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Redefining What it Means to be Productive and Putting Pleasure First

Magical Symbols: a hat, a box, a bunny hiding in a hat, a scroll, two playing cards (my favorite), a crystal ball, a mortar and pestle, a potion, and a spell book!

What would you do if the world revolved around you and your happiness?

Since I was extremely young I wanted to be a writer. When I was a pre-teen, I picked up tarot cards and loved them as much as my dolls and role playing on internet message boards.

Tarot had this storytelling element that really appealed to me.

It seems so natural to be saying this and writing this now, but it took a lot of work to find the intersection between tarot and writing.

In July, I began to seriously entertain quitting my day job. I was in a web editorial position at a well respected online health mag, but wasn't having fun with it. I realized I wanted to be a writer, not the the internet savvy millennial at the office changing the homepage around and fixing broken code. I was eventually given an ultimatum by a new boss: write for the publication when I let you, or do the data entry work you were hired to do. Nonplussed about this prospect, I decided that it would be a good time to quit, work as a freelance writer, and start putting my all into the tarot work.

I realized I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for.

Once I quit my day job, I started going to all of the yoga classes and art events I couldn't go to when I was tied to an office finding.

Don’t get me wrong — this is a good thing, but after a month or so of wanting to find a community, I started to grow tired, and bored of feeling like an outsider.

I felt like a knight on my bike, riding towards the next battle, the next big thing, and started to grow upset that I was coming up dry, unable to find my royal court.

I was putting myself out there even though I wasn’t ready or 100% sure of who I was or what my mission was.

There’s a balance between putting yourself out there and focusing on your internal world, and after so much time spent focusing on the external, exploring new opportunities, relationships and cities, I decided to put on the breaks for a bit and just focus on me.

Recently I was sick at home with a cold and realized that if I were to be truly empowered in my self-employment, I was going to need to spend some time alone. A lot of time alone.

It used to take a lot for me to rest. I’ve always been known to run from thing to thing, city to city, person to person, party to party. Now I’m slowing it waaay down by taking the days when I feel sick (or menstrual. or just quiet an content) to come back to center. Since I decided to stay home, sleep, eat well, drink a lot of tea, I was able to beat a cold in two days -- a personal record! I've been known to push my body even when I'm feeling sick (because “it’s just a cold”) and end up feeling awful for weeks.

Especially during college and right after, I wasn’t taking much time to myself. I felt stiff and ridged and I couldn’t figure out why.

The first week I moved to New York, I picked up an office job and tried to start my life over again. Sometimes we move places thinking that those places will change us, but they don’t — it’s up to us to make those changes in ourselves, yet I was surprised that I had accomplished such a lateral move from Chicago to New York.

I was relying on outside stimuli (like paychecks and vacations) to validate me, and I was missing out on how good it feels to validate myself by just existing and doing what feels natural.

I redefined what it meant to be the most productive version of myself by taking the path of least resistance.

Being productive is about making time for you and a higher calling, a purpose that makes you fall in love with yourself and the work you create. Imagine that you are perfect, that you have a story that is intrinsically worth sharing just because it exists. There is no time for anything else.

For me, that’s speaking from the heart, relaxing with my cat, drinking lemon tea and lounging in the AC.

This took me years to figure out.

Being productive is about not dismissing your dreams to live the life you always wanted. We can get stuck in our class systems. We think we are only cut out for what’s based on our socio-economic backgrounds or the more traditional and straight-laced occupations that some of our parents held, or thought they should have.

You know how there’s the rule that if you can think of it, there’s probably porn for it? That’s true for making money too. If you can think of it, you can make a living off of it. It’s a matter of figuring out how, and knowing that there are multiple ways.

Doing what feels good is becoming more important than anything else in my life. Call me a hedonist, but if you could build your life from a place where pleasure comes first, wouldn’t you?


Email me at to continue the conversation.

I also offer tarot manifestation coaching for people looking to playfully change their lives. Email me with the subject line "Redefining Productivity" and your first session is on me!


Calley / Extraordinary Tarot

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