Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Thankful 13

Yes - I am Canadian - and yes, it is American Thanksgiving - but in the spirit of SuPoMoMo* (thanks Ian!) I am rejoining the Thursday 13 Project  -  and I need to create a list of 13 things about something .... so this works for me.

13 Things I Am Thankful For
I started writing this post with things like - my health - my family - etc... and stopped to give my head a shake.  These are things that I am grateful for with every breath I take.  I need to dig deeper and see what might be under the rocks ... so here we go.....
  1. My daily thermos of Coffee (you knew it, didn't you) - it kickstarts my morning, pleases my palate, encourages organic free trade coffee producers AND a local business (The Black Pearl on Dufferin is my Coffee Supplier of choice - cash only (and yes, they  need a website, believe me I've tried)).  I get a Starbucks travel mug-fulla-goodness on Sunday morning on my way to choir as my special treat of the week - but 50 weeks out of 52, that is just a regular vente dark roast with a shot of vanilla syrup - the candy coffee supertreats are saved for my birthday weekend and the first weekend of winter when they roll out the seasonal lattes. Yummy. (your choices on coffee and chocolate purchases make an incredible impact on both people and the planet - learn more!)
  2. My Organic Food Buying Group - I belong to a group of about 40 families that bulk purchase food  together to improve the quality of the food we eat.  It is not a system of shopping that works for everyone, but it has made an incredible impact on our ability to eat almost 95% organic food at more reasonable and affordable prices.  As with any group - it has its lights and shadows - but any momentary challenge is more than surpassed by the ability to eat foods that taste like food is supposed to taste - fresh - life affirming - energy giving.  I hope I never have to go back to the Stupid Store.  This leads to:
  3. The wonderful food prepared for me by the loving hands of the Gaiaist Gourmet - my wonderful Jacinthe - who does amazingly magical things with simple wholesome ingredients and a spice cabinet that is unrivalled.  Seeing Julie and Julia has inspired her to almost move forward with an idea she had last December - to start writing about food and spirituality - basic cooking tips - how to make great food easily - how to connect with the Sacred Earth and the abundance of the Great Mother through gratitude for the food we eat and the water we drink - so please - encourage her! Dan thinks she should have a video blog portion - I just keep encouraging her to actually write about all her wonderful ideas - and recipe modifications - and what she learns in her extensive reading about the Earth and Food Production.  Ah - to return to Agri-culture rather than support Agri-business.   
  4. My Life in Music - music was my professional life for so long. I still miss not knowing what the new and exciting underground and unknown bands are - the best music is the music that never made it to the mainstream radio.  I am grateful for the changes in technology that made my job as a music store person almost obsolete - because now everyone can go online and find amazing music to introduce to the world. I have always connected spiritually through music - even the heavy thrash around the room stuff - the passion, the creativity, the connection to a greater energy so easily moves me to tears - or moves me to dance.  Losing my connection to music physically (a head injury in 2003 made music painful to listen to or sing for about 2 years) was devastating.  This brings us to: 
  5. Now being able to sing in a Pagan Chorale (Musique Magique - become a fan! check out our sound file!) gives me great joy. I love singing in harmony - I love helping arrange the music - I love writing the occasional piece (like The Lady's Prayer & The Family Prayer that make up the 2nd and 3rd verse of Our Family).  I love the healing that happens for those we sing to/for and for ourselves as singers.  I miss almost every single person who has moved through the choir over the years as life takes its usual tricky meanders through small group dynamics.  I would like us to add a few more voices in the lower ranges especially, and I would like us to sing "out" more for others - and I look forward to doing more recordings and the Big Secret Pagan Music Project that we have up our sleeves!  Stay tuned, as they say in radio land.
  6. The Witchery - we know that in 2010, unless someone from the Pagan community buys the house we rent, that we will lose our Temple and Teaching/Sacred and Social Space.  It has served us well since we moved in 2004 - it has seen laughter & tears (right from the day we moved in), special guests speaking on numerous topics, classes, rituals, growth, crap, and life force energy by many other names.  It will be the end of an era, to be sure, but all things have their season - and we will not be seeking another rental space.  It is time.  So - come out to the events that are held between now and the eventual "then" and celebrate having a Pagan Temple space while we still can. Email me for details if you are interested in upcoming programming.
