Pagan Blog Project – “S” for “Satisfaction”

When it comes to things like satisfaction, I tend to lean towards a more Buddhist approach. It is desire that leads to despair and then you cannot truly attain satisfaction because you always Want. It’s an endless cycle of trying to fulfill a need with only temporary satisfaction, a hunger that’s never quite sated.

It’s hard not to desire things but I try to be realistic with the things I desire. I want to pay off the mortgage early so I send in extra payments when I can. The satisfaction comes in that temporary sacrifice (not having that extra cash on hand) for the long term goal (the slow but steady shrinking of that debt). The same thing goes for cooking my own food, rather than ordering in or spending a day just cleaning. I get the satisfaction of a meal made with my own hands and the freer energy of a clean, well-organized space.

Instead of chasing some fleeting material goal, I try to focus on things that will increase my general satisfaction with my life. After that, I can work on being more than satisfied; I can work on being fulfilled. 😉

Pagan Blog Project – “R” for “Reconciliation”

Keeping with last entry’s letter, I’ve also been thinking a lot about reconciliation. Particularly since the dealings with my mother’s estate are very nearly done. Over the last year, I’ve learned some sooper seekret things about Ma that I honestly feel would have brought us closer as mother and daughter. I think I will carry my resentment towards losing that connection with her for the rest of my life. There’s no way I can straight up yell at her for it (unless anybody knows a good medium).

However, I have reconciled with the why’s and how’s of her secrets. I’m a thirty something in the year 2012; having grown up in the 80’s and 90’s and not having to deal with much discrimination. Ma grew up with darker skin than mine in the 1950’s. You don’t come up a poor, Black, feminist in that time without developing a thick skin and a chip on your shoulder.

I wish she could have reconciled all that anger and self-deception before she died. I’m sure sure she would have been happier. Ma always worried I would end up “like her,” someone who thought of nothing but work and responsibility at the expense of all else. But it was that determination which helped me have an easier time of coming to terms with the myriad of feelings a parent’s death will bring you. She made me strong. For that, I am grateful.

Pagan Blog Project – “R” for “Retribution”

Ma always taught me living well is the best revenge. In a way, she was right.

There is always something in you that wants the big confrontation after a fight; the epic conclusion worthy of the final episode of a TV drama. I’ve had those and let me tell you, they are so not worth the trouble. There is nothing soul cleansing about them. Every confrontation has left me weary and soiled. It didn’t matter if I was “right” or if it mended a broken friendship, there was still a sense something once in one piece would never be right again.

Sometimes when something ends, it ends for a reason. There is no real benefit to getting even or getting the last word. For me, the best revenge is to forget the whole thing. As a wise friend of mine said: “Don’t let them rent space in your head.” They’re not worth it.

Pagan Blog Post – “Q” for “Queen”

As in “Queen of Heaven

I am a big fan of the old gods. I believe they are closer to a more primal spiritual experience; the nearly nameless ones who represent the comos in their most pure form.

Gee, can you tell I read Clan of the Cave Bear once? But really, that’s the sort of connection to The Queen or The Goddess I most enjoy. I find I most often send please to the formless Great Mother for help, to The Queen for strength, and to The Goddess for wisdom. Though Their many names may escape me, it is Their essence I usually seek.

When I think of trying to be more like a Queen, I think of a woman of honor, patience, and humility. Someone who doesn’t need the last word, takes the high road, and keeps their home and family safe. I think of a provider, a nurturer, a disciplinarian, and a fighter. I have tried to be all these things when I need to be them but I try to keep myself realistic; no woman can really do it all. We are sadly only human and the flesh is weak. The Queen also needs to nap.

Pagan Blog Post – “Q” for “Quit”

I know the first instinct for any parent is to tell their children never to give up. “You don’t wanna be a quitter, do you?” I would hear growing up. Unless it was smoking or drugs, quitting was never a good thing.

Sometimes, quitting can be a blessing.

I used to try and keep all my friends no matter what they did to me. I would stick to activities I didn’t enjoy because I thought quitting was a bad thing. I endured horrible classes (with horrible grades as a result) and toxic relationships because I didn’t know when to give up.

To paraphrase Brokeback Mountain, I certainly know when to quit now. The very moment something becomes more trouble than it’s worth or starts to be un-enjoyable, I re-evaluate it’s place in my life and see if I really need it. I have to tell you, this process has not only saved me money, but time and an assload of grief. Quitting can be spiritually freeing because you aren’t shackled with life’s unnecessary detritus and left me feeling lighter, more able to deal with more important things (like mortgage agents and prickly 5 year olds). When I quit trying to impress, I made better friends and when I quit dieting, I found better health and happiness.

Seems like quitting may not be as bad as Mama said.

Pagan Blog Project – “P” for “Practice”

Like many spiritual people, I try to see my faith as something I live, not something I do. I frequently question if I’m Pagan enough because I don’t go to many functions, I barely have time for proper rituals, I forget when the holidays are, and I can never remember correspondences off the top of my head. I always have to look them up.

