Reticence and My Growing Edge

I am currently struggling with my inner preference for reticence. It may seem odd that a person who lives portions of her inner dialogue out loud would prefer to keep her thoughts to herself. But the truth is that I often write more openly than I would share in person. Because in the present moment, I tend to keep my thoughts to myself … unless I am teaching.

But what I am learning is that my reliance on reticence no longer serves me. I am keeping too much out of my daily conversations. I am forcing myself to say more out loud, especially those things that I thought was self-evident. And what I am discovering is that they were only self-evident to me. And this revelation is brutally startling.

I am having a really rough time with this practice. As part of my process, I feel a need to express certain ideas so I can relax my resistance. So the next few posts may be a bit raw as I empty out some of the issues that really bother me.

So consider this post a public service announcement.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 6:43pm.

The Wounded Warrior

I have been having a real tough time recently, as evidence by my last post. What I had not mentioned was the problems with my shoulders. They keep getting stuck. My massage therapist, chiropractor and intuitive healer have all been working mightily to get them moving again. But each time I show up for a visit, my left shoulder especially is stuck again. Which is strange because I can get in my car after a session where one healer worked hard getting it moving, and drive to the next healer only to find the shoulder stuck again! It was maddening!

So today, my yoga instructor Carrie, per her usual synchronicity, invoked Shiva for our session. And at some point we were doing a rather oddly strenuous version of the Warrior II pose where we were thrusting one hip out while turning the other in a vastly differing direction. When we came out of the pose, rubbing our inner thighs and our aching hip joints, someone asked for the name of the pose. Carrie sheepishly sort of laughed and said, “We call it the Wounded Warrior.” And suddenly something clicked in my head.

Later during savasana, I asked Carrie if she could check my shoulders for me. I explained the problems I had been having as she bent over to adjust them. She suddenly looked very concerned as she found the same nodule everyone else had been working on over the last two months. She looked me in the eye as she said, “Katrina, that knot is directly behind your heart.” “What is happening with your heart?” She looked deeply worried and her concern struck me right where it mattered. I said, “Oh … yeah!” What else could I say? She helped my shoulders to relax with what to me looked like eyes on the verge of tears.

Later after picking up some special items from Trader Joes, I stopped for a visit to Sligo Creek Park. I hadn’t visited in so long, and the bright sun reminded me of why I love that park. I walked to the bridge and paused to listen to the waters. I breathed deeply as I crossed the bridge; it felt like coming home.

And that is when I noticed all the damage. Several of the trees had lost branches; some had lost major limbs. It was devastating. One poor young tree had been split in two, exposing her delicate inner structure to the wind and the rain.

I paused at each wounded tree and expressed my deep sympathy and grief for its loss. Touching my hands where I could over the open wounds, connecting to the still living trunks, I expressed my hopes and prayers for recovery.

At the poor tree ripped asunder, I expressed my sorrow and I could feel her respond. I reminded her that her life was not over, as long as she could still feel her roots in the soil and take in nourishment from the sun and rain, she could still grow and thrive. I asked the older trees, especially those who themselves were wounded to tell this young tree about how life could continue. And to tell her especially that she would live not in spite of her wounding, but now more because of her wounds.

As I sat down to rest a bit before returning to my car, something broke apart inside of me. I suddenly felt all that had been wrenched away from me. I could see all my inner preciousness and vulnerabilities exposed to the elements. And just as suddenly I began sobbing. My poor shoulders were trembling with each wave of tears. As I sat in my misery, I suddenly heard voices. It was the trees repeating back to me all I said to comfort the youngest of them.

“You will live on not in spite of your wounding, but because of them.”

Now a new wave of sobs erupted shaking my entire frame. I cried and cried until I didn’t even care who saw it. I cried until I no longer could hide my sadness or repress my grief.

Yeah, there was something going on in my heart. This wounded warrior was carrying a lot of unexpressed grief. Grief I now know that must be expressed and cared for in the now and not stored in my body.

