I haven’t written a poem in a while, but I have something for you! Before you read it as an attack on anyone though, I just want everyone to understand that the biggest target here is myself. I’m not really trying to criticize anyone. Just having a few thoughts.
White Woman Spirituality
How do I dare approach?
My people have already put a claim on everything,
a brand sticker, a price tag, and I
am another one, stinking of patchouli
sniffing around the appropriated edges of what has never been mine.
I just picked up two grocery bags full of icky litter!
I hate litter, but you know what whining about it does? NOTHING. (Unfortunately.) On the other hand, going out in the fresh air and doing a little dirty work? Well, it might not save the world, but it at least makes an immediate difference!
This post was made with the specific intent of encouraging you to also pick up litter. Even just one coffee cup missing from the landscape makes an improvement.
So, if you were at a work meeting, and someone mentioned having just discovered Buddhism, how would you act? Or, if a friend of yours in the office confided, loudly enough to be overheard, that she just taken up a Hindu meditation practice? Or, how about all those colleagues I sometimes hear talking about a shared experience at church? What’s the proper office protocol?
Granted, the office really isn’t the place for religious discussion, but if we’re being honest, from time to time it does happen. And, if we’re all going to be tolerant of one another, ideally it shouldn’t really matter if it does. That said, I think if you encountered any of these situations above, as a rational human being, you are going to greet the person with respect. You might even be a little curious! You definitely wouldn’t laugh. That would be exceedingly rude.
Imagine my surprise when I encountered the following situation in a training class at work today…
There’s this middle-aged woman in my class, and I don’t know how they got started on the topic, but somebody asked her if she was Catholic. And she said, “actually no, if I’m anything these days I feel like I’m mostly Wiccan.” Which I thought was a lovely thing for her to say, and very honest too! And the girl sitting behind her burst out laughing. And I mean she really laughed.
It seems to me that most other religions would expect a little more respect. It also seems to me that my religion deserves every bit as much respect as anyone else’s. It’s hard not to react negatively in that type of situation. But I suppose I have to understand, it might just come down to cluelessness.😤
Perhaps there’s a way to gently educate my coworker? I haven’t said anything yet.
Full disclosure: I had to switch my bracelet over half a dozen times yesterday, so…today is my new Day 1! We’re off to an auspicious start! (That wasn’t a complaint, I swear!)
Actually, this is completely ok and somewhat expected. Proponents of this challenge, including Will Bowen himself insist that there is no shame in Day 1. Here’s a video of him doing/struggling with the challenge. (It’s only 3 minutes long!)
But still, having to switch it like, 6 times? Even I was a little surprised. I did notice that the complaints that surfaced were these bitchy little throw-away thoughts. They were grumpy impulse vocalizations about little things around the house, for the most part. So, at the very least, I would say that I am already becoming a little more aware. We will see if that awareness pays off today!
On a totally different note, Jason brought home a foldable craft table yesterday! I am very happy about this, because it gives me a space to set up my candle-making supplies in the basement! Candles are fun to make, but a they are a bit time-consuming (they must be left untouched for many hours while drying) and always a little messy. Up until now, my candle-making operations have been very limited. NOW I can definitely get a few going at once. Look at me, not taking over any kitchen counter space!
I am currently making a “Goddess” candle for myself. It contains scrap wax from the last one I had, and I think it’s turning out to be a bit of a smokey blue. I have zero complaints about that! (I use God and Goddess representation candles in my spiritual practice.)
Anyway, having a little time right now to do things like make candles and putter around the house should put me in a very positive frame of mind. Hopefully making it easier to cut out any and all complaints?
Either way, I am anxious to get the hot plate heated up and to get that second pour on the go! I can’t wait to get this one out of the mold and onto the altar.
Just a collection of 5 cool things I’m mulling around in my head right now, or currently having an impact on my life…
A Re-dedication. Let me start by saying that the return of the “Fabulous Friday Five” was inspired by my spiritual return to my coven-group generally, and by one member in particular. Hey, I’m happy if anyone cares or is reading this at all, and I am glad beyond measure to feel like I can be of service. I’m back.
Book Progress. Book progress. Book progress! It seems that my spiritual life and my writing life are deeply intertwined, and that both have to be up and running properly for either of them to function at all. I don’t know. All I know is…I can write again, and I’m hopeful about it, and that’s good.
A re-examination of gender. I suppose that I never really “got” the importance of drag to some boys. I like to think that I am up on gender and gender issues, but I RuPaul’s Drag Race has taught me even more. A couple of people at work got me into watching it, and I am hooked! It’s a lot more than fantastic wigs, fabulous outfits and impeccable runway walking though. Some of the contestants are strictly performers. But for some, this has been a defining part of who they are for most of their lives. The show highlights the very constructed nature of gender roles, and how much of one’s appearance is determined by the wearer. Seemingly ordinary-looking men can morph into the most stunning women. (Quite often with enviable legs!) Heck, it even forces me to reconcile the fact that there’s a huge difference between me with no makeup on, and any old outfit, and me when I’ve taken 2 hours to get ready. It’s a performance. It’s all a performance. As RuPaul says, “You’re born naked. Everything else is drag.”
