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?


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Random Updates: Goals & Varia

Totally Addicted: to my jamberry nail wraps. It's clearly becoming a problem! This isn't the greatest photo because I didn't clean my nails after filing them, but seriously... so fun. And I've discovered that you can make your own designs and submit them for approval.

Can we say, subtle, covert, pagan inspired wraps much? You know, fun, geeky, goddess loving nails for the office? Or just fun, Halloween nails?

Yup...  this could be a problem!

Reading: Zen Druidery  It's a book written by a friend from my pagan community days. I've been meaning to read it for ages. I'm enjoying it. It's clear and concise and I see where we have overlapping views in some of our spiritual ideals. I'm about 25% in, so I can't speak for it all yet. I do appreciate her clear summary of Buddhism at this point, and the fact that she draws attention to the fact that obviously these are ideals, not dogmatic tenets to hold absolute.

More importantly, I think I just appreciate the fact that she is merging traditions in a way to forge her own path. It's not an easy thing to do and yet, there is a lot to be gained/learned by seeing some of the overlaps/complimentary ideals in traditions. Or at least there is in my opinion. My own path of Wicca draws quite a bit from various traditions, ranging from Hermetics to Buddhism, so a lot of what she has written this far, speaks to me. Added bonus, it's a quick, easy read, which is perfect for where I'm at right now!

Practice: I have been getting better about my daily practice. I would say at this point I'm at 3 to 4 times a week. So I'm getting there. I've been so inconsistent with my meditation that I feel like I'm starting all over again, with all the voices and distractions and itches and twitches that get in the way. And oh my god... the lists of things to do or ideas to explore or ... It's endless in my brain. My mind is a maze of bee like activity and nothing triggers my "inspiration" faster than getting my butt down on the mat to try to let go of my thoughts!

I know that it would be easy to just say f*** it and walk away, but I see, beyond any doubt, how valuable meditation is in my daily life. I know that people struggle with it. I do. Like crazy struggle with it. But all I can say is that I think it's an invaluable practice. That it's fundamental to my path and that it enriches me as a person, so it's worth the struggle, no matter how much I might gripe while doing it. I think there might be a post in me somewhere about this subject. Not a preachy you should do it post, but a post about why I hold it to be the most important part of my practice. I'm letting it percolate for the moment because I know that it would be so easy to slip into a preachy tone on the subject, which isn't what I want.

Halloween & Baby Faye: I bought him a costume. Second hand from a local facebook garage sale page. Cause you know, I'm all about the upcycling! Isn't he cute?

Honestly, this is just the best age. I'm so in love with my kid these days. The first year was rough. He didn't sleep well. He had colic. Everything existed through the lens of fatigue and emotional drain. But now he sleeps, I sleep, my partner sleeps. And we're all much happier for it.

And OMG, he's just amazing. He's growing and developing in the most amazing ways. I'm happy that I'll never do the newborn stage again. Or the first year. But I wouldn't change it for a minute because now, it's totally worth it. He melts my heart daily and makes my days full of laughter and joy. For reals. Totally redonkulously wonderful (even when he's having a bit of a hissy fit).

Journaling: Recently something popped up in my feed (I think it was twitter) about someone's blog failing and moving on. I find the concept of a blog failing intriguing to me. I don't really know what defines a blog as successful. Is it millions of readers? Or 10 engaged readers? Is it readers at all? I guess the underlying question behind success/failure is what the point of blogging is for that particular individual.

Don't get me wrong. I love all your comments. I love knowing that there are people reading this little blog of mine. But ultimately, while I love knowing that there are people reading, I would blog whether there were people reading or not because I blog for myself, first and foremost. I'm not blogging to create lasting blog friendships (in fact, sometimes I feel like I'm one of the few bloggers who hasn't actually made besties via blogging), nor do I blog for money/business.

I don't blog consistently, though I go through ebbs and flows of trying for something consistent in this space. I don't read other pagan blogs consistently either. I mean to. But well, life happens, you know? I'd love to be one of those blogs that drive the discussion on spirituality, but I know that I'm not. This isn't some academic space, exploring the higher ideals of spirituality. No, it's just my own little corner of the web where I ponder the thoughts banging around in my head and I guess that's why I don't have any specific idea about what would make this blog a success or not.

I don't know... lately I think I feel a little jaded by blogging because it seems like blogs are trying to hard to being profitable (she says,even though the link above is an affiliate link... mostly there because she's curious about what that's all about really). It seems like too many people are trying to latch on to the blogger boom bubble and define their niche market than actually just being a plain ol' blog.

I don't know. Am I alone in this? Why do you blog? What is blogging success in your eyes?


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

my latest fashion crush: jamberry

So have I shared my latest obsession with you all lately? Jamberry Nail Wraps:

Black Nail Polish + Mind Games wrap

Mind Games + Black and White Chevron
Seriously, I'm in love. I have spent so much money on stupid nail polish. Toxic and non toxic. I've done gel. I've even dabbled in a few acrylics. These are by far my absolute favourites.

I'm actually hosting a party, so if you're interested in trying them, you should write my friend Meghann and see if she'll send you a sample. Tell her Marya sent you (ooohh... real life name). I'm pretty sure you'll love them. Added bonus, despite being a disposable consumer good, they are made in the states and free of a ton of that toxic junk (see side photo).

I realize that I'm coming across as spammy, but honestly, I'm just really in love with the product and want everyone to be in the know about they.

They have some awesome Halloween designs. I'm just saying...


Friday, September 26, 2014

What I've been woking on lately...

This project is finally done! Woo hoo!

It only took me a year.


It's not perfect. But I'm ok with that.

It's about to go up on our washroom door. And I'm pretty stoked that all my hard work is going to be on display and help add some unique charm to our home.

Most excellent!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

September Gratitudes

I've been working, slowly but surely, behind the scenes to reconnect with some of my favourite mindful practices lately.

Creating Monthly Gratitude Journals is one of them:

And here's the same calendar, a little further along into the month. I've been doing pretty well about taking the time to remember gratitude. I know that the act of logging gratitudes might seem odd to some, but for me it's a practice that helps me remember to be mindful. There are far more things that happen on a daily basis to be grateful for but I am someone who tends to over analyze and criticize, so this is a practice that helps me break that pattern to some extent by remembering that there are more good things happening daily than I tend to remember if I don't take the time to jot them down. 

The thing I love the most about the practice is that when I look over the calendar, I'm often struck by the things I choose to write down. Often I find there tends to be themes. September's theme seems focuses mainly on Baby Faye and his amazing leaps and bounds development lately. Seriously, this kid is just amazing right now. And instead of remembering the long car ride home in traffic when he was a douche (yeah, I said it), I'm choosing to remember how his giggles immediately made me smile and lose my road rage on another trip. And for me, that's a really good thing.