New Year’s Wish

I do not subscribe to the falderal of the New Year celebrations any more. I did in the past. I used to either host an event or go to one of the swank celebrations with friends where we got dressed up and had a full fancy dinner and drank all night. My body could not with stand that now. Being absolutely boiled is not the way I ever want to be now.  I have some funny moments from then though. The best or worse, depending on your point of view, was from almost 35 years ago. We were at one of those galas at a hotel when my then husband had downed a bottle of Jack Daniels pretty much by himself. He was a big man and it had been a long evening. The effect was that he lost all inhibitions and was extremely social. He also liked to go nude. So with the effects of the Jack encouraging him on, he decided to wander the halls of the hotel we were in, naked, somewhere around 4 am. It was a different era and he was not alone, I soon discovered, as I went to get him. Now-a-days, he would have probably gotten arrested. There was no harm in what he did other than to be in public with a blunt instrument….. Sorry, I had to…. HA! But as I said, it was a different time in the history of the world. I miss the freedom of that period and I miss some of the grass root efforts that I participated in an endeavor to save the world. I really thought it was possible back then. My young adult life was spent consciously being involved. Somewhere the air was let out of my balloon and heavy weights were added. I have spent over a year trying to free myself from the muck.

When I was younger, I believed we all mattered and we all were important. I took to my soapbox whenever I could. I protested unfairness and unethical behavior globally and locally. I escaped from my parental home very early as a method of survival. I spent the next part of my life as a young housewife entertaining and being creative in artistic endeavors such as theater and music and working mundane jobs. But I still was involved in local organizations that benefitted humanity. Slowly, my world turned dark and I turned inward. There were times that I would bravely climb upon my box to protest conversations within the constricting circle I had been allowed to participate in. I would take a stand on inequity and unfairness with a group of supremists whose narrow view was blinded by hatred and ignorance. After being kicked enough times, I crawled to the safety of silence. I allowed fear of being ostracized to mute me and I lost a big piece of myself.

I am acutely aware of the resurgence of the feelings of becoming involved again. See, I do believe we all do matter. Every single one of us including me. And injustice and inequity is rampant and will continue if we allow it. There are so many wrongs out there that I am afraid the world has turned a blind eye to it all. I think there is a broad spectrum of acceptance and tolerance of evil  today which for someone like myself is hard to look past. I am not sure where I am going with all this as it is hard to narrow down a direction of what to focus on to participate in. I have a few key areas of interest like domestic violence, gender discrimination and body acceptance, but there are so many things to get involved in. There are enough causes for everyone to find their niche.

So that is my New Year’s wish for everyone: Find something that is important to do that will heal the world and in doing so, you will heal yourself. And the circle will grow. Sending love to you all.

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All I want for Christmas….

boxing

There is something I am wishing for the New Year for me. Actually it is the removal of something not an addition. It cannot be gift wrapped. No one can actually give it to me. But I know this will be the thing that will change my life completely. I have been working all around this for the past year. It affects everything I do and I am not aware that it is even happening. But my body does. I am learning to be more aware of it. I want it put in a place that I can handle on a consistent basis. See, I have to have some of this as it would be very dangerous not to. But unfortunately for me, I got an abundance of it. I learned to get sunk in it, without even being conscious of it. My body reacts even when my brain say all is well. The thing I want control over is my fear. I am not sure how I got as bad as I did. And even saying that, I know I have come a long way from where I was. But I still have way too much and I need to lose some.

There was a time when things happened as a child that I had no control over. I was raised in a cacophonous household that veered to violence too often for a sensitive child to understand or embrace. What some would have gotten through left a mark on me. As I reflect on my siblings, they all have marks, albeit each one is different.  One brother shut down his emotions; one became a dreamer with no sense of financial caution, one abandoned a safe family for a fast life, and my sister is just a train wreck. Somewhere in the mix I developed a sense of escape and caution that got me through. But as I get nearer to “old age”, I think….. what if I could have….. but I did not because something stopped me. And this is what I want to get rid of for the New Year; this imaginary boundary that I created and I allow to shackle me.

I have been working on finding the root causes for my fear. It helps to understand but it does not always eliminate it. I have worked very hard with wonderful guides to help me train my body not to react to fear, especially when the fear is not in the present moment. But I still have a reaction to cues  triggered by  old memories that I think I have gotten rid of. My mind can handle it, but not my body. I have a cellular reaction which causes pain and other physical reactions.  I am frustrated with this process not being as successful as I think it should be even thought I understand that it took a long time to get like this.  But it adds to my burden because I feel like I have failed the process. I cannot shout loud enough…. “I GET IT.” But still my body cramps up, seizes up and freezes. Even when I do everything I am supposed to do. And the thing that sucks the most about it is that it happens and I am not even aware of it until it is too late. Because in my mind I am not afraid, I am not mentally reacting…but my physical being certainly is. It is not until I am total wound or bound up that I realize I am in that state, and then it is too late. It is very hard to undo. My goal is to stop the reaction before it takes over.

