Feeling Lighter

Last night I had a little remembrance for my mom. I gathered some herbs and a very nice heart with “always” engraved on it and put them all in a nice bag and buried it in a small pot. I said a small prayer and I cried a little but I could feel the Goddess with me. This morning I feel lighter. Like a dark shadow has been lifted. I used to remember my mom with a heavy heart and now I feel I think of her just as I did when she was alive.

My wife sat with me as I buried my token. It was very emotional for me. When my mom died she donated her body to science. I didn’t get to bury her. I didn’t get to spread her ashes. I don’t have a memory of laying her to rest. I didn’t think that bothered me until I woke up this morning. I feel like I have closure. It had been so long, but part of me felt as though she would come back. I never returned her to the earth. Even though her body is still at the university, I feel like I buried her spirit. Does that make sense? Yesterday I felt like I finally let go of my mom.

MotherEarth

When the Goddess is with me I can truly feel her. My problems are still my problems, my decisions are still my decisions, my actions are still my actions. But she’s there with me. Watching over me. Guiding me. I know my relationship with the Goddess is still new, but I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. She doesn’t expect anything from me and I don’t expect anything from her. Sometimes, I just like having someone to talk to.

I feel like it’s hard to explain–this connection I have with something bigger than me. But when I wake up with light in my heart I’m excited to see where this connection will take me. I’ve accepted that I’m not experienced. It’s been less than a year since I started my journey. But no matter how I practice or what I do, I feel like I’m doing the right thing for myself. And that’s an amazing feeling to have.

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A Day of Remembering

A year ago today I lost the most important woman of my life. I realize that it’s okay to be sad today. People have been telling me that for the past week. But I don’t want to be sad today. I want to remember my mother as the amazing, joyful, brilliant woman she was. Last month I started writing down the memories I have of her. Most of them are silly. Some of them are sad. But all of them remind me that for the 22 years I had her, she was the best mom in the world. I want to share some of those memories with all of you. I want to keep the memory of her alive, even when the rest of her isn’t.

Little Me and Mom

Six Flags was one of my mom’s favorite places to go during the summer. We went with another woman who had kids which meant there were two adults and five children. To make sure we all stayed together and never got lost we all wore matching shirts. I remember waiting all spring to get that shirt because the second we got it meant we would be going to Six Flags soon.

Once during the summer softball season Mom and I didn’t want to go to our games. I don’t know why. Probably because we wanted to stay home and eat Taco Bell and watch Real Housewives reruns. We went out on the back porch for an hour doing a “rain dance” so our games would get rained out. They both did.

High School Me and Mom

 

For my 13th birthday Maroon 5 was coming into town. I wanted to go so bad but it was downtown and I didn’t know anyone who could afford to go with me. Two weeks before the concert she surprised me with three tickets-one for me, one for her, and one for any friend I wanted to come with me.

I remember all of the Thanksgivings we’ve ever had together. Mom always wore her pajamas all day because “the china is fancy enough”. She would wear one of the 5 sweatshirts she had since ’95. I would always make mashed potatoes and the turkey was done when mom was too drunk to care anymore. Every year ended with the same thing–a spoon on the nose contest.

Mom Spoon Balancing

When I was going through my angsty phase I was making fun of her because she got mosquito bites and I didn’t. I’m sure I put her through more that day because she turned around and snapped “You know why mosquitoes don’t bite you Catherine? It’s because you’re bitter!”

Every year we went to a family friend’s house for New Year’s Eve. Every year mom indulged in hot apple cider. One year she indulged a little too much and decided she would get up on the coffee table and try to dance like Fergie.

Dress Shopping Me and MomI remember when you took me to get my wedding dress. The first one I tried on was awful. I knew in the dressing room that it would absolutely not be the dress I wanted. It looked like I was wearing a tablecloth. When I came out to show mom she started crying. She couldn’t stop telling me how beautiful it looked. When I told her I hated it she said, immediately “Well, good, because you look like you’re wearing a tablecloth.”

After the second time her cancer came back mom opted for a single mastectomy. She was out of work a lot longer than the first surgery and the recovery was more intense so she got used to never wearing a bra. On her first day back at work she called me at the end of the day. She had yoga and needed me to bring her a bra, because she forgot to put one on before she left for work.

