A Spring Awakening

With the dawning light reflected in the brilliant blue sky comes spring’s fresh air and heralding of brighter days ahead. We have had a lot of snow this year in Maine. Being my first winter up here, I have learned a great deal, for one, learning where you do and don’t put the snow. My drive has become very muddy and the delivery trucks have been having a hard time of it. I have put a large orange bin down by the start so they can put the packages down there instead, at least until the drive dries up a bit more.

Winter has that sleepy way about it with the colder temperatures having you snuggling up in blankets and fleece, gathering around the woodstove with a mug of hot chocolate and melty marshmallows. Perhaps it is that hibernation thing for now it feels as if the Earth that had been sleeping is now awakening once again and it charges up the spirit and makes you feel alive once more.

I have been so excited to have heard the morning birds, mostly the crows outside and realized I had not been hearing them during the winter. Each morning nearly, I am awakened to hear more and varied bird song and calls. I found an app to try to determine what birds they are that I am hearing and it’s been fun to try to figure it out.

I had a lot of plans for the winter, projects I wanted to do and I just didn’t seem to get to them or feel the motivation for them. Of course it did not help that I was terribly sick for a few months with bronchitis and all I wanted to do was to lay in bed and sleep.

But now with the warmer temperatures, I feel motivated to get my lazy behind in gear and start to…MAKE STUFF! For those who know me, know how much I adore the Halloween/Haunt/Samhuinn time of year and I have been learning to make my own props and sets. Having just moved here to Maine last year, that are a ton of boxes in the garage that I need to sort through. I am also insulating the garage and will be gutting out the first bay and redesigning it for a workshop of prop making and a wood working shop. I have a lot of ideas that I want to explore and try out. There is also a second floor to that bay that I am wanting to fix up for guests who may like to stay or just to hang out. Lots of projects and thankfully, lots of time.

For now, a few things I need to work on for an upcoming gathering that I’ll talk of in the next post.

Spring041017e

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Being ‘On the Phone’…

I just saw this video shared on Facebook and I started to comment about it and realized this really is a blog post as it became too long. But I wanted to share it and write about it.

Watch it…it speaks volumes all by itself.

Some days, I have sat here at my desk and looked out the window and saw the deer jumping or walking across the drive, well nearly every day. 🙂 But I catch or witness some moments that I wasn’t able to get my phone or ipad to take a pic or vid. I missed the moment or sometimes even if I was able to capture that moment in a digital image or video, it just didn’t do the experience justice from how I felt or how I saw that moment in time for myself. Some things have to be felt and seen with the naked eye.

How many times someone has visited or I was talking with someone and yet they were too busy tending to their phone or to a computer to even look at me. Too busy online with someone and losing the moment of being with a friend in real life. How many times have I done the same thing? I try to be mindful of it because frankly, the person in front of you, is really more important at that moment. I am ever mindful of it when at a restaurant. The only time I will use my phone then is if we are communicating with my children’s father or inviting someone to come join us and I make sure to include them and afterwards, I put it away into my purse so I can enjoy the meal with that other person.

Computers, phones…the internet…they can’t replace the human touch, the human experience. Never could. I used to nearly live my life on the internet at chat sites. Lost in a fantasy world I created or particpated in. I did it on purpose to heal within from a bad real life hurt, but once I did, I realized I had to step away for I was losing out on life. On the beauty of the world all around me.

Like right now, it’s drizzly rainining here and there is a slight fog just above the trees. The larger droplets are falling from the edge of the roof and I can hear a light pitter-patting. The drive where it was snow blowed and plowed, the snow along there is all gray and brown whereas across the lawn is an expansive white. Just under the Twin Sister Birch however, she has shed a few of her twigs and small branches that I want to go and collect and remove the solar lights I had put on her that never worked and apologize to her for she obviously didn’t like that. Nor would I either for that matter.

Yesterday, I saw these little squirrels chasing each other across the snow. Their tails were flickering and it was so cute to see them. But I didn’t take a video of it.

So sometimes, when I am unable to capture these moments, I realize that sometimes, those moments are meant to be experienced, not viewed.

That sometimes, they are just for me to witness or whoever else may be here at the house.

