Quotidian

A typical weekday in the life of this Veggie looks something like this:

6:00 AM – Wake to blaring alarm (when it works)
6:05 – 6:30 AM – Coffee, breakfast, check email to wake brain
6:30 – 6:45 AM – Dress for work
6:45 – 6:55 AM – Pack laptop bag and lunch
6:55 – 7:30 AM – Commute to work (depending on traffic)

7:30 AM – 3:30 PM – Work

3:30 – 4:30 PM -Commute home from work
4:30 – 5:00 PM – Change clothing; pack bag for swimming
5:05 – 5:10 PM – Commute to YMCA

5:15 – 7:30 PM – Teach swimming lessons
7:30 – 8:00 PM – Shower; change clothes again; commute home

8:00 – 9:00 PM – Eat dinner and hang with husband
9:00 – 9:30 PM – Wind down and get ready for bed

And then I try to go to bed between 9:30 and 10:00 PM (try being the operative word) because I have to get up again at 6:00 AM the next day.  Unless, of course, it is Saturday – then I get to sleep until 7:45 AM!

(I love sleep, and think it is super underrated.  Just saying.)

As someone who actively promotes incorporation of religion and religious work into every day life, and who tries to do so as well, you can imagine how frustrating I find my weekday schedule.  It reminds me of the struggle some people have about adding an exercise regimen to an already packed schedule…and religious work is something I actually want to do on a daily basis.  But, when I already get up at sparrowfart (in the dark!) and come home exhausted (also in the dark!), how the fuck am I going to fit religious work into my schedule?

The answer took quite some time to find and I still don’t think I have things perfect, although my religious path is all about making attempts and, if they fail, owning the failure and making adjustments.  I find the constant reworking of actions to be frustrating, honestly – after all, I somehow believe that my own actions should be perfect the first time around!  But, through trial and error, and a lot of swearing, I’ve found ways to incorporate religious work into the few quiet spaces I have.

Take this morning, for example.  This morning, I left for work early enough that I could stop at a nationally-known coffee chain (PUMPKIN SPICE ALL THE THINGS!), and got coffee and a scone.  On the way to get said coffee, I said prayers to wake the netjeru, and after returning to the car loot in hand I offered them both as ka refreshment.  Before leaving the parking lot, I dialed up some Kemetic meditation music, and then drove to work, not touching coffee or scone or iPod for fifteen minutes.  Once the meditation music was complete, I reverted the offerings and slowly sipped my coffee, giving myself over to the liquid bliss that is the nectar of Caffeinea…

(Um, yeah.  I might have a coffee problem.)

Doing the above put me in that mindset of, “All I do is for ma’at,” that I believe is so necessary for Kemetics in general, and for my own path in particular and I feel more equipped to deal with whatever my day might throw at me (three meetings, chasing down people for signatures on documents, and a private swimming lesson at a different YMCA than I usually inhabit.)  I’m calmer and more focused than usual, and I know it’s because I took the time to do the things I wanted/needed to do along with some time for breathing.

Now, obviously what I did this morning will not work for everyone.  Hell, there are mornings when I can’t do it either – morning when I move more slowly than usual, or can’t find the right thing to wear, or have to deal with a hairball, or don’t get coffee before work (a sin, I know).  But I keep trying to find things I can do to make me mindful for just a bit, to remind me that religion does not have to sit on a separate shelf from life.  At the risk of appearing to proselytize, I think everyone who claims a religious bent of any variety can try to make time for the Baby Steps needed to begin incorporating the two and, eventually, the trying will become doing and the benefits will be more tangible.

Things to Think About:

  • Do you try to incorporate religious work into parts of your life that wouldn’t normally have such a component?  If so, how?  If not, why not?
  • What would you (or do you) expect to get from such an exercise?
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Kicking Myself

This morning I was catching up on posts on the forums I frequent and stopped to respond to one called For the Godbothered: Unexpected Directions. I wrote about some of the things my gods have put me through, and noted that I believe that the ends have justified the means…and then I stopped to think about someone else’s response in the same thread:

“I’ve heard a lot of stories of people who were snatched up by the gods – usually but not limited to godspouses – who then ended up either being told to leave or finding their long term relationships falling apart because it highlighted the problems in the relationship. I think it’s actually the one I’ve heard the most? Though ‘lost my job’ and ‘major illness’ are close behind if they’re not equal. I find it fascinating and sort of terrifying.

There was a discussion in the ceremonial magic blogging community a year or so ago about the dangers of summoning your HGA that suggested similar side effects, too.”

(Bolding mine.)

As my regular readers know, I lost my job in November 2013 and only just found a new job at the beginning of May. It was a grueling six months of scrimping and working odd jobs in my parents’ business to pay the bills, and being unable to financially support our son at college, and worry and anxiety. Even now, when I’ve been working for almost a month, we’re still not out of the woods – my first pay check was late, and live (not direct deposit), and we’re waiting for it to clear so we can start paying off the bills that piled up during this period. The anxiety, while lessened, hasn’t gone away completely and I don’t know when it will.

Funnily enough, if I look at the period immediately preceding my job loss I notice that I spent quite a bit of time inviting my gods to be heavier hands in my life.

