The Pivot: Therapy

Hey friends! We’re so excited to debut a new blog series! Please, welcome Ky Anderson and The Pivot to the COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION!
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A mid-week turning point, an idea that levels you out, gives you something to chew on, and propels you into the weekend. For me the weekend means work, and Wednesday is a respite from the hustle of my day job, a day to get work done, whether that work is chores, self care, research, or personal breakthroughs.
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This week I started therapy. It’s not my first attempt; however, it is the first time I have been engaged with the process. Unsurprisingly, knowing the issues I need to address (rather than self-shaming myself into therapy as I have before) is tremendously helpful.  

I had been promising myself I would start this process for the better part of a year. The thing about waiting for the right time is that it is ultimately an avoidance tactic. I have been ready to deal with my stuff for a while. Naturally, I found flaws with each candidate I researched and quickly distracted myself with other people–dates, romantic interests, friends, et al. Their strengths bolstered me to a place where I felt I was generally fine. Maybe not great, but ok. I was surviving, but not thriving.

People enter therapy for different reasons. Each time a relationship ended, career path stalled, etc, I’d tell myself, “Now is the time to get to the root of why I keep playing the same records on repeat–now I can figure out why I am how I am.” I want to be better–at communicating, at managing anxiety and stress, at navigating gender issues, at dealing with past traumas, at confronting relationship dynamics. I want to get unstuck from the morass I am trudging through.

I felt simultaneously emboldened and fragile in that first session. It motivated me to purchase “More Than Two.” I devoured it. The accompanying site I explored hinted at the depth of understanding I might glean from the volume and, naturally, I needed all the answers. Still new-ish to poly, I directed myself straight to the chapters on communication, underlining and mentally noting precisely what I intended to bring up to one of my partners the following day. I was nervous/excited for the opportunity for us both to grow.

Well, I never got that chance. The next day my heart was returned to me along with a few personal effects and a cup of over-steeped mint tea. So it goes.

The mere fact that I recognize the emotions I’m feeling as they come and go is a testament to the emotional work I accomplished in the past year. I designed my community to be expansive, supportive and nurturing. Somehow I am still surprised by and in awe of these beautiful people I include in my life, appreciative for the opportunities they afford me to grow and consider new perspectives. And I am grateful for the chance to experience love that nurtured, challenged and pushed me to grow. There are a few things I would have changed, but the experience ultimately changed me and I regret very little. It is a fact that I loved deeply, entrusted my vulnerable heart in their hesitant hands, endured rejection, and lived through the experience. That’s a lot of living for five months.
This blog is a path to my own wellness, a challenge to keep me accountable to my own self care. The uniqueness of a blog developed  specifically for queer wellness is that it intentionally expands the conversations we have beyond the screen and pushes us to transform this awareness into a practice.

Maybe you practice yoga to heal. Maybe you pull tarot to find direction through an impasse. Maybe you craft a playlist to get you through the most challenging moments. We tell ourselves stories–through poses, through readings, through music, through experiences–in order to live. Whatever your process, this is the space to share it.

This story is my pivot–one of many I choose to share with you as part of my chosen community. This space is a gift intentionally developed for us to connect in our vastly diverse truths and share in the healing that facilitates. What I pen in this space is my lived experience and the ideas that emerge from them. These fractures we endure encourage healing in ways one can never quite predict. What is a wellness site for queers if it cannot help mend and uplift us in a time of immense need? This is what we are here for. Let’s get to work.

See you soon,
Ky

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Ky (they/them/theirs) is a genderqueer, intersectional feminist writer who perseveres to impose positive change on a personal and professional level. They live, work, and play in LA. Wednesday Pivot is their attempt to put their ideas and challenges on the table to connect with a broader community of wellness- and growth-minded folks.

Core Work: Stay the Course

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” I believe in knowing who you are but without limiting yourself to your expectation of who you are.”

~Charlotte Eriksson

Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for the Great Perhaps

I keep finding myself in these conversations lately, these big life, capital ‘C’ conversations. The kind of conversations you realize are these informal summits, the ones that are going to change the history book of your life that hasn’t been written yet, the life you have yet to experience. And, here’s the weird thing, I have a seat at the table. People are listening to me, really listening to me. We’re taking turns talking. We’re nodding and mirroring and offering each other space to say our piece, but the conversation is awkward and stilted.

