dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
Moments of Devastating Beauty

The sun is setting. The spring has been so cold and drawn out this year that the onset of summer feels sudden. The air's still warm tonight, but there's a breeze tossing the leaves and my hair. Someone's barbequing down the street; the air smells of campfire.

I can close my eyes and be at the campfire. We're far enough from the light pollution to really see the stars, far and cold. The lake is on one side, the tents and cabins on the other. By the light of the fire, all that's visible are the first two rings of log benches circling the fire pit.

There are about a dozen drummers. They aren't all very good, but the ones who are pull the others along. I'm sitting three rows back from the fire, wrapped in my black cloak and my anonymity. The drummers aren't all great, but the ones who are pull at me, make me need to move. The drums are like another heartbeat. I wait as others get up and start swaying. Finally, I drop my self-consciousness and my cloak and I move to the edge of the fire. The flames are on one side, the drums on the other. I look at the stars.

I dance first for the stars, because they don't care. I reach for them and sway.

Around the fire, other dancers shimmy their hips. They bend and twist. Their long skirts and scarves flicker like another circle of flames.

The fire makes us all too hot, and we begin to remove clothing. It isn't a striptease – we shed shirts like dead petals.

My hips circle to the rhythm effortlessly, mindlessly. The world is reduced to the fire and the drums and the dancers. We are all entranced together.

The natural flow of the dancing takes me around to the other side of the fire. The lake is on one side, the fire and drums on the other. There's only the dark water, the fire, and the beat in my hips and hands.

The drummers falter, and my body slows as they work to bring the beat back together. I look up at the stars. All the dancers and drummers together are still only a tiny spark in the night.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
Monday morning. Breakfast isn't until 8 AM, and I packed most of my scattered sarongs and glittery bits the night before, but I'm up before 7 AM anyway. I leave all of my cabin mates mumbling in their sleep - they all made it back to the cabin last night; some for the first time all weekend - and grab my towel and head for the swimming dock. It's empty; the first time in years that I have gotten the dock to myself.

I sit for awhile, wearing only my cloak, and watch the mist race across the surface of the lake and the sun reach above the tree tops. I probably look meditative.

When I finally drop the cloak and slip down the ladder - fast; if you stop halfway, the cold water on your ass or breasts may convince you not to get in at all - it's simply because I can't sit still a moment longer. I do a shallow but rapid breast stroke back and forth to warm up and to out-swim thoughts of Pagan politics and bad pick-up lines.

It takes a dozen short laps, but I finally relax into the water and the trees and the sky and the mountains.

Finally, I get cold. After floating for so long, my body feels heavy under the relentless downward pull of the air. I feel like I weigh twice as much when I pull myself up the ladder as I did when I went down it.

Friday night. This is my twelve time at this Gathering, making me an old-timer here. It's like a family reunion; a very dysfunctional family reunion. It's the fourth year that this camp has been at this site and the paths, lit by long strings of Christmas lights that twist off into the woods to temples and lairs and docks and grottoes, are familiar. I even remember some of the tricky sections where the roots seem determined to twist the ankle of anyone not paying enough attention.

Saturday. We're still arriving, mentally and spiritually, to this place out of place. I hang out in the shade, too lazy to go to any workshops. I catch up on gossip and share some dirt of my own.

I envy the person I was my first year at this place, when I arrived alone amongst the Pagans as a naive seventeen year old and found a sense of community. Some part of me is still that sweet and naive.

A new friend calls me "Snow White" and teases me that little birds sing just for me and squirrels frolic at my feet. I think of a certain Snow White scene from "Shrek 3".

I say something a little nasty about a difficult member of the community and get rewarded with a big laugh. It's funny because it's true, and because it's sweet little me that said it.

Don’t mess with Snow White.

