Welcome to the Content Cauldron! The fire is lit, the coffee is hot, and I’ve saved a spot just for you my heart-based business friend.
In today’s episode, I’m sharing my favourite business spells and seasonal lessons for winter: whether it’s cold out or in your life or business.
It is quiet in the morning.
I am female-bodied.
Last night’s air is still
inside the trees.
A loud clap of thunder
from earlier this month
is stuck in the window.
I dress myself with
a large paper bag
and go outside in the wind.
and break into pieces
but nothing happens.
You come out and find me
alone in the grass
covered in a purple rash.
You call me lacking
and kiss me with the words
that erase me from existence.
Everything I’ve done
comes from a place of dying.
That’s by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, a trans woman poet living in California. And it was originally published by Electric Cereal. Well welcome to the Content Cauldron. The fire is lit, the coffee is hot. And I’ve saved a spot just for you, my friend. And I’m so excited to be back. So the last episode of the podcast aired in October of last year 2020. And a lot has happened since then. In the world, of course, and in my life. But before I share all of that, I would like to welcome you to the new iteration of the podcast.
And how amazing is the new intro! I was so excited to share that with you. I’ve had it ready to go for a couple of weeks now. And one of the main reasons I’ve been so excited to record again, is just to share the intro with you because I just love it. It’s so fun. It’s a little bit weird, just like me. And that was done as a spoken word track by award-winning music artist, jjigcicero, and I just love it. So I guess the question is, why have I decided to bring out a new iteration of the podcast? Why has there been a break. And there are a couple of reasons, there are a few threads here. The main one is that we moved out to the bush here in Australia. And since moving out of the city, out of the burbs and into nature, I’ve experienced a real returning I suppose, to nature, to the elements. And I’m really learning a lot from the seasons too, and the symbolism that the cycle of the seasons grounds us as we go through our life and our business. And so I was really inspired since moving out here to recreate the podcast as a season. And so each season of the podcast is paired with the seasons here in my little cottage in the bush, in the southern hemisphere. And the season is winter. But most of you are actually in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of my listeners are in the US, the UK and Europe. So I totally appreciate that it’s not winter where you are. It’s the start of summer. But we’re looking at the season symbolically. So winter isn’t just what’s happening in the world around you. It can also be a season in your business or your life. And so we do use the seasons as symbols, we pocket the lessons so that we may be more intentional in our daily lives. And being a witch and being spiritual, I think, well, I know that there’s such a strong connection to the seasons, to the elements. And I think that can teach us a lot too. And I think what it can teach us is we’re not meant to produce at rapid rates around the clock. We are not meant to be these uber-productive bodyminds. And so I suppose this new format of the podcast is kind of radical. It’s sticking our fingers up to the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and saying, “Screw you! Stop telling us that your way is the way to be a human, to experience life, to be fulfilled. You know, you’ve had your turn and you kind of stuffed it up for most of us. So how about you just move over and make way for the voices and the identities and the experiences that you have shunned for so long.” So that perhaps gives you a little hint at the different approach the podcast will take. And today is the first day of winter here in Australia. And in the bush where I am, the days are cooler than they are down the hill in the city. As I look outside now, the trees are beginning to lose their leaves. And those lovely golden colors. There’s deep reds and magentas, those amber hues of autumn, of fall, and there’s a light mist settling in the valley. And the vegetable garden that I so carefully planted has died off and now is full of weeds. And I keep looking at that veggie garden and thinking I should deal with that. But I’m actually not, I’m letting it go. I’m letting it do its thing, I’m letting it be in cycle. And I know that when spring comes, I’ll be back out in the garden getting ready.
So winter can teach us that in nature, in our bodies, in our lives, in our work, there is a time for flourishing, a time for nourishing, there is a time to spark and start, just as there is a time to rest and retreat. Winter is a time when it’s dark and cold and we can’t always see the light. But we can have faith that the sun will return and that the seeds we plant will sprout. But only if we accept the cycle, only if we go with it, flow with it and allow our projects and our plans to breathe. So I would love to share a story with you. During the summer, which here is Christmas time, I was really struggling with my mental health. I’ve been afraid for so long to admit that I needed support. And I clung to this idea that getting support meant I was a failure. I should be able to do everything myself, I should be able to set up our new life in Australia. After we moved here from the UK, I should be able to very quickly and without much rest get my business to a full time income again, while doing all of the tasks myself, finding clients, keeping clients, invoicing clients, marketing, chasing payments, launching new offers hosting the podcast and all of the work that just that one project entails. I thought I had to do it all. I thought I had to be okay with doing it all. And I had a breakdown. I had a panic attack, which is not new to me. I’ve had panic attacks before, but I knew that this was a huge bell going off and saying, “You have got to stop this.” I truly was pushing against the season. I was following the capitalist patriarchal notion that success is self-made, that I shouldn’t need to lean on anyone for support in any way. Not even my partner, not even my doctor.
