Shout Outs to m'Peeps!

I was very ill last week. One of my medications ran out on me and I was waylaid by the sudden introduction of various allergens which ignited my entire immune system. Let's just say, the pea soup congealed - and I was miserable.

So I did exactly what I tell my students to do ... I called out for help. And the universe responded ... in the form of my precious students. So I am cross posting my thank you note from the school forum to publicly thank them for ... everything!

Oh my goodness!

I am so grateful!

Thanks to ...

  • Eridanus - for washing my dishes, getting me to prepare all my meals for the weekend and generally being there when I became overwhelmed.
  • Adam - for putting in the screens, helping me pack up some of the electronics for recycling, and for hanging out while we swapped stories about old Apple computers and played some old games!
  • Sheila - for being a "genius!" and taking all the sheets, towels and blankets to a laundromat to clear all the space at once and giving me a energy boost!
  • Jen & Damien - for a wonderful visit and for taking away the pile of equipment.

    You guys all rock!

    I feel so much better today. Mostly because while talking with Adam, I realized I was in the midst of a huge asthma attack so I (finally!) used my inhalers - D-oh!

    Mental note to self: When/if you run out of the meds that stop you from having an asthma attack ... consider using your inhalers when you begin coughing like all get out! Sheesh!

    Posted in

    Submitted by katrina on Tue, 05/11/2010 - 2:37pm.

  • The Journey

    I delivered this sermon in August of 2006. It is as true today as when I first delivered it. As we bask in this season of Beltane, its message of love, especially self-love seemed so potent.

    I want to just say a little bit about what I call ‘the Journey.’ I have said this to some of you, because some of you have asked me questions about feeling that because things are difficult that you’ve lost your way, that you’ve somehow lost your way on the path. And I’ve said to you, “No, that’s part of the path.” You haven’t lost your way, the path includes the entire wealth of human experience. The highs, the lows, the confusions and the false clarities, all are part of the process.

    Perfection is not our goal. We all know that, right? We are not trying to produce perfect people. Perfection is actually a trap; it is a distraction. The goal of your spiritual journey is for you become more of what you already are. Now, that has a trap, there is a trap in that statement. The trap is that, whatever you imagine that you are, you then carve into stone and say, “This is what I am!” – and that is not what we mean. What we mean is that you become more of what you already are … beyond your comprehension; beyond your small, narrow view of reality. It’s not to celebrate the mediocre, or to celebrate and rejoice over your own misconceptions, repressions, fears, illusions, and whatever. It’s just to point out that we’re not trying to make you into carbon copies of someone else.

    Our goal and our job in each lifetime, in each incarnation, is to become what we already are in this lifetime. Some say that once you are born into this world, you spend the first half of your life figuring out why you are here. What are you here to do, what is your purpose? We are trying to speed up that process here in Reflections, but we need to also recognize that this process of coming to know who you are is part of the reason why you are here. Does that make sense? It’s not just, we figure it out and then we can do what we’re here for. Part of the reason we’re here is to figure that out. The self-discovery process is as important as the later work.

    I get to hear lots of folk’s darkest thoughts, their biggest fears and their self-assessments – which very rarely have been a reflection of reality, I have to tell you that – and one of the things that always amazes me is how little we see of ourselves. It’s what keeps me humble in a very real way. We very rarely see ourselves for what we really are. And being unable to see ourselves, we very rarely see each other. (Sometimes we can have a better view of other people than we do of ourselves but our own self-blindness often obscures it through projections.)

    But it is just amazing how much self-abuse we engage in, within this process. I just want you to consider that this is not a Judeo-Christian path. We’re not looking for martyrdom. The purpose of this path and this work is not to make you suffer. I say that, knowing full well that it can feel like we are using diamond dust in our efforts to get you to shine. The goal is to get you to shine, not to get you to suffer; but sometimes it hurts getting to the shiny part.

