Archive for the ‘health’ Category

I envy the professional witches and druids out there.  It’s not that I dislike my career.  I get a lot of fulfillment out of it and find that it’s quite compatible with Druidism.  But when I come home, I’m so exhausted.  I focus on my artwork because a) it’s spiritually fulfilling to me and b) it’s easy to focus on while relaxing in front of a show (unless I’m using a sewing machine…  then it’s impossible).  Free weekends are few and far between.  There’s always something happening.  A ritual an hour and a half away.  Family visitations.  Socializing with friends.  Vacation.  Craft shows.

I envy the professional witches and druids who have time to really focus on more than one aspect of their spirituality.  They have the time and energy to, not only craft, but study herbalism, meditate for long periods, take nature walks, study the lore, write essays and/or books, practice divination, and serve the greater community.  I want that!  That is, at least, my goal for retirement.

One of the biggest reasons I started the Initiate Study Program was because I wanted a structured way to help me explore the other areas of Druidism – trance, magic, liturgy, language, etc…  I’ve found myself moving through it slowly – not out of boredom or disinterest!  I merely have little time and energy.  That said, I don’t want to give up.  I know that, if I sit down and focus, I’ll be able to finish Magic 1 (at least a first draft) very soon.

Taking a sick day has helped me once again realize just how little time and energy I usually have.  I took that day and finished the book I had been picking at for months.  I started to organize my notes on it and even started answering the questions.  I had time and energy – it felt amazing.  I felt like I was getting somewhere in my Druidic studies.  In the summer I felt so alive.  I had free time to walk in the woods, explore the plants in the hedges, tend my herbs, etc…  Now it’s back to the grindstone and back to feeling  spiritually stifled.

Except for art.  It’s the one thing I cling to when everything else goes to the back burner.  I really need to focus on and cultivate that.  Perhaps it’s a calling?

Anyway, I find myself questioning my routine and my priorities.  Should I just focus on art and try to make time for meditation and as my schedule and energy levels allow?  Or should I attempt to make myself a schedule?  I like structure and routine, for the most part.  I could benefit from, at the very least, an attempt to meditate/trance once or twice a week on a set day when Weretoad is working.  That could be a start.  Then perhaps I could schedule myself a day to walk in the woods?  A day to study?  It all goes against what should be my Sagittarian nature, but I need to do something to feel more balanced.

Any suggestions?

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Sick Days

Today I took a sick day.  I hesitated to do it because I’m not hacking out a lung, don’t want to get too behind in work, and hate having to call in, but I really needed to.  I should have yesterday.  I felt like rubbish all day.  I was able to get my work done and interact well with others, but I felt uncomfortable.  My stomach was acting up and, in addition, I’ve had a sore throat and cough for a few days.  I also feel like I’m burning up at times.  Because my job revolves around communication, and because I don’t want to get any worse, I took today as a day of rest.  I slept in, had a cup of tea, and plan to gargle salt water and just relax.  I should also use my neti pot.  I think my sore throat is due to a nasal drip.  Yuck.

Sometimes I guess you just need such a time – a day in.  Today is a good day to work on Magic 1.  I really need to finish that course.  I’ve been working on it for months…

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Night Walks

My cough seems to be improving, although I am still hacking every now and then, and I think my coughs sound like barks.  They aren’t occurring at the same frequency, which is nice.  Still…  I am worried about why they haven’t gone…  Perhaps that is the nature of allergies?  Or perhaps it’s something worse?

Meditation is still hard to do.  It seems the more I sit and focus on my breathing, the more I’ll cough.  I’m able to do brief breathing exercises, such as a Tree of Life/Two Powers visualization.  It’s short but sweet.  It can both calm and reconnect me to the cosmos.

I’ve been enjoying a form of semi-active meditation recently – going outside after midnight to stand, watch, and listen.  I say semi-active because it involves a little bit of walking and occasionally changing positions. There is definitely something meditative and Otherworldly about being outside, alone, at night.  Night is full of paradoxes, it seems.  Everything seems still and yet the Nature Spirits are very active.  There is a hush and yet the world is abuzz.  I find some sort of peace at night.

Yesterday evening (or rather…early this morning…) I observed several toads, listened to the chorus of crickets and frogs, and watched a bat dance loops in the air.  It felt somewhat meditative to be there, still and observing something other than myself.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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1) Here’s an interesting if brief article on “spiritual blockage.”

2) The incessant coughing I have is apparently caused by seasonal allergies – something that I’ve never officially been diagnosed with until now.  Bugger all.  I was always so happy to be in the minority of adults who didn’t have to deal with allergies.  Why do I suddenly have them?  Did I not spend enough time outside?  Now I have all these bills and a nasal spray…  Bugger all.  I’m happy that I should find relief but I’m displeased with yet another medicine.  I’m really motivated to get a neti pot and make my father’s infamous but effective tincture now.  I don’t want to be part of the drugged up majority…  As it is, I would love to get off birth control but am uncertain of the medical implications that would have on me (I was put on it for medical reasons to begin with).  Too much environmental damage from the packaging alone!

