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Today marks the beginning of your fifth trip around the sun.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of becoming a mom.

Today, our adventure continues.

Happy Birthday, Witchlette.

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Solar Return

There are so many ways to track time. The school year calendar, traditional in NC, goes from late August to early June. The fiscal year starts on July 1st. The Gregorian Calendar begins on January 1, while the traditional Chinese calendar begins in early February and the traditional Jewish calendar begins in early September.

Today is my Solar Return. The anniversary of my uterine expulsion. The celebration of my first eviction. It’s my mother’s birthing day.

It’s the restart of my year. To commemorate this day, I want to share a self-reflection exercise I have completed over the last few days.

1. What are you happy about from the past year that you will continue next year?

This past year has brought great joy into my life, and that joy starts mostly with people. I have built friendships with people from different walks of life that have become a new constant in mine. As my children continue to grow, our relationships continue to deepen.

2. Did you take anything for granted? How will you change that?

Looking back to number 1…I have a very bad habit of taking friendships for granted. People are there and I will see them when I see them and we will still be friends because… Like a garden that needs tending, interpersonal relationships of all kinds need to be tended. I have taken for granted that people will always be around. It becomes harder the more people that I have in my life- there are lots of garden beds that need to be watered, but not all of them need to be watered the same amount or at the same time. To repair the taking for granted, I will purposefully make more regular contact with those whom I cherish in my life in between face-to-face visits. The in-between time has always been a struggle for me, and I want to fix.

Hubby has been in my life for eighteen birthdays. I always try to show him my appreciation, in my words and in my actions, for all that he has brought to me life- both in tangible and intangible. Our relationship has never felt like work to us, and I plan on continuing this trend.

My reasoning for these both is two-fold:

1) continue to experience the joy that has been gifted to me with these relationships and 2) model good adult relationships for my kids, both romantic and platonic.

3. Have you reached self actualisation? Are you being 100% true to yourself?

More often than not, yes. When I was a child, I was often told I lied like a rug. My embellishments were fantastical to the point where it was make believe. If I was much older, I would have been classified as a pathological liar. When I figured out pen to paper, I was able to put my imaginative world someplace practical and become more true. While I still share embellishments in my stories, the language that I use is purposefully hyperbolic to the point where it is obviously superfluous, and if it feels as though it isn’t, I will correct it in the moment.

Since setting up my temporary altar in the bedroom, I have been meditating and/or practicing yoga daily. Over the past year, as I have been called closer to my gods, there were moments when I sought a physical equivalent of yoga that would work with them. That reads as silly as it felt. I got to a point where I realized the gods chose me for me and they have already worked their way into my daily routine. Plus, they were one of the first traders with the Eastern world. Honoring Heimdall with a Chakra rainbow meditation and doing morning meditations and yoga while honing in on my connection with Frigg balances who I am and what I do with the gods I serve. Not changing myself for them while still honoring them puts me closer to being 100% true to myself.

Lastly, I remain true and open to my children. I speak to them as if they were tiny grown-ups, giving them the real information which they seek. It’s the reason why Witchlette knows the word “thermodynamics” and the basic three phases of matter. It’s the reason why Witchling knows more about the female body than most politicians. I will never deny them that which they seek, and while I hold the right to censor things to be developmentally appropriate, I will not hold back.

4. Is my lifestyle 100% healthy? Could it be even healthier?

I would give myself a solid B+ for this one. I eat salads regularly, without lots of dressing. I practice yoga in the morning, though it is for meditative purposes and is far from a workout. I do not get to ride my bicycle as much as I would like, and it shows when I do get to ride. I enjoy my carbs and my sugar, but I take everything in moderation. I do not enjoy running, and my knees can’t handle hitting the pavement that hard.

Beginning last night, we are no longer allowing the dogs to do their business in the backyard because we do not have good follow-through for clean-up duty (pun intended). Last night, I became determined to walk the dogs regularly. This morning I rose 20 minutes earlier, and took the dogs for a nice walk up the block. I was able to be in my meditation spot at the normal time, and was able to complete all of my morning tasks. The walk was brisk but leisurely and I felt my blood pumping in a good way. I enjoyed the time with the dogs, and I could tell they did as well.

