Productivity

Annual Planning 2009

I decided to wait a bit this year before attempting my annual planning. I needed time for the lessons of late fall and early winter to soak into my bones. That new blood coursing through my veins contains the accumulated wisdom from my winter ordeal, which will hopefully enrich and deepen my annual planning.

My mission is still very much alive for me. So my first realization was that several of my long term goals were actually subsets of a larger, more expansive goal. Spending time with loved ones, being financial independent, building my business and having a welcoming home are actually part and parcel of maintaining a sustainable, passionate and creative life.

I also needed to reword the remaining goals to capture the essence of how they felt in my physical and energetic self. As I word crafted them, I felt a strong urge to get up and dance which is always a good sign. (And you gotta know I succumbed to that urge in a really delicious way!)

So my current long term goals are

  • Deepen my spiritual path, tradition and teachings
  • Nurture the sustainable, passionate and creative fabric of my life
  • Share my ideas, visions, dreams, messages, …

At this moment, these work for me at so many levels. I may need to make them a little more specific later, but here is where I begin.

Like last year, I will try to share and explore my process out loud right here in my blog. I encourage you to join me in this process. What are your long term goals? And do they make you wanna get up and dance?

Because right now I need to get up and shimmy a little more before proceeding to the next phase -- crafting annual goals.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 4:09pm.

2008 In Review

Reviewing my accomplishments for 2008 is sobering in many ways. Please someone remind me to think twice if I ever pray for abundance again. I accomplished a great deal, and yet I also had to drop many items from my goals list. Reminded of my outrageous to do lists from the eighties, I find myself wondering out loud at how so little has changed fundamentally.

And yet, everything has changed.

I am not the same person, yet I am beset by the same challenges time and time again. I find myself wildly scanning all around me for a glimpse of my hamster wheel. Am I running in perpetual circle along the same track again and again? Am I doomed to repeat the same lessons in different forms over and over again?

And yet, everything has changed.

For one, I am not upset about any of the items dropped from my overflowing plate. Further I can accept the reality of things needing to be scaled back and reframed with new information and new opportunities.

And yet, everything is the same.

My challenges revolve around discerning priority and focus among multitudes of equally desirable options. And it revolves around limits of time, energy and ability up against a limitless imagination and an over arching vision.

Surrounded by such lush and ripe promise, it is an agony leaving any of it to spoil, rot and decay on the vine. And yet, to pick more than I can consume or carry is itself a waste.

And yet …

The larger lesson for me is that I cannot “multitask” anymore. It is harder to rally enough energy to do just the one thing, much less twenty. And so I must pare my eternal list down to the essential and the needed.

Oh and it is agony. Which of these precious jewels will be polished and prepared? And which stones will remain rough and untouched? Agony.

And once again … I head toward transformation.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Sat, 01/24/2009 - 7:53pm.

Bleary Eyed Musings

I am not even sure anymore how long I have been under this current deluge of work. All I do know is that I am tired beyond belief and the work seems non-stop. As I wrote to my students …”This Fall is turning into a season of too much work spread over too few hours for me. …I am swamped.”

This is hard. I have not been this busy for a very long time. In many ways, I am out of practice and that, in it self, is a good thing. I am now more acutely aware of how much my body suffers, my mind turns to mush, and how the entire outer world seems like an intrusion.

Every conversation, every phone call, every request for advice, an opinion or a commitment feels abusive, intrusive and out of bounds. But at the same time, I am acutely aware of how much I need these people in my life, and how much I crave their crazy weird phone calls and lively dispatches from the outer realms.

I am hunkered down in the salt mines and any glimpse of sunlight is like a jewel. If I could only get these people to stop talking to me! If they could just sort of drift into my awareness and brighten my day then float right back out … so I could get back to work already. It is maddening. If only they could stop being so … alive! Uh oh!

What I want and crave contradicts so readily with what I need and require. I want people in my life but I want them to leave me alone. It is a paradox.

