Jan 6, 2010

What You Think of Me is None of My Business

I was perusing blogs yesterday before work, and I came across one that really struck home with me. Of course, the Mystery finds Her way of sharing just what we need when we need it. I've been going through a bit of a rough time at my job, and the advice from this blog was so timely. Paul O'brien is the author of the blog. He is the founder of Tarot.com.
(blog referenced: http://www.tarot.com/blog/?p=608&author_name=pobrien )
He is reading Gay Hendricks's book, "Conscious Living", and Don Miguel Ruiz's book, "The Four Agreements" (one of my personal favorites). The advice he gives comes from what he's gleaned there. That is, "What you think of me is none of my business". Here's the excerpt that really struck home with me (and I do invite you to follow the link to his blog and read it for yourself):

"What people say — even what they say about us – tells us more about them than about us. I know this is a cliche, but it is true. Looked at this way, it is very revealing whenever someone offers some unsolicited criticism or, worse, an insult. It becomes more interesting to me — and less offending — to the extent that I remind myself it is primarily giving me information about what they are still resisting within themselves! (Of course, there’s also often a grain of truth in what they’re saying :-).

Over my relatively long life, I have learned not to care much what other people think of me, because I realize that for the most part they are just projecting their own stuff (i.e. crap onto the screen that is available to them when I am around, which is me. If it “hurts my feelings,” that is just me reflexively taking they’re opinion to heart and, by doing so, hurting myself. I have observed that most hurt feelings are caused by misunderstandings that result from the over-interpretation of, and taking to heart, someone else’s projection! From this understanding, it is clear that nobody can really “hurt your feelings” … only you can do that … good news!"

Now, this is all advice I've given others over the years (be your own best friend, don't let anyone project their own 'crap' onto you, blah blah blah). As he says, it's "cliche", but it's something I needed to see and absorb again. His headline "What You Think of Me is None of My Business" is something that really resonated. So, I've created a little sign that I've printed up and placed on my wall in my home office. It's there to remind me that I do not have to be attached to what others say or do. I know what I do and if I am happy with myself, my integrity, my work.. then I have nothing to concern myself with here.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent". What she didn't say, is how hard they will try to do so. One of my problems is in trying to understand the motivations behind things. It can be a good thing, especially when counseling/training/teaching someone, but generally, it just causes me to hang on to the thing like a dog with a bone, hashing/re-hashing each word, movement, etc.. until I can figure out the 'why'.. and I do nothing but cause myself grief, unhappiness, and a waste of energy.

So, I'm going to find my Four Agreements book, re-read the "Don't Take Anything Personally" part again, and do my best to move on from this, with lessons learned. Mercury Rx is over next week (WOOHOO) so I'm going to do my best to plow through this and be positive.. I may be getting off to a slow 2010 start, but I do intend to reach my goals for this year and have fun doing it. I'll have these cool tools I've obtained from this experience to help me do just that.


Jan 5, 2010

Tyr's Day (An Mhairt)

I've been avoiding blogging lately.. too many things going on in my head and in mundane life, and it's difficult to know what to put out on a blog versus keep to myself. I grew up in a world where we don't "air our dirty laundry in public", and 'diaries' were private things, not to be shared. And of course, I do believe strongly (and am learning lessons more and more each day in this) that as witches, we must Keep Silent.

In a world of "logos", silence is a tangible thing.. the in-between.. much like dark matter/energy in space.

I have always been a "people person", but very much like my solitude. I had a three week vacation in which I was displaced from my room (renovations that took much longer than I had hoped) and slept on the couch up until last night. It was difficult to not have my solitude space.. the place where I can go to be alone with the magics, my thoughts, the Mystery. I find myself needing Her much more right now.. needing to be with Her, commune, talk,... Be.  It is definitely Winter.

And, I am also discovering that I feel the need for changes in my mundane life. Things I don't wish to discuss "out loud" yet, but that are profoundly working themselves into a thread to be woven into the Songline.

Today's energies are those of war.. It is Tyr's Day, ruled by Mars, which happens to be in Rx (retrograde) right now. As I have always been a "warrior" (martial artist, survivor, affinity for warrior goddesses such as the MorRhiogan and Scathach), I find it interesting that I fall into this pattern with the Rx of regrouping, reworking my expressions, planning a new form of "attack". Again, goes to the thread being woven at this time.

