One photo a day challenge: Day 103.
I get up early every morning so that I will have time to accomplish two things before I have to go to work. Most days I want to get a workout in. And every day I also want to get into my home office and work on photography projects.
However, spending the morning in the home office can have a cost. If I am in the office I am not taking photographs. This…
Creating a Daily Spiritual Practice That Works for You
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All over the internet are spiritual practitioners and witches who can attest to the benefits of a daily practice. There are many people, like myself, who can see that there are benefits, but who struggle to implement a daily routine or practice into their own lives. Whether it is trouble with executive functioning, mental or physical illness, or lack of motivation, daily practices can be daunting to formulate and maintain.
The benefits of a daily practice are well attested to. Spiritual health is likely to be better maintained by daily work, and one’s magickal abilities are strengthened similarly to the way physical muscles are: improving best when worked on consistently (though still allowing breaks for recuperation and rest, so as to not cause strain). Outside of spirituality and witchcraft, daily routines are still considered very helpful with self-regulation, productivity, and healthy living. This post is an overview of methods that I have personally tried and found success with in implementing my own daily practice.
I will be mentioning a bit about health here, because for me my spiritual health is intrinsically tied to my mental and physical health, as well as my overall ability to achieve a balanced lifestyle. One of the ways I have been able to cement my magickal routine is by tying it into my physical and mental health in direct ways in addition to the more indirect ways that it is naturally connected.
The way I recommend beginning the formation of a daily routine or practice is to brainstorm what you hope to achieve through this commitment. I highly recommend keeping a journal of some sort when formulating and maintaining a daily practice, so you may want to grab something to write with, be it the notes app in your phone or a pen and paper.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Ask yourself what it is your really want out of a routine. Do you want to...
Be more mindful and centered?
Have a stronger relationship with your deities?
Improve your mind-body connection?
Spend more time in nature?
Develop a stronger connection with your ancestors or spiritual guides?
Become better versed in herbalism, astrology, mediumship, etc.?
Begin or improve upon your shadow work?
Practice gratitude more?
Learn more through research, experience, or both?
Drink more water or eat more fruits and veggies?
No goals that matter to you are off the table when it comes to brainstorming.
I will give you my goals as an example here. My goals are to become more mindful and grounded, improve my flexibility and strength, have a stronger connection with my deities, improve my mind-body connection, live with more gratitude, improve my self-confidence, and strengthen my divination skills through research and practice.
Now that you have some goals written down, what are some ways in which you can work towards achieving those goals? Do you want to meditate more? Read more? Pray more? Take nature walks? Practice yoga? Practice divination methods? Practice gratitude journaling? Start an herb garden?
I wrote that I want to meditate more, pray more, divine more, practice yoga more, and do regular shadow work, inner child work, and gratitude journaling.
(A WORD OF CAUTION: Always practice shadow work safely! Shadow work can be very triggering and should never be done alone if you are at risk of hurting yourself or others. You can still make self-improvement happen without diving into shadow work unprepared, and if counseling resources are available to you I highly suggest that you meet with a counselor before and during your shadow work journeys.)
Now that you have goals and some ideas on how to achieve these goals, think about how you feel on your least productive days. How do you feel when you are sapped of energy? When you’re struggling to focus? When you’re struggling to get out of bed even to brush your teeth? Realize and accept that these days will come, sometimes without warning, and that there is nothing to be gained from self-loathing or self-punishment during these days. Like the moon that waxes and wanes, so does our personal energy levels. Whether or not you happen to be disabled in anyway, ups and downs still occur in all of us!
My next tip is to create a tiny practice. This is the practice that you can do from bed, when you are sapped of spoons, energy, and the ability to focus. It may be as simple as grounding by taking three deep breaths or repeating a grounding chant or mantra. It may be writing down one to three things you are grateful for in a journal by your bed. It may be praying to your patron deities, reciting affirmations, or stirring positive intentions clockwise into your drink.
My tiny practice is a ten minute meditation, positive affirmations, and prayer. Ten minutes of meditation can be daunting to those who struggle to meditate, and it was to me when I first started do to my high anxiety! I had to work my way up, from one minute of focused breathing, to two minutes, three minutes, five minutes... and then before I knew it I could easily manage ten minutes. Don’t be ashamed of starting small!
Once you have mastered completing your tiny practice on even your lowest of energy days, you will begin to develop trust in yourself to tackle bigger tasks. That is no discouragement to create a daily practice involving bigger tasks from the start. What is important is to have a tiny practice to fall back on, something to do no matter what that contributes to your balance and growth and gives to you more than it takes in time or energy to complete.
