Recently—through dreams mostly—Herself has been calling me to change the entire shape and nature of the work I do in my day-to-day life, the devotions I take and make for her, and the way I serve my community. My physical and mental and emotional presence as I move through the world. It's this whole….package of new tasks she wants me to undertake to serve my community. Everything from holding space for grieving folks to learning Irish pagan lore to a deep proficiency in martial arts training to getting certified to do marriages. There is some question about how I'm going to do all this new work and community service and still get the rent paid, but I think most of these skills—if not all of them—can contribute in some way to an income. I also don't plan on stopping my current writing, although I'm learning the hard way that I'm not sure I can stay with it as intensely as I have before.
So I've got this whole breakdown for learning times for the new work and how I can continue to survive capitalism while developing these skills and then later serving my community in all the ways that have been coming up for me. I have this information on a spreadsheet, but I'm posting it here to kind of use y'all as an accountability buddy and to let you know how much is going on.
Things that are going to take years:
Irish Harp (5-10 years):
Yeah, I'm still on my bullshit with this one. (For those who've been following me for a while, I've been trying to get going on this for years. It turns out even BUYING a good Irish harp becomes a whole fucking adventure, and can quickly turn into a lesson on what NOT to do. I almost bought one right before I met Rhapsody, but I was in the middle of figuring out exactly how many strings I wanted and what makers made good instruments when I met her and got sidelined for a couple of years with everything from miscarriages to marriages to cancer to a death in my immediate circles.) I need to get back to making a steady income that does a little more than barely paying the bills before I'm willing to drop the front end cost on even a starter instrument—they are SPENDY!— but I'm kind of serious about getting back into music (I've missed having it in my life), and I really want it to be the harp. I don't know that this'll ever be a part of my "survive capitalism" strategy. I don't have any ludicrous fantasies of rocking the electric harp on stage or anything. Also, mastery takes a long long time. Harps are notoriously hard—their proficiency used to be a sign of the kind of years of study only nobility could really invest in. But it's a way to return discipline, routine, focus, and music to my life.
Krav Maga/Martial Arts (2-4 years):
I found a Krav Maga school pretty close to where I live that incorporates jiu-jitsu and some Thai kickboxing (which sounds an awful lot like the ground fighting/striking combination I was doing in my twenties in a Jeet Kune Do school). I know martial arts are a "journey" type thing that takes a lifetime to master, and I'm not going to be "done" even in four years, but if I'm putting in 2-3 classes a week, my recollection of my late teens/early 20s is that within about 3-5 years, one can start to teach. In most schools, that teaching lets you either get free tuition and/or some pittance pay for teaching the new recruits. I signed up last month. I start now that I'm back from my road trip. Even in my introductory class, I noticed that there seems to be a lot of overlap with what I already know, so I'm thinking dedication can get me to that paid tipping point JUST a little sooner.
Fitness Training/Fitness Instruction (2 years):
This I'm going to take at Diablo Valley College (the local community college—where I used to work for those of you who have been around long enough to remember my posts about teaching and students) with actual official structured units and a learning curriculum. There are two certificates. The first gives you enough basics to do things like run fitness classes, and the second focuses on personal training. Each is about 15 units and would only take one semester if I were going to school full time (a year for both), but given everything else I want to accomplish (including continuing to write and some vestige of a social life) within that time frame, I'm going to take four half-time semesters. I'll finish the first certificate in Spring 2024 and the second in Spring 2025.
This will probably translate into one of the most obvious things I can use to make money. I want to do physical training and physical coaching. Running classes and personal training in a way that absolutely rejects typical "weight loss" or "look hot" language in favor of just raising energy levels, feeling better, and achieving fitness related goals.
Things that are going to take months:
Woo "Facilitator" (2 years?):
There's something I want to do, and I don't exactly know what is even involved. There's a friend doing this work now, and I want to pick her brain, but we've missed each other the last few weeks because of our respective vacations and scheduling. So I have no idea if this is going to take a couple of months or a couple of years (or a couple of weeks?) From what I can tell, it's somewhere at the intersection between energy work and craniosacral massage, and it works sort of like being a signpost for woo stuff. (There are some pedestrian and humanistic psych benefits too for the skeptics.) But just making the space and facilitating those kinds of journeys is work I want to do. Maybe it's one of those things I can DO right away, but it'll take me months or years before I can ask for more than a pittance.
