Growing up in the Midwest, I learned one thing: everything takes hard work. You put in your time, you don't complain, and you forge ahead, no matter what it takes. Others have worked harder. You're nothing special.
It's not an easy mindset to shake off.
After all, hard work DOES get you places. It does get you noticed, and it does put you ahead (whatever that means). There is a direct correlation between how much you do and what you'll get in return.
It doesn't help that the overculture tells us that the more we work, the more value we have to society. The harder we work and the more we beat ourselves down, the more we will be celebrated.
But it's exhausting. It's a fairy tale. It's just another story.
Self care. Time outs. Saying no even if there's no 'good' reason for it.
Stepping back. Breathing in. Getting bored.
As a priestess, as a teacher, as a writer, and as a human being, I need to take care of myself. I know it, I know it. I fail spectacularly at it.
I have gone weeks without a good night's rest. I have spent far too many hours at my desk, sitting and typing, and breathing shallowly.
I have made less than ideal choices.
I can make new choices.
I can choose and promise to take care of myself.
I can decide that right now is the best time to nourish my body.
I can remember that I need to care for myself before I can give to others.
It is not always about the hard work. It is about the gentle care for myself that will allow me to come back to my body and my mind and my heart. It is about the space and the care and the release that allow me to be closer and to be open.
My self care looks like:
Sitting outside and watching the sun move.
Singing to the Gods and to myself.
Drumming the beat that echoes my heart.
Laughing from my belly until it aches.
Being with those I love dearly.
Crying those pent up emotions out.
Being quiet in a world that is often far too loud.
I give myself permission to care deeply for myself, and to abandon the story that 'doing' is more than being.
Right now is enough.
I've been singing, singing to myself, singing to the world, a song of connection.
Today, Inanna sang in my ear, and out of my mouth came a song of darkness and dedication. The song came into my heart first and then my throat and out of my mouth - unformed, unknown.
Inanna, into the darkness
Inanna, traveling unfettered,
Release, release, release,
Inanna, stepping forward, stepping in
The songs I sing are often as momentary, into the air,
They blossom and bloom,
And float off.
A practice of devotion,
A practice of connection.
These quick glimpses of communion,
Where I know,
Where I know.
I sing to sing, I sing because I have a song.
A daily practice,
The other day, I was in my car when Artemis drifted into my mind. And another day, Isis.
The Gods are everywhere. In the songs we sing, even when we're quiet.
The smile, the shrug, the sigh.
"Surrounded by Deity" -- upcoming Witches & Pagans issue