Day by Day

My husband went away on business today. He’ll be gone for two weeks; same as last year. That first time was pretty rough because we had never spent more than two nights apart in 14 years. It was really strange having him gone so long. He will be in intensive training all day, every day and then there’s 2-3 hours of homework every night plus projects on the weekends. Quite frankly we won’t be talking a whole lot. I’ll miss his calls and texts. But I’ll really just miss him. His soft kisses and big strong bear hugs.

He warmed our hearts today (mine actually melted) when after giving us goodbye hugs and kisses, he handed each of us a small notebook. These little notebooks had handwritten messages for each day. We were told not to look ahead, just read each entry for that day and then do our part. I was good, I only looked through the kid’s books because he whispered in my ear that I could, but he stressed the fact that I was not to look all the way through mine. “Day by Day” he says, “and when I read them when I get home I will savor your responses just as much as your curiosity tempts you to look ahead.” Then he kissed me again; a long languorous kiss that sealed the deal. I swooned over my big, burly, Irish Druid. And said goodbye.

He wrote personal little messages for each day he’ll be gone. For the kid’s books, he created tasks for them to complete and sometimes asks them questions about their day. For example, a couple of our daughter’s things to do is, “If you could be any animal real or mythical what would you be? Write me a story about a banana eating a monkey.”

For our son, “Draw your favorite food being eaten by a bug; Tell me a story about a boy that couldn’t stop farting… And then he threw in a few math problems for the both of them; what a meanie, right?

My notebook’s first task was to listen to a song that reminded me of him and then text him the song. What a brilliant way to check and make sure I was doing my mini journal. He’s smart like that. I’m so glad I didn’t forget to look at my notebook!

So I’m alone. Sort of. I’ve got my kids and dog so I’m doing okay tonight. In fact, I will be fine for the first 3 or 4 days before those pesky little pangs of loneliness and longing start creeping their way in. I plan on being busy doing activities with the kids to make the time go by faster. A trip to the science museum, see a movie, visit the library, go to the pool, and then the yogurt shop where we can create our own frozen yogurt with mountains of toppings….

As much as I will miss my husband, there’s also a few advantages to my alone time too. I’ll get to stay up as late as I want reading a book. I’ll have Alexa all to myself (Amazon Echo was my birthday gift last week) and I’ll be tempted to eat cookies in bed and allow the crumbs to fall on his side….just tempted though because I know I’ll probably end up over there in the scratchy crumbs at some point. So I shall save my wild woman ways for the upcoming weekend….

Which brings me to something fun for just me. I’ll be kid-less this weekend thanks to my mom and dad and I’ll be spending the Lammas weekend away in the forest with my Sisters in Spirit. And oh my, will I ever be a wild woman wandering through the trees, luxuriating in the beauty of nature and reveling in the powerful magick of the old growth forest. My feet will be dirty, my hair tangled, and I will be wearing a big smile on my face.

Those are the things that will get me through the first week. The second week is still a blank page full of magickal possibilities.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Bonfires & Cake Pops

 

Ahhhh… The New Moon in Cancer, my beloved Sun Sign. I just can’t shake it. The New Moon has always pulled at me more than the Full Moon. I naturally become more “Witchy” during this time. I gather herbs, (yesterday I began drying a new batch of lavender buds, rose petals, and tons of rosemary). I write a lot more, I cook like crazy (my daughter and I made cake pops today for the New Moon Fire tonight at a friend’s house) and I nurture, nurture, nurture until I drive people crazy.

It’s a time when I need to restore balance to my working area, my personal altar, and the family hearth altar. I dust, tidy up, rearrange, change the intentions, etc.

Since it’s a time for new beginnings, I give myself one task for the upcoming Waxing phase. Just one though, because I can’t handle any more than that. If I happen to do more, great, but my main focus is to stick to just the ONE. If I don’t stick to just the ONE I become scattered and unfocused and easily give up or put off until later. Several years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD, but I think some of it has to do with the medication I take for the nerve damage. But then again, maybe it’s why I’ve always been horrible at math and had a problem with focusing since I can remember. I hate excuses, but they are sometimes a necessary evil.

