Blog Title Change and Embracing Change

Blog Title Change and Embracing Change

Up somewhat early this morning. The first part of the day begins a new transformation for me – the changing of a place to live. But its not the only change going on. No, I’m not stepping away from Paganism or Druidry. In fact, I will be stepping closer to both. No, the title of the blog has changed from “Footsteps on My Path” to “Life With Trickster Gods“.

Why the change? Well, the point is to be more reflective of how my life runs. Being on a Path is appropriate, but the better descriptive is that Crow and Coyote have such a large degree of influence in my life. Being adopted by two Trickster Gods means that I get to put into practice all the ideas and concepts I learned working in Disaster Recovery within Information Technology. I learn to be a bit more nimble in my thinking, and be capable of evaluating different choices at a moment’s notice. But there’s so much more to both than just being Tricksters…and that’s what I am looking forward to exploring into far greater depth.

Pathway in Mesa VerdeOne thing is definitely for sure…I am not being coaxed out of the shadows and the edges…I am being shoved from behind. This is not about leadership – its about living life to the fullest. And with Trickster Gods whispering in your ear, setting obstacles on your Path for you to overcome…it will definitely be something to not only enjoy, but be frustrated at. And while I believe that frustration can and will cause tears – overcoming that will bring joy, happiness, and a feeling of accomplishment each time — as well as sharpen my mind into being more nimble with solutions.

::raising coffee cup:: I have no idea what’s going to be coming…it may feel like abuse, but there will always be a lesson behind it and a reason for the way the lesson gets presented. Again, these two may be Trickster Gods – but they really are so much more than that. I’m willing to walk down that road, and find out more…

Daring to Break the Sound of Silence

musicSo its the start of a new work week…and its also the start of a new month…and nearly the end of the year. And like most folks, this time of year has me looking inward…but strangely enough – I am also looking outward and forward.

I have been podcasting since…I don’t know….2006?  Something like that. I do believe I started at the beginning of January. That would make the end of December as the end of my ninth year. The podcast has changed a lot over those years – including a full name change from “From the Edge of the Circle” to “Upon a Pagan Path.” And I admit, I have not done a lot with the podcast over the last year-plus…

Now, before the six of you that still listen on a regular basis start kicking up dust and making tracks through the dust that has settled around the show — no, I am not about to stop podcasting. In fact, its time I started doing what I set out to do with the change in the show. I need to get into the process of interviewing folks.

Scott and Daphne (you two still part of my six listeners??) are currently first in line. A Christian and Pagan that groove on each other enough to find respectful disagreement and some mutual agreement on topics of a Spiritual nature. In a way, interviewing (hopefully) them will bring something I believe in to a great degree:  working with others of beliefs that sometimes seem to be polar opposites, but aren’t really when you start to look deeper into things. But then, there’s a question of who else might make for good interview victi….err…candidates. Yeah, candidates.  ::smiles:: I have a few ideas of who to approach – starting with some of my long-time fellow podcasters…and then moving over to a handful of writers that I know…and a potential musician or two….but what about ya’ll?? I would love to find more folks that are not normally “seen” in the public eye…any suggestions???

Not that long ago, John Beckett had a great blog post about focusing one’s perspective away from detailing who you are not, and putting a perspective of who you are into focus. The post is “Tell Me Who You Are, Not Who You Aren’t” – and it plays into a perfect moment of synchronicity of where I am right now on my own Path.  John notes:

Tell us about your Gods and how you worship Them. Tell us about your ancestors and how you honor them. Tell us about the spirits of Nature and how you work with them. Tell us about the virtues you live by, and how you embody them. Tell us your vision for a better world, and how you’re working to manifest it here and now.

And he’s right on target for me here. Looking back on the podcasts and the topics I have covered – as well as many of the blog posts here on “Footsteps on My Path” – I have spent more time framing my conversations against what I am not.  Or in the words of Simon and Garfunkel:

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

–Simon and Garfunkel, ‘The Sound of Silence’

Who am I?  What am I?  Who are the Gods that touch me on a daily basis? What myths and stories touch me? What awakens the flame of Awen in my sacred space? If you are starting to see a thread and pattern – then you are starting to see where I am headed into 2015. Yes, I am about to try something very, very different with both the podcast and the blog – I am approaching this as a theme going forward. I am about to dare to disturb the sound of silence….

One other instance of note — now that I have a job that is not completely tied to a teaching schedule, my ability to make events during the school semester is much more flexible. Right now, I am down as a “yes” for The OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering in March of 2015. I am also checking to see if I will be in conflict with any major deadlines for the Pantheacon 2015 event in San Jose in February. Yes, it means that I am looking into making some events in the future. And yes, I will be looking to record my thoughts for both the podcast and the blog. Like I said — its time to move forward in a positive vein.  Looking forward to seeing folks and shake hands, hug, and talk…

 

Podcast and Blog Decisions

tommyelf1One good thing about hiking in a wooded area by yourself, is that you get to open up your mind a bit more than if you were traversing the area with someone else. Yesterday, while traipsing around in the trails around the Goatman’s Bridge, I had plenty of time to think about how to get the podcast back on track.

