Monday, September 30, 2013

52 weeks of pagan art journaling: week 35

This week: Love

Over the past few months I've been awed by finding love in the most unexpected places. The celebration of Baby Faye's arrival has not only reminded me how blessed I am, but how blessed he is right from the get go.

But in all of the baby stuff has been the reminder that the Goddess/God are with me, always, even when I lose sight of it. I've spent my life forging connections and building love, of various shapes and sizes, in my world, all of which are a reflection of the divine. The pure generosity that can be found in love, given freely, without any expectations on behalf of the giver or receiver, is truly a humbling token of what divine love in day to day life should be (I think).

Ironically building a family has reminded me of all the different ways I am loved. As a fellow covener, as a co-worker, as a neighbour, as a friend, relative, etc. Hell, it's even reminded me of how loving strangers can be when we allow them to be (it has also at times reminded me of how self-centered we have become too, but let's focus on the love today)!

I think it can be challenging at the best of times to remember to see and look at the people in our lives, strangers or friends, with that type of love (without expectation). And yet, every time I do, I am humbled by how amazing and sacred it is. You know?


Sunday, September 29, 2013

sacrifices made along the way

I remember reading during my undergrad years that Sylvia Plath used to get up at an ungodly hour of the morning (probably 5am I don't remember) in order to write. She was that committed to carving out a time for her craft.

Honestly, as horrid as this is going to sound, my internal dialogue at the time was: "No wonder she stuck her head in an oven."

I know, right? I'm not always as sensitive as I should or could be. But at the time, this was the beginning of a turn for me, a moment along the way that made me second guess the maxim that a modern woman could have it all. Because let's face it, she can't. Not really. Having it all comes with sacrifice of some sort. Be it sleep or socializing or time for your personal hobbies. Something has to give if you're going to try to do it all. This applies equally to men as it does to women if they are trying to be the main caretaker of an infant along with everything else.

Hell, I think it applies to any parent, to varying degrees, provided that s/he is actively involved in parenting.

But what does this have to do with anything as I sit here typing this at 6am?

Well, frankly, first and foremost, is the realization that I have had my Sylvia Plath moment. As I attempt to work back into my daily meditation practice, which is a priority for me, I realize that it's not going to come without sacrifice but that it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for something that is incredibly important in my life. Something in fact, that helps me stay grounded and centered and thus by extension, allows me to be a happier, better mother.

Truth be told though, my practice already had me making sacrifices in my daily life even before Baby Faye. It demanded a great deal of my time and meant that I didn't always see as much of my friends as I would have liked. Sometimes I think that this was too my detriment because I didn't necessarily find a good balance between my life and my practice. Baby Faye sort of demands that I remember that balance more. I'm actually looking seeing how I find this balance and what my practice will look like post baby, but no doubt about it, it will require some sacrifices in order to make it happen.


Friday, September 27, 2013

herbal garden update

Remember how I had these plans to grow an herb garden?

Yeah, here's the reason why I never updated on that goal:

Originally the calendula was thriving but between the poor weather we had this season and Baby Faye's arrival, the plants just never took.

I mean, I'm not some master gardener but I don't generally kill plants either, so I'm going to blame this one on weather and baby.

Maybe next year I'll start smaller and go with plants instead of starting with seedlings.

I suspect though, I might be able to recoup the lavender, chamomile and basil if I act quickly enough.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Eco Home: dryer balls and cloth diapers

I've mentioned several times before in this space that it's important to me and my spiritual practice to attempt to do my part in reducing my (and my family's) carbon footprint.

My latest foray into sustainability is linked to energy consumption and cloth diapering.

Knowing my husband, I opted to buy BumGenius FreeStyle all in one diapers (there are several types of diapers, pockets being the most common and popular). The biggest drawback to the all in ones (AIO) is that they take longer to dry because of the thick pads. That said, they're the closest to regular disposable diapers because you don't need to do much in the way of prep work for them. This was the biggest sell for my husband who thought the idea of reaching in and pulling out inserts would be nasty. (To be fair, we have a few pocket diapers and it's not that bad. The prep work though would be another thing, particularly in the earlier stages when you just feel overwhelmed by all things baby).