I have done a lot of thinking on this. I know that we can retrain our body to do a lot of things. I know I have come a long way from feeling like a trapped animal with unbridled fear. There are times I still feel that hopeless and ensnared. But I can work myself out easier and faster now.  But this is tricky because I do not realize the source of the input. So I walk around like a magnet attracting and reacting to the smallest of threat. I am fearful….period.  I think in my head, I can prove to myself to some extent that fear is only something that is manifested out of falsely conceived bad expectations. And that they only come to fruition because we expect them to. I have learned to expect the worse and my body prepares by putting myself into a state of fight, flight and, for me, freeze. It is automatic because it is what I know or I have learned to react as such. I need to learn to not always fear the outcome. If I can embrace that, I can learn to have less fear of whatever is setting me off. I know that there are certain things that trigger me that I can get better at. There are things I need to do to help the physical become retrained. I have had great help so far in that process but I am not done with that work at all. But it goes beyond simple training.

It is accepting challenges and participating in life as a rich array of experiences that are to be enjoyed and not feared. That is all I am going to say about it for now. I learned to become afraid because of the physical and mental ramifications of things that were bad in my childhood and earlier life. I used to joke that I was born afraid, but I wasn’t. I learned to become fearful. And if I learned to be afraid, I can learn to not. I have not figured out how I am going to achieve this, but it is “All I want for Christmas.” Maybe by this time next year, I will achieve  victory over this.

Holiday images

I have been taking pictures this week. This is some of what is in my world. Today the snow is lightly coming down as if I had ordered a Christmas snow. We had ice mild icing this weekend and escaped with just a mild coating. It was pretty in the morning but had everyone in a panic in the advent of the storm. The grocery store was a combat zone.
ice on branchesice view

Ms. Cookie was not so sure of the ice on the deck. cokkie on ice

 

 

 

They have been so sweet and loved having us home. Anytime someone sat down, there was a dog in their lap. They love to look out the window.waiting for santa   The living room and kitchen area are decorated and I have a ton of lights everywhere. As I sit in my space to write, I can see the tree and all the other decorations.

ornaments                snowmen

I will post more images but for now I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. May you all find peace and joy. Thanks to all who have stopped by and to my circle of blog friends: I thank you for your support and compassion. You are a gift and are with me in my heart. Thank you MarDrag, Rising Hawk, Thoughtsalone, Starrysez, Lady Blue Rose, Duckie, Bert and all the others who spend time with me in thoughts and dreams. I never thought that this adventure would have such wonderful companions.  angel

 

Pause for the cause

rough seas

I have been reading some pretty profound blogs this weekend. I like to add a few new ones when I have time. There is a reoccurring theme with all that I have chosen and even those that I read consistently. That there is a lot of discontent, pain and suffering and many methods the various authors are using to get through it all. I am on a break from work. And because the weather is not conducive to travel, I am spending a lot of time at my kitchen table with my reader. I am also spending time reflecting on a few things. As the lights twinkle around me, I again realized how blessed I truly am.

I too spent the past months in absolute discontentment and unrest. This turmoil produced illness, a bad cold that kept on for a while longer than it should. And because of the infection, I was unable to take my medicine for my psoriatic arthritis. My skin erupted and I was pretty crippled up. This added to the downward spiral that seemed was not ever going to stop. And I am not sure how I did stop. I know I had help from a dear friend and guide. It seemed like all of a sudden I was not feeling the angst and anxiety. What happened has me perplexed. I wish I could bottle it like a pill and take it when it happens again, as it will.

When I am in something like this perfect storm, I cannot figure out what to do to get to a safe shore. It is like the more I swirl and dance about the deeper the waves get. And that just produces a deeper sense of suffering. And I know this is a choice and that I do have control to stop the suffering but I cannot seem to find the cord that stops it. AND that produces its own sense of failure adding to the complete bag of garbage I have chosen to carry. Makes no sense to me either. But I know I am not alone. It has taken a long while to understand that; to truly know and feel the connectedness of human frailty and failure.

