Journal Prompt – Lacking Time… or Purpose?

Today’s post is about time and how we spend it. There is a download for the journal pages at the end, and feel free to use this prompt however it helps you the most!

Am I really lacking time, or is it purpose?

I used to be busy all the time. Busy, but not necessarily productive. Internally, my busy-ness justified all sorts of complaining, procrastination, negative self-talk, always being late, canceling plans at the last minute, ignoring injuries, avoiding responsibilities at home, and more. If I was getting work emails on the weekend, I would complain about it. If I wasn’t getting work emails on the weekend, I would worry about why that was. When I didn’t have something to worry about, I felt lost and empty. Anxiety would rush into the empty spaces, and it felt like I was suffocating. Cluttering my mind with tasks allowed me to avoid thinking about it for a while, so that’s what I did.

Eventually I had to face reality. For all that busy-ness, I wasn’t very productive. Sure, I got a lot of stuff done… but I was awake for 20 hours every day compared to most people’s 16-18. The ratio wasn’t very good. Plus, I was never satisfied with my efforts and always felt like I didn’t have enough time to do a good job. If I had plans in the afternoon, for example, I would struggle to focus my efforts on my other tasks in the morning and afternoon, frequently resulting in me accomplishing little throughout the day and then leaving late for my planned activities, or missing them entirely. I tried to compensate by not making any plans during the week, but that just made me boring and almost resentful of anyone who expressed an interest in spending time together. Didn’t they know how BUSY I was???

My busy-ness seemed like a noble excuse until I realized that other people talked about their busy-ness in order to make plans, not to skip them or excuse a failure. For all the activity going on in my life, I wasn’t achieving the things I really wanted, and I finally got called out for it. (Be thankful for the friends who are kind enough to risk your anger in order to tell you the things you need to hear.) After taking a step back to process what was said, I decided to process a few instances of my excuse-making in my journal.

I wrote about what happened, how I felt, what I wanted to happen… the first few times it was pretty clinical sounding. But as I asked the questions, the answers started to pop up… briefly at first, then louder and more sustained. Patterns started to emerge, and one that I came to understand was that I had been using creative energy to distract myself from fear. The source of the fear is pretty deeply rooted in my psyche, so what is important for you to know is that the events that triggered it were nowhere near the scale of importance my subconscious was assigning to it. Acting within that fear state, nothing I accomplished could possibly resolve the initial fear, so I would press on, accumulating more and more distractions, but never alleviating the core anxiety that kept my foot on the gas pedal.

Once I had figured this out, I was better able to recognize the signs that I was approaching that fear state, and course-correct. And since I recognized that much of my busy-ness was serving a purpose of keeping me safe from an unknown enemy, I had a very important tool that I could use to redirect my energy toward my goals! And it all started by asking myself the question… is this really about time? What is all of this activity for, anyway?

If any of this sounds familiar to you or piques your interest, give the journal prompt a try! And consider downloading the journal pages below… they’re free! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Full Moon Ritual February 27, 2021

Happy Full Moon, friends! The moon cycles offer a great cadence to check our progress and realign our intentions to our goals. In my personal practice, I focus on creating alignment between my goals and intentions during the new moon. During the full moon, I work on releasing and letting go. I do a tarot reading for each cycle, and I ask for the guidance I need in order to move forward. My interpretation of each of the cards in the reading is below, and there are some suggested intentions, crystals, and messages on the journal pages to help you work with the energy of this cycle. Read on for this month’s insights and as always, the free journal page download will be at the end of this post. Enjoy!

This month’s full moon is in Virgo, and this reading focuses on the energy of progress (Major Arcana card #7, The Chariot). Next stop… success! Well, maybe not quite, but this reading was all about finding our flow and how we can work through the stumbling blocks we encounter. There were indications of new beginnings to look forward to, perhaps in relationships or projects related to our goals (Ace of Cups), and the potential for collaboration with others (3 of Crystals), which can be exciting! If collaborations sometimes leave you feeling as though your efforts are not noticed or rewarded, this is an excellent time to do some shadow work to get to the bottom of that insecurity.

