Part of my core belief system is that we are all a part of something bigger, something expansive, something that we cannot even imagine. And as part of that Whole, it is also a part of us. We come from it. We will return to it. The earth, the stars, the universe itself.
To us, since we can see far off into space and we know what our earth is made up of and can comprehend the oceans, the land, the mountains and beyond, our world might seem big but easy to keep track of due to our technological nature. To a butterfly, home is the flower and the leaf. The universe is however far it can fly. To a wolf or a bear the earth is the forest that makes up her habitat. To a spider my basement is an entire galaxy.
It is the season of thankfulness and giving so they say. Yet, today the internet is filled with stories of shootings at Walmart, people getting trampled by others looking for the best deal on mass produced junk to stuff under their tree and those working are actually getting "fuck you" as a greeting from those shopping. I wonder at these times what the spider in my basement would think if it could comprehend all this? Hell, I can't even comprehend it. I feel like I have to withdraw from it. I have to be aware enough to know that it isn't what I want in my life and then walk away. I have to do that with several things in order to get back to myself and to have hope.
Hope. Always a good place to start when you are trying to reconnect with yourself and your own world. I have heard that gratitude can be a tool in reconnection and grounding. It seems logical and as the universe is so vast - gratitude can help you concentrate on individual concepts, help you zero in, calm you and therefore ground you.
So, what am I thankful for and what do I want to become during this dark season of hope? Smaller. Yes, that is how I am thinking of it. I want my world to become more focused, more sharp, more authentic. I sometimes feel like in the world of over-connectivity my key to not getting so overwhelmed (and therefore paralyzed) is to isolate some of the noise. So that is what I mean by smaller. I want to go inside, to find that person that I have been losing. I want her to speak softly and be heard. I want her to live bravely, by her beliefs and her truth.
I'm thankful to be able to contemplate all this, to work through it, to know there are still people in the world that feel the same about the planet and the creatures we share it with. I'm thankful for hope.
7:00 AM ~ So I am spending Black Friday doing not even one thing that I don't really feel like doing. Of course this will mean that I don't venture out of the hollow for at least 24 hours until at least the first portion of the Western madness also known as the Extreme Worship of Retail has settled down.
Reality. Not entertainment, not "no animals were harmed in the making of this film" stuff. This was reality TV only the reality was the horrific life of the factory farmed animal. Other instances were looked upon as well but the food chain and our disconnectedness from it was my main focus.
It got my mind whirling further into my own life. I have been a vegetarian in the past. Also a vegan. Although even at the time I defined myself as a junk food vegetarian or vegan. LOL. As most know, hating food prep is a major part of my existence. Ease of eating is important because I just have no damn time for it. Now, I could work food prep into my day and have before (more on that soon) but it is just NOT my nature. When I became a vegetarian in college, it was the easiest thing I had ever decided to do. I later went all the way to vegan and again, not hard for me at all. I was living alone, in a mindset of learning and surrounded by passionate people and mindsets. I never ate much meat, even as a child. I just didn't miss it at all. When I started weight lifting seriously again (after probably a five year break and doing other forms of training) I fell back into the protein mindset. Mostly I ate chicken for meat because at the time we could not afford grass fed beef and the beef from Aldi smelled funny to me. LOL. Over the next couple years I ate so much chicken that I was growing sick of it anyway. And then we watched Food, Inc. I haven't eaten chicken since that day, save for a couple of instances of a real, local (as in just down the road where chickens peck the ground with their still intact beaks) whole chicken.
So, basically my feeling is that like most people sometimes I need shocked back into myself. And I suppose that is partially what my documentary Friday was about. As one of the people featured in Vegucated said,
I am currently listening to New World Witchery and Cory and Laine are recounting adventures in New Orleans. I, unfortunately due to work being extremely nuts was not able to share my thoughts via sound bite, so I thought I would review my own journey to NOLA here.
This trip was combined with a visit to my mom's place in Florida. So, passing through NOLA first, arriving a couple days ahead of PPSM4 made me able to spend some great time with some wonderful friends and meet new friends too!
