Sunday, December 12, 2010

And on this day of beginning
We see the snow fall, gently, quietly
As it lies on the grass, clinging to the rocks
And each one speaks of a love
A love that opened Her heart and created
All that is.

All that is.

The foot falls as we walk through the woods
Each leaf speaking as it give way
To the will of the walker.

All that is.

The trees may be bare but they speak
Of the wind in the boughs
The joy of spirit moving freely though them
Offering wisdom to those who listen.

All that is.

The water rushing past the rocks covered
With ice and snow waiting for the return of Spring.
Now nestled beneath the white powder.
Ice dripping slowly refreshing the stream
As it makes its way to the Ocean

All that is.
Begins again.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Winter is Upon Us

My dear Gentle Readers...

We approach the Winter Solstice. As pagans we know that there are many traditions to celebrate this time of year. However, regardless of tradition and ceremony, one thing remains: This is the day the sun stands still. Light and Dark in Balance. And then we begin our march forward to the coming Sun.

I love this photo. There is such tranquility in the snow on the ground. The starkness of the bare trees are in contrast to the light that begins to arise behind them. It is a perfect picture of how our lives move in and out of seasons. As pagans, we celebrate the seasons because they show us the Wheel of Life that turns every moment of our lives. We see the cycles of life and death; birth and re-birth. We know that the Wheel has no beginning and no end. Our lives are a constant cycle of regeneration.

This knowing gives me strength and comfort in times that are difficult. One only has to look at the cycles of Life to know that "this too will pass." The Sun will rise again. The Earth will be warmed and the flowers will bloom. Can anyone really describe the beauty of the crocus as it breaks through the snow to meet the coming spring? How does one tell of the sound of the rushing of water over snowy rocks, the melting of the ice bringing torrents of power streaming toward the ocean. And that power is Who we worship. Our great Mother, Goddess and Creator who brings power to our world. She is in and is all things.

And She is in our coming Winter Solstice. She is there, guiding us through the hardships and toward the coming Sun. The day the Earth stood still. Balance. That is our Solstice. So this December 21st, as time stops for just that moment, remember the beauty and joy in walking the Spiral Path.

Thank you our wonderful Earth Mother, Goddess, Creator for you bring Spirit to all things. You bring meaning to our lives. You bring joy. You ease pain. You cause us to walk the path of the Ancients with humility.

Blessed Solstice my friends.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

As We Ready Ourselves...

Brightest Blessings, Gentle Readers...

I had the opportunity tonight to enjoy the Harvest Moon. It was so bright and high, shining almost silver in the sky. It made me think of my ancestors who, at this time of year, would be gathering in the last of their harvest. They would slaughter all the animals they needed for the fast-approaching hard winter winds. The animals were offered to the Gods and Goddesses as they were taken for food, clothing and shelter. The ancients knew the importance of them, of the seasons, and were thankful for them with each offering. The women prepared all with great skill knowing their handiwork would care for their families during the harsh season to come. Also during this time, they were even more keenly aware of the veil between the worlds. It was this time set aside to honor those who passed on and seek the wisdom of the Ancients for their future.

In just over a month, Samhuinn will arrive. Now is the time for us to begin to take stock; to harvest that which we've sown over the year. We gather into our figurative barns all of the crops and food we need for the dark time. We edge toward extinguishing the fires of this year and move toward the renewing of the Hearth fire within ourselves and our homes. So what comes of this time of year?

The AIR is crisp and clean. The rustle of leaves beneath our feet tell of the impending dormancy. Its cold chills us. The EARTH is quiet. The stillness of the night falls around us like a blanket and we smell the moss on the fire. The FIRE is dwindling, reminding us of the coming change and the need to purify ourselves. The WATER flows under the frozen ground keeping life alive underneath the winter snow. And the SPIRIT walks between the worlds bringing messages of hope for the other side of the darkness.

During this time of year, living in the Deep South, I must use my imagination for those seasons. I'm thankful to have seen the beauty of the Wheel as it moves through the four seasons. As I close my eyes in meditation, I am reminded of my childhood. I am reminded of the scent of change in the air. It brings me comfort as I think on how my year has played out and what my desires are for the coming one.

So for the next month, take a moment each day to harvest the crops you've planted: love, joy, peace, compassion, etc. Draw them to you and let them guard you and give you comfort. And begin to see that which you wish to sow and reap in the coming year. Lay out your desires before God and Goddess. Bless each as you offer them. And prepare your hearts for a Blessed Samhuinn!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Own Special Light

Greetings, Gentle Readers...

