Make Joy, Not Fear

This is a big year for me. I feel I’m closer than ever before to really doing what I’m called to do. I’m overflowing with creative ideas and inspiration. I see a big fork in the road ahead, and I’m ready to take the path that’s right for me. It involves investing my energies and will in creating and learning and exploring and becoming more fully myself. This path is full of writing and magick and gardening, play and abundance. The other path is full of distractions and worries, limitations and fears and daily annoyances.

I’m not saying I’ll never worry or be afraid again. I’m choosing to work with those feelings in a new way. Using the tools I’ve learned over the years, I’m consciously allowing my emotions and reactions to flow through me, mindfully focusing on my true calling, my inner landscape, my authentic self. I repeat my mantra: go deeper. I believe I’m here for a reason, and that by following my deepest desires, I’m helping with the birth of a new way of being. Rather than being trapped in a declining culture, I’m assisting with the resurgence of love and connectedness. Rather than being a part of the problem, I choose to be a part of the solution, and I do so by following my heart. I choose the Good Reality.

“The original meaning of the word ‘apocalypse’ was ‘revelation,’ and in the esoteric spiritual traditions of the West, the apocalypse is regarded as a Great Awakening — a marvelous resurrection. I propose that the apocalypse we’re living through applies in both the degraded modern sense of the word — the end of the world — and in the original sense. In other words, collapse and renewal are happening side by side; calamity and blooming; rot and splendor; grievous losses and unpredictable surges of miraculous novelty. Yes, the end of the old world is proceeding apace; but it is overlapped by the birth pangs of a fresh, hot civilization that will be beautiful beyond all imagining.” – Rob Brezsny

The Snow is Always Fluffier…

I was going to call this post “The Grass is Always Greener,” but the landscape here is one of ice and snow, with green grass but a wispy memory. The question is: why is it that we always seem to want something other than what we have? In the abundance of snow, we’re aching for blooming flowers and warm breezes. Those of us with partners and families wish for a bit of free time to ourselves, while others are lonely and long for the commotion of a busy household.

What brought me to muse on this today, though, was reading several posts lately on unschooling blogs, about the overwhelming daily tasks of a purportedly “simple” life, and trying to get a disorganized day back on track. Yes, I’ve had days like that, and that’s not something I’m yearning for. But as one who is creating a self-directed life, free from the constraints of an office job, I’m a bit envious, even of the daily chaos of life with kids or the tediousness of household chores. I guess that’s part of the reason, right there – in order to have the impetus to make a change, we need to be able to see that which we want to manifest. “Hey, the grass really is greener over there! Or at least it’s in a shadier part of the pasture.”

I return to gratitude. I am thankful for my life, for all the love I’ve been blessed with, and for all the experiences I’ve had. I’m grateful for the opportunity to make changes and to continue to evolve and learn and grow. Thank you, universe, for all the snow…fluffy and otherwise.

Unschooling Wisdom

My metaphysical studies began, back in the early 1990s, with the Seth material and the books of Jane Roberts. Seth is a non-physical entity from another plane of reality, and his teachings were channeled through a writer named Jane Roberts, who also shared her own thoughts and ideas through her works of fiction and non-fiction. Whether or not you “believe” that Seth is “real,” the ideas he and Jane shared are, in my experience, creative, wise and very useful in building the life you wish to live.

While Seth never used the word “unschooling,” I recently found the following quotes, which to me describe the essence of learning that is self-directed and individually authentic:

“Each person can also intrinsically sense the direction in which he or she is most inclined. Inspiration will send nudges towards certain activities. It will be easier and more delightful for each person to move and grow in certain directions rather than others.”

“By looking at your own life, you can quite easily discover in what areas your own abilities lie by following the shape of your own impulses and inclinations. You cannot learn about yourself by studying what is expected of you by others – but only by asking yourself what you expect of yourself, and discovering for yourself in what direction your abilities lie.”

Seth through Jane Roberts. The Way Toward Health. Amber-Allen, 1997. Pages 175-176.

“I have mentioned before that play is essential for growth and development. Children learn through play-acting. They imagine themselves to be in all kinds of situations. They see themselves in dangerous predicaments, and then conjure up their own methods of escape. They try out the roles of other family members, imagine themselves rich and poor, old and young, male and female. This allows children a sense of freedom, independence, and power as they see themselves acting forcibly in all kinds of situations. To a child, play and work are often one and the same thing.”