Ok, right... back to the dryer balls.

Dryer balls are made from felted wool. The idea is that you throw them in with your drying and it helps reduce the drying time, thus reducing your energy consumption.

I read about them on the David Suzuki site and decided to try my hand at making them with my Mom when she came into town before baby Faye's birth. Knowing my Mom has quite the yarn stash, I pilfered her old wool. Yup, she flew it across the country just to help me reduce my carbon footprint. That seems ironic but honestly if you saw the minimalism that is my Mom's suitcase you wouldn't worry about it!

Anyways, we wound, felted, wound, and felted the balls:

They're not as fluffy as the ones you see in the Suzuki link because the wool is twined in such a way that it doesn't break apart to felt easily. But that's ok, they still work. In fact, the more I use them, the better I find them. I'm starting to use them for everything now and highly recommend them. We've been using ours for about a month and I'm really starting to notice a difference now in drying times with the cloth diapers.

Yay, eco sustainability win!


Monday, September 23, 2013

52 weeks of pagan art journaling: week 34

This week's prompt: Change

Sometimes I think that I expect change to be bigger than it is. Actually, let me rephrase that. Sometimes I expect the lessons of change to be more obvious from the get go.

If you were to ask me to tell you about all the things that motherhood has taught me thus far, I could come up with a few generalities but, being in the midst of it all, I don't know that I would do the lessons justice by trying to reflect on them just yet.

I know I'm learning. A lot, every day, about being a mother, about my nature, my reserves of strength and my need to control, my patience, a totally different kind of love, etc, etc. But what does it all mean or rather, how has it changed me?

To be honest, I'm not particularly sure that it has changed me really. Ok, it has definitely changed my bed time and how I go about in the world (lugging kid stuff is a BIG DEAL). But have I as a spiritual being changed?

I've read over and over again about how parenthood makes you less selfish. I don't know if that's true for me (yet?). I just don't know.

Which brings me back to the topic of this page and the thoughts behind it: I think sometimes it's easier to see the full impact of change after time and distance has added their lens to the narrative.


Monday, September 16, 2013

52 weeks of pagan art journaling

Prompt: Community

I've written a lot about community in this space and here I am, coming back to it again. I guess it's because community, particularly spiritual community, is something I struggle with and long for.

A while back a friend made the point that she always longed for a coven based community and has now come to recognize that this may never be. Instead she sees that she has a spiritual community in bits and pieces around her, in ways she never expected. It's not the tidy whole package she expected, but it's still there.

This comment got me to thinking about the ways that I too have such a community but that I've been taking it for granted or not nurturing it properly because it doesn't fit into the mould that I expected of it.

For example, my very best friend, K, isn't Wiccan or even pagan, she's new agey agnostic. For the past few years I've not really talked to her much about my spiritual development/practices because I just figured that it wouldn't interest her. And yet, when I let down the wall of secrecy, I was reminded that she used to be one of my go to spiritual conversational people. We used to sit by the ocean, with our slurpees (we were young) and hash out our spiritual questions and mysteries.

On my last trip home, we sat by the ocean, with our coffees (cause we're older now and slurpees just don't cut it these days), and revisited old themes and new questions. And it was perfect because it was real and in depth, and honest.

And it was poignant because it made me realize what could be if I open the door and look at who and what is already in the room with me.

Who is in the room with you? Are you seeing them and what they bring to the spiritual table? I know that this is something that has been an evolving re-awakening in my life.


Monday, September 9, 2013

52 weeks of pagan art journaling: week 32

This week's prompt: Conquering Current Challenges in Life

For me, this is cabin fever. Obviously this might not be the case for anyone else out there. But over here in Faye land, I find myself going a bit stir crazy over being home all the time. I feel a little like Rapunzel (with bad messed up, unshowered hair), trapped in my tower (in the suburbs).

