cedar_grove: (Books)
While everyone else seems to be busy looking back on 2013 to see the highlights and low points of the last year, some in quite formal ways, others via the whole Facebook thing, I've been trying to - and in some cases, 'trying' has been the operative word - set my sights forwards into 2014.

I don't do the whole New Year's resolutions thing, I rarely stick to them, because inevitably at some point they become obsolete or impossible despite all the self discipline in the world and therefore get dropped. I have made one promise to myself for this year, though - that being to finish reading The Silmarillion. The other things I have been thinking about in respect of 2014 are things I'd like to do if at all possible, a few goals one could say.

We were at the library on Friday, grabbing Mir's books for her January read, and the thought about The Silmarillion and also about my own reading for the year had me come up with a decision. This year I'm decided that I want to read a Tolkien each month. So, I made a list as follows:

The Silmarillion
The History of Middle Earth, Volumes 1 through 5
The Children of Hurin
Unfinished tales of Numenor and Middle-earth
Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
Return of the King
The Hobbit.

My reading goal on Goodreads is set to 40 book. Last year I set the bar rather too high, based entirely on how 'unbusy' I was at the beginning of the year, and then everything changed of course... I found work, DOMA fell, precipitating an awesome life change, and so reading took a back seat to so many other things, that 75 books just wasn't happening. So in addition to the Tolkien, I have a list to pull from for book to read to reach my modest reading goal, and that's one thing on the list for this year.

Writing took a major hit in 2013, with some seriously lost mojo, but I feel as if I'm coming out from behind that cloud now that a new year is dawned, and I'm staring to get a grip a little more of my new situation, so I feel that I might actually get a few more words from the tips of the old fingers this year too. I'm not setting goals - I think part of the problem last year was that I did that and so ended up putting up walls around myself - but I do have projects to switch between and keep things fresher. The two original projects, along with three Middle Earth fan fic projects make up the head of the list of projects, and I still have the SGA floating around in the back of the brain, taking a respite to gather full strength again. Writing 13 novel length fics kind of made for hitting a major wall in that regard, even if all 20 are planned. I needed a rest - I'm taking that rest in Arda.
cedar_grove: (Books)
Do you love to read as much as I do?

I know many of the people that read my LJ are also avid book readers so would like to extend an open invitation to people to come and join the World Reading Circle community on LibraryThing.

The details of what the community is, and how it works is all there on the page, and it honestly is - we have found - an excellent way of sharing books in a way that reviews don't always seem to manage. You will need a LibraryThing account in order to participate, but they're free and easy to create, with the added bonus of being able to keep track of your own personal library into the bargain - share reviews and - if you are into this kind of thing, you can join programs such as the Early Reviewer program, and the Members Giveaway program and receive free books (mostly Ebooks but that isn't a problem for most people), and all you need to do is read them and review. Win all round!

We would love to have you join us on World Reading Circle. The more people, the merrier the place :) So head on over to join us!

New Day

Feb. 8th, 2012 08:54 pm
cedar_grove: (Default)

It is a miracle:
in the heavens is the sun,
in her chamber the sun,
in the heavens the moon,
in her chamber the moon.
In the heavens the stars,
in their chambers the stars,
in the heavens the dawn,
in her chamber the dawn,
and all the beauty beneath the skies.

--Fifteenth century Russian folksong

Do not wait to notice her presence. Begin with the dawn, and notice her power throughout this day - this precious, ordinary and amazing day.

I have a routine on the weekdays... one that begins with a morning Orison... a simple statement of welcoming in the day - the powers and the Universe. At 6:15am it's usually still dark enough to need a light to see in order to do anything of note, but light enough to not be black as pitch... and by the time I leave the house, though not full daylight, the day has begun in earnest. Hail to these, Bright Sun, King of the Morning. Hail to these all light and life - Hail glorious Universe of which I am but a small but burning spark. Hail to thee new day. It's not always words - though some mornings I do feel the need to speak the words aloud - those, or some variation on them. Some mornings it is just a thought - a feeling... or a moment of standing in the room as the light grows. Just so long as it is some recognition of 'Beginning' a new day.

I see the goddess in the day, certainly, but for me the sun is a masculine energy - its light and heat a male thing. I suppose that's the way I've always felt it, and certainly the way I was 'taught' as a Wiccan. North (Earth), and South (Sun/Fire) as male influences... East (Air) and West (Water/moon) Female. Just one of those things I suppose, so - it's strange to me to be considering the sun as feminine... as goddess and not god. A deviation, but in all things it always helps to have a fresh perspective.

A fresh perspective was definitely what I needed in respect of the way I was feeling about a situation at work. I was feeling trapped, with no place to go to address the problem. Talking to Mir last night, she helped me more than she can imagine by suggesting a simple solution or way forward. The suggestion empowered me in a situation where I was feeling powerless, and as such gave me the energy to face the new day as I went in to work. Where I had been miserable and grumpy I was able to remain calm, and to enjoy my time with the children. Even managed a meeting with the person that has been causing the upset without feeling defensive. It was good. Mir always manages to help me like this. What can I say - My Guy!

