Devotional: New Year’s Resolutions

Often we make New Year’s resolutions and fall through with them simply because we make them so *big*. We expect to change one, or several, *huge* things, and then when faced with our decision, we…

*watches pet bunny lick the carpet for ten minutes for no apparent reason…*

What? Oh right… when faced our big resolution, we back out and end up not changing anything. So instead of changing one big thing, change something small such as washing the dishes every day, or make sure you eat at least one fruit or vegetable every day. Just something positive to make life a little better.

Mine: do my daily devotion.

– Alfrún

Personal Responsibility – Circles 2-5

Ok. I am absolutely exhausted. So. I’m going to list the following circles surrounding most people, but for those who read, you can think of ways you are responsible for these groups, and how you can improve them.

EDIT: I feel much better today, and will be finally going through the other circles of personal responsibility.

Second Circle – Family

This includes your blood family, your significant other/partner, and people who are much more than friends, but aren’t really related to you by blood. This group for me is incredibly small. It includes: Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Sister-in-law, Nephew, Cousin and his family, Friend 1, Friend 2, and Husband (not necessarily in that order).  To be fair, this list is comprised of everyone I truly care about or have a relationship deeper than mere “Acquaintance”. As Kathleen Kelly says in You’ve Got Mail “I lead a small life, well, a valuable, but small.” I like my small world. My bubble.

The main problem I have with this circle is generally my sister. She’s extroverted, rather pushy, and *loud*. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to pieces, but she can be a lot to handle sometimes. I am also cripplingly introverted. My sister has the strange ability to just sap all the energy and patience from me in a short one hour period. She doesn’t mean to, and it’s never intentional, but it happens. She just often asks for more than I can readily give, and I find it really difficult to deny her because she’s super great at guilt.

Third Circle – The Coven (Of which I’ve never had)

I have never had a Coven, so I have no experience in this circle, nor can do I have an opinion. I honestly don’t know if I’d want to join one.

Fourth Circle – The Community

Maybe it’s because I married a socialist, but I do believe we have a responsibility to our communities. Helping those in need doesn’t need to be exclusively Christian. Everyone deserves to have the basics of life, and I would *love* to see America base itself more off of Sweden’s or Iceland’s model.

That being said, I know I should be doing more. I’ve thought about volunteering somewhere, but I am seriously unable to talk to people without an IV of Ativan, it would be almost impossible. And before anyone says anything, I *am* in therapy, and getting help. I am also getting tested for Cushings (tumor on the pituitary/adrenal glands) which could be affecting anxiety, paranoia, and depression levels. Woots. So I am dealing with it. But being out in public is currently a daunting task for me. So instead, I do something at home that allows me to help without causing panic attacks. I crochet and knit scarves, mittens, hats, and blankets for those who need them. I give what I make each year to my brother’s minister, and she makes sure they go where they’re needed. It’s not much, but I’m trying, and maybe, one day, I can do more.

Fifth Circle – The Planet

I am truly not doing as much for the planet as I would wish. I do all the small basic things (turn off lights while not in a room, don’t waste water or energy, use my car less, etc), but I’m going to try and find ways to do better about this.

You can find the First Circle post here.

– Alfrún

Daily Devotion

One of the main things I’ve struggled with for the past 12 years was developing some sort of daily way to include Deity/Lord/Lady/Spirit into my daily life. I became so used to hiding my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs all during middle and high school, it has since been incredibly hard to become open and forthright about my beliefs. Having been on several online Pagan sites, I get the idea I am not the only one who has issues or complications from past experiences.

So for the past week I’ve been thinking of ways to include my spirituality in my everyday living. One way I do this is by meditation. I do it every day right after I get out of the shower. I’m usually quite relaxed after a shower (something about scalding hot water as it hits me is relaxing and renewing), so this seems the best time to do it. I’ve also been awake for quite some time before this happens (I do all my housework and exercise before showering which can take several hours), so I’m less likely to fall asleep as opposed to doing it right after I get up for the day or right before I go to bed. I love sleep, and early mornings or right when I get up are not good times for me to demonstrate perkiness or motivation. Outside of making my husband’s coffee, not much else is going on in my head for at least 30 minutes.

I typically do a 15 minute guided meditation I found on Google Play. It’s not really Pagan specific. It’s just a Release All Your Tension sort of meditation. I will eventually start working on visualization exercises once I’m better at focusing on one thing rather than randomly wondering if I’d emptied the dishwasher that morning for the tenth time. I’ll keep you posted.

I chose 15 minutes as the length of my meditation because right now it’s ideal. 10 was too short to fully stretch my ability to practice, and 20 minutes caused me to start zoning out/falling asleep. So for right now, until I can focus better, 15 minutes it is!

The other way I can do a small daily thing are the psychic cards I made the other day. I’ll be doing these right after my mediation. I don’t expect them to take any longer than 5 minutes. I’ve always read and been taught when it comes to psychic stuff to always go with the first answer your mind conjures, so I don’t imagine it’ll take too horrifically long to get through 30 cards.

I also take a moment to talk to my Deity. I light the huge pillar candle on my altar. It’s His candle. I always make sure I have a candle for Him. I light His candle, and just talk. I talk about my day, anything I’m worried about, I’m pleased about, or just something I found amusing. I want to build a relationship with Him. Part of that is talking to Him, and allowing Him to be a part of my life.

So, this is how I include my practice and my beliefs into my day. How do you do it?

– Alfrún

Personal Responsibility – First Circle: Self

Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home…

It’s your responsibility to love it or change it.

– Chuck Palahniuk

Dedicant talks about circles surrounding you and the impact you have on these circles.

First Circle – The Self

Self-love, self- esteem, and self-knowledge are all things that are incredibly important, but the more importantly is self-honesty. There is only ever one person you should ever listen to indefinitely: YOU! You are your most important asset. But knowing, and following what’s in your best interest can be incredibly tough. Especially for those who have a “martyred” personality, or are givers, and find it difficult to take as well as give. I do this frequently, but in the end crashing after a while trying to do and be everything for everyone. It’s not healthy behavior. Instead, pay attention to what your mind, intuition, and body are telling you.  Take care of yourself.

Abundance: I am at heart a rather materialistic person. I like my belongings to be new, sparkly, and aesthetic as well as functional. I like expensive crystals and gems, and would have a jewelry collection to amaze the mind if I could. Not to mention my collection of books as it grows every year by leaps and bounds… But I’m not particularly proud of the greed that sometimes flares up with that side of me. So I tend to squash it. HOWEVER! That’s not to mean you can’t strive to be comfortable. There’s no need to live like a spartan monk. So long as it harms no one, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have more. Having financial security reduces stress in *huge* ways. I’ve recently lost my job, and my spouse and I were living on a single income that did not fulfill our needs (he has since gotten a new one with a hefty pay raise so we’re doing much better). We had many long nights trying to figure out where money was coming from for this and that. Without the help of my parents, we would have been possible danger of losing our home. Wanting, and having, money/abundance is healthy, so long as that wanting is not destructive to you or others.

Health: “Do what ye will, an it harm none.” The Rede also applies to *yourself* in case anyone had forgotten. Mwahahaha! No lectures on diet or exercise. I promise. We’ve all heard them far too often, but you do need to keep yourself healthy. You can read more about what Calafia says in her book if you want.

So, listen to yourself, treat yourself, and try not to be too hard on yourself.

– Alfrún