Or sometimes, no one at all. 🙂

And that’s perfectly and simply, ok.

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Taking Care Of Yourself – First

image

This is a great analogy and demonstrates that you can’t take care of someone else unless you have taken care of yourself.

it is very similar to the quote, “you can’t love another unless you love yourself first” or the ” how do you expect someone else to love you, if you don’t love yourself?”.

I think that society today has made us feel this sentiment is selfish. Over the years we have been having it pounded into our heads about self sacrifice and how others come first before our own needs. People are admired for being so selfless and doing for others even if they and especially if they do, neglect themselves. We have been taught to feel that having an ego or taking care of or doing something nice for ourselves, is selfish.

Remember being on an airplane and they tell you to put your mask on first before helping others? Sounds selfish maybe but it’s actually very practical. You need to be strong in order to help put that mask on another. You have to know how to swim before you can rescue another who is drowning.

I believe this very cup analogy negates that whole thought process of caring for others so much that we lose sight of ourselves and that it is selfish to care for ourselves first. It makes us realize that if we do not take care of ourselves first, then we really can’t take care of another.

There is a danger to that of course, a slippery slope to becoming so caught up in ourselves, that we do lose sight of taking care of others. That has no doubt happened and perhaps why we, as a society, have gone to the opposing extreme. And that is key, “extreme”. There needs to be not only a balance but a focus and understanding and accepting of ourselves, caring of the self.

I feel that just because we are seeing to ourselves, doesn’t mean we are stopping or not helping others. We can help others while helping ourselves, but this cup analogy is more of a warning to not get so caught up in others, that we neglect ourselves. For what can happen is that you give so much of yourself, you become drained and eventually, there is nothing left for you to give.

This is where it comes in that we need to care for ourselves. We must be continually refilling our own cup. There needs to be time we see to ourselves. That we re-energize, that we rest and see to our own needs.

Many times I have talked with some of my friends who were hurting and usually over a breakup or some type of heartache. They had poured so much of themselves into another that when that other person is gone, they are lost, bereft and feel so empty. They forgot who they are or what makes them happy.

This is why as a mother, for example, when you are giving so much to your children, the home, the spouse, a job,  that you have to be sure you take time for you. You can get lost in all of that and forget to be you, alone.

Alone. Another bad word in today’s society. Many people feel that being alone is a bad thing. That you have to have someone else, a lover or partner in your life in order to be whole, in order to be happy. We place the responsibility of our happiness on another person. Such a heavy burden that is to be responsible for another’s happiness. Why people wander lost in looking for that special other person and so many become depressed when they do not find them.

While talking to friends who are hurting, my advice has always been to see to yourself. To do something extra nice for yourself when you are hurting or in the middle of a heartache. To treat yourself as you would for your best friend. We always neglect ourselves and don’t care for ourselves enough so it’s time to take care of ourselves properly. Why wait for that special person to buy you flowers? Go get some for yourself if they make you smile, be happy and feel good inside. Indulge and be extra loving with yourself, be kind and tender. Treat yourself to a spa day, even at home, run a bath, light some candles, play some soft music that you like. Maybe add some chocolates and a glass of wine, sprinkle rose petals…or just surround yourself with your favorite things. Perhaps go out for a long walk in the woods or out on the beach with the sea air caressing over your face. Take yourself to some cafe or pub or favorite restaurant that you always wanted to try. Go out and do the things that you like to do.

The idea is to do something nice for you. Something that will refill your cup. To be at peace with yourself and relax, feel the energy return and your soul, and yes, in time, your heart too, be filled with contentment and peace. Remember all the things that make you, you. What makes you happy? What can rejuvenate your spirit? These are questions only you can answer as to the specifics.

Sometimes, other people can drain or siphon off your energy. They may not mean to, but it can happen. This is why it is important we see to ourselves in order to help others fully. We need to take that time to refill our cups in order to share of ourselves with others.

Be kind to yourself. Love yourself as the unique and special person that you are. Be responsible for your own happiness so that when you do go out there amongst others, it will exude from you and you will be ready and able to help and truly love others. And in doing so, you will be able to share in the happiness that you feel and others, will feel that too.

Time to put the kettle on….