I wonder if others are feeling it too. I was born with Mars in Rx at the time, so I feel the affinity to it when it appears. Have you felt the need to be introspective lately? Has the combination of Winter and Mars going retrograde made you want to cocoon and gestate those plans/ideas/dreams you want to manifest this year?
Or are you gun-ho, ready to roll and already out there making things happen?

Whichever it is for you, I bid you Bennacht dé ocus ainde fort! (blessings of the 'gods' and 'un-gods' upon you)


Dec 29, 2009

Be Patient, I'm working on this

I'm trying to get the hang of this blog-creation thing. I've been playing with templates, colors, fonts, widgets, etc...
I'm also trying to find the right name for this blog.. so I'm creating and developing .. bear with me as I figure this out :)

Dec 26, 2009

The Day After...and a Cautionary Internet Dating Tale

I want to thank all of you who either commented here on my blog or sent me a message of kindness and support- your friendship is so very much something I appreciate.

It wasn't so bad yesterday. My 19 year old son gave me a retro Steelers jersey, a M.A.S.H. t-shirt, coffee maker and some board games for the family. He was so sweet that it was difficult for me to have the bah-humbug attitude.
My 21 year old daughter took over all of the cooking/baking yesterday so for the first time in my adult life I didn't have to cook on Christmas.. she did a fabulous job and I was very proud of her.

My 22 year old son spent christmas eve night with a friend of his, and then came home yesterday afternoon. He was much more subdued, and there was no more attitude with me. However, there was some drama in his life, and a cautionary tale in internet "dating".

He's been talking to a girl named "P" for a few weeks now.  I, having run a bbs in the olden days before the internet and an isp for several years, warned him not to get too involved with her on the net, and to insist on meeting her shortly after their first couple of conversations, as she could be a 42 year old man for all he knows. He did request it several times, and she kept putting him off. He said things like, "mom, she just seems to good to be true".. to which I replied, "then she probably is".. she liked all of the things he liked.. jazz/blues, certain movie types, she told him her major (which turned out strangely enough to be his ex-girlfriend's major as well.. he dated her for 6 years), the name she went by is one that he loves so much he has been planning for years to name his daughter that should he have one, etc.. so yesterday, she  FINALLY calls him to wish him a Merry Christmas.

She had told him prior to this that she couldn't call because her cell phone was broken and she was getting a new one on Christmas. He answered the phone and began speaking with her.. the conversation lasted about 20 minutes. When he hung up, he said, "Mom, you were right. I recognize her voice. This is 'B'". 'B' was a girl from his school who had a huge crush on him a couple of months ago. He felt sorry for her, and he allowed her to tag along with him when he took his niece and nephew out to Chuck-E-Cheese with him. She behaved badly while they were there, and he basically decided to stop talking to her all together. The week prior to that, she had come over under the auspices of wanting help with homework, and he said they ended up talking for several hours about their lives.. likes, dislikes, ex's etc... so, she had all the information she needed to create the perfect "persona" to attract him online. He recognized her voice over the phone, and even asked her if she was sure her name was "P" (trying to give her an opportunity to fess up). To ensure that he was right, my daughter called the number back and asked for "B". Sure enough, a family member said that she wasn't able to come to the phone at the moment (she was actually at that point online waiting for my son to 'meet' her for a chat), confirming that it was indeed "B".

He logged on and confronted her, and  after he made it nearly impossible to deny, she admitted it was her.. she came up with lame excuses and tried to tell him how much she had "fallen" for him during these last few weeks of conversation, blah blah blah...
As a side note: This is another girl claiming to be a Christian, who thinks the M.O. of "flirt them into the kingdom" is the way to go. When he confronted her last night, she refused to take responsibility for her actions, blamed it on her "human weakness" and talked about how 'God' was more forgiving and understanding, then told my son he was going to burn in hell, and laughed about it. (I will not rant, I will not rant)
The conversation ended at that point (where she justified herself by 'condeming him to hell') and he was left with wondering why someone would behave like this.. he said, "mom, I'm a good guy. I have manners/morals, I treat women with respect and kindness... why would she think I deserved this?" My response was that it had nothing to do with what she thought he deserved. It was a selfish move on her part. She wanted what she wanted, and figured the only way to get his attention was to create what she thought he wanted. I also cautioned him that he may never know why some people behave the way they do. His responsibility really is to learn what he can from this, and try not to become bitter from it.

