writer burnout

(This post first appeared on Substack: Writing Magick with Maggie Sunseri. Click to subscribe.)

If you all read my article about my tarot card practice, you’ll know that every New Year I do a wheel of the year spread. I pull a card for each month and place them in a circle, and then place a central card of the year in the center. My card for 2022?

The World.

“What can we say of an understanding, a freedom and rapture beyond words? The unconscious known consciously, the outer self unified with the forces of life, knowledge that is not knowledge at all but a constant ecstatic dance of being—they are all true and yet not true.”

Rachel Pollack’s beautiful words in my favorite book on tarot about the World have been on my mind this week. The World is the last card in the Major Arcana, and thus can be seen as the unification of all lessons learned on the hero’s journey through the archetypes and wisdom of the cards. The circle and infinity symbols represent harmony, balance, and the completion of grand cycles. In divination, the card may signify worldly success. On a deeper level, the card indicates the outcome of a spiritual journey or awakening. This is the result of our inner selves and external environments finally being in complete alignment.

Spoiler alert: You learn these lessons over and over again over the course of your life. There is never truly an end to this perpetual cycle of learning and unlearning, attainment and dissolution.

One of my best friends and sober pal remarked that the promises were coming true for me after hearing all of my life updates over a phone callShe was half-jokingly referencing the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book section titled Twelve Promises. (Side note: I owe AA my first few months of sobriety and my sincerest gratitude for providing me with friends, community, mentorship, and direction and structure when I needed them most. I’ve since gone off in my own direction, but more on that in future articles!)

The esoteric messages of the World and the straightforward intent of the Promises do have a great deal in common.

The Twelve Promises

  1. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  2. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  3. We will comprehend the word serenity.
  4. We will know peace.
  5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
  6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  8. Self-seeking will slip away.
  9. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.
  10. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
  11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  12. We will suddenly realize that [our Higher Power] is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

I still struggle. I have bad moments, and I’m certainly not perfect in my relationships and actions. But when I tell you that this is the happiest, most content, most hopeful I have ever been… I mean it.

I hit my 9 months milestone back on June 25th. I don’t remember the last time I had a craving. I’ve now gone to clubs, pubs, parties, and dates sober, and not once have I had the desire to drink. In fact, each event has made me even more grateful I never have to drink again. See that? The difference between I don’t get to drink anymore and I don’t have to drink anymore is astronomical. You can substitute any vice that applies to you and feel the difference!

The Hunted, Book 4 in The Lost Witches of Aradia released today. It was my first launch that I woke up to Instagram tags and messages from excited fans. It honestly made me cry.

Yesterday I missed my flight home, on purpose. An opportunity to stay another month in a cute little flat in London presented itself, and I took it without hesitation. I’d just finished my last conference of the month, which I spent hanging out with other authors and industry professionals and learning from people at the top of the game. I left each conference feeling inspired and hopeful for the future of my career. I know exactly where I’m headed, and I have a plan to get there.

Before these conferences, I had my own long-term vision, but I had no idea if I was doing any of the right things to actually climb that hill. I’d taught myself the marketing and business side of being an indie author almost entirely on my own. I made, and still make, choices that put my long-term vision over short-term gains. When you aren’t following the typical mold, its easy to let doubt creep in. But after hearing from people I respect and whose careers I deeply admire that I’m on the right track, all of my doubt has slipped away. The platform I am constructing will take longer to build, but in the end, it will be the exact kind of community and career that I’ve always dreamed of.

One of my other New Year activities was creating a new vision board on Pinterest. I HIGHLY recommend this practice! I was adding more to it yesterday, and my jaw dropped. One of the pictures I chose back in January was of a cute flat in London. At the time, I was seeing it as representative of future travels. But I can’t help but connect it to the extremely random and amazing opportunity to stay in the flat I’m sitting in right now.

Creating a vision board of wealth and opportunity guarantees neither. The point is to start training your subconscious to understand your true, long-term desires and goals in order to orient your conscious mind toward attaining them. I try to look at my vision board every time I start feeling disorganized, doubtful, or off of my path. I also try to keep the practice of morning affirmations, which I update each month.

One of my affirmations for May was “I am about to have the time of my life in Europe and beyond.” I really needed this affirmation, because at the time I was going through a difficult mental and physical health flareup that was keeping me from truly getting excited about my upcoming trip. As May went on, the affirmation starting feeling more and more true. Now that June has passed, I can confirm with my whole heart that I did indeed have the time of my life. And I’m still having it!

Knowing what you want long-term, even if its something huge, crazy, or feels impossible to attain, is absolutely essential to designing your day-to-day tasks and projects now. Your future dream life is composed of parts that can be broken down into steps. Steps that you can take today.

Do I believe there’s a little bit of magick involved in vision boards and affirmations? I’m a witchy gal, so of course I do. But if you want to think about it in terms of psychology and planning, that’s alright too.

I just can’t help but feel like this opportunity to stay in London is a little treat from the Universe. Every month for over a year now I have repeated phrases to myself about opportunities opening up to me, about being grateful and happy to be sober, about having fans and a community, and so much more. Some of the things I thought were impossible to attain are already coming true. Others are still out of my reach, but they don’t feel as daunting to me as they once did.

Affirmations are another way to train your brain to seek better choices and opportunities. They also illuminate the things that are no longer in alignment with your true desires, allowing the space to start saying no when it matters most.

Much of our external reality we do not create or influence. But our internal reality is up to us.

Yet, you’d be amazed how much the two are in communication with each other.

A year ago today, I wouldn’t have believed the serenity and joy I have in my life now, experienced completely sober. I’m no longer chasing quick hits of happy chemicals that never actually quell my never-ending hunger for more, and I’m now experiencing the joy of a brain that has worked hard to regain equilibrium. Now I get bursts of happy chemicals naturally, from even the most mundane and simple of daily pleasures. I never want to fuck with that ability again.

I also wouldn’t have believed the extent to which I am finally open and honest with the people in my life—friends, strangers, love interests, and colleagues alike. I tell the men I date exactly what I want now. I tell them my boundaries, and I am never afraid to raise concerns or let them know when they’ve crossed a line. I no longer care who I lose by being honest or authentic, because I know that they were never meant for me in the first place. My friendships have never been more healing and rewarding. And I have never been more in love with the person that I am and the person I continue to become.

The promises of the World really are coming true, and I would do myself a disservice to say it was all by chance or luck.

We know from myths across lands and lifetimes that the most ultimate sources of truth, success, knowledge, love, and personal, communal, and spiritual attainment require sacrifice. My sacrifice was clear to me, and it was not an easy one to make. But I knew that if I didn’t let go of all that I once was, I would never have the opportunity to be reborn anew.

My rebirth was painful and awkward and messy and heartbreaking and lonely and magickal and divine and soul-affirming and joyous and connective.

“What can we say of an understanding, a freedom and rapture beyond words? The unconscious known consciously, the outer self unified with the forces of life, knowledge that is not knowledge at all but a constant ecstatic dance of being—they are all true and yet not true.”

What are you willing to sacrifice? How much discomfort are you willing to undergo in order to be reborn? What do you want your life to look like in ten years, and are you making choices now that are in alignment with that vision?

You don’t need to make as radical of a change as I did to feel better in your own skin. Or maybe you do! These questions are worth thinking about, though, and I can honestly say it was my answers to them that led me to where I am now.

That’s how I manifested an apartment in London.

(This post first appeared on Substack: Writing Magick with Maggie Sunseri. Click to subscribe, like, or leave a comment.)

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