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Cafe Mystic - a menu for conscious living - Issue #1

Welcome to the very first edition of Cafe Mystic, a lovingly curated monthly newsletter for the moder
Cafe Mystic - a menu for conscious living - Issue #1
By Sara Runciman • Issue #1 • View online
Welcome to the very first edition of Cafe Mystic, a lovingly curated monthly newsletter for the modern mystic who likes to go deep and wide, featuring interesting ideas, people and unexpected gems of wisdom and understanding.
My vision is this: you and me, coffee and tea, sharing insights and understanding, building compassion and presence, and supporting each other with love and cooperation. I get to write and share, which are my favourite things ever, and you get an interesting, thoughtful and loving monthly missive in your inbox.
You might want to sit down and read it in one sitting, and explore the links over the month, or you might want to dip and dive over the weeks - it’s up to you.
Why email? Think about it: we have complete control over our inbox. We decide who and what enters and under what conditions, and if they don’t live up to expectations, we can simply press the magical unsubscribe button, and poof! it’s gone.
Your inbox can be a sacred space with you completely in charge, and taken more broadly, can be seen as a metaphor for our lives. If your inbox is a cluttered mess, filled with messages which you don’t like, are boring, irritating or irrelevant, sort it out right now. 
Delete, unsubscribe, archive and file. Unlike social media, you have full control! I’ll wait here :).
There’s a lot of evidence this planet and its people are hopeful, loving and rapidly evolving - but that evidence is often hidden under the shouting of bad news and the white noise of triviality. I want Cafe Mystic to be the clear and harmonious note which reminds you of what a beautiful planet this is, and how amazing our fellow humans can be.

Mystical idea...
Have you heard of Hopepunk? Hopepunk is part of a wider cultural and storytelling trend toward optimism and positivity in the face of bleak times. Hopepunk harnesses optimism as an active political choice, made with full self-awareness that things might be bleak or even frankly hopeless, but you’re going to keep hoping, loving and being kind nonetheless. 
Alexandra Rowland who coined the phrase, said: 
Hopepunk says that genuinely and sincerely caring about something, anything, requires bravery and strength. Hopepunk isn’t ever about submission or acceptance: It’s about standing up and fighting for what you believe in. It’s about standing up for other people. It’s about DEMANDING a better, kinder world, and truly believing that we can get there if we care about each other as hard as we possibly can, with every drop of power in our little hearts.
The stories we tell ourselves as a culture create our world. If we can’t imagine a better world, how will we be able to create one? Conversely, if all we do is tell ourselves how shit the world is, what’s the logical outcome?
So, my wish for us is that we harness the ethos of Hopepunk in the full knowledge of the challenges we face, choosing to invest all we have in muscular optimism, joy and kindness.
Deconstructing Christmas
Every year I experience cognitive dissonance at Christmas time (and Easter, Halloween, ANZAC day and Australia Day, but I digress). Before I had children, I really didn’t give Christmas much thought. As a kid, there was a Christmas tree, presents, family and food. When I went out into the world, I would always reconnect with my family at this time, as well as having a break from study and/or work. It was completely fine, my family was loving and easy to be with.
It wasn’t until I had to create a Christmas experience for my own children that I started experiencing the feeling that something didn’t add up. I resented feeling culturally pressured to participate in the Santa myth, I felt freaked out by the associated financial stress, and there was an ongoing conflict between the me who wanted to give my children everything, and the me who wanted simplicity, meaning and authenticity.
So what even is Christmas? Where did it come from, and why do we celebrate it on the 25th December? Baby Jesus’ birthday? Highly doubtful - the bible doesn’t mention the birth date of Jesus, although some theologians have surmised that Jesus was born in early Spring because of the references to shepherds and lambing season. So if Christmas doesn’t have a Christian origin, where did it come from?
Astrology Vibe
It’s the new year, and there’s some interesting energy at play. Right off the bat, on December 31/January 1, Mars, God of War, moves back into Aries, his home ground, for the first time in 2 years. Mars has been mooching around in Pisces since mid-November, maybe feeling a bit frustrated, maybe sharpening his spiritual weapons like patience, faith and humility, and almost certainly not. getting. much. done (on the outside at least). All that changes when Mars storms back into Aries, the sign he rules, and feels most comfortable in. Now is the time to put your plans for world domination into action! One word of caution - Mars in Aries is not the most thoughtful or patient energy, and accidents are very common during this transit. Go and conquer, but don’t break anything! For more information, read this and this.

