Stems and Pieces – Unintentional Thoughts on Beginnings and Endings

One of the odd moments of blogging is where you have all these “mini” topics floating around. John Beckett calls these his “Nine Things I Think” and has turned these into a near regular segment of his blog. Me? I’ve called these various things, but the one that keeps coming about is “Stems and Pieces” – being a fan of mushrooms….  Rarely do I have nine things…but here are a few things playing with the hamsters on the wheels in my head…

BookofQuotesTomorrow morning will be the release of the last podcast episode I plan on doing. This will be the second podcast I have brought to a close. I just do not have the time to really dedicate to putting together a full show. I will continue doing interviews with various folks and placing those interviews on Soundcloud…but no more complex mixing of a podcast for me anymore. When I shut down From the Edge of the Circle, I wasn’t too sure about letting go of something I put nearly nine years of my life into. Now, nearly three years later…I know this is the right choice. My mind is not in a state of melancholy of stepping away from the podcasting world…I have enjoyed my time doing these, but it certainly is time to move into what I have been spending my time doing: my writing. Besides, there will still be interviews…

A short while back, Philip Carr-Gomm brought about the public transition of one chosen Chief – himself – to another – Eimear Burke. Now, a lot of folks know that I am a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. I have been tossed a handful of questions privately asking for my opinion. Well, first off, I am just a member. A solitary one at that. While OBOD’s Gulf Coast Gathering (GCG) is the closest thing I have to a spiritual family, I am a solo practitioner here on the Texas-Oklahoma border. My first reaction was one of shock – particularly after having just met Philip face-to-face at this years GCG just a few months prior. But after re-reading Philip’s statement on his blog (here), I cannot help but to be overwhelmed by the amount of thought and love that went into deciding this transition, as well as finding an individual with whom he is at ease with to walk through this process. Most leadership changes happen very quickly. This one will take place over time, allowing for a gradual transition from Philip to Eimear. And I am so thankful that such careful thought went into the all the aspects of this, particularly the speed. In my opinion, it will help ease what – at least for me – has been a sudden shock.

Another aspect of transition within Druidry is when one passes beyond the veil. Yesterday morning, I woke up to the shock that Anthony Bourdain’s suicide had occurred. At first, I tried to fathom the idea that someone who seemed to be so full of life and had such a relish for adventure would want to end their life. But that is really a wrong thought. I have no idea of what was the tipping point in Anthony’s life, merely the speculation of what I saw on the camera. And I have to be a little realistic – all my speculation is merely me pasting my own ideas of life on to Bourdain. It is such a natural thing to do – assuming that others feel the exact same way that you do. We do it when we think about politics, the social causes we champion, how we feel about others – we paste our feelings, emotional IQ, and intellectual processes on to others. How can they NOT feel the same way that we do? And if they do not, they must be emotionally bankrupt, incapable of feeling or emotion, or incapable of “properly” processing information in a “proper” manner. I did just that with Bourdain’s death. I have no desire to slip beyond the veil anytime soon. I love life here far too much. There is so much more that I desire to do, so much more that I desire to see, to experience. How could anyone else not feel that way?? Yeah…monovision…hyper-focused inside of me…rather than taking the subtle differences between myself and others. One of those personality faults that I wish were not a part of who I am…but a part of me that allows me inner flame to burn as brightly as it does. A two-edged sword indeed. Bourdain’s CNN program was one that I caught occasionally, and I marveled at the things he would do and try. I sincerely hope that his storytelling style inspires others to reach out into the unknown around themselves – and experience things they never dreamed of. It is definitely something I take away from watching Bourdain’s experiences…to always try something new….

Many folks are understanding and experiencing aspects of the Storm in their lives. A lot of this is, in my opinion, about taking the perspectives of others into account. There certainly is some normalizing of dismissive behaviors that have gone on in the past. A lot of folks have called it “privilege” which is a wording pattern I dislike. Sure, it might be because I am a white, hetero, middle-aged male. Yeah, whatever. I just do not get into the concept of shaming folks. To me, that is just pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other. I’d rather yank the pendulum out of the clock, and not have the damn thing swing from one extreme to the other. Besides, we can use the Sun to tell approximate time…you know, the important stuff, like sunrise and sunset. The rest of the time can be figured out by your stomach. I would rather see people treat one another as equals, but that is an idealistic world. So, how do we change it all? I am not sure, I have no answers. However. I can change my thinking, and my actions, and my words…because I am in control of those things. No one else can change that…only me. Perhaps the true measure of revolution comes from the mind of the individual, rather than the rage of the mob. Perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was on to something…I would like to hope so. When you look at a battlefield, all you see is the carnage. The dead bodies. The destroyed equipment. The ravaged, deep scars of where weapons have created massive craters. Where forests have been destroyed by the combat within or burned down as a result of that combat. All the animals that have died or moved deeper into the forests to escape the destruction and havoc wreaked by man fighting man. We turn away, thinking there is nothing that can be saved or recovered from all of this devastation. A few years later, Nature returns when left to Her own devices. And all these beautiful flowers that have grown throughout that devastated land…that is hope. And that is what I am looking for…after the Storm. First, we have to find ways to manage and survive all of this. Because this will not be the end…

It is interesting to look back and read all of this. There is a lot of discussion of endings, with some notations of beginnings. I honestly did not intend any of that. At the same time, I am glad it organically developed – much like a simple stew that you keep adding ingredients into. Yeah, stems and pieces indeed…

 

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