January 29, 2013

My Inner Wolf

I'm up a dog for the week, and it's made for some interesting times. I already have two dogs, an Aussie Shepherd and a Goldendoodle, and two kitties, and one extra Doodle has certainly made for some "paradigm shifting".

They say that two's company, and three's a crowd? Probably true, especially with dogs. Where my two boys have their own language for relating to each other, my adopt-a-Doodle doesn't quite understand what they're getting at. She's a little nervous about playing - they're pretty rough.

I'm having to tap in to my dog-nature a lot. I'm trying to pick appropriate situations for them to try to spend time together, making sure everyone is calm and collected (and that they stay that way). I'm trying to pick up on my guest-doodle's cues and not put her in any situations she might be uncomfortable with, and making sure she has an escape plan that she knows how to use if she needs it.

It's been interesting for me in that usually I'm a pet-mom... my boys need attention individually from me much more than when they're playing, and I rarely have to run interference. But with a guest in the house (and an extraordinarily gentle and sweet one at that) I'm really having to put my "pack leader" hat on. Everyone's behaviour has been great so far. I've only had to correct it a few times, and even then in very minor ways, which is impressive. It's made me see my relationship with them in a new light though... less mom-puppy and more pack leader-subordinate. It's interesting to see their wilder side, and is a strong reminder that they are still wild animals. Cute, sweet, cuddly, fluffy ones, but they still have that *spark*. It just makes me love them all that much more.

January 25, 2013

I've got to admit it's getting better...

I'm a little late with this post, mostly because of a highly chaotic week.

I just wanted to post and let my reader(s) know that I've received some messages that have helped me, at least partially, thwart my crisis of faith.

A friend and I went to a "wellness retreat" thing that was basically short sessions of a whole bunch of healing modalities. Very cool, but I received some very poignant messages. The healer that was working on me after, said... wow... your heart is really sad. I was like, YA THINK!? Anyways. I was heartened to feel like... I'm not sure what exactly. Like my issues were relatable, and that other people could identify and actually feel what was wrong with me. I felt connected to the infinite. I'm not sure how to describe it really.

Also, I received some messages from some crystals. I was having a hard time trying to decide what crystal to bring to our Imbolc ceremony, and I just decided that none of them were going to do the trick. So on a whim, I just kind of ended up near the local crystal place, and I picked out a few that jumped out at me. I was looking for one in particular, so I picked it up. The owner said that the one I had wanted was labelled incorrectly, and was actually another crystal entirely! So, fine, I said, they pick me anyways, and I went on my happy way.

I get home, and I read what the crystal is useful for, and... let's just say, it was a message. It was "I hear you, I know what you're going through" in rock form. I also picked up the perfect crystal for Brighid. Who knew? Maybe I just haven't been listening in the proper forum... maybe crystals could be a great way for me to communicate with The Powers That Be?

I dunno. This is a spazzy response because I'm still feeling spazzy, but I was very happy to have a feeling that I was being looked out for. It's been a very lonely few years.

January 16, 2013

Please Challenge This.

So lately I've been trying not to freak about about J losing his job. Live in the moment, and all that crap. I can't seem to shake the feeling though that the universe is givin' me a raw deal.

I've done pretty well so far. I mean, we're completely broke, but I still have a roof over my head, and food in my stomach. But this is the second time that I've said aloud and to anyone who would listen that this year was going to be different, and MEANT IT, and got backhanded by "The Powers That Be" as a result. Last time, I ended up in the ICU for a week. This time, I start legitimately making plans, and.. NOPE! Never mind your plan. See that rug you're standing on? Yeah. I'm about to yank that out from under you.

It concerns that me that I am completely numb to the whole thing. I have moments of feeling like I'm going to barf, others that I feel I'm just going to fall over and die from being so stressed, and others where I can't stop laughing my ass off. I'm constantly wondering if this is the straw that'll break the camel's back. I'm especially feeling the lack of "religion" in my life... when I was a Christian, I had all these tools in my back pocket for dealing with matters such as these, that I don't feel necessarily apply here. Or at least I could talk to my family about it.

I hate to sound melodramatic. I hope I don't sound that way. I'm not okay with feeling this way... there's people that exist that use their depression/anxiety/mental health issues as being almost a crutch... a reason for acting whatever way, and a reason to never figure out who they were. I'm trying from the other end... I'm DESPERATELY trying to figure my life out, and I keep getting cut down. Every. Time. And reply to this or don't... it's cathartic for me sometimes just to get things out.

I just can't shake the feeling that I'm not part of anyone's plan any more. Or my own. How much pain is one person supposed to take?

January 7, 2013

Lessons From the Universe?

So, I received some solid advice tonight from an unlikely source. My mother informs me that maybe this will all make sense in time, that everything will work out, etc.

My husband's contract is not being renewed due to budget cuts. Joy.

