Friday, March 12, 2010

008: How To Love Without Sacrificing Your Art

Dear Readers: This advice column continues to be syndicated by a new dark arts and alternative newspaper launched recently in Portland, Oregon called The Portland Outsider.

My column appears bi-weekly as '
Ask Beatnik Betty'. If you are local to the Portland area, please pick up a copy at one of various local coffeeshops, bookstores, and nightclubs. Below is the 4th entry which appears in Issue #004 of The Portland Outsider. 

Dear Beatnik Betty,
I have been an artist all my life and over the years have often had trouble trying to balance my life as an artist with my love life. I sometimes feel that it is more important to finish a creative project than it is to maintain a romantic relationship with someone. I want to do the best I can, creatively, but I don't want to hurt people if and when the artwork comes first. How should I handle this?


Dear 'Unavailable',

The life of an artist is never simple. Many painters, writers, and poets were quite strange people with unusual lives and odd habits. The mind of an artist is complicated, and may heaven help any heart who comes across our histrionic existence. Having said that, it is clear that you have established certain needs, boundaries, and limits for yourself as a person. This is a good start. You know that you need time alone (many artists do), and you need a partner who will not interrupt your creative flow, and who will certainly not create tension in the relationship over your natural artistic inclinations. 

In any romantic relationship, its important to be up-front about these limitations and needs while not alienating your partner. Try to be as specific as possible about the kinds of scenarios that may come up, and how you would like them handled by both parties. Also, ask yourself if you are making promises you cannot keep. Don't promise to take your lover out to dinner and a movie on Friday night if you know deep down that you'll want to spend the evening splattering paint across a canvas or standing on your head while reading E.E. Cummings. Consequently, make sure you make time for your relationship as an equal priority to your artistic goals. If you are busy sculpting a masterpiece all weekend, make sure you reward your lover who gave you the space and energy to do so by taking her out for that dinner and a movie on another evening soon after, and make sure you give her your full attention during that time. He or she has been patiently awaiting and respecting your time, so show respect in return. 

Relationships are difficult to begin with, so there's no easy answers. Everyone's relationship and dynamic therein is unique. What one man needs is a bother to another man. What one woman likes is despised by another. The best way to handle this is to keep lines of communication open, discuss what your needs are, and listen to the needs of your lover. Find ways to compromise. Find ways to share. 

While I wish I could give you additional advice for your specific situation, I turn to the Tarot cards for further insight. As I meditate on your situation, I am noticing that no matter how many times I shuffle the cards, they do not seem "right". I can only sense that I am having trouble determining the true nature of your issue, or that any answers I can give through the Tarot will only scratch the surface. In any case, I hope these three cards I've finally pulled through great pleading with the Goddess are helpful...

The first card is 'Seven of Cups' - indicating that you should consider doing some real soul-searching, and commune with a higher spirit to ask for guidance in this situation. In this card, the questioner admits that she is merely mortal, not a god, and that she indeed has limited view of a situation as a mortal being. Take time to meditate, reflect, and PRAY for answers to your situation. That is the first step. 

Second is the card of 'Strength'. This advises you to tame the lion-beast with tenderness, not brutality or force. As the old colloquial saying goes, "you attract more bees with honey than vinegar." Gentleness will win, not force. Befriend the beast instead of making it your adversary. 

Third, the card is 'Seven of Wands'. Another '7', which is a number of transformation and evolution. The card here implies a certain scene we may have all come across at one point: internal fighting. You're on the same team, yet you feel you're competing. It is like friends gathered together, intoxicated at a party on the beach with a bonfire blazing one night, and then a fight breaks out among them. Are they enemies? No. Are they arguing over a battle of wills? Yes. While you must still value your competitive instinct and creative ambition, remember that the person you are fighting with is not your enemy. 

I wish you great success with your artistic goals, and with your future relationships which I hope are happy, healthy, and balanced. 

Beatnik Betty 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

007: How To Heal a Broken Heart

Dear Readers: This advice column continues to be syndicated by a new dark arts and alternative newspaper launched recently in Portland, Oregon called The Portland Outsider.

My column appears bi-weekly as '
Ask Beatnik Betty'. I look forward to this unique cultural publishing medium. If you are local to the Portland area, please pick up a copy at one of various local coffeeshops, bookstores, and nightclubs. Below is the third entry which appeared in Issue #003 of The Portland Outsider. 

