Indulgence or Escape?

This weekend I had an interesting discussion while I was reading tarot. The 9 of cups came up in the reading, and we talked about enjoying the pleasures of life, while being careful of overindulgence.

The other person commented about over-consumption, and I responded that it’s not just that. For whatever reason, that card hit me personally, Overindulgence is not just over-consumption. It can also be escapism.

I am a Pisces, and there are times when I really have to focus to stay in the “real” world. I have a tendency to want to escape (and I really hope you read that in Dory’s voice from Finding Nemo… es-CAH-pay!).

escape into books, indulge in a bookPisces have a tendency toward addictions as a way to escape the world. Drugs and alcohol are obvious choices there. And yet there are many things one can become addicted to – caffeine, sugar, people, lifestyle, etc. I’ve managed to avoid addiction to drugs and alcohol, and I’ve experienced addictions to caffeine and sugar and people and experiences.

Addiction isn’t the only way to escape, though. I escape into books or movies. I escape into creative projects. I escape into games on my phone. I’ve been escaping into books mostly. (To be fair, it’s a REALLY good series, and I’m almost done.)

Reading is a lovely indulgence. It gets me away from the glowing screen, and activates my imagination. It’s also a means of escape. I’m frantically writing this blog post before I go to work this morning because I chose to read yesterday morning, and go to a movie yesterday afternoon.

Was it self-care? Heck yeah! November was a crazy busy month, and December doesn’t seem much less busy, with more requests of my time the more I try to hibernate. With all of the demands on my time, it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to give myself the downtime of reading.

As long as I keep it balanced and get my work done, too.

How do you find your balance between indulgence and escape?

Blessings,

Mary

Why are good habits so hard?

I know what’s good for me. I know what keeps my body, mind, and spirit healthy.

good habits are so hardAnd yet, over and over, when my life gets challenging, the good habits are the first to go. And the last to come back. Especially for my body.

More often than not, I eat fairly healthy. Ok, ok, I like my chocolate. I do my best to keep it in moderation.

When my stress levels rise, though, I crave junk food. I know, I know, it’s a temporary feel good. And yet, I can’t seem to summon the willpower to resist.

I need to exercise more. My body is unhappy with being out of shape. I regularly look at options for classes to take, and they don’t fit my schedule. Or it’s expensive, or too much driving back and forth, or any number of excuses.

I have several exercise DVD’s, a yoga one that I actually love. And sleep takes precedence 99% of the time. Or pain. (To be fair, though, I stretch almost every morning, mostly to help deal with the pain.)

Why are good habits are so hard? Hard to establish and hard to maintain?

Meditation and journalling – so good for my mental and spiritual health. Meditation is the last of my good habits to go, and the one I drop the least often (thank goodness – I don’t know how I would handle my life if I didn’t meditate). I haven’t journalled in ages, though. (I do write this blog post, so that’s kind of like journalling…)

Am I just lazy? Well, sometimes, yes. To be honest, there are times (lots of them) that I would rather watch Netflix than work out. There are SO many other things I could be doing, that I want to be doing. Reading and learning and creating.

Not enough being.

And yet, HAVING to exercise or eat healthy or journal or meditate can also be too much doing and not enough being.

I enjoyed a nothing weekend last weekend. I had a (mostly) nothing day this weekend. The rest of my week tends to be pretty filled to the gills. So snatching a bit of screen time or book time here and there is my mental health break.

I’m honestly not sure how to find the right health balance – one that includes exercise. It’s just not as high a priority for me as other things. Because doing too much, which I regularly do, doesn’t allow time for being.

All the motivational quotes about good habits say things like, “Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, but much more rewarding.” Or, “Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as bad habits.”

I don’t find that to be necessarily true. I have to choose the good habits over and over and over again. And sometimes the good habit is a much more difficult choice.

How do you maintain your good habits?

Blessings,

Mary

 

Nothing Weekend

This weekend I had nothing scheduled. Absolutely nothing. For the first time in many, many weeks, I didn’t have a ritual, or a Spirit Fair, or an event, or even a coffee meeting with friends.

calendar with nothing plannedAnd it was GLORIOUS!

I forgot how amazing it was to have 48 hours (actually a little more) to myself, and with my family. I watched a movie with my kids, and worked on some of my own projects, and slept in!

Having nothing planned didn’t mean I got nothing done. I finished editing the Healing the Waters Guided Meditation. (It’s available to purchase now, and all proceeds go to support the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.)

I also recorded and edited a new meditation is the Walks With the Goddess series. It’s not up yet, but I will let you know as soon as it is. (Just FYI, that process takes a lot longer than one would expect, even me!)

I did a lot of laundry. I had help, though – my youngest now knows how to do laundry.

I got some sanding done on the staff I am working on for the upcoming Spring Mysteries Festival.

And I helped my youngest work on his Young Entrepreneurs project – we did some math and made some beeswax (mmmm, beeswax) candles. We’ve still got more to do, and we made a good start.

I slept in. Two days in a row. I lounged in bed and snuggled with my husband and read my book and played games on my phone.