I have learned one thing that I hope I will remember to employ in the future and that is to just stop. Much like “just be”, I need to literally stop everything and take a break. I have been going “at it” so hard that I was exhausted. That makes me very weak. My sleep is always not good at this time of the year as my dreams are disturbing and my night is fitful. That creates a worn out physical state on top of the depleted soul.  However, when I am in this trench, I am too tenacious to just stop. It is because I fear failure. I fear that whatever is happening will win. Win what, I haven’t a clue. So my body shut down and allowed me to get sick. My physical self tried to create a brake and I did not use it. Work was getting piled up because of the lack of planning by others which also was causing me duress. I decided at the last minute to say “f**k-it” (my favorite get out of Dodge statement) and take a few days off. Not much was going to change with the holiday anyways.  

My cold is gone. I was able to take a shot and so I am slowly getting back my strength. Because I did so much before, I have time to enjoy the upcoming holiday. I am wallowing in a sea of colored lights and glitter. Last night I sat at the table reading, I felt this overwhelming feeling of contentment. I looked at my tree and the rest of the overly decorated living space and started to cry. It was not because I was sad. It was from relief. There were a lot of things that had been out of alignment that seem to be back of track. My husband was down in his office, which in itself is significant, wrapping presents. The little doggies were contently snuggled down in their beds on the couch and the house still smelled of the baking I had done earlier. There was no major shift in the polar axis, but my world seemed to have stabilized.

I had read something on one of the blogs about the measurement of success. Someone wrote that once people achieve something, they become bored with it. I agree people continually change their needs and wants. It is what propels us forward. There are some who never take the moment to see the achievement for what it is. I see it as a rung on a ladder, a stepping stone to the next thing on the path. There are many things I have done and then moved on. I do not see that as a bad thing or failure in anyway. I just see it as part of my journey. Right now, my goal is to accept the things I do call failure as also being a part of the human experience and embrace it instead of fearing them. From failure comes growth. I need to quiet the voices from my past who doled out verbal punishment with failure. It was what was done in those times and those who spoke learned it from their parents. It is time to banish the circle of admonishment if only in my own head and in my own voice to others.

If success is measured externally, we will never find true joy and “success.” It is the meter inside of us that we need to use as the gage. I forget that a lot. I forget that I am the only one who can make me feel what I feel.  This new place in my journey has taught me that even swollen seas of anguish and anxiety have their place. It is the recovery from them that teaches us that every time there is a relief. For the first time, I also can embrace that I am not alone in this crusade and that everyone goes through something from time to time. Being human is to offer a life raft if needed, or the rope to help the swimmer get to the shore. I learned that sometimes you cannot be the raft for someone and that you have to let others be that role.  And that is not failure. Being human is also being that swimmer, as we all are at some point. But how glorious is it to know we are not alone because the sea is filled with buoys to help guide us and there is always a Light to help find our way back if we look.

Winter Solstice wish

cookie garden

For me, Yule and Christmas is the season of Light for me. I will explain more in a minute. But I go through something every fall and this year was no different. It is like a tunnel that gets narrower as I travel through it. In the past, this season has included being very sick. The only time I have been in the hospital is in the late fall. And then whatever the diagnosis, it simply goes into remission or in one case, I had to have surgery. That was three years ago in December when I had my gallbladder removed. But I had a series of “itis” that landed me in there in the fall: pancreatitis, and diverticulitis. Funny, but my brother just had the same thing happen to him and had surgery. My parents also became gravely sick in the late fall and both finally succumbed to their illnesses in January, dying three days and three years apart and  on floors three apart.

Fall used to be my favorite season. I got married the first time in October because I loved the colors and because fall always represented the season of nesting for me. That feeling is gone and replaced with a sense of loss and a sense of death. I hate when my garden has its first heavy frost and I awake to shriveled and melted plants. I sense the bareness of the trees and usually we have mud and frozen ground with no life anywhere. Even the animals are gone for most part. I do not want to be labor the point that fall is not a good time for me.

Now to the Solstice and what this time of year means to me. And I mean specifically the time between the Solstice and the New Year. After all the Christmas hype; the blaring commercials and the crowds of nasty people, this is the time of focused joy for me. I am done with my gift purchasing and I enjoy the wrapping of the presents. I usually take time off and have a leisurely time to bake and make the ton of candy I produce as gifts. The house is decorated and I may add a few touches if I feel like it. There is no lack of decorations and I always get more.

