Thursday, 28 November 2013

Gratitude


For all the love, laughter, magic, nature, truth, comfort, wisdom and wonder.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The S3 Edict

I'm moving at a gradual pace through this training that will take years. As someone who historically has zoomed through assignments, throwing together something semi-respectable - and thus semi-respected - at the strike of the last moment, working steadily and mindfully is a revelation. And bloody hard.

What I'm doing now is the deepest work we've done yet. Past the basics into some serious business. Our teacher warns us that this is where things can get life-changing. Where you don't always have a whole lot of choice. Where you may be surprised. And I have been.

In a Miyagi-esque turn of events I have been told that I should be sewing. By hand. Needle, thread, go. Don't argue. Shut up. Sit down. Sew. Henceforth referred to - somewhat snarkily and no doubt I'll pay for that attitude - in my head as the S3 Edict.

One morning this week I woke up remembering Jude Hill. I was mesmerised by her Magic Feather Project when she launched it in 2011. I think I ambitiously added a button link to it on whatever the hell blog I was writing at the time, planning to take part. Surprise, surprise...I didn't. The time wasn't right. I wasn't right.

Rediscovering her blog fit like a missing jigsaw piece into the Edict. I spent hours following threads to other places, other women who seem to have made their way to a place Tracie and I have talked about wistfully for years now: the clearing in the woods. Kindred women with scruffy clothes, a good dusting of fur and feathers, distracted expressions and deep roots reaching down into the dirt beneath their feet. Of all the things I thought I'd bring to this place, a needle and thread weren't among them.

I have other things I want to write about here. Things very much of this world, not the woods, because I think it may do some good to share. But today I have a head full of weave and thread and a powerful dose of Shoshin.

Darned by Susanna Bauer



Saturday, 9 November 2013

A constant act of creation

Altar.

In her most recent post, my friend Tracie asked,'Is survival an act of gratitude to the universe?' and it tipped me right back into the internal philosophising that I am (always) doing. As I work towards if not defining, then streamlining my own practise and beliefs I constantly refer to other schools of faith and thought as metaphysical landmarks of a kind.

What I'm always trying to do is chip away the man made parts of the story of the truth and discover the core. The essence. I can't say I've got there or that I would know if I had, but I feel closer. It's a strange thing, a possible paradox. How will I know if what my mind arrives at is pure truth or just my version of the truth and does that make it any less than the truth? Is there one single truth?

What can I tell you? This is my idea of good time. Ha.

My current view (far from unique or new but I'm one of those people who needs to learn her own way) is that all belief systems, religions, philosophies are purely interpretive tools for us to use and enjoy in our physical form. Some are more popular than others. Some are nicer than others. Many are abused. You get to choose or ignore. They are stories. Sacred, beloved, treasured, important stories but stories. What they interpret is the simple truth and for the purposes of this post I'll call that truth Life. Your language may vary.

If we live our lives to serve the highest good of all and everything, we are living to perpetuate Life. Life - at least this time around - arguably started with the big bang. The ultimate creative act. And just as we are all made of stars, we are all made of that creative force. It is what drives us. It is us. From social behaviour, to art, to sex, to scientific exploration, to gardening, what we are doing is enabling the continuation of the source/force that began it all.

It's that simple and that profound. It's love, creativity, innovation, nurturing, compassion, prayer, protection, any single thing that is good. All smoothing the way. Life...it goes on, they say. And yet it doesn't. Time is our invention and there's nothing linear about Life. The nearest I can get to conceptualising it with my teeny human brain is to see Life as infinite and constant. It is just IS. And has a desire to always BE. We, being 'of Life', share that desire.

Once you've seen (that version of) the truth then all the stories I mentioned earlier seem like quite good fun as long as you're not twisting them. It's all a bit potato/potahto and I for one am not about to go to war for a vowel sound.

Also, it kinda takes the pressure off if, like me, you feel as if you should be finding The Right Faith or indeed deciding on an absence of same. What if the Sikhs were right while I was busy with my Hail Marys/Druidry/Sun worship/sneering?!

Now I think there is no 'right'. That *whispers* it doesn't really matter. If the story that works best for me, speaks to me, sings to me, fills me with power and light, is shamanism then that's the one for me. Doesn't make it right or better, just the one for me. The one that supports me in supporting Life.

So survival, I believe, is the ultimate act of gratitude. The ultimate prayer. The ultimate offering. The ultimate confluence of individual consciousness with the source.

But one thing is clear to me: Life is a constant act of creation. Repeating the big bang with teeny tiny bangs, over and over and over.

What am I creating with my strands of Life force? What are you creating with yours? Is it smoothing the way for Life? That is what matters.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Grounded


Around my neck are a holey stone from the land where I live, and a piece of carved Irish bog oak from the land where some of my ancestors lived. I carry them in an attempt to hold my centre and stay grounded. To stop myself flying away.

Hormones, post-migraine stupor and the last stages of oh-so-slowly weaning myself off the SSRIs I've been taking for way too long have me feeling spacey, light-headed and very occasionally subject to those weird, buzzy little 'electric shocks' in my brain that any of you who have also done the SSRI waltz will recognise. Thankfully I know that the answer is in the dirt, the earth, the mud that is plastered all over everything at the moment. It's come at the right time for me. This is not a big deal, this space in the head. A couple of days of bare feet on the earth, and plenty of water and I'll be fine.

It does me all kinds of good to be at this level for a while. Mindfully bringing my attention to the literally mundane, in its 'of the earth' sense, channels all this spinny excess energy back to the ground. I am going to spend a day or so keeping busy in domesticity. Several loads of washing, cooking, floors to be cleaned and a bathroom to be scrubbed will help. As will moving this body as much as possible in fresh air and yes, that mud; heading out into the woods and fields and trying to stay with the five bodily senses. The others will take care of themselves for a while.

Early this morning, bundled up warmly and standing in the starlit mist, I reminded myself of what I know: that any extreme anxiety I might feel is not based in truth; it's what happens when you come off anti-anxiety medication. It is not real.

Then an owl called out from the woods behind the withy bed to the east and reminded me: 'Sweetie...none of this is real. Enjoy.'






Sunday, 3 November 2013

Morning practice



In the weeks since longer nights and darker mornings stopped me taking sunrise photographs every day I have purposefully developed a new habit. The dogs and I go to the same hidden field. Surrounded by trees, with the woods full of waking rooks and jackdaws at the south side, it's a small, open space - actually an unused paddock with a collapsing barn in one corner and a pleasing squareness to the fencing that lies in disrepair all around it.

Here, every morning, I call in the directions and have a little chat with the spirits of East, West, South, North, Above and Below, and the All-Spirit. Most days I keep it short and sweet: honour, love, gratitude, an intention. Other days I might ask for support in staying on my path. Occasionally I put in a request for some specific guidance. It's my morning prayer.

I've been doing the latter for a couple of days. I needed some inspiration. A little clarity on something. And this morning...bam...every direction was waiting with a gift for me. Clear as crystal. The best team of expert advisers ever. This, and my tendency to lose the good stuff among the endless clutter of the average day, in turn inspired me to sit and write it all out. And now I think I might try to do that every day. Even if all it says is, 'Said thanks, sent love, got rained on. Look up water from the south-west.'

These are the things that set the path of the day. And in my case that path begins just north of the woods.