So, if the proof is in the practice, what makes me a Pagan?

When I stargaze, I believe I am practicing. When I teach my little girl respect for the earth, I believe I am practicing. When I sit and take a breath, admiring how the air smells like grass and flowers, I believe I am practicing. It’s in these moments where we can all stop wondering if we’re Pagan enough and just enjoy the world.

Pagan Blog Project – “P” for “Peace”

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The most valuable time I can grab in my life is when I have peace of mind; when my thoughts are calm and serene. I don’t often reach this state through meditation, but when I do it’s just fantastic.

Usually, things are just crazy in my life. Like any working mother, I snatch at moments of peace when I can. Those moments to myself where I can just recharge and de-stress are what keep me going. But every so often, I’m walking home and the temperature is perfect, there’s a slight breeze and there’s soft music playing on my MP3 player. I look up at the twilight sky and there’s just enough clouds to make the light easy on my eyes. I just take a deep breath and smile. I stand up a little straighter and I’m ready to face whatever else the day my bring or leave the trials the day has already brought behind me.

Those moments are more precious than gold. Snatch ’em up while you can!

Blessed Lammas! :D

This Lammas, I made a bread man! 😀 In’t he a cute little creepy bastard? *kisses him* He’s made from herb bread sprinkled with sea salt. I made the dough in a bread machine (kneading aggravates my tendinitis) and sculpeted him before popping him into the oven.

He’s so fricking cute, I don’t even wanna eat him. XD

Have a blessed day everyone! 😀

Pagan Blog Project – “O” for “Obesity”

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It is with a great sigh and rolling of eyes that you read my heading, I am sure. This topic has been done but far be it from me to let it pass without me adding my two cents.

Hey there. My name is Lenni. I am 5’7″ and weigh about 200 pounds. I say “about” because depending on what time of the month it is, I can go down to 195 or up to 210. At my last physical, my blood pressure and cholesterol were at normal levels. My knees are shot so I can’t run a 4 minute mile, but I can power walk it in 15. I can lift and carry my 40 pound child with out straining. I typically workout 30 minutes 4 days a week in various ways but not because I want to lose weight, it’s because I enjoy it (and I don’t drive yet so I walk everywhere).

Why the stats? Because people hear my height and weight and assume I am fat, lazy, unhealthy. Quite the contrary, I am an active healthy human being who just happens to not be a size 2. Most of the time, I am happy with myself. It’s taken years of hard thought to get rid of the poor self image instilled in me from puberty when all of a sudden, I developed all these curves I didn’t know what do to with.

Not to sound crude but I sure as hell know what to do with them now!

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I wish I’d had more role models like Mrs. Hendricks up there when I was growing up. I could have avoided a lot of the anguish. Being 13 is hard enough without the added stress of being overweight. Not that kids need an excuse to make fun of you (I was oinked at… I am not even kidding) but that pain never really goes away. I have tried every diet, every diet pill, every shake, powder, and gimmick you can name. I even dabbled in anorexia. But not bulimia because I don’t like the feeling of throwing up and I believe I would be just wasting good food.

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I say, fuck that noise! I sat back and thought “I cannot believe the words ‘dabble in anorexia’ came out of my mouth!” What the bloody hell was I thinking?! Would I be able to rock the hell out to Zumba if I don’t eat? How am I supposed to chase my kid around if I don’t eat? And what kind of example am I setting for my daughter!? I never want her to think the things I thought… So, I will be totally honest with you, I eat whatever the fuck I want. And I like vegetables (my Ma was vegetarian so I’m used to large amounts of veggies). My favorite thing to eat is a huge salad with a can of tuna and diced onion. I have pizza or burgers as a treat and I usually make them myself (when I have time) because I can flavor them exactly the way I want. Do I make healthier choices? Yes; lean meats and whole wheat bread. I don’t pick them because they’re “diet food” I pick them because my body feels better.

You only get one shot in the shell you have. I choose to treat my body with respect by giving it the fuel it craves. Sometimes it’s a baby spinach salad and sometimes it’s a fat, juicy burger with fried onions and bacon. No excuses and no guilt. People can oink at me all they want because you know what? I’m better than that. And you are, too.

Pagan Blog Project – “O” for “Ostara”

I have to say, Ostara is my favorite holiday. 😀 Not just for all the fertility symbols all over the place, but for the feeling of a new beginning. It is also the first Pagan holiday I shared with my daughter that easily dovetails with Easter so I can get all the eggs and baskets I need and still do cool witchy stuff with her. 🙂

If we’re gardening that year, we use that day to start the seedlings and take some time to enjoy the day outside (weather permitting) before the bugs come out in force. We dye eggs and paint flowers to welcome the coming Spring. If it’s raining, I take time out to watch the rain. I feel it’s a way for me and my kid to connect to nature when we live in a suburban environment.