I created Upon a Pagan Path to help showcase the personal Spiritual Paths that others are on through interviews…and while I have had some luck getting folks interested in coming on to talk about such – its a little harder to mesh personal schedules to accomplish this. So, I have reverted a bit back to what From the Edge of the Circle was about – talking about topics from my own perspective – essentially holding a conversation with myself. Sounds a bit like a desperate cry for mental health assistance…but really its not. So, bringing that particular aspect back to my podcast repertoire allows for a little more flexibility. And it also allows me to push the podcast back on to a better schedule. So here comes the particulars….

Format

The show will consist of a few segments – consisting of:

  • Interviews/Topics – depending on the availability of guests and personal schedules it can be one or the other. I will also be attempting to record a few talks and lectures along the way as well. Topics with me reflecting from my own perspective will come with the title of “From the Edge of the Circle” to distinguish this as my own perspective.
  • Musical Features – I have always been in favor of the independent, Pagan musician – and will continue to feature such music on every single show.
  • The Spoken Word – I have not featured the Spoken Word – poetry and readings of short stories – as much as I have wanted to. While I do write my own poetry and will read it from time to time – I will also read poetry and short stories and myths as part of this segment. Every single show will feature a Spoken Word segment.
  • The Mail Bag – I do get the occasional eMail from listeners as well. And while its been a good few years since I have read eMails and the such on the show, I will feature this segment whenever I do have a comment or eMail to read.
  • Around the Blogs – I read a lot of Pagan blogs, and the topics that come up there are not always material that I can turn into a full show. When I manage to get a few of these together, I will spend a few minutes talking about what was said, where I got it from, and my own personal take on the topic as well. Most likely, this will not be a segment that comes up near as much as the others.
  • Shout-outs – I got away from doing shout-outs to various folks and the other Pagan podcasts – and I realize its a practice that I miss doing. So this particular segment will return with it most likely taking place at the very end of the show.

Each of the segments will have their own intro sound – much like the show has its usual intro and exit sounds. Also, I will be bringing back soundfiles for other podcasts as well – but I will limit that to three per show, and rotate these in and out. And for those that have had issues with my “potty” mouth – I will probably go back to utilizing Red Dwarf speak to cover up those words, so that the show is a little more “family friendly” or at least something closer to a PG-13 rating.

Schedule

Which brings me to the entire aspect of the podcast’s schedule. We are approaching the midway point in the calendar year – and I have been sporadic in getting episodes out the entire time. That has to change on my part, so I will utilize a schedule I can remember far better than before. I will aim at getting each episode out sometime around the 22nd of each month. Why is this easier for me to remember?  Because 22 is my soccer jersey number. I have never worn another number…so its easy to remember.

Blog

Which brings me to the blog. “Footsteps on My Path” was meant to be more of “me being me” and less of being the podcast. However, the podcast is me…and I am the podcast. Its hard to divorce the two – and thus, I will be bringing the two blogs together here under the “Footsteps on My Path” title. Podcast episode show notes will now be held here in the blog under the tag of “shownotes”. I will add and backdate the posts that were under the old blog, and delete that particular site. The way I figure things – its far easier for me to handle one site than it is to separate myself into two distinctly different entities.

Well, that’s all I have for the moment….I have some recording to do over the next two days…see you in a few days….

 

Schedules and Changes – Thoughts on the Blog and the Podcast(s)

sword-fluteI am not much for keeping on set schedules. However, I will need to try and do better. Here on the blog, I am trying to commit to three posts per week — and have done a somewhat adequate job of doing so. Thankfully, I have found that taking my writing prompts from some of the books I am reading is quite helpful for finding topics to write about. So I will hopefully manage to keep that time schedule with the blog here.

The podcast is a little more problematic. My desire was to focus on interviews with other folks – to showcase what they believe. However, one of the more difficult things with doing that is finding time that meshes with my personal and professional schedule (which changes from semester to semester) and that of the individuals I would love to put on to the podcast. So, I will bring back a little bit of “From the Edge of the Circle” – where I discuss some topics from my own perspective. And I will attempt to get the podcast out once per month – twice per month when I manage to mesh time with an interviewee. I discussed this a bit with a few friends…and the mention was made to bring “Edge” back out of the grave. And it is certainly a thought with some merit. Edge still garners downloads, even though I have put the podcast into sunset mode.

