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A year and a day ago I threw away my comfort zone and left the security of a position I knew I could keep for a five-week challenge to see if I was fit to be a flight attendant. I was both exhilarated and terrified, and believe me when I tell you most of the messages I received in the week preceding my departure from my department on the ground were not encouraging. A lot of people doubted I would make it, and I almost didn’t go, but it had been something I’d been pushing toward for over 6 years. I needed to know.
For over a month I navigated the cutthroat environment with my head down and my eyes forward, stepping out and finding non-industry people near our hotel when I needed to breathe. I studied, I started working out, and I learned through immersion to be completely alone. Sure, I had a few friends, but they were taking their own journeys respectively.
On graduation day, it was still just me. Sure, Hubby was waiting for me when i got home with a big hug and a celebratory dinner, but at the moment I was given my first set of wings the only person there with me was the one responsible for getting me through it. Me. Quite egregiously, I had assumed that day that the hardest part of my journey was over, but it was just the first step.
For the last year I have learned a lot about life and about myself. I have learned to be independent and how to speak up for my needs. There is not a single relationship in my life that has not been touched and reshaped by the experience, but the ones that have survived the transformation have been fortified by a newfound purpose and confidence that I have thing to offer and a right to not settle somewhere I’m unhappy. I have learned to adapt and be transient. I have learned to be fluid but firm. I have learned to be present even when I am flying across the country.
A year ago I was reminded that my life is not stagnant or restricted. It is not over, and while I have lost certain opportunities I have gained others. I still have life and love to give., and it’s worth more than I ever could have imagined.
Go now, be invaluable!
It has never been planned this way, but between Yule and Brighid every year the seeds are planted for what will become the focal point of that year. Last year I interviewed for the opportunity of a lifetime, a flight attendant position with the airline I have worked for for almost a decade. I got my acceptance call on Brighid in the middle of a blizzard.
It has taken nearly a tear for me to adjust to the lifestyle change. The traveling and the service were easy. The hard lesson was one of isolation. Accustomed to the support system around me, I had to learn to get over my own inertia and face the intimidating silence of being alone.
I’ve had to handle my frustration, my sadness, my fear, and even my happiness on my own, and though it’s been one of the most difficult periods of growth I’ve ever faced, it’s given me more faith in myself as a result. Last week, after a round of cancelled plans, I walked into a poetry slam not knowing a soul and got on stage as a stranger. Taking up a chair at a table for four was a bit painful, but as the room filled people would sit and chat for a moment or two between poets, and by the time I knew it the night was over. I had done it. I had gone out alone.
From that experience came a voice from within echoing a push I’ve felt since the beginning of the year to take some big strides with my creative work. Now that I feel fulfilled and content with my career and confident in my abilities to hold my dreams in my hands and know what they feel like, I feel inspired to pursue other goals with the same passion.
Passion. The one thing that has always driven me no atter what held me back. When I’ve been sick, broke, broken, and desperate. When I’ve been fallow and lost. When I’ve been alone. Passion has always kept me pressing forward, and it is that passion that I find when I call for Brighid this Imbolc. As her fire burns within me, it fuels the passion that dries me. Her flame gives heat to my words, movement to my music, and life to my art. Last year was my year of water and fluidity. This year is my year of fire. My year of Passion.
2014. The year that changed everything. It all sounds very serious, doesn’t it. Well, it is. I know, I know, every year is about change, but 2014 brought transformative change.
With Brighid came the catalyst for the biggest career change I have ever made, and the biggest risk. The training alone was a challenge, but I rose to it, and on Ostara I earned my wings and held a star I’d been reaching for for 6 years.
WIth the change in jobs came a huge change for our household. I was based 3,000 miles away on the opposite coast, and the adjustment in all my relationships was a blow that some of them wouldn’t survive. Routines were uprooted, and we had to find complex solutions to even more complex problems. I suddenly felt very alone, and Hubby felt abandoned. As he strove for stability and reached for his other partners, I felt more and more isolated from my family, which strained an already stressful period as I adjusted to a new job that is very much a lifestyle.