All this is fine and dandy, but it is superficial. What really happens starting tonight is the celebration of the renewal of life. To me, the Solstice is the key factor. The light will begin to change and I have already noticed and felt the very slight change. Most people only relate to the lack of light. I relate to the change in color. There is life in the color. The color that happens in July is the addition of blue to the light. The color becomes cold long before the actually temperature change.  The light now shifts to reds and pinks and there is a whisper of hope that all will survive and renew. I begin the anticipation of the physical spring but internally there is rejuvenation and spirit change that says, “Breathe, it will be fine.”  

The walls of the tunnel begin to relax and I truly see the light at the end. I have a specific tree I pass every day on the way to work. It sets its leaves very early and the large buds look like closed tulips. In the morning light, they reflect pink which is my favorite color. They are set already and the tree just produced them this week. They are a harbinger of spring and have been for the past seven years since I first noticed the tree. I am not sure what the tree is and it is common, but this particular tree sits on the side of the road and the morning light hits it perfectly.  I should stop and take a picture.  I have lived upstate for over fifty years, so I know that spring will truly not be here until May, but I can hold on to the dream.  It makes me smile when I see this tree.

Tonight I will celebrate the change in the Light. I also will celebrate my nuptials with my husband of seven years. This fall, things looked very bad for the union and I was preparing to separate myself from an unpleasant arrangement. However, he began counseling and things seem to have changed for the better. He seems to be so much happier after his tunnel pretty much collapsed and took me with it. He lost his job; albeit a job he despised but it was a failure of sorts for him. He went back to subbing and the teaching has been therapeutic for him.  Years of anger had piled up and the result was a very unhappy man who had lost his love of everything. I see much hope for a better future and I think he would agree. The old me would have tolerated the situation as it was and also become miserable beyond repair. But I fought for a solution although the toll was high while we were in our tunnels.  I am trying not to have expectations but to take things as they come. But the man I married seems to have returned and  so I will celebrate that.

My sleep will also return to a more restful and uninterrupted state. Last night I had a dream that I was standing on this driveway that was in the air very high up. There was nothing under it but ether.  It was filled with holes so deep that if you fell into one, you would fall into the void and disperse. The tarmac and supports were dissolving as I stood there with some other people. But I had no sense of fear. I was calm and knew where to step but me as the dreamer was concerned for me the person in the dream. It does not take a lot to figure out the meaning of this one.

So when I said in the beginning this was a season of Light, the meaning of course is dualistic. I mean the physical light and the spiritual Light. Without shame, I admit that I struggle with feeling whole and loving when I am going through a period of disruption and strife. I feel disconnected and not centered. I want to hide and I am depleted and unable to be the person I really want to be. I have learned a lot about myself in the past year and a half. I understand more than I used to and know that I am not perfect nor should I attempt to be. I know that troubles are there to learn from and grow and accept. Every time I walk through a black period, I become stronger and will be a better person for it. So I am glad to feel it shifting but I do feel more accepting for the lessons learned. I feel stronger and that is all I am going to say.

I am going to take pictures today of my decorations and I hope my fellow bloggers will do the same and we can all share our pictures.   I am hoping to add a few more lights outside as it is over 40 degrees today. They are calling for an ice storm tonight. We have had some real douzzies in the past. My sense is that it will not happen to the extreme of what they are calling for. But we are prepared anyways, or will be. I have a stove/fireplace downstairs and some fake logs. We have candles forever and food for an army and the gas grill has a new tank on it. All will be fine.

And tonight, whatever the weather, I will smudge the house to remove the negativity that seems to have settled in the corners. I will light candles and look to the Light.  I wish for everyone to take a moment tonight, breathe the change that has started to happen and celebrate the renewal of life filled with joy and love. That is my hope for us all. Namaste.

“Ms. Fixer, who do you think you are?”

