I Don’t Want to Bother You…

This past week I’ve been called on to help some friends in my spiritual community. It is service that I gladly do – it is part of my calling as a priestess and a life coach.

I’ve also heard something a few too many times this week.”I know you’re a very busy woman. I don’t want to bother you.”

"When you choose to suffer in silence, you prolong your suffering. When you refuse to receive support, you deny me the joy of sharing my gifts with you. So we both suffer."Warning: incoming rant.

Yes, I am an extremely busy woman. I have a lot on my plate. And I sometimes struggle keeping my balance. But you know what? That’s my responsibility. Not yours.

I *chose* this path. I *chose* to the path of ministry and life coaching. I understand that means supporting my community. It is a path of service. I accept that.

That means if you call me, if you send me an email, or a Facebook message, I will do my best to respond. If you ask for my help, I will do what I can to provide it, or connect you with someone who can.

Being a busy woman means I may not be able to come running at the drop of a hat. However, I *will* find time. It’s up to me to manage my schedule – not you.

When you choose to suffer in silence, you prolong your suffering. When you refuse to receive support, you deny me the joy of sharing my gifts with you. So we both suffer.

So please. Stop trying to protect me. Reach out to me if you need to. I’ve gotten a lot better at making time for myself. I promise.

End rant.

Honestly, I really enjoy helping people, and seeing them (you) have “aha” moments. It gives me great joy!

Blessings,

Mary

 

 

Chop Wood, Carry Water

chop wood carry waterThere’s a Zen proverb that says, “Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.”

I’ve always thought of this as a reminder that no matter how “enlightened” I am, or spiritually important I am (or self-important I may feel), I still have to do my part. It is still important to be of service – to my family as well as to my community.

For example, a few months ago, I was visiting the Mother Church for a celebration. We arrived early, and enjoyed some time with the heads of the Church, who reminded me that I was acting Arch Priestess of Canada. (I get to give that title back next week, thank goodness!)

The next day, people were getting ready for the celebration that was happening that day. I was there, so I helped clean. I vacuumed the floor, because it needed to be done. I could maybe have passed that job off to someone of lower “rank”, but why? I’m a capable woman. Chop wood. Carry water. Vacuum carpet.

The Zen proverb can also be a reminder for humility. When it comes down to it, we are all people. Sure, we have different experiences and training, and some of us have fancy titles and more or less money. And we are all still humans, with our own talents and shortcomings. None of us is inherently better than anyone else.

Yesterday, as I was actually stacking wood, another meaning of this proverb occurred to me.

Before I can focus on my spiritual needs, I have to make sure my physical needs are taken care of. I have to stack the wood to keep it dry so I can heat the house. I have to prepare the food to keep me going (and keep my children fed!). When those basic needs are not taken care of, I can’t even begin to focus on, or sustain, my spirituality. No matter how enlightened I become, no matter how high I raise my vibration, that alone will not put food in my belly.

Sometimes I get really tired of chopping wood and carrying water. I would much rather read, or meditate, or escape into a movie. Or catch up on homework and grading papers. And I know it needs to get done. I can delegate a certain amount of the work, and some of I just have to suck it up and get it done. Chop wood. Carry water. And smile.

Blessings,

Mary

PS. Does this sound challenging? The Balance guided meditation will keep you in alignment as you chop wood and carry water.

 

It is my pleasure to serve

I am exhausted. I really just want to crawl back into bed and sleep for about a week. And at the same time I am charged up and energized from the work I did this weekend.

I just returned from Hekate’s Sickle, one of the two major festivals my church puts on every year. Last year was my first year attending, and this year I was honored to be invited to participate as one of the ritual presenters.

Hekate ShrineIt wasn’t a large role, and yet it was important in that I was truly able to serve both the people attending the festival and the other ritual presenters. I was welcomed warmly even though I was not able to be present for any of the pre-festival rehearsals.

