Monday, February 27, 2012

Today's Medicine: Just Do It

Since I'm not working at this time, I determined that I would really embrace the job of home and hearth tending. Since November, I've been slowly and surely finding out what that looks like. One of the things I've learned is that it can be overwhelming to think about all the cleaning, projects and organizing that I've let slide over the years. I don't think I've ever felt I had the time to consider how to be more efficient with cleaning. Or realized that no matter how organized I get, if I have a bunch of crap I don't need or want, I will still have to clean and care for it. It's liberating to be able to think about this and and find creative ways to start doing the work with satisfaction, if not outright joy.

At first I wasn't sure where to start and struggled with trying to do too many different things. Then I started asking myself questions that started with, "What would it look like if..." or "What would it feel like if..." For some reason this made me feel less fearful and more able to have an open heart to the process. I decided I'd make sure my kitchen was tidy before going to bed each night. Now, almost every morning I wake to a welcoming kitchen rather than a chore that needs tending before I even fully wake up. Small changes are lasting changes and all that. I also determined that it would go easier on me if I focused on hearth and home tending using the four directions and seasons. This means that during Winter I am working on my library/guest room and home office, which is in the North area of the house. I've had the library/guest room sorted for a while and have done a spectacular job avoiding my home office. For at least six months, perhaps longer, I've been boxing up various piles of clutter from different rooms in my house. These boxes have been piling up in a corner of my home office, waiting for me to get the gumption to finally sort through them. I've felt them looming in the shadows, like some dark and hairy formless being that you see out of the corner of your eye but won't look at directly just in case it's really there. For some reason my brain often chooses not see something that it's procrastinating about. Funny that.

Well tonight was the night that I put my big girl pants on and dove in. I'd managed to sort through a couple boxes before my trip to California, but that didn't make much of a dent in the pile. I'm always astonished at how much stuff I've accumulated over the days, months and years of my life. I decided beforehand I would have several boxes to sort things into, listed below:

1. Not sure why I'm keeping it but not ready to send it off quite yet
2. Paper of all sorts
3. Sacred objects and crafting supplies
4. Genealogy and family photos
5. Artwork and picture frames (I have a whole box of those to go through)
6. Stuff to be put away in it's proper place
7. The "Let it go, for God's sake!" pile
8. Box of notebooks and papers of a ritual/ceremonial/sacred sort that need to be consolidated

As of now, #4 is on the ancestor shelf in the bookcase in my home office. I'll have a paper sorting day in the near future in which I go through my desk and filing cabinet drawers and I'll deal with #2 then. Numbers 1, 3, and 5 are in my workroom, which is fairly chaotic right now and will be sorted sometime in Spring. I've put away the items in #6 and #7 is ready to be released to the wilds. Number 8 is patiently waiting next to my desk for my full attention. My trash and recycle cans are emptied. The fact that I can see the floor again pleases me to no end. It needs to be scrubbed in a serious way and I will tend to that tomorrow. I had already refreshed and moved some altars, so I've got goddesses watching over my shoulder. And it is good that it is so.

I just realized it's starting to feel like a sanctuary again. More work is to be done, like my genealogy projects, but I can do it with a lighter heart. The fact I know where things are again is a huge load off. And not having the hairy beast of Clutterdom lurking in the corner waiting to pounce is also a huge relief. Off now to tidy the kitchen, which shouldn't take long, and take a bath before sleeping. I wonder what dreams will come...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Today's Medicine: Open Heart

I started my morning much like every other morning in my life. I was awakened by a restless dog, who sensed the sunshine behind the blinds, and stumbled downstairs to let both canines out for their morning constitutional. Once inside, I fed them, started my oatmeal, set the tea kettle heating and sat down to read my e-mail and Facebook. I found the link below through a FB friend, and thought to myself, "That looks intriguing." I clicked and waited, not knowing that I was about to experience open heart surgery in a matter of minutes.

Midway I started bawling. After, I sat, tears streaming down my face, even as they are now as I let the emotions evoked from this simple video wash over me. And the most amazing thing for me is how I laugh aloud, even as I cry like a wee babe. It's astonishing how joy can reveal itself.

When I was a child, I would cry like this whenever I saw a clear cut forestland near my home. I couldn't watch documentaries that showed whale's being slaughtered without falling apart from grief. I learned that I would be made fun of if I voiced my tree-hugger attitudes and felt so alone that I let that voice within grow quiet. As I've grown, I've become hardened to the suffering all around me, sometimes more so, sometimes less. It hurt to care too much. And in one moment, that all shifted, and I feel more free than I've felt in ages.

Humans can be so unaware of the life and beauty that is all around. We forget there is value in things that cannot be tamed, ignore that we too are part of the natural world and exploit or ridicule those who have a heart that beats in time with the wild ones, the seen and unseen. We shut away our longing for connection, for understanding, for love and healing. And this was a brutal and gentle reminder that my own heart has been shut away from the things I love about living on this beautiful Mother Earth.

The road back into joy is often not so joyful. But rediscovering my connection to the world around me, to the beauty of the natural world and it's lost human companions, is well worth any pain I feel along the way. My prayer for today? May my heart stay wide open, may my laughter ring with joy and may I remember that, as a wise friend once said, "It's better to be brave than safe."