Mom GraduationMy mom has always been an inspiration to me. She’s super-mom. At age 50 she went back to school to get her Master’s Degree in library science so she could be a school librarian like she always wanted. She worked for her degree during her illness, during her full time job, during two daughters being away at college. I was so proud of her when she graduated but I was so disappointed in myself because I was contemplating dropping out. When I made the decision to leave school I was terrified to hear her say she was disappointed in me. Instead she told me, “You are the only person who knows what’s right for you. As long as you are happy, you are making me proud.”

I will never forget you, mom. You are with me every day and you will be a part of my heart forever. You taught me how to love, how to accept myself, how to know when to say no, and how to stand up for what I believe in. I can only hope to be 1/10th the mother you were. Sleep easy, Alice. I hope you’re enjoying Wonderland.

 

 

Reconnecting

There’s something that’s been on my mind for a few days now. The more I’ve been blogging, the more I feel connected to my spirituality. It seemed strange to me at first, something as man-made as the internet helping me reconnect with nature and the world around me. Complete strangers helping me feel closer to myself. I’ve always been the kind of person to say “I don’t need anyone, I can get through this on my own”. Only in the past few years have I been allowing anyone in to offer advice. And still, my wife has to offer, I can’t ask. So why, in the past few weeks, have I been asking people I’ve never even met to be a part of my journey? Why have I been feeling so in tune with the world around me when I sit down at my laptop?

When there’s a problem I have to work through I first turn to my past experiences. How have I handled something like this in the past? What’s similar enough for me to relate this to? When I look back like that I know I can get through whatever I’m going through. But with Wicca, it’s different. I don’t have any past experiences. I don’t know what’s similar. If I have questions, nothing in me has the answer. Books can only take me so far. I have the information but I don’t have the experiences.

That’s where all of you come in. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. Thank you for offering advice from a more personal level than just what you read in a book. Thank you for making me feel like I have answers to the questions that spring up out of nowhere. Tomorrow will be one whole year since my mom died. I was dreading it. Now I’m not. I’d like to give a lot of that credit to the people who reached out to me in the past few weeks. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone.

Inspiring Monday

Let’s start a new tradition, shall we? We all know Mondays are hard. Maybe it’s your first day back at work after the weekend. Maybe you have to go back to school. Maybe the friends and family you visited with have to return home. But let’s all agree that Mondays give everyone a general feeling of yucky-ness. So, what can we do?

The Return of MondayMondays happen to be my most productive days of the week. I get my longest Honey-Do-Lists on Mondays. I’m also the most well rested on Mondays. Mostly, I know Mondays are hard so I work double time to combat that. “But how in the world do you do that? Inquiring minds want to know!” Well dear readers, I’m so glad you asked! Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Chocolate always helps. Remember that. But seriously, how do you fight “the Mondays”? Simple. Get inspired.

There’s a place in my home that I like to call my inspiration corner. Okay, really it’s just a folder on my laptop with pictures and files that help to lift my spirits but that’s not as catchy. One of my files is a list of things to do when I’m feeling sluggish or down. Every Monday I’d like to share a few of those things with you. Some are Wicca related, some are not, but all of them have helped me through some rough patches. Let’s get started today.

Curved TreeGo outside. This is the easiest thing to do and probably the most helpful. Even if just for a few minutes spend some time outside. My favorite time of day is around noon when the sun’s at its peak and it shines right down on you.  This is the time of day when I feel most connected to the Goddess. Being outside really lifts me up. Draw some energy from the sun. Ground yourself. Release your negative energy into the breeze and let it float away. It doesn’t have to be at noon. It can be at whatever time you feel most connected to. Just make it a point to get outside on Mondays.

Bake. When I was younger I used to bake when I was angry or upset. It always calmed me down and made me happy. It gave me something to focus on. It gave me a goal to reach. It let me channel my energy into something productive. Plus you get to eat all those yummy treats! Remember what I mentioned earlier about chocolate? The best thing about baking though, for me, is doing it for someone else. Bring cookies into work. Make brownies for spouse, roommates, parents, or siblings. Bake enough cupcakes to share with the block. It doesn’t matter if you’re popping pre-made cookie dough into the oven or if you’re making a seven layer cake entirely from scratch. Having a task, a fun task, can certainly bring you up.