See I’ve consciously and conscientiously curated my dinner party guest list to queer unicorn perfection. I’m pretty damn proud of it actually. If my dinner party were an invitation it would be the one that spills out a fabulous array of mismatched glitter. You want to be pissed because you realize you’re never (EVER) going to be able to clean it all up but the theme is so ridiculous, the menu so perfect, the dress code so delightful, and RSVP list so magickal that you know you’re going to smile and shake your head remembering the shenanigans from that night every time you pick glitter off your work clothes– so you just surrender.

The thing with these perfect queer unicorn dinner parties though, is that when you gather a group of folks that aren’t used to being asked their opinion, folks that are generally not heard/seen, folks that have spent the majority of their time on this planet figuring out how to fit in enough to survive, it’s hard to have a serious summit about the course everyone wants their lives to take. All of sudden we realize that we’ve clawed and crawled our way to this point in our lives when we have a little bit of agency and we haven’t a damn clue what to do with it.

Understanding who we are in this life in a way that allows us to grow is a great task of development, but an extremely daunting adventure. It expects us to walk with clarity through the gauntlet of other’s perceptions while not losing our pathway back to our core selves. For most of us this door was shut a long time ago the first time we were shamed for having an internal world that differed from those who were charged with decorating and tending to our external one.

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Once this conflict is setup it rears it’s insidious and self-defeating head in multiple situations and in subtle and not so subtle ways. It doesn’t just come up from the larger more visible oppressive systems we all live in, it comes up in our individual stories and our families of choice. Sometimes it doesn’t even look like a critical voice. In fact, more often than not it comes up in affirmations, in agreeing to things we don’t realize we don’t want to do.

It might look like leaning into a physically challenging asana practice before we have a good hold on our internal clarity (read: a lot of the yoga we practice here in the West). It might look like saying yes to consuming things that aren’t actually good for our minds, bodies, hearts, and spirits. It can look like rejecting needed and nurturing rest. It can show up as acts of love when we believe supporting  our partners means agreeing with them, consistently and unequivocally. The problem with this is that we are growing bodies, building lives, and navigating relationships in ways that are not sustainable and consistent with our true selves. We’re doing work without doing the core work first. We need to solidify and strengthen our centers before radiating outwards. Otherwise, just like physical practices we’re not ready for, we hurt ourselves.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I interact as a human that wants to live in family, community, and relationship. How do I value my own autonomy and encourage the folks around me to do the same? I do believe that it’s important to hear the voices and reflections of those I love and respect, and even constructive criticism from those that might have a more challenging presence in my life, but I want to be able to grow without losing my own individual root system. I’ve been thinking about how I’ve seen this lack of ability to calibrate to our own individual meter effects folks I interact with in both my personal and professional circles. How can we be communal creatures, learning and growing from one another, while still remaining true to the most authentic versions of ourselves?

{Image Credit:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/244179611021661681/}
{Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/244179611021661681/}

I think that being open to growth and change while also knowing how and when to stay the course is a delicate practice. It requires a level of understanding ourselves that honors the sophisticated fluidity around core identities.

In perfect worlds we would have all been raised in environments where this was practiced and modeled around us. We would have been lovingly and meticulously assembled in protective bottles until we were ready to take our ships out onto open water. My guess is this isn’t how it looked for the great majority of us.

Our choice then, is if we want to dedicate the time and energy to hone our ability to live in this authentic practice? Is it worthy work to do the painstaking task of coaching our internal parents to raise fully formed, solid but growth oriented beings?

I would like to know myself in a way that can hear new points of view but isn’t threatened by every new opinion I encounter. I would like to interact lovingly with those around me while knowing the difference between compromising and being compromised. And most importantly, I don’t want my ability to be self-actualized to my most authentic form stinted by anything, including my own expectation of who I am supposed to become.