I am a fixer. I feel like there should be a weekly group I can go to for salvation. “Hello, My name is Jane and I am a fixer.”  The addiction is just as bad as alcohol. I see something wrong and I have the overzealous need to repair. But like most addictions it is based on a falsehood and that something needs to be changed. But in my world I do see things that way and in reality it is to make me feel better. I realize the arrogance of that. Who am I to say something is broken?
The only control we have over things in this world is ourselves. What I am really doing in fixing is making things more comfortable for myself. If a situation was working for me, I would have no need to fix. But there is an irritant that needs to be eradicated for me to be comfortable, so I must fix. There are some conditions we do have the ability to change but a true Fixer like me does not stop there. We must fix people and attempt misdirected repair on the impossible and that is when we run into trouble.
All my life, I have been the one who wanted to fix people who are broken. Intuitively, I can find the waif who has a need in everyone I meet. Then there are those who see this trait in me and clamp on in hopes they can sit back and have their issues resolved by someone else. They are called predators. I also naturally attract them too.
I realize that there is a piece of the ego that finds satisfaction in the control of others. I realize that there is a “high” I get when things seem to be turned around in the favor of the solution I have presented. There is a need in me to be exalted as the savior of issues and wounds, even on the smallest of concerns. My ego is fed when someone sees my way as the best way. And my frustration mounts when they go on their own path in direct conflict of my resolution.
For example, yesterday there are three of us who are in charge of Pillar initiatives who met with the Administration Board. It is a big responsibility and we are the drivers of many work plans. I personally oversee four committees that respond directly to my initiative. It is a Fixer’s dream to have that much supremacy. The meeting was to set strategic initiatives for the next year. I am salivating at the power that all created. One item that was presented to me was absurd. I tried to explain the futility in the directive with clear data. It is impossible to move the matrix they wanted. But it became a point of ego with one of the Board members and I knew I was in trouble and needed to back down. But of course before I did, I turned bright red with the frustration. They have set up this initiative for failure before it even hits the paper. I cannot fix that and so I let it go….. in the meeting. But trust me, I stewed about it along with one other rational person who came to me afterwards. It is what it is and I cannot fix it. But it is frustrating because they will expect me to do just that. Move the numbers that reflect their expectation. NO one will be able to do that, and I wonder if that was the other person’s ego need to just do exactly that; set up an unrealistic expectation to move the spotlight off their own incompetency. Too bad no one in power will be able to see that.
In personal relationships, nothing brings me more satisfaction than to fix wounds and heal broken hearts. Like most addictions, it has become toxic and an intervention needed to be done. I have heard from people who I hold in high regard the concern my addiction has been taking on me. The toll has been great and includes health issues along with severing relationships. In some cases, I had to separate myself from toxic relationships from people who saw me as an easy target. In my attempts to fix things, their needs became greater than mine and they depleted my supplies leaving me angry and hurt. The ego said “I failed.But in truth, by moving out of the target zone, I healed myself and I guess in a way fixed things. The ego still needs to catch up with the concept that I matter as well.
As a teacher and a healer, I cannot truly abdicate from this type of work. I will always have a need to fix things. It will be my duty to learn how and when. I can present my thoughts and my solutions, but I then need to allow the other to take the first step and start their journey. I have to accept that their path will be as different as they are and that it is ok. It is more than ok, it is what has to happen. I also need to accept that my employment situation is not perfect and decide what I want to do about that too. I have the control to change that, but not the people I work with. The effort I need to do is to find peace within that I have done my best and be satisfied with that. There is a lot of work I need to do on my own being and that should be enough to feed the monkey so to speak. My ego finds it easier to look out than within.
I guess I need to fix that.

Ensnared

moon light

Like a rabbit caught in a trap, I am ensnared by my own mistakes.

In an attempt to find peace and wholeness,

I have created a world of personal torment.

My goal was my own and not of the pair.

And as I struggle, the cold metal closes;

Teeth set with diamonds and sapphires.

The prize was so simple and mine for a while.

Then a path was set before me.

I chose to travel and climb the mountain,

Not aware of the price of the ticket.

My baggage is extreme and not all of my own.

Many of the satchels were placed there by others.

As I continue to lighten the load upon lessons learned,

Those most close tighten the grip.

I wish for them to travel their own path,

For their own destiny waits with a private map.

But the ticket must be too dear so they grab on in fear.

I cannot lose the momentum I have created on this journey.

I know there is glory and honor that waits for us all.

The conductor has punched my ticket and I must continue.

But somehow I fell off the ride and into this snare.

And the more I struggle, the deeper the teeth sink.

So in the moon lit night, I sit and languish.

I seek the solution with the least painful option.

So far silence has been my only answer.

