Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today's Medicine: Overcoming Apathy

Nothing makes us more productive than the last minute. - Anonymous

*snort* This is the most fitting quote for me right now. I've had the last three days to prepare for a candle making party I am doing at my house tomorrow. When did I get the most things done around the house? Tonight, of course. I suppose it makes sense: I was the kid who would completely re-write her book report the night before it was due. Alas, some things seem to never change.

I've been feeling really melancholy and apathetic this past few days. It's taken quite a bit for me to put my big girl pants on and deal with things. I'm not clear on what's going on but it feels like there is a shift going on within myself and I just need more time than usual to process things. Instead of looking at something and instantly getting it, I'm finding myself absorbing the information before acting on it. It's almost like I'm in slow motion. Not necessarily a bad thing but certainly uncomfortable at times...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Today's Medicine: Meeting Fear with Grace

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

I was overwhelmed today and had to consider why I was feeling such an influx of emotions. Once I recognized that I felt fearful of my future, I stopped and took a deep breath. Then I let it out, mostly because it's just not attractive to turn bright red and then blue due to lack of oxygen.

I considered why I was having such a strong and negative reaction to some unfortunate news. And I considered why I was so invested in creating stories which played out in confrontational ways. Fear was a driving factor: fear of my income based work becoming unstable, fear of having to deal with drama that is outside my control, fear that I'll be mistreated too. And hand in hand was Anger which stemmed from my strong sense of loyalty and fair play, even when I'm not directly involved in any situation. I realized that Anger came from feeling betrayed- I felt a fool for trusting that this job would be "so much different" than any other job. (It still is in a lot of ways but the shiny factor is now a bit tarnished.) It's funny how easy it is to fall back into old patterns: feeling responsible for situations that I am no way responsible for, feeling a strong empathy for a wronged friend and wanting to "help" the situation in whatever way possible when it really isn't about me at all! All these things came through today and all I can say is thank gods for Grace.

Grace helped remember that no, in fact, I'm NOT God. It helped me to stop long enough to consider that maybe I was overreacting just a wee tiny little bit. I was able to stop the stories in my head before they became full blown novels, complete with shouted recriminations and tragic endings. Grace also helped me unclench myself enough to thoroughly enjoy my afternoon with my aunt and look clearly at my emotional turbulence. Grace helps us see the beauty we love so that it can be what we do...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Today's Medicine: Quiet Wisdom

Each day brings it's own wonder. And challenges. If I'm lucky, they're in balance. I got to sleep in late today- thank gods for late start Mondays. The air around our house was full of sparkles. I swear Tinkerbell had a few hundred friends shaking their booties all over the place! I know, it was just the sun glittering off the dry snow swirling but it was astonishing to see. Got to love it when Wonder shows up. I'm so grateful for that.

Quiet Wisdom came into play as I wandered through my day. I was presented with plenty of opportunities to react to the uncontrollable beings around me. Mostly I just remembered to breathe and do my best to not respond in kind. I chose not to engage or butt into situations where I didn't need to and I helped ease things when I could. Listening to that quiet voice within is so helpful.

A blessed and happy Chinese New Year to everyone too. I hope the Year of the Ox is fruitful in kind ways for all the beings that live on this planet. God knows we all need more kindness.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Today's Medicine: Tidying Up Loose Ends

It doesn't sound much like Medicine, does it? But it is. Each loose end I snip or re-weave into my life is one less thing that my brain can obsess over. It's all about clarifying and prioritizing.

I practiced integrating my life today. I did some Ancestor work today and I feel like I've gotten the most recent dead settled on my father's paternal line and my mother's maternal line. This is a Good Thing(tm). I will be doing some ceremonies in the not too distant future which I hope will help as well. I also did some more laundry and now I'm preparing dinner for my family. I noted new birds that came to the feeders today- a red breasted nuthatch came for a visit and the hairy woodpecker was back for another meal at the suet feeder. I swept the back porch to keep the area clean of birdseed and debris and it felt good to be outside in the crisp air. It was gently snowing all day today, another reminder that we're still in the midst of Winter. As if I needed another reminder of that!

