dreaminghope: (Flying)
The season is really getting started now. Friday evening was kiting, Saturday morning was slope soaring, Saturday afternoon was kiting, Sunday morning was slope soaring, and Sunday afternoon was... first flights! All weekend, Russ and I, and sometimes Craig, were with the new batch of P1 and P2 students for iParaglide. This weekend, they were doing their first training sessions and their first flights ever.

The wind was a bit wild on Saturday morning for their first hill training, so Russ, Craig, and I ended up packing our wings up and spending the morning helping the first-timers. When the wind is higher and is cross to the hill, there's a lot more work involved in setting up and keeping everyone safe. I spent my morning running around, cheerfully ordering people around ("Mind that tip! Pull the brakes! Step back! Step forward!") and cheering people on as they made their attempts. This became a bit of an issue when I got home (late) to run a Beltane ritual that was also the rehearsal for the Gathering's main ritual and ended up bossing all my friends around too. Luckily, they took it well ("You ordering us around is kind of hot, actually...").

Sunday morning's wind was lovely: laminar and just the right speed. I helped with set-ups a lot again, but also did four of my own practice launches. I'm still building my confidence, so Russ called the commands* for me twice, Dion did it once, and the last one I did it all on my own.

At about 4 that afternoon, the whole class was on the mountain launch at Mt. Woodside. There were seven people with our school doing their first flights, plus me doing my twelfth. Russ opted to do the driving instead, as his knee was bugging him, and he took some video and photos too.

I was the last of the class to launch, so I got to watch every one of the first flights. They were a remarkable group: every single launch went smoothly (no aborts) and we cheered each other on. One student sang a bit of an aria for us when he was at 3000 feet. Even though we were mostly strangers to each other before the weekend began, there was a great sense of support and camaraderie. Dion, the senior instructor, sets a good learning environment: he is very energetic and motivating and gets everything going fast until each student steps up for their first mountain launch. At that moment, he slows everything down, triple-checks everything, and calmly inspires the student. You can hear him a little bit in the following video of my launch:

Shaking off the cobwebs on Vimeo.


Sixteen seconds from ground to air. It wasn't a perfect launch, but it was a good one - quite possibly my best yet. You can see that I bring my wing up evenly, I stay low to keep the wing loaded, I keep my arms up to let the wing fly at its best, I turn my head to look at each wing tip to check that it's in the correct position, and I keep my legs pumping the whole time to reach launch speed. Solid. Next up: doing it on the mountain without anyone else calling for me.

My wing and I turn beautifully together. The Icaro Instinct tends to turn quite flat anyway (doesn't lose a lot of altitude with each turn), and I have gotten pretty good at weight shifting, which means smoother turns than pulling more brake. I remember how nervous I was to weight-shift on my first flight: even if you know that you are safely strapped in, leaning way over to one side feels very weird until you've done it a couple of times. You can see a bit of me weight-shifting and turning in this video (please excuse the music; I woke to the chorus of this song on Monday morning and couldn't resist using it to cover up the wind noises that dominated in both video clips):

Flying on Beltane on Vimeo.


On the LZ, one of the apprentice instructors, Degas, was doing the landing coaching. I am getting closer to not needing a coach, but it was still very reassuring to have a voice on the radio reminding me of every step. I was anticipating each movement, so I was able to respond very quickly. During the debriefing, he said: "It was like having a radio control paraglider: as soon as I would say something, she was doing it." I got a high-five from Dion for keeping my feet during my landing (I used to stop moving my legs so instead of walking off the momentum of the landing, I'd fall to my knees a lot).

Overall, a fantastic weekend of shaking off the winter dust and getting my body and head back into flying. Hopefully both Russ and I will be flying again this coming weekend.

* The launch commands: Ready? 3-2-1-tension - release and stabilize - load and run.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
It happens every time I organize an event, even if it's just for the seven other members of Silver Spiral: I spend the week before thinking about it constantly. Until the ritual is designed, I obsess about it, and in between attempts to write it, I meal-plan and write shopping lists and schedule when I'll go to various stores to get speciality ingredients.* On the day of the ritual, I turn into a little whirlwind. Last Sunday, Imbolc, Russ was startled several times when I suddenly squeaked and ran out of the room, yelling "the timer!", "the bread!", or "the ginger beer!" over my shoulder.

Even after my guests arrive, I am rushing around, setting up the altar, assigning parts, getting drinks, finding cat-free places for jackets and bags. During the ritual, I'm trying to remember what comes next. Then, ritual over, the true chaos kicks in as everyone looks at me and says "how can I help with dinner?"

Last Sunday, the meal plan was simple: pasta with sauce. Of course, the pasta and sauce were both from scratch. Russ browned chicken and supervised stove-related items while a couple of people chopped veggies at one end of the table and a couple more made pasta for the first time, under the supervision of our resident home economics teacher. I fetched and gathered and assigned and set the table and opened wine... and in the midst of all of it, I suddenly feel the tension drain out of me and I remember: This is what it is all about. It is all about this steamy kitchen full of people laughing and talking and making dinner together. It's all about this family of spirit sitting down together with mismatched napkins and glasses of juice and wine. It's all about seeing everyone's face when my sister announces her pregnancy.**

It's all about needing a bigger dining room table soon.

* Speciality ingredients tend to be a must when feeding a group requires or has required in the recent past: no meat, no dairy, no nuts, no onions, no garlic, no gluten, and no alcohol.

