Small Steps

Hard times. But I am moving.

Today, I have a cold. Sneezing, coughing, battling to keep warm (or cool), headachey… brain too furry to do much. Plans put by the wayside as I return to bed.

But something shifts in me, as I sit and think. 

In recent times, my head has been almost suffocated by the thick fog of negative thoughts. But with recent medication changes, I’m starting to see clarity again. The fog is thinning. My lovely doctor is thrilled that my natural smile is returning.

I’m finding myself again. I walk around this house, where I’ve lived for ten years now. My home, with my wee family. Full of the stuff of our lives: physical things holding unique memories, but also games played on the stairs with kittens, pups rolling around on the rug, hugs and laughter in every room…

When that black fog (dog?) rolls in, my tactics are now taking effect. I light a candle for focus and brightness. I burn sweet incense to remind me of magic and ritual. I walk barefoot across the wooden floors, wrap myself in blankets I knitted, immerse myself in stories that engage…

I write random thoughts to share, for those who may feel as I do. To prove that I can still express myself, create, speak up – that my mind is my own. This is me. I’m still moving. It is possible.

The cold germs force rest. With every sneeze, badness is spat out and my head clears (briefly!). I trust that my body does its thing and evicts the toxic, as I am trying to do with the unhelpful thoughts. 

I reach out with my words… magic from the tips of my fingers, to reach you.

And I smile as I imagine you reading. 

Much love, my friends.

Wands

Today… still tough times, but doing my best. 

A lovely gift-to-self arrived, as recommended by an old friend. Two magic wand/crochet hooks, created by the talented LittleBirdSOS on Etsy. 

This is a skill I’m really not great at, but with such tools and super-soft yarn, I’m going to be making something pretty!

Even if a day is dark or difficult, I hope to have something to show for those few hours. Inspiration in creativity – even if it’s a bit wonky!  

Remember: it’s not a mistake. It’s a feature… 😉

Voices

Today… inspiration, but also gratitude. I am thankful and deeply touched by the voices of those who read my words.

Creative folk will know how hard it can be to expose your work to the world. I’m often nervous about doing so, but take a deep breath and press the button to Save or Publish, before the doubt gets overwhelming.

The words I’ve received in return have been so wonderful.

Today was a hard day. I fought, but was unable to stop a watery meltdown this morning. This was fixed by Himself being fantastic (as always), but also by the ‘ping’ of comments arriving from my blog posts. And an unexpected gift from one very special lady. 

The Universe hears us, of this I am sure. Too many times, far beyond coincidence, the perfect thing has appeared, precisely when needed. This actually set me off again, tearing up – but now in happiness, overwhelmed with awe at the generosity and love stretching across the internet. 

I do what I do because my words find connection. I speak my truth, because to do any less would dishonour you, the reader or listener. Please know that I am so very thankful for you all.

The flame of my inspiration is rising. The breath of many keeps it alive xxx

Connection

Today, after a long drought, I write again. This most solitary of activities, and yet so intrinsically linked to the things that inspire me – that make me want to write about them, and which kick me into actually doing so.

Today, I am fuelled and encouraged by the voices of friends, silly and profound, but which I see, hear and feel across the miles, through the screen and even within their own pages.

I battle through some pretty difficult physical and mental challenges, knowing that I’m not alone. Humbled and still wanting to move forward, for myself and those who cheerlead me efforts.

The trick is balancing the ‘me’ time with this connection, which isn’t always easy, but when achieved – when you’re not pulled in one direction or another, but simply stand your ground… magic can be made.

What are you doing, what are you creating, who are you inspiring? Pause, realize and smile.

Thank you, friends. Today’s words are for you. x

Seeking the Sacred

Today:

I can’t do this. I can’t. It’s too much. Better to just hide, to let it pass. I’ll feel better eventually.

No.

The voices come, tapping at my mind. No – that’s not right. Not voices, exactly, but knowing, thoughts, feelings. My subconscious is kicking me to move, to do, to get on. You have an idea. Get on with it, or it’ll be gone, and you’ll feel even worse.

I think back, to this morning. A story told to me by a beautiful priestess, of her own work with her Goddess, her commitment and bravery. I remember her smile, so very bright, and the hard work she puts in to her community.

This is spirituality. This is work, but it’s not – it’s just doing, being. A compulsion, drive, vocation. Making manifest what’s inside us.

I think back again, to the stories I’ve heard in the last week. Of doubts and accomplishments, madness and survival. The impossible but true. The voices of old friends and total strangers. Somehow, they know I’ll listen without judgement, and I do.