To add to the fiery energy, Jupiter, planet of joy, generosity and exaggeration, has recently moved back into Sagittarius, also his natural home, where he’ll stay for the entire year. Sagittarius rules higher education, travel and mind-opening experiences, so if you were thinking about embarking on a course of study, going somewhere you’ve never been or focusing on your spiritual growth, this is the year to do it in. For more information, read this and this.

In fact, according to one of my favourite astrologers, Astro Butterfly, January is shaping up to be a month to remember, with 2 eclipses, 5 planets changing signs and Uranus stationing direct in Aries. It will be interesting to check in this time next month to see how you’ve all gone! 
Know Thyself...
I am passionate (some may say obsessed) with understanding myself and the other humans who surround me. I truly was born like that, eagerly reading books on numerology, astrology and palmistry in Primary School and exploring the Enneagram, Myers Briggs and many others as I got older. I know right, freak. Whatever :). 
So, over the last couple of years, I’ve been interested in Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies, a construct for understanding ourselves and others through the lens of how we respond to expectations:
  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations 
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
Over the last four years I’ve listened to Gretchen talk about her ideas on podcasts, read articles, and taken the quiz, but for some reason, I only recently decided to read the book. And wow, it really expanded my understanding of myself and it’s helped me to understand my people and how to live, love and work with them better.
Let me know what tendency you are!
Podcast top 5
I listen to heaps of podcasts, so every month I want to share with you my five favourites, people who impressed me, ideas which excited me or stories which touched me. In no particular order:

  1. Should we abolish prison? - Big Ideas. Australia’s (and other countries as well) incarceration rate has surged in recent years. A ‘tough on crime’ approach is crippling the prison system and resulting in the disproportionately high representation of some of the most marginalised people behind bars. But what is the purpose of prison? And does that justify the cost? Is it time to change our attitude to crime and punishment and consider abolishing the prison system?
  2. Australian women who won the vote and inspired the world - Big Ideas. This should be one of the big stories that Australia tells about itself to the world, but it isn’t. Learn about it here.
  3. Elizabeth Gilbert shows up for everything - TED interviews. TED interviews are a new podcast from the TED team, which feature in-depth conversations with some of the most popular TED speakers. They kicked the new series off with Elizabeth Gilbert, writer and speaker, and one of my all time favourite people. This is a wonderful, far-ranging, honest and raw interview, totally worth listening to.
  4. Michelle Obama: Becoming, Part I and II - Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. I am not a devotee, but I have watched her journey with interest. Listening to this interview with Oprah, I gained a whole new level of interest, respect and admiration for her. She talks so honestly about her lessons and process as First Lady, I couldn’t help but be drawn in. Her book, Becoming: Michelle Obama, is high up on my to-read list now, that’s for sure.
  5. Seth Godin: Learn to see, leave them changed - Good Life Project. Seth Godin is not your average marketing guy. According to the show notes, Seth ’writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. His blog is one of the most popular in the world and in 2018, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.’ This is a great intro to his ideas and a really interesting conversation. 
What am I reading?
As always, I’m reading at least 2, often 3 books at a time. This may be because I have Mercury in Gemini, but it always helps to have different books for different moods and times of the day. For example, I try to avoid reading fiction at night before I go to bed, because it disturbs my sleep…and nothing and nobody messes with my sleep!
About a month ago, I decided that I was just going to read fiction for pure enjoyment. I wanted to return to the luxurious feeling of falling into a book I loved, instead of battling through books other people thought I should read. I just can’t get back the 2 months of my life I spent reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez, damn him. So, I’m deeply embedded in the fiction of Juliet Marillier, a New Zealand author who lives in Australia, and writes historical fantasy novels situated in Celtic places in the time of the clash between the old ways and the new ways. I started with the Sevenwaters series which is amazing, read the Blackthorn and Grim series, and am now deeply enmeshed in the Bridei Chronicles. Heaven!
To compound the fantasy/magic joy, my daughter and I are reading the Harry Potter series together (first time for both of us), and are deep in book #5, Order of the Phoenix. So good!
Currently I’m reading You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. Funny, honest and real, I’m having a blast reading it - and learning too. This is book #3 of my specially curated self-improvement reading list:
1. How to live a good life by Jonathan Fields - great, easy read, practical and interesting.
2. The 4 tendencies by Gretchen Rubin - as mentioned before: life changing.
3. You are a Badass… by Jen Sincero
…and I’ll share the others with you as I go.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Sara Runciman

Cafe Mystic - Cafe Mystic, a lovingly curated monthly newsletter for the modern mystic who likes to go deep and wide, featuring interesting ideas, people and unexpected gems of wisdom and understanding.

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Sara Runciman, 2907 Taylors Arm Road, Taylors Arm, NSW 2447 Australia