Down Below With Athena
Updated: May 22
The true goal for Down Below the series was to get into the nitty gritty conversations. Shed light on the harder to talk about subjects, how to use creative practice to heal. Athena and I cut deep in this conversation looking at a different side of creativity. The expectations we place on ourselves as we've grown to believe the only way to move through this world is to keep up.
Does western society base their worth on productivity rates?
A loaded question to be sure. I grapple with this daily as my inner dialogue continuously pushes me to create and write only things that are great. The over thinker - the fear of being perceived wrong or god forbid lazy, everything I do I must have something to show for it, right? Wrong. We are of the hustle and grind era, we have been taught and told that in order to feel worthy of rest, we must produce results all the time. This isn’t to dismiss handwork. I love work and that's where I have a minor downfall somedays. Sounds stupid, I realise, but it’s true.
Acknowledging where this has come from is the first step. Acknowledging that these ideas are created around capitalism and fast production rates. We humans are not Amazon. We are not express shipping. To expect to produce ‘content’ create magic every time we sit down to try is completely absurd. I don’t know If I’m trying to convince you or me here…
Does this sentiment have a short life span? Stress has put me in hospital and bed rest for weeks at a time. It’s manifested ailments and illness. I’m only 25 this year, this is a problem and I'm thankful to acknowledge this early on in my life. What’s your relationship with productivity? Do you feel that you care more about how you’re showing your production rate rather than actual producing quality? Capitalism and creativity are not bed mates. These things should never be whispered in the same sentence.
I had a chat with my good friend @Thatwitchathena about this. Athena is a modern witch, YouTuber, astrologist, and tarot reader. Using her craft and tools of divination to infuse mindfulness and magick into every day life, as she shares it with her online community. She had some really great things to say about this topic and is also really passionate about breaking these walls down. We also had a chat about leaning into your darker parts in order to be your best self, something I’ve briefly spoken about before on a blog. We all know I love the dark so the conversation continues, see below!
Athena on productivity:
"I’ve been going through this growth period and its really hard to get in a state of flow and create greatness in this state. So, as a side effect I get this is guilt, like fuck you’re going to loose peoples interest if you don’t keep creating and pushing out content and its overwhelming. It creates stress and anxiety and its unreasonable. Especially now in this really weird fucking time. This idea that we’re a clog in the machine and we just have to keep pushing on isn’t sustainable. The ideal that what we create is a commodity and that we’re treated like numbers and that our worth is based on what you can produce over quality of what we produce.
(Some tips) Firstly, being present and conscious of our use of technology, being able to identify when we need to take a step back. Social media, there’s a lot of stimulation and its important to be able to have a break and create presence. Eventually it becomes easier and you realise the world doesn’t stop turning when you log off for two weeks. Coming back to the present could mean taking some time out to do some yoga, breath work and coming back into alignment. For me this year my perspective really shifted through yoga and meditation and its given me an awareness to realise that everything I created hasn't come crashing down, it actually continues to grow regardless of the algorithms ideas of growth.
When you’re actually aligned, when I’m doing things because they feel good and I’m creating content because it makes me feel alive and sharing things that need to be shared. So much more abundance and connection comes from that. Its actually more productive to take time out. Using tools to fill my own cup first. I’ve been way more successful doing that than when I’m trying to force myself to create. "
Athena on shadow work:
"I guess a really important thing to acknowledge is it’s great to be all love and light and get up and do yoga in the sunshine and meditate and stuff but if you’re not working on your shadow and becoming aware of those aspects of yourself, it’s a whole other realm that needs to be dealt with. I think we’re coming into an age where a lot more people are talking about it and its being brought to light which is really amazing. Thats been a big thing for me this year, not only focusing on maintaining a spiritual practice to feel good and happy and be high vibe or whatever but facing aspects of myself (that might be difficult.) I recently went through spiral which is a healing modality that uses kinesiology and chakras and works with your anchor points and that was a big thing for me to face some of my shadows and anchor points for me from such a young age and how certain emotions such as grief or shame or dogma, how situations would play out when I felt those things. That’s been a really amazing tool for me making shadow work a priority."
Your life shouldn't be about maximising productivity. You don't need to go as fast as you can, nor do you need to create as much as you can. Your art doesn't need to be made in great quantities or in a rush. You and your art have it's own pace. Honour it.
- Aimee Mcnee
Listen to the full version on my IGTV. I suggest chucking it on whilst cooking dinner podcast style as the video quality is poor but the conversation is as rich as Bill Gates.