Nurturing the Self

So as I began to restructure this blog to support the kinds of things I need to write about in a framework that inspires me, I realized I’d left a “writing about myself” section off the list.

How weird.

And then I came to realize that the blog category “heartside” – which is about relationships– friendships, family, pets, children… also includes relationships with yourself.  Because really, heartside is about stuff you nuture, and dear gods, we need to focus more on nuturing ourselves too.

So this isn’t a mental-health tip or a blogging tip or anything like that… just a documented realization that when figuring out what I want to write about, I actually forgot to include myself.  And what I learn about myself.  And my personal growth.  And what I want to do/be/inspire/cherish.  And for a pagan to forget about the direct inclusion of those things… well, it feels like a wake-up call to remind myself about Things That Matter.

Some of you may follow Carol Tuttle’s Energy Profiling system.  For those who do, I’m a type 4.  For those who don’t– it’s a system that works for me, and after years of looking for a system that made sense to me for both myself and the people around me, this one just seems to click.  I’m not saying it’s the only truth, or that it’s a truth that will work for you.  But since it does for me, it’s offered a framework that supports the things about myself often considered ‘flaws’.

One of the things I don’t do well is scatter attention among a wide variety of different things.  This is basically heresy for a Gemini sun sign to admit, but there it is.  And when I consider what has been nurturing me over this past year, one of the really critical themes is that I’ve been content to be supported by a relatively limited number of online sources (aka blogs & sites).  From the interwebs, that seems to be pretty seriously frowned upon.  In a world of *more* — more likes, more follows, more sites, more information, more… I really prefer to select less.

So for 2016, there are exactly four sites that have been offering up stuff I am really enjoying.  They aren’t pagan, or even really themed.  But they’re real, live sites, and they deserve some recognition for all the support they hand out regularly to a whole host of folks… one of whom happens to be me.  For my own notes, in the future…

2016 saw me checking, loving, and learning from the following:

Carol Tuttle’s energy profiling sites

This isn’t one site- it’s a whole system of sites, and most are for-profit.  (You’ve been warned).  I don’t actually mind for-profit sites, and I do pay for content when it makes sense to me to do so.  I also do my best to support companies that support content I enjoy.

In this case, Carol has a whole host of content designed to support her system of energy types… and I really enjoy this framework.  It works for me, it works for me when I’m thinking about my partner, my mom, my siblings… and it works when I’m thinking about what really supports me (read: simple, clean, direct stuff…).

Reading My Tea Leaves

This blog is a check-daily kind of thing for me.  I love reading about her approach to simple living in her itsy-bitsy apartment in New York.  So much of it doesn’t make sense for me (I have a house, for starters, which spans a whole 1700 sq ft and I cohabitate with a hardcore maximalist… and we don’t live in the USA), but it’s refreshing and inspiring, and I enjoy reading it even when our perspectives on things differ.

Fringe Association

I am such an amateur crochet hooker it almost doesn’t bear mentioning in association with my name.  I can’t knit to save my life, and I can’t sew.  I can darn holes, fix seams, and sew on buttons… if I can find what passes for my “sewing kit”… but I don’t count as a true maker in any sense.  Nevertheless, I read Fringe Association every day.  I absolutely love reading about her wardrobe planning, and her queue updates, and her super-cool improve top-down sweater knitalong… there’s no real reason I should read this blog, let alone regularly, but I do, and I love it.  Go figure.  Her for-profit store, associated with the blog, is filled with absolutely gorgeous stuff.

DanielleLaporte.com

Not being a social-media-maven, I don’t retweet, repost, or even “like” Danielle’s posts… but her site is inspiring, and so I check in every week or two to see what she’s written recently.  I also use her Desire Map Planner (for 2016) and I’ve gone so far as to purchase the workbook and Desire Map Planner for 2017 already, because I loved the 2016 one so much.  I first read her Desire Map book in 2015 (after reading the Fire Starter book in 2014) and have been insanely inspired by her approach to re-orienting yourself to your days, weeks, and all goals.  Obviously also mainly a for-profit site, but also again worth it, for me.

 

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Into the dark

We’re very near the longest night of the year, and I’ve always found this to be the time best used for big change reflections.  I think that’s why people work for New Year’s Resolutions– it’s a *thing* because it’s a convenient date that follows this bit of deep introspection.

I know many would disagree- the whole winter is for introspection, Beth!  (I hear people chime knowingly).  And I don’t disagree.  But these few weeks before Solstice are a special time of clarity for me.  I find that answers come now– not through tarot, not through scrying, … just by working it through.

As it happens, I work things through in my head.  I’m not really a gut/heart/soles-of-the-feet kind of person… Intuition comes to me as a voice in my head, in this sort of weird someone-else-is-acting-in-my-head way.  It’s the unprocessed thinking that works for me … as if someone pops open a file cabinet in my head and grabs out a script that has all the right words magically ready to go.