So it was a dark time. One of my darkest winters in fact, and despite it being summer all around me and the lovely heat, the lovely light, the ocean, the colors. For me, it was dark, it was a dark time. And what got me through was quite a few things, namely accepting the cycle, surrendering to it and getting support. So I went on to medication, I’m still on medication, it has elevated me to a place I wasn’t sure I would ever return. I found part time work. Whoo! I found part time work. I released the idea that if I am not full time in my business, I am not in business. I let go of that. I realized that what I needed was financial stability. I needed to be around people. I needed creative collaboration, and I needed to step away from my business to give it time to breathe. So I’ve started working at a lovely little boutique marketing and ad agency where I just laugh all day with my colleagues, and I do good work and I go home, and then my business has the support it needs to shift and grow and bloom without pressure.
I also opened up about what was happening to people in my life who maybe found it hard to hear. And I gave my business that breathing room, I let the things die off that needed to: old programs, old programming. I dared to dream of what my business might be like if I designed it the way I wanted. If I made it a totally true representation of me, the things I value, the things I stand for, the things I stand against. I began to bring all the aspects of myself into it. And I infused a little magic, a little witchery. You know, I shook off the voices of the past who had me feeling that I had to keep serving corporate clients, I had to be this professional person, I couldn’t possibly talk about magic, or witchery, or mental illness or neurodivergence, all these things I was experiencing and evolving through. And I pondered who I would love to work with and co create with. And what came out of that was heart-based businesses, folks who want to do business with intention and integrity and less harm.
And I thought, instead of writing marketing copy that pressures and guilt trips people into buying things that they probably don’t want or need, what would happen if instead of that, we empowered them to make the best decision for them? If we called them into our vision and said, “Hey, I’m super excited about this vision I have for the world, do you want to join me?” Calling them in instead of calling them out for their perceived problems, and the things that we think we can fix. What would happen if we sold our programs and our products without selling our souls? I got so excited by all these ideas, all these possibilities. I didn’t act on them though. I couldn’t act. I was in my winter, my bodymind needed rest, needed healing, needed love, needed care. And that’s what winter affords, it’s a chance to go inward. So I sprinkled the seeds around, I nourished them with water and fertilizer. But I knew that really the time for planting would be in spring. For now I just sat with these ideas. And through the fog, I trusted that what would die away would die away. And what would sprout would sprout eventually. And as nature teaches us so elegantly and so gently and so perfectly, it did winter turn to spring, in my heart, in my body, mind, and with all the support around me. Those ideas did bloom, especially thanks to the wonderful Melissa who has been helping me with all the background bits and pieces that had been overwhelming me for so long, including getting this podcast going again. And I’m so grateful to her that I’ve been able to get that support, and co-create with her to get this up again, because I’m so passionate about it. So as you can see, winter teaches us patience and trust, it returns us to our roots, who we are when we opt out of the narrative of constant growth and productivity. When we honor where we are at right now, what we need, what we can give. And when we give the time and space and breadth to our ideas to our existence. So if you are in a winter right now, an internal winter in your life, in your business, consider where you might slow down or strip back. Ask yourself, “What needs to die off here? What am I pushing or resisting or forcing to happen now? Knowing that spring will return, might I just allow this season, these darker days, these colder moments to go inward, to cozy up and to retreat within, to reflect on maybe what’s been working in my life and business and what hasn’t. And think about the seeds that I might like to plant for the future.”
So I’ve come up with a little business spell for winter. And again, I’m talking metaphorically, so my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, who I love so dearly, you can also do this spell. And if you’re not into spell casting, if you’re not into witchcraft, that is totally okay. This works as well as a beautiful intention. It’s just a lovely practice to really ground us into the season of winter, to give us that hope, and allow us to set that intention. So you’ll need a candle, white will do, something to light it. A piece of paper or bark, and something to write on it. Get quiet, real quiet. Be warm, real warm. Be in your body. Sense what you sense. Notice the air around you. Observe your body in space and time. And as you feel the world spin slower, and you shift to that place within where the magic happens, open your eyes and light the candle. And in the soft candle light, scroll this spell. You are welcome to alter it or write your own intention:
Bless this season
within and around
as I find comfort in the quiet ground.
Guide me to have patience, trust and care
as all I know, is stripped bare.
May the leaves I shed
create space for spring
and all the bounty it shall bring.
Take a few moments here to just be and allow the candle to burn out.