Dear Beatnik Betty,

I'm having trouble moving on from a relationship that ended over a year ago.  There was a lot of pain on both sides and there's no way we're reconciling or even getting back on speaking terms.  He doesn't want to hear from me or know me, and I can't work up the courage to face him anyway.  Not trading apologies and forgiveness with him is this big, built-up thing now, it's been keeping me up at night for months and months.  How can I let the past rest when there's no possibility of closure?

Stuck n' Suffering


Dear Suffering One,

You poor thing, losing sleep over your ex-lover! Many of us poor souls experience this pain at some point in our romantic lives, but going through life in a half-asleep daze only seems to work for a short amount of time before the unrest begins to squirm and flail from within us. It is time to wake up from the dream, and move on with your life.

Right now, your mind is filled with skewed memories, unfulfilled wishes, and conflicts that were never resolved. Relationships that have a history of pain and disharmony are often due to unhealthy partner dynamics that were not recognized early enough to neutralize. There are sometimes lessons we are looking to learn when we enter these relationships, but we often fail to recognize those teachings when all is said and done, and end up repeating the same patterns over and over again, caught in a vicious unending cycle. How doomy and awful! You deserve to create something better for yourself.  

If you truly want to move forward, then I suggest the following:

Write your apologies, forgiveness, raw emotions and things you always wanted to say on a few sheets of paper, in your own handwriting. Read over it, and then set fire to it. Ask the cosmos to relieve both you and he of the pain and suffering that either of you may have left. Ask that you no longer be held back by this karmic burden so that you can move forward in a healthier, happier light-filled world. At this point, you need to LET GO and let the Goddess/God handle the rest. Go to sleep that night with confidence in the approaching new day.

When you awake, get out of your house and pursue your hobbies, dreams, work, and talents, and call up your best friends and schedule a coffee date in the park. Be open to understanding lessons about what went wrong with past relationships, and how to prevent those things in the future. Let go of the past, though, because the future is all that matters.

Now I will reflect on the Tarot to answer your question, pulling one card for your past, and one for your future:

[The Past] Seven of Wands
Here, I see a lot of petty power struggles, envy, and competitiveness. Followed by this is learning to stand up for your self. Perhaps, for some reason, you’ve held a belief that you are not as valuable or talented as others, and therefore prevented yourself from pursuing something great. This is a struggle that you can break free from now. You are leaving this behind in the past.  

[The Future] Six of Swords
I’m relieved to pull this card, because it means that you will indeed move away from stressful and turbulent energy and toward a more stable and peaceful state of mind. You will begin to focus and align your priorities, boundaries, and needs, and head directly toward achieving them. Once you do this, it will become easier. This process asks you to worry less about your heart, and more about your mind and the thoughts you create and nurture.

To conclude this brief attempt at helping to heal one more broken heart in the world, I feel it necessary to tell you that you, whoever you are, have so much to offer the world, and to yourself. Remember to have a loving relationship with YOURSELF, which includes comfort, care, honesty and even forgiveness.  

May the Goddess heal and bless you,
Beatnik Betty

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

006: How To Guide Your Child

Dear Readers:This advice column continues to be syndicated by a new dark arts and alternative newspaper launched recently in Portland, Oregon called The Portland Outsider.

My column appears bi-weekly as '
Ask Beatnik Betty'. I look forward to this unique cultural publishing medium. If you are local to the Portland area, please pick up a copy at one of various local coffeeshops, bookstores, and nightclubs. Below is the second entry to appear in Issue #002 of The Portland Outsider just last week. 

Dear Beatnik Betty: 

I believe that we are all born with lessons in life we are to learn. I have a two-year-old daughter and would like to know what lessons are in store for her and how I can help make her learning them easier for her so she can live a great and productive life. 

--Celestine Momma

Dear Celestine Momma,

It is so lovely to hear from a spiritual parent so concerned with a little one's future success. It is indeed a tough world we live in, growing ever more complex in nature, and she surely has many challenges to conquer as she grows up. Allow me to channel some words from the Goddess...

Certainly, her mind will need to be balanced, clear, and effective. Helping her learn how to solve her own problems, take time to consider different perspectives, and know when to ask for help when she needs it, will strengthen her inner resolve and self-reliance.

