Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Omily Tarot: What Was the Question Again?

When I give myself readings, it's usually because I've been mulling something over in my mind the old fashioned (new fangled?) way for some time without success. It's not a matter of not having information, and needing to go outside myself and get it. It's feeling blocked, or stymied, like I'm in my own way of reaching the conclusion. The tarot provides a direct line to by subconscious, a reroute around my hangups and resistance.

Pretty cool, right?

But here's the thing. That resistance is a powerful mental force. It can keep me locked in a place of confusion, unable to move forward in more ways than one. In order to utilize the tarot to unstick myself, I need to be very clear on what it is I want to know...and sometimes I can't even get that far on my own.

So, what do you do when you've got the deck, you've got the issue, and you've got the will...but you don't have the question? The answer's inside of you, and the question is, too. But the difference is, a little nudging should be able to get the question out.

You'll be playing along with me today while I figure out what my question is. Hopefully seeing my journaling process will give you a handy guide for your own when you find yourself in this situation.

So, here's what I know...

After working with a life coach, things are going much better in my business. I'm teaching two regular aerial yoga classes a week, I'm assisting two silks classes a week and moderating aerial open workout once a week, and I'm teaching a core conditioning class once a week, and I've subbed two silks classes, and taught one silks private so far. I've been successfully building connections and securing performance opportunities in the aerial community, I've added another apparatus to my repertoire, and I have a lead on submitting for my first paid aerial work ever! On top of all that, I told a new friend about my young adult novel. She was fascinated by the concept, and asked me to send it to her so she can read it. Turns out, she's a professional editor! After months and months of working my ass off, things are finally happening!

But here's the thing, my life coach and I worked really hard to take all of the things I love to do, and put them all together into one program that focuses on what I do best through all of those things. It is an AWESOME program, and I've been working hard to market it and put it out there. I've had a fair amount of interest, and several initial consults, and I've put together my first group workshop based on my program. I am so proud of this program: I think it truly represents the best I have to offer as a healer, coach, guide, facilitator, teacher, alley, mentor, and person. This workshop is going to be a rich offering that will plant the seeds for deep healing and growth in the participants. But the success that I'm finally seeing in my aerial and writing pursuits? So far it's not materializing for my program. Sure, these things take time, but the program was carefully designed, and I was schooled in the skill of marketing it, so that it would get off the ground quickly. Theoretically far more quickly than my aerial career, which has been 100% trial and error learning on the job.

I know one issue is that there are inherent challenges to marketing the program that I'm offering: people are private about their losses and their pain. I can't make an event page, and invite all my friends who just got dumped, or tag those friends in a status update reminding them of the early bird deadline. It would be insensitive.

I also know that after months of keeping up a constant level of marketing efforts without the outside validation I was expecting, I'm losing steam.The two problems dovetail in that it takes a lot of motivation for me to keep reaching out, because it feels a little awkward, like I'm trying to profit off of my friends' misery.

It's also just that I WANT it to succeed, that I feel pressure from myself, from the husband, from my wonderful, supportive, well-meaning friends and colleagues who ask me how things are going.

Now, if my program needs tweaking or shifting, or even a complete overhaul, that is totally ok. I'm just not sure if that's the case, or if I just need to really put my back into it until I get some momentum going. Maybe I'm just being discouraged too easily.

Whew, got all that? So, what's the question?

It's definitely something along the lines of, is it time to rethink my offering, or should I dig my heels in and focus? But is there a third option? Should I put together a second program based on what people are responding the most to, and keep the other option out there? Is there an attitude shift that needs to happen? Are there resources I need to tap into? Approaches I need to try?

So another aspect of this question is, what's missing?

Where should I be focusing my energies? What's missing in my current approach? Should I keep focusing on my current offering, or branch out into something else?

I think these sound more like individual meanings for positions in the reading. The umbrella question seems to be more, "How can I continue to grow my business?"

That's still vague, though. My business does seem to be growing, slowly but surely. What I'm missing are regular clients willing to make an investment in a suite of life-changing services, instead of just picking up little services here and there.

So, perhaps the question is, how can I best prepare my offerings so that they are of great service to potential clients, AND I'm easily able to communicate what a great service they are to potential clients, so that I have a financially sustainable rate of actual clients?

