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Lessons From 2014: To Be On Top Of Things

blu rose
The first half of the year, I was learning something very important:

What it feels like for absolutely everything to be okay. When life is working, friends are abundant, health is better than normal, basic material concerns are covered, and your life has purpose-- LIFE IS VERY GOOD.

It wasn't the first time life has lined up so perfectly. However, it was the first time things were going well and I felt like I had my own shit together completely. I was patient, calm, confident, mature, and ready to take those last few steps to fix all that was left in my life that might have been holding me back. I can't tell you what that combination of circumstances feels like unless you've been there. To feel strong in myself at the same time life was going my way was a remarkable feeling. Months of this kind of stability felt so good, and I was moving forward with all kinds of plans.

In addition, as if that wasn't wonderful enough, I was feeling a great deal of satisfaction for having reached at last a long list of goals that I set out for myself and my husband several years ago. Things having to do with a rural lifestyle, prepping, and creating a strong community and fomenting better relations with the best of my friends around the country. The glow of pride was so very precious to me, and I wore that well-earned pride with much gratitude-- an emotion that isn't easy for me to relax into (if you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know what I mean).

Misfortune and assholes abound of course-- so even as I basked a bit in 'the good life' I knew I had to appreciate it as the short-term blessing that it was. I really felt okay with whatever was coming next, though, because between my personal accomplishments and prolonged good luck I felt that I had built up my defenses and healthy coping mechanisms to the extent I would not be brought down so easily again.

And that showed a bit of hubris on my part it seems.

Unfortunately, the second half of the year promised some massive disruptions that stole my new found sense of security right out from under me...

That will be my next blog post, though. For now, my point is that those months of feeling good: strong, proud, successful, appreciated, and secure at least for a while-- incentivized me to find a way to get back to that point!

I am so tired of feeling neglected, vulnerable, lost, and scared!! Having a period of my life without those nearly-constant negative emotions was SO good for me. I am very efficient and compassionate, I have discovered, lacking any remaining bitter cynicism, when I am in such a healthy place. I felt in so many ways as if I had arrived at last upon what adulthood is supposed to be about. I felt like I could relax a little about the future and about my own abilities to meet that future.

I want it all back. I want to feel like I own myself and the life I've built around me again very soon.

In 2014, I discovered the point of it all this life stuff!! I know what I need, and what I want-- and deserve!-- to have. I am very grateful for the lesson, and I don't intend to ever let go of that desire to have a basically satisfying life again.

Comment to Greer's Well of Galabes

Blue Chakra (psychic)
Great post on magick and how people come to it this month in John Michael Greer's religious/spiritual/magick blog. He was mainly talking about people working hard doing rituals and then one day some weird stuff happens and they're all shocked about it. To that I said:

"This is an interesting take on learning about 'the astral level of reality' from the materialist western practitioner who discovers there is MORE through ritual.


My own experience is that I had so many spontaneous astral experiences (undeniable and often with witnesses around) since childhood which seemed to follow me around and waxed and waned-- yes-- like the tides, I turned to magic to learn to harness and control things a bit.

I was so scared of these experiences as a child, none of the adults around me could explain what I was experiencing (and I lost many friends who shared these experiences and were too freaked out to hang out with me afterwards.) I soon learned other people didn't see auras, or the pure-auric non-material beings who inhabited human places (ghosts) or natural places (faeries).

Luckily, I was an early reader and came across books on the paranormal and magic(k) and began to grasp how it might work. Then I learned how to set up wards and stop leaking 'stuff' all over the place and keep drawing things in, apparently!

Crucially, the theories I read about and the magic techniques I tried often worked (though not always) and I began to lose my fear. Now I help others with their own experiences that they can't deny... the first time they live in a haunted house, for example, and don't know what to do with all the physical activity that has no physical cause.

But it all started because I was a desperate teenager scared witless by the explosion of 'unexplainable activity' all around me.

When in adulthood I began teaching students about magick and got the panicked phone calls (or even people showing up at my door at 3 am) I realized that even those who think the concept is cool will freak out when personal proof presents itself."