“We don’t all value the same things, but that doesn’t mean you are not valuable…”

February 2021 Full Moon Reading

Let’s talk about understanding our value when working with others, and learning to separate our intrinsic value from the value of our input as seen by specific people or projects. It can be difficult to navigate boundaries when we are excited and in the flow of our creativity. We can be vibing together one minute, and leaving each other on “Read” the next… what the heck?! One possibility is that the scope of the collaboration expanded past someone’s comfort level, and they suddenly realized they don’t have the bandwidth to follow through. Another possibility is that after giving it some thought, someone realized they have other projects that require their time at this moment, so the contextual value of the idea changed for them. This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but the point is that our expectations can hurt if we let them get out of alignment with our ability to honor them. If we feel like we are always getting in over our heads and over-committing, the lesson is to assess the value of our time before committing it, and to own our words and actions. If we feel like we are always left hanging, the lesson is similar… all time is valuable, and each of us has different priorities. What someone chooses to spend their time on reflects what is important to them. It is not a reflection of us, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt about their motives, but consider restructuring our priorities similarly.

The Chariot is a card of action and movement, and we are cautioned that without work, it can be a very bumpy ride. We are asked to take an honest assessment of what obstacles stand in our way, and challenged to work through them in order to reach our highest potential. This brought up fears of criticism (Queen of Wands Rx), of not living up to expectations (#20, Awakening), of past mistakes (6 of Swords Rx), of past hurts (8 of Cups Rx), and of feeling pain (3 of Swords Rx). This is a tall order, for sure, but all these things were brought up before us so that we can look at it all at once. These fears cause us hesitation, or hold us back entirely, from achieving our goals. The only way to get past them is to go through them, so… what fears are holding you back?

“Don’t sacrifice your happiness out of fear of feeling pain. Feel it, and let yourself be stronger for it.”

February 2021 Full Moon Reading

Take a moment to write about how you felt the last time you stepped away from a goal due to fear. Don’t judge yourself for it (Temperance Rx), but try to understand if the outcome you had hoped to avoid was really a valid concern in the present. Look within for other fears that are keeping you from taking that next step along your path, and look at how they might be keeping you safe, and how they might be keeping you stuck. The full moon is a time for releasing, and ask yourself if there is anything you would be willing to let go of, in order to achieve your highest potential?

There you have it… the Full Moon reading for February 2021! I hope you enjoyed the reading and that you got a little insight from it. Thanks for reading, and if you want, download the journal pages below! See you next time!

New Moon February 11, 2021

This Aquarian New Moon energy is intense, and today’s reading pulled no punches. You can read it for yourself, and I’ll highlight some of the points in the post below. As always, you will find the free download of this month’s new moon journal pages at the end of this post. I really hope you’re enjoying them, and I hope this reading inspires you to break free of stagnation and align your mindset even more with your highest self!

We are being asked to look at the results of our prior actions and intentions, and reassess what we need to do to move forward. This reading specifically called out our inauthentic behavior… giving or receiving mixed signals, or acting out of fear or anticipation of another person’s feelings or reactions. Whether or not our reasons for behaving this way are justified, this is manipulative behavior intended to get a desired reaction instead of having an authentic interaction. During this check-in we are asked to look critically at how this misalignment with who we really are and what we really want is impacting our current experience.

“You can’t be so disappointed by not having the things you never worked for. If you want it, commit, and face the world owning all of it. Your faults, your failures, and your triumph.”

New Moon Tarot Reading, February 11, 2021

This reading had a very important message regarding our personal power and our personal relationships, represented by two Kings in their reversed positions, and 2 Queens in their upright positions. The first King (Swords) was the significator card describing the reading as a whole. This card can signal deceit or manipulation of a situation, but the empowering way to read it is that we need to be honest with ourselves about the ways we have not been so honest in the past. The second King (Wands) represented the heart of the matter, and as the suit that represents our dreams and ambitions, it can describe a situation where we are overly critical of ourselves. High expectations can be appropriate in some situations, but the implication here is that the gap between our expectations and our reality is stalling our progress and causing us pain.

