Returning

Here I am again  thank you for your patience, lovely reader! As I’ve said before, I knew this would happen. Summer is my busiest time, and there will be lulls in bloggery, due simply to Life. But this is about as a real as it gets – I’d rather be honest with my posting than force things under duress. This blog is to be written As It Comes to me. No pre-recorded work here!

And there has been much busyness. Handfastings, general work, heaps of travel… and recovery. This can sometimes be the hardest part, as I’d rather be getting on with something that sitting about. But rest is needed.

For the past week or so, my mind has simply not wanted to get on with ‘work’. I have the (kind of) luxury of being able to indulge that, being self-employed, but on the other hand, if I don’t get on, work doesn’t get done – simple as that. I have to prioritize.

But it’s not just always about the body needing rest. The mind and spirit need recharging as well, of course, and that’s very hard to quantify in time-slots or achievements.

So I’ve been letting things come as they wished, indeed. Knitting commissions and gifts, writing short articles, being there for those who’ve called. Still working, but gently.

The ups and downs have come and gone, as they will. From happiness to anger, enthusiasm to lethargy – I try to tap into each as it arrives, transforming it where I can, flowing with it if I can’t. Sometimes I’ve been overwhelmed. Surfacing again after such engulfment is the reward. I survived again.

This morning, I’m up and out the door with the dogs, enjoying the crisp air before the day properly begins. The birds are up, a few other dog-walkers and their friendly charges, but the peace of ‘early’ is so valuable to me. Time just spent being, without obligation or urgency.

And it’s possible anywhere – necessary, in fact. I used to take the time on the walk to work: from sitting quietly on the commuter train, to walking up the Thames (literally with the flow)… even being stuck in traffic more recently. Not exactly Zen, but in the moment, allowing the dreams and thoughts to come and go. That’s where ideas come from.

So here I am now, back at my laptop, tapping my thoughts. Inspiration for the day once again – and more writing ahead. We do what we have to, but these are our lives we’re living. The alternative is to stop, and so very much would be lost if we do.

We keep moving. Onward, as always.

Ancestral Work

This morning, I cast my vote in the European and UK Council elections.

This evening, we experienced a huge thunderstorm, resulting in power cuts.

I’ve been thinking about how so much of what we do in our lives is pretty much the same as our ancestors did. The format or technology might be slightly different, but motivations, actions and meaning haven’t changed as much as we might think.

My democratic mark was made with pencil on paper. I watched in awe as the weather moved past. I prepared candles, books and creativity to keep my evening busy. The simplicity of it was inspiring.

We eat, sleep, interact and go about our days as humans have always done. Every day, we honour our ancestors by these actions. Rather than becoming dejected at the lack of change, I think our constant exploration and discovery, as individuals and communities (be they lone and shared experiences), is rather wonderful.

Still moving, indeed.

Learning

Some days, I just want peace and quiet. On others, it turns out that this is not actually true at all – my brain just didn’t realize.

I’ve been working hard lately to catch up with work (after the usual busy weekend). Currently, my focus is on my students – both the year just gone and the year ahead. My Druidry course runs from/to June annually, so as this one finishes, the next begins.

Sometimes it’s hard to do homework, right? Well, it can be equally hard for the teacher to sit and focus on the marking. Especially with something as subjective and personal as Druidry.

But as soon as I begin, I find myself caught in the words of those who talk to me in their replies to my lessons. I’m told stories of childhood, hopes and fears, rants and personal doubts. While my students have a loose-knit ‘virtual’ group, the core work is very much one-to-one.

Druidry changes you, as you engage with it. I’m sure this is true of most spiritual (and vocational) paths, but I see it as it happens. It’s a privilege I’ve spoken of before, but it is also Priesting in its most basic form – teaching, guiding and supporting as needed, without being overbearing, pushy or judgmental.

Those who’ve stayed the course have been a joy to know, and I do hope that I’ll continue to be in touch with them in the future. For those just beginning, I’m intrigued all over again to see where the journey takes us. Some will find it’s not for them – that’s fine. Others will find it harder than they thought. I’ll still be here.

Some lessons take hours to read and write responses to; others much less. All tie together as a continuous story, a year of someone’s life. The teacher learns, together with the students. And while it is work (ie remuneration and effort are certainly involved!), every time I read those tales, I’m glad and grateful all over again.

Connection and relationship. Honour and joy. Inspiring.

Telling Tales

I love books.

