Wednesday, November 19, 2014

scrapbooking conundrum

Scrapbooking post here.

My partner and I are in a scrapbooking disagreement over what gets recorded and what doesn't get recorded in our family album. I think that we should tell the story and he thinks we should think about whether it's really important to remember certain details 20 years for now.

What do you think? Do you think that even the negative stuff should be included?

For example, the money woes or the frustration over dealing with his parents undermining our parenting? Keeping in mind, of course, that this is something that Baby Faye will one day inherit (should he want it).



My argument is that when he looks back at our life together, he's likely to not realize that there were hard times in his childhood or how said stresses affected us as a family or couple, which I think are important for him to know about  because they might help him as an adult.

But my partner makes a good point when he mentions that talking about the frustrations we have with family isn't exactly helpful to him. And my mom never talked about her frustrations with my grandparents, I only found them out much later in life (well the ones she had with my grandfather, but that said, they weren't exactly a surprise either given his nature). Does it do more damage (even if tucked away from easy viewing) to share these stories?

I think he feels that they would be disrespectful while I think that they would show snippets of real life.

What do you think? Disrespectful or integral part of the story?
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

recalling scents to change reactions

How do you deal with the demons inside your head? What are you coping mechanisms or how do you neutralize the insecurities that get the better of you?

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. 


While I wouldn't say that I'm neurotic or even extraordinarily insecure, I definitely let my overly analytical nature get the better of me, far too often.  The voice inside of my head tears things apart, looking at all the cracks, all the flaws, all the ways that it went wrong.

Clearly this is a problem.

My most recent gander down the insecurity train of thought parade had to do with a public speaking event I was asked to participate in. If there is one thing that you should know about me, it's this: while I can public speak, I hate it. Expressing my ideas or thoughts in front of others just kind of kills me. It fries my nerves and turns me inside out.

Sometimes this is because I am unprepared. Other times it's because, while I can think on my toes, I don't like expressing my ideas on my toes in front of a crowd. Other times it's because I'm scared my ideas will sound too simplistic and I'll come across like an idiot who is repeating the obvious (hello academic imposter complex). And maybe, sometimes, though I'm not sure that I'm aware of this one per se, maybe I think who am I to express an opinion, why would they even care about my thoughts?

Ready for the even bigger problem with this insecurity? I work in education.

Yeah. I'm a glutton for punishment.

What does any of this have to do with anything? Well this: Yesterday I participated in a panel about technology and education and I went home kicking myself over some of my comments. Comments, which truth be told, no one else likely remembered. But comments, nonetheless, that I woke up in the middle of the night to chew on (ok... Baby Faye woke me, then I started chewing on them).

And try as I would, I couldn't still the beast.

I knew that I needed to just let it go. But here's the thing. I'm kind of shit at just letting things go. It's not my forte. I know that. Everyone who knows me knows that. You dear readers, may have also figured that one out too by now.

So instead of just telling myself to stop thinking about it, I did this:

  • Focused on my breath. 4 counts in, hold 4 counts, 4 counts out, hold 4 counts
  • I remembered the smell of Frankincense. Why, you ask? Because that is the smell I associate with my daily practice. With meditation. With remembering who I am and my divine nature.  And more than anything, this is what calmed me and allowed me to not only remember, but also to know and trust that I said what needed to be said in the moment, and that it was ok.
It was awesome. And I was so thankful that instead of fixating on the beast, I was able to draw on years of dedicated meditation practice to come to my rescue. And that my exploration into using essential oils and scents for changing emotional patterns taught me this as a tool because it worked beautifully.

Some days I feel like the work never ends. And it doesn't. But every now and again, I get these lovely break through moments where I see how my practice is supporting me in my daily life and shaping who I am and how I react in the world in simple but positive ways. And that's a beautiful thing!



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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy [belated] Halloween and New Year

Hello all,

I just wanted to drop you all a line and wish you a Happy Pagan (Wiccan centric) New Year!

I hope your Halloween was festive and full of merriment (and suitably introspective). I found this year's holiday just flew by and crept up on me almost out of no where.