As Sword also represent logic and our business-mindsets, this can be applied to the internal structures of logic and the way we set and work toward our goals. Let’s draw our attention to internalized beliefs about the world, and the stories we tell ourselves about our failures and successes. Are we really being prevented from succeeding because of external circumstances, or is that a convenient cover story to mask our internalized belief that success is just not possible for “someone like me”? Have you ever given up in the eleventh hour, or even the second or third hour, because of that voice inside telling you, “This will never work…”? Your mind is the ultimate gatekeeper, and if you haven’t mastered your thoughts, you aren’t likely to get around them. The way out of this, is through it.

Do you see what I mean by intense? We are being called to stand up and look at the world eye-to-eye, and the only way we will have the strength to do that is if we face the internal struggles that we have been avoiding. The other side of this court card equation, and the way “through it”, is the energy of the two Queens… we must nurture what we want to grow. When we use our natural authority within the realm of our natural power, our efforts will not be hindered needlessly. The two Queens in the spread represent our abundance (Crystals) and logic (Swords), indicating once again that shifting from our current belief system into one that allows for our success can create space for the abundance we want to find us.

“Those who expect perfection from themselves will punish others for not meeting their expectations. Neither will meet those expectations, but the perfectionist is the one creating the suffering for all. Tend to your karma.”

New Moon Tarot Reading, February 11, 2021

In all honesty, this reading kind of stung. Especially the quote above. While those words spoke directly to me, I have a feeling that some of you will feel them too. We live in a world full of expectation, but nowhere is that more apparent than within my mind. I used to think it was a “good” thing to be harder on myself than anyone else could be. I thought I kept it to myself… but as it turned out, I just hadn’t realized the ways in which I was projecting that internal frustration into the world. I would become so frustrated that even small inconveniences would turn into 20 minute blood pressure sprints, even days later. Justifying my frustration, I told myself that I would never “accept” mistakes like that from myself… but last I checked, I am still human. We are ALL human, and we ALL make mistakes! How we handle them says a lot about how we handle ourselves, and I think many of us could stand to be a little kinder.

“Take responsibility, not blame, and learn to carve out a new path.”

New Moon Tarot Reading, February 11, 2021

Admittedly, when it came to setting goals I used to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater quite frequently. The truth is that I wasn’t “accepting” mistakes from myself because I believed nobody else would, either. I thought the world operated by the same standards at play in my mind… turns out, THAT was the mistake! I didn’t feel worthy of grace, so I didn’t expect it from others. Upon hitting a bump in the road, I would try to outwardly project grace… but inside I felt like the car skidding into the ditch, AND the bump. Ouch! It’s easy to give up when you don’t feel worthy of the goal in the first place, and it’s hard to see perfectionism as a problem when you think it is what is required of you. I’ve worked really hard to get to a place that I can see, admit, and now find humor in the ways I have deceived myself, and I’m feeling a lot less like an out-of-control jalopy these days. Messages like these tell me that there is still work to be done, and as an imperfect human, I can accept that with grace.

“Ultimately you are the one who denies yourself peace.”

New Moon Tarot Reading, February 11, 2021

Back to the reading… we are being advised that our desires will not materialize before our eyes without a sacrifice on our part. Not of the biblical, burnt offering type, but a sacrifice of time, energy, sweat… we’re being asked to commit to ourselves and our higher purpose. Find gratitude in the journey thus far, and trust that NOT getting everything we want in this moment will be a good thing. If we are patient, we will see everything unfold in a way that supports our authentic desires and the highest good of all involved. Put another way, some of what we think we want is coming from a place of lack, and will not satisfy us once we get it.

There was a lot of powerful stuff in here, and this week I plan to publish a few separate journal prompts so that we can process our thoughts a little deeper. I hope you enjoyed this reading and the journal pages, and if you happen to be reading this on the day of the new moon, consider joining me today on Clubhouse (@dottiepilates) at 6pm EST to chat about it! I’d love to answer any questions you might have, or just chat about tarot, journaling, goal setting, or just life in general! Either way, I hope you have a fantastic new moon, and thanks for reading!


Journal Prompt – Do You Like Yourself?

