I took a little break from writing over the weekend. It’s the middle of January and we reached a high of 62 yesterday. So, (living in the Midwest) I had to take the opportunity to get outside and get some fresh air. It was nice. More importantly though I used the weekend to step back and re-group, and give myself a little time to think about life, and my place in it.
I have had a wide variety of “jobs” and “careers” in my life, but I’ve never really felt that any of them were my calling. They never quite made my soul sing, and I never really felt like they meant a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. I went from un-fulfilling job to un-fulfilling job, chasing after a feeling and finding myself becoming disillusioned when that feeling never amounted to more than a faint tune that quickly faded away.
I realize now that I was looking in the wrong place for that magical tune, focusing outside of myself for far too long, when I began to turn my ear inward, the pieces of the melody started to come together to form a full symphony of what I want to be.
There’s an old cliché phrase, “To change the world you have to change yourself”, and another,”Before you can love anyone else you must first love yourself”. On the former, I don’t think it’s so much of a change as it is becoming what you were meant to be, what you always were, but too blind to see.
On the latter, I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but it means accepting who you are so you can give yourself to the world in the best way possible. I find myself looking back to the things that always drew my fascination as a child, the things that filled me with inspiration and wonder, finally realizing that’s the path I want to take.
When I was a kid I had this funny habit of going off into the woods by myself, I would pretend I was an old wise woman, brewing potions and living in tandem with nature around me. I would pretend I was collecting and drying herbs, and that I lived by myself in this little hut I found that some of the neighbor kids made and abandoned. I would sit in the forest hoping to spot an elf or a faerie, while enjoying the vivid green colors and the song of the birds.
I loved it out there. I missed my own birthday party once, because I was so entranced with that little forest I used to hide in. I remember my mom being a bit livid with me for that. A neighbor lady yelled at me once because she spotted the smoke from my “hearth fire”, a child under ten shouldn’t be playing with those things! Perhaps.
My childhood was filled with strange things, I remember dancing in swarm of huge dragonflies one year, catching them in a net with my brothers, looking at how pretty they were before letting them go again. There was so many of them it was like a thick cloud. I wasn’t scared, I thought it was awesome. I remember vaguely a camping trip we went on when I was around 5 or 6. There was a mud-wasp nest on the riverbank that I was kind of fascinated with. I started investigating it with a stick. Maybe not the brightest thing to do. 😀
A huge swarm of wasps came out of the nest and chased me. My mom saw this cloud of wasps enveloping me and ran to my rescue, grabbing me under her arm and running to the safety of the RV. I didn’t get a single sting. Lucky me, thanks mom! Looking back I find it kind of amazing that I emerged from that encounter without so much as a bite or a sting. I suppose I should thank those wasps as well!
Another year there was an enormous amount of garter snakes living near our house. I liked to catch them and pretend they were my pets. I thought they were very pretty. I remember my horror when the neighborhood bullies started to collect these snakes and crush them in empty soda cans to upset me. I cried for hours that they could do something so cruel and merciless.
I remember being very good at rescuing animals as a child, they would just sort of come to me. There’s a picture somewhere at my mom’s house with me holding a duckling in my hand that I had rescued from a sewer drain. I got it to come to me by quacking at it. Somehow it worked.
I remember once hearing a faint mewing noise from that very same sewer drain, my mom watched as I laid down on the ground behind it and started calling the kittens (mewing) they came to me and I fished them out of the drain, just like the ducks.
Somewhere along the way I forgot about that connection I had with the natural world around me. Childhood bullies and fear started to cloud my perceptions of everything I would see. I was afraid of everything, people, nature, you name it. The news and the constant bombardment of all these horrible things had me too terrified to enjoy life.
The threat of Lyme’s disease prevented me from laying in the prairie by our house, I no longer enjoyed the breeze or watched the clouds. The threat of rabies prevented me from approaching the animals I might see. The threat of ridicule prevented me from talking to new people. I forgot all about the beauty that surrounded me, all I could see were threats, all I could express was fear.
I still loved the idea of nature and magic and such, but instead of immersing myself in the magic right outside my back door, I dived into the world of books, almost becoming trapped there in the process. Forgetting the magic of the world around me, all I could see were gray buildings and parking lots, and materialism. I had this sad feeling like the magic I read about in those fantasy worlds was dead and gone. I forgot about the magic I experienced as a child, writing it off as coincidence and nothing too special.
My aunt Cathy introduced me to magic again when I was around 12 or 13. I went with her to meet a friend of hers who was a wiccan priestess who agreed to teach me the “old ways”. My parents found out and were quite livid! That stopped my “formal training”, but it sparked inside of me a feeling of hope that there was something more out there.
From then on I was still afraid, but I had a little re-kindling of that hope and magic I felt as a child, and I took it upon myself to further my knowledge on the subject reading book after book, and then moving on to internet sources and such, that love of knowledge and learning stayed with me to this very day, and I noticed an interesting pattern. Many things I was disinterested in at the beginning of my journey like science and chemistry and such now prove magic for me even more. They say magic is a form of science we just don’t understand. I think so.
However, I still had it in my head that I had to be part of the “real world”, get a real job, etc, etc. So like I said before, I bounced from job to job, career to career, always with this feeling that there was something missing. Fast forward to now. The last few years have me questioning that philosophy. For example, being a tattoo artist can blow open your perceptions in many ways. That career helped me realize there’s more to life than the 9-5 grind, but it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t quite right…
The things I’ve learned have shown me that I can do whatever the hell I want. 😀 I’ve decided that the so-called “real world” is in desperate need of magic and wonder, and love, and it’s my calling to help bring it back, or more appropriately, to help others see it.
I want to help restore our connection with the earth, each other, and a sense of wonder. Magic never left, we’ve just been ignoring it, it’s been hiding in plain sight right under our noses. It’s the middle of January and I’ve never been more excited for spring to come. There are a lot of things I have in the works for this year, seeds to plant. 🙂