Tag Archives: Wishes

Two Hundred Posts Later…,

I don’t really enjoy talking about my little blog.

I’d rather just tell the stories.

Stories are powerful.

They can shape the world, if we let them.

For almost five years, I have been telling stories about that time when the gods of the ancient world began to make themselves known among the people again, and when those people rose up and fought for recognition and equal standing among the monotheists and the atheists who had for so long shaped the world in their own image.

When I started this blog, back in April of 2012, there was a certain optimism in the air, a feeling that real progress was being made in this world, and so much of it by those who had previously moved quietly through their lives, without a voice of their own.

This wasn’t a new feeling, mind you.  I’d felt it growing, very slowly at first, yet gaining momentum, for many years.  I know it was growing before I was even aware of it, before I was even around to be aware of it.  We, as a culture and as individuals, are just beginning to wake up, in bits and pieces, to some rather unexpected realities concerning ourselves and our place in the universe.

Such awakenings can be difficult.

We cling to the fantasies we have built up around ourselves.

We hold fast to the familiar and push back when our expectations are threatened.

In 2016, a great many of us pushed back, HARD!

But such reversals are common in stories like ours, and while they may leave deep scars, they serve a deeper purpose in the narrative.

I don’t feel the same optimism in the air that I felt when I started this blog.

I feel determination.  And when it comes to actually getting things done, I’ll take an ounce of dogged perseverance over any amount of simple optimism you can muster.

I have written something on the order of One-Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand words…,

Including the ones you are reading right now.

There were several times, along the way, when I thought I was done.

Now, I know that I am only getting started.

But I want to do more.

Mine is one small voice in a rising chorus, and if that’s all I am ever able to contribute, I know that I can be satisfied with that.

But in addition to hitting my 200th post, it is my birthday this week, so I’m thinking big.

Here then is my wish list for the years to come.

I’d like to see a free counseling service for people who follow alternative religions, like a crisis hotline, manned by folks from within the pagan community, and geared toward helping those who are drawn toward pagan beliefs to navigate their own emotions, as well as dealing with family and friends who may not understand.

I’d like to see specialized legal counseling and litigation services made available, specifically geared toward helping people from our religious communities deal with issues such as workplace harassment, adoption and custody negotiation.

And finally (and perhaps most ambitiously), I’d like to see a school.  Not some knockoff Cherry Hill Seminary masters program, but instead a continuing education program, focusing upon an array of topics, some of interest to general audiences, but many geared toward our specific faith communities.  Offerings such as: Basic Wilderness Survival, Blacksmithing, Urban Herb Gardening, Aromatherapy, Book Binding, and Geomancy.

It’s a big list and I don’t know how to make any of those things happen.

But I want to try.

And I’m going to need help.

We’re going to have to tap into all that determination that I feel welling up around us.

We’re going to have to push forward, together, to reshape the world in an image we can all be happy with.  And I’m going to be reaching out to many of you.

So don’t be surprised.

Be ready.

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Filed under About this Blog, Culture, Religion, Spiritual Journey

Let them eat cake!

Birthday Candles

Thanksgiving leftovers have taken over the fridge, and the haphazard stack of holiday catalogs, which I have piled in the corner, threatens to topple over at any moment (at serious risk to life and limb).  A new December is dawning with the same radical shifts between “Where did I put the sunscreen?” and “I stepped outside and my teeth shattered.” that are so familiar to us here in North Texas.

The signs are right and the stars are in alignment — it must be my Birthday.

Last year, when I wrote about my general stance toward birthdays, I really thought that I was done with the topic.  And yet here I am again, a year later, and I find that my typically blasé attitude may have softened, just a bit.

I enjoy holidays, festivals and feast-days of all sorts because they follow a cyclical momentum through the passing of the year.  I appreciate the transitions from one season into the next which these occasions usually celebrate, because in no small part, they speak of a kind of progress, which we can see, share and experience together.

My birthdays, at least once I was old enough for the training wheels to come off, have always seemed to focus on personal progress.  “What have you done in the last year?  What have you accomplished?  You’ve only got so many good years left, so when are you going to make something of yourself?”

As the years pass, this thing that was supposed to be a celebration of living, feels more and more like an indictment on what I haven’t done.

Because we live in a world that revolves around getting things done.

At work, I am judged on how many people I manage help in a day, a week, a month.

And it doesn’t stop when I go home at the end of the day, because every minute of free time represents a choice I must make between household chores, personal projects, leisure activities, and the all too elusive freedom which comes with sleep.

These days, when someone asks me what I do with my spare time, I find myself wanting to deflect attention elsewhere, because my head is filled with a laundry list of unfinished projects, and no one wants to hear about things you haven’t done.

Throwing another birthday into the mix just adds that much more pressure.

“Damn Shaun, seems like that remodeling project will NEVER be done!”
“Hey, didn’t I read that you were building SOMETHING in your backyard?”
“No wife, no children, and you’re HOW old now?!”
“You really should spend MORE time painting/sculpting/writing…,”

Gah!

“So what is it about this birthday that is different?” you may ask.

It’s hard to say for sure, but with certain new influences in my life, I find myself considering things from a fresh perspective.  And if I were to ask myself a question on this birthday, it should not be, “What have I accomplished in the last year?” but rather, “How many good days did I have?”

Now somehow, I doubt that even the most ‘successful’ of us pass from this life with the satisfaction of having accomplished all of their goals.  I could live another forty-something years, or I might die tomorrow.  And what difference would it make how many things I checked off the great ‘to-do’ list, if I was so busy trying to get things done that I didn’t enjoy the time I had – be it days or decades.

We are told, from childhood, that we should aspire to greatness.  And there is nothing wrong with having goals and dreams.  But neither should the attainment of those things be at the expense of the ‘now’.  I think there must something wrong with a culture that rates accomplishment over joy.

So, how many good days did I have in the last year?

Not as many as I would like, to be sure, but some of those good ones were simply amazing, and I’m hopeful that they will lead to still more in the coming year.

And bad days?

Yeah, there were a few more of those than I might have wished for.

However, if I have one regret this birthday, it is not about the few bad days, but rather the vast majority of them that just slipped by, unnoticed and unremembered.

And if I had one wish…, and there is that traditional spell which parents still remember and share with even their smallest children:  Once a year, on the day of your birth, your breath against the candles’ flame, to send your hearts desire aloft in tendrils of smoke…,

…if I had one wish it would be that I finally learn to better appreciate the time as it passes, and to find the joys which may only be found in ‘the now’.

And yes, there are still things I want to accomplish, projects I need to complete, and goals I have yet to reach.  But I will try not to punish myself, if another year finds them still unfulfilled.  And if anyone else wants to judge me for my lack of material accomplishment…,

Well, it’s my Birthday after all — so let them eat cake!

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Filed under About this Blog, Culture, Holidays, Magic, Modern Life, Philosophy, Spiritual Journey