pagan

Thoughts and ponderings….

Sitting in the room, listening to Led Zeppelin (Pastry got the recent offerings) and reading the remainder of The Upanishads that I haven’t finished. The further realization that I’ve fallen further from the spirituality tree. But I’m turning around. The original thought was to see about spending a week up at the Monastery for a time of silent contemplation with my journals. Then the idea that I think I want to move my yoga program (meaning just me, unless any other instructors want to get in on this) to a donation only set-up. Not necessarily in the realm of seeing if it works, but in thinking how things were done at one point and how we’ve gotten away from that – namely, providing a service for what people could afford. My parents would totally knock me for this, as would some of my friends. But as I sit back and think about it, my life has been a series of financial blunders and worries because of the fact that I put money first. As I’ve started to not do that, things have grown. When I start fretting, things taper off.

I honestly don’t want to live a deep material life. I like my small house, I like my few objects (even though I need to get rid of more of them), and I love my vacation experiences. I like waking up late on Sundays, listening to whatever Pastry feels like putting on the table, and hanging out with my cats or going for a hike in a forest. I like tearing down walls in my house and creating new things. When Spring fully arrives, I will be back out on the patio enjoying the mornings and evenings.

I always joked that I would never know what to do with money if I ever made more thank $20k a year. And I still don’t know what I’d do. Most would go towards my retirement account, maybe save up for that VW camper trailer I want and put some towards a recycled shipping container house in the mountains.

I just find it amazing, thinking about the depths I’ve sunk to, sometimes. Trying to dig myself out, because I don’t trust that it will happen naturally. But as I told my mother today. Trusting in the Universe is a true test, namely because humans inject themselves into the equation and tend to screw things up.

Need to turn that around again. Though, it puts me to the point where I have to decide whether I’m going to be a part of the world, or if I’m going to step back from it. I’d like to be a part on my own terms, but I know that’s a large request. I just hope that opening myself up in that way, regardless how it plays out, is in some manner a benefit instead of a detriment. It also means I’ll have to let go and not attach myself to those who cross my path. Not expecting return from those who are more willing to take than give, the one time it is allowed. And walking away from those who wish to gain by stepping on the backs of others without offering a hand up.

Gearing up…

Tomorrow is the first of “big days” in my treatment. The teeth come out. The positive is that they’re crowded already so it won’t be much of a gap. I’m already talking funny because I have too much stuff in my mouth. But that’s ok. I’m dealing.

I am finding my anxiety is getting worse, which is weird. It’s all money related because this shit ain’t cheap and the Drs will only deal with insurance in the manner of sending it in. I have to pay out first, insurance reimburses me. Seriously fucked up shit, but I can’t blame the Drs, I don’t want to deal with insurance.

The best part, I’m starting to get back into my head on the deeper topics. Been rolling around ideas about wisdom and truth and how they play out in Biblical stories with that cast of characters. I can’t remember the movie that sparked that thought process, but I’m glad it did because I need to ponder that those things. I also need to get off my ass and email/call my elder so we can start our monthly sit-downs. I have ideas on where to start, but I find I work better with guides, and that gives me a tribe connection – which has sorely been missing of late. Bit by bit I’m disappearing. I don’t know why I feel like that, because I’ve almost always felt like the loner. Even in groups. Some connection that I just can’t see, always out of my reach or sight that prevents me from actually feeling like I am really part of a group.

I just don’t get what I’m missing from that equation. And it hit me hard yesterday. I’m making my way through the Robin Williams part of my Netflix queue, and like 20/20 hindsight of David Foster Wallace, this manner of death casts a shadow on how I interpret his works of late. Yesterday, I watched World’s Greatest Dad. Given the issues he was dealing with in his real life, it made the words stick out all the more. Did he choose that script because of what was going on in his head? Was that his call out for help? Did everyone miss it because it wasn’t in wide release? But the best part was when he told everyone off, walking into the natatorium, stripped down and jumped naked off the high dive. That’s kinda how I feel. Except he was casting off society to join a small group of outliers that shared a love of horror movies and odd psychosis. I don’t feel I have that. Or maybe it’s just the burrowing season of winter that throws me into my cave for self-reflection. Or maybe just perspective of that, and it’s all just a temporary illusion of the season.

