Written by Jasmine
(Webmistress The Majickal Garden)
I have not ever felt the need to call myself a “woman’s libber”. Having coming into my own during the 70’s, there was plenty to learn about oppression and liberation from different media. We were modern enough to experience the possibilities of what a woman could accomplish, should one be motivated enough to want to jump into the fast lane, and move ahead in life. However, if one was enlightened enough, to feel the pressure of the desire to better herself, but not fortunate enough to have the financial backing to attend college, feeling the opportunity of marriage was the only major viable alternative was prevalent.
My junior year of high school found me with a silent desire to become a librarian. I remember at 8 years of age, 2nd grade, discovering the wonders the library held and I became passionate about something for the first time in my life. Visiting it was not enough so when we were allowed to volunteer to aid the librarian in 5th grade I jumped at the chance, all the way thru my graduation. I would have done it for nothing but it was a bonus when I actually racked up a few credits for my efforts. In my senior year I was an employee of my small community library where I held such responsibility as being the sole
person running it on some Saturdays. Thrilling in my book! It was too short lived because my salary was paid thru backdoor funding and when community monies and how it was spent was revamped, my position was terminated. However, I was shy, lacking personal confidence and I did not recognize it as a “calling” to be addressed and fulfilled. I knew my family did not have the money to send me to college nor did I have any comprehension as to how someone could work their way thru. At that time, grants and loans were not as prevalent as they would become later.
What I did in that direction was ask the lead librarian in my high school if I could become a librarian by attending vocational school, thinking that might possibly be my only option. With no idea as to what was going on in my mind, she said I could work in one by doing so but the real way was to attend college for the required credentials to become a librarian. In my mind my dream was dashed by my interpretation of her answer and I never spoke of it again until years later to my Grandmother. At that time, she smiled a knowing sad smile and told me had she known this, there would have been ways via the family connections (unknown to me at the time) as well as ways and means only adults are sometimes privy to, that would have allowed me to attain my dream.
Growing up in a small community that allowed me to be sheltered from the outside world, but at the same time aware of that world, I truly feel it was the end of an era where it was either one or the other. The in-between was a life of serving in a “job” to simply, however respectfully, earn a paycheck, in a position that would certainly find one wondering by middle age where did the time go and what the heck am I doing here? Or become a “homemaker”. At 17 years, I met a man 4 years older than me and well on his way paving his future. It was a true relationship on both sides, but sub-consciously I knew marriage was the only option for “someone like me”. I ended up working while he attended formal education after his service in the Army. There was no question in my mind as to the soundness of this mutual decision. Time passed quickly as it does and 4 years later I was pregnant and we had started our family. If someone told me I was settling for less, I would have called them a liar. There are choices presented on our individual paths and I believe there is no wrong choice; only different and our lessons earned and learned come in the form of what direction we chose to go and the varying degrees supplied.
Personally, based on what I learned of “woman’s lib”, they ruined it for those of us that actually understood the differences between woman and men. Some women are made up of the physical stuff to step out in certain working worlds to compete with men, sometimes accomplishing it but falling short because of body makeup. Does this make them “equal”? The bra burning path pavers of the 60’s did not take in to consideration that there are some things real women enjoy, that what might be lost by taking such a bold move as proclaiming the total equality of the sexes. I, for one, have always enjoyed the feeling of having a man step into my path and open a door for me. Knowing full and well I could open the same door myself with no loss felt at all. What if it all boils down to respect and acknowledging the differences between the sexes? Respect for what I have to offer you and what I have to offer back? What self respecting male would offer to open a door for a woman that blasts bold blinking neon that no old fashioned chivalry is required because I am most capable of doing it myself!
In my most humble opinion, the battle between the sexes took a nasty turn and lies not in the differences, but in the distortion of what the power of being a women truly means. I so believe in the power contained in womanhood. We are natural healers, nurturers of life, bearer of children. Keeping this in mind, as independent thinkers, we individually choose the path we want to follow. In understanding the base instincts allotted to each woman and the choice to choose where we want our talents to go. Whether or not to compete with the male on their level or accepting our capabilities given as women is a choice. In the most base of thinking, I feel this movement highlighted an all or nothing sense. Perhaps, along the way of the push for equality in a “modern age”, both sexes got confused.
