Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas Tree Blues: A suggestion

I will confess my shame. I had taken my decorations off a couple of weeks ago, but my tree from Christmas/Yule just came down yesterday. I needed Paul's help to do it, and he has been out of town with work (and doing other things).

My mother visited with me as I helped him take it down. "I wish we could keep the trees up all year," she lamented.

I shared an idea with her that I am surprised some big wig at Hallmark hasn't thought of. It is something that I have been bouncing around for a long time in my mind. Why don't we leave the trees up all year? We could change the decorations to make them applicable to different times of the year. Hearts ornaments at Valentine's day, Eggs at Easter/Ostara, small framed pictures of the kids for their birthdays, Flags on the 4th of July,the list goes on... You could always change the color lights for the different holidays as well.

If you like a live tree, or if you don't have room for the big tree all year, why not get a small potted one?

As we were putting the tree in the box, my daughters came down the stairs saying, "I thought we were leaving the tree up this year?!" I told them that I would do a blog post on it in hopes of starting a grass roots movement. :)

Thanks for sharing my whimsy. What do you think? Is there a future for a 4th of July tree?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Musings and Ramblings about the Shadow Self

I am sorry that it has been a couple of months since I have posted. I spent the month of December in a bit of a funk. I had some anger and some guilt to work through, but I am now on the other side of it. I feel much improved and have things to say. Thanks to all of you who read and care what I think. You all mean more to me than I could ever say.

My first idea for this blog post was going to be called, "The Banishing of Bloody Mary." My daughter Kristina decided because some friends taunted her that it was a good idea to see if Bloody Mary was real. She was convinced that the axe wielding ghost was going to manifest in her bedroom and couldn't sleep for several nights. When I asked her why she would intentionally call something into her room that she thought was going to murder her, she could not give me an answer except that her friends told her to do it: Kids.

I told her that I did not believe that Bloody Mary goes around murdering little girls, but told her that I was afraid of it as a child myself. I remember not looking in mirrors in the dark for years because I feared I would see her reflection over my shoulder. I performed an elaborate prayer/ceremony and told her that the thing she really feared was herself. She had to make her own peace with her fear. I told her that only her faith, courage, and perseverance would help her cleanse herself of the fear in her head. The Holy Spirit and Michael would defend and protect her from outside evil. The ghoul inside your own head is something no one can fight for you.

I know about fighting the shadow self because for the last month and a half I had been fighting with mine. Not just the past month and a half, mind you, but this was the latest battle. After my Ipod took a swim in the toilet I had no one's voice in my head but my own for a while. It was something I needed, and I am convinced that was why it happened. Balance restores itself forcefully if you do not keep it in check yourself. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I see it much clearer now. RIP Ipod touch. Sorry you were a victim of my lack of self control. I will treat myself and your successor with more respect.

After my Ipod bit the dust, I started praying in earnest about whether or not to begin to be a bigger participant in the metaphysical community at large in the area. I have a dear friend who is High Priestess of The Temple of the Sacred Gift and often I have wanted to participate in their events, but for various reasons, some that I won't get into, I didn't feel entirely comfortable about it.

When I went to my friend Sonya's son's Wiccaning over the summer, I met many nice people. Most welcomed me with open arms. One in particular touched me in a profound way. Her name was Trudy Herring, or Mama Dragon as she was known to her friends. When I met her she grabbed my arm and said, "Don't tell me your name! I know you! I know that I do!" I remained silent for a few moments as she stared at me with pleading eyes. Finally I said, "We haven't met ma'am. My name is Lori Banks. You don't know me." She looked me in the eyes, indeed clear to my soul and said, "Do I not?"

In that moment I could see that she saw me. She really saw me. She saw me in the way that one soul sees another, with the eyes of the soul and not the eyes of our earthly bodies. She embraced me and I knew in my heart that I would know her and that she would be a great teacher to me. I saw her one other time at another gathering I attended and felt the same way. She was special in ways that everyone could see and feel. She shined.

I prayed hard most of the month of December, and when it came time for the Yule celebration at the temple I prayed for a sign to tell me if I should go. I got my sign, but it was not one I wanted. Indeed when the sign came it broke my heart. Trudy Herring had cancer and her body could no longer survive it. A few days before the Yule celebration, Trudy passed over.

