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Inspiration

It is the spring equinox, when day and night are of equal length.  We’ve had such odd weather I’m not sure if spring is coming or going.   I’m looking at the celebration of new beginnings and feeling like I need a little inspiration.

I spent the weekend going outward for inspiration.  I went to my writers group and listened to these amazing women talk about their plans for their books and their writing.  I left feeling better, but it was St. Patrick’s Day and that seemed to be what filled the air.

I also went to Paganicon, the local convention.  I saw old friends, attended a few workshops, and escorted Orion around.  I didn’t present this year.  He really wanted to go, so this year it was his convention.  One of the unique things about Paganicon is the exhibition of Pagan artists, sponsored by the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists.  There were some beautiful pieces this year.

I left the convention with some ideas about things I’d like to plant in my life this new year.  I just don’t have clarity about how I want that to work.  On the way home the weather turned again.  The sun was shining and it was 55 degrees out.  It really felt like spring.

I decided to follow an impulse and stopped to buy flowers.  I brought them home and put them around my house.  They are my inspiration.  They are a little sign that spring is really on its way.  They make me smile.

What is your inspiration?

 

Previous blogs about the spring equinox and about Paganicon:

Emotions

Happy Spring

Spring Fever

30 degrees

Paganicon Weekend

Paganicon

Grateful

 

Paganicon Weekend

Still bad at selfless. Trying to find the next workshop

Still bad at the selfie. Trying to find the next workshop

It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend and it may take me a bit to come back into my regular routine.   Paganicon happened, which was fun and exciting. I did a presentation on Friday.   It was well attended and I got some very positive feedback.   I have to think it went well.

Ran into Sandy in the vendor room. I knew her from the Priestess Show on Blog talk Radio. We finally got to meet in person! (she took this one)

Ran into Sandy in the vendor room. I knew her from the Priestess Show on Blog talk Radio. We finally got to meet in person! (she took this one)

I spent plenty of time socializing on Friday.  This is a local convention, but it’s getting some buzz on the National scale.  Some of the guests and folks coming in from out-of-town are good friends.  It’s always nice to have the opportunity to touch base in person with those long distance relationships.

Saturday was our political district convention.  Both Orion and I were delegates.   This year Orion is excited about politics and I’m feeling fit enough to make it possible for him to participate at this level.  We struggle with accessibility in these venues.  On caucus night it was the crowds.  For the district convention it was the convention set up itself.

I don't have photos from the political convention but here's Orion at dinner with one of our long distance friends Crystal Blanton.

I don’t have photos from the political convention but here’s Orion at dinner with one of our long distance friends (and also from the Priestess Show) Crystal Blanton.

The building this district historically uses for its convention is technically ADA accessible.   There is a ramp and an elevator.  There are handicapped stalls in the bathrooms.   However the signage is horrible.

To make matters worse the convention was in the auditorium.   You may know most auditorium seating has a small designated area to accommodate wheelchairs.  Depending on the auditorium they may or may not have seating near them for companions.  But at a political convention the rules require that delegates sit in their precincts – not in the special seats on the other side of the room.

We found a spot in a little used aisle.   Little used because the door to that aisle was locked the entire day.  Every time we left we had to get someone to go around and let us back in.   The lighting was horrible.  I had eye fatigue and a burgeoning headache from trying to read the amendments.  Orion is legally blind.  He can read, but he needs good lighting.   I drained my cell phone battery using the flashlight.

I begged someone to take this for me. Not sure I've had my coffee yet!

I begged someone to take this for me. Not sure I’ve had my coffee yet!

In spite of being worn out we swung by Paganicon after the political convention.   It gave Orion a chance to visit with some of his friends.  He picked up a beautiful drum that he’s enjoying.   Orion has an inherent sense of rhythm and perfect pitch.

Sunday morning I was back at Paganicon to do a book signing.  It went pretty well for me after one of the organizers kindly found me a decent cup of coffee to get me through.  I spent the afternoon actually attending the convention, going to workshops and participating in rituals.

It was a good weekend.  I couldn’t have done so much, and at that pace, 3 years ago.   I am so grateful to be able to do these kinds of things again, and to be able to do them with Orion in tow.

Great panel on social justice and systemic issues!

Great panel on social justice and systemic issues (like accessibility)!

 

I was talking about my bariatric surgery and the outcomes with some folks I hadn’t seen for awhile.  These are people who have been in that internal debate about their own weight issues.  I said that I think part of my success is because I’m not focused on the weight or the numbers as much as I’m focused on the things I can do.

I can get down on the floor and up again.  I can go up and down the stairs.  I can walk from one end of the convention to the other and not sit down.  I can stand for my entire presentation and still manage to pack my stuff up when I’m done.  Gratitude keeps me on track.  Excitement about what I can do keeps me pushing to do more.