Greer replied:

"Lucretia, in my experience that's one of two ways that people get involved in magic -- either they're surrounded by events they can't explain, or they feel the gaping void where magic ought to be in the world and go looking for it. In either case, the 3 am phone call is a common phenomenon."


But, seriously, I know most people DON'T have all the crazy paranormal experiences I have (with witnesses around, thus verifying its not just my own psychiatric disorder) but it really is a different perspective to come at it from an angle that has nothing to do with not quite knowing if there is any "there" there and then being shocked when, YES, its REAL and OH MY GAWD! He was basically saying, "do the work and get the 'gee wow' experience down the line some." I was saying, 'never mind the gee-wow, how do I get it to stop or at least slow down?" You know?

dreams
I've continued to keep an eye on my dreams as I've begun to address Rays and take on those Shadows that I did NOT befriend in all the dreamwork I've done thus far.

2 recent dreams illustrate to me the mechanism by which I, the normal consciousness, gets hi-jacked by other aspects of my mind in certain situations...

The first dream, a friendly aspect introduced me to a Shadow kid. It was a boy, with dark hair in a cheap, blunt haircut with light freckles and an overall sort of pudgy bodytype. Reminded me of the type of kids who tended to be bullies when I was in elementary school, especially this one kid who liked to make fun of people and called me "Crybaby" and my sister "Squatzie" (because when she got scared, she'd hunch down in a squat.) The friendly adult aspect said she thought it might be a good idea if the 2 of us hung out together for a while. The kid himself didn't look too thrilled with the idea, but I said, "Yeah, sure-- let's get to know each other better." Another little boy, more shy, but who followed the bigger, freckled kid around was also in the periphery I noticed.

Then the dream got extra weird-- after we just were in some house just starting to decide what to do together (video game maybe I was thinking) I blacked out. Now, I don't know about other people, but I can fall asleep and dream and wake up into the first dream again in dreams. I can also lose consciousness and black out. It doesn't happen often, but it happened in this dream.

I came to on the passenger side of a van, my lower body sitting on the floor with my upper body draped over the passenger side seat by the door. I was dopey and confused and looked up and saw out the front window that tree tops and power line poles were flashing by... we were moving! Then I looked over to see the bully boy driving the van we were in with his sidekick in the middle between us. Naturally, I protested, "Hey! We're moving! You can't be driving, you're too young to drive this van!" His answer, given quite calmly as he steered the vehicle, refusing to pull over, was, "Lady, I've been driving this thing around for years!"


Then the dream ended. I woke up and noted it, realizing right away that the dream was explaining how aspects of my personality sometimes take over and take charge of what I do-- and having less mature parts of myself "take the wheel" could happen, because the adult, rational me could be tricked and lulled into just losing control for a time.

The second dream went on to explain the mechanism for this.

In it, I was in a bar with a couple of friendly aspects, one of whom was a detective character from a TV show. They were working to help me uncover who was behind my "drugging." My friendly aspects had a tumbler of water that had been adulterated, and they were acting passed out as if they had drank it. I was confused, and one of them whispered to me to "act like you got drugged too!" I looked over at my seat and realized I didn't even have a glass to put drugs in! At that point, the fact I was in a dream came to me and I went lucid. I realized we were supposed fake sleep in order to listen in to the belligerent aspects (Rays? Shadows?) who were sabotaging my consciousness.

But I just got frustrated. I stood up and took one of the messed with drinks and walked up to the head bully-guy. We were in a bar type of place and he was racking up a cue to play pool or something. I looked the guy (fat with light red hair and a beard) in the eye and dumped the drugged drink into HIS drink and then dared him to drink it. He looked me steadily on without flinching and carried that drink to the sink and dumped it, then reached over the bar and grabbed a bottle of beer, "I think I prefer a cold one right now anyway!" He wasn't even slightly intimidated by my protesting his actions!


I woke up and it took me a while to process that this was about the aspect (or group of them) who actually decides when to sabotage my rational, adult self by putting me "to sleep" in a way, thus allowing other aspects to temporarily take over. It does help to explain when suddenly I'm overwhelmed by a mood or idea that's not like me, or that doesn't make sense to me but that I feel compelled to express and then later regret. So this set of dreams was a very good learning experience. I will need to stop the sabotaging of my adult self being in charge all the time!

