Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I have long sought to learn and understand the more intensive ideals of subjects that usually make me zone out and feel stupid. Now I read about these subjects and understand them. I talk with others and comprehend complicated terminologies and ideals. Even more so I am excited about the information, theories, and ideals contained. I still use my "old" and traditional tools, resources, and theories, but now they are made stronger by my increasing ability to understand. What I once thought to be true for me, is. What I once theorized, is more real than I could previously imagine.
On this long road, I have many things to work on… One being my compassion for others. I tend to look at the facts of situations and the things people do to their selves instead of the humanity of their situation. I look at truth and fact more than I look at emotion and empathy. It is a protective wall I have created for myself. I have tendency to give too much to others when I open up, which leads to complete exhaustion, burn out, resentment, pain, etc.
It is important to have support. Interacting with others allows you to learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Character is a big deal so pay attention to the character of those you choose to surround you. Many wear disguises of friendship and compassion, but when things get complicated they will leave you alone to fend for yourself.
When someone says they love you and support you, their actions should reflect this message. I have spent plenty of time with those who run as soon as things get a little heated. It is refreshing to have a people surround you who have their own opinions and are not afraid to express these opinions. A different point of view is often inspiring and motivating.
This has helped me move and evolve further in my spiritual and mundane journey. Spiritually more complex ideals make sense. The trivial ideal falls away from me. I feel out of place in the greater mundane world, but I am okay with it. TV shows I used to enjoy are now boring. Mainstream music is shallow. Gossip is uninteresting. Old friendships are shadows of their former selves.
I find that I am more comfortable with elders, people who know their stuff and have moved beyond the need to boast about it. The quiet sages. The silent teachers. The old souls with young faces. The people who are not out to gain fame, social status, or approval... but those who are true seers, teachers, and companions.
My opinions are not the same as they were a year ago. Things make sense now compared to then. Relationships, words, feelings, perceptions.... They are all different now. I have changed.
There is a part of me that resists. This part of me wants things to never change. It tells me to be afraid. When I ignore this fear-filled voice, I find that I am better off. The journey is not always easy but the experience and euphoria that comes form it is wonderful.
I can do more. I see more. I feel more. I am more.
So… What is next? I am ready!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The sun was low in the sky as we gathered around the fire circle. Many of us were strangers but we came together in the woods to celebrate Mabon as a community. The circle was already laid out and lit with large candles glowing in the dim light of sunset. Each quarter had its own altar. North was decorated in brown, East in pink, South in red, and West in blue. The center altar was large with black white and red cloth draping down onto the grass. A large multi-tiered candle holder was center and lit with several white candles On either side sat statues of the God and Goddess nestled in several colorful flowers. The ground in front of the altar was heavily decorated with loaves of bread, flowers, and branches.
We were lead into a semi-circle around the fire by one of the apprentices. We had not yet seen the priestess so far everything was being run by her apprentices. As the chanting began and became harmonious, we heard a stunning voice come from the eastern side of the circle. She sang in harmony with our chant. We chanted, “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali…” She accompanied us with powerful and beautiful voice singing, “Sacred Mother I hear you calling, Sacred Mother I hear your song...”
The power of this song and chant was amazing. I was blown away! It was creative, powerful, and magnificent. As the Priestess entered the circle, the apprentices slowed the chanting until it there was silence. As the Apprentices and Priestess went to the altar to begin the next stage of the ritual, I over heard the person standing next to me say, “OMG! She’s fat! OH MY GOD!.”
My jaw dropped! One, I could not believe I just heard what I heard. Secondly, I thought she was gorgeous. She wore a flowing blue gown with a black corset. I did not see her has being fat at all. She was not skinny, but she was in no way appalling or deserving of that comment. It became obvious to me that the people in that ritual were expecting her to be thin because she was experienced and knowledgeable. In their minds, people who have creditability are those with a thin figure.
Sadly, we seem to live in a nation where our size dictates how people react to us and our abilities. Sure, our nation has a serious obesity epidemic, but I think our perceptions of this issue are jaded. We are a nation that sends mixed message to one another. At the grocery store, we are bombarded with advertisements for packaged processed junk that fits nicely into a tight budget. Then, at the check out counter, we see ads and magazine articles telling us how to lose 20lbs in 10 days!
I honestly believe that the way we view one another and ourselves seriously affects our ability to be spiritual people and proficient in Magickal arts. If we are hung up on looks rather than talent, knowledge, and experience, we are missing the big picture. When we think someone’s abilities is contingent on their pant size we have some serious issues to over come.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I completely believe that to become a spiritual person you MUST take care of yourself. I also believe that taking care of yourself means you need to exercise, eat whole foods, drink alcohol moderately, no smoking, and keep a positive image about yourself.
Over the years, I have become mildly obsessed with nutrition and exercise. If you want to know the nutritional value of a food, I probably know it. I go to the gym at least 3 times a week and when I am not at the gym I get plenty of exercise walking the dog, working in my yard, hiking, and running after my two kids. My husband will be the first to say that I have trouble sitting still. He is surprised I do it long enough to nurse our son.