    So the pain is not the goal. That’s not why you’re here. You’re not here to suffer. That’s not your job. It is not even my job. My students may believe otherwise, but my job is not actually to push you out on little rafts onto the River Styx, nor to push you off the cliff. My job is to catch you, when you do fall, and to fish you out of the deep water when you can’t swim. You’re job is not to suffer. You’re job is to grow. And part of that job is to find the joy, the beauty, the sweetness, even in the darkest moments. So, let’s stop inviting more suffering into our lives. Let’s stop holding that as a banner: I must be growing because it’s hard, or it hurts. Let’s use another measure: I must be growing, because there is such beauty around me. There is such love, such preciousness in the world.

    I think I have said before that this is the sermon every black, woman minister I know shares at some point as part of her ministry. And it’s from Beloved by Toni Morrison. It is the sermon given by Baby Suggs, Holy to her people, primarily ex-slaves.

    “Here,” she said, “in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it… No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them! Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ‘cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed…What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give leavins instead. No they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it."

    "This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And oh my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it, and hold it up. And all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver - love it, love it, and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet… More than your life-holding womb and your live-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize."

    You’ve got to love yourself. And you’ve got love the work that you do. We have got to turn this entire world on its head; that’s says to be spiritual, to seek vocation, is about lack and scarcity. It’s not. It’s about loving yourself, loving your work, loving your hands, loving your heart, loving your feet! Because out there in the larger world it may never get appreciated by others.

    This is the Journey -- love, love, love. It starts with love, it ends with love, and it is sustained by love. Never forget that.

    How can you be the beauty, the star, and the beacon in this world if you can’t love yourself? It’s not possible.

    This is the Journey we’re on. We are discovering ourselves; we are rediscovering ourselves; so that we can learn to love ourselves -- in all our gloriousness and all our pettiness; in all our strengths and all our weaknesses; in all of our boundless beauty and all of our limitations. It’s the work of a lifetime, and all I ask is that you take a step every chance you can.

    That’s why we’re here, that’s the Journey.

    Even in the midst of darkness; even in the midst of fear, sadness and grief -- love, love, love.

    Posted in

    Submitted by katrina on Mon, 05/03/2010 - 11:51am.

    Swimming In Pea Soup

    I am having difficulty concentrating lately. I keep trying to identify the problem, the issue, whatever it was that was causing this “condition.”

    I normally run at pretty high speeds mentally while manipulating a freeform visualization of such complexity that it some days it rivals the global internet. Right now, I am finding it difficult to remember what day it is and why just now I walked into the kitchen. To say it is frustrating is putting it mildly.

    I have been sleeping in the middle of the day, glorious naps that do not interfere too much with my regular sleeping. Even my dreams have been below the surface, almost undecipherable from external sounds at waking. I finally was able to write out a dream late last week, but I was unable to “think” about it till today.

    The dream image was of a beloved sleeping woman in the midst of a play in the woods. The man who had the role of King in the play pledged his undying love to her and refused all other women. And there she lay, sleeping … underwater.

    I was alarmed at the image. “No healthy animus figure would prefer me unconscious,” I shouted from the page angrily. But then … I thought about the last week, and my inability to focus or concentrate. “What if, …” I muttered to no one in particular.

    My inner contacts confirmed my suspicions. I am supposed to be exactly where I am at the moment. It feels … yeah … like I am swimming through pea soup. But until I wrote this, I wonder if anyone could tell it. I have been running on autopilot, which from the outside may look normal to most folks.

    But I know deep inside, something is stirring below the surface. And apparently, I need to allow it to gestate undisturbed for now.

    So if you find yourself staring into deep waters anytime soon, that play of light you see, its me waving at ya’ from the bottom.

    Posted in

    Submitted by katrina on Mon, 04/26/2010 - 4:23pm.

    How To Read A Rational Urban Warrior Woman

    So okay, first off, there is a high probability that most of you have misread the title to this post. Oh, you probably read the urban, warrior and woman part just fine … for the most part. But the word “Rational” does not mean what you think it does. In the David Keirsey personality type system, I am classified as a Rational(NT) as opposed to an Idealist(NF), a Guardian(SJ) or an Artisan(SP). So it is not about me being reasonable, logical or even emotionless. And it is that last part that is most confusing for folks. I express plenty of emotions thank you very much, I just express them differently from other folks.

