I did a weird thing this year that I have not done in all of the years that Eric and I have practiced CUSP, our spiritual path that involves creating positive life change every single year. The idea is that you plan in the winter, plant in the spring, and harvest your changes in the fall. Usually, we go through quite a process of evaluating our lives and how we want them to change, then going deep into the spiritual side to get Divine confirmation and redirects on our plan, then work hard at planting, nurturing, cultivating, and harvesting.
This year, without making it public even though we practice with others, Eric and I made the choice not to plant anything. It was a gamble. We would likely end up with nothing to show for our year and that is sort of like getting nothing for Christmas. We were tired. After working aggressively for the past eighteen years to create a better life for us and our family and to be better people in the world, the idea of going through the whole process of manifestation seemed too daunting. So we decided to let our fields lay fallow for a year to give them a rest.
The experience has been quite extraordinary and enormously demanding…more so than if we planted something in the first place.
Today is the first day of the second harvest, which is the time when the “boon” comes into our lives, the blessings from the God and Goddess that we did not cultivate with our own hands. Historically, in European countries where my ancestors lived, the nuts, fruits, and berries of the land came into season at this time and were additions to the harvests of the fields and the meat from the hunts to keep everyone fed and alive throughout the winter. A slim harvest from the fields could be saved by what the foragers found in the forests.
Eric and I have been richly blessed this year. Although he left his job at the Veteran’s Administration in March, we have managed to remain afloat despite the struggles of my own business, which just launched in January and revamped in April. His time at home without work let him bond with our sons who are now sixteen and eighteen. He also was available to go to the shop with me and help out.
Seemingly out of nowhere, my magic shop, the Botánica de La Reina, was born. I have never worked longer and harder at anything in my life and that is not said lightly. I have had some hard jobs in my time. The long, long hours at the shop on weekends with a two hour drive on either side takes the life right out of me. Throughout the week, nearly every waking minute is spent on some kind of inventory development. All of the items in the shop I make myself with a few exceptions. It seems as though it never ends. The experience, however, has been delightful and even when I was ready to give it up because it seemed it would never turn the corner and be successful, The Goddess told hold and showed me otherwise.
The other side of the shop is computer repair and when sales are slow on the Botánica side, the computer side usually picks up a bit. My writing has suffered because of the time I have invested working on inventory and I am dedicated to finding the balance so I can get back to the other job that I so dearly love.
The greatest reward and the most painful struggle is realizing all of the ways that I self-sabotage and working to eliminate those behaviors. I routinely allow myself to be disrespected and dishonored in many areas of my life. My resolution is to never again allow myself to remain in a situation where I am not treated with dignity and respect. Of course, it cannot be flawless, but I can work aggressively to minimize those opportunities to be, well, where I am not supposed to be.
I am not above learning new things about me and about the world and I am open to constructive criticism. I have, however, decided definitively that I will no longer participate in any activity that is not rewarding to me on some level. I was surprised when I found how many aspects of my life this choice – and it truly is just a choice – affected. A few weeks ago, I posted about several situations that caught my attention and showed me that I was routinely disregarded and dishonored. It became so routine that I rarely even noticed when it happened and that is unacceptable.
Once I began to see how many people around me used words to manipulate certain behaviors and outcomes from me, I could not unsee it. Repeatedly, I found myself falling back into old routine and old dynamics. I did not think I would ever see the other side and retrain myself out of those destructive habits. I still falter more often than I care to admit, but the aggregate process is quite advanced now. I have to remind myself many times a day of the Socratic prescription of “Is it true; is it kind, or is it necessary?” when interacting with others.
Many years ago, I heard the much-maligned minister, Joel Osteen, propose that of the people we meet, 25% will love us no matter what, 25% will love us but can be convinced to not love us, 25% do not like us at all, but can be convinced to like us and 25% will not like us no matter what we do. This stuck with me in a big way when I realized how much of my time I spend trying to get the 50% who don’t like me to throw me a crumb of validation. Granted, those numbers have no scientific merit. The man was just making a point.
Just this week, I saw that I was spending a whole lot of my time working on a project where most of the people clearly did not like me and had no intention of liking me. I did not start the project to be liked. I started it because it involved a subject about which I am passionate and I thought I could contribute in a positive way. As it turned out, it was not healthy for me to be there, so it was best that I quietly and cleanly extricate myself. Too much energy was going into the 50% and now I need to focus 100% of my time and energy onto the other 50% who want to be where I am and who are interested in spending time with me.
I do not take this personally except for the irritating fact of yet another project I worked on harder than I should have that availed me just a tad over nothing.
This harvest, I am cutting the strings that tie me to anything that does not benefit me on some level. I am refocusing my energy into the activities that I love and letting go of what no longer serves. At Samhain (Oct 31), I will officially send those situations into the fires.
This growth has been exquisitely painful in some ways, but I came through it. The unkind voices in my head chide, “You came too far out of your box, silly girl.” “You tried to get out into a world that has moved beyond you and your ridiculous thoughts and beliefs.” “Go back to your rocking chair, tuck the covers in around you, and wait to die.” “Who do you think you are? Imagining that anyone cares what you think?”
In June, a gift box came into my possession from Maya Chalee Gray. It has stayed unopened on my altar since then:
I am not even sure what all is in it. I just know that I was not yet ready to do the work that was inside. Maya is a wonderful HooDoo/Rootworking instructor, which is the path that my own magical practice takes. That is another wonderful gift of this year. After several years of feeling stalled out, I found a new study that is evocative and rewarding. Between Maya and my other teacher, Hexeba Theaux, I have a wealth of information and feel reborn magically.
Tonight, on the Autumn Equinox, I will open the gift box and get busy on whatever is in there. As difficult as this year has been, the rewards have been profound and I believe they will continue to be so.
Lately, I feel old, old, old. As old as the dirt. As old as the ocean. As old as the stars that are already long dead by the time we see them. My 54th birthday just passed without fanfare or much celebration. I have never resisted aging and I welcome it. Tonight especially, I also feel it.
I am cutting the strings and I have to wonder if I will fall to the ground when they let go. I have to learn to walk on my own, to find the strength in my own legs without leaning onto the strings other people pulled, and to establish my inner balance. Until then, I feel a bit broken and wobbly.
I trust the process without exception.
Blessings to all of you on your paths.
Update: Inside the gift box were a number of protection items which are now fully activated and hard at work. Thank you, Maya.