I don’t know why, but it seems October always sneaks up on me. Maybe it’s that “start-up” thing I get going in September. I never feel quite in the groove before October rolls around. Maybe it’s that Orion’s birthday is in October (the second) so it’s not just the beginning the month, but an event that catches me unprepared.
This week, besides Orion’s birthday, I’m on Blog Talk Radio – The Priestess Show, talking about Ancestors. (The first Friday of the month ALREADY?) The universe is being particularly helpful to me on this one. I was invited by a friend to attend the opening performance of the Black Storytellers Alliance festival. This year’s theme “Leaning on the Ancestors.”
It was truly a privilege to participate in this event, and the audience does participate! These were master storytellers. Their stories come out of their experiences and their history, but they embrace and welcome the whole of the human experience. The storytellers came from all across the country, and even (although he currently lives in Maine) from Brazil.
The event began with drumming, the drummers mostly children from the community. They did impressive work, shared the spotlight and encouraged the audience to clap along with the beats. Then libations were poured out to honor the Divine that has gifted us with our lives, our ancestors and our descendants. This piece was beautifully done. I’ve seen many versions of this and both my friend and I were impressed with the grace and eloquence of this little ritual. But then, these are storytellers aren’t they.
There were family stories and old fables with new twists. There were stories of imitation and of recognizing our own worth. Every performance acknowledged the ancestors as a source of power and wisdom. These are the shoulders upon which we stand.
Orion and I also attended a community equinox ritual. This too acknowledged our history and our futures. We made wishes for ourselves and our community. We cast our coins into the wishing well, but then were taught that we are the well, the water the change makers. We are the one’s with the power to make our wishes manifest.
Because making wishes has consequences we were also given charge of someone else’s wishes. We each got an old roman coin (about 2000 years old). So now I carry, not only my wishes, but the wishes of those who used this old coin to achieve their own desires. Ancestors and Descendants. I am blessed.
Dinner Friday evening was a surprise. The oven failed to light. Now, I’ve been struggling with this stove for awhile and I know the oven’s been acting up. Since I still couldn’t get it to light by Sunday I resigned myself to a new stove as well. I have been resolved to get a handle on my financial situation for awhile now. This is not helpful!
How many of you have all ready managed to break your New Years resolutions? Have any of you ever managed to keep a resolution for a whole year?
The New Oxford American Dictionary that came loaded into my laptop defines resolution as follows:
resolution |ˌrezəˈloō sh ən|noun1 a firm decision to do or not to do something : she kept her resolution not tosee Anne any more | a New Year’s resolution.• a formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting, typically after taking a vote : the conference passed two resolutions.• the quality of being determined or resolute : he handled the last French actions of the war with resolution. See note at courage .
2 the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter : thepeaceful resolution of all disputes | a successful resolution to the problem.• Music the passing of a discord into a concord during the course ofchanging harmony.• Medicine the disappearance of inflammation, or of any other symptom or condition.
3 chiefly Chemistry the process of reducing or separating something into its components.
I happen to prefer the second definition especially at this time of year. The action of solving a problem or a contentious matter. The passing of discord into concord. I suspect that most of our New Years resolutions stem from some kind of discord in our lives, dissatisfaction with ourselves or desire for something different. The proclamation that we’re going to resolve that problem in a years time is often quite ambiguous. I resolve to lose 100 lbs this year. There is no real plan of action for how to go about that momentous task.
When I make a New Years resolution I usually manage to hang on to it for about 3 weeks. When I approach a problem with resolve I’m much more likely to gnaw away at it until it comes into harmony. I’m likely to pick it apart and find out what I can get done immediately. I worry the rest of it until either I solve the problem or decide it isn’t worth continuing to fuss about. Then I cheerfully leave it behind without any guilt or concern that I failed.
It seems to me that a New Years resolution is like credit card debt. Great instant gratification and guilt for an extended time down the road. Sadly, as I’ve found this year, sometimes that credit card debt seems pretty unavoidable. Unless of course your resolutions tend to be more in line with the old custom of Braggarts Toast. The drinking game where each in turn says they are going to do some great deed topping the last toast made, and we all drink to that.
So the first person says they are going to lose that 100 lbs this year, and we all drink to that. The next person says they’re going to take that 100 lbs of fat and turn it into 30 lbs of lean muscle tissue, and we all drink to that. The next person says they’re going to use their lean muscle tissue to repave the road the city never gets to, and we all drink to that. The next person isn’t just going to repave the road they’re going to build a whole mass transit network, and we all drink to that. You get the idea. The only guilt involved with that kind of braggarts resolution is from the hangover the next day!
I decided a long time ago that I was giving up on New Years resolutions. I didn’t like beating myself up for a month over it. I do a little better with shorter term goals that with this kind of big promise. I do think it’s a good time of year for visioning. I like to take a little time out to meditate on how I would like my life to look, how I see myself, in December next year. Because this is a wish, there are no strings attached. Often though, the visioning can serve as a carrot throughout the year to get myself somewhere I really want to be. Better for me to work towards something than against.
I hope that whatever you’ve resolved, what ever issues you have resolve about, and whatever New Years visions you hold that the coming year holds many blessings and pleasant surprises. I wish you great joy and laughter in 2012. May your spirit be filled with love and peace.