocean waves of your body. Ask for a clue. Look for a clue. Hold steady to the thread of truth: you *are* the witchiest witch, whether you can feel it or not, so what can you do to support your ability to be magic?
Wiser me was right, the magic returned
I just forgot how to let my own magic work on me.
My magic works through not trying to force it, but letting myself feel it.
And what are these troughs of depression/disconnect/ADHD brain fog if not a form of temporary amnesia? I forgot my own magic, I forgot about Devotion, I was trying so hard to generate excitement that I forgot to return to center.
Like the assassin in The Long Kiss Goodnight, or the protagonist in Memento, I forgot the mission because I forgot who I am. So now I leave myself notes at night to help morning-me remember.
And in these notes I also remind myself that the forgetting is normal, understandable, and temporary. The forgetting is part of the remembering, I learned this from Esther Gokhale, and forgot it, until right now…
To wake up and read about WHO YOU ARE
My morning reminder note looks something like this:
Good morning babe, you are a wild majestic Sorceress regaining your glow powers and your GLEAMING and your Wild Clarity, you are the first and only Havi Bell Brooks to ever be here on this planet and in this life, you are a wonder of aliveness, here is a list of the morning rituals and missions you are excited to wake up for…
Lately I don’t need the note, and this is exciting, but I like finding the notes.
A tiny story about magic
Every seven years since I turned seven years old, a family friend sends me the same present, no matter where I am in the world or what complicated logistics are involved in having it delivered to me.
This month I turned forty two, which is not only a multiple of seven, but also the answer to Life, The Universe & Everything. Anyway, it was a quiet day out in the desert, and then someone came down my dirt road and asked me to sign for a mystery box, and you guessed it. It was the gift of sevens. Like magic!
Some qualities of magic: Ritual, Receptivity, Attentiveness, Wonder, Remembering the Remembering.
At yoga, C said, “Let us face this wildly uncertain future together, since this is the only kind of future there is.”
I laughed, and honestly I am the only one who ever laughs at her jokes, if they are jokes, haha who knows, maybe that’s just another word for Uncomfortable Truth Delivered Wryly.
But I receive these truths with humor, because laughing is part of how I want to face this wildly uncertain future with you and with myself, with the Sorceress, and with the bobcat on my porch.
Laugher for the magic. Laughter as a form of devotion. Laughter as invitation and initiation. Come play with me, friends, I could use the company, let’s practice self-fluency through being curious about what is and what could be.
Come play in the comments!
I treasure this space we’ve made for play and exploration, here’s how it works!
We remember that people vary. We meet ourselves and each other with compassion. We are on permanent vacation from advice-giving and care-taking. In other words, this is not like the rest of the internet.
You are welcome/invited to share any !!! or anything sparked for you, play with any of the ideas here, name some wishes or call in some magic and superpowers. And of course share with anyone who could use any of this. I love that you’re here with me.
And a pre-announcement!
It’s about a wish! I want to devote 19 minutes of Devotionto a project or goal that is craving my attention. And I want to see what happens or changes, what magic will come over three months of ritual, devoting myself to Devotion itself.
And I would like company and playmates and community, so I’m putting together a group offering for this, will send out an email soon if you are on the list. Let me know in the commments if this is something you are excited about!
Oh! AND! There is now a Fluent Self instagram account, so come hang out with me there if that is a place where you like to play.