Life certainly has some sweet moments. I hope I remember to savor them as they come...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Today's Medicine: Renewal

Live each day as if your life had just begun. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. - Henry David Thoreau

By the end of yesterday, I felt flattened. I know it had a lot to do with less than optimal sleep levels the night before and the fact that as I'm getting older my hormones are getting a bit wonky. Having never experienced PMS before now, I'm really sympathetic towards the women who experience it every single month since puberty. It's really not pleasant.

Today I am pleasantly surprised at how good I feel. Some of it has to do with lots of sweet kitty love, a really good cup of tea and getting almost 12 hours of sleep. My dreams have been interesting too, which has been helpful. My paternal grandparents have shown up in some way four nights out of seven this week, which tells me that I'd better get off my butt and do some journey work. Most likely I'll be doing that tomorrow since I'll have the house to myself.

The picture above is one of my favorites by the artist. For me, Renewal isn't just about getting enough sleep or doing medicine work or solitude. It's also about making things new again, as in cleaning my house, new books and projects. Renewal is a stepping away from the busy-ness of my life and allowing space so that I can allow those parts of me that feel squashed to expand a bit. In one of my dreams I pulled out a bag that had my blessing mixture in and I realized upon waking that I really need to make one of those. Renewal is integration work. It's about pulling the ravelled threads back into the pattern, soothing the rough edges of my spirit so that I can allow wholeness to enter into my life. All too often I forget that I don't have a spiritual life AND a work life AND a family life. What it comes down to is this: I have a LIFE. And Renewal helps me to remember that.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yesterday's Medicine: Gratitude and Humility

After work yesterday I was so bloody tired that all I managed to do was eat some dinner, take a bath and drift off to sleep. And I am truly grateful that I am able to do so.

Gratitude decided to club me on the head yesterday afternoon. It went something like this:

Walking back to my car, I saw him. He was crouched over a bag next to a public trash can, right in front of where I was parked. He appeared to try and make himself as small as possible, to be as unobtrusive as he could to passerby. I watched him pause as I got into my car and then he poked through the bag at his feet, looking to see what else was still edible. With a sick twist of my stomach, I realized he had just dug that bag out of the trash can and was eating the left overs from someone else's lunch. It's been a very long time since I witnessed something like this. And I debated what I would do, what I could do, to help his situation. As he got another bag out of the trash and started eating the ends of some sort of salad, I approached him. I asked him if he wanted a yogurt, and he brusquely said "Yes." I gave him the option of lemon or vanilla and he took the lemon, without thanks. This didn't bother me, because I could sense his discomfort with the situation. He didn't even meet my eyes. As I drove off, I gently reminded myself that sometimes you do what you can do, even if you feel you ought to be doing more. I hope that man finds what he needs in this life. And that occasionally people stop to see the suffering around them and maybe do something about it...

Then I went back to work and finished my day. I am so grateful I can have healthy food, that I have a home with loved ones, that my life DOES NOT SUCK. Even when it's difficult and troubling, it does not suck. And that is really the most important thing I can remember.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's Medicine: Time for Reflection

I read this poem on today and it seems to suit my mood quite well.

God speaks to each of us as he makes us;
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.
Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you:
beauty and terror.
Just keep going,
no feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.

Rainer Maria Rilke

I took a weeks break from writing my musings on the medicines which come in to my life each day. It was a well needed respite and I spent much of it immersed in the world of Harry Potter. I re-read all seven books and was reminded again of how much I absotively love them. They help me remember that it's important to choose to do what's right instead of what is easy, that words do indeed have power and must be spoken with care. They also awaken a deep longing for a world to which I can truly belong. This longing has been in place since childhood, when I would imagine I as a fairy or a princess or a warrior maid. The longing reminds me that no matter how much I feel I don't belong in this time or place, I am a part of this world and there really is no need to separate from it as much as I feel I need to. It brings into sharp relief how I try to "balance" my spiritual and physical and emotional lives, when in fact they are all the same thing. These are not exactly comfortable reflections, yet they are necessary.