It's been quite some time since we spent a few moments together. Life gets busy. Important things slip and take a back seat, unfortunately. We get caught up in the daily slog.

I have been so many places in my spirit over the past months. And my reading has shown it. I've read everything from Don Miguel Ruiz to the Dalai Lama and everyone in between. And I've come to see that being broken open is the key.

Ego is such an insidious thing. The "me" that infiltrates all we think and do is the thing that holds us back from seeing the truth of our journey. I can't say I fully understand where this is leading me, but the depth of the journey is undeniable. Ego. Don Miguel's Four Agreements has a section on "Don't take anything personally." What is that? Ego. It's our ego that gets our panties in a bunch; that has to retaliate or justify. It is our ego that puts us in conflict. Yet I find that if I can silence that inner ego voice, I can sit with the silence and see truth. It is only when I allow myself to be broken open, that I release myself from the tyranny of ego.

That brokenness is not an easy thing. To deny one's specialness...ouch. I was reminded of this recently and it hurt. But it was a good and necessary hurt that required me to sit with myself for a time. I learn a lot in those "sit with myself" times. It's easier to get busy and just shove things under the pile of our lives than to deal. And in dealing, to learn to release.

This is just the beginning of this leg of the journey. I'm sure there will be more to share as I walk the road and sit with myself on the things that come my way. I hope you'll find solace in your quiet times, learning to release your ego and be part of the Universal truth that is Spirit. We are all One. We are all a part of the greater whole. We are are all One.

Awen. Blessed Be!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spiritual But Not Religious

Greetings, Gentle Readers...

Today on Facebook (yes, I'm a FB junkie), a group in which I participate (Spiritual But Not Religious) posted a comment on being SNBR is being on the road between strongly held religious belief and atheism. I found this an interesting description. And it is mostly true. I don't know how I feel about the atheism part, but I do know folks for whom that is true.

For me? It's been such a journey. And I've chronicled most of it here. But if I may, I'd like to share that amazing journey with you.

As a child, my family went to Protestant churches. We stopped going when I was about nine years old. I think that for my parents, it became about how much money the churches needed and about how they struggled to put food on the table, clothes on our backs, and shelter over our heads. And I went for years without any spiritual or religious influence in my life at all. But I think for me, there was always that Spirit tug on my heart.

As a child, I had the ability to see spirits and sense paranormal "things." Over the years, that went away. I remember as a young child, watching out my window at night at the cemetery across the street and all of the activity that happened there. My house had two boy spirits that occupied it. We would talk and play. My "imaginary friends", mom called them. Shame I grew out of that and was brought kicking and screaming into "reality."

When we moved south as a teenager, I had already approached my dad about "religion." He gave me permission to check out whatever I wanted and offered to go with me to help me understand. He told me I could meet with pastors, priests, rabbis - no matter - to encourage me on that journey. (I don't think he expected it to lead me to where I am today!) But, as we moved to the Deep South, it was pretty obvious that everyone I knew was a Southern Baptist, Pentacostal, or some other conservative Christian. I wanted to fit in. So I became one, as well. And I lived that way for many years.

Even after I realized my sexual orientation, I tried to live the "Christian" life. What I found was, although I may have wanted them, they didn't want me. It was crushing. But in hindsight, it led me on the most wonderful spiritual journey!

I left the Christian church. Oh I tried to go back several times and every time I was shunned. I started looking into my ancestry. I found such interesting things to read. I looked into other religious thought and faiths. And what I found astounded me! So many of the "faiths" out there are similar in story! What a revelation! As I searched, I started to hear and feel that spiritual stirring in my heart again.

The energy that one feels from the heart of an old oak tree, the voice of the rocks, the whisper in the wind all speak to me. Interesting that the Christian bible says that if no one else worshiped, the rocks would cry out? I wonder in my heart of hearts if this is what the verse meant. I had a revelation! The rocks do cry out! Such wisdom in Creation. I found that female Diety had been worshiped for years and removed from religion by men in a patriarchal society. Oh my, I do have access to the female Divine! What freedom that brought!

So now, what is my journey? (And it is a journey.) I find myself drawn to Celtic paganism. I find spiritual strength and wisdom in all of Creation. I find comfort in Mother Earth. And I find love in the arms of Goddess.

