Like an obstetrician caring for a pregnant woman, there are always two clients in caregiving: the actual loved one who is ill and the caregiver. We are not robots. One of the hardest lessons to learn during the time I cared for my mother was to take care of myself by learning how to say “no” and when to say “yes”.
Each day that we breathe air, we make a choice as to how we show up in our lives for ourselves, for our various traditions, for our neighbors, and for our world. The art of showing up is the art of living.
The changing seasons are filled with symbolism, meaning, and traditions. It is a time that many people inside of western secular society are preparing for a variety of celebrations, gatherings, and feastings. Many within our intersecting religious communities of Paganism and Polytheism are transitioning away from ceremonies focused on death, harvest, and the new year. The wheel, as it turns from fall to winter, can also harness reflection on those who have passed through the veil, and various opportunities of working through the shadow self. To put it lightly, this time of year is complex for a multitude of reasons.
Whenever I speak about gratitude, I usually get eye rolls. And I do get it. The world is now replete with self-help books expressing its spiritual benefits. It is impossible to get through afternoon talk shows without a sappy, Oprah-anointed guru psychobabbling at us to be better individuals and recognize the importance of being grateful. Then add to that a shared YouTube video showing someone expressing thankfulness sprinkled by a chiffonade of attached Facebook memes dripping with gratitude epithets, and you have a really hard-to-swallow saccharine-dripping torte that would challenge Pollyanna Whittier at the height of her powers. I will squeal with delight if I can be the first to leave that cake out in the rain.