The first portion of the journey was spent exploring cemeteries and the city. This was my fourth visit to New Orleans so I'm fairly familiar with the general territory but not since my first visit to NOLA over 20 years ago have I been to a cemetery. St. Louis No. 1 is amazing and a must see but I have always wanted to visit Lafayette No. 1 as this was the location that Anne Rice envisioned as the resting place of the Mayfair family in The Witching Hour and subsequent books in the series. And not far from there the mansion that inspired their creation. I visited both this trip.
I ate more beignets this trip than I ever have! LOL. At Café DuMonde one rainy evening it was lovely, warm and foggy and little did I know that the warm weather we enjoyed the first couple days would give way to some chilly temps by the time we all got down to visiting! I revisited beignet land with Velma, Kathleen and a friend, then again with Velma although we didn't have beignets the last time. We ate at the Gumbo Shop, had breakfast at The Camellia Grill (if you are ever in NOLA check this place out!), went to loads of art galleries and of course, magical shops. I had my very first taste of Absinthe at the Old Absinthe House and was just as enchanted by the making of it as by the magical way it made me feel. LOL, tipsy. So, amazing food, great people, a ghost tour and lots and lots of walking were all a big part of the journey.
What I love about New Orleans is that you can do something different every time you are there. I wonder if I will ever get to do everything I want to do in New Orleans? I'm not sure, but I marked some stuff off the list this time for sure!
Below is a link list of our generous sponsors and contributors to the fabulous bag of super swag that Cory put together. Thanks to everyone that contributed to this wonderful experience!
Several things happened today in that really annoying one right after the
other way and they left me really down and, well, quite frankly, on the verge of
a good cry. I’m not a very emotional person outwardly. People who know me well are aware of this. Although inside, I have a very active emotional life,
outwardly I’m pretty logical, more of an observer than participant in life’s
drama. So, to find myself on the verge of a good “hug your dog and crawl under some covers” bawling session is out of character.
The specifics leading to this are not important. Circumstances, interactions, task oriented challenges that on such days only verify one’s ineptness in her own mind. Follow all this up with a predictable reminder of
where these feelings of inadequacy and harsh self judgment come from and you have a soup of self woe just waiting to boil.
It tastes like sh^t too. Why would you eat that?
If you are having one of “those” days I am describing, STOP. Stop and think. Thinking is done with the brain and not felt through the emotions. Analyze what is really happening, where it is coming from and walk through it logically. It helps if you have a partner or trusted friend that will stroll through this garden of horse crap with you, but you can do it by yourself too.
Your goal is this. To determine whether and/or where there is any truth in how you are feeling and how you can change it. If things keep happening to make you feel bad about yourself or a situation, you must change the situation. Take yourself out of it. Occupy yourself with an alternative. Learn to walk away from whatever trigger it is that fires up those negative feelings. This takes practice. It takes planning. It takes patience with yourself until it just becomes an easy habit.
You can learn to do this with work issues, with people issues, with life issues. Write down a plan of action if you need to. As in - when X happens, I will Y1, Y2, or Y3. Give yourself options. Memorize your plan(s) and stick to it.
It comes down to this really and I found myself repeating it today - you cannot control other people. Their thoughts, actions, feelings, etc. are their own. Sometimes even a situation you are directly involved in is out of your control to some extent. “Sh^t happens” is a common phrase. But there are times when it is indeed true. The only thing you can control is your reaction to these things AND you can sometimes only control the situation to the extent that I mentioned above by removing yourself from it, reacting differently to it, approaching it with new tactics. In the latter two choices, results will take time and may or may not be successful at first, or ever. So, think through the outcome(s) as well as your options.
And remember that you can control your little inner beast that talks smack on you too. But you have to control your reactions and situations first. After you master that it is easier to tell your own harsh little critic to take a backseat when needed.
We all lose it occasionally. We don't know how or why sometimes and other times it is quite clear. We may get tired of trying or we may just stray off track a bit or we may even look around ourselves on a cold morning and realize it is gone. Life passion. Self awareness. The complete inability to feel anything more than meeeehhhhhhh about pretty much everything. Some people would call it the "blues" or even depression. I suppose you could define it in those ways. It seems odd that being depressed would not include being sad but I guess it could happen. "Experts" say it does happen.
