Monday, December 22, 2014

my word for 2015

I think I've found my word(s) for 2015.

I was really unsure about them this year, so I did Susannah Conway's Find Your Word meditation, which I really enjoyed because it brought a different element of mindfulness to my choice this year. Added note, I loved her use of colouring to help unlock your choice. It was totally aligned with my whole love of art journal as an intentional meditation act.

I've chosen to go with forgiveness this year (with a side note of joy).

I've spent the past year nurturing an really negative self dialogue, beating myself up for not getting it all done and for failing to find balance. From the blog, to my daily mediation, to life as a mom and wife, to well, just pretty much anything. And it's time to throw it out the window and practice more self-kindness by letting go of the anger I feel towards my shortcomings.

I know, duh. But I'm totally struggling with it and I want 2015 to be a year that leads to a better sense of emotional wellbeing in my day to day life.

  • So I'm going to forgive myself for not being size 8 and the fact that I will never be size 8.
  • I'm forgiving the fact that I wasn't the mom I wanted to be during my son's first year (and consecutive years).
  • I'm forgiving myself for not doing the daily practice even though I knew it would make me happier.
  • Oh hell, I'm forgiving myself for a whole slew of things with the intention of setting up a gentler, less demanding "to do" list.

So yeah. Forgiveness because I think that this year I need to be kinder to myself and remember kindness in my daily interactions.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

yulemas spirit?

It's beginning to sink in... finally. Yulemas is approaching, rather quickly and I admit that this year I'm feeling a bit off kilter about it.

Of course, part of that probably stems from the fact that I'm headed home this year, with a 1.5 year old in tow. Nothing says anxiety to me like flying for 6 hours with a rambunctious toddler!

Oh well. I'm working on Zen.

I'll let you know how it goes. Millions of people travel with kids, we should be able to do it too, right?

Another thing I've been chewing on a lot this year, is the whole grinchy feeling I have over Christmas in light of motherhood. I used to LOVE Christmas growing up. Sure the gifts were great, but I loved the songs, the lights, the colours, the food, the parties. But this year, I'm feeling a bit ambivalent about it all because I'm overthinking it in light of my own traditions and what I want Baby Faye to experience as holiday traditions.

I think I might be killing Yulemas for me this year because of it!

Gah! What is a pagan mama to do when she wants to celebrate the joy of the season, but isn't comfortable with all the "joy to the world, the lord has come" rhetoric? Particularly when she's sort on board with the lord has come, but just not that particular understanding of the lord. I mean... the lord is the lord is the lord kind of deal, but not really...  You know?

I just find myself feeling more at odds with the season this year than I ever have before, mostly because I keep thinking about how I am navigating the tension between my beliefs and those of the mainstream public. I have never been a minority and yet, this year in particular, I have been getting glimpses of what it might feel like to be part of larger minority groups in a sea of generally "understood" cultural norms. And I say that with the full understanding that it's totally ridiculous to even compare my "chosen" path to the imposed minority status placed on others. I just think that it's interesting that this year has really been about making me think/feel/attempt to loosely empathize with what others feel on a much larger scale.

My small scale woe is me, how do I deal with feeling left out of the conversation/teach my son about alternative identities or choices, Yulemas angst is so crazy stupid and privileged. But this past turn of the wheel has been humbling in it's insistence on teaching me to contemplate the othering experienced by choices outside of the mainstream in relation to the life lessons and values I want Baby Faye to grow up with an awareness of.

So yeah, Yulemas this year is definitely an interesting culmination point to a conversation that I am having with others and myself about privilege, sensitivity and openness in the choices we make and the way we talk about the idea of what is "normal" in society.

What does this mean for this season? Probably not much. I don't expect to find easy answers any time soon. But I know that I think it's important to think about, particularly in light of parenthood and creating meaningful memories and celebrations in a mixed faith home and diverse society.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Photo Challenge: December

I'm thinking of taking part in this photo prompt for the holiday season. I can guarantee that I won't take a picture EVERY day, but I took part in her AugustBreak prompt and did pretty well with it.

I don't think it should be something that stresses me out but rather, a fun way to remember to see the day as it unfolds during the season.

Care to join me? (us?). I'll be posting mine on instagram and popping in on the blog from time to time to share.


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?

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!


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!


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!

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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#SabbatGoals : Mabon

Happy Autumnal Solstice!

For me, Fall always marks a time of chaos and excitement. I think it might be years of going to school and working in education that does it for me. I associate Fall with change and fresh starts. It's a time of paper and organizing and I just love it.

So in the spirit of fresh starts and lists and paper, here are my goals for this turn of the wheel:

I've been working slowly on weight/health issues. I've lost 8lbs since August (I fluctuate a bit though between 6-9lbs). I've been paying a lot of attention to food and what I eat. Some days/weeks are better than others. But I'm still plugging away at it. I've gotten a little sidetracked as work has gotten busier, but I'm recommitting to doing the work and planning my food/exercise for consistency.

Magically/Practice speaking, I'm going to work on my studies a bit more than I have in a while. From spells to journaling, daily practice to reading, it's time to get back into a consistent habit. Thankfully I have support helping me get back on track. :)

And in an effort to be a bit more frugal and eco conscious, I'm purging my wardrobe, setting some better, more sustainable clothing goals (from recycling & upcycling to buying less, but more ethical clothes).

I'm looking forward to it. Bring it on Fall, you're my favourite season!


Monday, September 15, 2014

#paganlists : apples

Fall is in the air, and with it, the fall harvest, which, to me at least, means apples.  With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of my fav apple recipes in a list:

I love fall. I think it might be my favourite season. I love the crisp air, the warmer clothing, the desire to stay inside and snuggle up with a good book or a loved one. And I love all the delicious apple goodies that I'm tempted to make at this time of year.

One of the best are beer battered apple rings. It's a Dutch goodie but really not healthy. Go google it if you're interested (I won't be responsible for teaching to you fry your food!)

Now... to decide which apple goodie I'll be making for the Solstice, that is the question!


Friday, September 5, 2014

around here

Things have been crazy over here in Faye land. We are integrating Baby Faye into daycare, my job is in a state of flux, I'm trying to implement some health changes, and I have to admit that by the end of the evening, I'm just tired and not motivated to take the time to write in this space.

Hopefully that will change as things settle into a new routine. For now I'm giving myself a little bit of grace as we adapt.

a recent page I've been puttering away at slowly and thoughts about my new job role...

Ironically I feel like the biggest adaptation has more to do with my changing job situation than the actual new schedule. Before I left for maternity leave, my boss pretty much royally screwed me over in a way that I have never experienced before professionally. It was a huge source of bitterness and strife for me, particularly given that I couldn't really file a complaint because nothing was official until I returned from mat leave, at which point it would be too late.

I'll leave the background info at that.

Suffice to say, returning to work has been challenging because I was walking into a very different work environment. At the same time, while I'm frustrated by the uncertainty of my role, I'm also excited by the possibilities ahead. New ideas for my job duties are incredibly exciting and have ended up turning what was a contentious job change and turned it into an interesting blessing of sorts.

I love it when life works out that way.

Now, to find balance in it all, that is the task ahead...


Thursday, September 4, 2014

what are your rituals leading up to the sabbat?

I recently had a conversation with a friend whose background is Hindu. She was talking about the fasting she'll be doing for Navrati and what it used to mean to her. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about a custom that I knew little about and it was a fascinating conversation.

I found myself thinking about various purifying/sacrifice based traditions that different paths have and wondering about if I see them in my own path. In our conversation we both mentioned that we often don't see the things we do as being part of these types of rites and do them without sometimes realizing that we have traditions that are similar to other paths.

contemplations over morning coffee
I'm not explaining myself well. Let me try again...

In Judaism, there is Yom Kippur, which is a time of reflection and atonement. Christianity has Lent, a time of sacrifice. Yes... I realize these are over simplifications. Hinduism apparently has Navrati (should you choose to do it) and Islam has Ramadan. Other paths may have similar rituals but I don't know about them so I'm not going to go and do a google search just to fill a gap because that's not my point.

Pagans who follow the Wheel of the Year/8 Sabbats also have times of sacrifice and reflection, but aside from the actual Sabbat, do we have rituals of fasting, purifying, reflection, etc? If we don't, should we have them as part of our practice to help link us to the Wheel and remind us of our nature/aspirations? And if we do, are they relevant and do we do them with intention/mindfulness?

I have to be honest, I often feel a bit disconnected from the Wheel because I don't think about the deeper meaning of the Sabbat until I'm in circle, celebrating it.

Would I benefit from thinking about it ahead of time in order to allow the season leading up to that turn of the Wheel to have a deeper meaning and personal significance in my daily life? Possibly. Or would I only be over complicating my life? Possibly!

What about you? Do you do anything to help get you into the head space of the season/Sabbat or do you think it just happens naturally?

Sometimes I think that because I live in a mainly secular Christian world, with a calendar and work schedule built around the Christian holidays, that I tend to be, in some ways, more mentally in the head space of those holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Easter) than the pagan ones that I actually celebrate. It's an interesting conundrum for me because I don't know how I want to change that, if I do.


Friday, August 29, 2014

sharing faith in professional settings: do I or don't I?

The other day I was at work, discussing some job changes that are coming down the wire with a colleague. This colleague is someone I know on a very acquaintancey level.