Obviously, some parts of me feel that other parts are better suited to some jobs-- but kids? How can kids be burdened with adult responsibilities? Aren't my child selves supposed to play and have fun and do KID things? (Which, by the way, my adult self is not above allowing them/me to have regularly!) Instead, they're taking over my behavior at inopportune moments (though less often all the time as I continue this years-long dreamwork project.) So, in addition to healing Rays and Shadows, I need to address whoever is the "Switchmaster" who switches up who gets to express.

Its so weird, it really IS just like being a multiple in that way. I don't experience my life with the memory issues of a multiple with Dissociative Identity Disorder, but some of my mood states and spontaneous behavior can be out of character, which is apparently when other parts take over for a short time.

Fascinating...

Archdruid Predicts Next Recession (2015)

fu~k this sh~t
So, JMG commented this week on what the hell is going on with the low (and still falling) oil and gas prices, as well as all sorts of things like iron ore, not even directly connected to oil or energy. Greer believes its demand destruction-- which means prices were so high for so long that lots of people learned to do without or be much more conservative and that, in turn, eventually drove down prices.

thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/12/deja-vu-all-over-again.html


So-- head's up everyone!

I'm glad the guys (Tad & Darcy) got their Tiny House bought and paid for. They'll take about 4 years to pay off the loans for it, but then they'll have a movable shelter, well-built and all set for wherever they want to live. That's a great investment, and they'll have more security than most heading into Decline.

As for us, the search for our next homestead resumes in the new year. We've had some discussions and have decided to go even less expensive than we were going for originally. We want our property to be really affordable. That means we will have to find something pretty far out of the metro area, but I want that anyways.

The gas prices are crashing, which means the investment in new drilling will crash, which will create scarcity, which means prices will slingshot back up with less alleviation in the future (due to lack of investment for new sources, etc.) and then we'll be back up to $4 + gas again only without any new cushions.

The newest housing bubble is sure to pop soon as well. There are signs that the housing bubbles that never popped in Canada and Australia are finally about to burst and then prices here will go down. Unfortunately, that means a credit crunch and it'll be harder to get loans again.

Jeez! Trying to time life decisions between economic disasters is just a pain in the ass, huh?

Tags:

A More Modest Holiday For 2014

lily maid
This year we took a young douglas fir seedling, only 3 feet high, from an inconvenient place it would get pulled like a weed, and potted it. We plan to take it with us, a nature-grown tree from one of the trees that's been growing here since forever, and plant it somewhere on the property we buy. It seems symbolic to take a tree from the land where we planted so many trees and begin again wherever we land.

That tiny tree is our Yule tree this year- with tiny lights and balls and ornaments on it. Very cute-- and very easy. The last few years we've bought 5 foot potted Yule trees and then planted them and over 4 years between us and other neighbors who did the same, White Gables is dotted with very pretty trees. You're welcome new owners! Although I did it for the land itself which deserved a little love, not for monetary reasons. I just hope they keep them!

We put up a few lights around the townhouse and brought out my angel and our Holly King characters and an elf or two for decorations, but this year we did not go all out as in some years past. We just have so much on our plates at the moment. So I'm happy with the more modest approach!


Some years I'm in the spirit, and some years I'm just not. This is one of those in-between years where I'm feeling okay but pretty much the opposite of ambitious. I got all my shopping done this weekend for everyone but my sister-- but I won't see her until after New Year's anyways, so I have time there. My husband gave me $100 of new stuff for video games already, which is very nice... I never was the type of wife who wanted kitchen or cleaning gadgets for the holidays, or jewelry for that matter. I also got some new PJs, gloves, and insulated winter pants which I've wanted forever. Yule came early for me this year, but mostly that's because of how we're saving up for down payments and when payday landed. I'm not so sentimental that I wait with baited breath for the Winter Solstice to pass. I was indulged with some treats, and my husband gets the same, and so we're both good. Other than cards, we don't exactly have anything going on with our families, so we're free to do as we like.

