Practices: stillness

Lone bare tree in a field

In the world we share, stillness is an exception much more than a rule.  We are busy, hurried, overcommitted, overextended.  For the simple reason of catching a break, a practice of stillness and silence would be worth cultivating.  But too often, we also use the sound and fury of our lives as a screen to hide behind.  Without really intending it, we cultivate disconnection from things that we find uncomfortable: emotions, fears, and doubts.  Sometimes I also use it to escape things that are unco … [Read more...]

Practice: Times of Day

beach at sunset

Both traditions I am trained in have a way of acknowledging various points of the day: the beginning and the end, and also midday and dusk.  The practice of bookending my day with a moment of connection is one that feels uncomplicatedly lovely to me.  While these times could benefit from twenty or thirty minutes of practice, they also benefit from one or two minutes of acknowledgement.The midday and dusk times, on the other hand, often come while I’m in the middle of something else, and so pu … [Read more...]

Practicing: Magical Work

Knife with shadow

Not all Pagan traditions practice magic, but most engage intention in one form or another.  One way to think of the formal, ritual practices of magic — spells, candles, incense, ritual — is as a way of focusing intention and heightening its effectiveness.Nurturing our connections, which we talked about a few days ago, is the heart of magical work as well as of practice.  When I’m focused on my health, I can consider what I take into my body, how much movement and nature I am getting, and … [Read more...]

Practicing: Honoring Connections

spiderweb with raindrops

I mentioned early on that connection seems to me to be the heart of practice, and I find that specific ways of honoring connections are as universal as the practices themselves are varied.The self  One valuable goal of practice is to allow all of our selves to be heard.  Most of us live in a world dominated by our rational selves, and the thinking, talking, reasoning, chattering voices we use for things like conversation, problem-solving, and managing schedules often get the lion’s share … [Read more...]

Practice: Starting Out

Sign: "Begin One Way"

Stepping deliberately into our practice is a helpful way to cue ourselves that something special is going on.  Overtime, when we do this the same way each day, this will make the practice more effective by helping our conscious and unconscious minds know what’s about to happen.I tend to do this simply: I light a candle and say a short prayer.  I often also light a stick of incense; I only use a few kinds and tend to use one for several weeks at a time.  I find scent especially evoc … [Read more...]

Finding time

Clock close-up

Before we start talking about this, let’s all take a breath.  Time: it is a hard topic.One thing that is true is that pretty much everyone is legitimately busy.  We all have more things that we would like to do than we do hours to do them in.  I would bet my favorite book that in every age, people have felt busier than ever before: our jobs, our family structures and responsibilities, and our tools for communication are all getting to be more diverse and complex all the time.Another thin … [Read more...]

Architecture of a Practice

Photo by sammydavisdog,

When I first began thinking and talking about practice with people outside of the traditions I have had training in, I faced a challenge: how could I talk about practice in a way that wasn’t specific to my particular background and affiliations?The solution I finally settled on was to look beyond the details of how a practice happens to examine why each practice was valuable.  By understanding the intention, I thought I might be able to find or design other exercises that would serve tho … [Read more...]