Saturday night. Or Sunday morning; I'm not wearing a watch. There's a fire, hot in the cool night, warding off the damp and the exhaustion. The drummers are maintaining a beat well despite scotch and wine and beer. I dance in the circle of dirt between drums and fire until I'm too hot, then I remove my shirt and dance some more. My hips know the beat my hands can never quite find. All around, the shapes of other dancers and the drummers' hands in the firelight. Through half-closed eyes, I see the half-round moon rise above the trees and shimmer on the lake.

As the night wears on, some of the drummers leave the fire, and the less experienced drummers left stumble more often. I begin to feel the ache of my legs from the length of time I've been dancing. An hour, two hours? I've lost track. I trance out and return over and over, never quite reaching the other state but always close. My body flirts with the drummers, trying to re-create the rhythm when they falter.

There's need and desire in the night, and it isn't all mine.

A young woman - 21, she says - with a carrying voice and too much to drink tries to lose her virginity. She pursues one man for several hours, flattering and teasing awkwardly, even as he tells her over and over that he is not going to sleep with her. He tries to spare her feelings, but she simply does not stop until he actually leaves the fire on an invented errand. He leaves her on the lap of a sweetly monogamous man who tries to soothe her ego only to find himself on the receiving end of her attentions. He talks about his wonderful girlfriend a lot.

Two people at the far side of the fire dance around each other, gradually becoming intertwined. They leave for the shadows before the rating reaches X, though she is topless.

An intoxicated pirate rawly propositions a friend. It seems that he'll take any to his bed, but none seem eager; we laugh at him in the morning, both for his behaviour and for his well-deserved hangover.

Sunday morning. Around the campfire, people cradle their coffees and their heads. I get a few (mostly mock) glares for my cheer. The young woman from the night before pokes at the embers and casually drops that she did get someone to bed the night before, though she doesn't say who. I fill a large garbage bag with cans and bottles and carry it to the main lodge. I pass a cabin mate who is heading to bed.

Monday morning. The closing ritual is simple and bittersweet, and followed by a whirl-wind of packing up our own cabins and the rest of the site and trying to say good-bye to as many people as possible. Garbage and recycling gets gathered up and all the Christmas lights and tent decorations are bundled into plastic bins. From magical space to just another children's camp in just a couple of hours.

Some of us caravan off site and meet at a White Spot restaurant in the nearest town. Over burgers and milk shakes we start processing, decompressing, and planning for next year.

It takes time to pull myself out of the Gathering mind space. My spirit feels heavy under the relentless pull of the real world. I feel twice as heavy coming out as I did going in.
dreaminghope: (Dancing Cat)
Lament of the Conservative Pagan

Pagans are socialists, communists, and more;
We're tree-hugging hippies who'll sleep on the floor.
But I wanna know who made the decree
That Pagans vote Green or for the NDP.

I'm a proud ol' Pagan;
But I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade.

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
Not all Pagans have a leftward sway

They say we're all poly, and maybe that's true,
But I'm not poly 'nough to sleep with you.
They say all Pagans do an alphabet of kink, (b&d, s&m, c&b…)
But hearing about it makes my privates shrink.

I'm a conservative Pagan;
I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade.

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
Not every Pagan is an easy lay

They say we're all flaky, but that's hardly fair,
Some of us are nutty, but see if they care.
History and facts are a terrible bore,
A made up history is much less of a chore.

I'm a conservative Pagan;
I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade.

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
A little studin' and learnin' wouldn't go astray

I'm not saying that your beliefs are bad;
But mine are better and yours are a fad.

I'm a conservative Pagan;
I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
You don't need to f* on the first of May.
dreaminghope: (Waterbaby)
I suppose it started with Cora. As the Friday set-up of the biggest event of my Pagan year proceeded magically smoothly, Cora wandered up the path to the Temple where I was contemplating the lights that had to be strung back down the path.

