Spring – Madness and Stillness

The sun is rising on the Spring Equinox. The Supermoon is high above, to become visible soon as we witness an Eclipse. We stand at a time of balance, between the winter past and the warmer days that are almost here…

Some say that it’s been a hard winter. I hear that every year, but it’s at this time that we take stock, consider those dark months receding and what lessons we learned.

I’m very aware that for a good part of 2015 thus far, I’ve been pretty ill. In one way or another, it’s been hard to function, to get things done, and I feel that my work has suffered as a result. My own little internal Jiminy Cricket seems to delight in pointing this out to me, which doesn’t exactly help.

And there’s the external voices too, of course. Why haven’t you done this particular task? From the impossible – are you planning to run a marathon (after a tough run, where I struggled to reach a mile) – to the possible but difficult: when’s your next book out? And of course, the everyday: You haven’t answered my email, did you get it, is everything ok? (it was sent two hours ago). 

We all get this, I’m sure. Everyone sees only their connection, not realizing how much is going on as well. I don’t mind, actually (well, most of the time), as it’s nice to be wanted and have folk who care to reach out. But it can be difficult, especially when they only add to my own interior monologue of worry about What I Haven’t Done Yet. That cosmic To Do list might reach to the Supermoon by now.

But a few things this week have brought ideas together, creating this blog post to put my conclusions into words on the new Spring day.

Yesterday, a friendly journalist called to ask if I would speak this morning on radio about the events of today. She couldn’t reach me at home or on mobile, so asked my partner if she could call me at work. I’m utterly incommunicado while undertaking my Chaplaincy commitments, but she didn’t understand this: ‘Oh, its ok, I’ll call her at work to chat.’ No, no you won’t. This caused confusion. When I eventually spoke to her, she didn’t seem to quite understand that the Spring Equinox isn’t about High Festival, but smaller celebration, personal time to reconnect with our surroundings – or at least, it is for me. I got the impression that I wasn’t saying what she wanted, or expected.

This brought home to me how easy it is to get stuck in our own little worlds, our personal universe of expectations, and how easy it is to be brought up short when others don’t (or won’t) fit into them. I remember being like this, by the way – I worked in media, and in fast-paced London environments where things have to be done now or the world will end! Everything else is unimportant, except that immediate demand that you must fulfil. I do get it, and I do try to help her fulfil her requirement. Albeit with a small smile, as expectations meet reality.

Potentially, this is where my worrying voice comes from. Like a Microsoft ‘helpful’ application, why haven’t I done this, that and the other? Because things happen. External priorities come up. Personal ability makes it impossible. And it is really so important, or can it legitimately wait until later, when a proper job can be done? But we get caught up in ourselves, forgetting what’s outside the bubble of worry.

Everything is so fast-paced these days, I’m sure you all have versions of these thoughts and experiences. I’m sure you know the frustration too – ‘Why doesn’t this person understand how urgent it is?’ Impossible to even entertain the idea that the person understands… and doesn’t acknowledge that urgency. Because it’s not as important to them; if it’s even actually real. Tomorrow, it’ll be equally urgent, but something entirely different. 

Of course, there’s priorities; I’ve written of this before. But sometimes the pause is needed, to assess and consider. I love how the Pagan festivals allow this. I don’t really care if they’re a recent invention – we now have a day to celebrate Spring itself. How wonderful! The constant cycle, the movement, the time to look both back and forward. It’s not about Getting Stuff Done, or How We Celebrate. It’s about where we are, right now. Here.

I’ve been asked to present a talk later in the year, and am considering a look at Vocation, in a Pagan sense. That’s what’s on my mind at the moment. And it seems to be a good idea, because everything is coming together to add to it, to make it grow and develop. What am I doing as a Pagan Priest? How do I balance my duty to my Gods, my ‘flock’ (I have no idea what the collective term is for a Pagan Community, but I’m sure there’s many comedy options)… and to myself? What use am I if I don’t honour myself? How can I function for others if I don’t have the time, strength or energy to even walk down the road – as is required by my doggie family members every day? 

We feel the sap rising with Spring, the longer days, the joyful birdsong, the bright flowers… and we want to be Doing. But rather than zooming off and running into the floor – or causing inadvertent chaos for others in the process with our demands – perhaps today is a good time to pause. To celebrate, yes, to feel that warmth in our hearts as well as on our skin. But also to take stock, at this time of balance. 

Once we know which direction is best, we can step forward. Honouring ourselves and those around.

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5 Comments »

  1. dawnmedus said

    Thank you so much, spot on and very much resonates with me and my journey in the here and now. Thanks Cat. Xx

  2. And getting people to understand that when you say no, really, that’s not possible, that this is because it’s not possible. So many people buy into the everything right now, that to resist is to be and cause all kinds of problems. resisting is essential.

    • druidcat said

      Or they take it personally and get offended… *sigh*

      Immediate and rushed, or later and better? 😉

      • never under-estimate the ability of people to randomly take things personally and decide to be terribly offended… I’m sure some of them just wait round looking for an excuse, or an opportunity, and that there’s a curious self-validation process involved. If only that same energy could be directed at taking offense where offense is really needed, rather than the imagined threat to privilege that so often seems to be the issue.

  3. Gwion said

    Apologies – I’ve only just read this but your comments about “This brought home to me how easy it is to get stuck in our own little worlds, our personal universe of expectations, and how easy it is to be brought up short when others don’t (or won’t) fit into them.” reminded me of an incident that happened when I was a Deputy Head at a small convent school.

    I called in to see the Head a few minutes before morning assembly. “Can you take it this morning?” she asked. “X’s father died last night and I must go to visit the family.” I left, with 5 minutes to think what I was going to do for a 15 minutes assembly with the whole school. As I walked to my office to get some books I was stopped by a teacher, “There must have been a dog in the car park” she said “and I got something on my shoe which is now on the carpet in my room. What’s to be done about it?”

    Whenever I feel myself wondering why someone else doesn’t understand the importance of my problem I try to remind myself of this incident. The teacher’s problem was a bit of dog excrement on the carpet, mine was how to fill 15 minutes, the Head’s was an uncomfortable visit – but somewhere someone had just lost a husband or a father. I think problems have a habit of taking up all the space available to them – those with “minor” problems find them just as large as those with life threatening ones and we tend to judge our problems by their size rather than their seriousness. Unfortunately for you it’s difficult for others to appreciate that you have your own life and problems to deal with, particularly if they see your role in their life as to fix their problems.

    As for your telephone anecdote – my pupils could never understand why, when I was talking to them in my office, I’d never answer the phone. As far as I was concerned, if I was with them they had my full attention. With reference to your 25th March post – perhaps you need to allow your own self your full attention a little more. If others are worth your best efforts and full attention (when you’re involved in chaplaincy work for example) then surely you merit the same; perhaps no more but surely no less. (“Honouring ourselves ….. ”)

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