And I'll want at least a three card spread, to allow for the three more specific questions I discerned above. I think a fourth spread position that is almost always a must in a tarot reading is, 'what energy do I need to bring to this situation?' and, something like the reverse of that, what am I doing that's holding me back? I'll phrase it like this: "How am I in my own way?"

That's five cards total. I'm picturing a simple spread: two rows, one of three, and one of two, set up so there is an obvious empty spot: a visual image of something missing.

Here's my reading:

Question: How can I best prepare my offerings so that they are of great service to potential clients, AND I'm easily able to communicate what a great service they are to potential clients, so that I have a  consistent financially sustainable number of actual clients?

Card positions: (left to right)
(top row)
1. Should I keep focusing on my current offering, or branch out into something else?
2. Where in my skill set and goals should I be focusing my energies?
3. What's missing in my current approach?
(bottom row)
(empty space)
4. What energy do I need to cultivate for my own success?
5. How am I in my own way?

So by searching for my question, I've not only divined the question, I've actually invented a spread just for this question, one that I will likely come back to again and again, and use in readings with clients. Awesome!
Now I know you're all dying to know how this reading turns out...but this blog post is already on the long side, and who doesn't love a little suspense? You'll just have to wait till the next Omily Tarot post!!! But just for funzies, I'll post a picture of my reading right here in this post. I'd love to hear your insights and ideas about this reading in the comments! In the next few weeks, I'll fill you in on what I got out of the reading, and talk about the insights my readers had to offer. Fun fun!

Ooh, I'm very intrigued already! Happy taroting!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Eating Omily: Chicken Out This Spring!

 The weather is still vacillating between 80 degrees and 60, but that's an NYC Spring for you...I'm not one to let it get me down. I put my scarf in the wash for the last time this year, and I'm stopping to smell (and take pictures of) the flowers on the hot days, and taking advantage of the cooler days to run my oven to my heart's content. The results? Oh, they speak for themselves.
 Bam. Is there anything like a whole roasted chicken? If you don't think so, perhaps you've only ever had the dry, overcooked variety...or what's more common these days, the mysteriously tiny, greasy, and artificially flavored varieties to be found in most large grocery stores. I'll be the first to admit they make my taste buds light up, but it's in the same way that Dunkin Donuts' breakfast sandwiches do. You KNOW when you're being chemically manipulated, and aside from not tasting right, how you feel afterward is just not worth it. But it doesn't have to be that way! You, yes, YOU can have one of these babies: the meat performed with garlic and herbs, the skin golden and crisp, white and dark meat both cooked through, but still tender and juicy...
 to say nothing of those blue potatoes, roasted in mouth watering schmaltz (the word for 'chicken fat', as 'lard' is to 'pig fat') and herb butter running off of our beautiful bird.
 I mean, come on. You know you want it. If you aren't convinced this one glorious meal is worth the trouble then hold on to your gizzards, kids. You also get...
 This! Ok, not automatically, but I'm a firm believer that making soup should be everyone's first cooking lesson, so if you've already got the meat, this should be well within your grasp. After our hearty meal, we took ten minutes to strip as much meat off the bones as we could reasonable manage, found and removed the wish bone for our own nefarious purposes (we made a wish on it, jeeze, what were you thinking), and popped the carcass on a plate in the fridge for the night. The next morning, I put it in the slow cooker on low with water, salt, and a few herbs and aromatics. I let it go for thirteen straight hours, just slowly pulling nutrients and flavor out of flesh, connective tissue, and bones. That night, the used up carcass went into the trash, and the broth was strained into containers and placed in the fridge. EASY. I don't care how new to cooking you are. If you own a slow cooker, you can manage that.

Then it was just a matter of constructing a solid soup base of onions, garlic, carrots, and herbs gently sweated in butter to full flavor potential. Then I added my homemade chicken stock, and leftover chicken meat. Done. And delicious.