So just the ONE Thing.

The New Moon technically isn’t until about 4 a.m. PST. My HOPE is to have a little solitary in-my-shell-leave-me-alone ritual before my daughter and I head out to the bonfire around 8:00. I think it’s doable.

Maybe that’ll be my One Task.

Or maybe I was thinking way ahead and it’s the cake pops (just kidding!)

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Cheers to Summer Solstice and Happy Places

 

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Many Blessings to You and Yours Today, On This Summer Solstice & Full Strawberry Moon!

We leave tomorrow for Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth”, I should probably be happier than I am, right? I’m truly excited to go as a family especially since these youngest two have never been. But I am too stressed at the moment to enjoy the preparations. As I’ve mentioned, I am from Southern California and lived 20 minutes away from the Magical Kingdom. Our family went 2-3 times a year, but I haven’t been in at least 15. So I know that although a lot has stayed the same, I also know that a lot has changed and I am looking forward to what’s in store.

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Except this stress! I have to make sure the flight stuff is in order and that we arrive at the airport on time. I have to drop the dog off with the boarders and then to the doctor’s office to have my daughter’s stitches taken out. I also need to give the boys haircuts tonight. I’ve made reservations for all the cool places to eat at the Park (Rainforest Cafe, Blue Bayou in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and brunch with the Disney characters) but there is still so much left to do and if I don’t slow down, I’m going to forget something important; like one of the kids. (I’m joking!)

We are doing a simple family Summer Solstice observance tonight. It’s going to be hard to get the excited kids in bed at a reasonable time, but we have to get up early in the morning and head out to the airport. Nevertheless, today is a special turning point in the Wheel so we are having a small bonfire in our fire pit and do a little bit of drumming. Our outdoor altar has been set up for a few days now and we’ve enjoyed it while sitting on the porch swing listening to the rain. I am definitely going to set aside some time tonight for my personal Summer Solstice ritual and much needed meditation/downtime.

It’s recently been raining here with highs in 50’s-60’s. It feels more like April than the first day of Summer, even the nearby mountains have received several inches of snow in the past week. It’s supposed to be 108 degrees F in Anaheim today but is supposed to cool down a bit tomorrow. It’s going to be a bit of a temperature shock as we aren’t acclimated. We’ll be drinking Lots and Lots of water and spending the heat of the day in the hotel swimming pool before heading back in at night. Nighttime at Disneyland is the best because the crowds have thinned out and the lights are beautiful.

There has been a slight issue with my son being afraid to fly. His sister is excited as hell. I just want them both to enjoy their first flight. We aren’t able to sit together as a family because the seats are in rows of three. So there will be three of us together on one side of the aisle and one of us across the aisle. I told my husband that I would prefer to sit across the aisle and that I’d like to request a window seat. That may sound selfish, but I know the kids will feel safer next to their dad and I can be looking out the window as the plane taxis, speeds up, and eventually leaves the ground, watching the earth pull away in that strangely soft way, feeling a slight dip here and there as the aircraft gains altitude.

And I want to be far enough away from the kids so they don’t see me if possibly panic. For the first time ever, I’m apprehensive to fly. The last time I flew wasn’t a very good experience. It was a flight home from Alaska on a small, wobbly prop plane that felt like it had a hard time staying aloft. I knew it was silly, but it was still a very stressful experience. The only other reasons I can put together are that since that last flight 12 years ago I have had a few surgeries (one major) and I have developed claustrophobia and social anxiety disorder. Add to that I’ve been having to reassure my 8 year-old son several times a day that the plane will not crash and that no, the pilot won’t be drunk (I hope he’s not, but I will more than likely be).

I’ve already got my headphones and IPod in my purse with my most recent calming addition of “Drift” by Tonia Rose for the flight. All in all I know I’ll get a grip on things, especially the stress. To slightly paraphrase a quote from the Seven Dwarfs, …..”it’s off to work I go” so that I may relax and enjoy the experience through the eyes of my children.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Vanity and the Choice of Ego; Careful, You Just Might Get Burned

We fly out in less than a week. I haven’t been back to Southern California in almost 13 years. I was born and raised in sunny Southern California but it’s hard to call it my “hometown” or “where I’m from” anymore. It feels like a lifetime ago.