By summer there were storms raging. Hubby and A split, I had completely pulled out of our D/s dynamic, and there were talks of separation. Things were seriously strained, compounded by the re-emergence of The Vanishing Act. My emotions were shot, and I withdrew. When my birthday rolled through in August I was sure I was bound to be moving on alone. Hubby seemed unwilling to see anything from my perspective and immersed in a new relationship, The Vanishing Act had done what he does best, and I felt suffocated by the weight of everything falling apart at once.
For the first time in a long time I felt helpless, hopeless, and ready to go. There’s a soul-shaking moment that passes when you no longer feel a desperate need to end your life, but have accepted it as the next step. It’s not a rash decision you can recover from just as quickly, it’s a concession that the darkness has won, and this is just what happens when you lose. I was gone. My spirit was dead for a long time, and I had no one to blame for it but myself.
Enter Autumn and a big push from the universe to be in charge of my life. I embarked on a last-ditch effort to save myself, and I began living my own life. Hubby pushed against it, but what resulted was both of us giving the ultimate ultimatum. Love me for who I am, or let me go live my life.
The season also brought a whole crew of new people to my life. Friends, love interests, and everyone in between. 2014 has brought me more new connections and strengthened connections with people I already had than I could have asked for. These wonderful souls are the reason I’m here in as close to one piece as I am. They are my tribe, my Ohana, and I would be incomplete without them.
As I pulled out of the fall with hope and optimism, 2014 gave me one last reminder that there is still a lot of work to do. A few lives connected to mine were suddenly torn apart. We had medical scares and heartbreaking developments. In addition, several of my partners also had some deep rivers to cross. Once again I felt out of my depth and drowning, but the tools I had acquired and the people who had gathered around me throughout the year had given me the strength and will to keep moving forward.
Things are still rocky. Things are still changing. 2014 was a year of questions without answer and answers spawning new questions. I still feel terribly ill-equipped to handle the war that fights, not in violent flashes like they do in the movies, but quietly under the surface of the mundane as war is apt to do. I don’t have all the information. I don’t have all the tools. I don’t have all the magic words. What I do have is Ohana. What I do have is people who love me and believe in me, who have y back no matter what happens. What I have, as i mentioned at Yule, is hope.
This year I have learned to adapt. I have learned to be away but still present. I have learned to be alone but not lost. I have learned to love and not question. At midnight tonight I won’t be with any of my loves. I won’t have a single person to kiss, but I shall be kissing each and every one of them in my heart.
2015…a year started with hope in my heart.
Go now, kiss somebody at midnight, even if it’s just in your heart.
This year has been rough, for many of us. I don’t mean ” I stubbed my toe and had to get a pretty serious ingrown toenail removed” rough; I mean “my soul got ripped from my very core and turned into mashed potatoes and taken to some sinister potluck in Hell, and had to go find it and figure out how to make it a soul again” rough. You may have noticed a lot of radio silence this year, as I’ve spent a lot of time inside myself trying to sort out what I wanted it to look like. What better time to remodel than after a pack of demons has rampaged through your inner temple and torn it to shreds from the inside out. Ok, maybe that’s a bit histrionic, but that’s what it felt like most of the time.
At Yule we are prompted to give up what no longer serves us, what harms us, and what stands in our way. We keen, we burn, we eschew what we can no longer afford to hold in our lives. People, things, sentiments, everything must go! As we say goodbye to this darkness within we invite the new light that grows with the seasons. We accept the sunlight into us to shine bright with hope and renewal, and we celebrate that we have survived the longest nights.
This year I have enough friends who have opted out of the holidays to feel it in my heart. Some have lost loved ones. Others are having health or financial hardships. Still others have just become jaded for their own personal reasons. This is not a new phenomenon, but it has been a bit more pervasive this year, but it always reminds me of my own holiday spirit and the lessons that come to be from the holidays. I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating, so excuse me while I wax a little Hallmark Special on you all.
My mom loved Christmas. Every year, without fail, we had the tree that almost grazed our high ceilings covered in lights and ornaments. We had garland, worn from years of use, strung around the beams and banisters and enough light up animatronic scenes and characters to confuse the cats enough not to touch any of them. Some years the nativity scene would be almost buried in presents, but some years it would not, but I hardly noticed.