Her heart will need to be filled with comfort, reassurance, and solidarity. Any holes or insecurities that creep in will weigh heavily. Encouraging her to use her mind (see above) to understand her feelings, and learning not to be too hard on herself if she fails, while still holding on to her values and integrity, will serve her well. 

Also, her spirit will require feeding. This world asks very much of us as human beings, and we are constantly faced with experiences that force us to question our values and beliefs. Allowing her to use her mind and heart (see above) to seek these answers through meditation, prayer, reflection, community, and ritual, will empower her and surround her with confidence, resources, wisdom, and inspiration. 

Please allow me now to draw upon the Tarot to further expound upon your question. One for information about what lessons are in store for her, and the second to explain how you can help her learn them:  

Her Lessons:
The Hanged Man here implies that she may be required to make certain sacrifices in life for some higher cause or reason. It is a card that conjures up images of Prometheus, or even Christ. Prometheus is known for having stolen Fire from the gods and giving it to humankind, even though he knew he would upset the gods and be punished for it. With this card, she may be asked to voluntarily make sacrifices that may be difficult, but will ultimately lead to something better and more valuable for her.  

How to Help:
Here, the Five of Cups brings up the issue of regret, sadness, and loss. It is clear to me that you will be her greatest strength. You will help her to move forward from heartbreak and disappointment, and help her to see that it is not the end of the world by any means, and that she can always wake up tomorrow, start a brand new day, and try again until she succeeds.

Celestine Momma, your lovely daughter has her work cut out for her in this world, but I feel she will make some great contributions to her community with what she sets out to accomplish. And I also see that as she continues to maintain faith, hope, and love, she will be pleasantly surprised by the long-term results of her efforts, despite any suffering she may come across in her journey.

Many blessings to you both, and may the Goddess surround you with light and love.

- Beatnik Betty

Thursday, February 4, 2010

005: How To Take Your Talents Seriously

Dear Readers:
I am pleased to announce that this advice column has been picked up and syndicated by a new dark arts and alternative newspaper launched just recently in Portland, Oregon called The Portland Outsider.

My column appears bi-weekly as '
Ask Beatnik Betty'. I look forward to this unique cultural publishing medium. If you are local to the Portland area, please pick up a copy at one of various local coffeeshops, bookstores, and nightclubs. Below is the first entry to appear in Issue #001 of The Portland Outsider just last week.

Dear Beatnik Betty,

I'm a crafter in Portland looking to move my hobby into something more serious. Everything is is alignment for me to get going on this, but I'm having a hard time finding the motivation to start. It's all a bit overwhelming and daunting. What can I do to encourage forward momentum, and keep my creativity thriving while I tackle this challenge?

~ Crafty


Dear Crafty,

Thank you for sharing the fantastic question about your artistic challenge which many creative people in the community will relate to. If you have been given the gift of creativity, you should share it with the world! Let me dive right in by identifying the basic need of motivation to start, while the obstacle is feeling overwhelmed. First, get practical. Break it down into smaller, bite-sized steps and goals that will give you small, quantifiable results.

You might want to try taking your art online. Ask your web-savvy friends to help you set up a simple website and Paypal account. Take some photos and write proud descriptions of your crafts, and upload them for anyone, anywhere, to see. Also, many artists shy away from talking about themselves, but please do take time to write a compelling bio to connect your audience to you and your art.

Once you are "live", don't feel pressured to start acting like a CEO or salesman, but it would help to take yourself a little seriously without feeling unnatural. Just start casually telling friends, family, and even occasional strangers about your art, and where they can find it. Research other artist websites for inspiration. Get involved in local craft faires such as Last Thursday on Alberta Street, and start connecting with other artists and crafters around the community at galleries and other fun events. And let this new mantra for the 21st century be your guide: Network, network, network.

This evening, I've meditated on your energy, and I've drawn three Tarot cards for you.

The first is The Emperor, asking you to develop the leadership qualities within yourself that allows this figure to go out into the world and make change with his wisdom and talents. The emperor often struggles with allowing his inner creative child to be heard, but you can summon your advantage by coming from a place of creative connections, rather than a place of power.