Seth through Jane Roberts. The Way Toward Health. Amber-Allen, 1997. Pages 222-223.

For Alan Day

A beloved community member passed away from this Earth yesterday, at the dark of the moon. Alan was a loving, magickal, fey, joyful, musical and fun person. He had also been through the depths of depression and emerged from that dark Underworld with much wisdom. He touched the lives of those of us who were blessed to know him, no matter how well or how fleetingly. His eyes literally sparkled with benevolent mischief and faerie dust. He facilitated creativity, healing, and community-building all around him. His twin teenage daughters carry the light of his energy and spirit. His family, friends and acquaintances will continue to work and play in his footsteps. Thank you, Alan. I know you’re now in a place where you can freely dance and drum, create and delight, and continue learning. Enjoy your new adventures! Blessed Be.

“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”

– spoken by Merlyn the Magician in T. H. White’s The Once and Future King

Wintry Darkness

It’s the dark of the moon tonight, and supposedly a wintry mix of weather besides. Today’s rain was expected to turn to snow. Our homeschool group, the Maine Wholeschoolers, was supposed to do our Midyear Review tonight. We canceled so folks wouldn’t have to drive in the snow, but this next phase of the storm hasn’t materialized yet.

For the review, Crow created and edited some awesome videos, using a stuffed ground squirrel as the main character and a bowl of nuts for him to purse. Our cat Mystick also plays a supporting role in one of them; too cute! ElvenTiger is going to perform a song she wrote, and also do a choreographed song and dance with a friend. We’ve rescheduled it, so they’ll still get a chance to share their creations.

Meanwhile, we’re having a quiet night at home instead. Quester made curry for dinner, and the kids and I have a batch of vegan carob chip cookies in the oven. I’m blogging, Quester is reading, Crow is playing with Star, ElvenTiger is chatting to me as I type, and the cats are lounging (of course!). I have a good book going, about Mary, Queen of Scots, and I’ll probably curl up and read, while Quester reads to the kids. All in all, a mellow evening!

Winter’s not so bad…

In the Raw

I’ve been looking into the benefits of eating a diet composed (in part or in full) of raw foods. My assumption was that this meant eating a lot of salads, carrot sticks and fruit. Yes, you do eat those things, but I was surprised and pleased to find that there are tons of delicious-sounding recipes and ideas available (links below if you’re interested).

Some friends and I are planning to start by going 50 percent raw. I think that’ll be easy – smoothies for breakfast and salad for lunch, along with trying some recipes and adding those to the warm vegan foods I enjoy for dinner. Quester pointed out that we already have a food dehydrator, given to us by his sister several years ago and stashed in the closet because we had no use for it at the time. With our plans for starting a vegetable garden this year, I’m looking forward to exploring a new way of nourishing myself.

It’s as if, unbeknownst to me, when I became a vegetarian nearly 15 years ago I stepped onto a continuum of food choices that lead to better and better health. At age 38, I feel healthier than ever before, I rarely get sick (knocking on wood) and I’m finally satisfied with my weight (a big deal for most women in this culture). And I didn’t do it by depriving myself of anything; healthy foods are delicious and succulent and full of exciting flavors. What more could I ask for?

Here are some links I’ve been exploring:

The Master Cleanse & Raw Food Site: My reading about the Master Cleanse (I am on day 10 today by the way) was what got me inspired to look into raw foods recently.

The Raw Food Coach: How to get started with raw foods.

Living and Raw Foods: Great recipes.

Gone Raw: Food forum with lots of reader recipes.

The Garden Diet: The website of a cool family with testimonials and a description of their diet and lifestyle.

Enthused by a Book

I just started reading an amazing and life-changing book: The Four-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris. I’m only three chapters into it, and already it’s helping me change my view on a lot of things. As goal 2 on my list of goals for this year indicates, I’m changing “what I do for a living” this year. Yet I would recommend this book even if you’re not considering that type of change. The author’s discussion of fears and why we choose inaction are mind-blowing. If you’ve ever put off a dream because you’re afraid of failure or the unknown, the questions in this book will give you a whole new perspective.