I most certainly don’t feel Californian anymore, but apparently when I’m angry, tired, hurt, or frustrated I’ll react in unflattering ways (like a toddler, now that I think about it). When this happens, my husband will simply fold his arms and give me a wry smile and call me his “Cute Little Valley Girl.” He has also become quite good at mimicking my squinted-eye glare. Sometimes to my horror, I still give him the satisfaction of an involuntary hair-flip.

I really need a new shtick.

So when he called me on my immaturity today, I became embarrassed rather than angry. But you see, I need a new bathing suit because the one I have is literally 11 years old. Granted, swimsuit season is pretty short where I am now, meaning my old swimsuit could easily live to see another 8 years. “But dammit”, my ego tells me, “you deserve a nice bathing suit. Just think about all that time you’ll have to hang out at the hotel pool with the kids…with your husband…with lots of other women who will be in bikinis and look waaaayyy better than you.” (granted, it’s the Disneyland Hotel, not a Laguna Beach resort).

I decided to go to the specialty swimsuit store in Portland. If their clientele was just as ego-driven as I was, consisting of beyond pale moms who were insecure with their bodies, I would surely fit in.

This was a smart store, (brilliant really) where the dressing rooms had lighting that flattered, a salesperson who acted genuinely interested in what a bathing suit could do for my boobs as well as my gave birth to 4 kids tummy. They even served free beer. I accepted it (there were cup holders inside the dressing rooms). The fact that they knew I was going to need alcohol in order to take my clothes off in front of a complete stranger was not lost on me but I recovered quickly thanks to the amber colored beverage that snaked its way down into my belly.

Finally, after trying on 8 swimsuits, I found the perfect one. Except when I turned around. Wow, I was pale. Very pale. I’ve been trying to be good and haven’t laid out in the sun for the sheer purpose of a tan for well over a decade. But truth be told, I’ll sometimes look back on those California days of built-in swimming pools in my backyard that resulted in deep, golden tans. Back in the day when my teeth were a dazzling white and I didn’t need beer in order to take my clothes off in front of a stranger. I turned to the side and sucked in my belly. I stuck out my chest. If I just had a little bit of sun on my legs, just enough to take away some of the glare….maybe some of the dimples…

Besides, whoever said Witches can’t have a tan? When did that become the rule? I’ve done the pale Stevie Nicks thing long enough, and in my defense, I’m very deficient in vitamin D. I mean, isn’t that what happens when there’s not a lot of sun? I think so.

My next stop was the tanning salon. This is coming from someone who just a few months prior looked at herself in the mirror, completely naked and admired her female body and all its flaws. But the salon smelled like pina-colada. The bubbly girl behind the counter explained all the package deals and as a lightly bronzed woman was leaving, she was asked how her session went. She answered with, “it felt amazing, as usual.” So I did what any nonsensical witch would do, I signed the release, consenting to new wrinkles and further skin damage. All in the name of ego.

I went the full 10 minutes in the “platinum” bed because I needed a tan real quick.

Of course I didn’t tan, I burned. No, I fried. I should have known better. I did know better. I could have simply painted my toenails. I could have remembered the way I lovingly saw my body, with all its honest flaws. I could have remembered what truly mattered; We were taking the kids on their first plane ride, on their first trip to California, to spend a week at Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth” for their first time.

And here I was thinking about how myself and how I would look to others. That night as my husband was smearing aloe-vera gel on my back, I felt ashamed at my selfishness. I had gotten caught up in my own petty self-consciousness because I was comparing myself to a body from a lifetime ago and worried how I would stack up to others. Anxious about how others would see me. I spent far too much money on a bathing suit that I’ll hardly ever wear because I was burnt to a crisp. Instead, I would have to be covered up and wear a sunhat.

All in the name of Ego.

I knew better, and now I realize how much more I liked myself before I allowed my ego to get the best of me. Before I got burned. Just Live, Learn, and Love your Body.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

A Beacon of Light; a Lesson in Trust

 

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I recently spent a sunny afternoon gazing up in awe at the simplistic beauty of a lighthouse. It stood tall and proud against the crashing waves, ready to weather another storm as sentinel upon the cliff.