    Folks who have a “NT” in their designation of a Myers-Briggs type are called Rationals because that is the name given by Dr Keirsey based on Plato’s designations. And despite the bad press about us taking over the world, we represent less than 3%-10% of the US population on average. We are often thought of as the techno geeks and sci-fi enthusiasts of film and literature. The truth is that we tend to dominate in certain fields because we find others like ourselves already there. And given how few of us there are in this country, it is a fair assumption that elsewhere we are desperately alone. It is sadly the same for Idealists, and I suspect they use to make up most of the alternative communities nationally, i.e. alternative medicine, spiritualities, etc. As certain activities become more mainstream Rationals and Idealists slowly became minorities in the very communities and industries they originated.

    So much for the history lesson …

    I am writing this particular post to explain how Rational women are usually misunderstood in terms of emotion. I express pretty deep emotional truths in my writings. Often folks will approach me after one such emotionally tinged post and are surprised to see me looking pretty much the way I normally look. I sometimes wonder if they are expecting to see me sobbing openly and wandering around with only one shoe -- not that there is anything wrong with that image. On the surface, nothing appears to have changed about my demeanor. The difference is that if you really look in to my eyes, you will see my pain, suffering and deep emotion. It is not stoicism, or some self-delusion about carrying on in spite of it all. I truly believe stating that I am in pain is sufficient and I find it insulting to have to put on an act to “prove it” to anyone. Many introverted Rationals express their emotions quietly, self-contained and with restraint … until it needs to be shouted to be heard.

    And that is when the “Urban & Warrior” parts kick in for me. If I have to shout about my pain in order to be heard, you will hear it in my native tongue.

    So let’s summarize, shall we … I express myself deeply when I write. The emotions are real and deeply felt. I will not always explicitly exhibit the extent of my emotional state, but it is there to see if you look into my eyes. If I ever have to prove it to you … back up a bit for your own safety.

    Posted in

    Submitted by katrina on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 8:00am.

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    Recent comments

    • Nephthys (not verified)

      I've been with Firefly for a number of years, I recently left my position at The Firefly Community to pursue other dreams but to be clear how much I was involved before I address the statements made, I was a teacher, Priestess, member of the Inner Circle of the Council of Elders, Course Contributor, Clergy, Delegate and Divination reader so I was quite involved with Firefly on many levels.

      I am offended by your statement that Firefly is cultish. Given my involvement as listed above I can safely say that Firefly members are not cultish in behaviour nor is Firefly cultish in of itself. I am no longer involved with Firefly in any strong capacity other than that of a student so I can also safely say this is not coming from a blind faith position. I will be the first to admit that part of the reason I left Firefly was because I did not agree with some of the changes Lady Iris intended to make, that being said, I don't support the idea that abuse should be turned into a political statement.

      I don't know Sean and I am not close to Lady Iris (I live in a different country) and have not commented on the situation with her marriage but some of his behaviours are reprehensible. If a President did this he would be impeached and booted so I fail to see why it should be ignored and relegated to 'personal marital issues' when behaviour like this is indicative of larger psychological issues. If Sean Bennett is allowed to use and abuse women in this fashion, eventually he would work his way through the single ladies in the OHF and what would you be left with?

      1 year 33 weeks ago
    • Virginia Carper (not verified)

      I for one have been pondering this question. Iris did highlight a valuable point - how are checks and balances established to prevent potential abuse and to air concerns. These are hard lessons that groups need to learn.

      Without denying people their agency, how do you set up a system that will prevent abuse by other members? How far does a group go to ensure the mental and emotional safety of the adult members?

      For example, I know with my disability (brain injury), I would deeply resent being told that the group is looking out for my best interests. It would seem to be paternalistic on the group's part to assume that I cannot fend for myself. But because of my disability, I can be easy prey for a con-artist. How do you solve a dilemma like that? Can this be encoded or is this sort of thing too nebulous to pin down?

      1 year 34 weeks ago
    • Virginia Carper (not verified)

      I have a traumatic brain injury.