The warmth and joy that filled our house was tangible, and it instilled in me a Christmas Spirit that goes far beyond commercial messages or expectations we place on ourselves, beyond the stress and the worry, and beyond all the jaded skepticism and religious bickering I see every day on the internet or the news. No, this Spirit is about love and togetherness. The memories we made decorating the tree have outlasted any gift I’ve ever been given. The snuggling on the couch watching Prancer and Miracle on 34th St is something I can still feel when I miss my mom around this time. The love I felt at Christmas just from the time we spent as a family is something I’ve carried with me and tried to emulate in my own family during the holidays no matter what our situation might be.
Here’s a story I have not yet told:
The second Christmas Hubby and I spent together was a bit bleak. We were i our first apartment together. I had just started having fibro issues and hadn’t worked much. All I wanted was a tree. The fake one my father in law had given us was in storage, and it was locked up until the 1st of the year because we were behind on our rent. Hubby’s grandparents had just replaced their tree, so they had an extra, which they offered to us. It was bigger than the space we had for it, and it shed like a nervous chinchilla. After an hour of measuring and furniture scooting I gave up. I was sad, but we had tried. Hubby, on the other hand, was not going to let me concede to a fake pine tree so easily.
I watched the wheels turn as he surveyed our kitchen and dining area, then we put the resulting plan to work. What we ended up with was a quarter of a tree. We had stood the base of the tree against the wall behind our kitchen table and only used the branches for the top three sides we could see. It was a bit of a stretch, but we decorated the hell out of that little patch of tree, and we laughed and sang the entire time. I knew then that there would never be a dark Christmas at our house even in the worst times. There have been years that have tested us, but we have managed to find ways to make every one special.
The point? I’m getting to it.
The point is that Yule isn’t about eradicating the darkness, it’s about finding hope and joy in the light. It’s the stars and moon at night, just as we must also embrace the shows and shade in the daytime. It’s about approach and soul building. When I eventually found my soul, it wasn’t really any different than it had been before. I merely had to scrape off a layer of negativity, pick out some things that made it seem spoiled, and put it back where it belongs. The darkness didn’t ruin it, and the light didn’t do anything but show me what was already there.
This year has been rough, and we weren’t sure we’d be able to even afford gifts for the kids. When I left work with a flight bag full of small handmade gifts I never imagined I wouldn’t make it all the way home, but a few days later I returned to California feeling deflated. I hadn’t even send cards. We just hadn’t had the money.
I put everything in a box and sent it to Hubby and his girlfriend hoping it would at least make him smile for Christmas. The rest I carried with me on trips I picked up for the time I was supposed to be home. The cards, I sent. I figured that was the end of it. Then I saw the smiles on the faces of people I saw on my trips and the happy Facebook messages from people who were surprised by my cards. I heard Hubby and Mouse’s voices when they called me after opening their gifts on Yule, and they were so full of joy that, while I was still homesick, my spirit was renewed.
Yesterday as I placed a blue and while Yule/Christmas bouquet at my mom’s headstone, full of her favorite flowers, I caught the scent of pine that rose from it and was immediately reminded that I get to spend the holidays with family I haven’t seen on Christmas in many years, that I have been able to spend the better part of this year with people who are no longer with us and that I have been able to be a part of the lives of the children in our family again.
This was my first home, and it remains a very special part of me and my Christmas heritage. When I got back to y room I set up an impromptu alter, some festive things my grandma had left as a surprise for me, and the cards Hubby had brought me on a surprise overnight visit, and my heart was immediately lighter.
Light. There it is.
Light of hope. This doesn’t mean suddenly everything is better. This doesn’t mean all the injuries we’ve sustained this year are gone. This means there is hope. This means a light has been shed on our strength and our resilience. This means a light has been shed on those around us who love us, so we know we’re not in this alone. That light means guidance and a promise that if we are growing we are alive.
Light. Light reminds us that there is more than darkness. The fact that we recognize darkness is, in part, due to the very light we hail, as we are reminded when we speak to balance.
Aloha, Light. Aloha, Darkness. Aloha Christmas.
Go now, be joyous.
I know this is a couple of weeks late, but life has a way of getting chaotic around Lammas every year.