Re-discovering silence. I like to have noise around me almost all the time. There is usually something playing in the background. I have been guilty of using it to soothe me and keep me company. But, noise is not where creativity comes from, and as much as it pains me to admit it, I do sometimes have to force myself to turn the music off and let my mind wander. I making more of an effort to reclaim silence when I can. The results have been reminding me of why it’s so valuable to the creative process.
Learning to be a better listener. I’m lucky. I may not have a perfect life, but it’s pretty darn great, and emotionally, I think that I’m doing ok. I have no need to sit around and wallow in my “problems.” They’re not that bad. That’s good, because that frees me up my mental real estate to take in what others are saying, and to consciously avoid making the conversation all about me. It’s all about knowing when to shut up. I am not the best at doing this, but I HAVE noticed that I’ve been a sounding board for a couple of people lately, and that’s awesome, because I really felt that in those cases the person felt better afterward. I don’t mind if people vent to me, especially if it makes them feel better. I just have to be sure to not hang on to the energy afterward!
Bonus quote, since I really did mean to have this out yesterday:
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious”
I don’t always have the chance to go, but there is a wooded area behind where I work, and on my lunch breaks I sometimes venture up there. When I do, I find myself blissfully alone in what I consider to be a mind-blowingly beautiful place.
My pictures don’t do it justice. I hardly think they could. Not until they can capture a perfect panoramic shot, along with the brightness of colours alive in the moist air, and combine it all of it with the actual feeling of being there. I only hope there is some shadow of how it seems to me reflected in the pictures I snap with my phone.
Apart from when I indulge in dramatic makeup and costumes, most of the pictures I take of myself are “forest selfies.” Me, against a backdrop of trees left to grow of their own accord. Embarrassing, perhaps, but it makes sense. I am trying to capture the state in which I feel I am being my most authentic self.
In the wilderness, things like choice of clothing are of little consequence. Somber or bright, as long as I am warm, comfortable, and not hitching my hem on the trees, I’m fine. (Still, because I walk directly up from work, I admit that I do sometimes wear wilderness-questionable outfits out on the trail anyway!)
Like any immediate concerns about appearance, most modern distractions become so much nothing in the forest. My social media presence and number of Twitter followers are infinitely less interesting than this one particular tree I was fascinated by. It stood “alone” in a crowd; surrounded by trees of different species. Yet it was the one dripping in sunlight. I wondered if anyone else had ever even seen it look like that before.
I miss the outside when I don’t go. I work indoors now, and when the days are busy and long, or cold and miserable, I don’t go to the woods at all. It bothers me not to have this tiny escape. The urge to follow the path to the trees some days is quite insistent.
When I worked as a mail carrier, Mother Nature didn’t have to push me quite so hard. Outdoors was a given. I couldn’t help but observe natural cycles in action. I brushed past buds and first crocuses. I was met by fall bugs seeking warmth in the crevices of dark mailboxes. I even, in the right place at the very right moment, caught a glimpse of late-summer Blue Flag Iris growing wild. In short,I saw the change of the seasons as easily as I read the words on the envelopes and fliers between my fingertips.
I have to force myself to pay a little more attention now. Like so many others, I don’t have to go outside. It’s just something I endeavour to do. I am fallible. I am easily distracted.
Still, even at my most distracted, I think Autumn has always been my favourite. The trees themselves may be bare or nearly so, but the wooded landscape is far from lifeless. I love the moss, and the brilliant shades it boasts, even late into the season.. I love the cacophony of the leaves that litter the ground. I also cannot help but love the proliferation of strange mushrooms in their multitude of unexpected shapes and arrangements. You might find the strangest specimen standing alone, or a circle of frilly brothers and sisters keeping unexpected vigil. I love those perfect days where the temperature is just crisp enough to tell you to keep moving, and to whisper of impending winter.
I have a history of wandering. Trails through the forest, going precisely nowhere, suit me perfectly. I love the mystery that lurks there, and the fact that we as humans don’t fully understand everything about how it works.
Life is complicated. 2016 has been so hard on so many people. This fact only heightens for me the spiritual importance of creating a built-in time-out. Ordinary breathing space on ordinary days. I’m not saying a walk in the forest will cure your sadness. I’m just saying there’s a lot that clean air, mossy undergrowth and being awed by the wilderness can fix.
Yours in continued observations and aimless wanderings,