5. Are there negative thoughts that I need to get rid of?

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to confidence and doing my best. As I have learned to let go of the idea of perfect, because even if something is perfect it will never be perfect because perfect isn’t real. No matter how close you may feel you are getting to perfect, you will never be there. As I let go of that- and I allow things to remain imperfect, I have gained perspective on importance. It has greatly helped to have people come and visit the house as we are still mid-move and there be no judgement towards the boxes and toys and clutter that is found everywhere. We may be mid-move for another year or more as we go through nine years of collection and packing and fully settle into our new abode. The negative that I have successfully gotten away from was that the appearance mattered. What matters to us is what matters, and everything else is just noise. As the noise faded into the background, so too did the negative thoughts.

6. Do I have any fears I need to conquer?

Last week, I had three spiders crawl on me during three different activities in three different settings. Spiders I would say were my number one fear. That has since significantly decreased. Being alone is a fear I still have. Letting my kids down. Not being supermommy. One…it’s not a “fear” but it is something I am unwilling to face…is not having my stay at home mommy time. Our new house is districted for a year-round school. Witchlette will be attending a charter school with a traditional calendar because I am unwilling and unable to let go of stay at home mommy time with her. As she gets older, this is something that I will have to adjust to. But, by that time, I believe it will be a healthy adjustment. My mother was successful in raising me to be independent and yet come back to her for anything that I needed or just to visit together. That is my goal for my kids. Successful independence with continued connections…I’m just not ready for it at age 5.

7. What is one mistake from last year you can learn from for this year?

I tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Take the dog walking for example. I needed to get extra exercise, so I started walking the dogs. Once I “no longer needed” that extra exercise, I stopped. We had the same problem with the dogs having ownership of the whole yard because our follow-through sucks in the last house. At this house, we have had ideas of setting up a dog pen separate from the rest of the yard…but we had that idea at the last house too. And again, our follow-through sucks. Yesterday, while mowing the yard, I ended up with dog poop in my shoes and on my feet. Granted, it rained a lot Saturday and some of the taller grasses were still wet, and both the ground and the poop soggy, things got bad fast. But, with walking them each morning and each evening, I am getting some quiet contemplative time. Enjoying the sunrise and listening to birdsong is something I wanted to get into the habit of doing. This may be the path to get it.

8. Am I doing everything I can for my relationships? Could they be better?

See number 2.

Last Friday, I had a lovely girls’ night with some of my favorite people. They joined the family for our bedtime ritual and they wholly understand the importance of it. R gave me a lovely card with a very kind, sincere, heartwarming message in it.

I was burned by people who were supposed to be my friends in the past. The long ago past. Like high school and college past.

I thought I let that shit go, but I keep having the same reaction when these wonderful women react that they want me around. And it goes back to these scars left by “friends” long ago. I have been given, and have been blessed. And I am going to tend to these beautiful gardens of real friendship.

9. Are there any negative people in my life? What should I do about them?

I no longer have interaction with negative people in my life. Some folks have moved on to other ventures, allowing me to return to my passion without daily negativity that wore on my soul.

Other people…last night Hubby and I reviewed atomic chemistry with Witchlette and how somethings that can be dangerous in one composition can become beneficial in another, and vice versa. For example, sodium, explosive in water, and chlorine, a poisonous gas, in the right combination, makes table salt. Oxygen and Carbon in some mixtures allow plants to complete respiration, in other combinations, is a poisonous gas.

I’m not sure I believe all people with whom I do not do well with are toxic people. Some, absolutely, yes. But with many, it was just the wrong combination. Peace be with them, live and let live.

10. What is one thing I can do right now to change my path?

I think I have already set up for myself what I will be doing to enhance my path.

  • Continue to let go of perfect and hold onto the moments, people, and time
  • Continue to show appreciation for those who are in my life
  • Begin to show more appreciation for those who are in my life who haven’t gotten that kind of attention
  • Walk my dogs twice a day to achieve quiet contemplation and physical health as well as a duty-free yard (repeated pun intended 💩)