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A New Perspective

So many of us get so caught up in our everyday lives, the hustle and bustle of the world around us. A world filled with technology and the latest and the greatest. In our search to acquire the most or the best, we lose sight of what we already have and what we have lost the appreciation for. What is really the most vital part of our lives for without it, we would not exist.

Just how important is it to your life to have the newest gadget or gizmo? Is it really something that will contribute something of import to your life?

Its easy to say yes. Easy to go to the store and pick up the most fanciest or costly this or that.

But what you can’t buy, are the things that you can’t do without. The vital important things that you can’t live, can’t breathe, can’t thrive or exist without.

Humans have long had that idealogy that we are the most important thing on this world. That we are entitled and have the right to whatever we want. We take and take and don’t give back, not the majority of us anyway for there are a few peoples who do give back to the world and never take more than they gave. They are the only ones who are doing it right.

I am also just as guilty of this, but I hope to change that. I want to give back for all that has been given, the bill is past due.

But what if there was a voice to those vital things? To the Air, the Earth, the Sea….Nature? What if….what would they say?

Check out these videos to hear those voices and perhaps, just maybe, get a better perspective than I could possibly write of or tell or explain myself.

Nature Speaks…

The Ocean…

The Rainforest…

The Soil…

Water…

The Redwood…

Coral Reef…

A Flower…

Ice…

I couldn’t have said it better…..

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The Passing of a Star

cropped-ic2118_ssro.jpgPeople come and people go. How many times have I experienced that in my life?

I do firmly believe in the phrase:

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

I know I should be okay about people leaving my life or drifting away, but I still mourn the loss of them. But life moves on and change is constant, as  the ex used to tell me. I know when one leaves, it allows room for someone else, yet still I am always saddened when people go quiet or disappear. I miss the friendship and talks and companionship.

So after having gone through this quite a lot over the years, I try to really appreciate the friendships when I have them and while they are there, sharing a journey with me. Perhaps then, if one is truly appreciative of their presence, at that time, then when they do go, I will feel heartened that they will go on and touch another’s life and will also find the happiness and be enriched themselves by another person, give or receive.

There have been times when people went quiet that it stung and really hurt badly. As many other people do, I turned it towards myself and it took a long time to not do that and to realize that life is ever changing and our paths at times will divide and take a different turn.

Did I do something wrong? Did I say something to hurt them or did not listen well enough? All questions that go through the mind over and over again.

But I believe that most times, we don’t do anything, they just leave. They were only there for a reason or a season and were not meant to be there for a lifetime. The life lesson they brought or were seeking, occurred and now it is time for a parting of the ways. For them to journey on or myself to do so. So all you can do is wish them well or send that warmth and love out to them as they disappear into the ethereal mists of time and let them go with understanding and kindness and not anger or hurt or disappointment. To be grateful for the time you had with them, take what they may have brought you in the way of knowledge, experience or life lesson and then move on.

snoopy

I think that cartoon there with Snoopy and Woodstock really said it all. To not dwell on those who have walked away or moved along on their own path. Your focus needs to be on your own path or life instead. It also tells me to appreciate those who are here, in the car with me or on this path with me, still a part of my life, appreciate them all the more.

And sometimes? Those people who left for a while, needed to do so for a time, to sort things out on their own or have their own experiences without you, without me and so they are off and enjoying life or their next adventure and you know what? They might just come back and return. Cross back into your life and share those stories with you and you too, me as well, may just have one or two tales to share with them too. If not, that’s ok, you probably have some good stories from the time you did get to spend with them.

But, right now it’s time to travel down your path.

Life is one big adventure!

So rev up the engine and putter down the road with those who are in the car with you still and leave some room for those who may hop in along the way. 🙂

Beep-Beep!

Let’s go!

GP

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Touched By The Ripples and The Witchery

Sometimes, you just never know whose life you may touch by your presence and just by being yourself. I’ve had this happen a few times now over the past few years and I have been touched by hearing the feedback that I have.

