cedar_grove: (Storm)
I have spent several weeks in contemplation of when, for me, the new year should begin, or perhaps has already begun. I tell myself this, and not that it is procrastination against the beginning of an undertaking, or perhaps the opposite, a wish for a precipitous beginning of said undertaking. The fact remains, I have questioned, and still question when a new year begins for an individual. When does it begin for me?


As a Wiccan, should my new year have begun in November, as Samhain passed us into the gathering season of winter, or did my new year begin almost a month later with the start of a journey that has led me to the threshold upon which I now stand – or may even have unknowingly passed beyond already? Did my personal new year begin as a new year of my life began with my birthday on December 11th or with the new solar year, and returning light at Yule? Or should I simply do as most folk seem to do and say my new undertaking will begin with the new calendar year as 2016 gives way to 2017?


There are so many conventions that we follow, cultural and religious, and some that fall into both categories. The notion of the ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ have never appealed to me, and not just because many (if not most of the people I personally know) give up on those resolutions soon after making them – myself included in the past. Perhaps that’s why, through this soul searching, I have shied away from that option, and why I questioned in the first place.


Through my introspection, not just of recent days, but of many months, perhaps even years – and extrospection (though Google tells me that even though technically this is the anonym of introspection, it is rarely used), I have discovered a thing or two. This is the point at which I feel I must type the disclaimer that, if you think this part of my journal entry is about you, well… that’s your prerogative, I suppose, but this is my journal, and these are my observations. However, as the saying goes, if the cap fits… or the shoe fits, then… be Cinderella if you must.


There are too many people out there who can’t, or perhaps worse, refuse to see past the end of their own garden path. Such people trap themselves in their own misery, and as prisoners lash out at those around them, transferring their misery and negativity to people who are merely trying to help them realize their own state of being. I’ve been an enabler of such behaviors for the sake of a quiet life, because the gods know that when I’ve tried to do otherwise, all holy hell has broken loose.


Loyalty, like charity, must begin at home. Blind loyalty to other people or beliefs or any other thing that one can be loyal to is often self-destructive. Loyalty to someone or something that reinforces or promotes self-deprecation or a negative self-image, no matter who or what that someone or something is; what part that person or something else plays in your life, is an act of cowardice, not loyalty, and ultimately damaging for you and for others in your life.  As with love, if you cannot love yourself, you cannot properly love others – if you cannot be loyal to yourself, then your loyalty to others is misguided at best.


Ignoring the wise words of good friends and loved ones is just plain stupid and can only lead to trouble and pain. You might think your reasons for arguing the point (inwardly or outwardly) are good and valid reasons, but experience and hindsight will always come around like a two-headed dog to bite you on the ass. When that happens, you know the people that had your best interests at heart when they spoke the advice because, while they might remind you of what they said, they’ll never say, “I told you so,” and will just be there in quiet support while you find your feet after being knocked on your smarting backside.


There’s great sadness in the realization that sometimes, people will – by their own thoughts and actions – disqualify themselves from certain parts they have played in your life, and you can fight and flail all you like to keep them there because you want them there, but if that want isn’t truly and unconditionally matched, there’s little you can do but create a negative and toxic situation for the both of you that is ultimately damaging. Conversely, people can sometimes surprise you. When you least expect it, with a single word, or a short message, people you might have once been close to, that you didn’t even realize you missed, can give you a boost when you’re at your lowest ebb, and remind you that they’re still there.


In all of the above, I’m drawn to, and feel the need to also share a story that was given to me as a ‘lesson’ by one of those wise friends many, many years ago - a wonderful man by the name of Alawn Tickhill - who told me the Story of the Sparrow – and you can find it here.


So… anyway, the conclusion I came to, is that really and ultimately, when and why I start the undertaking is entirely up to me. Also, it’s no big secret what the undertaking is.  It’s just that I’ve been wanting to do more journal writing for a very long time now, and I thought, well, with a new year, it might be time to start this journaling journey.  I’d like to say I’ll write every day. Even though that might be my intent, I know that sometimes life is going to get in the way. I also know that’s perfectly fine.


What I write, how often I write, and why I write – well, those things are my prerogative and my responsibility too.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

--Lao-tzu



Beyond what we need to survive, to better ourselves has come to mean having as much as one can store, and as such has turned into an addiction in our modern world.

I looked around me today and saw all manner of people hurrying too and fro, not even pausing to give each other the time of day. I hear today from a friend who is being treated like shit at work, and from another who is facing uncertainty because of governmental funding cuts… and I wonder just what in the world happened to us as a race that we must treat each other like shit; climb on each others' back to get ahead, and general act with inhumanity toward our fellow man? It has really troubled me today.

On the other hand, I heard from a friend I haven't spoke to in a while, and have the chance to reconnect with her, and completely out of the blue Kay messaged me from NC, (must have been her break or something) using Facebook. It felt as if the Universe was trying to remind me not to lose heart, that there are still some good people in the world… there are still those of us that have time for each other.