Winter dreams

My insomnia has switched off for now and my sleep does what it is prone to do at this point. I start to have vivid dreams and I wake up not refreshed and often disturbed by the last dream of the night. So it has been for two such recent instances. You would think the dark and long nights would be conducive to wonderful slumber, but this is a period of time since I was a child that has produced sleep deprivation and tormenting dreams. I wonder if I am so in tuned with nature that this is my cycle of casting off and purging much like the trees do with their leaves before they have a peaceful slumber. I wonder if they sense the freeze that stops the movement of sap as some death within, some anguish of loss of the processes of osmosis and a fear that they will not see the next spring. Do they know death and fear it, if only for a brief moment until they truly sleep for the winter? This is what I sense.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, I indulged in taking a nap. This is a reward I give myself for the hard work I put forth all week and even more for the housekeeping I must do on the weekend. When I lay down, I quite often will listen to music with headphones which produces some wonderful relaxation, discharging the tension out of my body. This particular time I did not have headsets on as I was incredibly exhausted and really wanted to sleep. I conked. After almost two hours, I had a dream that I still remember. I can feel it, but I cannot remember all the parts of it. Basically I was in a room and I was comfortable in the room as it was my house and specifically my room. As a little girl and teen, this theme was a reoccurring dream with different visualization but the sensations were always the same. FEAR. This recent dream was not apocalyptic, which was a common theme in my older years. I have dreamt in depth the end of the world and have seen my own death three times. All are very real dreams which have never left me. One dream was only two years ago.
(Sorry for the Squirrel writing but that is what my blog is for.) So in this afternoon nap dream, there was something in my room. It appeared in a cloud like form, totally dark, ominous and not definable. It was under the bed which is another childhood fear. When I was in my teens, I took my mattress and box spring off the frame and put it directly on the floor. Ended that fear for me. But when I was very young, I was told there were monsters (evil) under my bed that would grab my legs and pull me under if I tried to get out of bed at night. I was put to bed in a very large bedroom and then left to fend for myself as my sister was eight years older and did not retire until much later. It was a rotten device to keep me put. Even as a young child, my imagination was very active and to this day, I can still see this huge room and sense the fear I had being in there in the early night as the light dwindled and the monsters waited. I never defined what the monsters were, just like this recent dream. I just knew they were there. Part of my childhood also included the fact that I wet the bed for a longtime and had to sleep on these awful thick rubber mats. Boy, this writing is conjuring up some wonderful memories don’t you think? In this recent dream, the fear started small and grew and eventually I sensed that the cloud was not waiting for me to move, but was coming for me. I woke up from the level of sleep I was in but the strong fear remained for a bit. It permeated my body and it took a while to shake it off.I still can see the dark cloud which has appeared at other points of my life including in my first attempts of meditation. And although not as strong, I still can sense the apprehension I felt.
Last night’s dream was most bizarre. Again, it contained a common thread of fear but included escape. But this escape was fraught with impediments. But the last part of the dream is still with me. In the beginning of the dream I was with someone and we were in some sort of race. I sense a form of competition and yet, not a formal one. My vehicles were bizarre and faulty and keep breaking down. All of us were on devices of mobility that are not common. There were scooters and broken down cars taped together with duct tape and wobbly bicycles but also appliances and furniture with wheels. But they were getting away. At some point, I had veered off the race pathway and was up on some hill on private property. Someone was coming after me and I was stuck. My vehicle was not defined other than it was not working. I was trying to escape pending doom which included the fear of bodily harm and death. At one point, the dream switched to me trying to locate a bathroom, and unable to find one clean enough for me to use. This is also is a reoccurring theme most of my adult life either awake or asleep. The dream switches back to the fight for flight and I am fending off this person who is beginning to attack me. It was a male with red hair. This person is pursuing me with vengeance and had some form of implement that he was using as a weapon. My vehicle is no longer operational and I am in a panic. There was a lot of scurry and seeking for another form of transportation and I stumble on a cart of sorts. This was a yellow-gold metal two shelved cart much like my brother had back in the 60’s. It morphed into a scooter like thing and I hopped on and started to escape. I am closely being followed by this red headed demon which has a weapon. I grabbed a huge corkscrew drill from somewhere and threatened the demon with it. Again, this was a tool from my father’s collection of tools and as a child was in awe of the size of it. At one point in the struggle, I became victorious and sped away as much as anyone can speed away on an old cart like vehicle. The last scene in the dream is a huge table on an enclosed front porch with all kinds of people sitting around and enjoying some form of celebration. I am walking around the table and people are lovingly poking fun at me as it seems I somehow won the competition. I stand behind someone and slip my arms around them to the delight and jeers of the partakers. It is the red head man who was my enemy.
I love doing dream analysis and can figure parts of this out fairly easily. I had red hair as a younger person and as a friend and guide told me, we dream about ourselves as all the players. The person I fight with is myself and the war I am in dealing with the issues I am having and the race represents the anger and frustration I am struggling with trying to resolve my place. I am not sure about the other person who was with me in the beginning of the race as they disappeared unless they were represented my old self. The bathroom sequence is so common in my dreams. I know it represents the frustration and impediments I have to face going through my journey. I am seeking a place to eliminate the garbage I have carried for years and it is thwarted and frustrating in real life and in my dreams. The corkscrew drill is fascinating.It represents the fear I had of my father as a child and yet, I use that tool of his to protect myself. I really was scared of that thing as a kid. It hung in the garage on the tool board and I can still remember the head of it being shiny brown and glistening almost like a flattened out big marble. I have no idea what it was used for as it was at least two feet long and the head was the size of a flatten softball.The last part of the dream is telling me I made peace with myself. At the end of the dream, there is a sense of belonging and acceptance and a bit of sensuality and bonding which are all things I struggle with but desire in the real world.
The next few days will be difficult for sleep for me as it is a cycle that I have participated in for years. The solstice is coming. I am not going to write about the significance of this solstice right now other than it is huge for me. And there will be peace soon.