It was her first year at the Gathering for Life on Earth. It was her first experience with the Pagan community. She was there alone. She was completely my opposite in all those things. I decided to play "adopt a newbie", and get some help with my lighting task at the same time. Cora, Jeff, and I strung lights for half an hour or so. When we were done, I think Cora was relieved to be dragged around the site and used in our opening ritual rehearsal. It can be hard to be new in such a tight-knit community.

This was my eleventh Gathering. I've gone every year since I was seventeen and had to have my parents sign a consent form. I'm definitely an old-timer in that little community; we could only think of three or four people who've been going as long and as consistently as I have. This year, I felt all those years as I guided Cora around and kept having reasons to tell stories about past Gatherings.

"At my first Gathering, I decided to take advantage of the clothing-optional option. I was laying on the docks feeling very brave because I was topless. Then Jay walks up. Jay's much older then I, male, overweight, and completely naked. Jay decides to make me feel welcome in the community with a little conversation. Now, picture this carefully: I’m laying down, propped up on my elbows. He is standing. It felt like the longest conversation I'd ever had."

"Let me tell you about why they don't have divided Men's and Women's Mysteries anymore. At my first Gathering, the women finished their ritual on time. They went to the fire pit and started the chant that was supposed to call the men down from their ritual. And we chanted and drummed, and drummed and chanted: Pan, Odin, Baphomet, Cerrnunos, Osiris. After twenty minutes, we moved closer to the men’s area to try to get their attention. And we chanted and drummed, and drummed and chanted: Pan, Odin, where are the men? Where are the me-e-e-en?. It was about forty-five minutes of constant chanting. And that's when they stopped doing the Mysteries."

It was my favourite Gathering so far, and I was deeply honoured to share with Cora and some new folks from my own Tribe the kinds of moments that were highlights for me in past years.

We did the opening ritual. I'd run one opening ritual before, in my third year. My tribe did me proud this year too. The lines were loud and clear. The drumming was energetic. That magic happened: as the spirals of people coiled around each other, the chant spontaneously became a call and response that echoed through the field: All life! / One tribe!

Around the campfire, the drummers were going, and we chanted (we all come from the Goddess, and to Her we shall return; like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean…) as [livejournal.com profile] misselaineeous danced topless, firelight and moonlight. She was a beautiful Goddess, with the fire before her, the lake behind her, and the drum and the chant moving through it all.

I partied in the forest, in our Grotto. I sang with James to The Last Saskatchewan Pirate and kicked up dust doing kicks to the chorus. I taught Cora how to dance with her hips. I drank of Deb's strawberry vodka, which is simply the most heavenly beverage ever. I served out tequila shots.

I floated naked in the lake, watching dragonflies and damselflies chase and mate in the sun.

I listened while the elders of my community gossiped. Prudence calls the famous Starhawk "Mimi". She also knows the dirtiest, filthiest songs, and is very willing to sing them in exchange for sangria. And she reportedly knows 350 verses to That Old Time Religion, though she only sang about a dozen before we ran out of sangria to bribe her with.

We've watched Ryan grow from a bump to a very sweet and bright seven year old. [livejournal.com profile] xtalforge gave him a piggyback ride, after Ryan stole his sunglasses. As they trotted back across the field to us, Ryan let go to push the huge sunglasses up his little face. [livejournal.com profile] xtalforge said: "You should hang on! I'm not very reliable." For some reason, that struck [livejournal.com profile] edableme as so funny that she ended up spitting lemonade all over the people opposite her at the table.

I got to see wonderful people I see all-too-rarely outside of the Gathering, such as [livejournal.com profile] gerimaple. And I got to hang with my fellow Twinkies – we had t-shirts and everything!