We have been watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy with the neighbors and plan to watch Pride & Prejudice (the good version with Colin Firth from the 90s) next. We'll be celebrating Yule with them next weekend since they are pagan as well and that's something I'm looking forward to for sure.

Very little mussing and fussing this year suits me just fine though. My guess is that our first Yule in our new home next year we'll be going all out in a very big celebration, and that will suit me just fine too. =^)

Another Half Brother of Gerick's Dies

promiseface
I got an email from one of my nieces today that one of her uncles (Gerick's brothers) died yesterday. Then Gerick's mother called today to tell him the news herself. I just asked what happened-- they found him on the toilet at his daughter's house, dead. No obvious reason as to cause, but he's been sick for a while and too poor for doctors, pretty much homeless until very recently.

I said I was surprised that his daughter (I'll call her "Kelly") took him in because, well, there's no delicate way of putting this... when she was a girl he used to drug and rape her. Worse, he passed her to to other men who also had daughters and did the same with them. So... I don't give a shit that he was homeless and sick and just died. Piece of shit excuse for a human. He admitted he did it to get an easier sentence than the other 2 men who didn't want to admit it, and spent only a couple of years in prison for it (he spent longer terms in prison for selling pot! How fucked up is THAT!?)

Anyway, Gerick knows how I feel about this John guy, but he actually got defensive when I even said I was surprised about Kelly's act of mercy/forgiveness. He made some snide remark that not everyone is like me [what? sensible?] and that it wasn't up to me to judge! I wasn't judging. I said nothing about my poor niece Kelly. She's doing okay in life after some severe struggles and I have nothing but sympathy and respect for her. Maybe she could tell he was on the brink of death-- he looked pretty bad, everyone agreed. Maybe being merciful towards this holy horror of a father was healing for her because she knew it meant she was a better person or something. I don't have that kind of mercy in ME, nor would I allow such a man to be around MY children, but... well, he died before he could do any damage to another generation, thankfully.

I said NONE OF THAT to Gerick. Only that it was surprising. That's all.

Huh...

He just came to apologize to me for acting all defensive just now. He says he just doesn't want to talk about John's sins while he still processing the fact that someone he knows just died. Okay, I get that and I wasn't going to start anything, I was making an offhand remark and walking away because that's about as much as I cared.

~sigh~

Sometimes I feel like a freak for daring to get all outraged by outrageous people. It seems like there is great social pressure to just shut up and take it or at least shut up and don't talk about it. I've never been that type, especially about abuse of women, children, animals, and the planet. I've always (since teens) been disgusted by football and fraternities because I've known they were hotbeds of rapists long before it became something finally discussed in the media. And I've never understood the concept of forgiving child rapists or being sad when they die.

Some will apparently see me as a monster for that. Certainly, my husband wishes I wouldn't expose myself as such a harsh judge to those who think forgiving (WHITE MALE) transgressors is a holy thing or something.

I admit, whether its his brother or not-- I'm disappointed in my husband for carrying that attitude, and I probably always will be. Some things are more important that keeping a good reputation with jerks and wusses who support the jerks because they want to be on the winning team, even if that team is evil.

Shayla Procures New Apartment

blu rose
The next tenant to flee the new White Gables is our next door neighbor, Shayla, who found a nice apartment for the same money further out of town, only 5 blocks from Natasha and Kalden. I went to go see it and it seems like the perfect sanctuary while she's on the waiting list for a near-by disabled community. I'm relieved that she'll be close to good people who will keep an eye on her and help her out when things go wonky. I'm also glad she's out of here before we are so I don't have to worry about her too much. The idea of leaving her behind was really bothering me.

We're helping her out, of course. She's moving out late next week and then that's it-- White Gables will be down to just 2 tenants! Its strange to think of, actually. We've never had more than 2 units empty at a time, and even then for only a very short while. The idea of 3 empty for prolonged periods is kind of sad.

I was worried all the renovations and emptying apartments would rile up the ghosts, but so far they have been very quiet. No issues what-so-ever. Perhaps my last very thorough smudging and warding really did the trick. Normally, the pattern has been late September through early December is the most active period, but not this year! I guess I've learned something there, eh?