Seeking Christmas

The other day a friend of mine who is normally cheerful and posts happy things on her Facebook page wrote about her lament for the holiday season. She felt bereft of Christmas Spirit and went on to explain how she normally starts around Halloween getting into the spirit. This year, it was not happening for her at all. I thought I sort of felt the same. That this year seemed to be worse than normal. I do not hate Christmas, I actually enjoy most of the activities. But I do not get all excited about it either. I would find this time of year intolerable if it were not for the lights and decorations. That I really enjoy. I wrote her back and said that the holiday spirit lies within your heart and the magick of Christmas was self-created. She and a few other posters agreed.

I truly believe that whatever Christmas means to you, it is there all year long. Being kind just because it is the season is living a lie. We need to celebrate the accumulation of kindness at the end of the year. And if you were not a kindness practitioner, then two weeks or less is not going to count in the sum of kindness. It should be a way of life.

Currently in my area there is a major fundraising day happening. It is called ROC the day. Many non-profits solicit donations and compete to see how can raise the most. My email account this morning was filled with requests for donations. Why? Because I give all year and they have my name. It is an irritant to me this morning and smacks of the commercialism of this season.  I sit next to the foundations department at work and had overheard their plans for the agency plea. It is totally based on the fact that people are trying to make atonement for being unable or refusing to give through the year. ‘Tis the season, so to speak, for guilt. It is the same ploy used to sell products to parents. Does a child really need over a $1000.00 worth of toys that are crap and will be broken in a month? What a waste.

I try to seek avenues to help celebrate the season in the manner less commercial. To me one of the best parts of this holiday season is the music. I play with a recorder group who is the local chapter of the American Recorder Society. Last night was the holiday celebration and recital. My class which consists of two other gals played two songs. We played with our hearts, if not the best technique. One lady in our group who is so lovely in spirit struggles and rarely is playing what is written. But she has such great joy in her “music” that we truly do not care how bad she is. We played on. Then we listened to the rendition of a variety of music from other groups which was exquisite. After all the performances, the circle of about forty or so musicians sight read Christmas carols for about a ½ hour or so. I played what I could as did others, and no one cared how well. It was community at its best. We ended the night chatting and munching on homemade goodies. It had snowed very hard on the way there. As much as I hate driving in snow, it was the pretty fat-flaked kind, often referred to as Christmas snow. It added to the spirit of the evening.

One of the other things I did for the second year in a row is play Mrs. Santa Claus. We open the building to family and friends and we have a Santa who is actually the head of Environmental Services. He grows a white beard every year and has a wonderful Santa suit. But he is Santa in spirit all year long and so it is not a stretch. I do not know how I ended up with the role of being the big Elf’s wife, but it fit. So I donned my Christmas apron which is his wife’s and put my hair up and passed out cookies. This year I was more involved with the children and actually got a share of sticky handed hugs. Oh, it was magickal. The look of joy and hope in the little one’s eyes who know what magick is and still believe is tonic for the season. We are taking our roles on the road in a week and visiting our other facilities in hopes to send a cheerful message. But it is the same message I use all year. “I wish you all good tidings and great joy.”

 