So if I did look at bringing Edge of the Circle back into existence…I would need to make a few more changes to what I have been doing with it previously. Obviously, I would need to add interviews to the entire show format. There would still be a “Spoken Word” segment, the “Musical Feature” segment, but am wondering what else could (or should) be added to it?? Obviously, I would need to rework the Opening and Closing themes for the show – that’s not difficult. And I could work up Opening themes for each of the segments. But would the podcast need anything more?? Or should the podcast be brought back to Life??  Perhaps with a change in the name?  Removing the “From” at the beginning of the title, perhaps??  Definitely a few things to ponder….and really, I could always use the input from folks out there too. After all, I put the podcast out to give back to my Pagan community – which means input from ya’ll is always a nice thing to have….

Just a thought…at the moment….

Tommy /|\

 

Damn the Numbers…

Numbers. Just numbers. A counting of sorts. Sometimes, its amusing, sometimes its just something to glance at and wonder about for a moment. Other times, I barely pay a moment’s attention to it. My checkbook? No, not even close. I’m talking about the stats that I gather for my two podcasts – From the Edge of the Circle, and Upon a Pagan Path – as well as the stats I occasionally glance at here on my blog. To be openly blatant about it, if I were a syndicated television show – I would have been cancelled long ago for low ratings. If I were relying on this to make money for my mortgage or for food and clothing – I would be homeless, hungry and naked. And that’s the open truth about it. And yet, none of that bothers me whatsoever.

When I started my first podcast, From the Edge of the Circle, i envisioned it as a labor of love – an offering of sorts. It was my gift back to the wider Pagan community. A sort of signpost for Seekers walking the Path – where I discussed a bit about my Path, and some of the pratfalls I encountered along the way. And for the most part, it stayed that way. Oh sure, I wandered in and out of various political discussions, I added various aspects to the show – such as Spoken Word segments, and music from Pagan artists. The Spoken Word segments were material that either inspired me, or that I had written – hoping that the segment would strike some form of a spark in others. The music segments was my desire to help promote the independent Pagan musicians, and trying to showcase their music to listeners. And those two segments have wandered with me into Upon a Pagan Path – with the same hoped-for results. But overall, the numbers were never overly large then, nor are they now.

There’s a handful of thoughts behind the “whys” of it all. I do not advertise my podcast’s or blog’s existence that much. I do have a business card with the pertinent information listed on it – but I rarely hand out the cards. I figure that those looking for the show will find it. And if they think it is good enough – they will say something to others about it. But candidly, its never been about the number of downloads.

In the beginning it was. For the first two years of the existence of From the Edge of the Circle, I would check the numbers daily and update a spreadsheet where I tracked the numbers. And I found myself obsessing over the numbers – trying to figure out why this episode did better than that one. And then tweaking the show constantly to try and see if that would help the change in audience numbers. And then one night, I was brought face-to-face with the way I was treating the show…and in all places, it was a dream.

In the dream, I had managed to make it into the internet – and was watching the small strands to grab the show’s episodes come to the web site. And as I sat there watching, two Seekers sat down next to me and asked what I was doing. I told them I was watching the downloads of the show – and I had an abacus in my hand, on which I moved the beads with the completion of each downloaded episode. The two Seekers were quite young, and they started to ask me about my own personal Path, but I quickly silenced their questions with an impatient wave of my hand. After four attempts to speak, they both got up and walked away. Both of them shook their heads and looked back at me sadly from time to time. After a short time longer, a Crow landed near my knee, and looked up at me. “You are doing the wrong things, you know”, the Crow said softly. I looked down and gestured to the abacus and replied that my count was accurate. The Crow leaped up into the air and snatched the abacus from my hand, and moved so that the abacus smashed into pieces against the wall. “You are doing the wrong things, you know”, the Crow said more forcefully, “and you are not listening either.” I sat there with my eyes wide open, completely flabbergasted that someone would be so rude to interrupt me in my counting of downloaded episodes. “You have forgotten the ‘why’ and have become focused on an outcome that does not matter. Remember your focus” intoned the Crow in soft tones. And with that the Crow flew off, and I awoke from my dream.

I only remember this dream, because I immediately grabbed my iPhone and recorded the dream as I remembered from that moment that I woke. It came out a bit more jumbled then this, but once I got all the parts put back in the right places – its a dream that I can now easily recall. Its not about the downloads. Its not about the number of times that posts get viewed. That’s a result of everything else. Its about putting my perspective out there for others to read. For others to choose to accept and adapt what they read or to decide it does not fit on their own Path, but allow my perspective to challenge and strengthen their own.

I read a good many blogs, and listen to quite a few podcasts. And while I enjoy getting a little sideways glimpse into the lives of those blog authors and podcasters – I also enjoy having my own perspective on something challenged. That helps me to grow, it helps me to find my footing on my own Path. Perhaps, I don’t tell these authors and podcasters that I really appreciate what they do for me as much as I should, but I tend to believe that they already know that what they put out there will help others to think about issues – as well as create a strong bond with their listeners and readers. That’s because it has never been about the numbers, or the popularity, or the prestige, or whatever else you can think of that goes with putting your heart and thoughts out there for others to read/listen to. Its about the message. Its about the connection. Damn the numbers…