So with that in mind, I will honor the struggles that have made me who I am,  I will continue to learn the craft of compassionately piecing the person I’m supposed to become together, and I commit to believing in the innate structure of my ship to weather any storm.

Staying the course,

Traci

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Traci Medeiros-Bagan {She|Her|Hers|They|Them|Theirs} is currently in the depths of intentional core work to build a conscious practice. They are a therapist, yoga teacher, and human in progress. Information about where, when, and how they share this journey with community can be found at compassionaterevolthealing.com

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Tarot Tuesday: 4 Walls

PlayshopBannerHappy Tuesday everyone! How is everyone? My week is just starting (and also never really ended last week).

I’m feeling a lot of feelings.

I had a lot of… what’s a more positive word for conflicted experiences?

I’m feeling exhausted, invigorated, spent, and fed from a solo trip up to the queer promised land this weekend. I did a little time in the East Bay talking gender, race, and power with 11-13 year olds, and then re-processed those talks with peers over Burmese and Ethiopian food amongst a lot of young bearded and dreadlocked white folk. I engaged in triggering and inspiring conversation with other “professionals” around a community that I’m simultaneously near, in, and serve. I caught some donation based (but very physically focused) yoga. I had a quiet girlfriend night where we laughed, and cried, and hugged over roasted broccoli, whiskey, online dating, and the way not being walked to our cars after a date can make the most liberated of us feel like shit.

P.S. Just in case you need it, ladies. Here’s a (warning: very obscene but perfect) love note from Elle King.

I pulled tarot when I got into town and should have been unsurprised to see the Four of Bones staring back at me.

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“There is a lot going on in this card. Here is the cyclical structure of the seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Here are the changes each of those seasons bring, and their constant return to the beginning of the cycle wherever we may perceive to be…. at the center.. the human heart. There it lies shielded from the elements, truth at the crossroads; the calm inside the storm.

The Four of Bones is about structure, cycles, boundaries and borders. With this card we have the power to protect ourselves and others. It represents the power of four walls. With these walls we can build a shelter or a fortress, a cozy bedroom or a prison cell. The challenge of this card is to know the power of limits and boundaries, and know how to use that power in positive ways.” 

The Collective Tarot

The mystical, strong and fluid, shifting walls of The Four of Bones stayed with me throughout the weekend, my drive home, and I suspect are still hovering nearby this morning.

I’ve been reflecting on what this trip marked for me- the cycle and the season of the year past. I thought about the space the solo nature of it serendipitously brought (as much as I intended and desired it to be a little escapist love getaway). I’ve been attempting to discern what feels like protective boundary setting and what feels like oppressive rigidity. I deconstructed the work that I saw being done in and around community and tried to find gratitude and “balance between the power of freedom and the power of structure.”

{Image Credit: https://www.tumblr.com/search/dogma%20gif}
{Image Credit: https://www.tumblr.com/search/dogma%20gif}

And, Lord Alanis knows, I’m trying my damn-dest to step up to the challenge of knowing “the power of limits and boundaries, and.. how to use that power in positive ways.” 

I stared back into the center of The Four of Bones and wondered if the heart was really “shielded from the elements?” And, if it didn’t feel that way, if this was a sign I needed to build better boundaries or “knock down some walls; loosen the hinges on {my} heart. Allow {myself} to move into the next phase in the cycle of {my} life?”

The Four of Bones (or more classically The Four of Pentacles) exemplifies the contradictory and process instigating way that tarot offers us reflection and guidance. It doesn’t give us the answer but rather challenges us to look towards places of growth through introspection. It warns us that anything to it’s extreme– to rigidity can be unhelpful– and also carries the truth of constant change. Any season will eventually cycle through to the next and (eventually) back to itself.

I’m meditating on how to keep myself in a cozy bedroom.

A shelter that protects me, comforts me, and offers me rest. I want to intentionally create sacred space and feel safe asking others into it as well as feel content and fed sitting in it alone. I want to be able to kindly and lovingly ask for my solitude as well as lean into the risk of requesting company.

It’s not quite finished but I’ve heard home improvements last for as long as you are fortunate enough to have a home.