As with any harvest festival, at Lughnasad we tend to focus on celebration and gratitude for bounty. Indeed, we should be extremely grateful for the boons bestowed upon us and celebrate the rewards of hard work. There is, however, a much more important side to this harvest. This is where we begin to tear up the plants that are no longer producing fruit in order to plant late summer crops. This is where we sort the unusable from the produce worth keeping. This is where we make decisions about what we can store and what needs to be thrown away.
We tend to be a modern culture of acquisition and fear of loss, which leads to hoarding, surplus, and waste. We do it with physical possessions, people, and emotions that no longer have a place in our lives. It’s hard to let go for fear of starving, but holding on to everything indiscriminately means risking the whole lot being spoiled or there not being enough room for what’s good and healthy. This can be a painful process. The wrong choice can be devastating, but even the right call can be tough at first.
This year has been one of, quite frankly, too many goodbyes. What started as a fruitful year all too quickly fell fallow and began to rot, and the only way to survive has been to make some terrifying sacrifices. I pared down my commitments, simplified a lot of my personal life, and cut ties with people who were detrimental to my growth. There have been deaths that touched me personally and a second chance that blossomed into a beautiful friendship only to be pulled from the ground like a weed and left for dead.
All of these things have weighed me down when there are so many things for which I should be grateful. All of these things have cast a shadow on a season that should be full of light, music, and celebration. There is too much rain, too little sunshine, and no way to know what will survive enough to see me through the dark season. I imagine this is how Lugh felt throwing a funereal feast for his mother who became an agricultural goddess. Imagine mourning the loss of a parent while exalting her gift to the Mother Earth and her people.
As anyone who suffers from depression knows, there’s a constant dichotomy at play. We must try to keep pushing forward, We must try to keep finding joy in the every day. We must feel our sorrows, move on from them, and keep looking for sunshine. On Lughnasad I am reminded that this is only the first harvest. There is more to come. There is more to eschew, but there is also more to grow and store in my heart and spirit. Not everything is lost. Not everything has dies. Not everything is gone, and that which is probably needs to be. These fields will not be fallow forever unless I stop cultivating.
Go now, cultivate and know the sun is shining, even if you can’t see it.
Just this last week my home state of Pennsylvania legalized marriage equality, and now that both of the states I call home have done so, I feel the push to chime in with an experience I’ve had in both cases. As someone who identifies as pansexual, and as someone who happens to already be in a legal, heterosexual, open marriage, I have come under a lot of fire for supporting the cause as anything but an ally. Let’s break that down…
Pansexual: Yes, I have love and attraction to anyone, anyone, who catches that attention, no matter how they identify. Why is it that because a cis male is included in that I am devoid of caring about the opportunity to marry any of the other possible pairings? We must stop the labeling, the arguing about labeling, and the snobbery and isolation that arise from that labeling.
Married: Ok, so it’s true. I’m already legally married, and I don’t plan on that changing in my life. Does that mean I couldn’t have wanted to marry someone who didn’t legally apply? I love cookies and cream ice cream, but does that mean I wouldn’t like the opportunity to choose Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, which I also happen to love? Why does the fact that my ultimate legal choice was an acceptable one negate this as a victory for my heart?
Poly: This is something I’ve struggled with within the LGBTQ community for years. In the opinion of some people, aligning with the poly community means a step back for all the work the LGBTQ community has done to convince the world that they can be just as committed to each other as heterosexual relationships can. While I understand this very conservative opinion, I have to ask why heterosexual marriages don’t have to prove the same? Why aren’t accepted social norms put to the same litmus tests as alternative lifestyles? Oh right, because it’s more acceptable to cheat on a heterosexual spouse than to be honest and open. I also realize that poly families have a long way to go in that regard, and that our struggle for acceptance over prejudice and mockery is in a very young stage.
The truth is, it shouldn’t matter if this step forward benefits me in any way or not. It shouldn’t even matter that I know people personally who it benefits. The only thing that should matter is that this is the right thing for people. Period. This entire post has been an excuse to say this: Congratulations, people! This is how life should be, and we need to stop worrying about who does and doesn’t have the right to celebrate life.
Go now. Celebrate equality and love!
