I realized something this morning on my way in from dog duty. Winter, such as it is, has not been this much like true winter in over a decade here.
When I say "true" winter I mean one in which it snows. And snows. And snows some more and the snow never really melts because the temperature never really gets high enough.
I'm not a baby. I grew up in a place with "true" winter. There are just reasons I don't live there now and winter is one of them. LOL. I live in what is normally a more temperate portion of the state. See, normally we'll get a couple of decent storms per year and the snow will hang around for a few days but then melt away fairly quickly. Or it may snow several days in a row, but not amount to much. Or it will be frigid but not snow. Snow OR cold is what we generally deal with. Not both for weeks on end, dragging into months on end, extending into the entire season.
And as such, I am normally not wearing snow boots to work daily. I am not washing my two pairs of lined, winter pants constantly and wearing them interchangeably because it is too damn cold to wear anything else. I have long since giving in to foregoing fashion this season and in its place I stand in my closet and think about what is most warm that I can put on my body. I'm on autopilot these days. It puts the layers on as it knows is best, it starts the truck early, it goes out in the cold because it must...work, home, chores, bed, repeat.
It is no wonder people get depressed this time of year. February is always especially hard because it is approaching spring but not really, the holidays have been over for quite some time, people are tired, grumpy, light deprived... Given all this I am trying to be most gentle with myself. Even though I felt on one level like a complete slug over the weekend I feel like it was important for me to just not have a damn thing on my agenda for a day and a half. Real winter makes everything more complicated, more tedious, more time consuming. I just needed to be able to make the choice to do absolutely nothing. And to know that it doesn't matter that I haven't been to yoga class or been dripping in proper sweat for a week. I do what I can to cope as does everyone else and that is good enough. I know that I just have to ride the sleigh for this last few weeks and make it work. Everything is always most challenging just before you turn the corner...
And I damn sure am gonna kiss the first flower I see pop its head above ground.
WHY are people so friggin unwilling to do what needs to be done? Or even what they are supposed to do, or being paid to do? Ya know, I too have dreams, aspirations and hopes. I want my world to be a certain way. I want to be free and feel magical everyday. I want my life to be full of love and light and only hang around people that make me feel good and I don't want to have confrontation in my life and if I feel a little off I don't want to have to go out in the world.... I want what I want. We all do. I also have bills to pay and a lifestyle I'd like to keep. Actually I strive to improve it. Again, most of us would like to improve our lifestyle whether we say we would or not. Now, that doesn't have to mean anything big it could simply mean have enough in savings for emergencies, trade in our clunker of an automobile that is always breaking down for something reliable, finish school, move forward in our careers....
And, OK, I fully understand it when a person wants to be true to herself or himself and that perhaps what they want to be true to isn't on page 17 of the "standard equation for optimal life advancement" manual. You know, they say they don't want to "sell out" to "the man". OK, I got that. I embrace things that are a little different, obviously, and I too pride myself on being a little left of center. I admit that I get a little chuckle that people work toward cookie cutter houses with white picket fences and 2.2 kids, perfect sets of dishware, and minivans with those little stick figures in the rear window.
But it does amaze me when perfectly intelligent people - people capable of being gainfully employed - pull the "I'm not gonna sell out" card and yet they always seem to get into one bad situation after another, usually directly related to the fact that won't get a "normal" job or a job at all and expect everyone around them to understand, bail them out or ignore the fact that they are full of sh^t.
Let me tell ya - i want to get paid to sit in the woods and write poetry! I really do. It would be my "dream job". Unfortunately, this will most likely NEVER happen. So I have little choice but to suck it up, go out there and try to earn a living. And so that's what I do.
