navigating your story

self-care, self-discovery, self-expression

Mug, books, and journal

Your stories, your self.

What is the story you tell yourself when you look in the mirror?

When you reflect on the day?

When you think about your past, your present, your future?

Those stories shape how you see yourself and the world around you, and how you respond to situations and stressors. Some of these stories are positive, hopeful, wholehearted. But others are full of fear, shame, and internalized stereotypes and negative stories.

Self-care coaching can help you thrive by helping you develop sustainable and effective habits and strategies, regardless of the ongoing challenges in your life.

Narrative coaching can help you see clearly what stories you’ve internalized, and then intentionally keep the helpful ones and transform the helpful into something more whole, more true, more you.

And these two focuses work together holistically to give you immediately applicable coping strategies and support as you examine and transform your inner narratives.

I can also help you write a new story through my “Transformative Year” package.

Coaching

Coaching

We can work together one-on-one, or with a group. My coaching style is collaborative and holistic – we will co-create a plan that will help you navigate, understand, and transform your life story in a way that feels sustainable, stable, and wholehearted.

Self-Care Resources

Are you looking for immediate and accessible help? You’ll find resources here. This category will be growing over the next year as I complete projects. These free resources are made possible by my patrons on Patreon and I appreciate it so much.

Writing in the Margins Workshops

From writing intensives, retreats, and groups to the monthly Smutty Story Circle, Writing in the Margins has offered accessible, sex-positive, queer- and trans-friendly, intersectional feminist writing spaces for the last seven years. We focus on creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.

Editing

Have you written something amazing? I can edit your fiction, creative non-fiction, academic paper, dissertation, or book. I bring a gentle and insightful editing voice, and a keen eye for detail. I read for grammar and style, of course, but what I’m best at is reading for intersectionality, accessibility, and queer and feminist politics.

Sostar Self Care on Facebook

Sostar Self Care on Facebook

It's our first Magpie Monday.

For a while now, I've been sitting with the thorny issue of the Great Grief (our collective mourning for a world in the ever tightening grip of climate change), the deep anxiety and depression accompanying Late Capitalism, and the dread that rises with every news story revealing further cruelty in the form of growing xenophobia, ongoing colonialism, police and state violence, and systems of privilege that seem to be growing bolder and stronger. Our political and economic ideologies are coming to their logical conclusions, and so many communities are struggling and will continue to struggle. It's hard. A lot of us are feeling it.

This self-care series is one way I'm going to tackle this issue.

So, welcome to Magpie Mondays. Every Monday until the end of this year, I'll open up a thread where we can share our sparkly, shiny, salvaged treasures.

Each Monday will be an invitation to you, to approach your day with a magpie's sharp eye - look for the treasures that are hiding, pull them into your nest. Watch for unexpected beauty, for trash that can be reclaimed (what a rich metaphor that is!), and for those hidden moments and mementos that you can scoop up from the gutters and from under the dead leaves.

You can share your treasures here in the comments, keep them to yourself, or share them with me or with a trusted friend privately.

One of the contributing factors in our collective existential dread is the growing sense of disconnection from the world, and often from each other. So many of us are worked to the bone and still barely surviving. We don't have time, we don't have energy, we don't have money.

So we're going to try, in this self-care series, to take a lesson from urban wildlife - those species who have adapted to human encroachment and have found ways to thrive despite the violence and sprawl of our alienating urban spaces. We'll see what we can learn from our wise animal companions.

So, onward, my Magpie Monday comrades!

Find the thing that gleams in the gloom, and grab onto it.

(Thank you to Tet M. for this picture! You can find Tet's photography here - www.facebook.com/TetMPhotos/)
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Its our first Magpie Monday. 