Will this be the end of the journey? I certainly hope not! It is a thrill to see what each day brings. Join me in the journey and find your own spiritual place. You won't be disappointed!

Blessed Be!
And so it is!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A New Turn

Greetings Gentle Readers…

So much to share! As many of you regulars know, I have struggled with Fibromyalgia for several years. I’ve been forced to use a cane or walker quite often. And I find that so very disheartening. To have been an athlete and someone who was healthy and then to be put in a position of poor health, is depressing. And it has forced some serious soul searching.

I decided to take control again. Now, I know this is a long term commitment. I don’t have expectations of becoming the “old” me. But I do know that should I choose to continue on the path I’m on, I have no expectation of a productive life.

One of my church friends recommended a young yoga instructor. And I must say it was more than fortuitous! A chance comment to church friends that I wondered if yoga was the answer to my exercise needs and, voila! I now have a private restorative yoga instructor!

My concern with yoga was with the poses and not being able to maintain my balance. Also, from what I knew, my body was going to revolt when pushed to stretch those horribly tight muscles (or at least what passes for them). How in the world would I ever do yoga? Ah, the answer: restorative yoga!! All of the poses and stretches are supported. Blocks. Bolsters. Walls. Floors. No worries!!

So what would become of my great experiment?? OH. MY. GOODNESS! I am a different person just three weeks out from our first lesson. My body doesn’t ache nearly as badly. I feel much more energy and less fatigue. I’m enjoying my life more. I’ve made adjustments to my regular medication, cutting the amount in half. Yep, self-medicating but with years of knowledge on my body.

I also have been doing a good bit of reading. One of the sites I researched suggested a supplement called Resvertatrol. Some of the studies show a relationship between Fibromyalgia and magnesium shortages in the body. Hmmmmmm….. So I started taking the Resvertatrol twice a day. I have more energy than I ever thought possible. The nasty fatigue that accompanies Fibro flares is under control. I’ve even started walking some in the neighborhood with dogs in tow. How awesome is that?

I know I sound like a fundamentalist preacher on this stuff. I just can’t get over how differently I feel. The combination of gentle stretching and increasing my activity level has brought a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

The point of the post is two-fold:

1. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever give in. Search and research. Look for information on what happens in your life. Had I given up and accepted the fate that was taking over my life, I would have continued to curl up and fade away.

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Alternative treatments can be effective. One just must be a smart consumer. Do your homework. And reach out to the different. Try a new skill (yoga). Try a new mindset (meditation). Try a new diet and supplement regimen (Resertatrol).

My dear readers, check out your own life. Are you too busy? Are you ill? Do you not sleep well? I can suggest you slow down but I already hear how there are never enough hours in the day. It is, however, true. We must slow down and take care of ourselves. Our blessed Mother Earth, creator Goddess, has given us all we need to be healthy, happy and fulfilled.

Don’t you think it’s about time we took advantage of that power? I do. I am. I will.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Typical Day (Really?)

Another day. Another challenge.

This is my mantra day in and day out. Everything is a challenge. For those who don't have Fibromyalgia, let me let you in on how the days go by.

Pain. Yep it's everywhere and it's nowhere. It shows up one day in my shoulders and the next in my legs. There is no rhyme or reason to where, when or how bad it will be. So if you see me at the mall one day and using a walker or cane the next, it's not about attention or negativity. It's about making it through the day with whatever help is needed that day.

Forgetfulness: Yep. I have it. Folks with FMS call it "fibrofog." I know I've seen you before, but your name totally escapes me. I can be in the middle of a conversation and forget everything we just talked about. I don't remember words. Writing and speaking can be a huge challenge. I just try not to look stupid or embarrassed. But, when the fog hits, it's hard not to feel like both. Don't roll your eyes at me. Just help me. Throw me a bone. Fill in the blank.

Fatigue: Oh I've got that in spades. And I'm not tired. I'm exhausted. Just walking from the bed to the living room is exhausting. The chronic fatigue wears me out. So if you see me at the park and I "seem fine" I might just be having a good day. Trust me, the next day I might pay for that outing and not be able to get out of bed.

Insomnia: Uh huh. For hours I will lie awake wishing my mind and body would allow me to drift off to slumber land. If you see me on the computer at 3am, it's not because I'm a night owl. And it affects my chronic fatigue every day.