Part of my cabin fever is self imposed: fears over getting out with baby and him acting up in public. Part of it is medically imposed: healing can be a real bitch!

That said, now that I'm starting to see the tail end of the healing process, it's time to get off my butt and get out again. I've started slow to build up my confidence and to build up Baby Faye to the process. We've been walking in his carrier and in his stroller (he alternately hates both dependent on his mood), so we're switching it up and getting him more comfortable with both modes of transportation. I'm adamant that my son will learn to adapt because I won't stay trapped at home forever!

I've also started venturing out to safe places (my in laws, my work place) etc. Places where I can breast feed on demand without dealing with societal backlash (because I just don't need that shit right now, thank you very much). I've got other issues on the table to deal with for the moment. While all of this is helping him on some level, it's also really helping me to slowly become more confident in my mama-hood and my ability to reintegrate back into the world with an infant. I know... strange statement but there you have it. It's one thing for me to go out and about with my partner and the baby, and another navigating that on my own.

But I'm working on it. It's my current challenge and one of my bigger goals of the moment.

Getting out makes me feel saner and better able to be my best self with Baby Faye. It's hard to spend day in and day out, mostly alone with a baby. (Mr Faye is at work...). I need intellectual stimulation and while I can get a lot of that via the internet, from chatting to Ted talks, to every other variation I could long for... I need actual face to face, human interaction. I need social time in addition to my down time.

Getting out also forces me to face my fears and deal with my desire to shy away from the things that make me uncomfortable but in a gentler way now because we are 2 and I navigate the world a bit differently now. My initial reaction to anyone telling someone else not to breastfeed in public is to tell them to go f off. As a mother, worried about my son, dealing with my sensitive post partum hormones... I just don't need that shit right now. I need to build up my confidence slowly so that when I have to face that moment, and I know it'll come, I'll be emotionally and intellectually equipped to deal with it with a true Faye style indignant rant. Right now I don't know that I'd pull it off!

Getting out also enables me to remain true to my true self, which is vital to me because I never wanted to lose myself to to motherhood. I'm not someone who made the choice to become a mother easily. I waivered for a long time for a myriad of reasons I won't go into right now. Suffice to say, one of my biggest focuses is learning to find a balance between giving myself over to motherhood and being the mother I want to be for my son AND keeping myself in the mix so that my son knows who his mother is, outside of motherhood. So that my non mother friends still can talk to me and that my entire life doesn't just revolve around my current reality of eat, sleep and poop. I am (in no particular order) an academic, artist, thinker, witch, lover, friend, sister, and mother, etc. Each time that I make the effort to step out the door and deal with my insecurities over parenting in public, I becoming stronger and better equipped to maintain that balance. Knowing how to navigate that balance is integral to my ability to remember my true nature.

So yeah, those are my musings on facing my current challenges!


Monday, September 2, 2013

52 weeks of pagan art journaling: week 31

This week's prompt: Creativity

I've written about how important I think it is to make time for creativity before, but now that I'm struggling to find that time, I find myself really thinking again about what creativity means to me in my daily life. Obviously it's easier in some situations versus others to find that time to make it habit.

Now I find myself breaking my creativity into small components. Squeezing in what I can, when I can. The interesting benefit to this (as I've seen it in my scrapbooking) is that it actually prompts me to think out my intentions behind the art I'm doing. I've always been more of fly by the seat of your pants type of creator.

Oddly enough I sort of appreciate this new life lesson in creativity. I like seeing the differences that occur and then pondering the nature of inspired free form creativity vs inspired intentional creativity. I haven't come to any conclusions on the matter, but then again, I'm not really looking to find any answers. I'm just enjoying the process.

I love how, just when I think I'm starting to figure it out, life comes along, changes things up, and teaches me a new lesson of appreciation in creativity!