So here are some lessons to be gleaned from this cautionary tale:

1. When "meeting" someone on the internet, be careful. While it's great to do some 'getting to know you' online, if they put off meeting you, don't want to talk on the phone, etc... that's a RED FLAG.. it's time to RUN, not walk away from the keyboard at that point. And no, I don't mean take a break and come back. Delete this person's profile and do not look back.

2. If someone appears to be "too good to be true", they are. No, really. PERIOD. EXCLAMATION POINT. DELETE them!

3. Do not OVERSHARE information prior to meeting. One late night (til 4am) all night discussion is great, talking about your favorite color/movie/book/songs/career aspirations/religious beliefs... things that you would discuss when making a new friend.
After that, long emails pouring your heart out, sharing deep secrets, et al.. ? Not a good idea. If you wouldn't share this information with the whole world, don't share it with an internet stranger- and yes, that's what they are until you've met in person. (Caveat: I actually have a few internet friends that I've 'known' for years, shared personal things, know much about, and have never met in person. I'm not saying real friendship isn't possible. We all know it is. But, in the area of romance, it's a whole different animal, and I've seen it proven time and again over the last twenty years).

4. The holidays are stressful for everyone in so many ways. If we can be cognizant of what causes us stress, we can avoid behaviors that may end up being destructive. This is a time when a lot of people can feel very lonely in a crowd. A way to overcome  the loneliness/stress/depression is to count the blessings you do have in your life. My son learned that he has a family who loves him, maybe not in the way he was looking for, but in a sincere way that lasts through a lifetime. Find ways of giving back and taking your focus off of your loneliness.. volunteer at a food bank, homeless or animal shelter, charity of your choice... or spend time at your local library( read a new book), try a new hobby,  even blog to vent about it, etc.. activity definitely helps relieve depression. Talk to a professional, if necessary. Sometimes, just talking to someone who isn't involved in  your life can be cathartic and healing.

5. If you become a 'victim' of an internet charlatan, don't beat yourself up, and don't just let it go, either. Report this person to the proper 'authorities', depending on the offense. For something like what happened to my son, he will be reporting her "persona" to Facebook/MySpace/AOL, and also to her parents/pastor. He believes (and I think, rightfully so) that she is in need of some counseling.. he also doesn't want her to do this to someone else. If they have violated the law, then contact the police. The internet is a valuable tool, and lots of fun, but we all have to do our part to keep predators and charlatans from getting away with harming others.

And with that, I can say it's definitely been an interesting holiday. From here through next weekend, I'll be reflecting on this past secular year, and planning for the new one to come. I hope yours brings you peace, joy, happiness, health, friendship and love.


Dec 24, 2009

Bah Humbug

Warning: This is a Christmas Eve vent, and I don't want anyone filled with the joy of the season to be brought down by this, so please, feel free to skip this post.. it's just something I need to get off my chest.

I spent the entire day today, from 7:30am until 4pm running around, shopping for my grown children and trying to prepare for something I don't even want to celebrate just for them.. only to come home to a messy house and a 22 year old with an attitude, which quickly degraded into a screaming match between the two of us.
I hate discord, disharmony and arguing, yet of all the people in my life (and yes, I already know all of the lovely little colloquialisms, anecdotes and pseudo-psychology quotes on why certain people are able to get to us like this) he pushes all of the right buttons and I become a screaming psycho-bean sidhe. I take the bait nearly every time, and although I at least have come to recognize it, I no longer want to deal with it.

I've really begun to see how little respect I garner from my adult children, and it's sickening to me. I don't CARE whose fault it is.. I'm tired of analyzing it and attempting on my own to do something about it. At their ages, this is a two-way street, and I'm the only one walking on it.. they have race cars and are playing pedestrian polo, with me as the ball.

My grandchildren aren't here for xmas.. they would be the only reason for me to even have a celebration.
This will be my last one.

Next year, I'll buy presents for the grandkids, ship them to their mother's home, and I believe I'll treat myself to a holiday get-away.. first time ever in my life..

If I don't have more respect for me than for them, I'm literally always going to be treated this way. Time for me to stand up for myself and be my own best friend (yes, I know.. I preach this to everyone else). This is definitely a theme I'm catching on to during this vacation.

I believe I'm done venting.. not sure it's helped, but it's good to at least be able to type it out.
Merry Freakin Xmas

Dec 22, 2009

The Winter Solstice: A Wild Witch's Way

It's that time of year again. The official winter solstice began yesterday at 12:47pm Eastern time.