  7. My teachers and mentors - I have been in a learning mode for the past three years - and the skills that I am learning professionally are making me a better Priestess as well - you wouldn't think that podcasts on social media and website optimization would also teach some profound magical and spiritual principles.  Hell, yah! (willing to name names if anyone is interested).  And I get to share what I am learning - especially with my other geek witchy friends - who are becoming better Priests as well.    Its all about managing energy, people. Couldn't be simpler. (cough hack sputter wheeze) Yup - just like walking on water - you have to know where the rocks are.  I've walked on fire- much easier.
  8. That I am Canadian - a frequent theme in my writing, I know - but having just spent a few days South of the Border (and had a wonderful time!) - I realize again how truly great our country is - how precious and beautiful and so very full of opportunity.  It is not perfect, but it tries very hard to do the right thing most of the time.  My country produced Leonard Cohen - Romeo D'Allaire - Stephen Lewis - John Kenneth Galbraith - Emily Carr - Louis Riel - & The Famous Five  - and so many more contributors to the Greater Global Good - I'm so proud to be a citizen.   
  9. Podcasts.  Love em. Can't get enough. Limited only by time and hard drive space.  Music. Learning.  News. Language Lessons. Spirituality. Diverse voices who know that they have something to say - and do whatever it takes to get it out there into the ears of eager listeners.  Hi tech with great production values - low tech with a can-do attitude.  Druids who make beautiful music.  BC Pagans who walk the Way of Wigglia.  Amazing Media Mages who can juggle Six Pixels without spilling a drop. Madcap Marketing Gurus who love Coffee. Spiritual Soul Sisters who add a little sugar and spice and create something very nice. Woven Tapestries of intelligent discussion.  Darker Shades of spiritual music and Elemental Castings that kiss the limitless divine. And so very many more - I almost feel like I shouldn't mention any by name (but these are my absolute faves) so I don't hurt anyone's feelings - but .... there are too many.... too many ....
  10. I am grateful for senseless stupid suspend your disbelief watch things blow up end of the world is upon us movies - 2012 - Armageddon - Day After Tomorrow - Volcano - End of Days - Die Hard 1/2/3/4/ - Stigmata - you get the idea - especially if they pretend to be socially relevant or psycho-spiritual.  There are days when senseless completely NOT Realistic violence (mostly against cars and buildings) is extremely cathartic.  National Treasure - just for the blowing up of the Charlotte  (okay, and for Nick Cage). I also am grateful for the Oceans 11/12/13 franchise - classy comedy that is not hard on the eyes.
  11. Tarot Cards - love them. grateful for the guidance they give me by making me think of things from different perspectives.  Love the artwork and grateful for the time and dedication shown by the artists to manifest these extremely complex ideas in two dimensional form.  I also love to teach Tarot - because I learn so much from the insights of the students.  I would love to do another intensive class - anyone interested in giving up one night a week for 80 weeks?  I also need to finish the damned book from the first intensive.  (tick tock, SuPoMoMo) 
  12. I am grateful for the Internet - on several levels.  Because of it, I have a fascinating career (and I thought my life in music was fun - this is better except there are fewer rock stars to party with).  Because of the internet, I have been able to meet people who have had a most profound influence on my life - and I can't even say for good or ill because it all unfolds as it is meant to - we make choices to open an email - respond to a job post - join a discussion group - create a profile in a social media site - participate in a forum - and the Ancient Ones laugh and point and watch us learn by living each precious present moment.  The Web has connected my faith community - and has contributed to its breaking - has connected me to people and pulled us apart - it provides up to the minute news and an archive of information of questionable authenticity - and it is only going to bind us tighter in its silvery threads of interconnectedness.  Speaking of the last thing I am grateful for today - given recent events of the birth-death-rebirth nature - I am grateful for .......
  13. The Pagan Community.  Words cannot capture the amazing learning and growth opportunities I have received simply by being a member of this faith community - mostly on a local scale, over the past 30+ years.   I hope, over the next however many years I get to share this wondrous planet with other bipedal humanoids with frontal lobes and opposable thumbs, that I can find some way to give back to the Pagan Community for all that it has given to me. 
So there you have it. A new Thursday 13.  Time to go grate some cheese for nachos and maybe even have a beer. (Half Pints - Manitoba's only locally owned and operated brewery) - grateful for them too. And for single malt scotch that is old enough to vote. And wool-cotton-silk-fibre for knitting. And books. And music. And my cats. And Amey. And the chance to see my dad this year. and having a warm home.  and ... and .... and ... for you - thanks for reading. I'd love to know what you think.  What are you grateful for?

