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Ego and love.

19 April 2010 C.E.
Approximately 8:00 p.m.


The surrender of “ego” is not dissolution of Self. Though the word translates from the Latin as “I”, it is but a component of Self – a part of the whole being which, despite being necessary and even invaluable, must surrender to Spirit in order have its needs most truly met.

It is often surprisingly difficult for individuals to realize this fact; my own struggle with ego has been formidable. Nevertheless, it is an inescapable truth that one’s ego may only find its completion when placed in service to the Spirit.

What is this “Spirit”? For purposes of this composition, let us define it as being our essential connection to the creative force. It is both comprised of and connected to what may be called “the Divine” – the essential, life-sustaining energy that makes every single aspect of this existence possible.

When one surrenders the ego to Spirit, one is simply saying, “I am fulfilled in my Self and by my Self.” No more or less is needed but this simple understanding, for it is the recognition of Self as complete that opens the door to the Divine. By allowing the ego to feel the inherent vitality and true contentment that exists within the infinity of Spirit, one enables the completion of the Self to occur naturally by the simple expedient of telling the ego: “This is what you have sought ever since you first came into being. This is the best and surest place to find love without any conditions and with complete acceptance. This is where you can be guaranteed a place no matter what you have done in the past and regardless of what your future contains. You will never fail, falter or fall in this place, because it is completely your home. You are loved.”

We all want to be loved in some way. Even if we choose not to pursue a romantic involvement, we suffer without gaining love in other ways. We look to our families and/or friends for giving and receiving affection. Even if we have no other person in our lives at all (a very rare occurrence these days!) we seek acceptance in and by our immediate environment (I am thinking particularly of a cloistered spiritual devotee or a hermit). We seek it from ourselves as well, and often most of all. Many people struggle their entire lives to accept the events and circumstances surrounding them.

The ultimate basis and source of our greatest joy is love. The sense of union we experience when we feel love is something unmatched. It is a feeling of being free of expectation, free of judgment, full of understanding and steeped in simple acceptance. There is no condition upon which it relies, for it exists apart from any reason. Reason is born of logic; logic exists as a result of structure and condition.

Once the ego recognizes this love and accepts its embrace, there will be no worry about failing to walk a path or being inadequate for one’s purpose. There is but the calm realization that one’s purpose exists as being precisely suited to and for the Self, and that the Self choose precisely as it will to fill that purpose. There is no such thing as “incompetence” or “failure” where Spirit is concerned.

Crossposted from my Dreamwidth account.

Progress.

The past few days have been eventful, but if you read my last entry, you'll remember my mentioning that I wanted to write either a poem or an essay and memorize another poem.  I haven't memorized another poem yet -- I'll work on that a bit today and see what progress I can make on a short one, since I haven't exactly had the best week -- but I did compose a short poem.  Though it's the first I've completed in a while, it turned out to be more capable than I had previously expected.  It's too bad it was so expensive.

I would post it here, but as it's one that I may or may not submit for publication, I think I will wait.  Those of you who see this entry in other places (i.e., where it is imported and/or cross-posted), let me know if you believe that selective internet posting precludes the possibility of a publisher obtaining FNA rights of any kind (electronic or otherwise).  I may yet post it up here at a later date, but for now I will at least tell you the title.

Fear.  It kills us.

Have you ever felt the pulse of anxiety?  Have you ever perceived the erosion of a boundary that was only partly conscious, one that you created for yourself from a mixture of fear and perceived inadequacy?  Have you ever been so afraid that others wouldn't accept you that you hid yourself away, even going so far as to try to re-create a childhood feeling that made you feel as though you could reach for some level of understanding with those you love at home, not even recognizing that you're only making your family wonder when you will wake up to the fact that they love you as you are?

What's more, have you ever done all of this and then somehow, in the midst of the confusion, lost the potential for a friendship because they perceived you were doing something you weren't? 

I have.  That was Wednesday.