Currently laying blue prints for my four walls,

Traci

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Traci {She|Her|Hers|They|Them|Theirs} is a yoga teacher, therapist and amateur tarot enthusiast! They try to believe in the power of their inner Magician, stay inspired by the Fool’s spirit, understand struggle through the lens of The Tower/Disaster and always stay reminded that, “The Star Awaits…”

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

Tarot Tuesday: Growth in The Tower

PlayshopBannerWhen I found tarot, in a functional sense, I met it with wide eyed optimism. I’ve heard some folks new to tarot express some fearfulness around accessing this source of wisdom and healing, and I never really experienced much of that. Looking back I wonder why I didn’t. {Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1Iq974y}{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1Iq974y}

I was going through a period of immense change- to many around me I imagine it might have looked a bit like disaster rather than Disaster.

For someone who didn’t have much experience with the positive aspects of faith I realize the blindness and readiness with which I moved into a tarot practice was actually quite uncharacteristic of me. Perhaps it was the time, a particularly good fit, or just the relief of having accurate queer reflection from The Collective Tarot (my first deck and the one I still use almost exclusively) staring back at me.

Whatever the reason both my universe and my tarot pulls requested (kindly and lovingly) that I lean into Disaster or, more traditionally, The Tower. {Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JoQkVK}

The Tower is the 16th card in the Major Arcana. It is a card about inevitable change and the way we experience it. This might be actual change around us or a shattering of our perceptions– ways we’ve come to know, understand, and explain our world. The literal representation of a tower that shows up in decks is described by Jan Woudhuysen in Tarot Therapy: A New Approach to Self-Exploration:

All of us feel the need for protection from the cold inhospitality of the world. We build defences of some sort or another. We build a tower, strong enough to withstand rain and storms from the enemy with his arrows and gunpowder. We gain security, but only for a price. That price is our ability to move, to grow, to develop. p.81

Later, in the same passage about The Tower, Woudhuysen questions whether, after forced by “disaster” to rebuild our towers if we’ll use the same broken stones? It immediately made me think of the Audre Lorde quote: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” I often think of The Tower as a space for new growth but also a call to check in on the soundness of the structures I’m building and/or confined within. Sometimes utter demolition is needed and sometimes it’s a wake-up call to realize I live in earthquake country– roller bearings, got it. 

There are so many levels of what we might be called (or demanded) to deconstruct and reconstruct, and it’s going to take all of our attention to do so well. If we’re busy struggling, trying to keep our tower from falling, are we going to be able dream and manifest a more accurate version of our safest spaces? It’s going to take radical vision and innovation to live in and design institutions that hold and heal the queerest most divine versions of our authentic selves.

So, I offer you The Collective Tarot’s challenge to lean into Disaster:

“You are free. A flash of enlightenment. A release of energy. Lightning of revelation, inner truth… If the mind becomes closed, so that we cannot see the world outside, then it becomes a prison of pride and illusion…. When you turn the compost, it is uncomfortable, but growth and newness awaits.”

In honor of Disaster,

Traci

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Traci {She|Her|Hers|They|Them|Theirs} is a yoga teacher, therapist and amateur tarot enthusiast! They try to believe in the power of their inner Magician, stay inspired by the Fool’s spirit, understand struggle through the lens of The Tower/Disaster and always stay reminded that, “The Star Awaits…”

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

COM|PASSionate Inspiration: Seeds

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Dear REVOLUTIONARIES…

Get stuck in the potential,

the tomorrow,

the light to come,

the rainbow after the storm,

the strength that is fostered in those of us that have had to fight a little harder to be seen, heard, nurtured.

Any support that was begrudged you-

Any respect not given-

Any tears mocked-

Any experience invalidated is not a measure of your worth, your value, the divinity that is to spring forth from the seed that is your essence.

Know now, dear REVOLUTIONARIES,

you with soft hearts,

you with souls so deep that the darkness cannot be navigated,

you passionate fighters,

you compassionate spirits,

you with gaping wounds and blinding light,

you beautiful world weary animals,

you, You, YOU,

that have been buried alive and now claw for the sides and gasp for breath,

grow now you once buried, majestic seeds,

let your shivering, shimmering, strength break through.

In nurturing,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT