Re-translated and re-membered

It’s been too damn long since I’ve written. Anything. Unfortunately, my computer troubles I had been having are still unresolved – at the moment the hard drive of my previous laptop is in a sort of limbo state where it’s still fully intact, yet I am unable to access or open any of the files. Including the book on which I was working. I don’t know if that’s some sort of message from the Universe that I need to chuck it and start over; that I need to work harder and because I hadn’t been it, I can’t have it until I’m ready to work harder (and therefore I need to go about 1) being dedicated and disciplined enough to do so, and then 2) start proving that I am; or, if it’s just some fluke that has no meaning at all and I’m just overthinking things (who me? Surely, you gest). Regardless, I do recognize that thinking about it too much just makes my brain hurt.

I recently reread one of my favorite series ever – the House of Night books. I. Adore. Them. They’re just plain fun. And in re-reading them, I’ve found I want to write again. Unfortunately, my desire to write wasn’t the only thing that rekindled.  The smoldering ashes of my fears and doubts that I tried to deny before burst back into flame. I had previously attempted to at least dismiss their importance while still working toward my goal: “I’m not a good enough writer to write a book,” “I’ve researched writing seminars and workshops in my area and haven’t even found any so how can I even improve my writing so that I could eventually write a book?” “I don’t know enough (period – as in, about anything) to write,” “I probably average maybe 3 people visiting my blog on a daily basis – obviously what I have to say is 1) at best not very attention-grabbing and interesting for other people or 2) at worst, so poorly written (in addition to being uninteresting) that even the people who do come here don’t make a point to return,” “And what about that whole idea of finishing my damn post-Masters degree – how does that fit in to wanting to write a book?” etc. Blah, blah, blah. Ad nauseum. You get the gist. There they all were, huddled together, burning as brightly as ever (and making a great deal of noise) in the front of my mind. The discouragement I felt at not having my laptop and my hard drive thus suddenly had annoyingly frustrating company.

In the midst of the blah-ness I had been feeling during the semi-forced/semi-voluntary hiatus I’d taken, I was barely even checking my emails. So the other day I finally went through my inbox and deleted a ridiculous amount of crap. During said pruning, my eye caught on some post notifications from a couple of the blogs I follow. One in particular drew my attention. I hopped on over to Courage 2 Create and began reading Ollin’s post. I was as stunned as Ollin, I imagine, when I read about the quote from the Tao te Ching having been mistranslated. The quote is probably one you’ve heard before, except here it is with the accurate translation: “A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath the feet” (not “…with a single step”). Huh. Now, it’s not the whole individuality, self-reliance thing Ollin describes that I’ve typically gotten caught up on when previously reading the mistranslation. It’s the pressure Ollin writes of regarding that first step that resonates in my belly. That potential (and not kinetic) energy waiting and pushing on my insides, warring with feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the what/where/how/etc. of the step itself. Not to mention desperately needing to NOT misstep (I really hate making mistakes). So, the correct translation of the quote seems to be advocating not doing as the first part of this thousand mile journey but being. Ah, hell.

Thus do I recognize another lesson that has spiraled back around. Be. Don’t Do. Or perhaps more accurately, be before you do. This has been a difficult lesson for me to breathe in and internalize to the point where I know it all the way deep down in the center of my bones. I’m much more comfortable doing. Probably because I recognize that being has long been a weakness of mine, wrapped up in that whole knowledge of and intimacy with self/identity.

I’m (like, I imagine, most other people) not a fan of psychological or spiritual pain. When I’ve spent any time withbeingbefore, I’ve ended up drowning in a stagnant, dishwatery hot mess of gross and fearful emotions. The other night was the first time I’d ever been able to put some words to this historical emotional experience. You know those little grow-your-own pots of herbs of flowers that come with the dirt and seeds all their in a neat little package? In the analogy I worked up, it’s like those little pots are people’s identities and the different herb or flower seeds in them are the different pieces of our identities. What it’s felt like for me is that my little pot didn’t come with seeds. Like somebody got sleepy on the job and just forgot to put them in there. And all around me I see all these pots with seeds that have created beautiful and strong and healthy herbs and plants and flowers. And I just have dirt. So I’ve cut flowers or herbs from around me and stuck them in my pot so that it looks like I’m just like everyone else. Except that whatever I take eventually dies and I’m left with only dirt once more.