      That being said, I got caught in the cross-fire in the Firefly Campaign, since I did not get with the program - i.e. Firemoon was abused by a sexual predator, who for the sake of the community had to be removed. I was shocked at how this mantra was repeated over and over everywhere it could be. I was shocked at how the Firefly folks did not identify themselves as they sought to achieve their goals. It left a poor taste about Firefly in my mouth since I started to regard them as "cultish", incapable of independent thought or discussion. Also it disturbed me how the Firefly folks who had nothing to do with DC, carried water in the campaign as well.

      Since I had lot of free time, I researched the consistent posters and everything I could find, and an disturbing picture arose. The one you described of a one-sided campaign to achieve a stated end, without proper identification or perspective.

      As for the brain injury - I got raked over the coals for making light of the issue from an avowed healer, who thought my injury was a ruse. That scared me into thinking that perhaps my impression of the "cultishness" of the Firefly group was true. (I know cult is a loaded word, but I cannot think of the word that would indicate a group of people, emotionally inflamed with one mission in mind, and not allowing any dissent.)

      1 year 34 weeks ago
    • Kali Firemoon (not verified)

      Katrina,

      I am so sorry that we have not met yet since it so obvious from your comments that you are a close personal friend of Iris’s and know all there is to know about the situation from a front row seat. I mean, after all, one who has seen a woman four months pregnant, losing weight and physically appearing to not be pregnant would of course understand the emotional, and yes, physical stress she was under. But of course, since you were there I don’t need to remind you of that. So lets move on to the rest of the story, you know where her husband chose to have unprotected sex with someone else, who I am sure was a complete virgin and posed no risk to mother or child, and then husband went home to engage in carnal activities with his wife, confident that his unborn child was never at risk. Yes, I am sure that all of your female students understand why you are firmly in the husband’s court. After all, it’s always the woman’s fault when marriages go bad. Or at least that is what I seem to glean from your article. Yes, I am Firefly, and I was one of the one’s chosen to help this woman after she was victimized by this predator who seems to have persuaded the pagan community that it is acceptable to treat not one, not two but at last count four woman as though they were simply a means to his end. And BTW I know she attempted to alert the community to her situation and apparently no one felt it worth even a cursory investigation. Oh yes, one more example of us not wanting to rock any one’s boat. I will tell you that in response to her story, several other pagan women have come forward with similar stories of abuse reported to the male members of a community met with similar disdain and an obvious desire to hide this type of behavior. Do I believe it happened this time, yes; do I believe that this community is willing, no matter the cost, to hide this type of behavior, yes. No one wants to call attention to the pagan community because we already have an undeserved stigma. But that does not mean we should allow behavior none of us condone simply because we are afraid of controversy. If one of us needs be sanctioned, then we either stand and sanction or accept the stigma so many would place upon us. We need to “police” our own. When four and probably five women come forth and tell the same story of predatory behavior against women we either act or fold the tents and go home. So I suggest you talk to all of them before you post any more pontifications. I also realize you can never post this but we both know you will have read it.

      1 year 34 weeks ago
    • Cara Schulz (not verified)

      Hello Katrina,
      Although we know one another, mostly online but also when we met at Sacred Harvest Festival, for your readers let me note that I'm the Managing Editor of PNC-News and the Co-Editor of PNC-Minnesota. I was the primary author of the PNC-News statement that you are writing about.

      The persons who contacted me asking when PNC would cover this were not Firefly members. Most were not local to DC, but were Pagans and polytheists in other parts of the country who had donated to the Pagan community center in DC and naturally had an interest in it. Why would they contact me? Because I'm the Managing Editor and people often contact me to ask if PNC is covering a story or to request that we cover a story. That's how we get many of our articles - through our readers.

      As for why PNC-News put two different situations in one statement, it's because they are related in nature and both needed to be addressed promptly.

      If anyone has any questions, we encourage them to contact us and ask them.

      1 year 34 weeks ago
    • Kat, Emralde (not verified)

      Thank you for this perspective. I very much appreciate the voice of the elders as I struggle with my own (not-voiced) feelings about this situation and its outcome.

      1 year 36 weeks ago