Now, listen, I get it. Can a whole chicken be intimidating? Yes. Is it ultimately that complicated or hard to pull off? NO! But, I'll be the first to admit, it's such a hands-on procedure that having a well-versed buddy in the kitchen with you the first time can make all the difference. Which is why I'm thinking I should start a chicken-based charity/small business (I haven't decided yet...maybe for every one-on-one workshop purchased I'll donate another to someone in need? I'm making this up as I go...)...A Chicken in the Kitchen! Or something like that...I'll show up with a whole chicken, help a person in need of affordable and manageable meal options to roast the whole chicken, and pack up the leftovers, show up the next day to help make the stock, and THEN help to make the chicken soup. AND, I'll leave behind a list of recipes to use the leftover chicken meat and stock in: barbecued pulled chicken sandwiches, curried chicken salad, poached eggs in broth, chicken pot pie...I'll be a chicken evangelist! Which is saying something, because I can count on one hand the number of times I buy chicken a year. Why? Well, it can be pretty boring when compared to the more ambrosial flavors of duck confit, artisanal grass-fed burgers, smoked trout, seared scallops...but a properly roasted chicken is anything but boring. It's simultaneously an ocean of comforting familiarity, and a bright and surprising new flavor experience...just like this gorgeous Spring bloom I spotted the other day!
 Are you overwhelmed by excitement? Need a sit down from all this schmaltz? Fear not. Spring blooms have got you covered all over again...

Fresh and beautiful chamomile for your tea-drinking pleasure. It might even be a nice note in your chicken stock or chicken soup!

Now, for those of you who, you know, aren't prepared to pay me to show up at your door with a whole chicken (seriously? Why not?), let me give you just a few basic chicken-cooking tips. A 4-5 pound bird will feed two people with lots of leftovers. Roast your chicken for about twenty minutes per pound of weight at 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Start on the low end, maybe closer to twenty minutes per 1.5 pounds of weight, and check for doneness. Start your chicken covered in foil, and when you've got about half an hour left, remove the foil. Your chicken is done when a leg moves easily in the joint (meaning the connective tissue has begun to break down), the juices run clear (meaning the proteins have coagulated/denatured/cooked), and if you really want to be safe, stick an instant read thermometer into the meat of the thigh. Make sure you don't touch the bone. I like to see the temp sit just a couple degrees UNDER 165 degrees Fahrenheit because it will continue to coast up a few degrees as it carry-over cooks. Even if you're looking at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, you should still have a juicy bird if you brought some extra fat to the party. And NO, I am not talking about basting. Do you really want to stick your face in a hot oven over and over to pour fat uselessly over your poor, not-cooking-because-you've-let-all-the-heat-out-AGAIN chicken? Of course not!

Instead, make an opening under the skin at the top of the breast, near where the neck used to be. Gently slide your hands under the skin on each side of the sternum, creating a nice pocket. Put some butter in there, and then use your hands on the outside of the skin to smooth the butter into a (more or less) even layer all over the meat of the breast. It's just like that weird, mess-free finger painting contraption you got for Christmas when you were a kid! Oh, that was just me? Right...For bonus points, you should have added some minced (or grated, or pressed) garlic, salt, and chopped herbs to the butter first. The slowly melting fat will baste your chicken for you, no cooking interruptions needed, and if you add the garlic and herbs, you WILL taste those delicate flavors in the breast meat of your chicken, and it will be amazing.

So, how about it? Do you feel like chicken tonight? Or will you just be kicking back with a cup of chamomile tea? Don't worry, whole chickens aren't going anywhere. Let me know when you give this recipe a try! Take some pictures of that classic image, and be proud. You fought the chicken, and you won! I'd give you a bouquet of local blooms if I could. :-D

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Rejuvination

It's Spring!! We went on our first picnic with friends, and brewed our first quart of iced tea (#icedteaseason), on Sunday, and seriously, there is nothing like sitting on a blanket with friends surreptitiously drinking wine, and nibbling olives, cheese, and leftover cookies. For a few precious weeks, the weather will be just right. I'll step outside in a tank top and shorts and I won't be able to perceive the air on my skin unless there's a light breeze rustling the new, bright green leaves...

This is the season of Spring Cleaning, of new clothes, of getting back into those hobbies that got left by the wayside all Winter long. As Spring works its magic on me, I find myself looking at the transformation that has taken place in my practice as a teacher and healer over the last six months.

I've gone from being a busy yoga instructor, desperately trying to fit in the aerial training that had stolen my heart, wanting so badly to be as good as I knew I could be, while trying to market myself as a tarot reader, reiki healer, and yoga and meditation coach, to a full time aerial yoga instructor in Shanghai, China, with a young adult novel finally taking real shape, to a capital A Aerialist with a five to seven days a week training schedule, a five class a week aerial yoga, aerial silks, and conditioning teaching schedule, being called up to perform last minute with the pros...and kicking ass at it. Damn! What happened?