The second and third are the Two of Cups and Three of Cups, in order. Although drawing a card from the Cups suit is often regarding matters of the heart, there is also the level that addresses our deepest creative passions, and the relationship we have with our art which spurs us to share it with the world, as if it were our lover! The two and three of cups is asking you to have trust in this journey with blind faith, and soon you will have much to celebrate as you begin to see the creative LOVE in your life expand and solidify.

I wish you the best on your creative journey, and thank you again for writing...

~ Beatnik Betty

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Beatnik returns...

Beatnik Betty is back...

After nearly a year-long hiatus due to economic and recession-related distractions, I'm back, based now in the great Northwest of Portland, Oregon.

In addition to practical and spiritual advice, I'll be sharing other items of interest, including media reviews (music, books, movies) and other news articles of interest. Please feel free to make suggestions, or submit a question or problem you'd like some Beatnik feedback on...

The photograph to the right was taken on October 31, 2009 at a Halloween party in Portland. I'm dressed as my usual Beatnik Witch self. The cigarette holder doubles as a magic wand!

Thank you for joining me in my return here at Oh, Betty Mo'.

Brightest Blessings,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

004 - how to deal with toxic friendships

Dear Betty Mo,

I was hoping if you had some advice for me about a friend. I have a close friend whom I used to live next door to. We've gone out and partied together many times and been there for each other through rough times, particularly last year, you could even say we were best friends for a while.

I have not been wanting to hang out with her this year though because shes always negative about everything, and she seems to relish in it.

I am afraid she might be borderline racist. She has gone on dates with neo-nazis/very racist men before and I don't see how she doesn't think its a problem (especially me being a a woman of color).

She is always making colorful jokes and she seems to lack any sympathy for people of color (she has empathy for poor people though, her being one of them). She grew up self-described "white trash" so in the past I've been able to shrug off some of her comments are just having been raised that way but its really starting to bother me. So I have heard made racist jokes many times before but she claims she doesn't REALLY think that.

We both hated our school last year but I decided to pick my battles, move on, and try to enjoy my life, while all she seems to do is complain about our school, be superly antisocial, do lots of drugs (mostly prescription drugs), and dates terrible guys who are assholes. Everytime we talk about guys, and she complains about how the guys shes dating are jerks, and I tell her to date nicer guys, she says she is just attracted to guys who are assholes and can't help it. I tell her she can do much better, but she says that she can't do much bettter because shes fat (I don't think she is, she is a bigger woman but she goes to the gym way more than I do.). I really like her I do, but shes way too much negativity to be around, and I don't know what to do. What should I say? I feel like she always has a negative attitude when I see her, and I feel like she's content trying to bring me down with her.

She frequents goth clubs and I've gone with her, but she seems to surround herself with negativity. I love countercultures but all these combined behaviors worry me.

A Concerned Friend


Dear Concerned Friend,

When I received your message, I felt heavily for you and reflected on past experiences of my own dealing with people who were negative or "toxic". This isn't an easy situation, because while you care about your friend and have history with her, you still have a right to look out for your own well-being and feel comfortable about those you share your life with.

Since you are a student, it sounds as if you and your friend are both young and therefore still getting a grip on your new "adult" identity. Self-confidence is a major issue facing young women today. When we make bad choices, it can be because we don't think we deserve something better, or we don't know what those better options are. It is sometimes a challenge to identify the higher road to take.

That being said, one problem you describe is your friend's racist comments that offend you. Whether you or she are black, white, or blue, a friendship is ideally based on mutual respect. When your friend makes derogatory comments about race, you have a right to be offended, and a right to express that to her. It's important to do this in a way that is not perceived as an attack, but rather sharing your own view and requesting compromise. If this friendship is important to you, you're going to need to attempt communicating your needs to her and give her a chance to meet them.

If you have the unfortunate experience of hearing more racist remarks from her in the future, you may want to consider pulling her aside and gently saying something like: "I want to ask something of you. I know those jokes about race [insert specifics here] are humorous to you, but they really make me uncomfortable because [insert specifics] and I would feel better if you would not say them around me. Thanks, I would really appreciate it. "

As for her disastrous taste in romantic partners, I wish there was a magic wand I could wave that could save all women from bad relationships. Unfortunately, people cannot be changed unless they are ready to change. Self-awareness is a constant struggle to be honest with oneself about why and how we live our drama-filled lives. Not having a positive male figure in her life growing up may have contributed to her lack of ability to find healthy partnerships as a young adult. Certainly don't spend time with her and her unsavory partners if they make you personally uncomfortable. Giving her the number to a local domestic violence group to "keep handy" might not be a bad idea either, but is perhaps too presumptuous in this situation. In any case, you are not responsible for her bad choices, and while you can and should tell her that she can and should do better, the consequences are not yours to bear.