 

It was a fairly clear day, lacking most of the coastal fog. Looking out over the water, I sensed ethereal silhouettes of bygone ships that had traversed those choppy waters from the time the lighthouse lamp was first lit in 1873. Even in the bright midday sun, it continued flashing its beacon of light, reaching out to guide those who became vulnerable to the whims of the waves. The lighthouse could be trusted 24 hours a day to send out its never ending pulse. I had watched it the night before from the hotel room balcony, mesmerized by its rhythm; two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on, and 14 seconds off.

And there I was the next afternoon, standing in the sunlight and within arm’s reach of the lighthouse. Even though I was unable to see the flashing light, I found myself just as captive as I had been captivated the night before.

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How many times had I been like the ships on the crest of a wave, holding my breath in moments of vulnerability, when I knew more than ever it was time to trust. When I really had no choice but to trust.

Dare to Trust.

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Trust is precious and more easily broken than it is earned. Trust is something I struggle with every day. Trust frightens me because to trust means I am allowing myself to become vulnerable to betrayal. Many of my fears and difficulty with trust are based on past experiences such as abandonment by both of my parents as a young child. Many of my basic needs were not met and oftentimes I went hungry.

Dare to Trust once again.
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Trust is complex and delicate. I’ve seen trust lead to success but I’ve also seen it lead to loss and sorrow. To make the brave decision and go all in means I must set down my battle sword and shield. I must remove my armor and place it aside. The possibility of being wounded, to have my heart crash upon the rocks, is a powerful driving force reminding me of my priorities, my loyalties, and most of all, my worthiness.

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Dare to Trust that I am worthy of love.

I know how badly I want to fully trust, but in the same vein I also know how badly I want others to trust me. When I stand strong like the lighthouse, I can trust that others will choose to do the same. I can trust in my resiliency to bounce back from hurt. I can trust that I have learned from past experiences. I can trust in the goodness of other people. I can trust in the Goddess. And I know without a moment of hesitation that others can trust in me.

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Dare to Trust that I am not alone.

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Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

May We Honor Mother Earth Today and Every Day

When we heal ourselves, others are healed. When we nurture our dreams, we give birth to the dreams of humankind. When we walk as loving aspects of the Earth Mother, we become the fertile, life-giving Mothers of the Creative Force. When we honor our bodies, our health, and our emotional needs, we make space for our dreams to come into being. When we speak the truth from our healed hearts, we allow life abundant to continue on our Mother Planet.
~Jamie Sams

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Come Up and See Me…Make me Smile

I just finished loading up the car (with my husband’s help) with my little purple canopy, velvety drapes, cushions, my little tarot table, my traveling tarot pack, and my favorite water bottle.  I don’t know how on earth I’m going to unpack it much less set it all up. My fumbling about will probably be comical to watch. I’m very aware at this moment that tomorrow will be a real test on my back.

I’ll be spending the day at PaganFaire at the Washington County Fairgrounds (just outside of Portland) and I will be there doing tarot readings ALL DAY.

If you are in the area please stop by and say hi (whether you get a reading or not)! I’ll be the little purple booth with little twinkle lights and a big yellow sign that says “Tarot” so you can’t miss me. Also, a percentage of the proceeds will go to the organization putting on this festival.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

 

Salty Magick & Elven Speak

Here I sit at the dining room table in the midst of lovely chaos. The t.v. is turned up way too loud, the washer and dryer are both running simultaneously nearby, the kids are tossing a balloon back and forth, giggling while trying to keep it airborne (in some strange, made-up game only they know the rules to), my husband is animatedly discussing football plays with fellow coaches and all the while I am sipping on lavender chamomile tea wondering how on earth I’m going to get my lines memorized for the upcoming ritual I agreed to be a part of.

I’m in the thick of things because I became lonely after having shut myself in a quiet room, far removed from the action which (interestingly enough) proved to be no less distracting than the present moment. I’ve lit a candle to help remind me of the task at hand and, for some reason, I have found that if I sit facing towards said chaos that I am more able to focus on what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve taken over the entire circumference of the dining table with my ritual notes from last night’s rehearsal, some files and a binder, along with my cellphone and laptop; not to mention way too many pens in varying shades of purple.