** Russ and I had to keep that secret for six weeks, and it was hard. Now that she's put it on her FaceBook, it must be completely fair game.
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: (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: (Firelight - Cinnamonsqueak)
The next post in my many posts about renovating my house simply must be one about my family and community, without whom nothing would be done.

I cannot believe how much time, effort and energy people have been putting in. I am deeply touched and incredibly grateful for all of it. I cannot express how awed and humbled I am by the work other people have been willing to offer. I had workcrews of up to nine people in my house at a time, all putting in amazing efforts.

Though I've tried to thank everyone as we go, and I plan on thanking everyone again at the house warming, here's my list of heroes* so far, in no particular order:

My heroes )

Please, please tell me if I forgot anyone or any major tasks. I really want to remember everyone's hard work and I want to keep a record of how far this house has come and what it took to do it.

A huge, public thank you to all these people. I expect there will be more thank you lists before this is all done.

*Please don't hate me if I forgot to thank you for something, but please do let me know so I can keep records of the work that went into this house.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
Good weekend, but crazy.

I honestly don't remember Friday night. No idea what I did.

Saturday: Cleaning, packing, baking. Then off to Topless Wish Faeries, which was wonderful and fun and magical and exhausting. Maybe more on that later in its own post. Then to Illuminaires after that, until way later then I should've stayed up.

Sunday: Cleaning at Shannon and Dallas' old place. Their new place is gorgeous - congratulations guys! Then Silver Spiral Lammas in the evening.

Had a little nervous breakdown on Sunday night, just getting overwhelmed with all the moving, Gathering and work related things that have to get done in a very short amount of time. Russ calmed me down, and we got a lot done Monday night, which helped a lot. I also managed to get some Gathering stuff done, so everything remaining on that is actually dependent on other people finishing their stuff first. Hopefully that'll all get done on Wednesday night.

Just an apology, partially in advance: I'm not on LJ much these days. I read about four days worth of posts today, but hardly commented on anything. Then I'm away for the long weekend, and my home web access moves to the new house on August 5th, while the computer may not move for a couple of weeks. All in all, I won't be a good LJ friend for the next couple of weeks.

OK, I'm going back to packing.
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!
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: (Giggle)
The ritual went well - yeah me!

The ring Russ made for Cindy looked gorgeous and fit her perfectly - yeah Russ!

Cindy cried (with joy) when we gave the ring to her - yeah Silver Spiral!

The apartment is all back to normal, despite the weird set-up for the ritual - yeah me!

The Silver Spiral community is now celebrating its sixth anniversary - yeah us!
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)
A quick scan of my life of the last week or so:

- My computer had a virus, but now it is better (probably).

- The Silver Spiral all-night Litha went well. We got some police attention at the ritual, but only because they were worried about the potential fire hazard of our altar candles. Our sunrise drumming was powerful, though I am still "way behind the class". Shannon's berry sauce on ED and I's pancakes (I made the batter, she cooked it up) rocked the sunrise feast, though Russ's lattes were what got many of us through the night at all.

- Many foam and suction cup arrows were shot during the Canadian Election Day party. Conservative candidates were booed, as was anyone who annoyed us. Newscasters and candidates we didn't like got arrows stuck to their chests and heads.

- The credit card program at work is still broken, and has been for about two weeks. I hate running the credit cards through manually. I have probably worked 6 hours of overtime in two weeks due to this problem alone.

- Rob and Linday, our friends and neighbours, are moving. They are staying within the city, but I'll miss having them right upstairs. The moving hasn't been easy from what I've seen of them. I bet our heat wave is not helping.

- I am still really enjoying my new job (except for the credit card problem). But our Toronto "sister office" is going to be annoyed at me when they find out tomorrow morning that I accidently messed their site up while trying to update mine. Sigh.

There we go, all caught up!
dreaminghope: (Labyrinth)
Simple and beautiful.

The path winds in. Coil, create.

The path winds out. Release, surrender.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
I went to Silver Spiral's divination night tonight. I gave a lot of readings, which was nice because it got me out of my own head a bit. I don't know if anything was helpful, but it felt good to try.

Cindy gave me a reading. It was a little vague, as she was trying a new deck for the first time on someone besides herself, but a few things stood out for me:

- A sense of an impending ambush: I worry that I am walking into a nest of vipers tomorrow at work. I don't know what's being going on in my absence, but things are rarely clear, transparent and straight-forward at work.

- A need to check in with people: Two things come from this for me. First, a need to check in with my team members. Second, a need to check in with Russ and Jamey. We've been anticipating having another "check-in" for awhile, so maybe it would be good to make that time soon.

I am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow morning. I'm not sure if it will be better because I'll be going in rested and refreshed, with some fresh perspective, or whether it will be worse because I have been gone and am not as numb anymore.

This whole week, I've forced myself away from thoughts about work. Today's really the first time I've begun to let myself think about it at all. And I realize that I have come to certain decisions and realizations sub-consciously. There's a bunch of things I need to do this week.
dreaminghope: (Labyrinth)
The drums arrived!

I have a sweet, simple little 8" djembe now! It is so beautiful and such a lovely sound!

And there's a table-full of drums here. Duke, Lindsay and Rob have taken theirs home, but drums for me, Russ, Elaine, ED and Shannon are still here.

In the chaos of getting everything packed up and paid for, they forgot Alysha's drum at the warehouse! Russ has already emailed Milton, so hopefully that'll get resolved quickly.

This is going to be fabulous! I can't wait to start learning how to drum and to start working with Silver Spiral.

I don't think work was particularly good, but it has all been washed away by the excitement. Woo-hoo!
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).

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dreaminghope

February 2014

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