Are there things I'd rather be doing? Most days absolutely. And let me stop you before you say - well, you are wasting your life then - because I'm talking about HELL YES I'd rather sleep till 10:00 everyday, I'd rather ride my horse at 10:30, go to the gym at Noon, then get sushi with my girlfriend every afternoon and go pub hopping and to the movies with Sam after that. I'd love to do ALL those things most days rather than DO MY JOB, I mean, wouldn't you? Do I allow that to provide me with an excuse to be a slacker? Absolutely NOT. Because without my JOB I would have no horse, couldn't afford sushi or movies and certainly not beer!
It is like this. You learn, you work hard, you (hopefully) get more experience and can better your circumstance through that experience. So, you earn money and improve your lifestyle. Yes - You improve your lifestyle. You might do this because you think it is just the way things go or because you feel like it is what is expected or for a million other reasons.
Maybe, like me, you might do this because it is the means to the ends. Doing all this - playing THE GAME that so many people claim to disdain, earns you money. Money earns you freedom. And freedom earns you the ability to experience more of the things you long to experience. Back to horses, sushi, movies and beer.... ;)
If you spend all your time trying not to sell out but you can't pay your bills and you are in credit card debt up to your eyeballs and your car is breaking down every week and....and....and....well how FREE OF THE MAN AND THE RULES are you really? You are more bullied by society than ANY of us that just embrace a
little dose of "societal normal" and do the thing that provides us with the freedom to BE WHO WE ARE without the baggage of worrying how we are going to pay the electric bill.
Just freakin' sayin...
And legs, and well, all those other parts we complain about.
I have to give credit to my beautiful friend Saturn Darkhope because it was her Facebook status I copied this from. And to Wild Woman Sisterhood, which is where she shared it from originally.
Because it got me thinking once again about the same old subject so many of us get our minds and souls wrapped up in. That conversation with ourselves ~ you know the one. The one in which we are not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough - oh shit wait it isn't just thin anymore it is STRONG enough (meaning it isn't enough to just be thin, as one blogger said not long ago, now we have to be ripped too), tall enough, sexy enough, smooth enough, perky enough (I speak of breasts not personality), hot enough, blah blah blah blah blah....
As a side note does anyone ever notice that the list of what is not "enough" about us usually doesn't include smart enough? Well, why would it? As a whole if we were smart enough we wouldn't be worried about any of the other "enough" that we worry about.
But alas, I digress....
I think that people mistake quotes like the one above as saying that we should all rebel against weight loss or exercise, being aware of how our bodies look, or the desire to make life changes for weight loss or exercise purposes. It is like some odd backlash - you know, like slut shaming only it is shaming women into the belief that if they are interested in their physical appearance they are just superficial nitwits.
I don't take it like that at all. I think it refers to the excesses we go to in pursuit of perfection, whatever perfection is at the moment. It also refers to the idea in our minds that we are not "enough" right now at our very core. That the essence of us is not worthy so we need to pursue this momentary preference for being ripped yet boob enhanced with lips like Angelina and able to run in four inch heels without breaking a sweat or an ankle.
I feel like there isn't anything wrong with wanting to lose weight or build muscle or, hell, even wanting to look great in a bikini. But you DO have to be able to separate your reality from what your are being sold as universal reality and whatever things you want to make happen once you have separated those "realities" cannot interfere with your choice to like your body NOW. To love your soul NOW. To celebrate your spirit NOW.
I'm not saying that getting exercise and eating good, wholesome food is not necessary. I tend to believe both are an important part of the puzzle of what makes us whole. But you don't need "industries" to do either of those things. Now, you might join a gym because it is easier to utilize than any other option - but, the gym itself doesn't have to make you question whether your like your body in the present. Unless you let your experience there and all the other static that chicks face on a daily basis related to our physical selves find a way in.
So, I think, related to the quote, which I LOVE btw, that we need to pay particular attention to the word "decided" when we read it. Because stuff like this doesn't just happen. Ironically enough, mind shifts are like exercise and diet themselves. They take practice. They take commitment. They take deciding each and every day and sometimes each and every minute to make a choice. So, that would mean that when it occurs to us to dislike any part of ourselves we must not only redirect those thoughts we must work consistently to make sure that it doesn't even occur to us.