3) I found a toad-shaped button to represent my husband on the grove’s quilt patch.  For those out of the know, the Artisan Guild is encouraging all groves, proto-groves, guilds, SIGs, and Kins to create a quilt patch that will be added to a larger piece.  The point is to have something representative of ADF to display at festivals.  I found a cat button to represent me weeks ago.

4)  Tailtiu, the doll and main offering I’m making for the Lughnasadh ritual at Muin Mound tomorrow, is nearly done.  I’m finishing the details.  To be honest, I don’t think she’s the best doll I’ve ever made, but she’s also not the worst.  I’m not using any metal armatures because she will, I believe, but placed in the bonfire.  She’s stuffed with fabric scraps which gives a lot more weight.  This is what’s allowing her to sit properly without the armatures.  Her fingers, however, are not the same without them.  Also, her head is longer than most of the dolls I’ve made.  I’m not sure how that happened but oh well.  Expect photos at some point.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I strive to meditate daily, at least for five minutes.  Ideally, I would be meditating for 15-30 minutes every day but something invariably causes my schedule to become irregular.  Often it’s fatigue, pure and simple.  I will either begin to fall asleep during my practice, or I will feel too exhausted to even try.  These are always the days that my meditations are a shallow five minutes.  I still do it, but the experience is more akin to a breathing exercise.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I want to move beyond.  Compared to where I was when I started meditating seven or so years ago, I’m leaps and bounds better, so I’m not entirely unimpressed with myself.

The annoyance of fatigue can be controlled by mental discipline, to a certain extent.  Sure there are days full of activity and obligation – days when overwhelming fatigue is assured – but for the most part, one can make a schedule and stick to it fairly well.  This is something I’m working on now.  But what about those aggravations beyond control?

I seem to have caught something over the weekend.  I wake up with a sore throat and I spend the remainder of my day coughing and feeling somewhat hoarse.  Physical discomfort is very difficult for me to overlook when meditating, especially when they include involuntary reactions.  Just try to breath comfortably and remain still while coughing every few minutes!  Congestion is another annoyance difficult to overcome.  When an exercise depends so heavily on a relaxed breath, congestion is the worst.

I’ve often wondered about Buddhist monks who meditate frequently.  Do they ever feel ill?  Do they still meditate if they do?  Can they overcome their physical ailments through mental focus?  Has meditation increased their immunity to illness, or are most Buddhist monasteries dedicated to meditation situated in very healthful climates?

I recently attended a real, honest-to-goodness yoga class as opposed to my usual exposure to yoga on Wii Fit.  Rather than having to focus on my balance, I was instructed to focus on my breath and that that was the most important part.  It is easier said than done and, of course, balance is still significant, but by not having to fixate on where my center of balance was in a pixilated yellow circle, I was free to attempt turning to my breathing.  As I contorted myself into occasionally uncomfortable positions, I found myself starting to move away from my physical being.  I visually focused on knots in wood paneling or the texture of the ceiling while paying attention to the inhalations and exhalations.  There were some poses I would have liked to spend more time in because I felt I was achieving some subtle peace of mind through them.  

I’m seriously considering more yoga.  While coughing and congestion may always get the best of me, yoga could help me build greater discipline overall.  Who knows?  Maybe one day I’ll be able to transcend my more corporeal annoyances.  If not, I’ll just do a shallow, five minute breathing exercise.  It’s better than nothing, right?

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Despite the lazy spell I’ve been going through this week, I’ve recently become more health conscious than I ever was.  One of my new doctors (everyone is new since I’m so new to the North Country) had a short discussion with me about heart disease.  She looked over my family history, saw that it has occurred in my tribe, and wanted to emphasize what I could do now to try and prevent it down the road.  She validated my diet but encouraged me to exercise more.  I also know that my metabolism will not be what it is forever.  To stay healthy I need to become more active.

I was running (and intend to get back into that once my foot feels a little better), but my mainstays have been yoga (through the Wii fit) and belly dancing.  Now, between trying to develop a better spiritual grasp of vegetarianism and my growing interest in yoga, I’ve started to read more about Hinduism and Jainism.  How timely, then, that today’s Wild Hunt post is about how yoga is Hindu.  Now, I already knew this, but the point of the post is that many people do not.  The dominant American culture has been stripping away the spiritual significance of yoga for years (hence Wii Fit yoga!…er, I guess that’s Japan’s fault…).  This is nothing new.  The Pagan community is well aware of the term “White Indian” and the negative consequences associated with it.  Is the same thing happening with Hindu practices?

One could argue the same thing about belly dancing.  Many in America have embraced it as a workout.  To others, it’s viewed as a burlesque dance.  The history of belly dance seems to be part mythology – it’s so hard to figure out exactly where it came from and why.  A popular belief I’ve is that it was developed by women for women; mothers would pick out wives for their sons based on birthing shape.  Whatever the true origin, you cannot remove the Middle Eastern heritage of belly dance.

This brings me to a new spiritual quandary: how can I practice yoga, belly dancing, and Druidism while being respectful of each practice/history?  I know I’m not the only one dealing with these issues.  In the end, I think the key is, as the linked article relates,  to be respectful and mindful of the heritage of a certain practice.  Try to learn about its roots, engage in the community, or at least give credit where it is due.

What do you think?

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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