I embrace the longing because it calls me home. I embrace my body because my body is more than a reflection of my inner self- it is the physical manifestation of WHO I AM during this lifetime. I embrace my spiritual path, no matter where it meanders, because it helps me learn about myself, the world and brings me great joy. And so it goes...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today's Medicine: Stillness

Our greatest danger in life
is in permitting the urgent
to crowd out the important.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

How fitting that this is the quote for the day. I've been feeling restless and unfocused the past two days, while my nights are filled with dreamings. I find myself longing for a few days to Be Still and Listen. I expect that pattern may continue for a while and I need to remember to not struggle with the flow but relax and move with it. Not exactly new information here either.. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Today's Medicine: Listening

I've been fretting about finances lately. So what happens? The Universe provides me with a few extra days at work to help out. I laughed to myself when my boss asked me if I would work this weekend and again in February, with the possibility of a few more shifts in the coming week if my co-worker hasn't returned to work. It should give me enough of a buffer so that I won't be fretting about going to Pantheacon next month. Woot for synchronicity!

I did some ancestor work on my lunch break and that felt good. I've been mapping out my lineage on a medicine wheel and it's been interesting to see what falls out where. My father's paternal lineage is placed in the North, while my mother's maternal lineage is in the West. I thought back in June that my mother's paternal lineage would be in the East and my father's maternal lineage would be in the South but they've switched. Once I start working with those lineages I'll have more of an idea. It's just interesting to see how things have shifted, both within and without, in the past 7 months. I'm enjoying the work and I have some ideas on what I need to do before my next intensive, which will likely be in May. Funny that I'm feeling drawn to work with my father's maternal line, when his mother was born in May...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Everyday Medicine: Calm

I love days filled with mist and shadow. Looking out over the flooded Snohomish Valley and seeing the mist rise from the water was creepy and awe inspiring. I love the days that feel in-between and today was one. Life is good. One of my Yule presents for my family was the Cookie of the Month club, so today I delivered Double Chocolate Mint cookies to my parents and brother. I do believe they were much appreciated by all. It was good to talk with them for a bit and it will be fun to do it for them throughout the year.

I missed posting last night because I was spending time with a friend and I didn't feel up to posting once we did a Fire ceremony and I drove her home. It feels good to come to terms with feeling awkward about not keeping up by posting each and every day. I feel really good about staying with the daily posting for almost a month with very few non-posting days. It's funny how much I needed to prove to myself that I can indeed stick with something that is important to me. You'd think that I'd have learned that one by now. *snort* Ah, the joys of learning.

Calm was the focus for the day. I pulled a Brian Froud Faery card and it was all about being thankful for those who who challenge us by their meddling and "I know what's best, here let me help!" attitudes. It may not happen often, but sometimes they are spot on with their observations and what they do or say is exactly what I need to receive. I am fully aware that I have that same meddling tendency as well- in abundance, in fact. I can only hope that most of the time my observer self can get the invisible duct tape over my mouth before I well and truly step in it. For the most part, it's been a very calm and cheerful sort of day and I'm looking forward to some down time this evening. No matter what, it will be delightful, whether it's watching Star Trek: Voyager with Paul or reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire while taking a long soak or something else entirely.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Everyday Medicine: Opening to the Moment

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart. - John Heywood

It was a good day. I found some things I needed, restrained myself from splurging too much, spent some time at the spa taking care of my body and spirit and had a long overdue visit with a dear friend. I tried new foods and embraced the opportunity to be social when all I really wanted to do was stay home. Got to love those mixed blessings.