I became so angry with myself for not knowing her better. I wanted to go to her memorial, but felt out of place doing that. Paul couldn't get off work early enough to get home and care for the girls so I let my reluctance and my kids keep me at home that night. A big part of me felt that I didn't have the right to mourn her. I didn't know her, after all. I didn't have a lot of stories to tell about her. I had not been present at any important moment for her or she for me. The moment that had passed between us at the Wiccaning seemed feeble in comparison to the people who had spent years loving her and learning from her. I let my shadow self talk me into feeling like an imposter.

December was rough. First there was the loss of Trudy. Then there was the loss of my private space when my Reiki and meditation room turned into the "Christmas Tree Room." It was pretty, but it wasn't what I wanted. The kids were home and so was Paul. The house was full of bustle and stomping feet and bickering children. I couldn't meditate or journey for the life of me and I felt lost. I enjoyed the time with my family in many ways. I don't want to sound like the Grinch, but I was thankful when school started back and I had a few minutes to myself.

I must compliment my awesome husband at this point. He bought me a lovely carved antler pendant of two owls with an aquamarine in it for Christmas and a wonderful book on Shamanism. He researched them all by himself and did so well. He also bought me some lovely figurines I had wanted. My husband may not believe in all the spiritual mumbo jumbo that I do, but he is majorly supportive of me and his love for me shows in all he does. I am one blessed woman, and I am grateful beyond words for every moment I have with him.

Over the holidays, I listened to a podcast for a show called "Why Shamanism Now" on my new Ipod. In it, the woman who narrates the show said for New Years that her resolution was to be a better follower of spirit, and to make a commitment to journey and meditate and to follow the messages she got from spirit with more regularity. She was going to follow spirit to be a better person. I decided that sounded like the best resolution that I could make as well. I set my mind to it.

When I got the invitation from The Temple of The Sacred Gift to go to their first New Moon Circle of the new year, I responded yes and I went. It was a great way to start the year. I felt good about being there and knew I would make this part of my new habits. I met a nice woman named Marcia who told me about a new women's group that had started at Neshoba Church. I went to it the following weekend and it was awesome. I met many women of all ages who were discovering their own spirituality and forging their own way to the divine. It was beautiful.

I have gotten in the habit of journeying at night before I go to sleep, or in the night if I cannot sleep. With my Reiki room still cluttered and recuperating from Christmas, it is the most peaceful time and place I can do it. The other night I had a very powerful journey. I went to the upper realm and met with Raphael, my teacher. Standing by his side was a dragon. It was beautiful; shades of iridescent green, purple, blue and teal shimmered on its scales. I was taken back and shocked to see it. Raphael embraced me as he always does and told me he loved me and how glad he was that I had come. I greeted him, then quickly turned and said, "Raphael, that's a dragon!" He laughed and said, "Of course it is." The dragon then transformed in to Trudy Herring and then it all made sense to me. She hugged my neck too and told me that she was proud of me for deciding to become part of the community. I told her I didn't ever want to feel again that I had missed my opportunity to know a remarkable person like her because of my own fear of fitting in. She said that I could see her in the upper realm any time I chose to. The thought of that made me very happy. She truly is, and was, a Mama Dragon.

I talked to Raphael after her departure about many things. I asked him how I could learn to love my shadow self instead of fighting with it, and he told me something that gave me a lot of perspective. He said, "Think of the body you live in now as a finger puppet to your true self. Your finger is part of you, and it has it's faults, but it is only a very small part of the whole of who you are. You could love a scar on your finger, and you must view your imperfections in the same way. You must know that they are a very small part of you, and only a tiny part of your whole higher self." He also said that imperfections were an important part of being human, and the human experience. He said no matter how high the being is that chooses a human experience, they will experience the challenges and joys of imperfection manifested in some way. I said, "Even you?" He laughed and said, "Yes, even me." He told me to write about this. So here it is.

I am tired of fighting with the part of me that hides in the shadows and throws stones and insults. I have decided to love it. It isn't going to always be easy, but I am a student of spirit and it will see me through. I want to be the best conduit for divine energy in any form that it is needed in any situation I am in. That is what I want for myself. I am a spiritual being experiencing a human life, and this is a magical time of transformation we are all living in. I am not perfect, but I am striving to be aware of what I need to do. The thing I need to do most is to love myself and others. Here goes nothing... :)

Happy New Year Dear Ones. Have you hugged your shadow self today?