At this point, I’ve historically gotten completely discouraged and felt so utterly defective that I’ve just turned to do something else to distract myself. But the other night after reading the quote from the Tao te Ching on Ollin’s blog, I forced myself to continue sitting and being.  And then something pretty awesome happened. I re-membered that I have the power to create my Self each and every moment. I (and I believe all of us) have the power todecidewhat seeds I want to plant within me. Just like a mail-order catalogue, I can simply ask Momma and Papa (or the Universe/Goddess/God/Divinity/Whatever language you want to use – insert here)  for whatever seeds I want, plant them, and then work to cultivate them and help them grow.

So let’s say maybe you haven’t ever felt like what I have, but maybe you’ve struggled with or don’t like some of the seeds you were given. The beauty of all this is that you have not just the freedom, but the amazing opportunity to determine for yourself that perhaps you don’t want to grow chives, for example, anymore. Maybe you feel like growing mint or hibiscus or calla lillies or catnip. Awesome! Dig up those suckers up, chuck them in the Universal compost pile, and go get you some new seeds.

We just celebrated Beltane here at our house – a time of supreme and Divine fertility and also the halfway point through the year. Each year, I usuallly procrastinate and wait until October 1st to begin really working on my shit in those last 30 some days before Samhain and the end of the year. I’m going to try something different this year. Instead of putting all that work off (which makes for a miserable October, by the way), I’m going to commit to stop being a lazy Witch and start doing that work now. Litha (the summer solstice) is a little over a month away, a time of fullness and abundance and blooms. Let’s see if I can get some of these new seeds I’ve ordered to show some of their glorious colors by then!

What blooms are you working on coaxing to life and fullness? Do you have some seeds or plants you’d like to exchange? What’s stopping you?

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Winter morning

This will be my first north Florida winter. Having grown up in southwestern Pennsylvania, that sounds like an oxymoron. The trees here (you know, the ones that aren’t palm trees) have begun to change colors in earnest. I’m told that supposedly most of them don’t ever participate in that great seasonal strip-tease and truly ever get naked. Somehow, it seems, just as they get ready to unburden themselves from those heavy, now-russet, sunflower, and crimson clothes, new green clothes just take their place. I hope this is not true because it would be sad at me if the trees never got the opportunity to shake off the year of their clothes and get to dance naked in the winter sun and moonlight. I also have a hard time believing this – the mere physics of it baffles me, and the coating of dead leaves that covers the entire lawn of the wooded lot that our little house is nestled into speaks on my behalf. Regardless, I will be sure to report as to whether this seemingly miraculous event takes place.

But I will say that, myriad palm trees be damned, it smells like winter here today. We got our Yule/Christmas tree – and on December 6th, the day of St. Nicholas, to boot which we haven’t been able to do for the past couple years. I’m not sure what kind of tree he is, other than the soft-needled kind, or, according to my wife, the “huggy” kind. I am reveling in the purchase of this kind of tree because when I was growing up, we never got this kind even though it was my favorite. My mom in her neurotic cleanliness didn’t want to clean up all the pine needles that this kind of tree supposedly drop more often than other types of trees. And tonight, we will have a fire in our fireplace, play happy Christmas/Yule music, and dress Giorgio (we named our tree) in fabulous yuletide bobbles and maquillage. It will be splendiferous.

Autumn reflections

Perhaps the title of this post is a bit confusing for you provided that it’s the beginning of September and here in north Florida, fall is a ways off still (though you wouldn’t know it by today where the sky is gently overcast, the temperature is probably in the low 70s, and there isn’t a lick of humidity in the air). The day before yesterday I woke up, got myself coffee, and headed out to our back patio per my usual routine. As soon as I had sat down and taken a deep breath, my senses were overwhelmed by Fall. It didn’t matter that it was probably 75-80 degrees outside and sunny here. Superimposed over that reality in such tangibility that it left me literally breathless was a deeper one. One in which I could smell crisp leaves recently fallen from trees, apple cider, bonfires, and pumpkin pie; one in which I could see and hear those leaves – on trees and being whisked along the ground and those bonfires; one in which I could taste that apple cider and that scent of autumn in the air around me; one in which I could feel the crisp and cool fall breeze along my skin; and, one in which I could feel that pull as the year, for Witches such as myself, begins to come to a close and the pull of the darkness of the coming winter starts to overcome the length and lightness of the days of summer.

