Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Two Things...

As I've watched the reactions to the overturning of Roe v. Wade this Summer Solstice season, I find myself reflecting on how we respond to the world around us, our "rules of engagement," so to speak. 

I've come to two conclusions that might seem contradictory.

  1. I am not special. Yes, there are “special” things about me, a collection of traits that make me who I am, but other people have some of those same traits in various combinations, and when everyone is special in the same ways, no one is special. This realization has helped me let go of the jealousy and envy that hurt my ego when I was young. I’m good enough, not special, and this is very freeing. It allows me to be even more happy to see others succeed at doin’ stuff.

  2. Long-standing problems without clear solutions or enough buy-in from the people who could make a change can make you bitter. The bigger struggle in life is doing what I can, making peace with what I can’t, and staying compassionate and gentle as well as strong while putting pressure on those who can make that change. 

I guess my point is to let go of ego, accept your lovely self just as you are, push on those who can make things better when you can’t do it yourself, and stay connected, always, to your compassion, for yourself and for others. 

May the light of the sun continue to bring illumination and understanding to us all. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Broken Promises: An End to Roe v. Wade

When I was a young girl, I was promised a land of opportunity as my playground.
I was told I lived in the greatest country in the world with access to anything I would need to be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up. 

I was told that all lives were precious, and everyone who worked hard would be rewarded.
I was told over and over again. I was promised. 

But that was when I was a child, young and impressionable. And I believed all of it. 

As I’ve grown, It has been painful to watch every promise made to me, every thread of hope that created the fabric of my understanding of the world, unravel from the tapestry, front the web of lies they spun around me. 

Today, the masterpiece, the opus, unfurled, striking rage, fear, and sadness in the hearts of so many. So many will die. So many lives will be destroyed. So many minds will break and hearts with shatter. So many. And for what? To “win”? The cost is too high! 

But I remember the broken promises, and I already know why they would do this:
Because women’s lives don’t matter.
Because people with a uterus don’t matter.
Because anyone who doesn’t meet the standards of beauty, strength, skin color, and economic status from the moment of their birth doesn’t matter.
We, the PEOPLE, don’t matter. 

And from north to south, from east to west, from sea to shining sea, America weeps.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Breath of Inspiration

Since I've been spending so much of my time these past two years of the pandemic doing "boring writing," I haven't been posting about any of the more exciting things I've created. A few months ago, I wrote a new short musical piece to call on inspiration to be with us in the sacred work we are about to embark upon. I have a long-standing relationship with the powers that grant us the gifts of creating words, music, art, liturgy, all of it. In addition to the Earth Mother, I call to Inspiration in every rite and devotional I do, even at work. The Holy Awen, Imbas Forosnai, Inspiration. It fills me in ways I cannot describe well enough to do it justice, bringing me a peace and clarity that allows the words I write to flow forth in ways I could not author otherwise. 

This piece was written on a morning right after my devotional. There was nothing unusual about the devotional itself, but with the incense on my in-breath, the song began to flow. Click on the title below to hear a rough recording I made with my phone.

Before you use this recording in a devotional setting, set yourself an intention to be open to receive. Then, sing out for the Breath of Inspiration to wash over you with a gentle wind of awakening, guiding your mind's eye to new perspectives and deepening your devotion to the Kindreds and the world around you. You may wish to light a candle or incense before preparing yourself to commune with Inspiration.

Breath of Inspiration

Breathe on me, Breath of Inspiration
Fill my mind with visions of the Muses
Make my voice shine forth in silvery phrases
As gifts to those who hear my honeyed words
Holy Awen flow

repeat in plural with more voices

What will you do with Inspiration filling you? Many blessings on your work!

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Sacred Art of Boring Writing

Our Senior Druid, who happens to be a lawyer, performed a rite to the Sacred Scribes in honor of those who do "boring writing," and I am finding myself strongly drawn to this liturgy. As a cleric with an administrative vocation, this speaks to my core and purpose. I have always thrived on putting documentation in order, editing and formatting, proofreading and creating "boring" content such as bylaws and standard operating procedures--and this perspective of sacrality to this work rings in my bones. 