The Winter Solstice is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. Human beings have been honoring that in some form for thousands of years.

Most of my pagan friends celebrated yesterday, and some even got up yesterday  at sunrise to welcome the return of the Sun.

I plan to do that on December 26th, myself, as that is when the days will actually begin to get longer here. I've been using the Lunabar program ( http://infra-azure.org/main/?page_id=2 ) for  many years, and one year I noticed that the equinox wasn't exactly right.. I started looking at when day and night were going to be equal for my area, and found that it wasn't exactly ON the official equinox. From that point on, I've used the program to determine what's right for my area as a way of coming as close to honoring the wheel as possible.

This year, the longest days last through December 25th for my area. The days do not get longer until December 26, when they will begin to grow longer by 2 minutes every week.
This gives me more opportunity to honor the dark, meditate on the return and rebirthing time, and to honor the season of the Solstice, which is very humbling for me.

Does this mean other pagans are doing it wrong? Should everyone be checking their "lunabar" type programs for this? No it doesn't mean that at all. Paganism is not mono-centric. We do not have one body that rules over us telling us how to "worship" or celebrate our lives, nature, the gods/goddesses, et al...  one thing common among Pagans is our love of independence and the freedom to do things our own way.

Yesterday was my grandson's 5th birthday. Today my youngest daughter turns 21. Both of them are Winter Solstice babies, and both display the attributes of being such. They have the joy of light and the comfort of the dark that they carry with them in a balanced manner.

So, what does a Wild Witch do to honor the magics of this time?
I honor the Mystery by feeding my brothers and sisters in the bird and squirrel tribes. It's cold and snowy out, which makes it difficult for them to find food.
I bake cookies in the shape of the sun to honor his return.
I made candles last month in preparation for this. They are all yellow (cinnamon scented) and one is in the shape of the Sun. The smaller ones will be lit each night of this dark time, and the Sun shaped candle will be light on the morning of December 26.
This year, my daughter and I are going to bake her birthday cake together..it'll be an interesting concoction as she wants to do a layer cake (spice and red velvet) with different frostings. It's another reflection of her Sag/Cap cusp personality.
I'm working on my "new year" plan for 2010 (see previous blogs), and preparing for all the good things to come :)
That's all for this year. Other years have been much more elaborate, but I am satisfied with simplicity at this moment in my life. It was a complex year and I think it should be honored simply.

May your new year bring you peace, joy, health, happiness and abundance.


Dec 21, 2009

The Hunt Rides Tonight- For Scarlett and my Heathen Friends

The Hunt Rides Tonight

Fasten your windows and bolt all your doors,
Draw tight your curtains and shades;
Keep the lights burning and stay out of sight,
For the Yuletide is turning;
The Hunt rides tonight.

Hordes of dead heroes from long-ago wars
Ride forth from Valhalla this eve,
And there's blood in their eyes and they lust for a fight,
They will seize the unwary;
The Hunt rides tonight.

With shrieks and shrill hollers they take to the skies,
Like a curtain of mist they advance,
Riding the storm winds, the furious host,
They sweep down on the slumbering lands.
With their horses' eyes burning and hounds at their heels,
The dead hunters seek out their prey,
Ripping down trees and tearing down walls,
Raining down doom on their way.
Scattering grain and shattering lives,
They lay waste to all in their path.
Ghostly hands tear down what humans have built,
Leaving destruction behind.
But the hunters sow seeds in the deep-frozen earth,
So that next year the crops will be kind.
Lock up your children and hide your fair wives,
Stay inside safe by the fire,
Set out your offerings for all the wild wights,
For the Yuletide is turning;
The Hunt rides tonight.

For the huntsmen seek food and the huntsmen seek lives
And blood is the mead in their horns,
They will sweep away all that is left in the fields,
So new seeds can be sprouted;
The Hunt rides tonight.

As for me, I will stand outside on the steps,
With the wind whipping chill through my hair,
Watching the skies as the clamor draws near
With the howling of wolves and the clashing of spears,
Watching the skies until He appears,
Riding the storm on His eight-legged steed,
Leading the dead through the skies,
Riding the winds at hurricane speed,
With two wolves at His side and His cloak of blue-black.
And a terrible gleam in His eye.
Wodanaz, come to me, take me away,
For I am your rightful prey;
Lift me beside You and off we will ride,
Leading the dead through the skies.
Fasten your windows and bolt all your doors,
All those who want to stay safe.
But I'm sworn to the Huntsman, and with Him I will fly,
Riding the storm winds;
The Hunt rides tonight.