Usually, you never hear much of the good news, it’s usually the bad stuff that you hear the loudest on the television or read in the newspaper or on the internet. You don’t hear people taking the time to say something positive. Sadly, this has been the way the world has become. You don’t hear about the heroes, only the villains. Even at a restaurant, how often does a manager ever hear about something good about a customer’s experience rather than a negative experience? Try it a few times yourself, ask your waiter or waitress if you could speak to the manager. Watch how worried they look and then when the manager comes over, you can see how tensed up they are. And then when you express what a great experience you have had or give a compliment, you can see the tension just wash right off them. It’s something I have tried to do over the years, if I have had a really great experience whether it was with the quality, presentation or the staff, I will go out of my way to let the manager know. Sometimes, I have even taken the time and written a poem for the staff or even the restaurant and I’ll share an example here of a restaurant I ate at in Edinburgh, Scotland called The Witchery.

The Witchery

Down in the depths of The Witchery so dark

The wyrding vine crackled on the bleak stone

As long ago shadows linger upon the rafters stark

Dancing witches once cast their spells alone

The filtering light from the arched window of white

Gave view to the raven’s wing soaring o’erhead

The shine of the brass candlestick’s glimmering light

Beckoning you further in, without fear or dread

For the ivy shall welcome yon visitors to the hill

Afore the castle of Edinburgh where clansmen march

The soft echoing of the lonesome pipes upon a wind so chill

Touching the heart of man and beast under the arch

An oaken tower door creaks upon its hinge within

While a cauldron bubbles locked in memories so deep

Let the magicke surround and enchant as you stop in

May the warmth of The Witchery’s hearth, you always keep.

08/10/04

So as you can see for over 10 years now, I’ve done this when the inspiration, or as we Druids like to say, when the Awen flowed within and I would sit and quickly pen a few words here or there.

When I first began to participate in initiations with OBOD, I saw how welcoming everyone was and with the Bards especially, I felt compelled to truly welcome them into the OBOD family. To not just give one of those half-hugs, but no, a full on warm, teetering embrace that was of the heart and truly felt and something spoken just for that person in welcoming and embracing them in love and warmth.

One of the first few I began doing this with was my friend James. Little did I know that it would have a huge impact upon him and that I made a true friend from that moment. I don’t often get feedback from welcoming new people in or just to have anyone come up and say something of how the positivity that comes from me or warmth, has trickled down and effected them or impacted them in some way. Yet, when I do hear it, it makes me smile and sometimes even cry or tear up as it touches me to know that something I have done or said has made a difference to someone. It’s so self affirming.

I have heard from others, some who were going to leave a gathering early but yet when I hugged them or talked with them by just pure chance, they stayed and were made to feel all the better for it. Recently, I received another message that again came from someone I did not know too well who expressed how something I had said to him, made him truly think about and see things from a different way and it has really helped him on his own personal path. I had not thought a lot about what I had said to him before, it was just said as something honest and from the heart and yet, it planted a seed within.

Hearing these words from others, is very heartening to know and I feel this is the start of a great wave, a tiny ripple at first that flows across the pond or lake and washes over one after another and then to yet more people in hopes that those positive strokes, those warm embraces, kind words, all have an effect on people, both the giver and the receiver.

I like to think this lives on and is passed down, from one ripple to another and on and on…

So to those who share their positivity, and make a point of telling other people how much they mean to you or things they did or said, how they have touched you, returns that ripple, so thank you, most humbly and whole heartedly, thank you.

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Being a Bad Druid

Recently, I’ve heard people say they are a bad Christian or that maybe some Muslims are Bad Muslims because they have decided to pick and choose which parts of their Quran they wish to subscribe to and then toss out the rest. Some Christians I guess have done the same thing with the Bible.

Being that Druidry has no book per se like that, why would I say I am a bad Druid? I guess that would be how I might see Druids in my head, how they should be. But were they really like that as so many are today? Back in the time of the Celts, the Druids, their priests stood on the shore and waved their hands and arms and did their magic to defend and send whatever ills towards their enemies. I see Druids now as being the peacemakers. The ones who are gentle and kind and those who always turn the other cheek. I see them as loving the Earth and their fellow man no matter if that man is set to destroy or harm them. Maybe that’s where my vision is slightly flawed.