I recently threw my hat in the ring to be appointed interim Secretary for the Mother Grove, and the words I wrote for my application are heavily influenced by the conversation and liturgy created by our Jane Webster. Thank you, Jane!

The Sacred Art of Communication and the ADF Secretary

Communication is the method we use for transferring ideas from one person or entity to another. It is the foundational way in which we build and maintain relationships with the Kindreds and with one another.  When serving in a role requiring information from one place to be distilled down and shared in a concise, honest, and meaningful way, our communication must be as variable and flexible as our audience, as authentic and specific as permissible, and as verifiable and open to response as possible. When we help ensure others understand—not just checking the box when we have provided the information, we build trust with our audience. Our authenticity and willingness to give additional details encourages more questions, and as trust continues to build, the quality of the feedback we receive improves exponentially. 

The ADF Secretary is no different: They must remain unbiased in recording minutes, even (and especially) when they disagree. They must share in a way that promotes comprehension, including making information accessible to folks who receive data in different ways. They must encourage feedback and deliver those thoughts and ideas to the Mother Grove with equal, unbiased clarity to keep the Mother Grove well and truly informed of the stance of our folk. They must be willing to try new things while holding the balance between tradition, innovation, and integrity. As one of the people with the most freedom to share unfiltered speech with the folk, this position has responsibilities far-beyond personal reputation. The words of the Secretary reflect the organization as a whole no matter in which capacity they are speaking. In the wrong hands, this role has the power to cause as much harm as it has the potential for good. Therefore, the Mother Grove must be able to trust them to speak as their voice.

The art of communication is the dance of how we speak and how we listen as we strive to connect with one another in deeper, more intimate ways. Our communication at our shrines, whether through spoken prayers, postures, or offerings, allows us to make connections throughout the cosmos. Communication allows us to pass through to the divine to be heard and to receive blessings in return. Communication, then, is sacred. There are some who do not find the “boring” parts of our work to be inspirational or even spiritual, but are not the mundane parts of our world also part of the cosmos? As part of my awakening into my role as a priest, the clarity of my vocation was a surprise at first. While my career has given me ample space to express my love and talent for technical writing, the gift of my vocation lies in illuminating how that love and that expertise may be applied in all aspects of the work of Our Druidry. In short, I have the passion, understanding, drive, and integrity to do this work, and I want to give more to the organization. The role of ADF Secretary is one that I know I will enjoy and will perform well.

What Makes Me a Good Candidate?

The Mother Grove of our organization has been a virtual entity for decades, and the challenges that were once unique to those with no experience in remote work are now part of the typical skillset for most adults in the United States and beyond. As someone who has finished two degrees via remote education, has served on several boards (including the ADF Mother Grove), and managed staff at 30 different buildings across the state, I have a strong foundation that goes beyond the two pandemic years others have used to hone these skills. In addition to my past endeavors, I am currently serving well as the secretary for the Clergy Council as well as the minute keeper and document organizer for the Organizational Review Committee. While I am fortunate to have strong partners on both these teams, I am also accustomed to “training” new staff, making me a strong addition to a team with new members who may need patience and additional details or instructions. I have the capacity to take on additional duties while maintaining a work-life balance that allows me the time I need to focus on my other pursuits and responsibilities. 

When our policies, procedures, formats, language choices, and tone are aligned with the heart of our mission and vision and accurately reflect the way our work manifests in the world, we are at our best and most able to meet the needs of the folk we serve. I will bring my professionalism, experience, and willingness to learn to this role with all my heart. I truly believe this to be important and sacred work not only for the organization itself but for the folk of ADF and the communities we serve. Rev. Selnes, the outgoing Secretary, has done a tremendous job reinventing and updating the way we communicate with one another and with the folk, and I look forward to continuing that work, if I am selected to serve as ADF Secretary.

May the blessings of the Kindreds bless you and thank you for your dedication to the work of Our Druidry!

UPDATE: I didn't get it, but there is still plenty of other work to be done!