When I’m out, I don’t know why, but it feels like I’m walking into the shallow end of the kiddie pool. I think I’d rather be at the meeting of some philosophy club discussing the deeper meaning of Kierkegaard. I would like to enjoy the kiddie pool, but I think my brain is screaming out for exercise, too. Need to figure that one out.

I guess I’m due for an update…

But I can't bring myself to really say what all is going on with me. I have to force myself to do almost everything. I'd rather sit in bed and watch the birds at the bird feeder than deal with people. Some days are good, some days are bad. Today is a bad day, but I have to bring myself to take care of things – like go to work. The good thing is that my heart is fully open right now, as is everything above it. So that contact with everything more subtle is flooding me. I have missed it, just wish that it hadn't required something this drastic to reconnect with it.

The gifts of being human…

In an attempt to start accessing those wonderful artistic aspects of my being, I've started reading through my daily meditation books. The one that struck the chord today was from Caitlin Matthews, the question was, What, for you, are the gifts of being human?

I think one of the main ones, that I think is more specific to humans, is the ability to create something beautiful for the sake of creating beauty. Most animals, when you watch them create something, are doing it for the sake of utility. I don't discount the idea that they may have a concept of beauty (just watch a bird making her nest) but I have yet to come into the presence of another animal creating something in that manner.

When I look to shared gifts…compassion and understanding are the ones that come up next. To ostracize someone, we withhold both of those in order to make that individual feel worthless and unwelcome. We also tend to do that for the wrong reasons, sometimes solely because we can. But we can make the choice to let those barriers down and let people be who they are, without strings attached. Making that choice requires a willingness to be injured in some manner. Sometimes it pays off in a reward, and other times the payoff is a new learning experience to benefit us the next time we step out on that ledge.

One that we neglect is our instinct. Other animals live off of it, so they are completely in tune with how that functions. Our instincts tend to be dulled by our opulence, falsified safety created by imagined wealth and material objects. Sweet talkers who seduce us with things we want to hear or games we refuse to take full notice of. We play into those because of our own desire for some kind of acceptance, because we don't accept ourselves, where we stand. We have this idea in our head as to who we are, but fail to look in the mirror to see if that's who we can be, truly, or if it's just a magnified fantasy that can never materialize. Society has told us that going after the unimaginable is a flight of fancy. But if we look at where we want to go, and look and see what is available for that first step, we can find a way to make a path – if that is what we really do want. Complacency is what keeps us from moving forward. Stagnation is what propels us to make those changes.

A concept of failure. When things don't work out, we either have the option to leave them there, or figure another route. When everything is given to us, what do we miss out on by not looking down those other paths, or making a new one?

Samhain…

Usually, this time of year is great for me. I don't know if this is the combination of a bunch of stuff colliding and the ensuing chaos is more evident, or just the fact that I am just not handling things all that well.

On the work front, I'm trying to get the yoga program up and running, which requires me to transfer everything over to a new database. That conversion is in the final processes. The downside, getting everyone in the office to use the new system and double check on the old system. That came to a head yesterday, when I asked someone to handle the scheduling, which resulted in me being double booked for tomorrow. The damage control is not to my liking, and right now, I just want to skip today and tomorrow and head to my vacation already.

On the yoga front, I started a 2 week daily yoga practice on Monday. That didn't start off well. I gave my gym a try, because I've had awesome classes at gyms, so I'm not turned off by them. The physical practice was good, but it left my mental state in an absolute jumble and the instructor didn't even give me time to remotely process. So I walked out of class with the view that I am an absolute judgmental bitch. And that is true, I just temper it as I process info. This is the first time I have truly felt that way after a yoga class (since I'm pretty good about just being observant of what I'm feeling and letting it go). It stuck with me. So, day 2 was back to my normal studio. All was righted in the world. Day 3 was amazing. I took the whole day off to prepare for ritual, I wanted to be "in that space". Normally, not a struggle. The class did exactly what I needed it to do, unfortunately, work issues yanked me out of it (see above). I managed to put them on the back burner, not thinking that it would be an issue.

Ritual, still processing, not planning on talking about it.

Damage control, still working on it, client sent an email saying, "So I don't have a massage tomorrow?" Well, yeah, that's what I said. I have a client during the time that you were scheduled because someone didn't look at the master schedule. Instead chose to look at the tertiary schedule that no longer updates, because my schedule has been completely uploaded to the master.

