Thursday, January 6, 2011

Held by my Ancestors

Today was a difficult day.  The reasons aren't important, but I was about as conflicted, tired, and tested as I could be at that moment without actually being torn apart from the inside.

I did ancestor work earlier today and still had the candle on their altar burning.  I decided it was getting late and that it was time to blow out the candle.  When I got to the altar I began to sob.  No trivial, polite tears, these were the wrenching sobs of the despondent.  With no forward, no introduction, and no warning they began tearing through me.  I felt myself held by many arms.  As I wrapped my arms around myself I felt them holding me, the countless dead.  As I rocked back and forth I knew I was held, knew I was protected and loved.  I felt their tenderness and cried all the harder.

I am no longer crying, but the candle is still burning.  After I post this I will make myself a hot drink and take care of myself as they would -- with love, comfort, and acceptance.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ready for 2011

I'm not even going to try to write about my intentions/thoughts/plans for 2011 in a linear fashion.  They just aren't organized that way.  So, without further ado, I give you a list, in no particular order.

  • There is no reason why I need to address every single thing that I could possibly do to improve my life right this instant.  While keeping an ongoing list of the little things that I need to do but that aren't life threatening would be a lovely idea, I don't need to implement it right now.  Priorities.
  • That said, I need to be sure that I don't focus all of my attention on spiritual and creative intentions -- while those are necessary and feed my spirit, I also need to take care of the "mundane" (I hate that word -- anybody have a good synonym for me?) tasks in order to take care of myself.
  • My key word for this year is commitment.  I don't know 100% what I am commiting to yet, but I want to commit to finishing things.  I'm going to finish one major craft project for my house.  I'm going to focus my spiritual practice instead of constantly grabbing new tidbits from the endless takeout menu.  I'm committing to doing sitting meditation every day (more or less -- I'm also not going to consider myself a failure if I miss a day here and there).  I'm committing to doing what I need to do to take care of myself -- eating right (and figuring out what that means for me), getting outside, moving my body, stretching, keeping my home relatively tidy
  • There are dozens of fascinating spiritual practices and paths out there, and as an eclectic soul there is no reason why I can't explore lots of them.  But not all at once.  Every hint and nudge and bit of guidance I've been getting lately says to stick to the faery work, so that's what I'm going to do for this year.  Everything I do spiritually will be addressed through that lens.

There's more, of course.  There's always more.  But now I think it is time for me to enjoy my time-honored new year's eve tradition of watching lots of movies.

But first, here is the spontaneous invocation for the coming year, which I just recited after cleansing and dressing my altar.

In the coming year
May I have joy
May I have love
May I have commitment and satisfaction
May I have the unfolding of my deepest gifts
May this be the year in which I finally step onto solid ground and walk my path with purpose.

So mote it be!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sick, but ok

Greetings from the land of the sick!  I got through all of the holiday mayhem just to come down with a truly retched cold.  I'm still recovering, but am feeling more human.  And I am determined to celebrate New Year's Eve properly, which means with home made appetizers and lots of movies with my sweetie (yeah, I'm a party animal).  I think I'll skip the alcohol this year, though.

Because I haven't been feeling my best I have not finished my 2011 Goddess Guidebook, but that's ok.  I've been thinking about it, I've written a lot in it, and these things are always a work in progress anyway.  I do know what my word of the year is going to be: commitment.  It feels right.  I'm tired of flitting from one thing to another.  I want to feel the accomplishment of having completed something.  So this year will be the year of commitment -- commitment to a dedicated spiritual practice, commitment to start and finish a large craft project, commitment to myself.

Because I'm still sick, I seem to have run out of steam here.  But I will finish explaining my new years goals soon, I promise.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yule Eclipse, and mystics

I stayed awake until 4:30 in the morning to see the eclipse, but heavy cloud cover hid it from view.  I would love to say that I took this frustration in stride, but it would be a lie.  In fact, I am downright mopey about it.  I did get to see the moon briefly last night though, and again tonight.  She laughed at me and said that there was a reason I couldn't see her last night.  Darned if I know what it is, though.