So instead of spending the next few months figuring "me" out and getting a better grip on things, we get to scamper around figuring out where our main source of income is going to come from.

I seriously feel like the universe is kicking me when I'm down. I know there's never such a thing as a perfect moment, but I seems to me last time I said I wanted to make healthy changes and put myself back on the path to health, I ended up in the hospital for a week, and emerged with a life-changing illness.

Seriously, universe, what the fuck!? If anyone else can make sense of this, I am all ears.


January 5, 2013


Part of what makes a virtue a virtue is the ability to do it despite adversity. As stated by Maya Angelou, "Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage." The dictionary.com definition of courage is "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery." I disagree. I don't think that courageous people are necessarily without fear; I think they act in spite of it. Saying that people are courageous simply because they see danger and have no fear of it could be ascribing a virtue to people with underdeveloped amygdalas. Courage comes from seeing danger, fearing it, and doing what is right anyways.

I've had to be courageous in my own life in some of my aforementioned struggles. Quitting my poisonous job despite fear of being able to afford to live was one important instance. The best anecdote about courage I have, though, is about my great uncle James. He fought in World War II, and saved his entire platoon by throwing himself on a grenade. Both of his legs were blown off. I can't imagine that he had no fear when he was choosing to protect his friends with his body. There's even more courage in the fact that he came back to Canada, and continued to work his farm without legs (the prosthetics were too bulky and cumbersome). I never got to meet him, as he passed away when he was young due to circulation problems from the amputations. The fact that my family still talks about the sacrifices he made for his platoon and for his family – that legacy of true greatness – is how I define courage.


Wise: Having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion.

Wisdom: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.


The virtue of wisdom is one I hold dear. I try to improve my ability to discern the difference between the truth of matter and complicating factors, such as ego, in a situation, even when it concerns my own “stuff”. I find that well placed wisdom gained from experience can not only help avoid negative situations in the future, it can help bring peace in the present. When I feel I am operating from a place of my greatest wisdom, I can be comfortable in the fact that I did the best I knew how to do in any given situation.

A good example of wisdom, or becoming wise, would be the discourse between Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna starts off almost childlike; inquisitive, but obviously ignorant as to the truth of the way things really work. He is entrenched in the “maya”, or the mistaken belief that there exists a dichotomy between the self and Higher Consciousness. As the story progresses, he comes to learn that there is no separation between himself and the truth, and approaches Moksha (enlightenment). Moksha, to me, means ultimate wisdom: it means having no separation between one's self and the truth, and being in tune with the vibrations of nature.

Confucius says, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Unfortunately, I usually gain wisdom by the last method.

My greatest moment of wisdom came when I quit my job. I had a great government job that was high paying, and was at the top of my field. It took much reflection and wisdom to realize that, although such a position was definitely feeding my ego and my natural predilection towards being a high achiever, it was not feeding my soul. It was an extremely difficult decision to make, because I had spent my entire professional life working towards this job. I had to make the decision between material wealth, and spiritual wealth, and literally, in the words of Denis Waitley, “Chase [my] passion, not [my] pension!” I'm not sure exactly what I would like to do professionally yet, but I know it is going to be some sort of “helping”. I've come to the realization that for me, real payment would come in the form of assisting others through their difficult moments. If my experience and gained wisdom could be of help, so much the better.


I want to know

if you can live with failure
yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,


- Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Our Own Druidry describes perseverance as “drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.”

I've persevered through a lot lately. A lot of things should probably have knocked me off this path I'm taking deeper into Druidry. I've spent the last few years being pretty ill, and inertia should have probably dragged me away from my studies. I'm absolutely sticking with it though. I feel that it's important to seek out what's true for me, despite being legitimately tired. Using my studies to ground and balance me out has helped me immensely; it's the perfect counterpoint to being too “in one's body”. I've had many false starts, but I keep picking myself up, dusting myself off, and putting my butt in front of the computer to write, or in my comfy chair to read, or outside to do some talking with the trees. It doesn't always work (in fact, most of the time it doesn't), but I'm determined to complete my Dedicant path work in an appropriate amount of time for me, despite anything that might be dragging me down.

Perseverance requires integrity, both to persevere, and to decide when not to. Being honest with oneself about the worthwhileness of persevering is important. It also requires integrity to decide what defines persevering for you: maybe it's a lot of effort, maybe only a little. Like Oriah Mountain Dreamer states in the quote provided, true perseverance means looking failure straight in the eye and telling it to stand down.

Moderation Essay... Fire at Will!

Our Own Druidry defines moderation as “cultivating one's appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency."

By this definition, I am categorically terrible at moderation. In the immortal words of the great philosopher, Eminem, “I realized, “Yo, I can't do anything in moderation. I don't know how.'”

I understand it in principle – balance is key! Much of the 8 Limbs of Yoga talk about moderation, especially Bramacharya, or moderation in body, mind, and speech. Yoga Sutra 2.38 states that “vitality appears in one who is firmly set in moderation.” Keep a work/life balance! Don't eat too much or too little, and exercise enough to be healthy, but not a steroid-filled gym rat.