This is such an understatement. Those of you who know me… well, you’re probably the ones who’ve called me a Bookaholic (hey, it’s a relatively cheap and safe addiction!). I have to have reading matter about my person at all times. My bookshelves rarely have gaps.

So I love, of course, to hear about new books, with exciting uncracked spines that I haven’t explored yet.

Sometimes I ask for recommendations from friends, as a random dip into the reading worlds of other people. Social media is great for this, and today did not disappoint. Heaps of ideas ensued, which started to follow a trend for ‘magical realism’. As a good Bibliomancer, I’m not one to ignore the signs when they’re right in front of me – so I’ll be duly investigating these new territories with enthusiasm.

Then I remembered – years ago, I created a list of recommendations myself, when I was being asked about Pagan-related fiction. A quick hunt and it turned up here. Some well-known titles, some more below-the-radar – but all fondly held in my mind and heart.

Books are to be shared. Stories are part of my spirituality, the myths that make up my life. I even recall dressing up as a Greek Goddess for school once. Now I’m living my tale with greater awareness as each day/page turns.

What book holds you in its spell right now?

The Creative Web

I happened upon an inspiring passage in a random book today, which stayed with me until I shared it along here:

‘Knitting is a process craft… The true joy comes from discovering the individual beauty of each segment, the feeling of accomplishment when completing a particularly difficult section, and the sense of challenge that lurks as you plan the next project. In other words, knitting is like life. We have to enjoy the journey if we expect the destination to mean much.’
(From ‘Zen and the Art of Knitting’, by Bernadette Murphy)

There’s been some lovely thoughts out there on creativity lately, with the best yarn-based blog coming from Nell at The Animists Craft (Soul Weaving). I’ve even blogged about writing before, over at The Catbox (Words). We each have our preferred ways of keeping hand and mind busy, making something which wasn’t there before.

When broken down into what makes creativity – imagination, tools, hard work, swearing and joy – the above excerpt can relate to pretty much any creative act. Painting, writing, gardening, cooking… probably even processes that I have no idea about, such as programming and coding.

Because it is about life. Acts of creation fuel our fire, make life worth living, allow us to express ourselves and pass on a little of what’s in our minds.

I deny that anyone is without creativity, by the way. There’s always something that you can do – whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is subjective. Creation just is.

That little paragraph lurked in my head as I took up my own knitting today. The exploring of ideas, the philosophy and simple (yet complex) ‘why’. There’s no easy answer… but it didn’t stop me in the doing. The end result is lovely, the sense of achievement grand – but the getting there can be even better, as the spell itself is woven.

Where did your creative journey take you today? 🙂

The Words of Others

It’s sometimes difficult to prepare yourself for work in the morning. Perhaps more so when you work from home. There’s no ‘ritual’ as such to the day, no special clothes to wear, washing routine or journey to slog through. You just have to get on and start.

When I sit down to work, though, I tend to find that a curious thing happens. I either end up in awe, or in tears. Sometimes both.

Today was both. I was reading through the work sent to me by a student, telling of her adventures over the last month in the wild woods near her home, her exploration of the elements, family difficulties…

And I was left humbled. Reading her words, beautifully handwritten and sent to me in the post, together with some equally lovely hand-drawn art, I was honoured to share in her story. The content might have seemed relatively simple, but this was a verbal snapshot of a life, there, on the page.

The reason for the handwritten letter? She’s not on the internet at all, and likely will never read this. She won’t know how I gently touched the pencil sketches, imagining them being drawn so carefully. I hope to tell her, if we ever meet. But the power of her words, in this way, was breathtaking.

By the way, it’s not just those without the technology, either. A short while ago, a parcel arrived at the door – another student had sent me a package of books, recommendations that she’d decided to flippin’ well ensure that I read! Now she may well be reading this, but I don’t intend to hold back because of that.

Stories are such an intrinsic part of my life – day-to-day, physically, mentally and spiritually – and the lives of others have the power to change my own through their words. The passion of something felt strongly enough to share is something that I will always have time for. This is never ‘work’ as it’s come to be known. Someone has taken the time and effort to send me a tale.

The tears in my eyes today are genuine, and the love for those I meet in this strange ‘job/vocation/life’ is profound. For that, I will always be grateful, and never feel that I express it adequately enough.

Those of you who share with me – this is my love letter of thanks to each and every one of you.

Oh and PS – before anyone says anything, I had a huge box of books arrive today as well. My own. That still flabbergasts me… but I’ve learned not to hug the delivery driver, as it confuses him.

Doesn’t stop me squeeing happily every time I open the package, though. 🙂