My friend isn't going to get rich doing this work, but she is able to ask a lot for an hour.
Irish Pagan Lore (6 months x 2):
The work I'm going to be doing is going to carry me deeper and deeper into a higher-profile community role and place me right in the middle of at least a few questions. Questions about who The Morrigan is, what She wants, and how someone who wants to work with Her can start that journey. Right now I can deflect questions like that to authorities I trust—and I can still do that for the most arcane high-speed curve balls—but I'll need to be able to handle a few of the basics on my own.
I'm taking the Morrigan Intensive—a six month rigorous course in The Morrigan lore, modern practice, priesthood, and devotionals—so that I can navigate, and perhaps speak to a few more things with comprehension. (I won't go so far as to say with "authority" although I think the end of this class is going to raise the question of priesthood. I don't know that this will necessarily turn into anything specific to help me keep the rent paid so much as simply direct the focus and direction of my work, but I think that everything else I'm about to undertake will be served by a rock-solid understanding of the lore and a deep grounding within the theology that I mean to carry into those acts of service.
This is an intensive, six-month course, and I am already planning on taking it again (although with a one or two year break in between) to maximize what I get out of both runs.
Tarot/Ogham/Divination (2 months [Tarot]/6 months [Ogham]):
This is another one I can see translating into a sidegig without a lot of difficulty. I've seen people regularly charge $50-$100 for an online reading. It's probably going to be a few more months of practice before I can really charge for this, though. I can do tarot readings already, but I'm pretty slow. I have most cards memorized and understand the way they interact in the gestalt of a reading, but I don't trust myself, and I end up looking a lot of things up that I knew but wasn't confident about. If I include doing a write-up, it would probably take me a few hours per reading right now, and what I would need to charge for that to make it worth it would be a little more than I feel comfortable asking for before I've had a lot more practice.
Ogham is a much more complicated subject. I don't really know or understand it at all…particularly how it gets used in divination, so I'd be starting from square one with that one. Not that I need mastery of both to pursue one. But what I can probably be proficient in in a couple of months of dedicating myself to Tarot is likely to take me at least six months (longer) with Ogham.
Death Doula (7 weeks?):
Going through the grief process with Rhapsody on the outside of the grief itself was probably one of the hardest things I've done that I had a choice about. (Cancer was certainly worse, but I couldn't exactly opt out.) But being there to hold space for grief was also deeply and profoundly rewarding work. I could really feel the difference I made from day to day. During a moment of reflection and meditation, I had a very powerful sense that this was work The Morrigan wanted me to do. This was a calling.
All these things on this list have involved a similar sense of work I'm being called to do, but this one was particularly strange since I had never even heard of anything like it before. In fact, I was describing what it was that I wanted to do—just help people through the process of their end of life and/or families with grief—and someone said to me: "That sounds a lot like a death doula." I looked it up, and that's pretty spot on what I was envisioning.
This is another one I'm not sure on the timing. I'm seeing everything from a three day intensive to a seven week course. I have someone I'm going to talk to, and try to get some answers about where to start a reliable and credible program.
Things that will be instant, very fast, or I'm already doing:
It doesn't take long to be able to officiate weddings. A few hours in an afternoon can get you going in California. It's more about bureaucratic paperwork than anything. Cross a few T's. Dot a few I's. Start marrying people. I don't really expect this to be a cash cow (or even a side gig), but I do know that the officiant usually gets some kind of gratuity for their time.
Writing. Writing more. And writing more on certain topics.
While I have no intention of stopping Writing About Writing, the kind of writing I do will probably shift focus as well. As I've mentioned, I plan on writing more about my woo-woo adventures, the things I'm learning, and how I am incorporating stuff in my life. And for those of you who have enjoyed my social justice posts in the past, I'm being tasked with getting back to that work as well. All this and of course the same writing that I've been doing on process and craft…and more.
It's an exciting time. I have spent my life being excited about how to better to build and serve community. However I need to figure out how to monetize all these acts of community service. Not because I particularly relish the idea of being a mercenary about what should be given freely. I don't mind passing the hat or using sliding scales or even giving people services they can't otherwise afford, but I will need to keep the lights on as well.