This Ostara, despite weather in the low 40s, Hubby and I attended the first Ostara ritual we’ve been to in, I’m ashamed to admit it, a couple of years. When the invitation came through I felt it was something we had to make happen. Our family has been extremely blessed this year, and I needed to offer some of that fertile energy back to the earth to show my gratitude.
“Spring”, the High Priest started as I stood in the circle on a close-to-freezing March afternoon and tried to wrangle the sun’s warmth to sustain me, “is a work in progress. It’s not summer. It’s not there yet.” Nothing could have exemplified his meaning quite like my own breath visible in the air around me, when just days before I had been in sandals and a skirt eating ice cream in the park.
His words struck a very strong chord this week. After five weeks of training and a week of recuperating, I started a job that has been a personal goal for over six years, to become a flight attendant. I knew I had all the training, but I was terrified. Would I know it all at the right time? What if I really messed up? Would I be ok? The confidence that had pushed me onward in training quickly deteriorated around me the night before my first day, that morning, and well into my first flight. Just before landing my crewmember looked at me and said, “Breathe. You’re doing just fine”. The ice in my nerves melted, and as we got through each flight over the next few days I began to feel more comfortable.
On my last day of the trip I made a mistake that I considered pretty big. As much as my crew told me it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, I beat myself up about it for the rest of the day. The ice returned, but so did the words from our ritual. A work in progress. I, too, am a work in progress. I am not yet the flight attendant I will be. The nerves will subside, but they also may return sometimes, and that’s OK. I am OK, and I will continue to be OK. I’ll get there, but the only way to do so is to keep moving forward.
The summer will come. My summer will come. Hail, and welcome.
Go now, push forward.
I’m choosing to end this series with the one who has been both the beginning and the end of all my stories, my husband. Again, this is not a new story to many of you, but humour me anyway.
When I met him I had just started a new job. I was seeing a few people, and while I cared for each of them I wasn’t interested in a committed, monogamous relationship. It was on a trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with one of those men that I met the man who would become my husband. He is the cornerstone of our family, our tribe, our Ohana.
He was working for a booth that sold dragon puppets that sat on your shoulder, and he lured me into a conversation using raffle tickets as bait. He was cute, and I was still unaccustomed to being flirted with, so I followed, my confused date following behind us. After convincing me to wave a flag in the parade and using that time to both question me about myself and critique my flag waving, the raffle began, and he was gone. I bought myself a cute little dragon puppet and tried not to look disappointed as we headed for the car. Before we left the gates I stopped off to use the Privvy where I tried desperately to push him from my mind as just another “could have been”, but something just wouldn’t let me leave it that way.
I told my date to wait where he was and took off running towards the puppet booth where I made up some story about losing my debit card. It wasn’t until a year ago that I told him I had gone back just for him. We struck up a conversation. I was nervous. So nervous, in fact, that I failed to notice when my bodice stopped functioning. I was essentially topless. “I’m sorry,” he said, eventually unable to focus on the work he was doing, “but it’s really hard to be a gentleman with you like…like that.” After that I couldn’t not take his number. Unfortunately, I took the wrong one, and it took me a week to figure out the problem. On our first date he bought me a pair of blue horns and a bottle of mead, which I had to open with a screw and a hammer because I didn’t have a corkscrew. Within weeks he was spending every night with me, within months we were handfasted. It was eerie how much we had in common, down to some of the same stuff, and how often we had most likely crossed paths in years previous.
When we decided to be poly we knew we were embarking on something big. We both knew it was the right decision, and we both breathed a sigh of relief at finally being able to express ideas we’d each held for years, but we knew there would be growing pains. We knew there would be mistakes on both sides, and we knew it would be the biggest test our relationship had faced to date. We were right. We fought. We exposed fears, insecurities, and emotional roadblocks of every kind, but we kept pushing forward. We fought some more. It strained friendships, relationships, and for a long time we were that couple that brought tension to every social gathering like a side-dish. It cost us more than we could have imagined, and it was almost the end of us. Almost.
Ultimately we came out of the fire more closely bonded than ever. The people who were truly our tribe rallied around us, and our families were able to see us stand tall as a team. Whenever we have issues now it is those moments that we remember, that first victory that inspires us to keep trying, because those were the fires of truth that made us one. No handfasting or legal document could have done that. These new issues are never actually new. They are simply echoes of the first, and they are generally fixed with the same tools. I have learned a lot of lessons from my relationship with Hubby, and I continue to learn from him.