As I left the park, I expressed my deep gratitude to the trees. And to all my healers and teachers, I say Namaste.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Thu, 03/04/2010 - 3:49pm.

My Aching Body

I have been thinking a lot lately about my physical body. Mostly I‘ve been drawn to the muscle aches, the noisy joints and the areas that feel heavy when I wake from sleeping for almost 12 hours a night. My body is a veritable symphony of sounds, stories and complaints.

I thought that my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia along with CFIDS, and the resulting pain meds, all my troubles would be over. I had thought that pain was all that held me back. But then the fatigue portion kicked into first place. And despite what my Rheumatologist thinks, I am not just tired because I am not exercising. I was exercising just fine up to the fibro-roulette routine that subjected me to a host of differing mind numbing, fog inducing, homicidal raging meds. Cymblata stops the raging burning pain all over my body, thank the gods. But the process that brought me to this point ruined most of my nurturing routines.

So now I begin the process of rebuilding my radical self-care from the ground up. I have done this so many times before, I should be used to it by now – but it is still teary eyed difficult and it still makes me want to run and hide. And it also does not help to be fighting off a nasty cold just weeks after a stomach turning flu and let's not forget the winter to rule them all.

So I have restarted my at home yoga practice, again. I am hoping next week that it will get warm enough for me to walk, again. It is awfully hard to walk when all your lower joints go pop and click with each step. I feel like I need to add a new line to the Wizard of Oz saying -- y’know, “… a heart, a brain, a home, the nerve … some knee cartilage!”

Yikes! I feel way too frail to be only 54 years old. I keep telling myself, that the strength, flexibility and endurance I built up last year will make it easier this time. And I already can tell it is true. My yoga practice still feels good; I just need to rebuild it back up slowly to the spring/summer levels of almost daily practice. And who knows, I may be back to multiple walks a week by April.

I just have to be present with the now. And that is the most difficult thing for me. Because “right now” feels very frail, tentative and sleepy to me. So I am left at giving myself pep talks, and tricking myself into seeing the bright side -- which on these dark days is a real stretch.

So today, after a massage, a chiro appointment, a hair cut, a PO Box check, an ATM deposit and a grocery run, all I could do was write this rant before delving into my back to back Assisi conference calls. I only got 6 hours sleep last night, half of what I apparently needed every other day this week. I will probably have the same amount of sleep tonight as well. Sigh …

I know loads of other people who are having a way harder time than I am, but damn … I sure could use some sun sometime soon. Can someone put an order in for me? Thanks.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Wed, 03/03/2010 - 6:27pm.

Weariness in the World

Aside from the return of my Seasonal Affective Disorder, I have noticed a deep fatigue, no more like weariness, overcoming me. Last year I was struggling under an avalanche of work. And although I may have more items on my to do list than possibly a few small countries, I am not by any measure under the same amount of pressure as last year.

So why am I so tired?

I have plenty of answers. Like most folks, I can rationalize just about anything. But the answers I come up with are raising further questions. If this is simply the Chronic Fatigue portion of my illnesses, why did the pain mask it all this time? If this is the fatigue portion of my Fibromyalgia, how come I did not feel it during the summer and early fall? And if it is SAD, why is it not lifting now that I am taking vitamin D like last year?

See … more questions … and no answers that bring closure.

So in today’s meditation, I decided to approach the issue differently. Was it my weariness that really bothered me? And surprisingly, the answer was no. What actually bothered me the most was my inability to do much work. I was upset more by my leaving items unchecked than being tired.


A part of me is filled with anxiety because … I *should* be working. So I sat with that anxiety and listened with compassion. I still have no answers, but somehow … almost inexplicably … it’s okay.


Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 6:19pm.

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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?

    2 years 2 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 3 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.)

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Kali Firemoon (not verified)


    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 4 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.

    2 years 4 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.

    2 years 5 weeks ago