I wish to publically thank my wonderful opening ritual participants, most of whom who also slaved away to load and unload the truck at both ends of the Gathering, and did more then their share of set-up and take-down: [livejournal.com profile] xtalforge, [livejournal.com profile] misselaineeous, [livejournal.com profile] cinnamonsqueak, [livejournal.com profile] bob_lazar, [livejournal.com profile] edableme, [livejournal.com profile] fruitkakechevy, [livejournal.com profile] grayson100, [livejournal.com profile] grinningthefool, [livejournal.com profile] rythos42, [livejournal.com profile] straw_berry_red, [livejournal.com profile] tareija, [livejournal.com profile] vcooke, [livejournal.com profile] paganjoy, Jeff, and Jamie.

I give up: there's no way to effectively summarize this magical weekend.

It was beautiful.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
Saturday dawned clear, with a red glow around the city's skyline. I know exactly how it started because I was there, drumming on a beach at five in the morning.

Every year, as close to the Summer Solstice as we can manage it, my immediate and extended spiritual family gathers for a night of junk food and caffeine, followed by sunrise drumming and ending with a homemade breakfast. I was cursing my past self at dawn, as she is suspected of having invented this tradition many years ago.

The drumming is an act of unfaith: Maybe the sun won't rise after its shortest nap of the year if we aren't there to wake it up.

Luckily, our skill does not determine the sun's fate. If it did, the world would be a dark and cold place. Though we have some very talented drummers amongst us, there are a few of us (me) who are rhythm-challenged. While Russ is going ta-ta-taka-taka-ta-taka-ta-taka-ta-ta, I have trouble with ta-ta-ta-ta. I'm better with less sleep. On the beach, I managed to follow along for whole minutes at a time; that's a reason to be proud of myself, unfortunately.

The rest of the event is an ongoing act of self-torture in the name of community building. Up to eight sleep-deprived people yielding knives and hot pans in a small kitchen at six in the morning can get interesting. The "extended family" quickly learns to hide elsewhere until the food emerges from the chaos. Now that I am fully awake, the whole thing seems like a disaster waiting to happen, but the only casualty was the first batch of waffle batter, which resulted in a soggy crêpe thing.

By Saturday afternoon, after the last departure, Russ and I find that we've acquired some chocolate sprinkles, two cans of whipped cream, and a bag of dill pickle chips. The only non-food "left-behind" was an orange Starbucks mug of uncertain origin and contents.*

I had an accidental nap yesterday afternoon, to my dismay. I don't bounce up after getting up at four in the morning the way I used to. The sacrifice was ultimately worthwhile: the sun rose again. I want to take some credit, for it was a particularly beautiful sunrise.

*I get the most interesting left-behinds from my events. Past events have resulted in the temporary acquisition of a box of dice, a very nice bra, a pair of glittery horns, a strip of blue fabric of uncertain origin, a cardboard exclamation mark attached to a headband, a pile of Mardi Gras beads, and other interesting bits and pieces.
dreaminghope: (Firelight - Cinnamonsqueak)
Does anyone believe purely?

I am a person of confused faith. I believe and I don't, simultaneously. I live well with the contradiction, most of the time, but I look with awe at people whose faith seems so pure and untainted by doubt, confusion and internal inconsistencies.

I don't admire fanatics and extremists; they are more about the politics of inclusion and exclusion then about the basics of most religions (i.e., love, respect, worship, etc.). Those who inspire me are those of quieter beliefs, such as a Buddhist nun, an earnest priest, and those magical people that just seem purely on their path (which may or may not correspond with a recognized religion).

I believe that there's something out there (agnosticism) and that the universe is a miraculous and fabulous thing (pantheism), but I prefer that my faith have a firmer context and that it come with a community. I chose (and still choose) Paganism as a result. I find many of the rituals beautiful and spiritually touching, but I walk through them without believing that the structure is necessary in any objective way. It is only subjective. The pieces of the ritual are done that way and in that order so that we are all in the same place together, because there are psychological benefits to structure and repetition and because a group needs to have symbols and stories in common. The actual structure chosen is, for me, irrelevant, except in that it doesn't offend me and does appeal to my aesthetic sense.