I'm not trying to say I'm perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination, I don't always act altruistically and without regard to materialistic concerns, but I do try to be a decent human being, and so it bothers me when I see others around me not doing so. It's like... let me ask this. How many people would step around someone that suddenly trips and falls, and how many people would lean down to try and help them up, or at least ask them if they are okay. I frame the question that way because it happened to me once - where I was the one that had fallen. I'd had an operation, just by keyhole surgery, but it was abdominal surgery, and after a week convalescing at home, I was supposed to be fit enough to take a short journey to a friends house to spend the day with her, and as I was going stir crazy, this seemed like a good idea. It was two bus rides... one into the city, and one out the other side... and between the two bus rides, a short walk from stop to stop. During that walk was when I tripped over a kerb-stone, and fell to the pavement (sidewalk). I couldn't immediately get up, because I had knocked the wind out of myself, and the number of people that simply changed path and walked around me, really was quite disturbing and upsetting. Finally a frail little old lady shuffling along with two walking sticks changed her path to bring her /to/ me, to help me up and check I was okay... a lesson in humanity for all of us there, I think.

Just because someone trips and falls, don't assume that they are in any way a bad person, drunk or an addict (as I'm sure that's what the others were thinking). It really might be a simple accident and they might need our help.

Snapping

Oct. 23rd, 2011 07:32 pm
cedar_grove: (Stormcloud)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

A flag goes boneless as it assumes
the shape of the wind that snaps it
and so I love.



As the Chinese sage Lao-tzu said 2,500 years ago, "The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail...Whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding a disciple of life.'

Is it strange to begin an entry responding to this post by saying that I am afraid; afraid for the planet, the 'world' and the people in it?

I turned on my computer earlier and downloaded my e-mail only to find there was breaking news from ABC about an earthquake that had happened this morning in Turkey. It wasn't a small earthquake… it was 7.2. News coverage can be seen here. Since the morning there have been 20 more quakes in the same region… all over 5 on the Richter scale.

These things are becoming more and more frequent: earthquakes, tsunami, wildfires, hurricanes… as if the world is trying to shrug her shoulders and throw off all of her burdens. At the same time human unrest is peaking… wars, civil unrest, the rejection of unjust, tyrannical regimes amid chaos and violence… as if we too are 'snapping' in the winds of change.

While I was waiting for the news – to find out more about Turkey – I had to sit through all the human ugliness that is the death of Gadaffi. While I agree that we shouldn't suffer dictators, should not sit idly by and allow one individual to rule by fear and violence, I'm still somewhat uncomfortable about the whole manner of what happened to him, and uncertain about how I feel about what's happening to his body right now. My flag is somewhat stiff at my own sense of right and wrong… but on the news they interviewed the colonel of the Libyan army, who had a different perspective. He basically said (and I felt myself shocked at his answer) when asked about what he thought would and should happen to the body, and I'm paraphrasing from what I can remember: "I don't care. Look, what is important is that he is gone, no more in the world, and he represented all that was bad in the world. Look at what he did to others, they will either bury him or not." No matter what was said to him, and I think the reporter talking to him was just as shocked at his attitude as I was and was trying to call him on it, he just kept on going back to the stark reality of it. Stuff happens in war and it's not going to be nice stuff. Gadaffi did bad stuff and was a dictator. He's gone and now we must move on lest what lingers should tear our flags to pieces… but still… I worry yet again over our human nature. Is all of this happening because we are so rigid, so set in our ways and therefore have become the disciples of our own death?
cedar_grove: (Empathy)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

When the wind stops,
the trees still move,
the way my heart creaks
long after it bends.



In fact, I've come to see that much of my confusion in life comes from giving my attention to the next thing too soon, and then wrapping new experience in the remnants of feeling that are not finished with me.

I think I'm like this... mostly because I don't give myself time to feel many things fully, and often feel that having an emotional response to a lot of things is inappropriate anyway. I still do though, and then I push them away or smother them down, or indulge in them quickly - almost like a kid stealing a candy and swallowing it down whole before anyone can see.

As a result, my emotional self probably looks a bit like an ball of yarn that's been gotten at by the kitten - chewed and tangled... frayed at the edges.

I came to some conclusions today while thinking about this, and about some things I've been feeling today - and some of the feelings to which I did exactly what I've just described above.

I've been feeling a little bit restless and downhearted in the area of creativity of late... reading a forum that once was a home from home, I feel like I don't fit in any more, because I 'diverged' in a big way, and while they're welcoming and accepting, bless them - it's /me/ that doesn't feel right... somehow. And that feeling makes me feel a little sad, lost and 'homeless' because the corner of the formum specifically dedicated to my particular interest is pretty much dead and buried.

Then on top of feeling that, I read something at facebook that gave me a moment of 'ouch.' I was jealous in a way, of a close family member being supportive of her fiancee and his creative works, and felt even more isolated and unsupported in my own. But then, hard on the heels of that thought I had the 'How dare I feel this way - this isn't meant to be about me, move on!' response... pushes the feeling deep inside, and tried to forget about it. I should be - and am - touched, moved by the love that shows in that act of support. The two make a wonderful couple and I'm very happy for them, and very proud of them both each for their own endeavours.

But my 'heart creaks' and still... like a little child... seeking approval and support, I felt a little sad for myself - and that's just plain selfish.

In the grand scheme of things it's all pretty plain selfish right now, considering the troubles others in the world are suffering. I don't really mean anything with my trivial concerns, but my heart needs to be untangled so that I can let it shine with empathy again. That's what this world needs...

because when the 'wind' stops blowing...
the 'trees' are still moving.

And those in the world need the touch of a compassionate heart.

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