Awareness

Moment to Moment

Lately it has been difficult for me to live in the moment. I talk all the time about how living in the moment is what we should aim for as spiritual seekers. It is just that it is currently difficult for me to return to the now.

In the now there is pressure, deadlines, commitments, sorrows, pain and confusion.

Off in my la-la land, there are mountains to climb, and stretches of forest to explore. In the future, there is passion and adventure.

But right now, I am not feeling much passion and I openly groan at the slimmest hint of leaving my house.

Really? Now?

Can’t I just lay down for a bit longer? I am so tired of all this “schtuff” happening all around me.

I feel like I am standing in the midst of swirling winds and debris. And all the debris is from my life and it is all yelling at me.

“Do this now!”

“This is late!”

“You meant to have this done by now!”

“What are you waiting for?”

“People are depending on you!”

“Get with the program!”

And all I want to yell back is, “Bite ME!”

But then I remember … this is not about being in the now. This is about being in the Manifest realm. I love to swim in the ethereal, the astral and within the unknowing. But here on earth, I have things to do, people to meet and places to be.

A dear friend once told me that returning to earth for me felt like a trip through the underworld. And she is right.

As I sit with this insight, I slowly remember how coming to the present moment use to feel like for me. And as I slow down the moment, expanding my sense of now, once again there is peace, calm and openness. And of all the sounds around me, no one and nothing is yelling at me.

Now this is the grace I recall. And all I had to do was remember … and open.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 5:57pm.

Pruning the Azaleas

This past Saturday was spent out in my yard. I wanted to finally pull all the vines off of my poor azalea bush by the side porch. Over the years, it has had its beautiful pink blossoms obscured by the green of the invading vines so often that whole portions of it seldom see the light of day.

I start at the bottom near the stairs into the temple. I pull up several roots with twisted vines spiraling out in all directions. I climb up to begin cutting vines here and there knowing it will now be easier to pull out the other ends at the far side of the bush.

I find my self following the vines down into the heart of the plant, weaving my fingers through branches and smashed blossoms hoping to avoid cutting living growth.

But then we find some are so wedded to the azaleas, we cannot help but cut off the lost portions. Finally we are at the bottom of the plant. And now as we grasp at the roots and dig into the soil, we find that yes the bush itself must be pruned so we can get closer to the core.

So we begin judiciously cutting just those that obscure our path. But soon, the pruning reaches higher as we clear a path to the source of the infestation.

After a while, the last root is cleared.

But my poor bush, it seems so open and vulnerable now that we can see its inner structure.

“Now there can be new growth”, my compatriot reassures me.

I nod in assent, but the sadness seeps out of my pores.

Yes, there will be new growth, but till then she will look so small and brave.

--

And if you think I am talking only about my azaleas, you have not been paying attention.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Mon, 05/23/2011 - 2:42pm.

Stories I Tell Myself

I had one of those moments the other day. One of those moments that clarifies the rift between reality and perception. And this time I had the privilege of getting to sit on both sides … at the same time.

Several weeks ago, I met a man while shopping in the hardware store that recently opened in our area. I had shopped there a few times before and this time I was returning to get more keys made. The man that helped me was about my own age and was also a DC native – a rarity these days.

We reminisced about the old days and bygone fixtures of our generation. And we were hitting it off just delightfully. As I paid for my keys, we exchange telephone numbers with the promise of coffee and further conversations.

As I walked out the door, he followed me out. Then it happened, the first anomaly. I turned toward him to say goodbye, and he said something rude and crude. I was in shock. What happened to that wonderful man in the store? Where had my generational and geographical kinsmen gone? In 15 seconds, he had wiped away all the good will and rapport we had built together in the store. What the hell?!!?

He turned and walked cheerfully back into the store as if nothing had happened. He left me a single message in my voice mail, and I have not called him back

When I spoke of the incident with my mentor, he thought maybe the man had interpreted my “tough upbringing” as synonymous with having no boundaries or standards. But that statement was my second anomaly. That was not how the men in my life had ever spoken to me, it was what men yelled out of cars and construction sites; it was the language of sexual harassers everywhere in my experience.

As I recalled, the men of my generation and older were respectful and careful with their language when talking directly to a woman in which they had a serious interest, and quite frankly would watch their language around older women always. So why would anyone think otherwise? Not just to engage in the behavior but to also equate it with *my* “tough upbringing?”

I came head to head with the reality of my upbringing and the perceptions others have of it along with my perceptions of my standing as a middle age woman who grew up hard but made a success out of her life and the reality of what it really meant by today’s standards.

Now clearly that man was just acting inappropriately and Dr. Conforti can only infer what my childhood might have been like by looking back on his own tough upbringing. But there was a message within this moment for me. I needed to reexamine my assumptions about how I presented myself to the world – a reexamination that was long over due.

As I turned this over in my mind, I remembered other time and places where how was treated seemed not only inappropriate but also demeaning in many ways. At the time, I had just filed them under the category of bad experiences.

Clearly I am out of step with some of the realities of today’s world. Because either my story about succeeding against all odds was not working for me, or worse it was even working against me – even though my story was both true, and noteworthy.

So is there something in my story that seems to provide a license for folks to behave badly or worse, to not take me seriously?

Am I contributing to the field of oppression by overemphasizing my source culture while deemphasizing my education, my experience or my skills? And where else might I contribute to a devaluing of my core worth?

And finally, how do my stories inhibit my ability to see the world or myself with anything approaching clarity?

I am going to sit with these questions a while and let it settle within the container of my practice.

But as I ask my students, what stories do you tell yourself? And how do they help or hinder your development and your evolution?

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 5:55pm.

When it is not Workaholism

Talk about being knocked off my foundations, I feel like I am in totally new territory and my compass is spinning wildly. Whoa!

The last half of my life has been defined by my continuing struggle with my workaholism. I struggle to find time for myself, limit my [over] commitments and even set my watch to remind me to look after my physical needs. I felt like I was sparring with a ravenous beast. And this beast compelled me to work, work, work … all the time.

But today, my mentor suggested that maybe it is not workaholism that drives me. That maybe instead I am being driven by a need for validation, acceptance and acknowledgement – desperate to be seen for who I really am.

Growing up “East of the River”, as we say it here in DC, leaves a mark on you. I have met others who had similar marks. Growing up on the wrong side of town, the wrong side of the tracks, the wrong religion, the wrong gender, the wrong ethnicity, the wrong abilities, etc., marks you not just as an outsider, but also as deficient in some way.

And so I wonder if I am pushing myself in order to prove my worth as an individual to the world. All these years, have I been working my tail off to prove that I wasn’t a token, an affirmative action hire or a stereotype?

So I am sitting with this feedback.

My mediations occur within a cloud of a single question – “Who would I be if I had nothing to prove?”

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 1:47pm.

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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 51 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?

    2 years 4 days 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.)

    2 years 1 week 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.

    2 years 1 week 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.

    2 years 1 week 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.

    2 years 2 weeks ago