I stayed in my pajamas and didn’t leave my house.

Are there other things I could have done this weekend? Of course. Was there any better way I could have spent my weekend? No way. It was perfect.

Wishing you a nothing weekend sometime soon.

Blessings,

Mary

Water is Life

I’ve been off for a while – I’ve had a couple of very busy weekends, and wasn’t able to write. And in the two weeks since Samhain (Halloween), the world has gone crazy.

At least according to part of the population.

One thing is for sure – we live in interesting times.

waves-circles-285359_1920In all the turmoil surrounding the election and its aftermath, the turmoil at Standing Rock has fallen off the radar for many. Thankfully, not all have forgotten.

The Aquarian Tabernacle Church delivered a load of much needed fire wood to the Standing Stone Camp this weekend.

Our local circle did a ritual on Saturday for healing the waters, directing energy to our local waters as well as to the water protectors at Standing Rock. And then I found out that there is a worldwide prayer at sunset (local time) tonight, offering prayers to your local body of water. And yes, I will be participating.

Part of the ritual was a meditation for healing the waters. I wrote it back in 2010, when millions of barrels of oil were spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. And as I was reading the guided meditation again, it came to me that I needed to record this meditation, and make it available.

I have recorded the Healing the Waters Guided Meditation for you. All proceeds (your full purchase amount, less any PayPal fees) from the sale of this mp3 will go to support the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, because water is life.

I had hoped to have the recording ready for the blog post, and I forgot how long the editing process takes! Then I thought about delaying this post until I have the editing completed, and I wanted you to know about the prayer action tonight.

Healing the Waters Guided Meditation
Price: $9.97

Alternately, you can donate directly to Standing Rock. Keep our waters safe and clean!

Blessings,

Mary

 

Horses and Community

Last weekend was Hekate’s Sickle Festival, the second event for me in as many weeks. While last weekend was an opportunity for me to experience without responsibility, this weekend was an opportunity to serve my community through the experience.

horse celtic animal totemThe theme for this year’s Sickle was Celtic animal totems. I was the clan clergy for the Horse totem. Throughout the festival, clan clergy is there to lead their group through the event, answer questions, and be a support for the people in the clan.

I actually had a lot of resistance at first, because it wasn’t what I was originally asked to do. Originally, my husband and I were going to be clan clergy for Dragon clan. I feel a strong connection with dragons, and we have a TON of them in our home. Decorating for Dragon would be easy.

And then my family was asked to help with Horse. My oldest didn’t have a role yet, so I suggested that he help. (Because then I would not have to change what I was doing… resistance!) After another week or so, I found out that two people were needed – both the totem and the clergy.

My husband and I had a conversation. Neither of us really wanted to change. And then he pointed out that I have a better connection with our son. Drat! He used logic on me!

I still didn’t want to change. I didn’t do the same amount of research and preparation I normally do (well, not until the last minute, when it was more stressful). And we had nothing with which to decorate the cabin or a temple.

So I asked for help. (I also made Value Village a regular stop.) My community stepped up and helped. Someone brought some tack. Someone else brought horse teeth. Another friend had a whole bucket of horseshoes, and someone else had horse hair to make our tokens with.

This weekend was a continuation of last week’s lesson of asking for help, and I am so grateful for my community.

Horse taught me about strength, that I am often stronger than I think I am. I can go much farther than I give myself credit for. And that when I need it, the people around me will help carry me.

Thank you, Horse, for your lessons.

Blessings,

Mary

celtic horse horseshoe

But For the Asking

This weekend I went to a Pagan festival that I had never been to before. I almost didn’t make it. It has definitely been a lesson in asking.

ask-for-itWay back when I heard about Orpheus Ascending, I wanted to go, and I wasn’t sure how I could make it happen. Things were in flux at work, and I didn’t think I had the vacation time to go to both this event, and Hekate’s Sickle Festival, which is this coming weekend.

So I asked about how I could arrange my schedule, or work extra some days, or work on Thanksgiving and take a day off later. The manager and the accountant looked at my payroll, and found that my vacation pay had not been calculating correctly for a while – to my benefit. Suddenly I had extra vacation time, so that was no longer a problem.

Friends of mine were going to Orpheus Ascending, and so I asked if I could carpool with them. The answer was a resounding yes, and I was very grateful. There were going to be people at this event that I had not seen for quite a long time, and I was looking forward to it.

As the date approached, I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it. Plans had been made, and there was a lot to be done before leaving. There was work to do, and classes to teach, and other events to prepare for. It almost wasn’t real, it wasn’t something I could focus on until Wednesday after work. The excitement that it was almost here was finally hitting me.

However, the weather was a concern. Three storms were due to hit all in a row over the weekend. And my ride decided that she was not willing to risk being stuck somewhere. (She’s got a young child at home, which I can totally respect.) I was extremely disappointed.

I reached out to a few others who I thought might be going, and wasn’t getting anywhere. Instead of packing on Wednesday, I moped. All the excitement had burst.