For me, rituals that matter create connections to people and to the divine. Their format and structure doesn't matter, but I act as though they matter, because that's important to creating the connection. Though I would sometimes like to have pure belief and unquestioning faith, what I have instead is functionally just as good: the ability to act "as if" I believed. If I go into a ritual with an open mind and I say the words, dance the steps and sing the chants as if I believed in their power absolutely, they become powerful for me, and I become a part of the group that believes, or, at least, acts as if it believes.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
I've started the packing process, and I was looking at my collection of Pagan books the other day, wondering what to do with some of them. There's some classics and other texts I use frequently enough that they are worth keeping, but that certainly isn't true of the whole collection.

I have ended up with a few of the worst Pagan books in recent history; a collection of fluffiness, historical errors, and bad writing. And there's a fair number of books on my shelf that are merely irrelevent to me or that I have gotten all I need out of them. If I sell them all to one of the metaphysical used book stores, I can use the money and shelf space to acquire a few quality texts I've been lusting over.

That said, I feel a little conflicted about selling my examples of bad Pagan writing. The collection has value as humour, certainly, but more importantly, if I sell these books, there will be one more affordable copy of each book out in the world, influencing people. For example, I currently use one book as an excellent example of why editors are important and how bad Pagan writing and thinking can be. If I sell it, someone may buy it, take it seriously, and that is a disservice to the Pagan community at large.

I may print up "warning labels" to include in the worst of the books to assuage my conscience. Sort of like the warnings on cigarettes: "This book may cause fuzzy thinking and strange beliefs about history. Not recommended for the gullible or the naive. Take only with a grain of salt."
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
Today we had a beautiful park ritual by [livejournal.com profile] cinnamonsqueak (in the gorgeous summer-like weather), which reminded me about how much I have to be grateful for and how much I like myself (something all too few people can say), and how much I love being with these people. I feel very appreciative and appreciated. I love that ED says she always feels better after spending time with me, no matter how bad her day/week/month is going: that made me feel great! And I loved hearing other people say good things about themselves and each other.

It was very beautiful and touching; thank you [livejournal.com profile] cinnamonsqueak!


Mar. 17th, 2005 06:58 pm
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
I tried taking the Pagan type test, and it made me do a tie-breaker question. I came up tied between Shamanic and Eclectic; neither actually seems right. Of course, they seemed to be missing some really important Pagan types, including non-Catholic Judeo-Christian Pagan combinations, Jungian Pagans, Pantheistic Pagans, folk magic "Pagans", New Age Pagans, Monoistic Wiccans (or maybe I'm splitting hairs now), etc.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
OK, so I'm working away on my book a bit today, after having left it aside for way too long. I had this piece on the theme of "messy spirituality" all written in my head at one point, but I seem to have lost bits of it, having not written it down in any sort of timely manner. So, the part I've got at this point is below. If anyone wants to comment, maybe that'll jog my memory as to what else I wanted to say here.

One of the purposes of religion is to explain an infinitely complicated world. Using stories, symbols and rituals, we simplify things so that the universe can be understood, and our place in it can become clear.

But the universe is not small or simple. It is ancient, and huge, and unimaginably varied and complicated. And really we have no idea what part humans have in this great story.

I think we should challenge ourselves to develop a messy religion. Let’s try to avoid creating symbols for things we can experience directly. Let’s try to imagine the whole universe, in its infinite glory and with its infinite variety. Let’s learn and incorporate what we learn into our rituals. Let’s learn even more, and re-write our rituals from scratch. Let’s use all our senses and all our imagination. Let’s remind ourselves over and over that we are small. Let’s challenge ourselves every time we start making the world a simple place.
dreaminghope: (Labyrinth)
Last night, Silver Spiral ran our first "public" ritual in quite some time. It was Fringe's Imbolc. I conclude that it went well.