While we were talking, she made mention of having prayed to God about finding a job that fitted what she needed at that point in her life. And then, low and behold, the job she has now sort of fell into her lap.

The point of my story is not the power of prayer or how things work out. Rather, I'm intrigued by the fact that she felt so comfortable sharing her faith in a professional setting, in a professional conversation, with a colleague she barely knows.

I don't know whether I think it's problematic or admirable. Honestly. I admire that her convictions are strong and that she is so comfortable in them that she feels that she can just put that out there to the world, even in a professional setting.

But on the other hand, I wonder if the professional setting is really the place to be sharing that information. However, even more importantly, I cannot even fathom what it would be like to share my faith so freely with the world around me, especially my professional world.

While I don't even know if I'd want to share that type of information, I am awed and saddened by the fact that I walk a path where I would never even dream of sharing my beliefs so openly.

I would never turn to someone and say, I did a reading on it or that I did a spell...

I can't even imagine what it would be like to share that information in a professional sphere, particularly an academic milieu.

Wouldn't it be interesting though...  I can only begin to imagine some of the reactions I'd get. Have many of you out there shared that element of your life in your professional settings? I'm curious about how you maintain a sense of professional credibility while discussing elements of your pathworking if you have shared your spirituality.


Friday, August 22, 2014

last week: earth and the physical body

Last week:

pagan week in review

Lately I have been focusing on my physical well being. I've been working with Earth and as a result, I am have been very grounded in manifesting balance in my physical realm. It's been amazing. And something I tend to forget that I need VERY much in my life.

How this is manifesting in my daily life:

I have gotten back into a regular yoga practice.

This time I am trying Moksha yoga instead of Ashtanga and I have to say that I'm liking it. I thought I would hate hot yoga. And I thought that hot yoga = eco disaster! But the studio is really committed to sustainability and I love how the heat warms my muscles and creates more flexibility in the poses. I loved some of my Ashtanga teachers and honestly, my entire concept/understanding of loving kindness in my daily life comes from a particular teacher and it was a life changing realization for me. (It's funny how the smallest things, at the right moment, can be pivotal). But that said, I find my Moksha classes to be a good fit for me right now because they remind me constantly to follow my own body, to not compare, to be in my own practice, all of which are things that my Capricornian mind needs to be constantly reminded of during practice!

I am thinking a lot about the food I consume.

I spent a week doing a real food challenge, eating little to no sugar or refined foods and thinking about how I'm pairing nutrients in every meal. It was an excellent practice and it taught me a lot about my food choices. I realized that as a vegetarian, far too much of my protein is tied to fatty food sources and that I need to rethink those choices.

Less cheese, beans and quinoa, more lentils. (Yes, I know quinoa is crazy healthy, but there are some ethical questions about it's consumption to consider and it's crazy high in calories, which while helpful to some lifestyles, may not be beneficial to high caloric North American lifestyles).

Drinking more water, Plexus, and weight loss

I'm not usually one to go for the diet stuff. From shakes, mixes, bars, etc. But I decided to give the Plexus fad a go after several of the moms in my mom group seemed to be having success with it. I know that there are pros and cons to any diet fad/product, so you don't need to list them for me. It's expensive. And I signed up with a wholesale account (that's the link... I'm not trying to sell you anything though, promise). But I'll be honest, it does seem to be helping. I'm down 6lbs after 2 weeks. But is it the food/exercise or the product? Honestly, I think it's both because I'm committed to doing the work. The drink/water is helping me reduce my sugar cravings. And those were quite problematic for me. But the water is keeping me full and cleansing my system. I'm drinking a TON of water. (Ok, not a ton.... literally...).

Overall though, it is all working together and making me feel more energetic and excited about getting healthy and treating my body well. It's so easy to forget the things that make us feel better, but they are so very important.

Right now the goal is to keep plugging away, one day at a time, towards better health choices, from food, water, and exercise, until I feel like my body is strong and healthy. Not skinny. Not perfect. Just better than where it has been in the past few years.


Thursday, August 21, 2014


I'm not quite sure what it is about this time of year for me, but it has been repeatedly marked by loss over the years.

First, it was my grandfather. Then my father. Now my beloved Faye Kitty.

After over 15 years together, I put my constant companion down on August 14th. She was suffering from a degenerative kidney problem so we knew that the end was coming, but the end, when it came, came fast and hard.

It was heartbreaking.

I know non pet owners might not understand but think of it this way: this little lady has been my home for 15 years. She traveled from Victoria, BC to Vancouver, Whistler, Montreal, Quebec City and back to Montreal. When life was hard and lonely, she was my home. When family woes made me feel all alone, she was my family.

So saying goodbye, although necessary, was devastating. And quite honestly, was harder than the loss of both my father and my grandfather (it's a long story) because she was a constant in my world.