As I sit here at this moment writing this article, I am eating a spinach salad with carrots, tomatoes, red onion, and light dressing. This morning, I went to the gym and did my routine with my trainer for an hour and a half. Later I plan on digging up a large pant bed in my yard. According to my life style and doctor, I am very healthy. BUT! According to the media and medical community, I am not!
What I hear most about are the potential risks. The potential risks are not real if you do what you can to prevent them. With all the attention obesity and the potential risks receive in the media it seems that every single over weigh or obese person should be falling over dead at any moment. If the potential risk were really that acute we would be stepping over bodies as we walk down the street.
According to the medical community and media I should be falling down gasping for air and suffering a heart attack right now! Instead, I am eager to dig up deeply rooted plants in my garden after spending my morning at the gym. Something somewhere is a miss.
The fact is the Media is very good at using scare tactics to get our attention. If they didn’t use shocking tactics they would not stand out to catch our attention. The issue with these tactics is that it colors how we see people. This coloring dehumanizes our neighbors and dulls our view of what is acceptable and kind. Something that is not really that bad is made to seem like it is unbearably horrible, and we are encouraged to form a negative perception of the issue or person.
The reason people don’t get out there and live life if because they are scared of what consequences are before them. Years ago I was afraid to lead public ritual because I over heard what was said about the priestess. It was horrible and demeaning. Therefore, I began living in ways that might avoid encounters subject to un-necessary ridicule. No one needs the obvious pointed out at them. It was not until I got out and lead my first public ritual did I realize it wasn’t about me being inadequate.
I discovered that I am a good leader despite my weight and size. My abilities and knowledge have nothing to do with my size and weight. I know I am experienced and competent. In the face of potential ridicule and false judgments, I found that my inner power is my own. My inner power does not come from the people standing the circle with me. It does not come from my dress size or weight. My inner power comes from how I see myself. My inner power comes from the knowledge I have and the grace I give myself.
Over the years I have learned to love who I am, eat healthfully, and exercise daily. I have learned that these things make me healthy and confident. When I feel healthy and confident my Magick and spirituality are a flame to behold.
It is time to live each day as though it were your last. Get up and move. Get up and dance. Get up and enjoy the sunshine. Go outside and lay in the shade of a beautiful tree. Bring a picnic and enjoy the day, everyday!
My inspiration for this article came from Joy Nash. She is openly 224lbs and a size 18! She is speaking out for all of us who struggle with the “You must be thin” stigma we encounter everyday. Her videos are available on www.YouTube.com and they are very entertaining.
If you take nothing away from this article, please remember this: Many obese and over weigh people are very active and very health. Many obese people are not firmly planted on the couch stuffing their faces with junk. They are beautiful and deserving of respect and dignity.
One should never judge someone’s abilities by the size of their clothing. Spirituality and Magick don’t come in specific pant or dress sizes, they are all sizes to fit all.
Finally, it is not your weight that prevents you from doing what you want and enjoying life, it is your attitude.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
As listen to the pounding of my heart, I hear a voice.
She is calling to me faint and distant. I struggle to hear, Her words are not clear.
Swallowed by a dark pool in my soul the White Lady fights to break free.
Darkness looms as her white skin is lost and her hair covers her face.
The unseen force pushes her lower until she is consumed.
Strength is lost and bounty is drowned. Light is snuffed and hope goes missing.
When will the struggle make me strong? When will darkness release its bonds.
The dark pool rushes to my eyes and am broken in more places. Healing is but a dream, daggling in front of my eyes, always out of reach.
It has to get better. The light must shine again. Things have to cycle back to balance and happiness.
Friday, July 10, 2009
I grew up in a household where my extra efforts where sometimes scoffed at and ridiculed. Growing up this way I naturally believed that my extra efforts were silly and pointless. Even now after years of soul searching, meditation, and empowering myself; I still struggle with my less than healthy self-esteem. I now realize that it was my family’s insecurities mix with my own ability to hang on to the past that helped make me insecure.
I did not appreciate how common this issue is until I took a good look at our American culture. It happened while I was taking my most recent class on progressing in meditation. The instructor commented on how our American mind-set differs from the Tibetan mind-set. She revealed to me how our culture is based on “Your best is not good enough”, instead of “You did your best and that is good. Try it again tomorrow and you will do better.”
I immediately found this enlightening and empowering. It helped me remember that our mindset is not the only mindset available. It was freeing to know that I have the option to change. We don’t always contemplate the messages we receive from family, media, friends, and community. Unfortunately, these messages seep deeply into our psyche doing damage that is tough to mend. Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating this reality and how one can conquer this subtle oppression.
Someone once told me this, “We are who we think, others think, we think, we are.” Some wisdoms are not always easy to grasp or express and this one defiantly has a “Whoa!” factor. To put it most simply, if we believe in ourselves and express our own inner strengths, others will pick up on this and it will become who we are to them. In turn they will treat is as confident and capable people thus encouraging our own confidence.
Read more at the Magickal Buffet
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
If you believe that other must be neglected, ignored, punished, hurt, killed, or brutalized in any way because they do not live as you do, work as you do, and live in the same culture as you to, then WE are corrupt.
