Friday, May 29, 2009

Some weeks just aren't very spiritual....

Since starting my new temp job, I have not done a single spiritual activity beyond my morning devotions. Zilch. Nada. Nothin' at all. I'm not happy about this, but am trying to put it into perspective. I've had a major change in my schedule, which is obviously going to shake things up a bit, and I am currently deeply involved in several craft projects and in biking, which means that my limited time is going to end up funneled into those activities, but I still feel like a failure for slacking off so much with the spiritual pursuits. To remedy this, I am going to try to set up another daily ritual. My new pattern for when I get home from work will be to eat a snack and then sit down at my altar to meditate briefly. That should be open ended enough to let me adjust for my needs yet concrete enough to get me to sit down and do it.

That said, it looks like I may not have much to say here for the next month. If you want to keep up with me, I suggest taking a look at my other blog, Long and Crafty Road. Since I'm in a serious crafting phase, it seems like I may have more to say over there.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pronoia and a new job

My experiment in incubating ideas was a success. I spent an hour on Monday sitting outside thinking, and came up with a good idea for how to fit all of my interests into a limited amount of time. Which is good, because I will be rejoining the ranks of the employed, at least until June 30. Considering all of my side projects, time may be tight during that period, but I think it'll all be ok.


I've been thinking about the idea of pronoia lately. A term coined by Rob Brezsny, it is the opposite of paranoia (the belief that the world is out to get you) and refers to the idea that the world is actually conspiring to shower you with blessings. On the surface, this doesn't seem like a revolutionary idea - he is far from the first person to suggest that the world is a good place and that universe (or God) is looking after you. But it's more than that, or maybe his book on the subject is just the first thing that has inspired me to think deeply about it. If I am practicing pronoia, then I don't have to constantly analyze every decision. If circumstances lead me to a situation (say, this new job), and I accept it, then clearly it is a good thing for me. And had I chosen not to accept it, then other opportunities would have presented themselves. It means that there was no wrong decision -- each fork simply offers different gifts.

I expect some people to say that this a cop-out. After all, isn't that abdicating responsibility? But I don't think it is. At least not the way in which I mean it. I'm still responsible for my choices, but this philosophy states that on the whole those choices will bring me more blessings than curses. I think it's more a state of mind than anything else -- if I expect to see blessings as a result of my choices, then that is what I will see. If, on the other hand, I give in to my natural temptations towards over thinking, I will always pick things apart and see the bad.

Life is fundamentally good. Most opportunities do bring blessings. Heck, most *days* bring blessings, if you both to look for them. Why not focus on that?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Divine Inspiration

In high school my teachers always told us that we should start our assignments early, because you couldn't sit around waiting for divine inspiration to strike. In college, I proved them wrong.

Whenever I had a paper assigned and no idea what to write about I would gather together all of the relevant books, plus my notebook for that class, and spend an evening at the library. Once there, I walked up to the second floor and sat down in one of the easy chairs facing the giant windows and pulled up footstool. I made a neat pile of the books next to me, and then started to think.

I didn't think about the paper, or even the class. I just stared outside as dusk faded into dark and let my mind wander wherever it would. Within two or three hours I would not only have an idea for the paper, but a fully written introduction and conclusion which I couldn't get onto paper fast enough, as well as a rough outline for the rest of the paper. These were invariably my best essays.

In retrospect, I think that this was a form of magic. The books and paper set my intention, and I placed myself in an area free of distractions in which I could let my mind wander until the desired end was conjured up from the ether. By setting an intention and letting my mind drift, I had my best ideas. But how do I apply this to life outside of school? I was clearly onto something, at least about how my mind works. If I spent more undirected time away from the distractions of books and the internet, would I be able to come up with brilliant solutions to my problems, or does it just work for writing? And even if it does only work for writing, why am I not using it for that, at least?

This is my new goal for the coming week: two allocate time for at least 2 such sessions, one for writing and one for solving a problem. If possible, I'll fit in a third for a craft related project. And I'll report on my results back here! With luck, at least one of them will work and I'll have a better idea of how I can effectively use this technique in the future.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Keeping House

Upon the urgings of a tree spirit I recently began working with, I have turned my attention to a new and perhaps unusual spiritual pursuit: keeping house. I've always known that tending the hearth could be taken a spiritual activity, have even been tempted to look into it, but my inherent antipathy towards cleaning and ennui in regards to clutter kept me from giving it a try. Now I'm being told to try.

Cleaning with intention does seem to help me somewhat. Thus far my intention is very simply to make our home a more comfortable place for my husband. He is much more sensitive to clutter and mess, but I am the one with more free time. It's so easy for me to ignore the messes that I honestly don't see them, but he does, and that's not fair. So I'm trying. And it really has been easier to see the clutter since I took this up. I'm still not very good at cleaning, but I'm getting better.

Eventually, I think I would like to try to incorporate more complicated intentions, such as cleansing the house of negativity while I clean or infusing it love, or perhaps just add more ritual to the activities. But for now I will focus on straightening up as a way to take care of my husband. I think that's enough for now.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Beltaine 2009

Last year, I had trouble connecting to the energy of Beltaine. I thought that I needed to be in a passionate fervor, and it just wasn't happening. This year I am also lacking in energetic enthusiasm, but I feel Beltaine around me and through me nonetheless. It's a gentle sort of energy, loving and enveloping without being insistent or cloying. No demands, just the offer of love and support. I didn't know that Beltaine could have this sort of energy, but I suppose it makes sense. Sex isn't just about wild animal passion. It encompasses tender lovemaking as much as monkey lovin'.

I just had a quiet ritual on the wet concrete of my backyard, surrounded by overgrown gardens, chattering birds, and the caress of gentle breezes. A loving voice told me that I am held back by my fear -- a fear of not being worthy and of not fully engaging in life. That is why I feel unworthy and why I do not fully engage in life. Complex and circular, but ultimately true. The only solution is to take baby steps. And that is why Beltaine is quiet for me; because I need support in order to grow right now, and not a wild dance of color and light. There will be plenty of time for that later.

May you all be blessed by a wonderful Beltaine!