She helps me in other ways too - new day, new perspective... and old ones too, reminders, like the sunset at the end of the day that are a reflection of all that was the sunrise, like the day's memory and promise all rolled into one. Through her suggesting I should sign up for the readathing, I have remember how much I love reading, and even though today is the last day of the readathing - I will, for myself, make sure I read for at least one, maybe 2 hours each day. Perhaps not all in one chunk, but at least remembering to pick up the kindle and read every opportunity I get. It is one part of me that has been missing, and finding it again is a great comfort to me. The miracle of those few, quite moments spent with just me and my guided imagination.
cedar_grove: (Books)

Brigid went out in the early dawn,
and saw a hose with a shattered leg.
Bone to bone she knit, flesh to flesh,
vein to vein she sewed, sinew back to sinew.
Bigid, by her woman's power, healed.
And by my woman's power, I can heal myself.

--Traditional Irish song

Learning when to turn inward for our own healing is one of life's hardest lessons.

Today is the beginning of the Read-athing on Librarything.com and I actually set an alarm so that I wouldn't sleep through the first session I had committed to. No, that doesn't mean it was a chore, it means that I didn't want to miss it. As it happens there as a 1 hour gap between the first session I had signed up for and the three others. In eality, what happened was that I just read through all five hours.

I spending so much time today reading, I realised just how much I missed it and how much it is something I enjoy. I mean, sure, I've been reading in little bits, and hour here, a few minutes there... but not a long period of sustained reading, like I did today, and will do tomorrow, and the next several days. I'm just going to have to keep going once the Read-athing is finished.

It's small things like this that provide the steps to our healing - spiritual as well as physical... things that make us 'feel' better make us feel better... ease our dis-ease. It's like, in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, one of the first things you're asked to do is to identify activities that you enjoy doing, that make you feel good - and to set aside some time each day to engage in these activities. Mood boosting I suppose. But it does work. I love to read almost more than I love to write, but I've had so little time to do either, as stupid as that sounds - that I'm missing both. Now that I'm reading more, even in the last couple of days, I'm already feeling more relaxed.

Maybe in a few days I'll even be able to write something, (beyong book reviews and stuff for work). There are journals to write for, on Trek Blog and Stargate Blog... novels to continue... assignments to write, and all these are things I really want to do. It is frustrating coming home so tired and drained from work that I'm really good for nothing... which is why I never have the 'time' to do these things I want to do.

So... having the kindle and reading has been immensely healing for me. I hope it continues.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Every day, every night
that I praise the goddess,
I know shall be safe:
I shall not be chased,
I shall not be caught,
I shall not be harmed.
Fire, sun, and moon
cannot burn me. Not
lake nor stream nor sea
can drown me. Fairy
arrow cannot pierce me.
I am safe, safe, safe,
sing her praises.

--The shield of Brigid, Irish prayer

Today we hope for more than just a good crop and no epidemics, good weather for the harvest and nothing to cripple our children. But is this not all we could hope for: enough to nourish us, both spiritually and physically, and people aorund us who love us?

One of the four major festivals is on us today, Imbolc, the first of spring in the old ways - or should I perhaps say a precursor to spring... the kindling of the new fire in the hearth, in the year.

That this prayer is for protection is not entirely lost on me either. Not that I feel unsafe, I hasten to add, not even at the sounds of distant gunfire... and yes, I hear it every now and again. Nor is the hopes of good health. Yesterday I started feeling unwell, and seem to have picked up whatever fluey bug is doing the rounds at school. New country, new germs... but yes, really not feeling happy. It will pass, like all things, and everything will be well again... and I'll be looking back on today wondering what all the fuss was about as the blanket of snowdrops heralds the coming of spring. I speak figuratively of course. I don't think they have snowdrops in Egypt.

But as I'm sitting here, eyes closed, following the train of thought through my meditations, the sound I hear is the sound of the wind coming in through my kitchen fan. Outside of my kitchen is the passageway between buildings, and it's like a wind tunnel, so the wind is whistling thought the spinning fan, and it sounds like I imagine the wind across the snowy plains of the arctic sound - a strange sound to be hearing when sitting and thinking about spring.