In relation to this, life, the new year (witch style), and in hopes of dragging my butt out of this lackluster ditch, I am looking at the whole from several different angles and breaking it down into manageable (hopefully) parts - see last weekend's blog entry for the beginnings of this concept in my brain...
So, SELF. WHO AM I? Many times for me it is much easier to describe who I am not than who I am. It is like, I know me when I "see" me but I can't put words to myself. I spent some time with my mom over the last couple of weeks and had forgotten SO many of the things that I was made up of long ago. She told stories about my childhood. They made me laugh. They made me sad. They made me want to walk into the woods and pick flowers with my dog. To pack a lunch and sit on the ledge overlooking the forbidden pond in which no one was supposed to swim but everyone did, sharing my sandwich with that same dog and kicking my feet leisurely back and forth while plucking rocks toward the pond in between bites. To build snowmen with funny hats and be scared to the point of screaming (pointlessly) by my big brother (who can still scare the shit out of me anytime he sets his mind to it) and then break down in a severe gaggle of giggles over the whole incident.
I am THAT person, somewhere, deep inside she is still there. I have to find her. I have to spend time with her daily. Losing her somewhere along the way is an inevitable part of adulthood to some extent but the spark that is her must still be in all of us or, really, a portion of our very soul is already gone.
So, over the season I am going to break the search for her down into manageable parts, just like I would break down a problem at work or a home project or any other thing that seems overwhelming when looked at in a global manner. I will find her. I MUST find her. Everyone else I have been is so boring.
So the pendulum sways.... While in New Orleans recently we happened upon a lovely rock shop. I was fiddling around touching various gemstones and I lost myself in thought and being mesmerized by all the shiny things (captain) ;)....
And a glittery little pendulum caught my eye. I normally am drawn to stones of watery color. You know, greens, blues, even purples... But this was a beautiful, earthy orange colored stone, almost the shade of say, Georgia clay or the Grand Canyon. And in it were flecks and sparkles that glistened and glinted off the shop lights. I picked it up and let it rest in the palm of my hand. It felt good and solid. The shape of it fit my palm nicely. I had thought that on this trip I might find a new pendulum. I have one that was a gift to me from my Reiki Master. I keep it in a sachet in my truck so that it will always be with me during the day and use it with the horse that I lease or when away from my alter/home. I have another that I am making myself to keep downstairs in our basement for when I do my morning ritual and I have been wanting a third to keep on my main alter upstairs. It would seem that I had found my new pendulum. I considered this. I don't like to make hasty decisions on things like magical tools and most of my stuff is handmade by me or I have received as a gift at one time or another.
So, I spoke to it. I introduced myself and explained that I had some questions for it. Most people already think I'm nuts so I don't suppose any of this embarrassed them anymore than normal. I asked it to show me various things. Things like how it would tell me yes, no, or even let me know that it either could not or would not answer me. It told me these things readily. Hmmmmmmm.....
It was only then that I even looked at the label where it had rested. Goldstone. Hmmmmmm again.... Attributes? No clue. So, I trusted the stone and my answers and thought about the adventure of getting to know it as I made a beeline to the counter to purchase my new pendulum.
I have since found some very cool information on Goldstone, also known as Aventurine Glass, including an awesome blog entry by C.L. Matthews:
House of Daedalus Blog
It is a lovely, lively little pendulum. By far the most outgoing one I have. I think my Goldstone must be like Christmas lights, always twinkling and lifting my spirits. Right now it is resting on my main alter, beside my handmade counting beads and on top of my wooden box that holds my tarot decks. Can a stone be happy to see you? Everytime I get it out it seems happy, like if it could speak it would say hey howya doin' today Gilly? LOL. By contrast my traveling pendulum is more....about the flow. I feel like it says peace be with you and like that peace radiates from it.
Interesting these different personalities. Once I finish making my morning ritual pendulum I will be interested to see what personality it has.