We are so often brainwashed by the culture around us; we think we “can’t” live our dreams if we don’t have the guarantee of earning a certain amount of money. That’s why I didn’t just become a writer in the first place! That was what I always wanted to do. I was taught, and I believed, that “no one can make a living through writing.” That is so obviously false that it now seems absurd to me. We create our own existence. If you try to be a writer while clinging to the belief that it won’t work financially, you’ll create that experience. If you instead change your beliefs and outlook, anything is possible! And even if you try it and it doesn’t work out as you’d hoped, at least you have done something new, experienced new things. There are *always* options. We create our own success, and even more importantly, our own definitions of success. Check it out.

Buzzing About Bees

As part of my plan to be at home more, I want to build beehives and work with a colony or two of honeybees. My primary motive is not to share their honey and beeswax, though I will be honored to do so, but to get to know the energy and spirit of these fascinating beings.

I used to be terrified of bees, or any flying stinging insect. At Girl Scout Camp when I was fairly young, I stepped on a nest of ground bees while returning from a hike, and ended up rolling down the hill, being stung all over by angry bees. It was a sleepover camp, so I didn’t have the comfort of Mom to soothe me. Being rather shy and sensitive, I took the basic medical treatment that was offered, and suffered the emotional effects on my own. That experience combined with a close run-in with yellow-jackets earlier in life left me fleeing from bees whenever one approached the area I was in.

My friend Luke is a natural friend to bees. He taught me to overcome my fear and panic at the sight of one. He showed me how to calmly and gently tell the bee “there are flowers over there,” and point to the nearest flowering plants. I was fascinated that they almost always understood this message, reading the energy that we sent along with our words.

Several years ago, I had a series of synchronicities about bees, which included finding individual bees lying on the ground on several walks. The 5 of swords in the Motherpeace Tarot deck, which I was using at the time, has a picture of a bee, symbolizing the negativity we associate with a “sting,” “hex” or “curse.” I worked to assimilate the lessons of that card, which at the time meant learning to maintain my equanimity without feeling defeated by every small “failure.” In the process, I realized that bees could be positive messengers, bringing me the reminder to be mindful and release my expectations.

The depiction of bees and beekeepers in Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing has also intrigued me since I first read it. I re-read the book last year, and was again captivated by the magick shared between the bees and the priestesses. Now that I won’t be working outside the home full-time (not to mention commuting) I’ll have time to explore this ancient relationship myself.

LM, BlackLion and I took a 2-hour beekeeping seminar last week. They are going to follow up with a session of bee classes, and I plan to purchase the book and read their notes (my current work schedule means I can’t attend the classes with them). Perhaps as soon as this spring, I’ll be welcoming bees to the homestead.

Blessed Bees!

A Birthday Tribute

Today is the day to celebrate ElvenTiger (that is her chosen magickal name, not what she goes by every day). My youngest child turns 9 years old! On the day she was born, we had a Nor’Easter snowstorm – and today, just as she’d predicted, we woke up to a very similar storm! She told me that because it snowed when she was born, having a snowstorm today means good luck for her and her loved ones. Sounds wonderful to me!

ElvenTiger is a beautiful and creative and fun young woman. She has blue eyes, red-blond hair which she is growing out, and is rather petite. She is kind, sweet, funny and quick to smile. She is determined, sometimes fiercely, and knows what she likes and doesn’t like (well, she is a Capricorn, with Sagittarius moon and Gemini rising). Most of the time she is calm and even-tempered, though she can get fiery when she’s upset; usually the catalyst is her brother, Crow.

Her interests include cooking, faeries, knitting, drawing, soccer, and music. She loves to sing, dance, and make up her own lyrics. She likes being read to, mostly fantasy stories and ones with talking animals. She loves cats and jewelry. ElvenTiger has several close friends of varying ages, kids and adults. She loves to hang out with her Grammy, and is also developing a magickal connection with Raven, who is also a Capricorn and a pagan. ElvenTiger is homeschooled, and is learning reading, math and many other things at her own pace, on her own timetable.

For her birthday celebration yesterday, we went ice skating at an indoor rink with friends. ElvenTiger skated around with her two close girlfriends. They had fun despite some falling. Then we went back home and had cake and ice cream. Grammy made her an awesome snowman cake! Then she unwrapped presents; she got lots of lovely gifts. The kids ran around and played and worked off all the sugar.

Today, her actual birthday, we are having a dinner and dessert of her choice: curried vegetables and rice, and whooppee pie cake. All of it is vegan, by the way. Then she’ll pick a game or two for us to play. A nice plan for a quiet snowy evening.

I’m so thankful for my sweet daughter ElvenTiger!!!