Meanwhile, Shayla took me out to lunch at a semi-fancy restaurant yesterday to thank me. It was an amazingly good meal, and she took the time to tell me that Michael and I and our kindness to her changed her life. She's turned many things around and finally found new friends and for the first time in her life since terrible events in her teens-- a place that felt like home. She finally felt safe and secure after 2 decades of PTSD and loneliness, and she wanted me to know how much she appreciated all that we'd done. I was very touched, and a little sad, because I didn't think I did all that much. I just tried to be a good neighbor and a decent person. I don't even really consider Shayla much of a friend in some ways because our interests are so divergent. However, people don't have to be a friend to me for me to like them and want to do right by them.

Still, it was nice to have someone acknowledge openly that my efforts to be a good person had a positive impact on their life. It was nice to know that I mattered to her in a personal way. I don't act a certain way to illicit gratitude, but it is nice to be appreciated occasionally!

My efforts and advice were always geared towards helping Shayla feel supported to do what she needed to do to be as okay and independent as possible. Yes, she's severely bi-polar with PTSD and that means she's not normal and has tons of issues. But that shouldn't mean that she can't live a fairly quality life. I was calmly there when she had flashbacks and even hallucinated and never got freaked out by any of it. I took her drugs away and doled them out a day's worth at a time when she was deeply depressed and suicidal, but I did so respectfully and didn't patronize her. I shared my own eccentricities and vulnerabilities, proving I have my own servings of humble pie to eat regularly. I helped her with research when it became obvious she couldn't work so she would know what to do to get on disability. And-- I made her laugh with dark humor many, many times.

But I felt good doing it so it was always okay by me.

I'm glad it looks like she'll be okay, even if I'm not right next door to help out. I'm sure we'll keep in touch and visit regularly, which will be very nice. And I will miss her as my neighbor because she was a very considerate one, and a warm and gentle person as well. She deserves a good life and I'm hoping all the best for her, always.

Long Overdue Post On Ebola

brd shocked
Its been such a crazy time in my personal life that one of the biggest stories of the year/decade/century (maybe) just rolled on by and I've yet to say much of anything!

Apologies.

Firstly, I'm not particularly worried about a stray Ebola case here or there. I'm more worried about the main areas where its going on in Africa and an actual eventual spread throughout the world. We're not there yet and we easily have months to go before that becomes a concern-- so of course I'm keeping an eye on things now.

Secondly, a couple of commentaries by others works well to illustrate some points I think worthy of consideration:

This illustration piece, out October 9th, explains what needed to have happened to contain Ebola's inexorable spread.

Ebolacontain

Happily, months later, we can see containment has indeed slowed that spread, but not nearly enough...

Cases of Ebola are at some 20,000 with around 7,000 deaths (keep in mind that records in Africa are notoriously bad and much goes unreported.)

Keep up with the latest here: www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/case-counts.html

However, though we have no cases here in the United States, to think "the worst is over" and ignore the situation is a grave mistake. Guinea seems to have brought its cases under control (either that or they are under-reporting, I'm not sure-- politics and news in that region is often unstable...) However, as we can see, the disease is still doubling in cases every couple of months by reports.

This graph explains better than I can state why Ebola is still a major story and may very well spread across the world next year or perhaps the year after that -- it may still be contained, but it may be beyond containment. Hard to say as of yet. Still, don't forget about it because its still doing its thing.

timecases

Am I freaking out? Nah! Just keeping an eye on things and slowly building up an emergency response supply for any number of disasters, including a pandemic. Now that I have a plan and have others with me on it, I can relax on this front and worry about other things for now.

The Sometimes Long Process of Good-bye

cool window
I am in such a weird mood these days...

I'm definitely in hibernation mode, despite there being so much news and changes in my life lately (and more yet to come soon). I am dealing with reality by spending a great deal of time escaping it mentally. Movies, binge-watching TV shows I've missed, video games, even cooking long involved meals while listening to music and humming or dancing along (that shows desperation right there-- amirite?)

