The Value of Plans

Well, I planned to make May a month of druid boot camp, with nightly devotionals and near-nightly attention to my studies. I did well for the first ten days or so—and then I got sick, and not just with the sniffles. I was well and truly sick, with a high fever and wracking cough and a complete inability to get out of bed for more than a few minutes at a time.

I’m proud to say that in two weeks of illness, I only missed four nights of devotional, and I updated my journal at least three times a week. I, and my practice, survived together.

I realized, though, that while periods of intensive study are excellent, and often invigorating, they’re not what I really need. What I need is a druidry, a nightly practice, that wears well in washing, that sustains me when I’m sick, and upholds me when I’m at my worst. I need room for success, certainly, but I also need room for failure and fevers and fumbled offerings. I need a lifestyle, not a practice—though practice enriches that lifestyle, without a doubt.

I’ll be trying my boot camp plan again in June. Even my truncated period of intensive work started to build some good habits, so I know that element of the plan will be successful. Ad while I know I’ll have some screw-ups, that I’ll fall asleep before completing devotionals, that I’ll occasionally forget offerings or have a candle that just won’t stay lit, I also know that my efforts, successful or faltering, will deepen my connection to the Kindred.

Stay tuned.

A Druid’s Challenge

Well, well, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

This has been a difficult year. I’ve had some career set-backs and changes that led to starting a new job with more strenuous hours. My husband and I moved. My extended family has faced sudden loss. Things have changed, and not all for the better. It’s been Life, I suppose, with that all-important capital L that stands for all the little things we deal with day by day and never mention.

DSC01485.JPG

I made a deliberate choice to blog less here. Part of that change happened when I took over SDF, but more of it happened before then. I realized that the constant self-analysis was making my practice too meta—when I was doing a thing, I was thinking about writing about doing the thing, and that was taking away from my experience of actually doing the thing itself. I cut back on blogging because I wanted to focus more on the moment of my practice.

Now, two years later, I’ve found that without that constant consideration and reflection, I’ve fallen into a druidic rut. My rituals feel the same. My devotionals, day by day, never change. The seasons shift around me, but I plug along, saying the same words and thinking the same things. I’ve lost the freshness and sense of adventure I had when I started, and my ability to experiment and question myself has stagnated.

It’s not a good feeling.

This blog and the ADFers I met through it were my first community. This digital space witnessed my early, breathless successes and my cheerful, clumsy failures. Here I explored what it meant to me to be a druid, and I questioned the world around me through the posts I wrote here.

I want to recapture that particular magic.

Ironically, given that I started as such a prolific blogger, journaling has proven to be my biggest obstacle to my clergy training work. I cannot make myself journal my practice every week. I’ve tried Google calendar reminders, I’ve tried Habit RPG, I’ve even tried siccing my husband’s nagging powers on me. None of it has worked.

I’m thinking of issuing myself a challenge. I would like to apply for ordination around this time next year. (Talk about optimism…!) It’ll be a commitment, but it’s absolutely doable. Here’s the tricky part, though: if I want to stick to the schedule I’ve made for myself, I need to commit to journaling every single week. Without fail. No, “Well, I’m tired, I’ll make it up next week.” Absolutely no, “But… I don’t want to tonight!”

Nope. No. No way.

So the first part of the challenge will be, for one month (or possibly the span between two High Days), I will blog here every week and write in my private journal every day. The second part of the challenge will be a self-directed druidic bootcamp, in which I practice trance twice a week and work on CTP essays twice a week.

It would (will?) be a challenge. I haven’t decided for sure if I’m going to do it. But Beltane is approaching, and I know I want to make a change. It seems as good a date to start as any other. I know I can do this, but I have to hold myself accountable to documenting my work.

What do you think, readers? Want to help me? Can you think of a better way to rope myself into keeping up with my liturgy and trance journals?

Help for the Lost

Readers, I know very few of you who visit this blog live in or anywhere near southern Indiana.

However, the internet has made a global community out of us: Druid, Pagan, Christian, or simple passer-by, we’re all drawn together by virtue of the written word. You are hearing my voice through the back-lit black text before you. I am a real person, and I am asking for real help.

A 20-year-old Indiana University student named Lauren Spierer has been missing for a week now, and local police seem to have no tangible leads.  You may have no tips for the authorities, but you do have a voice. Tweet #FindLauren, repost this blog post, or visit our university news site or another localless local, or national news site to learn how else you can help.

We’ve all been a friend, a parent, or a sibling, and we all know what it means to feel fear. Please help. Say a prayer, light a candle, do whatever feels right and best to you, but please help.

Meditation Week 9

I actually have been meditating again (yay!), though I’m skipping the two powers this week and trying something new.

Instead of active, visualization meditation, I’m trying passive, receptive meditation. Every night, before I go to sleep, I sit completely quietly in my bed, and I invite the Kindreds to come to me, if they will, and speak to me on their own terms.

I haven’t heard a concrete message yet, but I know they’re there. I can feel their presence. I will keep listening.