While awake, I spent some quality time reflecting on what I want from not only the coming year, but the rest of my life (ok, and surfing the internet.  I admit it).  I've been reading Caroline's Myss' classic book, Sacred Contracts and have gotten to the part about identifying your archetypes.  As an archetype junkie, I figured this would be fun.  It wasn't.  The description of one archetype in particular was really bothering me:  the Mystic.  She goes on at great length about how everyone wants to claim that archetype but that once they find out how much work it requires are willing to let somebody else take it up.  This irked me.  Far more than a blurb in a book ought to.  So I thought about it.  And the fact is, for me, I don't have a choice.  I am a mystic.  I hid from it for years, I do a piss poor job of it most of the time, but it's what I am.  I'm only really functional when I'm doing at least three regular spiritual things a day.  I need to be plugged into that energy at all times.  When I don't make that effort I start to drift away from myself -- I lose energy, motivation, purpose....  it's not good.  And I resent feeling like some book author guru is telling me that I'm not what I am pretty darn sure that I am.  At which point it occurs to me that my reaction says more about my confidence in my own power than anything else.  Depressing, isn't it?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not reverb10, but still reflection

Ok, I am clearly not feeling the reverb10 prompts this week.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been reflecting on the past year!  For the most part, I've concluded that 2010 can dissolve in a pool of acid.  That's a slight exageration, but there are very few parts of this year that I wish to hold onto.  My husband's birthday party. Twilight Covening.  The week-end workshops with Orion.  My recent graveyard work.  Parts of home ownership.  But the rest.... best not to dwell on that.

But 2011 is going to be better!  I'm getting myself on the right track, I'm going to figure out what I need, and I'm going to go after it!  The first step of this, I've decided, is settling into a Serious Daily Practice (tm).  I already have my morning devotions, which I've been doing consistently for several years now, but I need more.  I'm going to get back to doing sitting meditation around lunchtime every day (I am currently trying the So Hum technique, and may purchase the < a href="">guided meditation from Goddess Leonie), and I'm going to set myself a weekly schedule for other practices that I need to be doing regularly.  Those may shift around as my priorities change, but I want to commit to trying to do a sitting meditation every day in 2011.  I know that I will miss some days, and I know that it sounds like I am setting myself up with a lot, but I feel strongly that this is something that I need right now, and that I will feel better once I am doing it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Not reverb10, but SARK.

Today's reverb10 prompt left me cold, but I found an interesting "game" on SARK's blog (you know SARK's work, right?)

Transforming What Hurts Into What Helps
Share one thing in your life that's challenging or difficult, and one thing that you're glad about that challenge or difficulty.

Well, the obvious would be depression.  Suffering from clinical depression is inarguably challenging and difficult.  But I think that I appreciate joy more because I am so familiar with it's opposite, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

My current unemployment is certainly challenging and difficult -- feeling useless, questioning my own worth, and worrying about money are not exactly experiences I cherish.  But I'm glad that I'm able to take time to really delve into spirituality and to hand make all of my holiday gifts this year.  And I bet I'll really appreciate the right job when it comes along!

The current cold snap in New England (and elsewhere) is challenging and difficult -- it hurts to go outside!  And I like sunlight and riding my bicycle!  But without cold we can't have snow, and I would love to have a white Christmas.  And the cold is necessary for the life cycles of much of our native flora, all of which I love to bits (especially the sugar maples, which I know require colder temperatures)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

REVERB: party

Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

I'm not a big party person by nature, so I don't have many examples to draw from.  But upon reflection, there was one gathering this year that really did rock my socks, and I can even say that I hosted it: the party we threw for my husband's thirtieth birthday.  In formula, it wasn't a complicated affair.  We invited people, made some food, and brought out our iPod dock.  The iPod dock turned out to be a great hit as almost everyone had an iPod and some album or another that they wanted to share, so we had good music all evening without having to do anything ourselves, which was lovely.  One thing that made it special was the attendance of some very good friends who live far away.  We don't see them often, and I miss them terribly.  But that does not entirely account for the magic of that evening.  Neither does the fantastically aged maple mead we broke out for the occasion (we'd been saving our last bottle from that batch for a special occasion, and realized that this was the one).  Mead alone does not a magical evening make.  Many parties have tasty alcohol without breaking into a spontaneous song circle.  Seriously, this was some special magic: two of our friends even demonstrated a waltz! 