We planted a tree in our backyard where we buried her:

I'll be honest, I look at it often and feel both the rightness of knowing she is not suffering and that she is so honoured and the sadness of knowing she is there, alone, in the dirt and no longer snuggled up next to me.

I believe that death is just a phase. That life is just a phase. That we will cross paths again. I know all of these things to be true as part of my experience and practice. And yet, I still grieve over her loss.

Would I call her my familiar? No. While she was always very respectful of my practice and my workings, I don't know that she aided them. But she definitely knew an uncanny amount of etiquette around them.

And as I learn to live without her in my daily periphery, I am reminded to cherish what we have, when we have it, because it is all so fleeting. And I learn to respect and honour the grief I am witnessing in others as they too pass through their own loss. Because this time of the year seems to be one of loss and letting go. A time of sacrifice and remembrance.

A time to recall that the Horned God is the God of eternal sleep and dark places, even while he is the God of celebration and harvest.


Friday, August 15, 2014

#paganlists : indigenous plants

A little while back I went on an herbal nature walk in my neighborhood. It was great. I got the chance to learn all about local plants that grow right in the forest in my backyard. 

One of the plants we talked about was Sumac.

Look at all the amazing things it's good for. I especially like the idea of wine.... Just saying!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lammas Art Journal Page: In Progress

It's still a work in progress....

But I started it on Lammas morning. Not sure if I'm just going to fill it with words or fill it in with more imagery.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

meditations on meditating : creativity

This morning as I started waking, I contemplated not doing my daily meditation practice. I'll be honest, I've let it slide lately as Mr Faye started holidays and my days shifted focus as I prepared to head back to work. So this morning, when I woke before everyone in the house, I clung to the luxury of lounging in bed for just a little longer before Baby Faye woke.

But then the most interesting thing happened.

As I contemplated the options and my priorities, this REALLY loud crow started cawing outside my bedroom window and it felt like a sign. Personally directed to me to get my ass out of bed and to the mat as it were (getting to the mat means for me: getting my butt to the place where I'm doing the work that makes me happy and whole). And sure enough, wouldn't you believe it, the moment I sat down and started my grounding meditation, that crow stop making his racket.

Image Source: Crow Symbolism
 Could the universe make the message much clearer?

As always, when I've been away from the work for a while, my mind wanders that much more than it does normally. Getting myself back to the breath and letting go of my thoughts is a huge challenge at the best of times, but particularly so when I haven't been working on it regularly.

I found myself contemplating Leo Babuta's recent article on the habit of living in fantasies. In it, he expands on the idea that we spend too much time thinking about another time (fantasy) instead of living in the present. We don't take time to be here now, noticing the spaces we are currently in, listening in the conversations we are participating in, etc, etc.

I'll be honest, I have mixed feelings about this article.

On the one hand I totally agree. And feel that in many ways, my morning meditation is about training my mind to be here now, to focus my thoughts, to observe how my mind works and then to let go. (Which is more complex obviously than it seems and more than just being present in the now because the motives for it stem from both the idea of understanding the fantasies my mind creates AND learning how to use them magically because of this understanding).

On the other hand, and precisely because of the latter part of the equation, I feel that fantasies are very important because they are part of the creative process, be it in the artistic sense or the magical sense of the word. Giving my mind the space to fantasize (imagine) is part of what allows me to explore the full potential of my creativity.

Some days this means that even though I didn't still my mind during meditation, that's ok because I was able to settle long enough to allow inspiration through or to give my mind the space it needed to purge the obsessive day to day thoughts in order to get to the good stuff, the creative stuff that feeds my soul.

Some of the best stuff comes during the moments of trying to watch my thoughts and let go. Some of the best creativity comes during those moments of fantasy.

So I think that yes, we definitely need to live more in the present, paying attention to being here now in the space we inhabit and with the people around us without getting caught up in the delusions of what if, what then, etc, but we also need to give ourselves time to wander and daydream because I think we need both in our lives.


Monday, July 21, 2014

art journal: home

We've been busy working on home stuff this past few months, which has had me thinking a lot about what I value in a home.

It's so easy to get caught up in the trappings of the stuff that we decorate our home with. I'm super guilty of this. I like decor. I like pretty things. I want my home to be a reflection of me and my values. But sometimes I worry too much about that instead of being present and actually living a life in my home that embodies those values. What colour the walls are isn't the goal. The laughter and love around the dinner table is.

I'm trying to get back to that. To remember to be grateful. To nurture my relationship with my son and husband. With my friends. To acquire less but cherish more. But man, I'll be honest. This isn't an easy feat for me. I am very much a by-product of my society and the massive consumption generation.

We're working on it though, as a couple, and trying to purge the unnecessary in order to have space for lightness. But we definitely have a long way to go!