I think that we get this bit of extra-deep intuitive time to give us those introspective months to get habits going.  Most people seem to think about change about now– change for the next Year… and pagans tend to be in an odd place around this, since so many of us consider the Years to change at other times (Wiccans and most neo-pagans who follow Celtic paganism consider November 1st to be the first day of the new year, for example).  There’s still something particularly fascinating about having the ‘fresh start’ of a new calendar year (as an aside, I have no idea how it works for those in the Southern Hemisphere, since calendar years don’t match up with their winter-introspective time, but I consider it an added perk for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere).  There’s been a lot of research on habit formation, about how you need at least 30 days to form a daily habit (or break a bad one!).  There are a few things that I’ve been thinking about that I’d like to develop into new habits, and one of them only became clear to me today.

As a words-in-my-head person, you’d think I’d know exactly how powerful words can be.  Three years ago I refused to call one of the rooms in our house the “Junk Room” anymore– I renamed it the “Prosperity Room” (based on a little amateur feng shui modelling of my house), and thus it became difficult to just throw our stuff in their willy-nilly.  Don’t get me wrong- it didn’t get magically better overnight (oh, shoemaker’s elves, where are you when I need you?).  But it helped.

This year I’ve been struggling with how to keep my house.  In a previous post I shared my favourite blog post from a fellow pagan blogger, who urged everyone to consider the role of each room of the house.

I guess I just needed to let that percolate for a little while, because today, while developing a series of routines for myself, specifically designed to fit in time for ritual and meditation and energy work daily, I finally figured out that my big issue with getting housework done was that I’ve always called it ‘doing chores’.

My schedule literally had “Chores for Monday:  floors & stairs; laundry: wash dishcloths and tea towels”.  And all of my many, many lists have had that label.  Chores.

My mom called them Chores, extended family had farms and called everything they did around the farm and house Chores, and I just continued that.  But “doing chores” sounds awful.  Chores are a terrible, painful, time-killing activity that Adults Do (or Make their Kids Do) and it always sucks.

Finally, today I figured out what I should be calling this time.  I don’t do chores.  I don’t do housework.  I do housecare.

I know, it sounds ridiculous.  But it finally clicked for me, and this works.  I *want* to care for my house, to return the love and gift my house gives me and my family.  And keeping my house clean is caring for it- just like keeping my dog and family members clean and well fed… that’s care.

So here’s to a little bit of that fabulous extra deep introspection over the next few days.  And here’s to having those bright moments of intuition that help us find new ways to think/feel/be!*

 

*More on the thinking vs. feeling vs. being thing later.  🙂

 

-Beth

Words Have Power

Do you remember the first time you read that phrase?  “Words have power”, said Blanche Barton, and I was riveted.

As it happens, I’m not a satanist, but the introductory letter Blanche Barton wrote remains to this day one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever read.  She knew exactly what she was doing with her audience- and she chose those words so carefully.  Artfully.  Although most pagans that I know would smack me for saying it, LaVeyian satanists have their PR act together.  We could probably take notes.

All Hallows Eve, Hallowe’en, or Samhain, as you prefer, seems to polarize the average pagan into one of two camps: run-for-the-broom-closet, or scream-your-devotion-from-the-mountains.  Of course, there are additionally articles galore by the various media machines about Hallowe’en, and rituals, and witches-but-not-the-neo-pagan-kind, and witches-that-are-the-neo-pagan-kind, and broomsticks and black cats and dressing your offspring up as Sexy <whatevs>.

There are declarative statements about having all of us pagans band together and come out and show the world that we’re real, we’re here, and we’re– wait, I think that’s the wrong cause.

There are lots of times in my life that I feel just a touch out of step with the world, but Samhain, and the entire month of November, just seem to amp that discord up a touch.  In my not-overly-humble opinion, if we want to come out of the broom closet with a bang, we should do it when everyone, and I do mean everyone, is excited, happy, and READY FOR SUMMER, BITCHES.  Many of us call that Beltane.

I’ve never been able to figure out why the festival that heralds the beginning of the turn-inward, quiet-down, and reflect on life and death and yourself season makes people think about sharing their witchiness with everyone and sundry.

Sometimes I think that those of us who focus on a nature-based practice should remember that as humans, words have power- so true.  But as beings on this Earth, seasons have power.  So much power.  And we should honour those seasons and that call in ourselves and in others, regardless of their spirituality/faith/whatevs.

Maybe you’re feeling super compelled to out your pagan-y weirdness to your family, your loved ones, your boss, and the grocery store clerk right now… and if you are, feel free.  But as we come up on this beautiful full moon, so close behind our sorrowful remembrance of our ancestors, take a moment some night.

Look up at the moon.

Look down at the reflection- in a puddle, a lake, the sea, or a bowl…

and remember that the driving need you feel to connect with something deep… so many, many beings feel that call to the bones this season.  It’s in our blood, in our spirit.

This isn’t the season to ask people who can’t articulate that driving need to pull away from their inner reflections and focus with an open heart and open mind on the crazy-shiny-new-excitingness that is your heart full of pagan joy.

This is the season to smile quietly, hand them a cup of tea, and commune with them the old fashioned way- through stories and memories and the bittersweet wonder of watching the world come to a close.

Then go outside, smile up at the moon, and make a note of that tree near your place.  It will let you know, with a joyful push of grass-green buds, when it’s time to ask your non-pagan loved ones to open their hearts to your path.

That’s what we witches do.  We dance with all of the seasons.