On feelings


Feelings are a big thing around daily practice.  Often we avoid practice out of a desire to avoid some particularly challenging feelings (or even the experience of feeling deeply altogether).  Also, we often have feelings about our daily practice or the practice we wish we had.  So I’m going to suggest one way to approach emotions.1) Name them.  This is surprisingly tricky!  We tend to use only a small number of words to describe the entire range of our feelings.  Go for nuance.  (I love thi … [Read more...]

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: connecting to the self

Ropes tied in a knot

We've talked a lot so far about the theory and architecture of practice, so I think it's time to get into some specifics.  Here's one practice for connecting with parts of yourself that I use and teach frequently.Take a breath.  Notice your physical body.  How do you feel physically?  Do you have aches and pains?  Are you energized?  Tight or loose?  On an exhalation, let go of any tension or discomfort that doesn't serve you.  Then notice that you are a physical body, and you are something e … [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...]

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

Painting of the sun on a red background

I'm happy to share our first guest post from my friend Catriona McDonald. Catriona practices Revival Druidry in central Massachusetts. She is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, and is active with the Mystic River Grove.  You can find her all the time over at the Druid's Well.People don't like to write about failure—the false starts, detours, wrong turns. Admitting that something doesn't work for you, or worse, that you were (gasp!) wrong about your spiritual course is not re … [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...]