Self-Care Playlist

Today was… difficult. So, I got through with thanks to:

A sweet, funny movie: ‘The Final Girls

A simple but decent urban fantasy book: ‘Black Magic Woman

Knitting that’s complex enough to engage, but not frustrating: ‘Urdr

A podcast that makes me laugh out loud: ‘The Weekly Planet

Catching up with fun and familiar characters saving the world: ‘The Flash

Not being afraid to take time under blankets when necessary.

And puppies who realized something was wrong, and tag-teamed me with hugs all day:

20161224_133124340_ios

Now feeling more able to breathe. Hopefully I’ll do a little more tomorrow.

Advertisements

The Journey

Yesterday and today I’ve been away from home, ensconced in a lovely manor house with a group of friendly Pagans, learning about Chaplaincy. Much laughter but also seriousness, shared intention and determination.

Coming home this evening I felt empowered, as if another level had been reached through the unity of our work and perspective. I wanted to drive for miles to explore, or to go for a run when back… To Do Something, to hold on to that energy!

Of course, that wasn’t to be. I set my course and returned safely, to a quiet house with just a sleeping kitten and myself, pondering the adventure.

We set the foundation, charge our energy and prepare our focus. When the time is right, we will be ready to move – but not just yet. Enthusiasm isn’t fuel enough, not quite! 

We’re still in winter. Finding inspiration in the dark, the peace, the planning and story weaving. 

The journey has begun. But first gear has to be the starting point; or the prologue before the action. 

I will do my best to hold on to that laughter and determination, moving forward.

Labels

I’m often asked about being ‘A Druid’. ¬†What’s it like? What do I do? What does it mean?

I know that keywords are necessary to life, helping us communicate and so understand the wider connotations of the word itself. But sometimes, those names become constricting, almost like a trap. If you don’t conform to The Label, then you’re Doing it Wrong… You’re not a Real Druid/Witch/Pagan/etc.

I love my spiritual practice, in its broadness, scope for exploration and curiosity – the bits of it that aren’t clear-cut and neatly defined. I’m finding it so lately, as I step further along, into those areas off the map that might as well be labelled ‘Here Be Dragons’. Our own paths lead us where we need to go, not where others tell us.

And this morning, a paragraph from a random book I found summed this up so beautifully:

‘You are not your religion. You are not your skin color. You are not your gender, your politics, your career, or your marital status. You are none of the superficial things that this world deems important… Whatever you proclaim as your identity here in the material realm is also your drag.’

We are all of those labels, but we can take them off, or change them around, make them mean what we need them to be, learn from them. We are ourselves, unique and powerful. We just forget this from time to time, overwhelmed by the noise around… Until such subtle reminders appear to tap us on the shoulder (again). Often in the most surprising places.

These words are spoken by that great modern social commentator and philosopher, Ru Paul. The self-proclaimed World’s Most Famous Drag Queen. Who refuses to let him/herself be defined…

New Year. New meanings of words to explore – as we define both them and ourselves.

I pick up this blog once again, to share my daily inspiration. Wherever that may be found!

Transforming the Troll

Sometimes I truly am baffled by the negativity being shared by some people. On social media mostly, but in the news and the everyday ‘real’ world too.

From random comments which exist only to belittle, to bile-filled rants, to unbalanced rabble-rousing arguments… honestly, I often cannot fathom what the end goal is of those passing on such venom.

In Internet terms, it’s referred to as ‘trolling’, and I understand that people have now been successfully prosecuted for this (which is one way to deal with it). I’ve also heard ‘do not feed the trolls’ – do not respond, it just gives the bullies more fuel.

Because it’s not really a debate these people want, is it? It is fuel, to feed their vitriol, their anger and flaming hate which has nowhere else to go but out into the world. Reaction means they’ve succeeded, because they can see that their words had an effect.

Like any other public internet user, I’ve had my share of these nasties. Sometimes it hurts. But today, I was left pondering.

A negative comment, posted on a thread for no discernible reason other than to be negative. Nothing productive, just nastiness. From someone who’d previously been friendly, to boot.

So… what should I do? Laugh, perhaps, at the waste of that person’s time. I wasn’t really bothered, and can certainly move on with no ill effect. It’ll vanish in the morass of data soon enough.

But how about this: I take that negativity and transform it. I write about it here, using that tiny flame to become useful inspiration. To share my pondering about what twisted muse made that person post such a a thing publicly… and how to best react to it without ‘feeding’.

I’m seeing a lot of positive transformation going on today. From marches to bring about awareness of NHS privatisation, to a kind lady who helped me in the shops while raising funds for a women’s charity. To friends refusing the ‘ice-bucket challenge’ in favour of actively working for or donating to charity without all the unnecessary publicity (as I do). No guilt or dissension – active doing.

We could rant and rave, becoming trolls ourselves, warping our passion and genuine feeling into knee-jerk ravings. Or we could consider our words and then speak, listen, act. Inspiration, not guilt.

Which argument do you think will be listened to? Which words will be heard – the angry one-sided bile or the thoughtful, fair discussion? Your actions speak for you, after all. What messages are we putting out into the world?

So, to paraphrase my troll, perhaps I am up my own arse, only seeking publicity by my self-important witterings. You don’t need to tell me that by the way; I worry about how these posts sound all the time!

Or perhaps I’m simply doing my best, in my small way. Taking responsibility and attempting to help rather than knock down.

Which is, to me, the best response I can make.

Goddess

Sometimes creativity can be a random, spontaneous event. But having a focus helps as well, I find – in the act of creation, yes, but also in the plotting. From a mind-map or ideas board, to the subtle cogitations of your subconscious as the planning gets under way, that key theme is always present, as a North star to steer by.

Synchronicity is good to listen for, too. I’ve found that the right topics come along at the right times. Ideas which tend to fizzle out or frustrate might just not be what’s needed – or not just yet. But they’ll wait, if you bear them in mind and return later.

I know many creative people who use their Paganism as a helpful aid in seeking inspiration for their work. From paintings and sculptures to stories and even clothing, images of deity in particular stand out as focal points – very much helped by those individuals often stepping up and demanding you pay them attention! The Muse is not always gentle in such cases, and it’s up to us to hear and act.

I’ve made a few knitted creations over the last year which have been Goddess-centric – sometimes by chance, sometimes by intent. The first came about with a yarn find that reminded me of a painting of Oshun which I’d seen. Then the right pattern arrived. A beautiful wavy shawlette resulted.

And I’ve written about my adventures with Brigid earlier in the year (see here), which resulted in one of the most synchronous creations I’ve ever had pass through my fingers!

Now I’m beginning another, with the guidance of one of the darker goddesses. It’s already coming together beautifully, from the right pattern (again), to the perfect colour and texture of yarn. Now the Lady is guiding my hand as I get on.

I’m reminded of the very humanness of creation, the knowledge that my ancestors sat and pondered, planned and then made things as needed, with purpose and guidance. I’ve seen shades of Her in recent days, like a wise grandmother at my shoulder, keeping an eye to make sure everything is ok. My fingers move the tools but She is always in my mind as I work. I learn so much during these times, as it’s impossible not to become involved, to investigate and explore history, mythology… and manifestation into reality.

Sometimes Deity influences our Awen. And judging by the results, that’s no bad thing,

Summer Solstice

From dawn:

20140621-213830-77910938.jpg

To dusk:

20140621-214009-78009974.jpg

I walk barefoot in the grass and watch the world turn, playing Grandmother’s footsteps with our nearest star.

I love this land, this planet, the blessing of simply being here, now.

We move forward, always. On, to the coming season…