Wodanaz, drive Your spear into me,
Drink deep of my heart's blood so red;
For the Hunt's in my blood and there's fire in my head
And I give myself freely;
The Hunt rides tonight.

~ Laure Beth Lynch

Dec 15, 2009

Confessions of a Work-a-holic Witch

Ok, I'm a work-a-holic. I admit it. I've been working since the Thanksgiving holiday without a day off, and have officially been on vacation for two days.. yes, I've been working. I have an excuse.. I am the director of my department and have to make sure loose ends are tied up in order to ensure a smooth transition into 2010. Plus, there are a couple of huge proposals that my sales team is working on and I absolutely have to give my input on those.

I also want to take at least a couple of days to organize for next year.. admin things that are on my list (yep, I'm a list-maker) but end up getting pushed down the priority list. Our company downsized about as far as we could go, and we're just low on resources/bandwidth. I ended up having to work through the past couple of weekends to fulfill a client engagement. Now, don't get me wrong- I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love training and when I get an opportunity to do it, I'm in "heaven". But, I also know when I'm burning out, and I'm definitely burning out.
While I like my job, and I love my company, I'm a wild witch at heart. I'd much rather be studying animal/plantlife or be a forest ranger or something. Having been a single parent for the last 14 years, I've had to do whatever it takes in order to keep food on the table, and having five kids has meant working in the corporate world to have a paycheck that would feed this tribe.
Now, my oldest has moved out with her two children, and others are getting old enough to move out on their own.. I've actually started revisiting my priorities and what I want to be when I "grow up" at 46 (47 in February).
There's also the question of where I want to live. I love this area.. it's a combination of suburbia and farms. But, it's also expanding. In the last two years, I've seen lots of forest that surrounded our neighborhood felled to make way for more shopping centers, strip-malls, etc... the charm of our county is giving way to "progress" and I'm not sure how much of it I can/want to endure. I need to be near a body of fresh water.. river/stream/creek, etc..I can't tell you why, but if I am not near one, I do not do well on any level (spiritual, emotional, physical).. I have a creek (run) that flows behind my house.. not sure how long it will be there with the "progress" plan going on. Also, where I live, we don't lock our doors often.. everyone here knows one another and we all look out for each other.. with the advent of the new construction, etc.. what will that do to the crime rate and ambience of the neighborhood?
This work-a-holic plans to take some downtime over the holiday season and truly reflect on where I want to be, what I want to do, and how I want to accomplish those goals.. as well as how that will affect my focus and plans for 2010.I will most likely use this venue for some venting, thought-sorting (think of the Hogwarts hat! lol), and just general journaling.
I haven't even begun prepping for Solstice.. so not like me, either. Lots of things happening on the home-front as well. Things breaking down (you'd think Mercury was in Rx or something!), poor communications, big changes, etc... I'm too busy to stress them too much.. just really have had a nice sense of peace/balance about it all.
Tomorrow, I plan to have a true day off.. to the extent that I have to prep my house for the Terminix guys to come out and spray and do my grocery shopping, big cleaning, etc...
Thursday, the Terminix guys will be here.. big spray. Nichi came to visit and her apartment is infested with bed bugs.. so, now we have to get treated. I never knew how expensive that was, wow!
I just want to say to her, "um thanks for the holiday gift.. next year, please don't be so generous!" lol
Somehow I don't think she'd see the humor in that.. *sigh*.. anyway, from there, Friday has me in two important meetings.. next week.. I promise to only check pertinent emails. No really! I promise!
The last week of the year, we are on furlough, which means I can't do any business on behalf of the company.. no logging into my email, talking to customers or anything.. I know for SURE I won't be working then ;) well, okay .. not working for the company.  See? there is HOPE for recovery yet!

If anyone has ideas, suggestions, etc... for something new for Solstice, I'd love to see/hear from you.. I've been doing it for so long that I feel like it's become too routine, and I think I'm too burned out at this point to be all that creative.
To those of you who've been reading these, I so appreciate you and I am honored that you would care enough about what I write to spend your precious moments reading this. May you be blessed in all you do.

Happiest of Holidays, no matter what you celebrate!