For the last several years toward the very end of July and beginning of August, I have felt the undercurrent of fall beneath the summer that still was in full swing start to slowly rise to the surface. I have had moments, as well, of that kind of superimposed vision of seeing the leaves of trees around me in their fall attire when, in the moment, they were actually still in their stunning summer green. But I have never before experienced being so tuned in to the cycle of the year so as to experience the coming autumn on every sensory level like I did several days ago. It was as if Nature opened herself up and invited me to partake of her magic. I have had “witchy” moments and experiences before, but nothing at this level of primal energy and certainly not solo – completely unaided by my Teacher, other witches, or a coven. I sat for a good 10-15 minutes, silent, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, in utter and complete awe and gratitude. Still, when I think of it now, I am humbled to have been granted that experience. No amount of ‘thank yous’ could suffice, and so I take a moment to simply be in deep reverence.

As a Witch, this time of year is about the Harvest. Mabon is approaching in the next weeks, the second of three harvest festivals of our year. It is a time both of celebration of what we have learned, what we have manifested, what we have been blessed with this past year, as well as a time to reflect on the work that remains in front of us before the last harvest sabbat and the end of the year at Samhain. Come October 1st, at least for me and my family, that work that remains can be felt as a tangible burden on our shoulders, an almost oppressive energy (depending on what is left to do and learn) that continues to grow until the end of the month. It can be, in some ways, a month full of “those days” where it seems that every obstacle that could come up in our path does because the Goddess and God are presenting us with last-minute opportunities to move through those lessons and be able to leave them behind us as the year ends.

This entire past year has felt like an October as my family and I have faced trial and challenge and crisis one right after another. You can imagine how much I am looking forward to bringing the year to a close! And yet, as I shift my mindset into that of bringing in the harvest as I reflect on what I have learned, how I have grown, and what remains for me to learn in the time left, I have created for myself a place of peace and gratitude (something I can count among the things I have learned this year) in which to do that work. Among other things, I still have some work to do on money shit. I also have some figuring out that needs to take place about the differences between intimacy, sex, and romance and where my needs lie within those three. And I need to actively embrace compassion as far as my parents are concerned if I am to find any healing for that relationship. I’m sure there’s more (there usually is 😉 ), and that’s all right.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about

A day after I declared that the time for whining and wallowing was done and it was time to move forward, L found $140 in a parking lot. The day after that, our housing situation solidified and, instead of having an uncertain 60 days (to which we are almost at an end), we now have 6 months with a manageable rent payment scheduled to begin in about three weeks. And I have two days off in a row. All of that screams to me that the Universe and Momma and Papa are behind me 150% and that my sense that it was time to start moving forward was accurate and in sync with what is in my highest and best interest as well as where we are in the Wheel of the Year.

The Summer Solstice is a time of things coming to fullness and abundance. It’s not time yet to start to do the work of harvesting – now is the time to simply revel in the beauty and prosperity that abounds, to take joy in living among the fruits of previous labors.  It feels to me to be a quintessential live-in-the-moment sabbat. The work of the harvesting will come soon enough, but it’s not time now. And despite this whole year feeling a bit Samhain-esque, the events of the past few days seem to be saying to me that we have completed the spiral down in this time of transformation, and now we begin spiraling back up. The road blocks that contributed to the necessity of the transformation have been uprooted and are no longer in our path. And while I’m not so naive as to think there won’t be bumps or stones that will be encountered and need to be dug up – after all, we are here to grow and learn and unfold which means taking off all that is not Truth – it feels as though we have reached a turning point in this cycle. And for that I am exceptionally grateful.