The responsibility lies in using this power properly, with respect to the powers that it’s extended, and not strictly for the benefit of attaining advantage at the expense of others. The flip side of this power is that which is suppressed by domination. Where this type of domination prevails is to know suppression of female powers. It breeds contempt, insecurity and a feeling of minimization as a human being. It confuses the sense of natural instincts. Where male domination is allowed to prevail at the expense of allowing him to feel control is to know another soul experiencing pain and suppression. Self worth is at stake. Growth stops and survival instincts take front row. For the sake of love and acceptance, a woman will sacrifice large chunks of herself in order to sustain the relationship.
If children are involved, this kind of control will push the woman to extend her sacrificial service with respect to them, to remain, in the name of the family. If violence is involved (verbal or physical, both damaging) , she will place herself in-between her children, taking the brunt of what is dished out, and accomplishing this only if she is crafty and clever enough to divert the barrage of rage outside of the line of fire that might include them. She will fool herself into thinking that she is absorbing all the pain, and in doing so, allowing the children to be pain free. In reality, she is only fooling herself in this belief. Children learn not only from what they hear but from what they see and feel, as well. There are no short cuts in martyrdom, someone who believes they sacrifice themselves for the sake of others! There is no protection from domination, violence, suppression, based on fear of reprisal. There is no amount of love or desire that will protect young ones from being affected.
If, in this generation, we can say we possess the most modern tools of evolvement available to us to date, there is no place for dominance between the sexes, why is there so much going on in the world? Is the blame cast back to the caveman where cartoons have the males dragging the woman by the hair? Is it because of the survival of the fittest has the male battling the elements with the female standing steadfast in the background tending the child and stirring the soup for dinner? Or in modern times, that he is left to decipher the “evolved liberated” woman and the female that will either succumb to their will
and be accepted or be so “liberated” that they are beyond conditioning to their base “male whims”.
Personally, I really like men. There are many good ones out there that truly respect women and treat them as so. These men deserve a woman who is as intent on equality in a relationship and committed to the work involved to establish it as such. My concern lies with the women who feel their destiny has them in the opposite, where he rules over her well being and she knows no other life than his “reality”.
There are many forms of courage, however, the most courageous are the ones that recognize the futility of their lives, no matter how much they try to camouflage their situations, and step out with bravery to change them. The first step is to recognize the need for change.
The second is to justify the making of the change in relationships to altering the lives of all those included. She asks herself, “How can I be so selfish as to make the choice to change the lives of the people I love in the name of bettering our lives, as I have deemed to be best?” The formulated need to ask is reason enough to fully be aware of a serious problem.
The third is to recognize the gut instincts when this decision might be the best for all and the common sense peace of mind to bring forth any alliances in relationships in their lives who might help in bringing about such a change in life that might be required, be it a good ear for support or actually aiding in bringing about the changes for this to come about.
The gift of the Goddess to women lies in the ability to draw on strength and courage, to survive the serious challenge of the desire to change one’s life for the opportunity to better the lives involved and in doing so, discover our full potential.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
My spiritual path has led me thru shelves of books. There have been some special teachers in my life; some for a day, a year or still remain. The scope of these subjects are beyond what I could even hope to get thru in this lifetime. I could not tell you exactly what books I have read but with each one that left an impression…I have absorbed the essence that I felt I needed before I moved on. Sometimes to my delight, something I might have read or learned from others long ago might come to the surface to meld with current insights that shed a brighter light in my spiritual enlightenment. I have also spent decades learning to “listen” to my spiritual guides and as well as varying degrees of meditational reflection. In this section I would like to share with you in my writings a little of what I have learned. It’s my own *knowing* and *truth.* However seeds are planted, it’s up to the individual whether or not it’s a germination that will apply to them. Perhaps, if nothing more, I might share a subject that will simply encourage further investigation on your own; wherever you choose to seek it.
