Coming to the end of the Julian calendar, there’s a similar desire to look back as there is during Samhain. And this calendar year has been outright crazy – particularly towards the end of it. The beginning of the year was the strongest warnings that the Storm was coming. The middle of the year saw the Storm’s arrival. The end of the year has seen the start of its Rage begin. And the events seem to be endless….
The election of a complete moron as President. The formulation of #Brexit in England. The flip-flopping of Canada’s leadership on protecting the environment and seemingly to turn its back on the First Nations’ populations as well. The continuing dramatic issues at the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The criminal issues set forth by the state government of North Dakota against those same protesters. The lack of action or statement from the United States’ federal government. The naked aggression by white supremacists throughout the United States. And now, the notation that Russia may have altered the Presidential elections to some degree via international hacking, coupled with the inept response of the newly anointed President (who still remains #notMyPresident). If this were a boxing match, it would literally be one body blow after another, as we are too slow to put up any effective defense.
For me, all of this gets added onto mounting pressures at work (work-flow in my office begins to pick up from this point through the end of May), and my push to finish up my Bardic studies within the next month. With a trip to Ireland coming rapidly, and followed in quick succession with a trip to San Jose (Pantheacon), a trip to south central Texas (ADF Imbolc Retreat), and OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering, my trip anxiety is starting to build as well. Anyone that knows me well enough, is aware that I am not the world’s best traveller. So the anxiety levels are only going to increase as the days for the trips grows closer. At some point, I knew there was going to be a moment that required me to ramp everything down, pile everything into a corner, and re-prioritize. I honestly did not think that was going to happen this soon.
Over the years, I have learned to recognize the signs of when I am getting overwhelmed. Many people at work think I am already overwhelmed, as I race from one issue to the next to the next. I figured after working with me for more than two years, they would understand that this is the way that I actually work. Were I not getting ANYTHING done, then they would be able to say I am overwhelmed. But, apparently, neither discernment nor connectivity is a strong point of any of these folks. Perhaps, that’s why I am there. Druidry taught me more about those two concepts than anything else in my life. And currently, I am overwhelmed. I am getting nothing finished, and have several projects open before me with no discernible progress being made anywhere. So it only seemed to be the right thing to do this morning…as I brought a stop to everything.
My first step in this process was to make a mental note last night when I went to bed, to start the entire process of checking things over. This meant that my first “awake” moment was to be before the sunrise occurred. Making a cup of coffee, slipping on some shoes, and heading outside to the stone circle constituted this first step. This is my typical first step with my morning ritual, but I have fallen out of the habit of doing this, simply because I have been trying to pack so much into a single day. This means I was staying up very, very late – working on various things. Unlike last night, I have been going to sleep later and later in the night, which culminates with my waking later and later as well.
So as I stood there by the circle, which is currently overgrown with tall grass since I have not had the chance to mow, I started realizing what had been happening. Staying up later, not mowing the yard as often as I normally do, missing out on the morning sun rise – I had been cutting out things I noted as being “routine” in my life. But none of that is routine. My backyard is my sanctuary from the rest of the world. Caring for it is part of my connecting with it. I had gotten away from that. Greeting the sunrise is a part of my connection to the world around me. I had started missing out on this when I had been bringing data studies home with me to work on. My work days got longer. My time spent writing had taken a slight backseat to all of that, which pushed that to later in the evening. That found me going to sleep after midnight, which had me waking earlier. That had me groggy at work, which meant that I did not get as much completed as I had wanted to by the end of the day, and I took work home to complete…and that just helped continue a cycle I had increasingly accepted as “routine” – which it should never have been.
I am not going to beat myself up too much over it. After all, I am human – I make mistakes just like anyone else. But it showed that I was putting emphasis where it should not have belonged. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, and I am committed to the students of the college. However, Assessment Analyst is my job, its not who I am. Its what I do to earn money to survive in the capitalist world around me. Whether I like to admit it or not, I am a Druid, a Pagan, a Priest – and that is what defines me for who I am. And as I stood there out by the overgrown stone circle, staring over the fence at the light fog of the morning; I could feel talons digging into my right shoulder, an arm encircling my waist from the opposite side, and a cold, wet nose nudging my right hand. My trio of Gods reminding me of just that.
There were no stern warnings. No harsh statements of how much of a failure I was. Only a reminder that I needed to get back onto the Path. That instead of examining the trees and flora around me; I needed to continue down the Path of being who I am. Particularly on the days and times I am not obligated to the paying job. I did not need to take up each and every moment of time away from work with studies, rituals, and meditation. I needed to do these things as I could, remembering to take the time to relax and restore myself back to who I am. That there were days where I needed to take for myself – to relax with coffee or a glass of iced tea and relax. To spend time reading, rather than ensconced in front of the computer. To spend time self healing, just as I have set in my schedule of workouts on the stationary bike. Muscles need a break from exercising too, so they can heal. I’m no different in that regard.
So a good part of this morning has been spent reallocating aspects of life into appropriate places and time frames. And reminding myself of the steps that need to be taken. This morning has also been a gentle reminder that every once in awhile, things need to come to a stop, and reflection and reorganization needs to happen. In Project Management, that is typically referred to as a “Post Mortem” or a “Re-Evaluation”, where a project is stopped, and each task gets checked on to see how the processes are being handled. Then, if necessary, a new formulation of the tasks and associated processes is made, and a new timeline published. Its this concept of Re-Evaluation that I am realizing needed to be done this morning. And while the results were not necessarily ideal, a better understanding of the overall scope, and what needs to be done can be seen far better now. And for me, the rest of the day is a time to rest, and relax. Knowing that the processes and forward progress begin anew tomorrow. One day at a time, one step at a time, one task at a time.
(Photo taken by, and thanks to, John Beckett at 2015 ADF Imbolc at UBarU Retreat near Mountain Home, Texas)