I'm hurt, I'm cramping, and I'm working through the last vestiges of my anger.  It's falling away now because I no longer feel I need it to gird myself against the pain, but I can't help but come back to the fact that just because I was debating whether I needed someone of like mind to talk to in my neighborhood, I got accused of trying to invade someone's space.   Once I work past the pain of that misunderstanding, I'll be fine, but I don't know that the potential for friendship with them will remain.  I wish it could, and I'd be willing for my part, but I can't speak for them. 

I guess some things just aren't meant to happen.  I just pray that my emerging friendship with someone who also knows this person will remain intact.  I have no reason to believe it won't.  It's only that simple things can sometimes get blown completely out of proportion.  I can guarantee, though, that there will be no reason for any more confusion.

Blessings to all.  More later.
Crossposted from my Dreamwidth account.

Goals.

In my last entry, you will recall my mentioning that I have a particular admiration of Bards and their tradition.  Since writing the entry, I have considered just how I might best train my memory even as I begin my studies (the continuation of which is pending due to my not yet making it to a bookstore -- more on that later).  I believe that weekly goals will be the best means of helping me focus on my training while giving me ample time to complete each goal.

This week's goal was to memorize one of my own poems and complete at least one book review.  I have actually exceeded that by completing two reviews and memorizing a short two-stanza poem.  The reviews have not yet been made public, but will be shortly -- as for the poem, I've decided I'll post it here.



Mourning

Twilight of a summer sky,
Ring around a harvest moon,
Memories of days gone by
Haunt me still -- I think of you
And feel your kiss upon my cheek,
My brow, my lips -- your beating heart
Would warm the coldest winter breeze
When paired with mine; each conscious thought
I dream of you.

Winter solstice, cool and sweet,
Orange flame at each new day;
Cherished dreams and hopes that we
Shall never know; the price we paid
Was far too great; my life is gone
For love left me the day you died --
And now I know I am alone:
I dream of you.


You may be thinking something along the lines of "Oh, she could have cut and pasted that verse", but I didn't.  I typed what I believed it to be first, then used the printout for punctuation reference.  Because I have gotten over my fascination with semicolons and dashes, I must admit I needed to be sure I typed them according to the original version.  That's the reason I'll continue looking at it for the rest of the week.

As far as the words go, however, I'm "spot-on".  Of course, you needn't take my word for it right  now, but I'm afraid you'll have to wait for proof until after the next Bardic Circle.  Assuming I haven't begun work and can attend, I'll have witnesses.  ^_^

There is no date on the printout I used for reference when learning the poem, but I believe I wrote it around the age of 22.  I actually do date most of my compositions; it's possible there's a written version somewhere reflecting the date.   In any case, I am pleased to have it committed to memory at last.  The next composition I memorize may be shorter or longer -- I haven't yet decided.

I'm not really debating length so much as I'm debating which of my compositions I most want to preserve.  Mourning is by no means my best work, from a technical standpoint -- the punctuation is somewhat choppy and the word choices rather obvious -- but I chose to memorize it because it contains an unusual twist that enhances its emotional impact on the reader. 

I will likely look to even earlier material for my next verse -- those things that I composed from ages thirteen to twenty, and work my way through them in rough chronological order.  If I can retain a sense of their order of composition (which I'm fairly sure I can manage, being the author), I will be able to demonstrate the evolution of my writing style to any listener who might be interested.  Even if I simply pick and choose during recitation, I am hoping that the listener will appreciate the increasing maturity evidenced in the verses themselves.  I have long had a tendency to measure time by my poetry, and I believe I can see the evolution of my perspective by reading them from earliest to most recent.
Crossposted from my Dreamwidth account.

Druids and the bardic tradition.

I know it's been a while since I posted here.  I've been doing some thinking about my path, as well as what my next best resource will be (i.e., which book to add to my library).  I am considering Ross Nichols' Book of Druidry, as it has been recommended to me by a friend whose opinions I value quite highly.  My most major question at present is whether I should obtain another resource to study in tandem with Nichols' volume -- particularly, a book on the bardic tradition.