A part of me is already saying good-bye to White Gables, but its not as easy as most places I've ever left. I've moved quite often over the course of my life, and generally been happy to do so. I have an oddly restless nature and like to explore new regions and neighborhoods. I grew up moving frequently, and though I move far less often than my parents did, it seems a bit of slow-motion wanderlust is built-in or something.

But White Gables felt like home in ways that few places ever have. It had the rural location, the gardens and chickens and landscaping we've done ourselves, and the community of people. I've never lived as I have here anywhere else in my life. I've had a little of it here and there, but nothing like this. We've had a good 4 years here. The best of both worlds-- bucolic privacy and a close community. Its been an incredible learning experience on SO many levels, as I've faithfully documented here in this blog.

Yet even before it became clear we wouldn't be able to buy this property, I was beginning to feel that odd 'itch' to move on. I've rarely lived in one location any longer than 3 to 4 years in general. As I get older I find I'm slowing down, but I start to get twitchy by the time I reach the 4 year mark. A part of me feels very ready to move and try my life in another place. I'm not sure where I'll end up, but I'm eager for the next segment of my life's adventure. This next bit will be unique in so many ways-- at long last I will be realizing my life's dreams fully of having my own place in the country!

However, because White Gables was our home for so long and because we managed to find so many things that we wanted here, I am not as eager to move on as I have been in most other places I've lived. I rather hate watching the changes happen while I live here. Its like a part of me wants to preserve the happy memories by pretending this place won't change, you know? Silly, but true.

But everything changes. Often that's a good thing. However, I suppose having a feeling of "home" is special and rare enough to me that I am much more attached than normal-- so these current changes are more poignant. I'm processing them in my own Type 4 way, running off into my imagination and burying myself in stories. I'll be okay and I'll adjust. Once I know where I'm going and our new home is procured, I'll be even more okay.

For now, though, I'm in a very strange mood. I keep finding myself caught up in little moments where I do something and realize I won't do it again here. This was our last Halloween, our last Thanksgiving, our last Yule/Xmas. The last time I raked leaves. The last time this and the last time that. So many last times! And I realize that what I'm actually doing is saying good-bye, but in stages rather than all at once. It makes me feel smaller somehow...

I must shrink for now in order to expand later into a whole new home.

And so I do.

Thanksgiving 2014

lab lady
Another holiday past-- and passed...

I had everything timed exactly. The guys were cooking part of it, and I was doing the rest-- had to get up at 7 am to get the turkey in on time-- and my mother was bringing the no-cook fruit salad and waldorf (walnuts and apples and mayo) salad. And... it all came out exactly right and perfectly.

Gerick picked up my mother, sister, and friend Fara and they came to me finishing the last touches (with Fara's help) and we soon sat down to maybe the best Thanksgiving meal I've ever sat down to. Food wise for sure! GOOD food. I couldn't believe we pulled it off so easily and well, but yes...

Then, a scant hour and a half later, everyone was dropped back off and we could relax for the rest of the day. I was quite pleased, all in all. I sent everyone home with leftovers, and still had plenty left for myself. When we went shopping earlier in the week, we made sure we had enough for the next week and a half without a further shopping trip just so we could relax and know it was all covered.

Meanwhile, the sale of White Gables went through and its official-- and Gerick and I are no longer managers. The new owners don't live too far away and they are taking over all the property upkeep duties. A part of me feels put out, but most of me is ready to bask in the freedom from the responsibilities! I mean, when we buy our next place, we'll have plenty to do. However, in the meantime--? Vacation baby!! That's how I'm going to re-frame it! So I'm looking out at all the work that must be done and shrugging. Feels pretty good actually. I may as well enjoy the time off, so I shall.

I'm grateful the new owners are still open to gardens and chickens and don't seem to be complete asses in the meantime. It all could have gone much worse. So-! We have the space and time we need to comfortably transition from White Gables to the next place we land and build a life.

THAT is something to be thankful for! That, and much more. My marriage straightening itself out, better-than-average health, feeling as though I matter for perhaps the first time in my life...

Yeah. I'm cool.

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