As with any problem you may face with a friend, it is reasonable to bring your concerns to their attention in a way that allows them to respond with a friendly and cooperative attitude. If their behavior in response to your petitions are filled with more negativity, denial, blame, or any other unhealthy behavior, you also have the choice of wishing her well but cutting your ties and moving on with your life.

If you have another close friend or two, it wouldn't hurt to let them know what is going on and how you plan to handle the situation, now and in the future.

Generally speaking, "goth" clubs and other alternative-lifestyle scenes are fine and good while people are exploring it in a healthy, safe, and creative way. Anything that starts to become unhealthy or dangerous, however, require immediate concern and action to remove oneself from the situation. Remember also that actions can sometimes speak louder than words, so be a good role-model by "walking your talk".

I consulted the Native American Medicine Cards for you this evening. A card literally jumped out of the deck as I was shuffling and reflecting on your situation. The wisdom of the Medicine Cards calls upon an animal to share its teachings with us. Your situation has summoned quite a cute little guy...

Prairie Dog - Keyword: Retreat

When situations like what you face take so much out of your time, energy and emotion, it can literally be a "drain" on your life-force, and may consequently affect other areas of your life. Remember to take care of your Self first, and if that requires hiding away from the world or a situation for awhile, Prairie Dog encourages you to do so.

Here is a link from another blogger which shares the full text interpretation of the
Medicine Card for Prairie Dog.

Thanks for writing. I hope your friend is responsive to you when the right opportunity is found to discuss these issues, for both your sake, and hers.

With the love and support of the Goddess,
Beatnik Betty

003 - how to breathe through your nose

Dear Beatnik Betty Mo',

I've got a shitty cold that plugs up my right nostril but not the left. Ironically, taking a decongestant makes things shittier by plugging both nostrils. Breathing through my mouth leaves me a drooling mess.

Any advice on how to shake this cold? Thanks.

Jennifer Deseo

Editor, The Silver Spring Penguin


Dear Jennifer,

I hope you are doing your best to keep that germ-infested cold to yourself and not passing it along to the hard-working writers over at the SS Penguin!

As you probably know, bacteria and viruses are everywhere, including doorknobs, countertops, and other frequently touched items such as your computer keyboard and mouse. Although we're past preventive measures at this point, it couldn't hurt to keep those places germ-free with a strong disinfectant wipe. Kill whatever germs may still be around to prevent your sickness from getting worse.

Also, you may be running up your hot water bill by doing this, but hanging out in your shower with the hot steam will start to loosen the congestion and give you a fighting chance for the relief you seek.

You're not going to like what I'm about to tell you, but I have it on the best authority that these next steps will help your congestion:

First, grab some Alka-Seltzer Plus tablets, drop 'em in a glass of water, and chug. The taste is disgusting, but the medicine works and gets into your body fast.

Next, prepare for more discomfort by conducting an at-home nasal saline irrigation. The Neti Pot is a useful tool that will actively clean your nasal passages by thinning the mucus caught on the tiny nose hairs called cilia.

Although I purchased myself one of these nifty little pots last year, I never got the guts to use it on my own ol' factory. Several friends have, though, and the reports of their experiences all sound pretty much the same: "It was disgusting, but it worked!". So although I cannot give you detailed instructions based on personal use, I have located a video on YouTube that will instruct you on its methods.

Lather, rinse, repeat, until your nose is once again happy and you can breathe freely. By the time you're ready to write your next review for the Silver Spring Penguin Local Licks installation, your head won't feel so clogged that you can't hear the ground-breaking (and possibly mucus-thinning) sounds blaring through the amplifiers.

Get well soon, and good luck figuring out proper use of the Neti Pot. I might just serve tea with it.

From a bacteria-free bubble,

Beatnik Betty Mo'

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