The labyrinth was even more beautiful then I had imagined, thanks to Russ' help with the placement of electrical cords and everyone's help untangling the Christmas lights and crawling on the floor taping them down. I hope Cin's digital pictures came out OK so they can be posted (hint-hint). And we only lost five or so bulbs - a couple during set-up, a couple during the ritual itself, and one during clean-up - not bad, I figure, for delicate bulbs being strung out on the floor and having people walk right next to them.

The crowd was pretty small. I think we counted twenty people outside of Silver Spiral and those we had recruited to help. But it turned out to be almost the perfect size for the space involved, and it meant that the labyrinth walks didn't take forever.

The room was nice and dramatically dark for the parts where it was supposed to be, the labyrinth shone, the drums echoed beautifully, the chanting was gorgeous, and I think the energy flowed beautifully.

There were some rough spots, but nothing the participants probably really noticed. Certainly nothing that really hurt the ritual. And we all recovered nicely from some unintended dramatic pauses.

The funny thing to me is that I don't think people quite knew that the ritual was over. The problem with running an unconventional ritual is that people aren't quite sure what's going to happen next, so they are afraid to assume anything. Even when we turned on the lights, people were sort of standing there, unsure of what to do. Since we had intended to keep everyone on their toes a little by deliberately not following the normal "script", I take the still silence at the end as a sign of success, at least in that goal. No one really moved until someone who was in the ritual spotted Lisa, a late arrival, lurking in the kitchen window, squealed and sprinted out of the ritual area. Though it wasn't quite the end we had planned, it was effective!

Silver Spiral folks: Did anyone get any feedback? I would love to know what people thought of the ritual. Did they "get it"? Was it too weird and abstract? Not weird enough? If you got any feedback, good or bad, please post it so I can work the suggestions/thoughts into future rituals... I've got ideas (... be afraid, be very afraid...).

And, there was drumming and dancing and catching up with people I don't get to see very often, like Alex, the atheist doctor of philosophy who likes hanging out with Pagans, including participating in rituals, because we are more fun. So I call the evening a success.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)

I cannot record it all. It is impossible to summarize the whole experience. But there are some random memorable moments here. )

There's too much! I'll have to process some more and maybe add more later.

dreaminghope: (Firelight)
I am a little overwhelmed by the task I have set myself: summarizing one of the biggest events of my year. Every year I go to a long-weekend Pagan camp, The Gathering for Life on Earth. This was my ninth Gathering. Every one of them has changed me in some way; some ways have been more subtle then others. I haven't really processed this weekend yet.

My weekend - a general overview )
This is going to take a few entries and possibly a few days... I have a lot to remember and process.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
Another summer is coming. The signs are all around.

Last week we changed to cotton sheets (from flannel and jersey).

On Friday, we went out for ice cream because it was sunny and warm, not just because we were craving ice cream.

Yesterday I sat outside all afternoon without a jacket.

Soon the mornings will be warm enough that I will switch to my light summer robe and store my cozy flannel robe away for the season.

Soon there will be iced coffees, bar-b-ques, dinner salads, the Farmer's Market, sun dresses and tank tops.

I am actually not a huge summer fan, but I love watching and participating in the changes of seasons. I am fascinated by the multitude of signs that the wheel of seasons is always changing and never stops and is never quite the same. It is a wonder to me to notice how this summer is different from the last one, even as many of the markers are the same.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
For a couple of years now I have been contemplating how Paganism as a religion relates to its environment.

I have a project I want to get going on, and I am hoping that by putting it in writing for others to witness, I will actually begin it.

I would like my own faith to become more grounded in the time and place I am actually in. I believe that one of the best things about Paganism is that it is a religion that does not dismiss the realities of the physical body and its environment as a test for the afterlife or a distraction from the work of the spirit or mind.

So, I want to learn more about where I actually am, including the general weather patterns, the watershed, the source of my food, the markers of seasonal change in this actual year, etc., so I can localize my faith and interact more fully with the environment I am living in.
dreaminghope: (Labyrinth)
I love mornings in spring. Right now, soft light is coming through my window and I can hear a bird chirping away at the day.

