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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in compassionate practice

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Staying Power

I took a few days off from the world so I could stay in it for the next few  decades. Many things have happened in the last month, that have pushed me off my center, upset the balance of my emotions. I was interviewed on June 10th about my work with AIDS as an activist and as the executive director for Delaware’s main AIDS/HIV organization in the 80s and early 90s. It was like a war zone during those years. One year I attended the funerals of 65 friends, I stopped going to funerals for many years. The memories opened old wounds. Then the massacre of LGBTQ people in Orlando happened. I have friends and personal connections there. I am also a Cuban that’s been in the US since fleeing Cuba in 1961, that was woven into my experience of the massacre as well. In addition to my own distress, I had to put on the clergy hat and be available for others who needed comfort and support. And all of this in the midst of a horrible election cycle, more tragedies for people of color, more glaring examples of rape culture, more bigotry against trans people, crises in the lives of my community members, internecine conflicts in my broader spiritual communities, and more. Then I was treated poorly by people that I have helped often. I shrugged it off, reminding myself that when you try to free an animal from a trap it is just as likely to bite you as to bless you when you help it.The last straw was the report of a father unwilling to pick up his son’s body for burial because his son was gay. I was thrown away by my parents when I was 18. I was done.

I knew I was in trouble. I tried to arrange a meeting to unburden myself with a friend, but didn't manage to call her. I started re-reading the Stoic philosophers, usually a bad sign for me. I doubled my meditative practices. It wasn’t enough. Most people tell me they experience me as perennially helpful, engaged, kind, and patient. Moment to moment I was flipping the Janus faced coin of incandescent rage and ice-bound sadness. I put away my cell phone, turned off my wifi, cancelled everything I could, and stayed home. I listened to music, read fiction, worked in the garden, hugged my husband, played with our dogs, and did not try to explain myself to anyone. My Jim, answered the land line, dealt with people who showed up at the door, warned off people that wanted to be helpful, and gave me the space I needed. This is not the first time that I have taken a break from the world nor will it be my last. It is the first time I am telling people of my struggles and why I drop off the grid. I intend to stay in the world and to stay on target with my work for many, many years. I’m back again, until I take another needed retreat from the world in several years. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    love and gentle calm to you
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Brigit's balm, my friend.
  • Jae Sea
    Jae Sea says #
    It's so important to allow the space, uncrowded, to flow. I'm here for you. Hugs & Love.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Holding you, my brother. Always. I spoke your name to the Midsummer Moon at PSG and prayed a prayer of peace and justice, but abov

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

(Hee hee.)

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you about the time someone criticized my student and I nearly lost my friggin’ mind.

b2ap3_thumbnail_swans.jpgI see my Coven the way most people see swans. Graceful and lovely on the surface; pedaling like mad beneath the surface to keep all things going well. Guests may see them as the calm and friendly people who call the Quarters, take the suggested $10 donations, raise the energy, and don’t let anyone open the wine until Fellowship. What they don’t see are the hours driving to NYC (for those who live in CT or Westchester), or the local members shuffling their shoulder bags full of ritual gear onto the subway, setting the space, performing the rite, cleaning up, and then shuffling everything back onto the subway, but usually with additional baggage in tow: canned food, toys, or clothing for various drives. The life of the Urban Witch often demands long journeys on foot, up and down long flights of stairs while jostling staffs, swords, candles, and goods among drunken strangers on and off of subways. It’s work. It’s a task of the Spirit and one I believe we are all glad to give. But what guests also don’t see is how many hours are spent in Circle outside of Sabbat, working on strengthening their Magickal and Energetic prowess as well as working through and with their Personal Shadows as part of becoming better Practitioners.   

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  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    Told you.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Keeping Calm v. Carrying On

The other day I was gifted with the opportunity to practice what I preach.

I received a shock that left me hurt, angry, and more than a bit anxious.  My tummy churned, my breathing became shallow, and I slipped into negative thinking – angry thoughts towards myself and others, fearful thoughts about finances, dark humor.

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  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Alianna! My main goal with my blog is to give practical examples and suggestions to make it easier for my readers to s
  • Alay'nya
    Alay'nya says #
    Dear Ashley - Really, REALLY, REALLY GOOD. We all need continued encouragement and practical examples of how to shift when we'

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Bad Nasty Entitlement Fairy

First of all, I am never going to meditate on compassion again.

Well, that's not true. I totally will. I just need to keep in mind that I'm a Witch and the moment I decide I want to know more about something, I need to plan that it's not going to show up in a pretty new book put out by my favorite authors. It will come in the package of angry persons, moments ripe for impatience, hurtful words, and seemingly futile attempts to heal through listening and sharing. IT WILL MANIFEST, PEOPLE. AND IT WILL USUALLY MANIFEST VIA PEOPLE.

People are the ultimate compassion-testers and the closer you are to them, the more they will test and tempt you to throw away all compassion. Along with several handfuls of your hair. I don't know why that is and I'm not asking why right now (TAKE NOTE, UNIVERSE! I AM OFFICIALLY NOT ASKING "WHY?"!) Basically, it's easier to have compassion for the homeless person sleeping on the subway than the co-worker making snarky remarks about company policies. It's much easier to have compassion for people making mistakes a world away than people making mistakes right next to you. If it were, Boyfriend would have compassion for me when I overload the dishwasher. ("And leave food out on the counter. And leave the lights on when you leave for work. And...." he compassionately added.)

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  • Ilyssa Silfen
    Ilyssa Silfen says #
    I've been dealing with both the Bad Nasty Entitlement Fairy and the Compassion Fairy quite a bit these past few weeks, and so this
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Weber, Wonderful post. So relevant...and I feel badly for what you guys went through with Superstorm Sandy. Thanks again!

b2ap3_thumbnail_dock.pngAre we programed to do "wrong" things? That is the core question permeating Philip K. Dick's well-known novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? For this installment of Well at World's End, we'll explore the undertones of Pagan themes in this novel.

The story is about Decker, a futurist cop, who is in charge of tracking down androids that look and act like humans. He gets paid for each one he brings in and essentially retires. The society Decker lives in is one where reality is dosed at the flick of a dial on one's mood organ, a device that allows you to feel any emotion, from bliss to sorrow. It is also a place, not unlike today's world, where the pursuit of money and future success is often at the forefront of decisions and daily motivation for some. 

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