Written by Jasmine
Cycle: a group of events which happen in a particular
order, one following the other and which is often
Cycles of life. Somewhere along the line I found myself becoming aware of a new one beginning, enjoying the more comfortable middle area where it seems it always was and will remain to be. However, the slight flavor of change was in the air. Sometimes it was in a friendship, a job, relationship or even a peaceful lull following a hectic time. In many cases it was not the direction I might have liked things to go.
When I consciously found myself living in the light, listening to my inner self and seeking the guidance of my spirit guides, was when I began to recognize the *signs* posted along the way. They were always there but the difference was in my perspective to be able to see them when they crossed my path. They are easy to miss when, unaware, everyday challenges of life block the view.
One example was with a particular friendship. I met her thru a mutual friend. We hit it off immediately and we had plenty in common. We both had families. In the beginning, our friendship was great. Somewhere towards the middle I knew I was emotionally stronger than she was. I did my best to be there for her when she called, day or night. Lending support as a good friend does for one another. Then the time she needed from me began to increase. It took a serious cut into my own young families’ needs, business and other social obligations. The more I gave the more she seemed to need and it was pulling me down.
The signs were in front of me, that I was hindering her more than I was helping, and it was time to back off our close friendship. However, I fought the intuitive feeling and opted for the thinking that if I were a true friend, I would continue to help.
Then came the beginning of the end. I found myself pregnant with my second child and bedridden for the first 2 months. My mom moved in with us to help out. What it took for me to understand this part of the cycle was the fact my good friend did not contact me once thru the whole time I was down. (Sure, I could have contacted her, however, that was not the point.)
Finding myself in a situation where the only choice was to protect the life inside me as well as doing the best I could for my 7 year old. Holding the family together during this difficult time was all I could handle. I had been crying out for help on a spiritual level for some time. Ending up in a prone position for so long tends to re-arrange the thinking patterns! It literally jerked me to the center of reality about what was really important in my life. Perhaps in my spiritual search to that point, I had missed the minor ones posted for me and required a huge billboard in the form of the blessing of a new life.
Back to this friendship. I had been able to see the cycle of our friendship and where it had ended up. Honestly, knowing her as I did and understanding how incapable she was to extend beyond her own personal situation and it was really alright. After much consideration I accepted the signs of change and of moving on. It felt right in letting go. Our paths had crossed for a reason and I was better for having had her in my life. The fork in the road was clear.
Of course, not all friendships are meant to end this way. However, I think this was the first serious situation where I was able to consciously recognize in retrospect the full cycle and how my acknowledging this with the spiritual trust to follow the flow.
The key to being able to recognize these cycles and their stages lie in living everyday in mindfulness. This means living in the moment. Not spending too much time on a past that is over or a future yet to come. Accepting that which is out of our hands and doing what is in our power to deal with at this time. De-clutter the mind of useless thoughts, let them go. Cycles can be repeated when they become circles!
Focusing on the situation at hand, be it career, relationship or friendship. Being fully aware in the moment on time spent in a situation without cluttering the mind with other thoughts not related to what’s going on at the time. If you can train yourself to do this, it becomes easier to recognize where cycles are in your life as well as *opening your eyes* to signs posted along the way. You might better be able to recognize red flags marking that which could be holding you back in your life situations.
To put it simply, when situations in our lives become a continuous struggle, perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at where you’re really headed with it. Using awareness in this way will enable the signs to be read and recognize where changes might need to be made in order to continue on an honest spiritual path.
When I have consciously found myself faced with recognizing where change or adjustments were required and following thru with them, I have been rewarded with a feeling that it was right. I might mourn a loss with some of the changes but what was gained meant so much more in the long run. Sometimes doors or windows need to be closed before others are allowed to open.
Written By Jasmine
Ever feel like your brain is on a fast track to nowhere? You’re thoughts rushing up multi-lanes and then switching lanes up ahead, at 90 miles an hour? Taking your mind off of what is in front of you all day, just to keep you awake at night? We have all been there at one time or another, and in varying degrees.
I was plagued with insomnia from an early age. As an adult, I needed to find some answers to this dilemma. Anyone that has spent night after night painfully aware of the fact that one is not sleeping, and sneaking occasional looks at the clock validating this fact, will understand what I am talking about. Compound by years and there is a personal epidemic at hand.
