Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February: Love

Our weekend was quiet and yet things were accomplished.  Small things that are making myself and I dare say us all happy.  We are moving more.  Soccer together, bike riding, walking.  Glorious winter weather with little rain (so far) is helping this to happen.  And art making is happening too.  Which always does me good.  There is no shortage of love here.  And we keep things like Valentine's Day simple for the sake of sanity.

Despite the frequent purges to "stuff" that seems to gather around us I always find more to pass on. While doing a recent purge I decided to use some cup hooks to create a necklace display/storage solution in my closet.  And it makes me happy to look at it and I actually wear my necklaces more often.  It's the little things, it really is.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Poem

On Imbolc

In two lined hands the bowl is held
water shifts inside
trickles leave marks along the side of a blue bowl

The hands are steady,
practiced, and pulse

with healing,
with grace

The hands are ageless
and move with a sureness

that brings comfort
that brings understanding

Great Bridgid
of the fire and the well
I offer you a restless mind, a full heart,
and a body seeking health

I ask for your blessing
I ask for your peace

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Dare

On the off chance that anyone is still reading here, I mean there hasn't been much to read in the last year but I am still here.  I've written posts in my mind but that does little good for the rest of you.  Here I am though.  And it feels good to be here, like I do in fact have something compelling me to write.
My lovely Heidi Joy bought me Nikki McClure's 2015 calendar.  Each month has a key word that works along with the image.  For January it is: Dare.  And so I'm daring myself to come back to this space and sit awhile.  To find where it fits into my world as it is now.

Our fall was very busy, and we traveled to my hometown for the holidays which was lovely.  Turning 37 this year has sent me for a bit of a tumble.  Oddly for one who has never really balked at the actual number of my age, 37 made me nervous and testy.  I've been working on why and it has something to do with melding two parts of myself.  My 20-something dreamer and my 30-something doer.  And if that is reminding you of a long ago post this is the one I talked about that comparison in. 

So here we are at the start of a new calendar year.  There is lots to talk about, think on and do.  I plan to share those things more regularly here because as it turns out I need this outlet now more than I have the past two sparser (in blog terms) years. I'll dust things off a bit in the next while and we'll go from there.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer 2014

Summer lasted quite a long time for us this year.  Both in weeks due to our teachers being on strike and in weather (we were swimming outdoors on the third Saturday in September!)

But with the Autumnal Equinox school and therefore our fall schedule proper has begun.  And I think it's time I dusted this blog off a bit and updated all the goings on of the summer.  There were lots of them.  Travel, camping, swimming, gardening, sewing (for me), Lego (for the boys) and growing both in bodies and in minds.  It was full in other words.  And a good summer in many ways.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Delving Deeper

It is quite a miraculous thing that we humans change.  That just as we think it's all figured out everything breaks into a million pieces.  And we stand somewhat stunned and left to contemplate whether our ideas were illusions or simply a part of becoming more ourselves.
My journey as a spiritual being has followed many such paths of self exploration.  From the ground breaking discovery of my core as a pagan - through feminism and Goddess based art, to my years sharing circles and building ritual space and then having to reject that destination as I lost my way.
Though I have identified strongly with beliefs that I can only categorize as pagan I also feel at times inadequate using the word.  Reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and seeing the work of others makes me see my own failings, and creates a reluctance inside as to how to proclaim my values.
I think I could approach this hesitation in a myriad of ways: take classes, read more books, spend more time in community for in the flesh experiences.  I could seek outside myself and I do.
But in the end what good would that accomplish me if I ended up as I was before, at a dead end that felt painful to retreat from and left me aimless for a time?
Actually I think I am still aimless to a degree but slowly the answers I seek are coming to me.  They are deep inside, they were always there.  I don't think I have them all by any means.  But they are from my core.  They resonate at a level that I can hear.  I can wrap my arms around them and feel their truth.
On June's full moon I found a spell/dream board that I had created for myself around 12 years ago.  Reading it inspired a rather stream of consciousness recording of my core beliefs.  They are the basis for all that spirit means to me.  These words trace a line for me to follow along my spiral.  They do not require a buzzword label but still, to me they are undoubtedly pagan.