I kind of feel like the Queen Bee of the dining room, looking out over the workings of a household gone mad while I ramble on about the defining qualities of a sturdy potato chip interspersed with seemingly random words of an obscure and unique language.

“Rrrrruffles have rrridges…Rrrrruffles have rrridges…Rrrrruffles have rrridges…formenel…dorhiron……ennorath..…”

This strange babbling initially drew attention from the others but they’ve since moved on to more interesting things and have pretty much left me alone ever since.

I’m not completely bonkers (although I’m sure there are many that would be eager to challenge me on that), I’m simply supposed to learn how to speak a little bit of Elvish and I’m trying to practice rolling my r’s eloquently. Out of frustration I was about to call it quits when my eyes landed on a half-empty bag of Ruffles potato chips laying the kitchen counter flanked by empty bottles of hefeweizen (the by-products of having several football coaches in my house). I don’t know how I know this, maybe I saw it in a movie once, but “Rrrruffles have rrridges” was a way to practice those rolling r’s.

As most things of this nature, it all began innocently enough when I was asked to call the North at a Wiccan ritual that will be open to the public for this upcoming Spring Equinox.

I thought, oooh, I haven’t called a direction in a public ritual for quite a while, and I most certainly haven’t called North since…well…ever!! A picture immediately flashed in my mind…It would feel amazing to raise my arms to the sky as I invoked the Northern Watchtower, speaking freely from my heart and hopefully stirring the souls of those who heard my words as we welcomed in the grounding Earth energies; I could almost feel the winter North wind whipping my hair around wildly as leaves twirled and spiraled upward. Ah, the magick! But, I’m a practical witch, and a realist to boot, so I reigned in my imagination a bit (plus I already knew it was going to be indoors so the wild wind whipping my hair around was probably out).

I quickly answered with an enthusiastic “yes!” anyway, before learning little details like my invoking the Watcher of the Northern Tower would be done in both Elvish and English.

I never paid a lot of attention to Elvish unless it involved Legolas. Is that bad of me?

So I will learn my lines like the good Witch I aspire to be and not just because I care for, admire, and deeply respect the women who have worked so hard to create this ritual. I believe in the work we do and that public ritual can help create change for the better. I’m excited see how the community receives this well written ritual. It’s an interesting blend of The Blessed Realm and Goddess creation myths from around this world with some other interesting tidbits added. That’s the beauty of eclecticism.

Public rituals are unlike most of my solitary rituals where I can fly by the seat of my pants until it comes to the actual spellwork. On the contrary they are organized, well-planned events with a basic structure necessary in order to have a successful outcome that promotes religious tolerance, acceptance, and open-mindedness. A ritual for a large gathering of people in a shared public space needs to have that organization or it will quickly lose focus, scatter intentions, cause disinterest, or worst case scenario lead to friction and/or fear. I know from experience that there will already be enough of that from well meaning bible-thumpers trying to save our naughty souls from eternal damnation.

The beauty of individual self-expression lies within the center of Paganism and is vital to Spiritual Awareness and growth. It’s often found in drumming and meditation circles, solitary work, etc. This is where ideas form and inspiration grows. It’s where we find our voice and feel comfortable to finally having it be heard, sometimes for the very first time.

Large public rituals are similar in that they create a welcoming sacred space to everyone, regardless of gender, race, experience, faith, or culture. However they differ from drum circles and many types of mystical gatherings in that they have a central theme that weaves together a magickal story to be shared with the community through careful outlining of thought, action, and intent; the stuff magick is made of but in a specific order that can be easily carried out with (hopefully) few hiccups. They rely on building the energy through deep trust in the person you are holding hands with. The experience is a collective effort and no matter the level of experience, the energy naturally directs itself towards the Priestess acting as Centerpole. These people of diverse backgrounds who chose to be a part of the Circle will feel the release as it trembles the earth. There will be a quiet stillness that tingles the skin and stirs the soul as we connect with others through a collective consciousness and a shared understanding of the moment. Most bystanders will feel something too. Maybe there is something to this Magick thing after all.