Muscle cramps: I have them every day. So don't be so jealous if I make time every week for a massage or yoga class. It is horribly painful to do, but it is a necessary evil to keep me walking and working.

Shaking: I do. And don't make the "alcoholic" jokes. They're not funny. And it's quite annoying to not be able to hold on to a coffee cup or straighten up the merchandise at work without knocking it all on the floor. Some days I can't even hold a pen or write, but I keep trying. Otherwise, life comes to a screeching halt.

If you're still reading, and I hope you are, this isn't so much a rant on Fibromyalgia. Hey, I get it. I have it. I live with it. I do my dead-level best every day. This is more a rant on the insensitivity of people. The jokes behind the back about the cane and walker, I hear 'em. The comments on how I'm fine one day and not the next, I know they're out there. The marks on my employment record because I must miss work with pain and exhaustion, I hate them.

I don't want to hear how a positive attitude makes it all better. It doesn't. Less stress? I could use that. Support? I could use that. Kindness. I really could use that.

So let's not judge til you walk a mile in someone's shoes, okay?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mother in the Morning

Greetings Gentle Readers...

I woke up this morning to such a beautiful sight. The dogwood trees in the neighborhood are blooming. It's so wonderful to drive down the street under the canopy of white and pink. There is a gentleness about a dogwood; a sense of joy and awe: the stark colors against the deep darkness of the tree trunk and branches.

The contrast speaks to my heart of the workings of our lives. Our base, our foundation, is established and solid. Its roots dig deep into the soil of our lives. And out of that root and soil come branches of life. Each branch springs from the root, a lesson learned. And at the end of the lesson, if we allow it to penetrate our spirit, springs the beauty of the flower. And the beauty of the flower, when brought into balance in our lives, brings the bright green leaves of wisdom.

When we go through difficult times, I dare say we rarely find a place of meditation and allow the lesson to go deep into our souls. I'm often guilty. But when I stop long enough to feel the breeze of change and the movement in my being of a branch coming forth, the lesson is always...always... worth the pain of the growing. The tree feels the pain of growth, as do we. We must but sit under the wisdom, allow our roots to go deep into the earth, and seek Mother Goddess.

So many lessons I've learned in this mindfulness. And so many have I repeated because I've allowed myself to get caught up in the emotions and not the quiet of the lesson.

I encourage you today to take time out of your busy schedule to sit under the dogwood. (For my northern family and friends, there's always the first crocus of spring!) Enjoy the beauty of the flower, but don't fail to touch the branches and feel the earth underneath you. It is all intertwined as a wonder to behold. A quiet lesson in life of the balance that is ours as we seek and honor our Mother.

Blessed Be, my friends. Blessed Be!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Random Thoughts...

Life gets so busy. And sometimes my thoughts are just random bullet points. So hard to find time to really think about things when life gets so busy. Here are a few of my bullet point thoughts:

Anyone else watch the meeting of the idiots on healthcare yesterday? Geez, what a bunch of morons. Everyone has their special project. They all want to protect their special interests. Nobody gives and inch. Complete political posturing. What a waste of time. First, the dems are trying to get something done for the American people (not unusual) and the reps are trying to stop it (another not unusual). I get bent when John McCain talks knowing how he's voted against every veteran's bill since he got there and against every good healthcare option. Ughh. I'm just tired of all of them, really.

Pitbulls. Come on, people, get a life. There are no BAD dogs, just BAD owners. Pits are wonderful dogs and love their people. Are they great for the first time dog owner? Probably not. But neither are lots of other breeds. Train them. Socialize them. They make wonderful companions. Every decade has had its pariah. GSDs, Dobies, Rots. No matter. Somebody's got to hate them. For pete's sake, get over it.

It's a shame to lose that wonderful trainer at SeaWorld. Agreed. But she knew the dangers. You're dealing with wild animals. Some of the responsibility lies, in my opinion, with SeaWorld for not removing that whale from its shows knowing its history of killing others. My heart goes out to her family and friends. But someone has to look at how this happened and take appropriate measures to protect the trainers.

Snowpocolypse. When El Nino occurs, we know this happens. The folks across the midwest and northeast are buried under feet of snow. My concern is with those who, thanks to our failing economy, cannot afford to heat their homes. The cold weather that comes with this thing is dangerous to those who cannot afford oil, gas or electricity. And we all know how sympathetic big corporations can be. Give us our money or freeze to death. It's just unreal. Prices are through the roof, and you can be sure the social security payments aren't keeping up with rising prices.