In the end, I don't think I could tell what made that party better than all the others.  Like all magic, it can not be explained or replicated.  All I can do is appreciate it for what it was and cherish the memory.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

REVERB: beautifully different

December 8 – Beautifully Different.
Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.  (Author: Karen Walrond)

You have got to be kidding me!  You want me to think of things I do that light people up?  Can't I just reflect on all of my terrible qualities and mistakes?  Pretty please......  Fine, I'll give it a try.

In a certain way, I am very innocent.  I genuinely believe in basic human decency, that people are kind and fair and honest.  Whenever I encounter evidence to the contrary I am genuinely shocked.  I don't seem able to be truly jaded, which is sort of uncomfortable in our current culture, but also, I think, good.  I would rather expect people to be better than they are and sometimes be disappointed by reality than the other way around.

I don't know if this is something about me that is "different," but I am very open.  While I may be introverted, I'm not private, and I only hesitate to share my darkest foibles when I fear making other people uncomfortable.  I appreciate the same level of honesty from others, as well -- I like reading the Annie Lamott style of personal essay, with complete gut spilling.

At my best, I'm pretty guileless, which I think ties together both of the above points. The cynics would have me believe that the world is out to take advantage of me, but I honestly have not found that to be the case.  And even if it were, I think that the cost of being other than I am would be too high.  As inconvenient as it often is, I can not pretend to be someone I'm not.  This has often felt like a curse, but I think it is really a blessing.  The fact is, I don't *want* to compromise who I am in order to fit in/succeed.  Ok, that's not entirely true.  Part of me really does want to be able to do that, but I refuse to apologize for not doing so.  I'm tired of being told that I have to be this, that, or something else.  It's funny, but I'm more uncomfortable talking about this than about my depression.  I think most people would be more ashamed of the latter, but it's the former that I most want to hide.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

REVERB: community

Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

2010 did not turn out to be as community oriented as I would have liked.  While I did slightly deepen my involvement in one group, I let me commitment to another group -- one which I was already fairly involved with -- slide.  The last few months have seen me realizing that I need to take a look at the communities I am involved in and decide what roles they can and should play in my life.  Not to sound self-centered, but if a given community can not provide the kind of connection that I want and need, why should I devote excessive energy to trying to become more involved with it?  I need to find the right balance.

One place where I did find community in 2010 was in my clan at Twilight Covening.  Although that was a temporary community, I am grateful for the experience for showing me what is possible.

In 2011 I want to find or create a mutually supportive spiritual community, whether that be in blogosphere or in the physical world (though I will admit to a preference for the latter) or even both!  To get a bit more specific, I would love to have people who I spoke with at least once a week.  We would share our triumphs and struggles as we grow along our various spiritual paths, share resources and experiences, and support one another's growth.

Monday, December 6, 2010

REVERB: make

I just impulsively signed up for Reverb 10, so theoretically I will be posting every day for the rest of December.  We'll see how that goes!  :-P  In part, this is because the "reflecting on 2010" parts of the 2011 Creating My Goddess Year workbook I am in process with did not speak to me, and I feel it is important to do some year-end reflecting while preparing for the new year.

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

The last thing I actually finished was a felt applique owl for a swap, using craft felt and embroidery thread, and it was awesome.    I am currently in the middle of holiday gift crafting, which is very rewarding in some ways and very draining in others.  I love creating gifts that people will love, but there is so much baggage associated with holiday gift giving that the joy becomes rather muted.  And the time constraints don't help!  There are a number of "me" projects that I hope to find time for after the holidays.  I would love to make a quilt for my bed.  I've never quilted anything before, so it will be an adventure, but when I think about sleeping under a quilt that I made with my own hands I get absolutely giddy!  I never tackle really big projects like that, I think it is time to start.  And I would like to make a felt applique for my craft/ritual space, though I'm not sure of what.  And a third project that I would love to do (also for my craft/ritual space) is some sort of faery spirit.  Oh, and of course I've been meaning to make something in which to display ATCs.....

This is why I tend not to get any of these done -- I don't prioritize between them, and since I can't make them all simultaneously I don't do any of them.  That's a bad habit which I intend to break!