Huge mind shift isn't it? A revolution inside our own heads. A quiet revolt against deep rooted negative talk and beliefs. Where can we even begin?
I think that first we have to be aware of the whole reality vs "sold" reality. We have to call it when we see it. We have to tell ourselves what it is whenever it finds a way into our own mind. We have to remind ourselves of our own personal reality often. However you decide to do these things is up to you but it is part of retraining your mind.
Then we have to celebrate ourselves daily. Just as we are. And know that we are part of something bigger and acknowledge that. For instance, I have come up with a morning ritual involving the use of my body and connecting it with the earth and the sky. I learned it in a recent workshop and have put my own spiritual twist on it. It involves thanking the spirit of each direction for their daily gifts and acknowledging the universe within my body (we ARE stardust ya know) and the earth on which we stand. It can be done in a short span of time or a longer one depending on what the morning holds. The point is to ground oneself through gratitude and to use the body to do so. So, basically you are shifting the focus from outside influences to one of thankfulness and the acknowledgment of the truth we are all part of.
And we have to keep doing these things. And keep ignoring "sold" reality. We need to hide it on our Facebook feed and not purchase it in the check-out lane. We need to change the channel. Literally and in our minds because this particular revolution HAS to start from within each of us.
Well, I don’t want to sound like a complete whiner
but I guess if I do so what? It is March 23rdand after being
all happy and proud that I had made it through the entire winter without so much as a sniffle, two days prior to Ostara I got some kind of plague that has run the entire expanse of my head, nose, throat and now chest. Starting out with a severe sore throat and extremely out of the blue exhaustion, moving through congestion, all manner of sinus upset, continued exhaustion, fever, coughing, sneezing, more exhaustion,
wondering whether I am just made of snot and will eventually become the Blob itself, to losing my voice (I am now known simply as “Squeaky” in these here parts) and hacking up stuff resembling, well, again, the Blob.
Hmmppphhhh. I fucking HATE winter.
Really, I try to embrace the seasons. I do. I look toward the inner season with the expectation of growing and getting things worked out in my head, heart and soul. I vow to do the hard stuff and learn from it every year. But this year. Ugggghhh this year SUCKED. For the first time in several winters it seemed like a struggled within myself. It was the spiritual and mundane equivalent of walking in deep snow. You step, you fall through, you drag your other leg forward, you step, you fall through… So, as we got closer to spring and as I started to work toward shedding whatever bad ju-ju has plagued me all winter through spiritual bathing and continued deep inner work I have been really, really excited to meet the light.
And then my body said – uh, scuze me please I think we just need to wait on that celebration for….oh, hell I dunno, maybe a week maybe more…
What? WHAT? Are you kidding me? I have been plodding through the entire season feeling like spiritual and physical crap. I have not been at my best since October for certain, an odd mixture of various body woes some truly physical some just the never ending struggle of maintenance and aging, being unsettled at work, uncertain of spiritual matters, overwhelmed with “I should” thoughts and never getting around to any of them. Life has been lackluster and dull for the most part and I know it isn’t due to anything other than my own outlook. I feel old. I feel bored. I feel like I don’t have a purpose and worse than that I don’t care.
I’ve tried shaking things up. I’ve tried giving things up. I’ve done a self-cleanse, a mini retreat, I’ve searched and contemplated and journaled and meditated and am at the point where I think maybe I should just chalk it up to a bad season and move on…. And NOW you are gonna GET SICK? Really?
OK, well, nothing I can do about that. LOL LOL LOL.
Isn’t that the truth though? Beyond being angry about getting ill or being frustrated that life isn’t as hunky dory as you would like, there is nothing you can do. Except what you CAN do.