 

Grateful

paganiconLast week was an uphill week.  The time change kicked me in the ass.  Monday I missed yoga because the clock I was looking at was the one I hadn’t remembered to change over.  Tuesday  I was so tired I could barely get Orion out the door.  I slept through my Dr. appointment. (Literally, I went back to bed.) Wednesday the alarm didn’t go off.  I woke up spontaneously at 730 am, which would have been great the week before when it would have been right on time at 630!  By Thursday I realized the week was almost gone and I hadn’t done anything to prepare for Paganicon.  Friday started the convention, which of course threw what was left of my sleep schedule entirely out the window.

In the course of my sleep deprived daze I heard someone say, “What if instead of being angry at the weather I was grateful instead.”  I actually think they said it to me weeks before when it was so cold but it finally sunk in.   My women’s group is working with Hanuman this month.  He helps us with our lessons by sending both good and bad energy.  Then I saw Peg-o-leg’s blog about her struggle with her own pity party.  When the universe sends the same message three times I start to pay attention.

I spent the weekend working at being grateful for everything that came across my path, good and bad.  I’m trying to be grateful for all the time I’m spending in health care hell.  I’m considering gratitude towards my physical limitations.  Instead of grumbling about how many extra things I have to do making arrangements for Orion this week, I’m grateful his Dad is taking him so I can go to Paganicon unaccompanied.

The attitude adjustment made all the difference in the world.  I still hurt, couldn’t do as much as I wanted, and didn’t get anywhere near enough sleep but it didn’t matter the same way.    I got to spend time with my publisher Taylor Ellwood and his wife.   When we were told there was a 40 minute wait for a table at dinner we took the opportunity to sneak over to the hotel and get them checked in.  When we got back we were at the top of the list.  My workshop was scheduled first thing Saturday morning.  That meant only the people who really wanted to be there showed up, and it was a good-sized group.  For a first time presentation it went really well and much of the feedback I got was that even after 90 min. at 9am they could have stayed and talked another hour or two.

Thrilled with the cover of the new book!

Thrilled with the cover of the new book!

I had a book signing with Taylor scheduled in the afternoon.  My new book When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism from a Deity-Based Perspective was released in time for the event!  Because I was with Taylor I was introduced to a few other Immanion Press authors.   The friend who came to help me was miserable with allergies, but her presence also brought folks over to say hi who may not have noticed us otherwise.  I was debating going home for dinner when my friends hosting the Standing Stones hospitality suite realized they didn’t have trays to put cheese and crackers on.  I volunteered to dash home for trays (this con is VERY close to my house) and came back just in time to get an invitation to dinner with my students.

I had a great time at Paganicon and felt really good about the marketing and presentation that I did.  I was grateful to have the time with friends, old and new, to really sit and talk.  I always enjoy the opportunity to learn new things and was delighted by the art featured in the Sacred Gallery space.  I really do understand that sometimes the bad things really are a lot better than they look.

Signing books at Paganicon

Signing books at Paganicon

All that “understanding” doesn’t make it easy or automatic.  I find pushing at gratitude an exercise in futility.  Gratitude is something that requires opening up and accepting unconditionally.  It is making room for the bounty of life to fill that open space.  When facing frustration, practicing gratitude is a step back, taking time to breathe, letting go and allowing.  When I achieve gratitude I know that anything is possible and that I will have all the support I need for whatever dreams may come.

So I continue to remind myself to be grateful, for everything.  I remind myself to be grateful for the irritants, the frustrations, the stumbling blocks.  I remind myself to be grateful for the pain and the heartache.  I remind myself to be open to the possibility that it’s all for the best.

Maybe with enough practice I’ll be better at gratitude.

Crazy

laundry isn't just about clothes to pack

laundry isn’t just about clothes to pack

I really think my head may explode.  I’m busy trying to get packed for Pantheacon.  I’m presenting a workshop this year and so on top of just figuring out how to get myself there and dressed I also need to pack my books and my workshop materials.  Do I send things to the hotel via U.S. Post?  Can I keep my bags under the checked bag weight limit when they’re full of books?  Can I pack the clothes AND shut the suitcase?  Crazy!

On top of that it’s time to be planning for Paganicon – in March.  I’m also presenting there and so I have logistics to figure out as well as preparing the workshop.  The good news is that (keep your fingers crossed) my second book  When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism from a Deity Based Perspective is due to be released in time for the event!   All that is dependent on me finishing a final edit – one more thing on my list.