Vacation, I am struggling to not make the decision to work over this weekend. There are things that need to be done, but at the same time, I need a complete break. I haven't had a chance to take a vacation this year, not even something that remotely resembles one. I have not had a day where my brain was no where near my office, and a line HAS TO BE DRAWN. If I do not, I will walk away, and it's not something I want right now.

What I need, someone at the office I can truly depend on for back office related stuff. I do not feel that I have that. Some of it is my failings, for not properly teaching all the stuff that I need, and some of it is being too accepting and generous of where others are in their personal lives. Yes, I need to get someone in there, but I cannot, at this time, justify the cost. And I do not have anything that could remotely justify rewarding a volunteer.

I’ve finally got the bug up my kiester to play catch-up with what’s being said in the “pagan” world. I wish the self-proclaimed Queens would quit speaking for the general pagan population…

Starhawk opens her mouth, again…

Most of my issues are with her “theology”, or “thealogy” as she likes to call it. First off, my goddess is a war goddess and if you piss her off, she’ll be more than happy to wash your blood-soaked clothes where you can see her. Second, my goddess isn’t the only goddess, there are quite a few gods I talk to from time to time as well. Third, well, we all know my opinion on the war. And with that, let me say that in regards to IWB and other UN organizations like that….well, if you want to go off on them, go off on the UN for being as much of a fuck-up as it is, currently. Yeah, we need to take care of things at home and in countries less fortunate than us, and we do what we can, within the confines that the culture in those countries allow. Honestly, I think the World Bank could give a free ride to all those countries, and it still wouldn’t solve the problems created by dishonest government, gerrymandering and power struggles. Those are my base opinions as a human.

Now, my opinions as a reluctant member of the “pagan” community. I wish she’d shut up on this topic. First off, while I don’t have a concept of evil, I do have a concept of what you don’t do and what deserves retribution in the form of armed conflict. Hell, look to the Celtic Myths to see how many cattle raids started because some woman got her panties in a twist over a bloody cow. You want warrentless wars, try those on for size. I’m not a peace-nik, peace is simply a stop on the railroad of life, it cannot exist as a constant and the boundaries of this world are ever-changing. Even as we walk into a “global” world where boundaries don’t really exist, there will still be some type of grouping, whether it be by culture, ideology, religion or political opinion. Those are the lines that wars will be fought over.

With all that said, I still don’t grasp what point she was trying to reach. It’s like reading Stuart Piggot and his interpretation of celtic religious history, only to reach his epilogue to see him claim that Druids did not exist. Any more holes and she’d have a water strainer.

In a recent emailing, a list member invited anyone interested to her space to discuss community building, effectively. In her invitation, she listed her grievences towards the general pagan community, mainly lacking cohesion, anti-christian sentiment, gluttonous behaviour towards the body, and of course…promiscuous behaviour. At one point in time, I recall one of my instructors at school (a psychotherapist by trade) discussing how we tend to focus in on what we want to see, e.g. we’re buying x car and suddenly we start noticing x car on the road every day.

So it got me thinking on how much we might, as a macro-community, perpetuate these problems because we focus on them, and thus we always see them? I, personally, don’t believe these problems to be any greater in the pagan community than in the greater community, at large. I also think that it might be part of a greater conditioned POV from our society (can only speak from the American perspective), that says we much remain sexually puritanical in public, and the backlash against obesity vs. the acceptance of the body that many alternative religions espouse, and of late – the anti-smoking epidemic that forces to the fringe, those that choose to light up. There’s also this ideal of some in the alternative religion community, that snags the body is a temple philosophy from Buddhist teaching, but takes it to an almost puritanical extreme. One thing that I notice in the pagan community is the respect for individual choices. Meaning, respect for the individual’s choice to smoke/not smoke, drink/not drink, have various relationship set-ups, being healthy or having not-so-healthy habits, etc.

I understand the desire to create a micro-community that one can belong to, because we’re a tribal species. But there is a limit to the control of one, because it becomes its own entity and grows and expands. That is a problem in the greater community, due to some parts of it growing faster than others, and the problems caused when some aren’t ready to give that type of respect or control to individuals. I can appreciate the desire to create a community, to which we, as individuals, can belong. But when we focus on the issues we seek to fix, we ultimately set ourselves up for a downfall when the community grows and leaves us behind.