And speaking of social security, why do all these congress critters get their healthcare and pensions when the average American suffers. Seems to me something's wrong with that one. I say let's freeze their wages, make them pay for insurance, take money out for their "retirement", have them pay for their postage, cut their staffs, etc. to help out their constituents. It gets all up under my skin!

I could go on forever, but you have things to do. So, these are my thoughts today. Negative, yep. Fixable, yep. Let's see if anyone rises to the challenge to make things right, shall we?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Begin Again

Greetings and blessings, Gentle Readers...

Have you ever had a friend, co-worker or family member who was such a bouncing ball of emotion you got tired just listening to them? I have. It's just exhausting. I want to be a force of good and encouragement, but it seems as though I am spitting against the wind.

Here are some of the things I have learned and I wish the people in my life would find these too.

1. Life is transient, not fixed. I have to learn to roll with the punches. If I don't get this concept, life is up and down and crazy making. Every little thing sends me into a tailspin. By learning that I must adapt, I open myself up to living in balance every day. Balance means just that: Balance! If I am on an emotional roller coaster every day, I'm certainly not living in balance.

2. People are worth it. It can be so difficult for me to not blow folks off when they are a drain. I must find the middle ground of support and self-love. The Bible calls it casing pearls before swine. That's a bit dramatic, but we miss the greater lesson. If our words don't match our actions, we will never make an impact on others. And we are here to follow our truth and positively impact the lives of others. It's imperative that we LIVE our journey. That will make a greater impact than all the words that flow from our mouths.

3. The journey is our own. We are responsible for our own spiritual journey. I cannot put off my lack of spirituality on what happens in life. The journey is there and it is up to me to find the path. All things have a spiritual base. Everything from the rocks on the ground to the birds in the sky are spirit. One can learn much from just sitting under an old tree. I must be attune to Spirit to understand spirit. It's not about worshiping trees. It's about being respectful to the wisdom of Nature.

4. I am co-creator with Goddess of my reality. If I am created by Goddess, to be in the image of Goddess, then I am Goddess. I carry the totality of Goddess in me. If I am negative and focusing on ill-health, ill-wealth, I am creating that reality. If I focus on positivity, whole health, sufficiency, I am creating that in my life. It is up to me to co-create that life and path that is mine.

These are truths that have been given to me through years of searching; walking the path on the journey to spiritual freedom. I'm not saying I'm perfect at it. Far from it. But I know the path and I make adjustments, re-focus every moment, to be true to who I am created to be.

May you find your true path.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Way My Mind Works

The Way My Mind Works...

Greetings, Gentle Readers...

Usually, I try to share some great thought that's hit my crazy mind. But today is quite different. Call it a rant, if you will. But, I've had a big revelation this week and it has me quite concerned. Here's what has happened.

I was called for Jury Duty this week. I have no real problem with that. It is part and parcel of having a "free" society of laws. I never mind doing my civic duty. And I admit that I have a somewhat idealistic view of our legal system. I'm not pollyanna about it, by any means. But, I have a great respect for our system of laws and courts.
Okay, that being said, I guess I always thought that there was a system of promotions within law enforcement that rewarded length of service and experience. I thought wrong! Of course, I'm not going to give you great details about the case we decided. That wouldn't be right. But, let me tell you what I learned about our local law enforcement.

In this case, a number of officers testified. There must have been a half dozen. That included a detective. A 25 year old detective. Here's what I learned: One only has to attend academy and complete a 40 hour course to become a detective. Now, in my mind, I would think an officer would have to put in a number of years before being considered to take the detective test. There was one officer called who had 20 some odd years on the force. Was he a detective? Nope. But this 25 year old, with none to little "street" experience, passed a 40 hour course so he was a detective. Huh? Did I miss something????

Alright, let's talk about the CSI officer. Same thing. He took a 40 hour course. Now he's supposed to be an evidence expert. Double huh? This officer couldn't answer some simple questions about the evidence. And here's another added "huh?" The detective didn't keep or test all of the evidence found. He made a judgment call on what he thought was viable and what wasn't. Geez, I'd want all of it tested. Give me something!

So, what was the great lesson learned? Anybody who can read and write can become a detective or a CSI officer without so much as a lick of real world experience or time in service. Does that seem wrong to you? Or am I just spitting in the wind on this one?

It just doesn't give me a lot of confidence in our local law enforcement. (sigh)