Strangely enough, a half-empty bag filled with high fat, overly salty, virtually no nutrient value crumbs might just help me be a successful part of this amazing ritual. An extreme example of finding magick in the mundane, yet no less magickal.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Art of Distraction

I woke up at 6 a.m. to my hips and thighs aching, not unusual after a long weekend. I tossed and turned a bit, took my pain meds, then tried the heating pad. Today is a holiday for crying out loud, President’s Day to be exact, and I so badly wanted to sleep in with the rest of the family. But when I couldn’t stand it any longer I got out of bed, grabbed my laptop, and trudged my way to the living room where I reclined my reading chair and decided to look over the emails I (un)intentionally ignored over the weekend.

However, I tend to get sidetracked and an hour later I was perusing the White House Historical Association’s website, wondering how I got there in the first place. I traced it back (as best as I could remember) to it starting innocently enough on my MSN homepage. My intentions were good, but before I signed in to my email, I saw the evil slideshow that stopped me dead in my tracks, like always. First pause and click: “Meth in Bra Leads to $712m Seizure”. Then, “ Malawi Gets Its First Grammy Nomination, With Album by Prison Inmates”. Followed by a story about how a rescue dog became mayor. I mean, come on, I had to know how that happened. I was just about to shift gears when I saw “Strange Facts About Every American President.” So in honor of President’s Day I figured I should read it. You know, out of respect. That somehow led me to reading a tweet from Hillary Clinton, and somewhere between there and here I ended up reading useless facts about the White House. But did you know that the most famous of the White House ghosts is Abraham Lincoln? Well, if you didn’t, you do now.

I have yet to read one single email.

But I did manage to waste and hour of my life. But then again, I learned some things. And learning is good, right?

Finally I realized it was time to truly wake up to the day. I’d had my fill of both dark and uplifting news stories, tempting links to Wikipedia, and all the other website diversions that seem loosely joined for no other purpose than to keep me unfocused, emotional, numb, or all of those things at once. Or perhaps none of those things at all.

The sun is shining, at least for the moment, a promise of a productive day. I have a list of things I need to get done and as I mentally tick them off one by one I can only think of a few things on that list that is truly important today;

Get some vitamin D (which I am deficient in) by spending some time outside with the family. Maybe I’ll even hug a tree, and if I ask nicely maybe it will allow me to suck in some of its vitality. That sounds really good right about now.

Work on the quilt I’m making for my daughter’s birthday gift from me. I have two weeks to get it finished and for once I’d love to finish a project ahead of schedule instead of pulling a painful all-nighter.

Other important to-dos:

Take a nap.

Make some scones.

Eat a scone.

Straighten up my altar.

Play cards with the family.

Eat another scone.

Try not to take another nap.

Choose a working Tarot deck for the week.

That’s about it. I understand that some of these may seem like distractions from what I probably should be doing but I have the rest of the week to worry about those things I don’t really want to do. Like laundry. Blech. The way I see it at the moment is that If we all have clean underwear, it can wait another day. Besides, all of the other things “to-do” are necessary to set my Spirit straight and kick my butt in gear for the week. I hope.

What’s on your to-do list today? I hope you can find time and a willing tree to hug today too. We could all use and share the love.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The Comfort Zone

You have probably heard that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing. Stretch your wings. Aim high and venture forth.

But honestly I don’t want to.

I like it here in our little house in the trees, where I can’t see the road, or neighbors, and where the deer bed down in the meadow at night. It’s comfortable, it’s isolated, and it’s far removed from the outside world. Yes, I am a hermit, one who imagines herself being just fine with living out here in the woods alone. Someday I want to be the crazy old woman in the forest with a big cauldron in her front yard and everyone will think I’m completely nuts. Even the UPS driver will wish I wasn’t on his delivery route. Of course I’ll have a few cats and a pet crow that likes to perch on my shoulder and whisper secrets in my ear.

And if that’s all I had for companionship I think I’d be alright. Besides, other than my cute cats and cool crow, I’d have myself to talk to.