So, I have been resting since that seems mainly what my body wants. I was able to take a sick day somewhere in the middle of the week and slept for 21 hours in a 24 hour period. The other days I went to bed at 5 and got up at 6 or 7 so a good 13 or 14 hours otherwise. I took some over the counter meds for a few days to help with symptoms and mostly to be able to breath and swallow but am off those as well, drinking herbal teas, trying to eat whole, drinking water and still just saying fuck it and sleeping whenever I get tired. Today (Saturday) is the first day since last Sunday that I have actually be awake for more than 6 hours at a time so I would say there is progress being made.
I am not sure how soon I will be back to "normal" since normal lately isn't really something I have come to enjoy. Hopefully by April I will at least be looking forward to the season that has begun and get some perspective on the one that has just ended.
Be well and healthy all. It doesn't seem so important until it isn't so....
I find that mostly, people do things because of an alterior motive and normally that motive has something to do with them and what they want. Really want. Like, deep down. And specifically here I am addressing the motive behind the need to be liked, accepted, even....popular. Everyone wants 1000 "friends" or more on Facebook. Everyone wants as many Twitter followers as the celeb down the street. Really, we have no celebs down our streets but if we did... Everyone wants to be appreciated by their co-workers and valued by their friends and really isn't that also just a damn popularity contest?
I have never quite figured out the knack for popularity. I have found myself having it at odd times and for what I considered the most stupid reasons imaginable. For instance, after being the favorite bully target for my entire grade school career, I got popular in 9th grade because over the summer I had grown boobs. It was ridiculous really and I knew it. I began to find the reasons for popularity so absurd that I started to actively seek being ANTI-popular.
Being anti-popular doesn't mean being hated. It doesn't involve being outright mean or snarky. It more means to me being your own sort of creature and being OK with that. Being anti-popular has had rewards. A thick skin is formed with practice. Learning to hear and recognize the beat of your own dance, whether it is coordinated or not, does have merit. Laughing outloud at yourself and others is highly underrated as a stress reducer. Speaking your own mind, whether the thoughts that come from it are the most sought after of the moment can give you your own voice.
Of course there is the stigma attached to not really giving a shit about fitting in. Also, people confuse being anti-popular with not caring about anything at all. As if because it doesn't matter to me how many Facebook friends I have I am somehow flawed. I don't care about the right things to the extent that I should. I rarely ask how anyone's weekend went. I really don't care so why would I ask. I engage in very little "water cooler" talk. It isn't that I am some company sod it is just that people are boring. I don't care if your aunt has the flu or your grandpa has gout. I'm just not interested. I don't enjoy shopping with girls. I'm not a fan of designer purses but I'll be damned if I will drink bad beer. My chick compass is a bit "off" and it does make for a more uphill walk through the park of life.
So, at various times and for various reasons I have tried to lessen my disdain for all those perfect, wonderful, white-bread people of the world. I have attempted to look on the brighter side, smile and promote myself and join the ranks of those chasing fame, whatever form it may take in a person's life. I find it exhausting mostly. So, I always go back to being anti-popular. Still, it stings doesn't it? I work hard. I am highly educated, at least for my career track and even for my geographical area. Even my "hobbies" get the amount of attention most people give their actual job. At certain points I do find that as a whole, I am a bit too prickly for most people, too opinionated, too stand-offish. Rest assured I am only appearing that way because I am observing, therefore protecting what little sensitivity I have left after all these years. Either that or I really do think you are an idiot.
....or lack of it. We grow, we change, we transform. Doesn't mean there is anything wrong with what we might have felt last week, month, year. Just that, well, things change.
What does it mean when this happens with our spiritual nature? Sometimes it can cause major issues in our lives. Just ask any former Christian who now believes something else. Or nothing. Or whatever. Families have fallen apart over this stuff. Friendships have ended.