For a while now, Ive been sitting with the thorny issue of the Great Grief (our collective mourning for a world in the ever tightening grip of climate change), the deep anxiety and depression accompanying Late Capitalism, and the dread that rises with every news story revealing further cruelty in the form of growing xenophobia, ongoing colonialism, police and state violence, and systems of privilege that seem to be growing bolder and stronger. Our political and economic ideologies are coming to their logical conclusions, and so many communities are struggling and will continue to struggle. Its hard. A lot of us are feeling it. 

This self-care series is one way Im going to tackle this issue. 

So, welcome to Magpie Mondays. Every Monday until the end of this year, Ill open up a thread where we can share our sparkly, shiny, salvaged treasures. 

Each Monday will be an invitation to you, to approach your day with a magpies sharp eye - look for the treasures that are hiding, pull them into your nest. Watch for unexpected beauty, for trash that can be reclaimed (what a rich metaphor that is!), and for those hidden moments and mementos that you can scoop up from the gutters and from under the dead leaves. 

You can share your treasures here in the comments, keep them to yourself, or share them with me or with a trusted friend privately. 

One of the contributing factors in our collective existential dread is the growing sense of disconnection from the world, and often from each other. So many of us are worked to the bone and still barely surviving. We dont have time, we dont have energy, we dont have money. 

So were going to try, in this self-care series, to take a lesson from urban wildlife - those species who have adapted to human encroachment and have found ways to thrive despite the violence and sprawl of our alienating urban spaces. Well see what we can learn from our wise animal companions. 

So, onward, my Magpie Monday comrades!

Find the thing that gleams in the gloom, and grab onto it. 

(Thank you to Tet M. for this picture! You can find Tets photography here - https://www.facebook.com/TetMPhotos/)

Richelle Schindler, Tet Mlare and 2 others like this

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Tiffany SostarMy Magpie Monday moment - I have found stepparenting particular challenging this week. It's a combination of cumulative stress catching up with me, cranky kids, and the house being in extra chaos as I try to get my office set up. So, that's a pile o' dead leaves. And the speech therapist was almost half an hour late for our appointment this morning. More emotional clutter and stress. But in the time we were waiting, the three-year-old snuggled me most of the time. That's some shiny right there. And then!!! My partner snuggled the kiddo for a while and then she came back to me. Which is a first! And felt really great. Definitely a moment of treasure to pluck out of the day and appreciate.

10 hours ago   ·  4
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Teresa McLarenSaturday night I wanted to go to the Equinox Vigil but realized the monthly bus pass had been misplaced. I was angry at myself because it was likely me who lost it, so instead I went for a walk through the alleys to find yarrow to make a tincture. I found all the yarrow I needed easily. I also watched a pretty sunset, collected seeds from a blanket flower, munched on some alley crabapples and picked up a few discarded self help books. We live in interesting times but there is still so much abundance and beauty to share.

10 hours ago   ·  3

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Rachel SharkeyIts too hot for words here in Montreal, but I got to commiserate with a very soft and gentle dog (who someone other than me had smeared with lipstick :)) about our mutual over heatedness. It was nice.

9 hours ago   ·  3

1 Reply

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Samantha McCormickIt was a hard start to the week after a hard and long Sunday. But I'm getting to spend the evening with someone I care for a very great deal, and three wonderful dogs. So at least it's ending decently.

8 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Tet MlareI have been sick for almost a month now and decided to turn off FB for a week. It's hard when one is so used to the constant online connectivity...but so worth it! Someone I hardly knew asked my best friend how I was...I am touched.

8 hours ago   ·  2

1 Reply

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Kate Peterson KochI don’t have much to complain about. My life in the past few weeks has been abundant with my kindness and gratitude, and I realize every minute how lucky I’ve been. But I’m watching yet another fight in my hometown - another murderer cop walks free, another community mourning, another wave of grief and anger and heavy air. And then... one by one, my friends have picked up and gotten out there and are helping to make change. I watched my BFF engage someone from a very different viewpoint online and win her over. I’ve watched friends circling around strangers to protect them from cops in riot gear. I’ve watched friends bring first aid supplies and attend to fellow protestors in need. It sucks that it has to be done - but it has to be done, and my friends - my FAMILY, really... they’ve shown up in a big way.