Anyone like me who suffers with Social Anxiety Disorder, whether it’s from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. can relate to what I’m saying and know how debilitating it can be.The truth for me is the longer I stay away from people and public places, the more I stress about doing so. The more I don’t want to. And there are more of us than people think there are.

Over the entire month of January I left the house for only what was necessary; my kids’ basketball practices & their Saturday games, which of course puts me in a social situation with other parents who (more times than not) are overly aggressive. I’ve been to doctor’s appointments, and the grocery store. That pretty much sums it up. I don’t think the art studio counts.

This is coming from a woman who traveled to Europe to meet up with her girlfriend back in the day. Wow, a lot has happened over the last 15 years.

But I ventured away from my house last night, just for fun, which was something I fought really hard against. I knew this outing would put me in a public setting that I wasn’t used to. It was far away from my comfort zone, like the little town 12 miles up the road. It wasn’t the elementary school gym and it wasn’t my doctor’s office. I was headed into the metropolis of busy freeways, lots of bridges, and narrow city streets. There would also be people. A lot of people. My level of anxiety was high when I put on my coat and several times I wondered if I could just maybe, somehow get out of it. But I sucked it up and spritzed on my best perfume then smiled at myself in the mirror because my husband and I were going on a date. The first one in many moons.

We saw a movie at a theater downtown then walked along Hawthorne where we spent way too much time in Powell’s Books. We skipped the trendy restaurants and Portland’s food trucks and finally settled in at our favorite burger joint. We both ordered pepper bacon cheeseburgers and waffle fries. We kinda shared a large milkshake- I say “kinda” because I slurped down way more than my fair so I could get the most (I’m bratty that way). It was an absolutely disgusting meal, and I enjoyed every bite.

It’s times like last night that I’m reminded of the good things that exist outside my comfort zone. There’s no guarantee in life that I won’t be in a car accident, mugged, or worse. But then again there’s no guarantee that I won’t slip and fall in my own home while holding scissors the wrong way or not get trampled by a deer (that actually injured me once, but that’s another story) while wandering along our trails.

Ask me today and I’ll tell you I’d love to see an old friend and catch up. Hell, I’ll even drive to the mall and do some shopping in the Macy’s store where that horrible shooting happened a few years ago. If I keep pushing myself, especially in times I don’t want to, I may begin seeing the world from beyond my comfort zone as somewhere I sometimes would rather be!

As much as the eccentric crazy old woman who lives deep in the forest spending her time conjuring magick and the occasional mayhem just to keep things interesting sounds fun, maybe I don’t really want to be alone. At least not yet.

But if I finally do find myself there I really hope I will have earned it. That I’ll have come full circle by venturing out of my comfort zone. I’ll travel and do great deeds. I’ll meet new people and hopefully share lots of laughter and joy. I’ll spend years and years loving my grandchildren, and teaching them the Ways of the Witch.

And there’s so much more. I want to give more time and energy to charity. I want to sew quilts for the newborns in the neonatal unit (I’ll never forget that small yet caring gesture from a stranger and how it gave me and Atticus so much comfort when he spent his first month of life there). I want to spend oodles and oodles of time with my husband, walking on the beach, playing chess, watching stupid movies, and laughing together until it hurts. And of course making love. A lot.

I want to see Greenland one day. I want to watch a play on Broadway. And while I’m at it, I want to have backstage passes to a Duran Duran concert and a private dinner~and stuff~with John Taylor (hey, a girl can dream)….He’s the one “free pass” *wink, wink* that my husband has given me, no questions asked. I only said okay because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings (another *wink, wink*). But gosh I love my man.

I want to keep making time for my watercolor painting and Soulcollage work. I want to continue guest speaking at Tarot workshops and at the University. I want to write a book. And I want to blog.

I suppose I have a lot of living I want to get done.

I know there will be bad bouts of pain where days and weeks will easily slip by, but I know that I have to fight to be a part of the outside world and push through my comfort zone once the pain episode subsides. Who knows? Maybe something greater than I ever thought possible will come out of it all. But before I get busy, I think I’ll go and call my friend and catch up. Maybe meet for lunch…. In the city.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(