This seems so familiar. I spent a great deal of my late corporate career in this mode. Working long hours, feeling the weight of the world resting on my lonely, tired and aching shoulders. Dragging one leaden foot after another to be with people in order to connect and relate. Along with days, weeks and months of extreme solitude.

And so this morning, as I sat bleary-eyed looking out my front window, I said enough. I need a larger frame of reference. A frame that puts my need for focused attention alongside my need for human companionship. I cannot expect the people I love and who love me to act like inanimate objects, like pet rocks! It is exactly their aliveness that enriches my life.

First I need to comprehend what operates like the law of “gravity” and what is malleable and flexible about my current situation? As an introvert living with an autoimmune disease, I do need more time alone than most folks. This is a core gravity issue for me.

Additionally since my business is irregular, it is difficult to plan for “busy periods” like in retail. The work comes when the work comes. And quite simply, when I said yes to teaching at Cherry Hill Seminary, I had not envisioned having two major web design contracts back to back. My business may expand and contract with very little warning. That is also gravity.

I also lead a school, coven and tradition, which each deserves my time and attention – also gravity. And right now I do not have time to focus on them the way I normally do nor do I have time to do the work required to finish my book. These are also gravity issues for me.

But I am unhappy with my lack of focus in these areas. And it is this unhappiness that is causing me to feel guilty. And it is this guilt that makes me feel intruded upon when the people I love call or come by. I am responding to them as if they are reminders of all I am not doing, they remind me of my sense of guilt.

Ai yi yi! It is *my* guilt that is souring my connections to the very people who can help me to endure this crazy period.

I am the one who does not get just how busy I am. I keep thinking about all I cannot do and the accumulated weight of all this guilt is wearing me down. And truly, the work I am doing is big enough of a burden as it is.

The larger frame of reference I need is the one where I can see myself more objectively. I am super busy, yes. But I want to be available to the people I love and I want very much to work on the areas that give my life meaning and purpose. And sometimes, it is simply not possible to do the things you want to do. And … that’s life. And life is not an intrusion; it is in fact a lot like gravity.

So I sit for a few more moments and contemplate ways to give myself a break. I see the guilt being borne off by the wind to become compost for the creative aspects of my work. I pray for the help I need this week, this day and this moment … to endure and embrace the work that is in my hands.

I thought my eyes were bleary because I was tired, when all along I had been driving blind. Now with my newfound clarity, my wings unfold … and I take off into the bracing air … and take flight. Seeing you, seeing myself, and seeing the world as if it were all new … again.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Sun, 09/14/2008 - 11:16am.

Time, Attention & Boundaries

Merlin Mann had a wonderful series up recently on making time for creativity. He makes many, many salient points. Although all of his points apply (check it out, it really is that good), one in particular really struck me as oh so appropriate for this particular rant.

“Embrace the disingenuous charge of elitism (or, as I prefer to call it, maturity) by not pretending that everyone is equally “special” to you. …Widen the channels to the people you adore, and never make them suffer [because of] your weird compulsion to wave at strangers.”

Yeah! Exactly! What he said!

No Thru TrafficAt some level this should be a no-brainer. But I often find myself in situations where almost complete strangers demand more of my time and attention than I would actually tolerate from the people I love. Sometimes, they are not complete strangers, but because of the lack of a real and meaningful connection, they come very close to it.

To put it bluntly, I do not have sufficient time in my life to respond to everyone and everything that is screaming for attention. So I prioritize. I am more likely to respond favorably to requests for my time depending on the nature of the request and the level of our prior relationship. Seems pretty simple and straightforward to me.

A few examples might be helpful.