If you don’t really like yourself, everyone else will seem better by comparison…

I’m sure you have heard the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, but have you ever thought about what the concept means to you personally? Does all comparison bring us pain, or is there a healthy way to compare ourselves to others? I believe that recognizing what comparison means to us on a personal level is the key to satisfaction… and that it also unlocks the door to better understanding and self-improvement.

This will be a long read, but there is a free journal page to download at the end!

For a long time, I thought I was hiding my personal dissatisfaction from others at least as well as I hid it from myself. I got so good at lying to myself, in fact, that despite others actually vocalizing how awful my self-talk was, I remained convinced that I was a kind person who just exaggerated things to “take the edge off”. While I was for the most part kind to other people, I had forgotten the golden rule… as above, so below.

As above, so below.

Hermes Trismegistus, Hermetic Corpus

A bitter heart doesn’t exactly bear sweet fruit… unless you use a whole lot of artificial sweetener. Or in my case, make up a bunch of reasons why other people are better than me, why they deserve different things in their lives, etc. What this looked like in practice was me extending an almost extreme form of kindness to others, and verbally explaining or justifying why they were deserving of it. But since I wasn’t holding space for them to be different than my explanation, I was putting a lot of pressure on people to “BE” a certain way in order to justify how I treated them. And the other side of that coin was the people who had wronged me…

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

William Congreve, The Mourning Bride

Those whose names were written on my naughty list were subject to a similar treatment as my own tortured soul. With my kindness toward other people as a justification that I really was a nice person, I would go off on verbal rampages against those whose actions had harmed or offended me. Citing the work of legitimate stand-up comedians, I would justify insults and exaggerations… you know, to make it funny. And sometimes it WAS funny… but much of the time, it was just overcompensating for the real feelings and fears that I couldn’t bring myself to face. The truth was that I hated myself, and on a very deep subconscious level I believed that I was fundamentally awful and undeserving of happiness.

Before you start feeling sorry for me, let me cite Newton’s Third Law: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Put another way, when you feel inferior to some people, it means you also feel superior to others. Those times when I finally recognized how my own behavior had changed from kindness to cruelty, I cited the behavior of others as the “reason” I had to respond in kind. I took my own intentions into account when judging myself, but never stopped to wonder if maybe the other person believed they had a good reason for whatever they did?

When you feel inferior to some people, it means you also feel superior to others.

This, my friends, is called “projection”. I wasn’t responding neutrally to what was happening in the moment. I was subconsciously projecting an unresolved internal conflict onto the situation and blending the two together to draw conclusions about WHY it was happening. I was using my subconsciously-biased experience of the situation as evidence to support the belief that I was inferior to others. And because that felt bad, I was blaming the entities in the current situation for making me feel bad. But they weren’t making me feel bad… I was making me feel bad.

Pity party for one? No, thank you… I’ve already done that.

The way we treat ourselves generally mirrors the way we were treated by our caretakers when we were young. I won’t get into specifics about this today, but after years of rumination and blaming others for making me feel “not good enough”, I finally learned the secret to peace within… anything you believe, you bought into. You didn’t learn everything you know by reading a book, or sitting in on a class. At some point you had to commit to learning it. Most of us either bought into the belief that people behave the way they do because of who we are fundamentally, or because of who they are fundamentally.

If you often blame yourself for how other people treat you… this pep talk is for you. Despite all the stuff that happened that wasn’t your fault, at some point you betrayed you. You lost faith in yourself and believed the things said to you out of frustration or exhaustion or whatever. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does make you responsible for your own bad feelings. And since you’re responsible, you have the power to change. Especially when things are out of your control, the power to decide your own feelings is greater than the combined power of useless anger, poisonous resentment, and bitterly holding onto what “never should have happened”.

I’m not saying it’s easy to change, but I’m saying that it’s possible. I did it, and it brought me a level of peace and clarity that I had never experienced before. It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it.

If you recognize even a little bit of yourself in my words, consider downloading the free journaling pages below. (You can also use your own journal, or loose leaf paper.) Find a quiet space, light a candle or oil warmer if it helps you relax, and allow yourself to write out your thoughts about the journal prompt. Don’t worry too much about staying focused; when your mind wanders, try to just acknowledge the thoughts or feelings that popped up, and keep pivoting back to the task at hand.

Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment below if you found this helpful!