Druidry.org states that Bards "probably represented the first level of training for an apprentice Druid", and studied for as long as twelve years.  They were accomplished scholars, having attended a Bardic college for the entire course of their training.  A full Bard -- that is, one who reached the rank of Ollamh, or Doctor of Poetry -- possessed a vast repertoire of songs, poems and stories.  In addition, he had committed a wealth of knowledge to memory -- history and grammar, the Ogham alphabet and its finer combinations, the Law of Privileges -- the list goes on.  You may read it here if you wish.

I have always possessed a profound admiration of Bards, and have considered myself an aspiring Bard for some while now.  My limited knowledge of piano and moderate singing instruction help me understand how to make music; my empathic sense and love of music help me perform it while communicating the energy of the pieces I perform to my listeners.  My somewhat extended acquaintance with poetry and essays as a form of written self-expression have given me some instruction in shaping a written piece according to the context of my intended message, and I have always, always been particular about grammar ever since I began to understand the finer points of its use, even to my own detriment in certain cases.   (For instance, I once wrote a short passage for an Honors English class in high school that was judged "too formal" by the instructor.)

Yet I perceive a lack in my memory that has bothered me for some time now.  I have trouble reciting even my own poetry, much less the poetry of others.  This is not, however, something that need continue if I do choose to pursue the path of the Bard in earnest.  I will be able to work to memorize one of my poems at a time, even shortest to longest if I wish, as a means of training my memory and providing a backup for those poems I have written that cannot be lost or erased.  I believe they should work nicely at least to start, considering that I have at least eighty of them (probably more, but I've never counted).

The site I referenced above also mentions that Bards utilized sensory deprivation as a means of training as well as inspiration, which makes perfect  sense to me.  It makes me wonder how I might respond to the dual loss of sight and sound -- if I were to use earplugs and a blindfold in meditation, for instance, so that I might force my mind to concentrate only on what lies within.  I intend to do so within the next week, whether I've read anything further on Bards or not, and to conduct regular sessions in such a manner.

I wonder, too, what might occur if I were to use the blindfold and earplugs in tandem with headphones.  It's true I wouldn't be able to hear the sounds, but if the volume were sufficient I would be able to perceive only the vibrations of those sounds.  How might my mind interpret those vibrations, and what might I compose as a result?   If I were to take a large collection of music, place it on shuffle so I couldn't possibly know what song or type of music was playing (I listen to a LOT of different types of music, ranging from classical and Renaissance polyphony to world music and metalcore with a lot in between), how might those vibrations translate into words?

I think it an interesting experiment, and something worth investigating.  With my mixture of experience, I believe the results would be at least fascinating for me, if not for others as well.  My reasoning runs thus:

-- Since I can remember (I guess it's been about 23 years now), I have utilized my empathy to interpret the energy patterns of others.  This allows me to discern their basic emotional state as well as essential character based on my perception of their energies.  I recognize that my interpretations aren't infallible, but they have proven extremely reliable over time.

-- According to my parents, I was singing before I could talk.  I first learned to sing in unison with others at five, and shortly after that in harmony.  I don't know if it was at the same age or not, but the ability to generate spontaneous harmony runs in my family, passed down along my mother's line from my grandmother.

-- I began to write poetry when I was thirteen.  I also wrote short vignettes at this time, these being solely intended to increase my ability to utilize imagery in my work (sensory in general, not just visual).  I was first a lyric poet, then a free-verse.    I have studied both form and meter at a basic level.

-- I am aware of rhetoric and somewhat practiced in its use.  I only became fully conscious of the term and its definition in my twenties; simultaneous with my realization, however, was the understanding that I had been using it in some form for at least ten years prior to that point.

-- I am aware of the tone colors within notes, although I cannot yet match them with a named pitch.  


I believe I could probably think of a number of other reasons to conduct such an exploration if I tried, but for now I believe those sufficient to give a good framework for my motivations.  Besides, I write this not simply to express it to others, but also to teach myself.  In "thinking aloud", I am able to read through what I have written and form my method using what I learn.  