3 hours ago   ·  1
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This is an excerpt from a Patreon reward post on the topic of self-care and starting new projects. If you'd like to read the whole thing right now, you can support my Patreon! Otherwise, this post will be up on my blog next week.

Find The Challenge

In her book "SuperBetter," Jane McGonigal writes, “A challenge is anything that provokes our desire to test our strengths and abilities and that gives us the opportunity to improve them. Crucially, a challenge must be accepted. No one can force you to tackle it. You have to choose to rise to the occasion.”

Regardless of how you feel about your project, you can choose to accept the challenge and to meet the project on your own terms. That’s the first step in turning the project from a threat into a challenge. Any project can be a challenge that you choose to tackle, even if (especially if) they’re projects that you don’t want to start, are afraid of, or don’t have a choice about. Gamefulness will help you avoid the hopelessness and the feeling of powerlessness that can accompany a project that we don’t want and don’t have a choice about.

What you’re doing when you find the challenge is switching from a threat mindset to a challenge mindset, and the reason that’s valuable is because it shifts the narrative and opens up new ways of engaging with the project. Threat mindsets focus on the risks, the potential losses, and the potential harms. It’s important to recognize those things, but when you’re about to tackle a project (or you’ve been dropped headfirst into a project), a threat mindset can get in your way.

(And, at this point, I want to make a super important point. Many of us are habitually in a threat mindset because we have consistently faced loss, risk, and danger. It makes sense to view everything as a threat when everything is scary! Shifting your mindset is not about blaming yourself for seeing everything as a threat, and it also isn’t about gaslighting or victim-blaming yourself. If you struggle with this, that is okay. It takes practice! And it works best when we start with shifting our mindset in areas that are low-threat, rather than trying to shift something that feels like it’s life-or-death.)

In contrast to a threat mindset, a challenge mindset focuses on the opportunity for growth, and brings realistic optimism to the table.

From SuperBetter, “In a threat mindset, your fight-or-flight instinct kicks in, which activates your sympathetic nervous system. If your sympathetic nervous system is engaged continuously for hours, days, weeks, or longer, your immune system can become compromised, and you may experience more illness. With a challenge mindset, however, your nervous system finds a better balance between the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) and the parasympathetic (calm-and-connect) responses. This balance helps you avoid nervous exhaustion and burnout.”

McGonigal also says, and this is really critical, “a challenge mindset does not mean living in denial of potential negative outcomes. It simply means paying more attention, and devoting more effort, to the possibility of positive outcomes or personal growth.”

So, how do you do it?

One way is to frame your project as something you’re moving towards, rather than away from. Find a potential positive outcome, and use this project as a way to get to it.

These potential positive outcomes might be increased resilience, increased independence, increased creativity, increased health.
Another way to find the challenge is to “find the unnecessary obstacle.”

From SuperBetter, “The key is to identify an obstacle that you feel capable of tackling within the larger obstacle, an obstacle that other people might not choose to tackle.

Use your imagination to answer this question: What would be the worst possible, least helpful reaction that you – or anyone else in your shoes – could have to [this project]? You don’t have to be completely realistic here. Let your mind go to extremes for a moment.

Now: What is the opposite of that worst reaction?

Whatever the opposite of your “worst possible, least helpful reaction” is, consider adopting that as your unnecessary obstacle. Challenge yourself to do something that requires more strength and determination than what someone else might do in your shoes.

Why it works: When you imagine the worst possible reaction you could have to the adversity, you highlight your agency in the situation. You do have options. And as long as you’re not doing that worst possible, least helpful thing, you can challenge yourself to do something better. It may not feel like total agency and choice, but it involves some agency and choice – and that’s enough to activate a challenge mindset.”
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Know your stories, know yourself.

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