I recommend balancing a daily practice over the course of a week, with different specific goals for different days, and to also have breaks built into that weekly schedule in which all that you ask of yourself is your tiny practice. It is important to note that research cited in “The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine”, published for the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, led to the conclusion that, “Occasional nonadherence to a behavior will not derail progress made to creating the routine, and perfect adherence does not need to be a goal or expectation,” ( Katherine R. Arlinghaus, MS, RD and Craig A. Johnston, PhD).
As an example of why it might be necessary to create a weekly practice, I have a lot of goals for someone who struggles to complete tasks on a daily basis. I want to pray to all four of the deities I worship, as well as take time for my ancestors and the spirits of my house and the land I live on. I also want to practice shadow work, inner child work, gratitude journaling, and divination. That’s a lot! With the limitations of my mental and physical health, I cannot accomplish all those tasks in a day while also working part-time and being a full-time student.
That is why I have a five days a week schedule with a basic daily routine and alternating tasks. This way I can incorporate regular, weekly practice of important things while not putting too much on my plate for any given day. Here is what my routine looks like all put together, including my tiny, foundational routine which I do everyday, even on break days:
Tiny Practice for Everyday: 10-Minute Meditation, Positive Affirmations, Prayer (to any deities or spirits I like, though mostly a prayer to the sun upon starting my day and to the moon before going to bed).
Saturday-Sunday: Break days.
Monday: 15-Minute Yoga Routine, Pray to Brighid, Divination for the Upcoming Week
Tuesday: 15-Minute Yoga Routine, Pray to Danu, Inner Child Work
Wednesday: 15-Minute Yoga Routine, Pray to The Dagda, Gratitude Journaling
Thursday: 15-Minute Yoga Routine, Pray to The Morrigan, Shadow Work
Friday: 15-Minute Yoga Routine, Pray to All Four Deities, Light Candles and Give Offerings for Ancestors and Spirits of the House and Land
There are other things I do on a semi-regular basis, such as lifting weights or practicing Qigong with my husband, but what I have typed above is all that I consider part of my established practice (anything else I do is just extra). Every two weeks I go over my practice and review what has been working for me, and what has proven too difficult. I try to work out why those things were harder to accomplish, and to devise ways in which I can make them more suitable for me.
Remember that your daily practice is here to serve you. It is okay if you overestimated how much energy you would have or how helpful something would be. Never be afraid to revise your practice to make it more suitable! I have revised mine many a time and I am only recently falling into a rhythm with it. It takes time to develop habits and routines. Remember...
“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Arlinghaus, Katherine R, and Craig A Johnston. “The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine.” American journal of lifestyle medicine vol. 13,2 142-144. 29 Dec. 2018, doi:10.1177/1559827618818044
One Photo A Day | Day 102 | Weather Creates The Photo
One Photo A Day | Day 102 | Weather Creates The Photo
One photo a day challenge: Day 102.
The gloominess and rain continued throughout the day today. With the weather less than ideal for what I typically consider my ideal photography I wasn’t sure what I would photograph.
However, as a photographer one thing you eventually learn is weather is your friend. Weather is always your friend. You just might not see it in the moment.
It might often seem…
One photo a day challenge: Day 101.
I spent the winter trying to keep some of the flowers I planted in pots last spring and summer alive. It is unclear how many have survived. But there are some that are clearly showing signs of life.
Some plants are beginning to grow new stems and leaves.
Two plants that are of the same variety seem to be doing particularly well.
This Gerbera Daisy…
If I'm going to actually draw fast enough to eventually create many comics and animations, I need to practice drawing fast!
The above is a timelapse of my "0th attempt" at drawing a simplified head from 12 different angles. I used no reference specifically so I could gauge my knowledge/abilities as-is. You can probably tell that around when I started working on the three-quarters perspective I started getting impatient, and by the last ~4 heads my arm was getting tired so I really started rushing.
All in all, I think this attempt went really well! It got me thinking about ways to streamline my workflow as well as make my lines really count as I put them down. I got a surprising amount of mileage from the profile head thumbnail I kept moving/rotating about the canvas.
I'm going to try this exercise one more time without reference (aiming this time for speed). Following that, I'll use reference to improve at the aspects of the exercise I feel I'm weakest at. Fingers crossed!
One Photo A Day | Day 100 | Mallard and Tree Trunk
One Photo A Day | Day 100 | Mallard and Tree Trunk
One photo a day challenge: Day 100.
I spent this morning at one of our local parks hoping to photograph migratory birds that tend to show up around this time of year each year.
Unfortunately, the migratory birds did not make an appearance today. Hopefully I will see them soon.
So, no migratory bird photos or observations. But a day outside enjoying some fresh air, nature, and watching some…
One photo a day challenge: Day 99.
Today I was able to visit a place I really enjoy. And the funny part is I have been here plenty and its always a good time. But somehow I am not sure I have ever come here specifically for photography.