Meditate. This is more for my Wiccan brothers and sisters out there but it’s something I did even before I started my journey. Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and ease some tension. You can reflect on your goals for the day and the tasks at hand. Ask the Goddess to join you in your meditation. Let her guide you into relaxation. Ask for her help in beating the blues. When I speak to the Goddess my heart feels instantly lighter, my path immediately more focused and my goals unequivocally attainable. Meditation will always erase your Monday Blues.

Just remember that Mondays are just another day of the week. You’ve gotten through them before and you’ll get through them again! Check back next week for some more helpful tips and feel free to share some of your own!

 

Let’s Get to Know Each Other

My favorite thing about blogging is that people are so open and honest. They are so willing to share everything about them. You can really get to know someone by reading their blog and I love getting to know people.  But I feel like even though you know someone’s hopes and dreams and fears and goals, there are so many more little things that really make up a person. So I want to share some of those little things about myself, as well as the big ones I’m already sharing. It might seem a little superficial at first but if you don’t know a person’s favorite color or their quirky traits or the reason they always put their left shoe on first how well do you really know them? I hope I get to know all of you a little better as well.

Baby ElephantI love elephants. I think they’re beautiful, majestic creatures. I have a collection of little elephant figures in my bedroom. I have about a billion elephants pendants for my assorted necklace chains. I have a few elephant rings and and elephant charm on my Pandora bracelet. In high school I did a presentation on elephant poaching. everything about elephants makes me smile. When I’m sad, they make me happy. When I’m angry, the make me peaceful. When I’m panicking, they calm me down. The first thing my wife ever bought me was an elephant stuffed animal. Her name is Theodora and she loves to travel. I have always had this connection to these fantastic animals and I always will.

PuddlesI still sleep with a stuffed animal. Yep. I’m 23 and I can’t go to sleep without Puddles. That’s a picture of Puddles. Actually, that’s what she looked like 17 years ago. When I was in kindergarten I loved that PBS show Arthur. I really wanted the dog, Pal. My nana looked everywhere to find me a Pal doll and couldn’t find one anywhere. Puddles was the closest thing she could find. And ever since my 6th birthday I’ve cuddled her every night. Except for my wedding night. I do have boundaries.

It’s the little things that mean a lot to me. And I’d love to know the little things about you!

 

 

Relaxing is Hard Work

Yes, you read that right. This week was supposed to be my week of relaxation but it was hard to really settle down. It’s rare for me to be extremely productive but it’s been so long that I’ve not done anything I guess I forgot. I know my mood will be picking up as the weather changes but lately I’ve been extremely uninterested in the things I used to do for fun. I’m on season 3 of Buffy now and I haven’t even be able to enjoy it as much as normal.

When my dad was visiting I had to take down my altar. It was strange not having it up. It felt like there was a little piece of me missing. Tomorrow my wife will be working all day so I’m planning to have some serious Goddess time as I put it back together. She took me to Illuminations, the healing arts center I go to for all my supplies, for my birthday and I got a lot of new herbs and some nice trinkets. I finally have my earth element for my altar. I’m excited to display it. I also got the go ahead to take over another shelf for my books.

Bookshelf

I feel like I’m finally ready to start doing some rituals, maybe some spells, who knows. The more I get connected with others the more I feel like I don’t have to do things so “by the book”. I hope that makes sense.It’s been so frustrating to have all these tools at my disposal and not be able to do anything. I guess I’m still looking for a place to start.

Probably that’s why I’ve been having a very non-relaxing week of relaxation. My brain feels like uber-mush. I want to learn more and grow more so I can fully appreciate the Goddess. I feel like I’m growing out of the “beginner” stage but I haven’t quite gotten to “advanced”. What do you do in the middle? As always, I’m asking advice from the people I’ve gotten to know slightly through my blogging. You guys always seem to know just what to say.

So maybe I can try my week of relaxation again next week. We’ll see how well it goes then.