I went to bed, and decided that if I was meant to go, the Universe would help me find and answer. And if I didn’t find a ride, then I wasn’t meant to go.

I woke up at about 2:30 am on Thursday with the thought, “I need to ask the question directly.” So I posted on the event page, asking if there was anyone else coming from Canada who had room for an extra passenger. When I woke up around 7 am to get ready for work, I discovered there had been a whole discussion while I slept, and voila! I had a ride!

Suddenly, I had to pack! All before leaving for work! It was a whirlwind of a day.

At the event, one message I received from Hekate, one of the Goddesses I am working with who also had a role at this festival, was that She will not make decisions or take action for me. But for the asking, She will raise her torches and shine the light on the next few steps.

I am supported by the Universe, and by the Goddess. I need to ASK for help and guidance though! My free will will not be violated. I am working on asking for help – not always easy for me to do, and it’s not always the first thing I think of. I don’t want to be a burden on other people. And yet I also need to remember to be open to receive. It’s a powerful lesson for me, especially as I move into Hekate’s Sickle Festival this weekend.

Do you remember to ask for help when you need it?

Blessings,

Mary

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. To celebrate, we’re having an “orphan’s Thanksgiving” at our house.

Thanksgiving cornucopiaIt started a number of years ago – we invited a few friends who we know did not have family nearby. Biological family anyway. We became a family of choice.

A few people came to expect it, though, which made it less fun for me. When it was a gift I chose to give, I enjoyed giving it. When it was something that was expected of me, I became resentful. So we took a couple of years off, and spent Thanksgiving with immediate family only.

We started out this year by inviting a couple of friends, and then a couple of others asked about it. So I decided to open it up to people from our Circle who did not want to be alone.

I got a much bigger response than I bargained for!

At the ATC Mother Church, they do an Orphan’s Thanksgiving in November, for the US Thanksgiving. They have a much bigger space in which to host. I have a fairly small house – only about 1100 sq. ft. There are five of us, and we are often bursting at the seams.

Today, there are going to be at least 10 people in addition to my family, here for dinner. I spent all day yesterday cleaning my house (I think I’ve said before that I am not a very diligent housekeeper). I have tucked things into nooks and crannies trying to make as much space as possible.

I am grateful to have so many friends who want to spend Thanksgiving with us. I am grateful for the roof over our heads, however small, in which to host them. I am grateful for the resources to be able to provide food. I am grateful that it is a beautiful day, and we can use the deck as well as the house!

Wherever you are, I invite you to reflect upon your many blessings. And I wish you a very happy and abundant Thanksgiving!

Blessings,

Mary

The Dying of the Year

We’ve passed the Autumn Equinox. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. The leaves are turning colors and falling from the trees. It is the dying of the year.

The Dying of the YearAnd we have a family friend who is dying. He’s been a part of our lives for… more than eight years, at least.

Jeff contacted my husband and me separately, about different interests, when he and his wife, Lani, were looking at moving to the Comox Valley. We were corresponding by email for several months before my husband and I figured out we were talking to the same person, just before they arrived.

We weren’t able to visit as much as we may have liked, as they lived on one of the smaller Islands when they first moved here, and ferry schedules are a thing. We discovered a lot of similar interests, from theatre to spirituality to tabletop and role playing games (those last two are more my husband’s interests than mine, though I’ve been known to play from time to time).

A couple of years ago, Jeff learned he had cancer. He’s been a trooper through several rounds of chemotherapy, and he was managing well. And then, this summer, he took a turn for the worse.

Though we were going out of town for the weekend, we took time to visit him in the hospital, because the doctors gave him days, or at most weeks, to live. Over the weekend, he improved, and the days turned into weeks, and possibly months. Husband and I (he more so than I because of my work schedule), regularly went to visit, and help our friend’s wife with whatever she needed help with – physical and emotional support.

jeff-2Jeff was improving, and they began looking at moving him into a nursing home, while we did what we could to assist Lani.

This weekend, he was moved to Hospice care. He took a turn for the worse. Jeff graduated this life at 7:53 pm last night.

He was not afraid of death. Neither am I. When one has lived a good and full life, there is nothing to fear in passing from this life, just as the trees do not fear the loss of the leaves.

I am honored to have shared a portion of his life. I will grieve his passing for my loss, not for his. For him, I will celebrate his good and full life.

Blessings,

Mary

Knee Deep in a Project

This update is going to be brief – I’m up to my eyeballs in a sewing project.

Thankfully, this hasn't actually happened in a while. Fingers crossed!

Thankfully, this hasn’t actually happened in a while. Fingers crossed!

And a research project.

And teaching.

This weekend was the first weekend I haven’t gone to the Market, other than when I was away, since May. I slept in, and did laundry, and watched Galavant on Netflix (which is hilarious, by the way!), and sewed.

I almost didn’t write today. I wanted to keep sewing. I’m at the point where I’d be making mistakes if I stayed at the sewing machine any longer, though, so it is time to step away and get some rest.

By this time next week, I hope to have the sewing project done, and feel more inspired to write. πŸ™‚

Blessings,

Mary