Enjoy the day,
Susan

*Susan Posts More Monthly

Friday, November 13, 2009

You Say You Want A Revolution...

The words of the Upanishad tell us that the presence of the Sacred within and without can `lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, from dispair to hope, and from fear to trust, from hate to love and from war to peace.``
This week was punctuated at its midpoint by Remembrance Day celebrations. I stood with 600 of my fellow citizens at a small inner city park that was built to commemorate the Great War battle of Vimy Ridge - where my grandfather fought and was wounded. There are a couple very plain stone cenotaphs, and lots of green space, a children`s play structure, and some trees.  There was a lone bugler, four soldiers at the corners of the main cenotaph, a 21 gun salute, a number of people in uniform, and lot of old men in their Legion regalia with rows of hard earned medals pinned to their chests.  No bagpipes, or marching bands.
 There was a simple dignity that other more elaborately produced ceremonies have lost along the way.  There were tears, some fine ecumenical words from the Padre, and three wreaths laid with very little fanfare.
I hate and abhor the idea and practice of war, and yet ... someone has to stand up to the bully in the schoolyard. Someone has to defend those who cannot defend themselves.  That doesn`t make it right - it might just make it necessary at times.
My cousin died in Afghanistan - Canadian Forces Fatality 88.  He was a soldier by choice - because he wanted to help people have the rights, privileges and freedoms that he, as a Canadian enjoyed as his birthright - he felt a need to give back to the world for winning the birth lottery.  He stepped on a land mine.  A noble sacrifice - a waste of a good man`s life before he had the chance to fulfil his potential.
I hate war - and support the troops - because they are a necessary part of managing the chaos.  They are that thin red line that stands between us and those who would take away our way of life, given half the chance.  Given that I don`t agree with what much of our culture deems to be normal - it isn`t about losing the plasma tv and the reality shows, the fast food and the gas guzzling car.  To me it about defending my freedom of choice.  To worship how I choose.  To love whom I please.  To work in my chosen field, and to get whatever education I wish.  That I have freedom to protest - to write letters to the editor - to stand in front of my provincial legislature with a sign and 100 friends and yell at my elected officals until I get their attention.
I got a new passport today.  My Canadian passport has always been my most treasured possession.  I joke that the Canadian govenrment takes my tax dollars without verifying my identity, but I have to prove I`m a citizen or resident to leave the country - shouldnt it be the other way around?  I have voted in pretty much every election (civic - provincial - federal) since I turned 18.  I believe that voting should be mandatory for all citizens - even if they spoil their ballot - they should have to show up and add their voice to the election of those who make the decisions on our behalf.  No vote - no government services.  write Mickey Mouse across your ballot - just show up and be a citizen.  This is only one of my many revolutionary ideas.  I also truly believe that the revolution starts within.
I believe that we can each stage our own revolution within our selves - our families - our communities.  That we should start these revolutions - these wheels of change turning - and cast off the complacency, the apathy, the abdication of our world to the power brokers.  Revolutions don`t have to be violent - they are not wars.   They are both cause and effect.
Gandhi said that we should be the change we wish to see in the world.  I choose to eat organic foods whenever possible.  That affects everything in my world - my food budget, my shopping habits, my choice of stores (I belong to a co-op), my ability to compost, my dis-connection from food advertising that tells me what to buy ... revolutionary acts all of them.
I  try to vote with my dollars with everything I buy.  I am a conscientious consumer.  A revolutionary act.
The revolutions I have staged within myself over the past 30 years (I`m almost 50) have had an impact on the world.  I have been an agent of change amongst my friends and colleagues.   I can measure my impact on the planet - reducing it year after year to the best of my ability.
What revolutions do you need to stage in your world?  They do come in stages.  One small change that moves you closer to your Authentic self every day.  Casting off the constraints of what the advertisers tell you to do  or wear or eat or drink or drive or want and finding out what moves you - what thrills you - what enhances your inner and outer landscape.
Find the lever that turns the wheel of your revolution.  Change - grow - challenge yourself to see your world from that different perspective.  And here`s the fun part.  Your revolutionary wheel is a gear - with teeth that engage the wheels of others around you.  One revolution cannot help but start another wheel turning - another revolution will happen somewhere else to someone else.  Soon we have a power train driving a cultural movement -  that will have a greater impact than you can even image.
 I love the words from the Vedic scripture I quoted at the beginning of this post.  These are the goals that my revolution would like to achieve - summed up as a better world for all - as we walk together on this fragile planet.  A planet that someday might be without war.  A planet where some day, when we gather in our communities on Nov. 11 and wear our red poppies and listen to the Padre talk about the meaning of sacrifice for the cause of freedom - that we will shed our tears and shake our heads that we - as a species - were ever so young and foolish that we needed to fight for peace.
And until that day - at the going down of the sun, and in the morning - we will remember them.  They fought and died - were wounded in body mind and spirit to give us the gift of freedom - freedom to create our own revolutions, and to create a future history where we will study war no more.
 Enjoy the day.
 (this blog post was also published on redroom.com)