  • Scenario 1: A person who has served with me in working groups, teaching teams and conference style discussion panels, calls and asks if I could offer her some career advice. We have a shared history and a friendly relationship. I respond warmly to this request.
  • Scenario 2: A person who has taken a few of my classes sends me an email asking me for recommendations for further studies in a specific area. I remember him as a curious but committed student. I search through my referral lists and respond with suggestions.
  • Scenario 3: One of my full-time students has an emergency and calls me for support. I cancel what I can of my plans and respond accordingly.
  • Scenario 4: A person new to the DC area emails me asking for suggestions for getting involved in the local pagan community. I send him my standard email with helpful links to local sources of info and contact.
  • Scenario 5: A community member writes to me and asks when I plan to teach a particular class again. I send them what I know of my upcoming offerings and reassure them of any future plans in that area.
  • Scenario 6: A person writes to me asking me to teach/speak/attend an upcoming event. I check my schedule for availability and respond accordingly with either regrets or further questions.
  • Scenario 7: A friend or colleague writes to me asking me to teach/speak/attend an upcoming event. I check my schedule for availability (possibly rearranging what I can) and respond accordingly with either regrets or further questions.

Stop WatchWhat these scenarios have in common is that the nature of the request is inline with the nature of our relationship.

But in contrast, consider the following scenarios.

  • Scenario A: A stranger writes to me asking me to be their priestess/teacher/mentor/whatever. If I do not get an “uncomfortable” vibe from the note, I send them a link to Reflections, Connect DC, my standard spiritual counseling/consulting services list, and, if they mention being local, the standard email with helpful links.
  • Scenario B: A community member writes to me asking me to be their priestess/teacher/mentor/whatever. I assume they are aware of my classes, rituals and mystery school.
    1. So if they have attended any of my classes or rituals, I might suggest they consider joining my mystery school. But I also check my calendar and if I can, I offer them a time for a phone chat or and in person meeting to discuss it further.
    2. But if they have not attended ANY (to my knowledge) of my local offerings, I send them my standard spiritual counseling/consulting services list.

And it is this last bit that recently bothered a member of my local community. Both scenario A and B-2 represent requests not in line with the nature of our current relationship. And because of that, I am less inclined to either make time in my already full schedule or offer one-on-one face time w/o some form of payment.

When I reach out to others, I try to be careful when asking for some of their precious time. For example, I am really happy with my current medical doctor, chiropractor, intuitive healer and massage therapist. And I have a warm relationship with every single one of them. But I would not dare just call them up and ask for some of their time without expecting to pay them.

I also have several very close friends who are fairly well known, extremely talented and even busier than I am. And even knowing that they *love* me, I am very careful with taking up too much of their time.

Hell, even in my family we ask, “Is this a good time?” when we call.

Hour GlassI don’t know. Maybe I *could* be a bit more accessible. But then I ask you this? What do I drop to make this a reality? Do I drop the time I dedicate to my full time students and initiates? Do I drop the time I set aside to check in with my colleagues and elders? Do I drop the time I set aside for teaching, counseling and writing? Do I drop the time I set aside for self-care and self-nurturing? Do I drop my business or my plethora of medical appointments? Or do I cease the methodologies and processes that allow me to continue to work while facing several long-term chronic illnesses? Because dropping something currently on my plate is what I would have to do to be more accessible.

The bottom line is this … I am not trying to be elitist or arrogant. I am trying to make sense of an already very full life that has several real physical and energetic limits. So I am truly sorry if the person from B-2 above was disappointed.Note 1. But your potential or very real disappointment is not my metric in deciding how to manage my life.

In my mission statement, I state the following.

My mission is …
To share my gifts.
To actively participate in my own evolution.
To acknowledge divine mystery.
To experience the joy, sweetness and beauty of life.
To be willing to touch and be touched by the journeys of my loved ones.
To be grounded in the present moment with an open heart and mind.
To engage in radical self care.

This is my metric. And this … is my boundary.

Katrina

1. To be truthful, I did offer a free phone call for us to discuss exactly what she was looking for from me. But I suspect that because I listed my prices for spiritual counseling and consults, she was disinclined to go further.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Wed, 08/13/2008 - 11:08am.

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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 5 hours 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 days 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 3 days 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 days 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