In any case, I believe this new period of learning will prove a fascinating and enjoyable journey for me.  I can but learn and feel myself unfold as I am led where I am meant to travel.  Even as I write, I come to a new understanding:  that it is not so much walking the path that I'm supposed to accomplish, but witnessing my evolution as I pass along those landmarks and lessons of which the path itself is comprised.   It is certainly true that I must direct myself to some degree in order to learn, but my concept of that direction has changed somewhat now that I've written this entry.

More later, and blessings to you all.
Crossposted from my Dreamwidth account.

Happy New Year!

I know I've not posted here for quite some time.  Since there are actually things I could have posted, I suppose I'll have to do something of a backwards summary later.  For now, I just thought I'd wish everyone a happy Samhain and tell you about my weekend.

K. and I led the Samhain ritual prior to the party last night, and it went very, very well.  I honestly can't say it went without a hitch; poor K. had to deal with incense that refused to burn well, and neither of us could remember our invocations completely.  Nevertheless, I  can say that it went as it should.  Both she and I were able to invite the Lord and Lady to the circle in a way that drew everyone into the moment before laying a place for the ancestors -- the CD player worked fine -- the song went perfectly with the ritual not only because of its content, but also because of the fact that it ended just after everyone finished tying their ribbons to the wreath. 

This is the song we used, just in case you'd like to hear it:

Come to the Labyrinth by S.J. Tucker (aka Skinny White Chick)

You must buy every CD that woman has ever recorded.  She is a beautiful soul with a beautiful voice.

Anyway... :)

We then passed around a bit of bread and a sip of wine for all the participants (as it was the idea to allow them to share with their ancestors) even as the bonfire roared upward and the sparks shot to the stars.  What a beautiful ritual!

I think it was all the more lovely because it was simple.  I know of one participant who was literally moved to tears; she said she felt revitalized, and as though she had experienced a great sense of release.  How perfect is that?

I will talk more of it soon, but I should move on to our camping experience following the party.  (I'll talk about the party later, too -- suffice to say that I did have a good time, but it's another type of discussion that I'd rather save for later.)

K. and I had set up our tents prior to beginning the ritual -- once we finished putting everything together, we conducted the ritual and essentially mingled until about two a.m.  I had placed a lantern in a nearby tree -- how handy it was to have that shining across the lake, like a little star!  -- it even settled me during ritual to see it there.  In any case, though it managed not to rain any more than little showers before and after the ritual, during was perfect.  Not a drop.  After we had finished cleaning up, though, was a different story.

It rained constantly and pretty consistently from about -- oh, I'd say about eight p.m. through the remainder of the night.  (We'd finished the Circle by about seven, I think, or maybe even slightly earlier.)  By the time we lay down to sleep, not only was it raining, it was pouring -- and it continued to rain incredibly hard throughout the remainder of the night and well into the morning.

Almost everything we had with us got at least somewhat wet.  Our sleeping bags -- the bag we unfolded as a pad beneath us -- the rubber pads beneath the unzipped bag saved us from getting totally soaked.  K.'s duffel bag was wet on the bottom -- the first-aid kit and pack we had brought were fortunately pretty waterproof, and my case also fared reasonably well, and in any case dried quickly.  I can't find the amount of precipitation recorded anywhere yet, but I'd say it was probably  between one and two inches.  

Nevertheless, we woke up feeling not only awake, but even revitalized -- and as I mentioned, though our belongings were mostly wet, we were dry.  We put everything back in the car and were pretty organized about it, and felt as though the entire thing had been more or less a smashing success!

Oh -- I should mention that our illustrious host B. not only said that he thought it went really well, but that (we'd?  I'd?) like to do more.  I don't know if he was just asking me, or K. as well, but either way, I think I'd be okay with doing another one at some point, even though I was incredibly nervous.  :)

My only regret is that though I believe we may have gotten some pictures, it was too dark to take really good ones with my camera even at the start of the Circle.  I'm hoping to get at least a couple, though!