I don't really have much more to say right now so I'm going to embrace silence and hie myself off to bed early. The cats would like that...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today's Medicine: Fruitful Solitude

Happiness is when
what you think,
what you say,
and what you do
are in harmony.
-Mahatma Gandhi

I grinned from ear to ear when I read today's quote. Why? Because it resonates so much with the spiritual path I follow of right mind/love/action. It's also a very shamanic way of being in the world. You can do so much when your mind, heart and will are in alignment. I notice that I feel it in my body when those three things are out of alignment. Gotta love those cosmic reminders.

I had several hours of Solitude today and loved every minute of it. I wasn't wildly productive and for some reason I was moving verrryyy sllloooow. So I just did whatever I felt like doing. It was very nice. Since Nesting is my focus for the year, I did hearth work, tidying up loose ends around the house. I took down the dried flowers and put them in jars for future ceremonial use, sorted through and tossed some crunchy looking storage containers, worked on laundry and organized the things that will be taken away by a non-profit group next week. Not exactly wildly exciting but satisfying. Of course the type A part of my brain (yes, I have one and boy howdy is she a pain) kept telling me that I was just a lazy layabout and maybe I ought to get a move on since there's so much that needs doing. I mostly ignored her but if you have one too, you know how difficult it is to shut her up. Thank goodness for my observer self. It helps to have her around to keep things in balance.

I also did some thinking about Simplicity and how I can make space for that energy in my life. If I have less things to take care of, I will be better able to enjoy the things I do have. If I slow down a bit and make better choices about where and how I spend my energy, I allow more space to do the things that help me be balanced and happy. If I sort through and release the clutter in my home, I have less things to clean and care for. This will free up time for the things I really want to be doing instead of constantly tidying. I'm not saying that tidying is a bad thing, it's just clear to me that being a Cleaner of a Messy House isn't the title I want to hold for the rest of my life. It's all about release, really. About what I am willing to let go of in order to have what I long for. You'd think that would be easy and yet it really isn't. *sigh* It's a good thing that I believe that small changes are lasting changes. Otherwise I'd be so out of luck...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Today's Medicine: Roll With It

I found out that left over Positive Attitude isn't as good as the fresh stuff. Today was filled with frustrations both large and small and every time I tried my best to maintain an even keel, I only just managed to keep my head above water. That said, by the end of the day I was pretty satisfied with my performance. Sometimes it's not about spreading the love; instead it's about taking a deep breath and smoothing the way for those around me. I do that by not succumbing to the chaos swirling around me and by bending like a willow in the winds. Life's like that sometimes and I really think that's the way it's supposed to be. Then again, I've been told before that I'm slightly mad. :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Today's Medicine: Positive Attitude

From my daily quote calendar:

It takes practice to hold onto hope when things look dark. But, for such a small word, "hope" has a huge power to carry us to a better place.

How fitting. I didn't read this until I got home from a very long day at work. I was surrounded by anxiety and irritability and yet I didn't let it get me down. I chose to be a Force For Good! and did my best to keep an upbeat attitude. Right now I feel a tired sense of accomplishment, knowing I did good work today (internal and external.) I think that making sure I'm taking care of myself by eating right and taking my vitamins is helping. And getting tons of sleep doesn't hurt anything either. It's easier to keep an upbeat attitude when you take care of yourself. I know this, yet there are times that I forget.

Off to have a cuppa hot chocolate, some cinnamon toast and a hot bath before bed. Tomorrow is an early day and wasn't I just talking about self-care? :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Today's Medicine: It's Not About Me

It's snowing again and I have to wonder what the morrow will bring. My hermit self wouldn't complain if I were snowed in again, though I realize the chance is slim and it would cause much crankiness in the lives around me. I love that the season is truly Winter right now. It's been a very long time coming.

Today was a battle between the my inner hermit and my social butterfly and the butterfly won. I attended a belated Winter Solstice celebration with the Pipe circle I belong to. It was a lovely way to mark the change of the seasons and I'm quite happy I went, even if I was a bit peopled out by the time I got home in the afternoon. By dusk I was more than ready to make dinner for a dear friend and my housemates and then claim the later evening for myself. I love it when a plan comes together like that.