I think about reading too... have been thinking I haven't done enough of it, and that I'm going too slowly thought the books I need to read. I signed up yesterday for the Reada-thing that Librarything are doing. Of course, I won't be reading Dickens. I never could get along with him - a bad experience with Great Expectations at school, I think, is what put me off... but I have plenty to read, and having a set time to sit down and do some reading will work well. I might even add more times yet. I don't know. I do know I want to finish this current book... most definitely. I wouldn't say I wasn't enjoying it, but... I've read better. As a three word review of the first quarter of the book, it's not terribly encouraging.
cedar_grove: (Books)

Yes! I will be there
for the revels--
tossing my head
and dancing on the dew.
I will be there, yes! Free
in the glad greenwood,
leaping like a deer
who fears no hunter.
There I will dance
with no man watching,
there I will find wisdom
written in the forest shadows.
Is there any gift greater
than feeling such joy?

--Maenad song, Greek dramatist Euripides

Little is known about the celebrations of these women, [The Meenads, women of the cult of Dionysus] who for more than 200 years practiced a religion apparently based upon union with the divine.

Without getting metaphysical, or psychosexual, how does one invoke union with the divine. Is it simply that altered state where one is so interconnected with life and all else that one truly feels that ecstasy of the spirit. Like when a shaman drums, or a dancer dances and each becomes lost in the rhythm, the moment, the magic of it all.

I could have wished for some kind of divine ecstasy today... but no - woke with the kind of headache that just makes you want to crawl back under the covers and stay there for the day. Couldn't of course, I needed essentials - Milk and toilet paper... but...

Going out of doors on a Friday is a kind of meditation itself. It was a beautiful morning, not too cold, actually warm enough that walking I had to take off my jacket and tie it around my waist. Takes about a half an hour to walk to the store so one way or another you're going to be walking when the Call to Prayer begins... and once it starts from one Mosque, then the cascading echo of it comes from all around... even as someone who is not a Muslim to tonal and atonal quality of the sung prayer is quite intoxicating... in this case, calming - bringing a sense of peace not ecstasy. I'm sure I've said this before, but it was no less true today than it was then... and coming back with my milk for my tea, I did find that the headache had subsided enough for me to at least function a little... and to continue thinking. What are the things that being me to that union with the divine.

It's two things... creativity and love. When I read and when I write... when I am able to be loving, and when I am loved, these are the time I feel most at one with the divine within myself. These are the times I am able to feel the quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) ecstasy of spirit. Tomorrow I must find time to do these things.
cedar_grove: (Forever Eternal)
erverFrom The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

And when we squint, we think we see like a tiger, while the truth like the sun spills everywhere but through our slits.

I have also found myself from time to time unable to stay in the feeling of a moment…

Sunday – I had a great deal of trouble with this one today, because my day was actually crisis free, no narrowing of eyes, no snarling of tigers, in fact, I really and truly enjoyed myself.

I spent a lot of it reading Mir's Enterprise story, which I have been looking forward to ever since… well since she started it really. It has a fabulous angle, is an amazing retelling and looking inside a particular character's head/emotions and fits so seamlessly with the episode (and makes me want to watch Enterprise again).

I guess the only slip out of the moment I had was in not reaching my word count for today – but… *grins* I had a good reason not to. I was reading! Seriously though, I was only 200 words or so short, and that I can easily catch up tomorrow.
cedar_grove: (michael-ages)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

If you try to teach before you learn
or leave before you stay,
you will lose your ability to try.

…no amount of preparation can keep me from my experience.

Given their terrible performance in the last two games, I went into today's game anticipating defeat. How wrong I was, (for which I'm very happy)! Would it be unsportsmanlike conduct to say we absolutely destroyed them? And terrible joke notwithstanding (on FB), where I said something about Wake Forest being unable to see the wood from the trees, I spent the time of the game posting updates about the score and anything else that came to mind – including the terrible moment when I thought that Gametracker was going to stop working for good about 5 minutes before the end of the second quarter. Luckily it came back on a couple of minutes into the third quarter, so… phew to that! :D

While I was watching the little peg men running around on the field I was checking out some rousing music on Youtube. Gaile put me on to these people, called 'Two Steps From Hell.' It's kind of soundtrackish stuff obviously meant for fantasy or some kind of movie background, and from there I accidentally found 'Brand X music' (or something like that)… sort of orchestral and choral mix, very inspirational. Very stirring – it went well with some of the game.

In the end though we won… and then Mir came home, and in answer to my Skype'd message of Yay! We did it, she starts a voice chat and the first words out of her mouth are "I'm gonna KILL HIM!" LOL – and once she'd read to me the passage from the book, I understood why – and then I laughed until I cried.
cedar_grove: (Books)
Or should I say, a lack of it? I mean, as a teacher I know that children can have trouble developing skills in inference and deduction, but sometimes I despair over the level of such skills in adults. Perhaps it's because they never really learned to infer, to deduce, to read between the damn lines, or perhaps it's just sheer laziness, or a sign of the times - where the masses seem to demand everything to be laid out for them... spelled out in an obvious manner. What's the point in creating elaborate, detailed and enthralling plots if readers keep on missing the point! Okay, rant over. It's just been 'one of them days.'


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