I have learned how to communicate. I have learned better ways to control my emotional responses. It doesn’t always work, but he has learned to try to see why I respond as severely as I do sometimes. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever think I am. Through sickness, money troubles, losing our apartment, and loss, we have thrived as a couple. In times of trial, we have proven to be each other’s strongest ally. Even when we have been against each other, the love we have has inspired us to fight for the life we have built together. I have learned what it means to be humble, what it means to compromise, and what it means to forgive. I have eschewed the I-would-nevers and the expectations of love and marriage that I held onto for so many years. I have learned to accept that I don’t always have the answers and that sometimes we’re just floundering together in the sea of life, and that’s ok. I have learned what it means to lean on each other and how to carry myself knowing it doesn’t mean I’ve been abandoned. I have learned when to let someone I love fail or hurt, because his experience and lessons are not mine to feel. I have learned the definition of unconditional love. I have learned what it means to have someone’s support no matter what. I know that on any path my journey takes I will carry the love and faith of my husband, even if he doesn’t understand or agree with it. I have learned compersion and true happiness for another human being. I have learned to accept that I am a lovable, capable, beautiful human being who deserves to be accepted and cherished by someone who loves her as much as she loves him. I have learned to trust in love, magick, and hope above all other things, and when even those things fail, to trust in myself. I have learned what it means to build a life with someone instead of just living a life with someone.
I have learned what it means to be Ohana.
To my Hubby. Aloha nui loa.
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I generally believe that every day is a change to start over. Every day is an opportunity to be better than I was the day before. There is no reason to wait until the first of the year to improve life. So what is our preoccupation with New year’s Resolutions? The first of the year gives us a clean slate. It’s like a zero on the timeline from which to count forward. What we forget, however, is that even death is not a tabula rasa. This is why so many resolutions fail. In order to grow and pursue our greatest potential we must accept accountability for past decisions, learn from them, and make peace with them. For example, I can’t expect to jump into a new workout routine and nail it on the first try. I must identify why I have failed in the past and learn how to pass former benchmarks. I must also accept my surroundings, my financial capabilities, my time management realities, and anything else that may throw my new goal off course, not to make excuses for failure but to make a strategy for success.
This year the New Year falls on a new moon in Capricorn. What this means is a very earth heavy new moon energy with the added optimism of a whole world of people celebrating a new start. This is the perfect time to dig deep, plant the seeds for the coming year, and pushing ahead with goals that may have fallen into stasis or become unmovable. This moon also pushes us to make this new start with integrity and authenticity. I want to look healthy and feel better about myself, not, I want to look like an airbrushed supermodel. It inspires us to pursue the future in the spirit of passion rather than one of fear. I want to lose weight so I can participate in a Disney Marathon, not, I want to lose weight because I’m afraid I’ll never find someone who thinks I’m beautiful.
The alignments of this new moon center strongly around transformation and self liberation. Most of our resolutions fail because of self-sabotage. We constantly compare ourselves and our lives to past experiences and limitations we’ve either placed on ourselves or allowed other to place upon us. The task here is to decide what’s important, what’s worth what you’ll spend on it as the wheel turns, and how to fit it in to the life you’re already living.
What will aid us in this all of this? Perspective. Attitude. Balance. We cannot take on these new tasks already defeated, guarded, or at limited intensity. We must be able to give them our all with the firm belief that we will be victorious. We must be able to identify the walls that have trapped us for too long, realize that the mortar that holds them together is nothing but fear and self-doubt, break them down, and begin to build the roads that lead us to the rest of our brilliant lives. Without this new light on life is the only thing that will get us through the darkness between planting our new seeds and having an orchard of fruit-bearing trees at our disposal, because what Capricorn teaches us is that this is going to take time, but oh will it be worth it if we can stay on target.
My work for the night is deeply personal as I try to learn to focus, not on what I want to manifest in the coming yea,r but how to blaze the paths that get me there. Those things have been manifested for a long time. I just need to find them.
Blessed be, and Happy New Year!
Go now, celebrate and start forward!