I'm hoping moderation could also work over time, much like the wheel of the year. For everything there is a season, etc. Right now, I'm in a resting phase. I worked too hard at a job for too long that did not want balance for its employees. I worked out at the gym and at the yoga studio like it was my second job. Now, I am completely spent. I feel like the key to wellness for me will be figuring out where the balance line is drawn, and having the wisdom and integrity to uphold that balance, once established.

January 2, 2013


Here's part 1 of 9 of my virtues essay. Please let me know what you think. For whatever reason, I'm shitting my pants on this one. I've already written 5, but I think this is the best one.

Our Own Druidry describes integrity as “honour, being true to oneself and others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect and self-confidence.” Integrity and honour are very much linked, in that there is great honour in acting with integrity. The people I value most in my life are people who are both wise, and who act with great integrity; I feel that wisdom and integrity are each necessary at some level for the other. People who are living in this place almost seem to radiate honour. It is something I try very hard to cultivate in my own life.

I'm a fan of the book The Four Agreements, and I think Don Miguel Ruiz summarizes living with integrity nicely: “Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best.”

I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place with “being impeccable with my word” at the moment. I come from a very Christian background, and I have done a lot of soul-searching and determined that the Druid path is one I'd like to fully embrace. It's been difficult for me to decide whether I should be true to myself and live my life as a Druid openly and be fully honest with my family, or whether I should respect myself and keep my private life private. I feel like I should be honest with them, because I probably eventually will whether I like it or not. I feel like there is a distinct possibility that they may not respect my choices though, and I need to put my self-respect ahead of their privilege of knowing about my relationships with my Gods. It can feel very dishonest.

This thought also falls into “don't make assumptions” territory. By assuming that they will react negatively to my conversion, I am assuming the worst about them. That's not true fairness.

“Don't take anything personally” in this situation would mean that any negative reaction I might receive would be a function of their lack of integrity. Harsh, but if they were acting from a place of integrity, they would recognize my need to act from the same place. There isn't much honour in forcing one's beliefs on others, nor is there much honour in thinking that your beliefs are the only correct ones.

“Always do your best” is a loaded statement. Most people think it means that the very best you've ever done should be the benchmark for all your future endeavours. While trying to do your very best to this degree is a noble pursuit, it is not coming from a place of integrity. True integrity would be to recognize what “best” means to you at this very moment, and then doing that. Obviously, say, if you have the flu, your best is not going to be the same as when you're healthy. Honouring that fact is true integrity.

These four aspects of cultivating integrity are all worthwhile, and all not small endeavours. Much like Gandhi who devoted his whole life to Satya, only one fifth of one of Patanjali's 8 Limbs of Yoga, I don't expect that I will get these all right any time soon. It is, however, an excellent starting point.

Deeply Philosophical Things, AKA To Gita or Not to Gita

I've been thinking a lot about two things:

A) How masochistic it was to select Vedic culture as my hearth culture, and
B) Where is the line drawn between Hinduism and Vedism anyways?

I've asked the ADF Eastern Kin this question (I omitted the first statement, but it was hard). They've basically informed me that anything involving the Gita or The Mahabharata or whatever is not considered to be a part of Vedic Druidry. Cool. Figures the parts I actually KNOW about wouldn't be included. 

I think I get why though, but it's interesting to think about (and don't take this as fact, because I'm not sure what the facts are... this is just my best understanding). My understanding is that getting right to the heart of the Vedas and eschewing the other aforementioned texts is hoping to also eschew possible biases based on Hindu culture that may or may not be something we want to adopt as true adherence to Vedism. I think we're trying to avoid things like caste hierarchy. I have the ability to appreciate the Gita for what it is and leave that part aside (as well as the fact that most translations are very male-specified almost to the point of being completely misogynistic), but a beginner might not. I also think the Mahabharata is pretty neat, at least the parts I've read. Because holy CRAP that story is impossible to read. So the part I'm thinking about is this: if we're accepting the Vedas as being the "true" truth... that's quite the distinction. I wonder how the lines get drawn similarly in other hearth cultures?

And if ADF Druidry does not include the Gita, maybe I'd rather be a Hare Krishna?!

All kidding aside... it's a little unfortunate. The Gita is beautiful. I'm having a hard time separating the ideas of the Gita and Patanjali and Vedic Druidry. I get it's a distinction I don't have to make in my own beliefs, but I'd like to know where ADF draws the line at least, so I can separate the two. I'm kind of the opinion at the moment that, you know. Great. Finally I know something about something, and it doesn't even apply! WAAHHH! I'm reading through some of the Kin's emails and they say that they reject karma as an idea as well. I'm screwed. Karma is a huge part of what the Gita is about (see my earlier post about karma yoga).

There goes my knowledge.