I get up earlier then I have to most weekdays in order to have this time to cuddle the kitten, fool around on LJ and check my email. I find this grounding and the solitude before my people-filled work day can be a sanity saver.

This morning I found myself thinking about a conversation about polyamory I had with Jamey on the weekend. She was talking about how the concept had seemed foreign to her when she first started talking to Russ about it, and now, after living with our polyamorous relationship for over a year, it seems natural and normal. I told her that I never really thought polyamory seemed like a strange idea.

As soon as I heard about the concept of polyamory, it "clicked" for me.

Here's my thoughts as to why: I have always believed in abundance. I believe there is enough in the world. This faith has influenced me in many areas.

I am a political lefty because I believe there's enough [food, shelter, security, money], we just need to learn to share it out better, across people, across the world.

I am a Pagan because I believe there are an abundance of right ways to contact Divinity and that there is enough Divinity for everyone to have a piece of Grace in them.

I am poly because I believe there's enough love for everyone. Sometimes we just need to learn to share better.
dreaminghope: (Labyrinth)
It seems to be all about choices right now.

I need to choose between two applicants for the one job opening I have. They are both friendly, nice, educated with work experience. They both already know and love our products. I am going to need a second interview and my external sales manager's help to choose between them.

I also need to choose how much to help a struggling employee. Whereas the Big Boss used to manage this man himself, he is giving up. He has handed management of the employee over to me. Though this team member is really a nice guy, he just isn't good at some very important parts of this job. So, I try to choose how much energy and work I want to put into making this guy work for the company, and at what point I am ready to give up and let the company "let him go".

I hate these decisions as they directly affect so many lives beyond mine. The applicants, the employee, the other team members, the other Omega employees who work with members of my team, all affected by my choices.

There's more personal choices coming up now too. Duke's wonderful Imbolc ritual called for choosing something to give up, something to have a victory over. I chose "insecurity", as I think I am undervalueing myself at work and at other times as well. I think I need to remember that my worth is about who I am, what I know, what I can do, and has no relation to other people's worth. My value, or lack thereof, is not measured in comparison to other people. That is hard to remember, especially during crisis, when I need that knowledge the most. But I choose to be secure in my own worth, even when faced with challenges to that belief.

The Imbolc ritual also called for us to choose goals or positive things to bind to ourselves. I wrote "CONNECT", "LOVE", "REST" and "PRAY" on the paper.

I want to choose to connect more often to the people, places and things that really matter to me. I also want to choose to connect more frequently to the world. To connect is to be present; to be in the moment, in the emotion, in the real space. It is to not check out or space out; it is to really listen and then to speak from truer places inside. It doesn't have to be about people I love either; I want to connect more at work too.

I want to choose to love more. I want to express the love I already have for individuals more often. I want to choose to act from love more often. I want to learn how to love more and better. I also want to enjoy more sex.

I want to choose rest. I need a vacation. I have three weeks of vacation time saved up at this point. I need to take some of it soon, or risk getting sick again from exhaustion.

I want to pray. I choose to have faith, and express this through a variety of means of prayer. I choose to connect with the world through spirit as well as through the physical.

These are, in some ways, harder choices. For one thing, they haven't been forced upon me. I could ignore the choices I made in the ritual, however sacred those choices may be, and no one would force me to act. At work, people will force me to choose and will even assist me in the choices. In the sacred choices, I am choosing for myself and must act of my own accord, with my own willpower and energy being the only driving forces.

These are also more abstract choices. Applicant A or Applicant B is a concrete, real choice. To act from insecurity or to act from security is a different choice. I will make a plan to make these choices more concrete... tomorrow.

Now I will forget that I have choices waiting to be made. Instead, I will choose to love Russ (and hopefully connect with him too).


dreaminghope: (Default)

February 2014



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