Here I am, sitting in a hotel room AGAIN. This year has been full of me being on the road. And there’s more time and adventures to be spent from that spent in the very near future as well. I still have OBOD’s East Coast Gathering coming up, as well as a nearly two-week long trip to Scotland, England, and France at the very end of this year and the beginning of the next. But I am sure I am not the only Pagan who has ever found himself or herself on the road – in a hotel or other location – where handling your daily rituals can be problematic or even intrusive to the other people around them. What’s a Pagan to do???
Before we even travel into this topic, let’s have a short discussion of what this post really is – my own personal daily rituals, modified in a manner that works for me. Some folks may read this and think “who the eff cares? I’ll just do what I normally do, and to the Nine Hells with the people around me!” I get that perspective. Its not who I am, but I can relate to the feeling somewhat. Other people may read this and think “I like that method, but its not something I would/can do in this moment where I am. Can I adapt it to my needs?” Definitely. Anything I relate in this blog is merely my opinion or the manner in which I take care of what I do. By no means am I advocating that mine is the only way. I am merely pointing out exactly what works for me. Now, with all that said….
My typical daily morning ritual is a simple one. I wake up, head downstairs, make a cup of coffee, and watch the sunrise. However, this cannot always happen – particularly when I am on the road. Take this morning for example. I woke up about an hour and a half AFTER the sun rose in the sky. So I went downstairs to the common room, got a cup of coffee, and stepped out into the parking lot to silently greet the sun. I also brought a piece of toast with me, to feed the local birds. It wasn’t my home kitchen, nor was it my backyard next to my beloved stone circle. It was a parking lot, in the middle of a very corporate area of Kansas City, Missouri. Not really conducive to my usual daily perspective. But its enough to honor the Sun, and the toast is merely my manner of honoring the “wildlife” around here. Most of the birds are typically dependent on the scraps that they can find from the fast food locations — a sad fact of what happens when mankind enters an area — so my contribution may be miniscule, but I find it to be a somewhat appropriate touch.
Sometimes, you will find yourself in a position that does not allow for a moment like this. Such as an airplane flight. I will be in this position later in this year – when I wing my way across the Atlantic ocean. At this present moment, I am not sure exactly how I will accomplish my morning ritual, but I am sure I will find some manner of doing so. It may not be the best solution, but I do know that its the effort that’s really going to count.
And that’s really yhe crux of the entire matter. You have to put forth the effort to maintain your daily practices. You may not always succeed in doing what you normally would at home, where your immediate environment is yours. As my previous example notes, an airplane flight is not in your control. The airline holds all the cards there. You will need to make due – find something else that can substitute. I have a friend who does Yoga in her early morning routine. She flies regularly, so I thought she would be the perfect person to ask. Her response was that she merely changed up parts of her Yoga routine so that she could do them in her seat. Most airlines really frown on the idea of you doing your Yoga routine in the aisle, or even in the back area of the plane near the restrooms. So, she adapted a part of her routine to fight the environment she was in – an environment she couldn’t control in a manner that allowed her morning routine to work.
Which brings up the other point. Its not just making the effort to do your normal daily practices. You need to be flexible to what can and cannot be done. Pitching a royal fit simply because the environment is not setup in a manner that accomodates you… Well, I find that to be rather selfish, especially on a plane. There are a couple of hundred people (on a a crowded flight) that are just as uncomfortable in the same environment that is just as unaccomodating to them as well. Somehow, they are managing to change their routines to fit where they are without too much complaint.
The last side to all of this is to be as unobtrusive as you can. Yes, I am saying to respect the space of those around you. Even when they don’t respect your own space. As an example, this morning, as I was crumbling up my three pieces of toast to give to an already large crowd of birds that were gathering, I wound up with a group of children around me as well. All trying to “pet” the little “birdies”. Twice, I had to remind the children that the birds were not pets, but wildlife that needed to be respected as they ate their “breakfast” — but I did so without scolding. These were not my children – and most likely were not taught to respect wildlife by their parents. But I certainly would have preferred to feed my winged friends without any additional assistance. The fact that I did not have that “respect” for my privacy was definitely not a reason for me to lose my cool and respond angrily. I merely kept that inside, and continued doing what I was doing in a manner that was as respectufl as I could. In the next few days, I will go a little further than the hotel parking lot to try and gain a bit more solitude when feeding my feathered brethren.
Travel rarely brings about the best conditions to continue to maintain one’s daily practices. You will find that your environment is not quite what you are used. There will be other people in the way – some of which may not respect your privacy as much as you would prefer. And sometimes your travel may not place you at the right moment for what you normally do. Be flexible. Remember, the Gods are not going to freak out if you cannot be there to say the Druidic Prayer for Peace exactly at the moment you normally do. For me, its the effort that counts the most – rather than the timing.