Today I spent time on the trails at Spencer Crest Nature Center. I just meandered around and absorbed the nature.
My initial thought was to…
One photo a day challenge: Day 98.
I finally got around to visiting a place that I have been wanting to visit for a few years now.
I was unaware of this place existing until the past few years. It’s so close to me yet remained invisible.
I heard of it because I saw that a trail race was being put on there.
I haven’t been able to run the race yet, but I am hoping to in the future.
It was a…
One photo a day challenge: Day 97.
I love plants and flowers. But I am never very successful with keeping house plants alive.
Maybe I am not good at following directions. Perhaps I am just not attentive enough. Or I may just not pay close enough attention.
Taking care of a house plant seems so simple on its face. But there does need to be a degree of attention paid. I need to be able to…
One photo a day challenge: Day 96.
I really wanted to get outside and enjoy the day today after spending the day staring at a computer screen. It’s my birthday and I figured I deserved to get out and enjoy some nature.
Not too many hours left in the day after work but we made the best of it.
I wanted to drive up to Ithaca and visit the Cornell Botanical Gardens. With all the warm weather…
Drawing myself is the most challenging exercise thus far. It was so unsatisfying that I took breaks to doodle my dog and my husband. I don’t even resemble this self-portraits. It will take a lot more work. I also did this while camping so no mirror….and the profile? Forget about it.
One photo a day challenge: Day 95.
It is a beautiful day.
I walked around the yard just to see how spring was progressing.
Green is emerging from more and more places. Places it has been hidden away for the winter. Hidden for the winter but not hidden forever.
Now. Now the green life of spring is making its return.
More green. More growth. Life reemerging in even more places.
And best of…
Advice for the Beginner: You don't have to become a full-time witch
When I resumed my path last year, it felt a little bit like witchcraft needed to take over my life. It felt like every single aspect of my life that could be witchy had to be witchy, even if it wasn't super practical since in many ways I'm still in the broom closet. But based on the practitioners I saw on witchtok and witchgram, witchcraft seemed to be an all-day everyday kind of deal.
If that's what makes sense to you, go for it. But if, for whatever reason, it's just not logical or practical for you, you don't have to be in witch-mode 24/7.
For me, witchcraft has kind of settled into a part-time practice. I have my meditation time, I light the candles on my altar before I start my workday, and in general I devote something like 2-5 hours every week doing research, planning and preparing for rituals, working on this blog, or practicing divination. But it's not my whole life.
I think part of the problem I had in the beginning was that a lot of the practitioners I was following were full-time witches, in the sense that they had made a career out of their practice. They had etsy stores or websites where they sold spell kits or candles or soaps or whatever. But that's not practical for me. I'm not going to be making a career out of my craft, just like I'm not going to be making a career out of my knitting. They are both things that I enjoy doing, that enrich my life, but they're not how I'm putting bread on the table, so they don't need my constant focus. Not even my job needs my constant focus. It's taken a lot of work, but at the end of the day, my life is balanced in a way that makes sense to me at this point. There may be a time when more of my life is devoted to witchy pursuits, but for right now, I'm content with the amount of time I spend on it on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis.
Don't get me wrong, I love incorporating magic into as many areas of my life as possible. There's a reason I've done a lot of posts about Kitchen Witchery and Mundane Magic. But I've learned through a lot of trial and error what works best for me, and I would encourage anyone that's just beginning on their witchcraft/magical practitioner journey to find what works best for them, whether that's an all-day everyday practice, or just a small dose of daily witchy mindfulness.
And don't forget to take breaks when you need to. In my opinion, if your practice is adding more stress to you life, it might be time to take a step back and reassess what you truly want and need from it, and adjust accordingly.
One Photo A Day | Day 94 | Fishing For Easter Eggs
One Photo A Day | Day 94 | Fishing For Easter Eggs
One photo a day challenge: Day 94.
Today I took the day off from just about everything. I just needed to.
But fortunately we had great spring weather and I was able to go visit with my family outside for Easter.
So nice to see veryone.
Eating yummy food.
Fishnets May Be Required.
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One photo a day challenge: Day 93:
Today I spent some time at one of our local parks looking for migratory birds to photograph.
It is the time of year migratory birds start arriving in and moving through our area in New York. There is a local park right in my home town with a small lake that seems to be a regular stop over for many birds migrating up farther north.
I try to make it a habit to…
One photo a day challenge: Day 92.
Today I did something a little bit different with my one photo a day challenge. So far the challenge has focused on using my DSLR and Mirrorless cameras to create photography. Today I wanted to expand that to use my other tools I use to create photography.
Today I went out on what turned out to be a 17 mile trail run with a friend. Why it ended up being a 17…