I arrived on two hours of sleep (plus what little rest I was able to snatch in the front seat of the car). We went straight to work when I arrived on site, and didn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. Then it was up early to do more the next day, with only about 3 hours of sleep. The most interesting thing to me is that I was not as wiped out as I would have expected (though I certainly am feeling tired now that I am home).

Realization hit me when my mentor and friend came down the path for part of the ritual on Saturday night. She stopped and thanked me for my sacred service. And I answered her, “It is my pleasure to serve.”

It truly is! To be able to facilitate transformation and healing for other people, to give of my presence in a loving and supportive way, to be able to contribute to my community – all of these bring me great joy. I am repaid in compliments and appreciation and love, as well as being able to spend time with some of the most amazing people. The act of serving in love and joy brought me energy.

What brings you joy? What fills you up? Find a way to do those things, even if they do not pay you monetarily. The rewards go far beyond any financial compensation.

Blessings,

Mary

In Honour of Those Who Serve

Today is Victoria Day here in Canada. Some people equate it with Memorial Day in the United States, but really, it seems to be an excuse to have a civic holiday. Still, I woke up this morning with an intense gratitude for those who serve.

serving your communityWhen we think of serving, especially around this holiday, most people think of the military. While I have little respect for the institution of the military, I have great respect and gratitude for those who choose to serve in that way. That’s not the only way people can serve, however.

Almost everyone serves in some way. Teachers serve by sharing information and knowledge and feeding our minds. Farmers serve by growing food to feed our bodies. Nurses and doctors serve by helping us to heal when we become sick. Clergy and spiritual leaders serve by ministering to and feeding our souls.

And lets not forget about volunteers! There are many organizations, including the one I work for, that would not be able to keep their doors open without volunteers. The arts, sports, food banks and soup kitchens, senior care homes, the SPCA, and many other organizations that contribute to their communities rely on volunteers.

According to the book, Pendulum, we are moving from a me-centered society to a we-centered society. In a we-centered society, people do things that are for the greater good of their communities and humanity as a whole, as opposed to looking out mainly for themselves.

There are many opportunities to give back and serve our brothers and sisters. So many of them serve us each and every day. I serve my community through my church, leading and participating in rituals and discussion groups, both online and face to face. I receive no monetary compensation for it, and yet it fills me up and fulfills my need for contribution, to feel I am making a difference for something greater than myself.

How do you serve your community? Whatever way you choose to serve, I am thankful that you do.

Blessings,

Mary

How Can I Serve You?

I recently received a promotion within my church. I’ve been in a leadership position for a long time, and my efforts have been recognized.

And of course, with the higher position comes greater responsibility.

Give BackThe responsibility as a spiritual leader isn’t always straightforward and clear cut. There is the visible piece of regular religious services, and the celebrations of the phases of life (birth, marriage, death, etc). And, of course, there is the administrative piece.

And then there is the part of serving your congregation. This piece takes on many forms: phone calls, in person guidance, sending prayers and healing energy to those who are unwell, counseling, coaching, encouraging, teaching, cooking, cleaning…

It is interesting the shift I have felt going on inside me. At the festival I attended a couple of weeks ago, my purpose was completely different than it has been in the past. I was there to serve and give back to my community. I worked in the kitchens, preparing snacks and goodies for people. I missed all the workshops and extra events, except for the two that I was participating in.

The most wonderful part is that I didn’t feel that I missed out on anything. I was right where I was needed, and what I was doing made the experience more positive for many people. Whether it was a sweet treat, a latte, or a smile, I know I helped to brighten someone’s day. That in itself was a huge reward for me.

I was also extremely grateful and pleased to be a part of the ceremony that installed a new leader in our church.

With that attitude of service in my heart, I want to know how I can help you. I’m starting to plan a group coaching session for this summer, starting in July. What challenges are you facing that you could use a little help with? Where are you struggling in your life? Where could you use a boost of energy?

Please leave your comments below. Your input is very much appreciated!

In service,

Mary