If you feel that others who are not like you are weird, inapproachable, unfriendly, and should be excluded from your sight, activities, neighborhood, and community, then WE are corrupt.
If you feel that it is your nation's or communities' duty to convert, convince, or persuade another nations and communities to live and act as yours does, then WE are corrupt.
If you feel that it is your human right and authority to threaten, degrade, weaken, kill, or torture sentient beings for your own gain, indulgence, and greed, then WE are corrupt.
When we disrespect the very thing that sustains us and allows if to live, WE are corrupted.
WE ARE Polytheistic, Monotheistic, Henotheistic, Esoteric, Exoteric, Pantheists, Gnostic, Atheist, and more!
WE ARE Greek, American, Polynesian, Asian, Native American, Indian, Latin, European, and more!
WE ARE Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, and more!
WE ARE Lawyers, Doctors, Healers, Factory Workers, Spiritual Advisors, Teachers, Rescue Workers, Military, Police, Judges, Construction Workers, Accountants, Engineers, and more!
WE ARE you and me.
It is about all of us finding a common ground. Somewhere in our vast social structure where we can agree and disagree without violence, hate, resentment, and so on.
It is about letting our ego go so we can live free without the hindrances of judgment.
We are the choices we make each and everyday. We make the choices that make and break our world. These choices are what will eventually make or break us. Our small actions define our nation, our culture, our morality, and our spirituality.
We have the power to move forward in any method we choose. We have the force that decides what/who lives and dies, what/who lives in fear, what/who lives in peace.
We have to power to choose humility over ego. We have the choice to act respectfully, rationally, peacefully, and mindfully. We have the ability to choose positive actions over humiliating and intimidating actions.
We defend ourselves through distrust in others. We force others to distrust us by doing the things that break down relationships. We protect our families with the stories and beliefs we form in our heads. The intent is sound, but the actions are immoral. We teach these dysfunctional patterns with the intent to make the road easier.
In stark contrast, we have made the road more difficult. We have covered over the paths once treat with love and respect. Instead of nurturing respect and trust we nurture violence and hate. We have built a web of self manifested misinformation and irrational labels and determination about one another. Even if the initial issue was rational and justified, over time the story we replay in our head becomes more jaded and our rational becomes tainted.
We teach disrespect instead of respect. Hate, fear, and avoidance has become our 1 priority.
We have cut ties to those who we once called friend, lover, companion, mother, brother, sister, confidant. We have burned the deep inner bridges that may one day be our freedom.
How much time needs to pass before we can lay down our sword, our hate, and our ego? How much time must pass before we can allow ourselves to simply forgive?
Forgiveness is difficult because we make is so. Peace is unreachable because we choose to make it unreachable. Trust is unattainable because we choose to find ways to distrust one another.
The world has become gray because we decided it needed to be gray.
Once we traveled down the quiet dusty roads of the untouched land. We walked through the forest trails and we were at peace with self and nature.
We once respected the things that sustained us, and we gave thanks to these things. We took only what we needed and left the rest to nature.
We found peace near a babbling streams where the water was fresh and clean. We listened to the words the water had to tell.
We breathed in the fresh clean air and filled our lungs with purity and life. We listened to the song of the gentle breeze.
We walk the ground covered in indigenes plants. We listened to these plants and learned to use them to heal and protect.
We held our breath as we watch Deer drink from the stream, allowing her to teach us unconditional love and tenderness.
We sat quietly with our backs against Great Trees who live longer than our ancestors. Their roots taught us about stability and strength. We watched their seemingly rigid branches bend in the fiercest storm, seldom breaking.
We stood still to watch a Mourning Dove nurture her young. She taught us the grace of femininity as she gave us hope. She taught us to mourn the passing of those things that no longer serve us and to look forward to the promise of things yet to come.
We watched as Fox provided for his family. Teaching us to about camouflage and how to nurture and protect family.
We heard Crow in the distance, teaching us of universal law. His voice reminding us that there is a time and a place for everything and balance is the key.
We came face to face with Alligator who taught us to watch things closely from under the surface. Take all the information in before acting or reacting.
We sat with Grandmother Spider who taught us to read and write. She taught us the importance of home and creativity.
We slept with Black Panther who taught us to find comfort in the dark. Who guided us through the darkest regions of self.
We swam with Turtle who taught us about Mother Earth and her importance. She taught us to nurture that which will sustain us.
We once understood where to go, what to do, and how to act. We have made the choice to give this up. Now we don't know where we are going, what we are doing, or where to turn.
It all begins with you and me. If we don't make the personal choices that lead to becoming a better people, community members, and inhabitants of this planet we will never know where to go, what to do, and where to turn. We will destroy the very things that sustain and nurture us.
We have the choice to make ourselves right, to make this planet right. From small individual changes comes global change. Like a ripple on the water it starts in one location and eventually becomes big…Sometimes big enough to effect the entire body of water.
YOU ARE the answer, not "THEM". Change begins with you.
When will you brgin your ripple and how big will you make it?