Getting materials together for the workshop

Getting materials together for the workshop

In the land of “who thought this was a good idea?” I have scheduled a doctor’s appointment for Orion on the day before and the day after this trip.  One of them is with a new doctor (that’s the before).  The immediately following appointment is because the doctor was out sick when we had the appointment reasonably scheduled and this was his next available date.  It’s NOT MY FAULT! Doesn’t change anything does it?

This morning I can’t find my cell phone so I’m in a panic.  (Did I leave it somewhere yesterday?)  I’m pretty sure that the bag with the books is too heavy and I’m going to have to get to the post office after all.  I’m not convinced my carry-on bag will be small enough.  Oh and the cat has noticed I’m packing and is – well, doing what cat’s do to express their displeasure.  ICK!

Will it all fit?

Will it all fit?

It’s Monday, so tonight is adaptive yoga.  Whoever put that into the schedule was brilliant! (If I do say so myself.)  Just what I need is an hour to unwind and be in the moment instead of planning for tomorrow, and the next day, and so on into the future.  Thinking ahead is making me CRAZY!

Breathe

Om

Did anyone notice these are the same links as last week?  I think I need a new groove!

Om

OH – I found my phone buried under a pile of clothes.  No wonder I couldn’t hear it ring.

Om

Paganicon

Orion 'watching the coffee pot' and taking a break from welcoming folks to the suite.

Orion ‘watching the coffee pot’ and taking a break from welcoming folks to the suite.

Orion and I spent the weekend in a hotel room.   We were there as volunteers to keep things tidy, put out food, answer questions and talk to folks.  Actually we didn’t even stay at the hotel, just spend long hours hosting the hospitality suite  – the actual con suite -for Paganicon.

Our local Pagan Pride event has been going on for years in the Twin Cities (Paganistan) area.  They’ve held events that were like weekend psychic fairs or community meet and greets.  They’ve had Big rituals and small workshops.

A couple of years ago it became clear that Pagan Pride needed to serve two purposes.  First to be “out loud and proud” in the larger community.  That’s kind of tough when your event is holed up in an odd community building off the beaten path.  The second purpose was to provide an opportunity for those who’ve been long time members of the community to network and expand their own knowledge base.  To become an event that went beyond 101.

In 2009 Pagan Pride started doing a fall event with vendors, music and public rituals in an outdoor setting.  Pride at Minnehaha Falls is an event that the general public can see and participate (or not) along with the existing and exploring Pagan community.  It’s a great idea and a pleasant historical venue.  The “meeting place of waters” is appropriate for expanding awareness and acceptance.0315132223a

In 2010 Pagan Pride held its first Paganicon.  A hotel based convention loosely modeled on Pantheacon.  This is still a small convention but it has good buzz.  I haven’t gone in years past because of scheduling and money issues but I’ve certainly heard about it from the community at large.  The convention/fair model seems like an excellent expansion of Pagan Pride for this community.

I don’t know if I would have made it to the convention this year either.  Money is tight since I came back from California.  Orion is not too keen on sitting through the workshops I’m interested in, and he’s not quite independent enough to manage a convention on his own.  We come as a pair most of the time and for a weekend long event I certainly couldn’t afford to get away.  At the last minute the Pagan Pride committee discovered their regular “Suite Goddess” was swamped at work and were scrambling for someone to take her place.  It sounded like the perfect solution to my predicament so I signed us up.

"Push for Cheese"   What could go wrong?

“Push for Cheese” What could go wrong?

Someone asked me how I managed to deal with “missing” all the workshops and stuff.  Essentially ‘why would you do so much work when you don’t even get to go to the convention?’   My feeling was pretty much that the convention came to us.  Sometime during the weekend almost everyone attending made their way through the hospitality suite for a cup of coffee, or a snack or to sit for a minute and chat.

It’s not like we were all alone.  The roving volunteer crew – the “Flying Monkey Squad” – were available if we needed help lifting heavy things (like coffee urns).  Often they sat “on call” in our suite knowing that when they were needed this was where people would look.  If nothing else they swung by to get those fabulous capes to wear during their shift.

Two particularly gorgeous "Flying Monkeys"

Two particularly gorgeous “Flying Monkeys”

There were several times during the weekend when we were “standing room only.”  People would come in crowds talking about the workshop they’d just attended.  Or they’d sit for a minute before the vendor room or the ball opened up.  I did manage to stick my head into the vendor room (and immediately left lest I be tempted.)  I also got to wander through the art exhibition which was a new and delightful addition to this year’s convention.

Yet another opportunity for me to explore community and my relationship to it.  Again I got to meet new people and visit with old friends.  It was nice to have an opportunity to be of service to something I support and still reap the benefits of the social support of community.  I’m pretty sure Orion had a great time too.  Win/Win.

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