Letting Go of Stories

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I’ve been a gypsy for some weeks now, and I’ve been learning a few things about myself. One of them is that I don’t mind the bouncing around, as long as I have a place to come home to (Thanks for my dear friends for providing that!). The other is that without the structure imposed on my life by an outside force, like school or work, I have tended to wander around aimlessly and misspend my days. There are some things I have wanted to work on – stitching, research into worms and fungi, self-examination and spiritual exploration. But the uncertainty of the bouncing (and my own stalling tactics) stopped that from developing.

Until now. A few things happened last week. First, a dear friend kindly gave me a kick in the ass by saying ‘you aren’t the go-getter I know you to be. Perhaps it’s time to try to change your mindset?’ The second was that I moved out to the country to dog-sit for 5 weeks. This is a fixed, known period, out in quiet, birdsong-filled aspen forest. Who wouldn’t find a small measure of peace here? 🙂 And the third was the hint, and final confirmation, that I would have a job at the beginning of May. That took a load off!

In between the move and the job offer, I decided that since I would be in the land of dial-up internet, I should detach myself from my constant connection to the world, and my almost as constant need for distraction in the form of the tv. I would take this time to look at some of the things in my mindset that could use changing. I decided I would not turn on the tv or the internet, and I did so from Friday night until Sunday at supper. Yay me!

On Friday night I wrote out one of my misadventures that has been playing through my mind for a long while. And then I started reading the Tao of Pooh. 🙂 Which was very enjoyable. Saturday morning I started into The Earth Path, (by Starhawk – activist, author, permaculture advocate, and witch) and came across one of her exercises called ‘Letting the Stories Go.’ Basically it draws attention to the stories that you are always telling yourself: I’m always weak and out of shape; nobody likes me, everybody hates me, going down to the garden to eat worms; I can’t believe they said that about me! Boy am I going to retaliate! She expands upon this by asking what dialogue goes through your head – what story does it represent? And lots of other introspective questions. The ‘fun’ part was naming a character and coming up with a typical phrase.

So I listened to my stories. And I named some characters. Heartbreak Hannah says “Oh the pain, my heart hurts so much. I just can’t take the isolation, rejection, and loneliness.” She’s the most prominent voice right now. Sometimes though there’s Shy Suzy, Poor Me Paulina, and Destructive Desiree. But I’m going to rewrite the stories that keep running through my head. So everytime Hannah gets going again, I’m going to ask her to be Heartful instead. To fill her heart with love, and joy and wonder. Transforming her into Joyful Jo. 🙂

A note to my readers: this isn’t Poor Me Paulina asking for vocal outbursts of positive thoughts. It’s just me, sharing a part of myself, and hoping that it resonates with those it needs to. For those that are interested, we can always come together and work on rewriting our stories. 😛

The Art of Marriage

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The little things are the big things.

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say I love you at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted: the courtship should not end with the honeymoon; it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

it is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.

It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humour.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

~Wilfred Arlan Peterson (1900-1995)

thinking wholistically about Ecology & further thoughts on the Future

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I have been visiting the ‘rents and attending my first ever scientific conference. The Alberta Soil Science Workshop has been interesting so far. My brain is full! Combined with a trip to the museum over the weekend, I have a lot to think about.

The museum had a display about wild Alberta. I really enjoyed this – many of the organisms we studied last semester were featured (so I could exclaim and say I know this!), and they had live fish aquariums as well. This reminded me of how much I enjoyed learning about animals when I was younger. Later thoughts also brought to mind my love of the outdoors and my desire to learn more ‘outdoorsy’ skills.

The first speaker at the conference, William Rees, spoke about our ecological footprint (he is originator of the eco-footprint analysis idea), and this got me all fired up about thinking wholistically. Our society, indeed our cultural mythology, thinks of nature/wilderness as infinite and always there. Or at least this is how business thinks. The average person recognizes that this is not so. I really would like to change that corporate culture. Further talks this morning strengthened this thought pattern – discussion on soil biodiversity, land use, and water use.

Primarily I think this experience has been helping me narrow down the direction I want to go in. What is my True Heart’s Desire? What do I want for the Future? Where do I want to go? And something that DC asked me when talking with him about the two streams has been percolating at the back of my mind. He asked if I wanted to look at reclamation/remediation from an ecological point of view (a whole, broad view), or do I want to concern myself with the finer details (minutiae). And I find myself leaning strongly towards the whole, ecological point of view. This makes much more sense when including my personal world view that everything is connected and we cannot separate ourselves from nature. We are part of nature, not humans above nature. We might be the most successful predator, but we are also the most successful parasite. I think this means I will be changing my mind.

In order to fully informed, I think I also need to look at what the U has to offer. I expect to take RR and come back to take a third year for En’tal. But I am not certain I’ll have the money to make this work. We shall see. But it will also be worthwhile to investigate what I could do at the U with my previous education. An after degree in botany, ecology, reclamation, that sort of thing. A perpetual student. Who needs to win the lotto if that’s what her career path will be.

sick as a dog/deciding the future

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My whole plan to be a daily blogger and to work on my daily practice failed miserably. I was waylaid by a nasty, nasty cold, and the plan fell by the way-side.
Now I am better, I’ve had my first day back at classes, and I am ready to tackle things today. I even stopped by the pet store and bought a plecostamous for the fish tank, so that it might tackle the algae problem.
Tomorrow we are supposed to choose the stream we wish to enter next year. I have been wavering between two choices since the middle of our first semester. On the surface, I want to take En’tal. It offers most of the courses I seem to want. It seems better tailored to my goals for the future. But if I talk to some of my teachers, they also suggest Renewable (partly because they teach RR). It offers a wholistic approach, more botany, more field experience, and has a bit more flexibility for the future. The more I talk with my teachers, the more I am confused.
I mention this to my roommate, who is a smart witch, and suggests I toss a coin, or request a tarot reading from our other roommate. I’ve sent an email saying such. And the coin toss came back with a tails – En’tal.
While pausing in my ruminations for this post, I went to have supper. I came back with a full water bottle and made a phone call. The full water bottle leaked to half – making my bed quite wet, and some notes quite soggy. This made me think of Froud’s Faeries. They too got wet once, and a friend suggested that the Faeries were trying to tell me something, and that it was probably Mickle & Muckle at work. So this evening, I decided the Faeries were clamouring for attention with the big puddle on the bed. I’ve got to have a little meeting with them.
My roommie also asked, what does your True Heart say? I am not sure. It depends on how deep I go to look at my True Heart. I am influenced by my desire to please, and be near, one of my favourite teachers. I would like to continue learning from him. But is that my True Heart’s Desire? Or is that the superficial?
Would I like the opportunity to try something outside of my comfort zone? If so, that would be RR. Camping, using vehicles and machines, being outside, these are all things that sound enjoyable, but I have little experience in. This makes me think I should go with En’tal, because that is the familiar. Or, the other voice speaks up and says, do something different, go with RR.
The more I type, the more I can convince myself of one way or the other. My True Heart’s Desire is to take both, but I won’t have the money for both.
Well, I shall sleep on it. Or rather, talk to the Faeries first, then sleep on it.
Deciding one’s future is a troublesome business.