Away in the Manger…

This time of year is beautiful in its traditions. For me, it is a time that I cherish the good memories of my childhood, which are few and far between. But there is one memory that is a skill given to me by my Mom. She was an artist and when she decorated the house she did a beautiful job. She did not work until her late fifties and had domestic help right up until I was about two, so she had time to devote to her home decorating. She passed the skill on to my brother whose homes have been in Better Homes and Gardens. My homes, not so much. They lean more to comfort than fashionably decorated, but have always had an abundance of plants and flowers inside as well as outside. I too decorate my house for the holidays as much as time will allow me to.
My mom liked to paint and draw. But her gift was to take natural things like flowers and greenery and make them into art. She loved gardening and that was also something she passed on to me and my sister. But her greatest gift was to bring nature into the house and use it for adornment. Christmas was an excuse to step things up a notch. She so loved the art of flower arrangement that she was a leader in awards in her Flower Club and became a district judge which was a coveted role. My sister and I both participated in Junior Garden Club. One year my sister did something with a fish bowl and goldfish as part of her entry in a competition. The fish died before the judging and my sister gave up. She was not very good anyways and I do not think she enjoyed it. I did. I won a couple of awards including the top Junior Achievement Award at a State competition. We moved out of the District and my Mom had to go to work and so the garden club circuit ended by the time I was 13.
The Christmas memory I treasure is putting up the Crèche or manger with all the little statues. I have the one that has been in the family my whole life. I am guessing that it has to be at least 75 years old. It has been through a lot. I have touched it up and I am very protective of it. I remember the years my Mom asked me and me alone to help her with putting it up. Each figurine is packed in a ton of tissue. There are the three wise men and a camel, a shepherd and sheep, various barn animals and of course the family including a not so baby Jesus who lies in a wooden feeding trough. But the figures I cherish the most are the angels. There were three. One is on one knee in pink, there is a blue standing one and then there was a young little one in blue.
The little angel was my favorite. Since I was taller than my Mom by the time I was ten, I got to put her in her special spot on the top of the wooden structure that represented the barn. She was my favorite and always the last to be put in the scene just before baby Jesus. But as I was typing this story, it hit me why also she was so special. My Mom said that this particular angel represented me. It was younger than the other figurines and she was not thin like the other angels who are very slender.  But she was the protector of the Crèche and the family. I never got it when she said it so many years ago. But it was the role I was in my family. I was the caregiver for both of my parents until they passed and my sister for years. I still am keeper of all the family heirlooms and photographs. I am the protector of all that was my family and sacred and special. Believe me, there is not much.
Every year, the mantle would be covered in greenery, lights, candles and beads. The design was never the same. I can remember one year she took dried materials and spray painted them gold to look like huge medallions that went on either side of the mantle up to the ceiling. They were spectacular. The whole display was a fire hazard as they were devoted fire watchers and had one going quite frequently. There were always poinsettia lights in the display. There were red lights with silk flowers on them that look liked poinsettias. This was back in the sixty’s and not a common thing. Fortunately, they are more common now as I have had to replace them a couple of times.
I do not sleep well this time of year. It has plagued me most of my life. I have horrible dreams and sleep in fits and for short duration. I can remember leaving my bed and coming down the stairs to sit by the dying embers of a fire in the fireplace and just looking at the mantle. As I was older, I would often pray for the peace the figurines would seem to have. Christmas has never been about the presents for me. It is about the beauty of the lights and decorating and the peace and serenity of a silent night.
I do not spend as much time as my Mom did doing my displays. But I enjoy doing it every year as I feel the rare connection I had with my mom. The first year I live alone after my divorce, I covered my new house with silk flowers and greenery and a small tree with pink lights. Matter of fact, the decorations were most pink, which is my favorite color. It was stunning and very Victorian in its theme. I hate to take everything down at the end of the season, which I stretch out as long as I can. The Manger is the first to go up and the first to come down as I do not want it to get dirty and dusty. I started a tradition of my own which is to write down my wishes for the New Year and put it in the bottom of the box. I give thanks and tuck it in with the tissue. Last year’s prayer was not answered at all as I wished for Bishop to remain healthy and for Joe to enjoy his work. Bishop passed a month ago and my husband was let go from his position. However, Bishop did not suffer and my husband likes substitute teacher better. I can look at it that there was some resolve.
As for the littlest angel, she was smashed one year when my cats decided to pull the velvet drape I had them arranged on off the table. I did not have a fireplace at the time and they did not understand sacred space. I was devastated and held on to the pieces of her for years. I could not fix her, which is also very telling. She remained in an empty film container tucked in the box. It was the year after my Mom died, also very telling. I remained the caregiver for about 13 more years for my father and sister. The broken angel is now somewhere in all the other Christmas stuff in the closet downstairs. I do not pull all the hundreds of ornaments out anymore to put up on the tree. It is too small. There is so much Christmas stuff now since I have my Mom’s, My Aunt’s and my own collections. I am hoping that my nephew will someday accept some of the older more special decorations and the coveted Crèche. I am hoping he will pass the tradition on to his children. But it will always be my Mom I will see and remember. His children never met their Great Gram.
The display is never the same. I have not finished decorating for this year, so here are some from last year.

bright mantlemantle 2012

 Angels