But where’s my voice? What am I doing with all of this? The current of inspiration is entering me, but then stalling, not flowing on. The connection needs to be reforged.

I call to those who listen to me. Random words – a prayer, a spell? Or just talking? Does it matter? I speak, and they hear.

I feel my stomach unclench, muscles loosen that I hadn’t realized were tense. My heart lifts a little. I reach out and fuss my puppy-dogs, who’ve been guarding me. One is curled up on my feet as I write this – one of his human companions, his safe place. Simple connection.

I remember what it feels like – the feeling of Self which that black fog blocks. I think of brief images from social media, as if friends have been rapping on my mind as well: wake UP, dammit! And myths of darkness, heading deep within to find what’s there – not evil or destruction (well, not quite) but treasure. A quest is pointless is there’s no challenge to battle through, with goal ahead and journey to learn from.

I love synchronicity. The map we have to remind ourselves to consult from time to time.

I remember love and laughter, joy in simple things. So easy to lose sometimes, but then easy to recall as well, if you know how and what you’re aiming for.

Yesterday, I was explaining to a random Interested Person about the sacred in the world around. He kind of understood, but the words weren’t sufficient – arm-waving was needed, and foot-stamping, and a lot of metaphor and random noises. We got there. Common ground.

And I was speaking to someone online who wasn’t really listening, caught up in their own concerns. Sadly, I had to step away. But I’m still here, and they know that.

I’ve been gifted two candles this month: one crafted, one foraged. They will light the way, as all of these people (and more) are inspiring me with their tales, bringing me back to what’s important.

The old tale of the Druid teacher is that they stand at the edge of the Forest of the Unknown, waiting as guide. Sometimes they point the way and let you step forward; sometimes they kick your arse to get on with it! Even Merlin went mad among those trees, but that wasn’t the end.

This is only the first step of this particular side-road. I can feel change in the air as my homeland turns into Autumn (my favourite season), and know it’s time to move. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, but the Fool’s journey has to begin.

 

I’ve often been asked about my writing process. It’s something like this. I would apologise for its randomness, but I feel it has to come out this way today – so here it is.

For an explanation of precisely what I’m doing, visit my main Druidry blog, The Catbox.

We step onto the winding road and head into the unknown…

Reaching

I call to the wind
Feel its touch on my face
And its breath through the leaves
As is mine.

I call to the sun
Feel the heat in my fingers
Life running through
Inside and out.

I call to the rain
Touch the full clouds above
Taste the damp in the air
And beneath my bare feet.

I call to the earth
Questing down, rooting deep
And unable to find words…
So I stand.

I reach, all around
Heart to soul, spirit to spirit
So different and yet
Connected.

I see people stare.
They want to feel as I do.

And you know what?
You can.

Lessons in Story

It’s been a busy few months. I anticipated pauses in this blog, but the lapse shows how frenetic things have been (or how my own tiredness). But doing my best to resume with quality writing, rather than just a concession to mark a day…

Yesterday was Pagan Pride in Nottingham. The fifth year, and I’ve attended every one. So many people (always more each time), varied opinions as much as outfits, ideas and reasons for coming along.

The talk I gave was about Priesthood, but in the course of it, one small idea stuck with me. It’s still there now, and so it is being caught in a WordPress net, to share – as seems appropriate.

We all tell our stories. We live them, every day, uncertain of what will come next, but having to face the adventures as they arrive in front of us. Good or bad, and often without any sense of overarching plot or control. But these are our stories, and none are as valid or invalid as any other.

Yesterday, I spoke with so many people, listening to their stories and giving a little of my own. Today, I’m exhausted – all that energy deployed in that rush of hours and chatter, shared hugs and space.

I force myself to work, though. I have to, or I find myself dragged down with the sense of ‘should be doing something!’ So I’m picking up review books that I’ve been asked to write about.

Today’s offering has gripped me and pulled me into its world. The review will come in full, but suffice to say it’s an anthology of fiction, short stories of such breathtaking originality that every one makes me rather wish they were longer (even though that might well spoil the effect).

Stephen King said that a novel is a relationship – a short story is like a kiss. Both intimate, but in different ways. Each story I hear from people feels similar, as they open themselves just a crack to show me secrets, thoughts, anecdotes… and so I listen. I may review these in my head, but I try not to judge.

The good stories stay with us. Every one has a lesson, and not necessarily the one you might think (even a bad tale reminds us not to do things that way again!). If we pause to consider, to listen and review, we learn. That relationship touches us, just for a moment… and there lies its value.

People in front of us or via computer screen, voices from the pages of the past or across continents. Me, now. What stories do you hear today, and which do you hold on to moving forward? And what stories do you tell?