…yeah.

I thought I’d learned to be very specific after the open-head incident. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of escape clauses…although I’m not really sure if asking a god not to turn my life upside-down constitutes an escape clause, or if it is even a realistic thing to ask. How does one even do that? “X, please transform my life but not by doing A, or B, or C,”? Seems awfully limiting to me.

So, I’m thinking and stewing a bit in my own bitter job-loss juices even though I’m not really sure what happened. I’m kicking myself for asking for intervention without first thinking it through. Based on my previous experiences, you’d think I know better.

Apparently I don’t and it’s not like I can go back and change anything anyway. Might as well make the best of it and keep moving forward.

Convention

For my second C post, just a quick self-promoting plug:

I’m going to be giving a talk at Paganicon 2014 called the Puzzle of Religious Work.  I’m going to talk about putting pieces together to form a cohesive religious practice that includes daily work AND won’t take up all of your available time.   (Guess what?  It includes BABY STEPS.)

It’s scheduled for 11:00 AM on Sunday, March 16th.  If you’re attending Paganicon, please stop by and heckle. 🙂

(I promise to get back to posting thought-provoking and snarky things soon – I’ve been ill for the past three weeks and my spoon levels are darned close to nil.)

Wag Festival Make-Up Day!

The Wag Festival, according to my calendar, was actually August 22nd, and I forgot to observe it (more color coding on my Google Calendar is clearly needed).  So, I, and someone else from my religious community,  set today, September 10th, as a make-up day.  And, what do many people do for Wag Festival?

That’s right!  It’s ancestor shrine cleaning day!

This evening, I will remove ALL THE THINGS from my ancestor shrine, which is set up on the mantel in my living room.  I’ll clean the entire surface, and then each object in turn.  I’ll replace the objects in a new design/format/theme, and I’m hoping to add an object that represents my husband’s uncle this year if we can find something appropriate.

(I have a couple of ideas, but want to run them past him first, of course.)

Finally, I will give an offering  of cool water and light a candle to sit on the shrine.

Never Say Never

What wouldn’t you do?

Think about that for a moment.  Is there anything you can say with all certainty that you will never EVER do, no matter the circumstances?

Are you sure about that?

Now, take that thing that you will never EVER do, no matter the circumstances.  Why won’t you do it?  Are there circumstances in which that thing is justified, even if you wouldn’t do it?  If someone else did it, could you excuse it?   Could you forgive it?

Where do you draw the line?

This post seems full of questions, I know, but I’m actually trying to make a point here.

My blog title should tell you a little bit about how I view morality, but I’ll restate for the sake of repetition – I believe that morality is fluid and situational.  I believe that the ethical choice, as deemed by society, may not always be the right choice.  I believe that no action by a human being should be called inhuman, as are so many actions by people who commit acts we deem abhorrent.  An action by a human cannot be anything but a human action and yet we persist in using “inhuman” to define action for the purpose of separating what one human did from what another human does.

The fact is, dear reader, if we are human (and I assume most of you are) we have the capacity for all human actions.  Never say never – we have the capacity for murder.  We have the capacity for assault.  We have the capacity for rape.  We have the capacity for fraud, and theft, and trafficking, and acting solely toward getting our next fix.  We have the capacity for acting holier than thou and being a total asshole and making shit weird.  We are all capable of these things and to deny this is to turn the human race into “US” and “THEM”.

When has “US” and “THEM” ever been of benefit?  Could you do it?  Could you excuse it in someone else?

What wouldn’t you do?

Are you sure?

Haste makes…something-or-other

We see it time and again: the excitement and enthusiasm of those who discover something for the first time and want to know ALL about it.

This phenomenon occurs in all areas of life.  It permeates everything we do, whether it is cooking dinner for ourselves or deciding to take a night course, starting a  relationship or picking out a  knitting pattern.  Something different is dangled before us and we run headlong to jump in and roll in the shiny newness.

I suffer from “Ooooh, SHINY!” syndrome myself and love the rush I get from a new discovery, be it a person, place, or thing (nouns, anyone?).  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the thrill of the new; without it, life would become stagnant fairly quickly.  In my opinion, though, the speed at which some people dive headfirst into new things is an issue.

One of the blogs I follow had a post not long ago about not putting the cart before the horse and it was incredibly apt.  Sometimes, in our haste to embrace the shiny NEW THINGS we forget that we don’t really know much about the topic, nor do we know where to start, and so we find something onto which we can latch and…and…and…then we get stuck.

We get stuck on the little things, like what our new lover thinks about the price of tea in China, or what color the cloth for our new altar should be.  We worry about proper offerings (is chocolate really always acceptable?), or whether our knife slant is exactly right to turn out carrots like the recipe says.  We forget to stop and take a breath.  We forget to separate that which matters from that which is nice to have.

Unless we have a vested interest in tea exportation, does it really matter how our lover feels about tea prices?  What does matter when we take on a new lover?

If we don’t really understand the reason for an altar, does it really matter what color cloth we use?  Where (if anywhere) does an altar fit into the path we want to follow?  What is an altar anyway?

We need to slow down and examine why we’re doing in addition to what we’re doing.