To be fair though, I'd been spending the weeks leading up to it nursing a rather unhealthy but fun Jamberry obsession!

Don't worry though. Things have settled back down and I've regained perspective again. Phew. It was a bit of a ride though. A few friends went down the path with me and I've come to realize a couple things during the ride:


  • 1. That I was hiding from some things I really needed to face and using the high of the new obsession to ignore that truth


  • 2. That this particular combination of friends and new projects is incredibly productive BUT dangerous because we feed each other. For some projects this can be amazing, but it can also be a bit of a problem and I need to be sensitive to that in my life. I'm not good at venturing down new alleys on my own, but with a buddy (or 2) who are equally as curious and adventurous... eek I can be a bit too bold!
I don't know if it was the energy leading up to Halloween, but so many people I know were just having a bit of a crap time leading up to November. I hope for them, and myself, that the craptastics have finally eased and that we'll all start feeling a bit more even keeled. 

Anyways... baby Faye is waking so on that note: I wish you all a lovely new turn of the wheel!



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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

my tarot deck hates me

This might sound melodramatic, but I think my tarot deck hates me. 

I'm using the Thoth deck and lately... I don't know, maybe my deck is having a hissy fit because I've been ignoring it, but all my readings just feel unnecessarily confounding! 

From Google Images


I suppose that one could argue that it is the reader, not the cards, who is the problem, but where's the fun in that?

Either way, cards or readers, I'm just not jiving well with my deck these days. I feel out of sync and out of tune with my cards. The same applies to my rune sticks. It's like I can't wade my way through the symbolism to grasp the message.

Anyone else ever struggle with this? If so, how did you deal with it?

I suppose I just need to keep at it but man it feels a little like I'm banging my head against a brick wall!
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

casting a critical eye on my reaction towards local vs exotic paths

I recently read this article about how the Dalai Lama is brainwashing us.



I know, that statement alone is enough to make you balk a bit isn't it? (I couldn't help it, I had to use the photo for a little bit of fun)!

The argument, in a nutshell, is that Buddhism teaches us renunciation of the material world because the material world is bad, instead of teaching us to deal with temptation and our darker sides. All in all, I think the article is ridiculously simplistic and clearly shows a lack of analytic thinking that goes beyond reaction. I actually think the article is quite juvenile in it's depth of analysis or understanding of the tenets of Buddhism. In fact, it speaks a lot to the issues I had with Buddhism when I first learned about it at 18 and didn't really understand it.

But the tenets of Buddhism, flaws or otherwise, aren't really my subject of the day. In fact, I sort of the article as a perfect microcosm example of the point and reaction that I want to try to articulate.

The writer is reacting to his own perception of something, just as I initially reacted to his criticisms of Buddhism. When he first started talking about brainwashing etc, I felt my back go up. I didn't want to read further. Instead, I want to yell at him and tell him he was wrong without even finishing the article.

I had to stop and think about why I was reacting that way. I had to stop and realize that my reaction was meaningful and important to my own spiritual development. And that even while I don't agree with his analysis of Buddhism, I do agree with something he is inferring: that we don't turn the same critical eye towards "exotic" spiritual practices that we do to "local" practices. So for example, I can give you a long list of the flaws I see in Christianity (especially Catholicism) but I might not be as open or aware of the flaws inherent in other traditions like Buddhism or I might have a very simplistic view of the flaws, like I do for Hinduism and it's ideals of the feminine.

And there might be a problem with that.

If I, and others, want to create piecemeal systems of spirituality, do we need to be aware of the problems that arise in said traditions?

I follow a Wiccan path that is heavily informed by Qabala, Hermetics, and Buddhism and yet, I find flaws in each of those traditions (I even find flaws in Wicca). So what does that mean to my overall spirituality?

Honestly, I don't have an answer. And I don't know that I ever will. But I do think he raises a good point (or maybe he doesn't raise it... but my reaction led to me inferring it): how critical are we (and not necessarily negatively critical) when we look at other paths? Do we give all paths a fair shake or are we more defensive/reactive towards certain paths? And do I need to let go of such reactions in order to really see the goddess at work in it all?

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