-to self: my body, my dreams, my spirit & soul, yoga
-to earth: hiking, gardening, traveling, defending, honoring
-to all living creatures: respect, service, place in the cycle
-to those I love: nurturing, trust, giving, receiving
-to the universe: order, chaos, ancestors, guides

-to produce: art, craft, garden
-to channel: messages, ideas
-to nurture: learn, read, gather
-to share: art, ritual, celebration

seasons, moons, aging/growing, elements, nature, food

This list will evolve I'm sure.  Be fleshed out, with some things being given more time and energy depending on the time and place.  It is a starting point that feels authentic and raw which feels just where I need to be right now.
(My series on Commitment is an addendum to this piece.  It speaks to the practical side of these values and how I am processing this information as I work to bring it through.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

at the start (commitment 2)

Lessons unfold like flowers for us to find in life.  Often I'm sure we miss them, crumpling them beneath our feet, looking the other way instead, interpreting the message incorrectly or just denying it completely.  As this year began unfolding a lesson I had only touched the surface of  became blindingly clear: I have a discipline problem.  I'm sure to some degree many of us have this issue.  And certainly I have accomplished many things that prove my capacity to commit to something and see it finished.  But consistency is a problem, and despite my efforts to keep my focus  I began to confront myself with the excuses I've made and probably still make to keep me from achieving important goals.
It really hit home while I was reading Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell.  It's a great book which I recommend to anyone as it has lots of examples of real people and the circumstances surrounding their achievement of "success" or not.  I use quotations around success because I tend to balk at North American's cultural view of it.  I don't necessarily want what most people equate with success but it is a word I have used.  In fact I believe that in my high school yearbook I wrote that my goals in life were to be successful and happy.  Man, could I have been more vague? But really what does a 17 year-old know about life goals...anyway.  The basic formula that Gladwell put forth in his book is that one does not achieve a mastery of any skill without devoting a minimum of 10,000 hours to it. 
Back through my life I drifted thinking of the many times I did not practice the self-discipline one needs to master something.  Excuses, diversions, I had many.  I see them as the result of a rather sheltered life of security and ease.  Certainly no one's fault and I'm not complaining about having a good life but that I lacked a drive to push me beyond that comfort.  My dreams were important but I was not compelled to work more, do more, to risk my status quo. 
Confronting this in the mirror has been good for me.  It has allowed my carefully constructed view of my limitations to blow wide open.  Resentments I harboured towards the achievements of others were put into perspective: I should have worked harder.  Boxes I put myself into broke around me: I'm bad at math.  Actually I just didn't study or try to understand, I'd give up a math problem in a matter of minutes.  While those that saw them as a challenge persevered until they got the answer.
I am not holding myself over the coals here and berating my past choices.  Instead I'm breaking the chains of my own making that have held me back. 
I'll stop there for now and write more next time about what I'm doing about these goals, how I'm changing my patterns, and where the journey is unfolding as I uncover more of these chains.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Commitment (a multipart series)

Oh, what a crazy month April has been.  Life has been very full and a bit hectic and my head is overwhelmed with ideas of things to write here and this is the first time I've sat down to do so all month.  But rather than let my hands type out all these thoughts I'd rather focus on one at a time, because well, it seems more fair to you as a reader.  My next few posts will probably skirt around a theme that is coming up frequently this year.
Commitment and self-discipline.  April presented two opportunities to practice my commitment to the earth.

On April 12 our family attended the B.R.O.K.E sponsored rally against Kinder-Morgan's proposed pipeline expansion in our city.  There are dozens of reasons I am against this expansion but the first one is that our earth cannot sustain the practices of extracting fossil fuels.  This pipeline will transport oil across our backyard to buyers in foreign markets, navigating tricky waters with tankers that could spill and destroy wildlife and precious natural areas. We already live with the risk of the current pipeline's potential hazards let alone adding another.  This type of thinking about our environment as an extraction field needs to be stopped.

On Earth Day I visited Kyan's classroom and read "Earth Mother" by Ellen Jackson.  It is a wonderful story of the gentleness, power and wisdom of nature's cycles.  The kids were very engaged by it and we followed up with learning the first verse of The Earth is our Mother chant.  And to end the lesson we talked about what each of them could do to take care of the earth using this sheet.  I was happy that the kids responded as they did.  And despite being busy in other things I was glad to mark the day for the kids and myself.  I plan to do this each year as long as Kyan's (and eventually Elliott's) teachers are on board.  This work is about my spiritual path and in a future post I'll expand on where these values are building from.

Around home our interest in birds continues to be enhanced by our bird feeders.  Elliott built a nest for our little eggs one morning.  Spring brings forth so much life and newness that it spills over in the boys' faces.  The inspiration of it seems endless.