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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in human behavior

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
2015 Samhain Resolution

Happy Halloween to you all, and a Blessed Samhain to my Witchy friends! Most site viewers already know Samhain is also known as the New Year to many Pagan folks, and I attribute the notion of New Year's resolutions to it. (You may recall my post from last year.) Basically, every year, I strive for self-improvement that will in turn make the world a little bit better of a place. It's not like the traditional resolutions like losing weight or quitting a bad habit. No, I  believe Samhain resolutions are much deeper than that.

Reflecting on my resolution for last year, I do believe I've done good on it. Last year, "I resolve[d] to be better at the whole green thing,", as well as continue to "be less judgy". Both I've done good, but both are ongoing. Coincidentally, this past August, the city of Chicago had banned plastic bags from big stores, though many have found enough loopholes that so far it seems to not have made a big difference. We're still miles away from even a decent recycling system, too. But that's on the city - not me. So, I just have worked a bit harder at figuring out my own loopholes, so to speak.

One big thing we do is simply bring our own lunches to work. Especially in summer, I all but live out of my car, so I have pretty much turned the back seat into a little pantry, as I don't always have time to actually make a lunch. (I used to have a drawer at work for the same thing.) Now that I have fewer showings, I do have time to make lunches, which mostly, Ron and I use bento boxes. (He calls them pendejo boxes haha.) We're not sushi people, so that's not what we put in the little containers at all. Mostly, it's variations of the Thanksgiving relish trays, a.k.a., nibbles, and different stuff all the time. Black olives, carrots, celery with cream cheese, crackers and cheese, thinly sliced radishes, peeled and sliced apples (dipped in a touch of lemon juice to prevent browning), green onions, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, mini sweet pickles (as well as sliced dills), lunch meats, ranch dip, hummus, and so on - all ready to munch on throughout the day. Sounds good, right? As long as we mix it up, we don't get bored.

The reason I started going back to making more lunches is multi-faceted: For one thing, even cheap drive-thru food isn't all that cheap anymore, unless you specifically order from the dollar menu. (And yes, we're Cheapie McCheapskates when it comes to food. We hate spending money on it.) For another, it gets b-o-r-i-n-g. Of course, even the healthier choices aren't as good as people think. And yes, there is always the issue of the trash that cheap drive-thru creates. Think about it: Styrofoam clam shells are the go-to container for most take-out joints anymore. I've noticed that even with pizzerias that sell by the slice. And the cups - if not the entire cup being Styrofoam, the lid and straw are probably plastic. (That poor turtle.) So it just made sense all around to go that route. We also do the bento boxes for another reason: Packing traditional lunches take more time, and sandwiches are boring. As a Dutch lady I met once commented about American food, "Everything is sandwich". If you think about it, she's kinda right: We do eat a lot of stuff wrapped around a type of bread (sandwiches, subs, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, tacos, wraps, burritos, and so on).

Another big thing I did was switch to vaping over smoking. Now for years, Ron and I have made our own cigarettes with the tube machine. They're better than what we can buy at the store, especially compared to price, and the tobacco isn't sprayed with a gazillion chemicals. When I was getting ready for PSG this year, I dreaded having to make myself a carton of cigarettes like I have been doing in the past. It's a chore for sure. That, and our son was coming with me, who has never smoked, so I knew I was going to get the nagging from him. So a week before, I got myself a vape pen and juice, and I got used to that instead of cigarettes. I will say, it's so much more convenient, I can smoke it with the windows rolled up (or yes, even in a tent) and I don't have to figure out what to do with the butts. Oh and the price? It's about the same as making our own cigarettes.

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One of my fascinations in life is human behavior. I'm reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and it's a book about irrational behavior, and ultimately human behavior and why people make the choices they make. Reading it is enlightening, but even more than that I want to apply it to my magical work. See, one of the things that I like about magic is that I think it can be applied quite productively to human behavior. But that can only occur when you take the time to study human behavior and ask yourself the question as to how you could apply magic to that behavior. Whatever being human really means, when we apply magic to the mix what we seem to ultimately be doing is changing behavior and habits. We uncover and examine the unconscious behaviors we've taken on and use magic to bring them to a level of conscious awareness that can then be applied to change that behavior. Here's a few thoughts on how magic can be applied to human behavior:

1. Stop an expression of behavior. This is a typical act of magic that many people do. If you are doing a behavior that you find to be harmful, use magic as one of the ways to help you stop the behavior. When you use magic to help you stop a behavior you are finding some way for the magic to actually redirect the behavior. So you'll also want to think of what behavior you want to redirect it to. If you want to stop smoking, you typically start by cutting down on the smoking and or replacing it with a supplement, such as chewing gum, but you also need to change the behaviors associated with smoking, in some form or manner. For example, there may be specific hand gestures you did when you smoked, that you might need to change in order to avoid calling up the associations with the smoking.

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