Samhain blessings to all, and more later!



Crossposted from my Dreamwidth account.

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Voice Post

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(no transcription available)

Voice Post

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“Hi everyone, it's me. I just wanted to give you a heads up and let you know that my monitor has died. My computer is fine but my monitor just shows a yellow screen. I think I'm gonna have to get a new one. I hope you can hear this alright because I have the transcription is lousy on this sometimes. It's catches most words but ___ didn't understand. So hopefully you guys are ___ opposed to trying to read and make sense of what it says on the page. Anyway I'm heading in to Charlotte for the day and for the time being I'll be updating by voice post until I can get to a computer which will probably be at the library or I will just wait until I get a new monitor but I'd like to do some writings. So I have to see what I'm typing in order to write you know details. Anyway I will update again soon and I hope you guys have a great day ___ however long it is until my next post. Ok, bye bye.”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post - spoken through SpinVox

Weather.

I haven't yet looked at the forecast, but my internal meteorologist says it's going to rain today.  Either that or there's a storm in the vicinity; my emotions seem fairly close to the surface, and I'm having trouble keeping myself on an even keel.  I think a long walk is in order today.

Blessings to all...


2:22 p.m.

Just to keep this within one entry, I'll add my update here.  It has rained and will likely continue to rain, and I think I've got a bit of cabin fever.  Just the contrast between the festival and the house is enough to give me a bit of a headache -- the one was outside, expansive, and full of energy, while the other is pretty quiet and routine without others of like mind to talk with in person.  I think I'm coming to understand now why I spend the time on the internet that I do; it's to keep those lines of communication open with others who share or at least understand my world view.

I'm really looking forward to finding a job and being able to be in a place where I can at least have something I feel to be my own.  I could list why here, but it's not worth it; that'd just mire me down and I don't need that.  Let's just say that when I do move to my own place, I'll be a lot more comfortable because I will be the one designing the decor.  

I do make it a point to remember how lucky I am.  I really am, very much so.  I have a place to stay, and it's comfortable and well-put together.  Mom is wonderful with decorating, and my room is beautifully done.  Dad is good at construction, and the kitchen has a new layout thanks to him.  I cannot fail to recognize these things.  Yet I recognize, too, that I have become accustomed to being on my own, and I feel a constant conflict because I'm back in my parents' house once again with no job. 

I guess I'm just not feeling very marketable right now.  :(

Searching for balance on Mabon.

Hello to all --

I know I said I wanted my last entry to serve as my update, but somehow it doesn't quite feel sufficient for me.  It quite successfully serves the purpose of articulating my recent thoughts, but it fails to address some other things which have been on my mind.  I feel as though my heart is to a great extent weighed down by a variety of thoughts as well as fears and other doubts, and I'm not quite sure how to answer the questions I now have, simply because I have never had to ask them previously.  If you read the linked entry, you know that I have come to a decision to remain in service to the Divine and to remain single in so doing.  In other words, I am essentially "married" to my spirituality at least for the time being.  This decision has given me cause to ask a series of questions that I will come to later in this entry, but I would first like to reiterate some basic things for those who would appreciate the review.  That review and the questions are behind the LJ-cut.


Be forewarned... this is quite long.Collapse )



All of these things and still more have been and will remain on my mind to some degree, but at least writing about all of this has helped.  I am at least now able to look at what I am asking myself.  Hopefully, the simple act of reading through my own questions will lead me to find some guidance towards answering those questions most accurately, if not expeditiously.

Blessings to all!






Sep. 21st, 2009

I posted something on Dreamwidth and would like to allow that to serve as my update.  If you'd like to read it, the link is here:

http://poetic-vine.dreamwidth.org/1275.html

You can leave comments to the entry here if you wish.  I'll check both.  :)

Thank you again, K., for helping me realize the importance of keeping my story going.  Bless you, and I'm very glad to have you as a friend.

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