During my own life journey I have found that Pagans can be a very judgmental bunch amongst ourselves. For all of the "love and light" that goes on people sure do get their panties in a twitch over your alter not being set up according to Wicca 101 practice. I find it exhausting. At some juncture, I came to this pivotal point where I considered myself less traditionally magical than others and had no interest in becoming more like them. I, instead, just wanted to be myself. It was at that point I simply began calling myself a witch, rather than saying "I am Wiccan" or whatever. This was some time ago and now, even the word "witch" seems to me to conjure up some specific notion to people that isn't necessarily who I am AT ALL. I don't do spellwork. I do some ritual but it is limited as well. I am not an elaborate sort of practitioner and I could not even tell you the last time I went through each and every "appropriate" step of casting a circle.
I just don't care. I am not saying that I don't believe. That is completely different than not caring. I am saying that I don't care and I don't think the Universe does either. I don't think It is keeping track. In the same way I don't think there is one God sitting up there on his lofty cloud keeping track I just don't think anything else is, whether that be God/Goddess, the numerous Entities people pray to and involve in ritual, The Nog (LOL).
I DO believe the Earth and the Universe are alive. I believe the Earth is an extension of that Universe and the we are all part of the Whole. But, that Whole is too big to fathom, too massive, too powerful, too beyond what comprehension we could even dream to have. I believe that being part of that extension as the Earth is, so is everything roaming on it, under it, above it; everything growing, breathing, breeding, changing, constantly morphing in some manner to make up that Whole. But we can never see the Whole. We can never touch it outside ourselves and we certainly can't study it or know it in the way that people claim to have a "personal relationship" with God. It is mysterious and awesome yes, but does it have conscious thought and will and does it care that I lied in third grade or that my best friend is screwing her husband's co-worker (I don't have a best friend by the way) or that Sam and I live in sin? HELL NO! At least I don't think so.
So, gosh, what AM I? Who AM I? What do I believe in anyway? I had submitted to the question of "what is Paganism to you" some years ago. I came across my response while cleaning out my office area and still agree with it and would probably even add to it to the extent that I have above. I realized when discussing it that others (Pagans) are mostly in agreement with a good portion of it, however, it is not enough for them. I have touched on this before in the Podcast. Case in Point:
Episode 16 ~ Spiritual Creatures
If you want to skip the rest these thoughts begin at approximately 21 minutes in.
Since I feel I am tied to this Earth and that it is living and since I am not a believer in specific Gods and Goddesses in the way that many Pagans are I feel I have obligations. Not that others don't - that isn't what I'm saying. My obligations are simply different. Because although at times I name my spiritual images and when I do pray I use those names ~ ie ~ I pray to Artemis for the wild things and when I dreamed or visioned of myself long ago as a witch it was clear to me that this portion of the Universe calling to me, calling me Gillian, was what/who I considered to be Artemis at that time. That does not mean that I feel as if Artemis is THE Goddess I worship. I worship the Earth, Life, the Universe, the Unknown something out there that we are all part of and if there is a portion of it I call Artemis at some instance when it seems right, so be it. But, to me, there is that very real possibility that the here and now is what there is and that once that is done the unquestionably magical part is that I, as part of the Earth, will go into that Earth and simply be swallowed by it, consumed and reduced again, to it. And in being reduced I will become a million little particles and those particles will turn to dust and go a million different places and that is reincarnation folks.
So, my personal obligations given that these are my beliefs are to live here, amidst that which I believe to be sacred and to experience it and be a part of it. So to me this means that I shall not spend my time with elaborate details and spellcrafting when I can go to a barn and groom my horse. When I can smell the Earth on him and press my ear to his side and listen to his heart. That is my worship. I can't overconcern myself with correspondence charts and alter locations when I can feel the rain hit my face as I run and sweat, feel my heart beat faster and my muscles ache as I crest the top of the hill, breath in cold fog and know that I am a part of it All. That is my celebration, my praise, my proof. My faith.
Someone suggested to me the other day that I was one step away from Atheist. He said it in a manner which led me to believe that it was his opinion that I was one step away from what was right. I am not so sure if I would go that far. Maybe I should qualify myself as a Patheist. LOL. Has that label been taken yet? I kinda like the sound of it.