I was told several times today that sometimes it's not All About Me. I started feeling a little left out because I didn't choose to take a gift home from the Solstice celebration, only to realize that I really was OK with that choice. I was moving slow this morning and not wanting to go out and about but realized staying home wasn't really in my best interest either. Going out gave me the opportunity to share time with others whose company I truly enjoy and maybe even provide some service as well. Sometimes I go out of my comfort zone and do things even when I don't feel up to doing them. This used to be a huge problem for me, because I had not learned how to have healthy boundaries and I'd just let people walk all over me. Now I feel most always comfortable saying NO if I need to, something I never thought I'd be able to do. That said, sometimes I need to extend myself a bit and remember that service to others is very satisfying work. Especially during the introverted Winter months when all I'd like to do is sit and dream...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Today's Medicine: Simplicity

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to be yourself. - Michael de Montaigne

Today I practiced Simple Saturday. I ran some errands in town, put some more of the Yule decorations away, read some and made food for the next couple days. I found a carrot soup recipe that turned out pretty well and made apple sauce. All things considered, a pretty mellow sort of day and there is a bit more order in my environment. This makes me very happy indeed.

Simplicity to me means not complicating things. It means that I choose to release the things that clutter my life and my journey in ways that don't help me be the best person I can be. It means that I listen to my heart when I'm walking through my day and really pay attention to what it's telling me. Simplicity also allows me to fully enjoy the moment rather than being distracted by too many options. I'm not always successful at Simplicity- my brain likes to think up convoluted schemes to justify choices other than what is clearly the right path to take. It's a skill I hope to work on throughout this coming year. I'm sure I'll have plenty of learning opportunities...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Today's Medicine: Transition and Release

July 15, 1992 - January 2, 2009

Littlefoot left us today and even though it's only been a few short hours since her passing, things feel very different around here. There is a spaciousness that has nothing to do with the Yule tree coming down this afternoon. It's pretty clear that a big soul has left the building. The other cats have been very strange the past few days, walking about on tip toes as they go about their business. They would stop and sniff her occasionally and wonder why she wasn't responding. I expect they will be a bit unnerved for another few days or so. It's been interesting to notice how the dynamics have shifted in our domestic feline pride. Vix has been sitting atop the kitchen scratching post all day, insisting on attention whenever I am within reach. Kazul and Annabelle have been carefully exploring around the downstairs living room, territory that was claimed and defended vehemently by Littlefoot. It feels very much like the passing of the Queen Mum and we're not sure exactly what that means. :) I am feeling a combination of relief and sadness, which is completely understandable. I am so glad she is not suffering and I am so incredibly sad that she is gone. She was a feral kitten that turned into an attention slut. It only took 16 years but she turned out all right in the end.

We'll miss you, little one. Well, everyone except Kazul and Annabelle, that is. I hope Uncle Chester was waiting to meet you.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Today's Medicine: Hope and New Beginnings

If there is any kindness I can show,
or any good thing I can do
to any fellow human being,
let me do it now,
and not defer or neglect it,
as I shall not pass this way again.
-William Penn

Good thought to start the New Year and I'm really hoping that I will remember it as I pass through the year.

The first day of the New Year is always filled with Hope: we just left the chaos of December behind and we're not far enough into January to feel defeated by the things we've not accomplished yet. We have new calenders and date books to remind us of all the delightful things to do and people to see. It's an unblemished moment. And that's as it should be.

I'm not one to set New Year resolutions. I will often reflect on what's happened this past year, how I've grown, what I've let go of, the adventures and peace that I found throughout the year. I was going to take down the Yule tree and decorations today but instead found myself sleeping late, taking a long bath, sorting a few things and spending time with Littlefoot. I believe I will be heading to bed soon, for tomorrow is sure to be a full day with challenges and blessings. The vet is coming to ease Littlefoot into her next life and I need to help the rest of the furry children settle a bit. They have been a bit wild these past days, no surprise there. I think we'd all do well with some comfort and reassurance.