Saying all that however, I think there are all different kinds of Druids. Certainly we have the Bards and Ovates and Druids themselves if you break it down, the minstrels, the healers, the diviners, the philosophers, the priests. I remember in the prior order they talked of the Red Branch and different types or groups. I don’t know about all of that really.

But one thing I have learned is that no one else gets to define you. No one can stand there and proclaim or gift you with what you are. Just like I didn’t need a piece of paper from the prior order to tell me or to announce that I am a Bard. I knew it already. I knew I am a Bard. It was already there in my heart, thru the natural gifts I had learned and certainly delved into over the years and years of writing. Just the poetry alone spoke that loud and clear to me.

So did I need someone to say, yes, you are an Ovate? No. Many people have seen my interests and how I often have engaged with the spirits of the deceased, attempted communication and given tribute, divined and healed as an Ovate. It was a natural instinct.

The same goes for Druid. To look at one person in thinking you need their approval or for it to come from their lips to say yes you are what you are, can be silly. Can be. I get it and understand, when you have respect for someone and you want to be acknowledged by your peers and mentors as having learned and paid your dues to say yes, oh yes now, THIS is what you are. You have attained it. Achieved it. Come far enough or walked down long enough upon this path and now, yes now, this is who you are. Stand and be recognized as such.

Yet, to have that, really doesn’t mean anything if you don’t feel that in your heart. I often remind myself, yes, I did it! I made it! I am a Druid. Tho’ I am still working through the Druid course and have not finished that yet, taking my jolly good time with it too. So I have to ask myself, do I feel like a Druid in my heart?

It’s not an easy question these days. I worry I have idolized the Druid perhaps or being too hard on myself cause I still get mad, I still lose my temper, I still get hurt and feel. Of course, that is all part of being human. It does not mean I am not a Druid. I have that keen sense of justice and I think that is what frustrated me so badly today, dealing with someone who seems to have been lost by greed, so much so, they are stepping on others’ toes. And it just killed me. And yes, I am going to do all I can to try to make sure this does not happen for it isn’t right and it isn’t fair. It may not be up to me, but I will try and I will speak up for those who do not even know that their way, their work, is being threatened or infringed upon I should say.

Druids are also peacemakers and to me, they stand up for what is right, no matter the cost. I see a lot of injustice and I know I can’t fix the world. I can send loving energy and healing out to all those in need but I am not in a position to do much more. What I can do however, is affect lives, help others here. Right here in my own backyard. People I work with, people I come into contact with. Fight for the trees and help them, teach others to help them too and not allow them to die only to replace them with more that will just die too instead of trying to stop that cycle of neglect.

So perhaps, I am not a perfect Druid. Heck, I am not a perfect human either, but that’s part of what being human is, not being perfect. I am learning however with each day that goes by, each gwers I finish, each wave of understanding. I think why I also feel the way I do at times is because of my views on the world, they are often at war with each other. I like to think that’s a good thing, to always question, to always ask and to always learn. To strive towards not perfectionism, but for love. To strive for understanding and acceptance and tolerance. Embracing others and the differences between us.

And I think we also need to embrace ourselves. To accept ourselves and truly see not only the dark side, but the light. So many times we focus on the dark part of ourselves, the shadow side, we often forget of the light. To rejoice in that and celebrate it. Give yourself credit for the love in your heart and that which you give and also, that which you receive. To not only criticize or pick yourself apart, self analysis or whatever, but we need to also be kind to ourselves and note the good things as well about ourselves. To see ourselves as we would a best friend. Be gracious and gentle and kind to our own souls and our own hearts.

I had a friend call me today. To check on me because he heard of the winter storms that barreled up our way here in the northeast. He wasn’t sure if I was in the path of this snow and blizzard conditions and wanted to be sure I was ok. It was the only call that I got today from a friend to check up on me. Granted, many are online and could see that I was ok. But it was nice of this one to do so. Touched my heart. Such caring, thoughtfulness, gives me hope. Hope and faith that people really are better than most think. Even if that is a fantasy and they are not, it was nice to feel that warmth and feel the smile on my face at the thoughtfulness of a true friend.

The world could use more people like that.

So am I a bad Druid? No, I don’t believe I am.

Am I a Druid?

Yes. I am.

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