And what am I?

This is supposed to be the 'yoga' blog post, but I haven't taught a 'floor' yoga class in five months...

Well, Spoiler Alert, I know what happened. I quit trying to arrange my life and my priorities around the title I had given myself years ago, and started to arrange them around what I was best at and most in love with. I worked with intensively with a life coach for three months (and am continuing that work now in a more self-reliant way). I paired down all the work that I've done to the specific skill that makes me an amazing instructor and healer, and I designed an offering that combines the best of what I have to offer with a focus on those most in need of my help.

In short, Inward and Upward: The Most Powerful and Positive Breakup You'll Ever Have was born! My one-on-one twelve-week program combines yoga, meditation, journaling, reiki healing, chakra work, aerial arts, and tarot readings into one intense inner work methodology that can carry you from the upheaval of pain, confusion, and loss of a breakup into a place of confidence, self/life/joy-reclamation, and forward momentum toward a new level of growth, understanding, and purposeful living.

It is, truly, the most yogic thing I've ever done. My whole life feels the most yogic it's ever been, because I quit worrying about having the word 'yoga' attached to my pursuits.

What's happened since then? I started subbing group silks classes, and working with my first private silks client, I got invited to perform on triple trap with two professionals, I got interviewed for a podcast all about the work that I'm doing and how it ties into my work as an aerialist, and as an advocate for food justice, and I got a perfect opportunity to introduce my new healing work via a wonderful workshop at Bella Vita, the yoga studio that in some ways, started it all for me!


Take note, I would love for you to learn more about, and participate in, all of the above, so please take a moment to click the links! YOU guys are the ones I want to share these amazing opportunities with! Even if you aren't so sure this is something you need right now, I'd so encourage you to check it out, and to share it with those you love. You never know who is waiting a helping hand from the universe, and you could be the one to give it.
Here's a link to a bigger version of the flyer: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5d4agug1bd71aut/heartbreakblueprint-flyer-altemail_v2.pdf?dl=0
Now, I want to be clear, it isn't just that this all feels very yogic to me. It's that I got here by embracing yoga philosophy. Years of self study, self compassion, and a willingness to continually grow, improve, and greet the world and myself as brand new each day has brought me to this place. Yoga will always be a part of my life, and a part of my work, but teaching asana-based yoga classes might not be. That means that the changes you may have noticed on my teaching calendar (another rad resource you should be checking out) will go on to be reflected on my blog, website, and Facebook page. I think that's great. Evolution is a beautiful part of life. Come along and evolve with me!

Happy Spring! Live Omily!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Omily Tarot: Branching Out

We're all done exploring the four elements, but of course, there's so much more that we can explore with the tarot!

And there are lots of ways to explore the tarot, too! Not just different decks, or different spread, or different styles of interpretation...this is the 21st century! There's a good chance you're a millennial! We have...THE INTERNET! And, THE SMART PHONE! Not things I'm necessarily the most gung ho about ever, but nevertheless, I present to you, an article about different tarot reading apps!


There's at least one I'll download, I think. While tarot decks themselves are pretty awesomely portable, there are certain risks one takes. Beer can get spilled, cards can get lost, purses can get stollen, etc. I'm a knock on wood and carry on kind of lady, but if you'd rather leave your deck safely at home, you can explore the tarot for yourself, and even get a few simple readings, with just your phone! Which, of course, could get stolen, lost, or broken, too, but that's never stopped anyone from carrying it with them everywhere like a glowing, electric pacifier.

This is also your introduction to a tarot blog I enjoy very much: Little Red Tarot. The author, Beth, also offers an alternative tarot course that I'm itching to take. I'm just waiting for an excuse to reward myself with this special treat...
Much like this one, it's not a blog ONLY about tarot. It's about the Beth's life as a tarot reader, and as a queer person. This window into her life provides greater context for her own interpretations of the cards, which I think is really useful and interesting for new and old readers alike. She also writes a column on Autostraddle, which is pretty rad.

So, what do you think? Surely you're pro-tarot  blog if you're already reading this one! Will you add Little Red Tarot to your list, or are there other tarot blogs you're fan of? Share in the comments; I would love to hear about them...and about your adventures with tarot apps, should you download any...