Sleeping pills have just never been an option for me, the idea of slapping a bandage on a wound that won’t heal and suffering the side effects that accompany a drug were unacceptable. I found a few solutions that eventually worked for me. One was meditation and relaxation technique I would practice once I had jumped into bed ready for sleep. That is a type of whole body and mind solution. The other I found to be useful was journaling. To me it was beginning at the source of what was holding me back. Writing down my thoughts in a journal I made special for this purpose. I began by writing at night before I would try to go to sleep. Whatever was jumbled up in my mind, at the time, was written down. I discovered a key thing was to not worry about spelling, punctuation or sentence structure.
Focusing on that takes away from what you’re trying to do. Just get it down on paper. By doing this it allows the mind to be freed up from that particular thought and enabling it to move on. Starting slow is a good thing. This allows you to establish a routine and writing thoughts down becomes easier as you go along. Once you become comfortable with it, making it a practice at other times during the day will afford you an outlet to the chatter that does not differentiate between times of day. You might find your able to concentrate better on your task that is in front of you, rather than spacing out to where a troublesome spot is in your mind, after writing down thoughts that are plaguing you at the time.
It works for times when you wake up and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Once you realize you’re not going to drift off and quickly back to dreamland…pull up your handy journal and jot the top most thoughts on your mind. Then try again. If you take stock of the thoughts that merry-go-round in your head, you can put them into categories. There are the issues in your mind that you have no control over, nothing you can do to change it and are out of your hands. You still might worry about such things, but by recognizing that you can do nothing about them, you’re acknowledging this in your conscious mind.
The next step is to let it go. It does not mean you don’t care about the situation, it simply means you are letting it go from worrying about it.
The other category of concerns and thoughts are the ones you DO have some control over. It might be easier to start with the simpler ones. One at a time, take stock of the nagging top of the pile, stuff that you can step in and deal with right now. By paring down the mountain of concerns and focusing on them one at a time, you can lighten your load of concerns. Using journaling as an outlet to help the chatter in your mind is only a beginning to where it personally might take you.
Some might discover a creative vein buried inside that desires to be vented. Others might use it as vehicles to get down the road, and then in retrospective reading, find out they really have made progress where it was not realized before. At the very least, you might see a pattern, where you see no progress being made, and you can then make adjustments and try a different course of action. A pattern in a particular subject that keeps popping up in your writing can lead you to a possible solution or allowing yourself to let it go because you have no control over it.
Whatever an outcome, for your own personal gain, it’s an inexpensive and creative choice for helping yourself move down your path in a healthy manner. Then, finally find peace of mind to drift off to sleep to discover some nice sweet dreams.
Article By Jasmine
The quality or state of being serene
1 a: clear and free of storms or unpleasant change b: shining bright and steady
2: marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude
God, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change…
Courage to change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr (American theologian, 1892-1971)
Pagan Serenity Prayer
God & Goddess grant me:
The power of water, to accept with ease & grace what I cannot change
The power of fire, for the energy & courage to change the things I can.
The power of Air, for the ability to know the difference.
And the power of Earth, for the strength to continue my path.
Despite years of research by numerous individual, the exact origin of the prayer is veiled in time and mystery. Every time a researcher appears to uncover the conclusive source, another one crops up to confound the claim. The impact in the meaning of, with due respect to the real author, is undeniable.
Of all the tools I have been blessed to add to my toolbox for maintenance of the Soul, one of my most treasured is, modest in first appearance, one of my most useful. These simple 4 or 5 lines of a poem pack a wallop of an impact, if one chooses to see and feel past the initial simplicity.
I have found myself at times, in extreme states, sitting firmly upon a horse that is securely bolted to the floor of a complex merry-go-round of life, with the full gamut of possible emotions whirring inside and about me, frantically grasping for anything solid to help me get off the dizzying contraption. These seemingly basic lines have proved themselves, time and again, something that I could grab a hold of.
It gives us permission to ask…in the chaos of human emotion, to find the Serenity, a moment of calm, to understand the things that we have no power to change. It allows us to ask for the Courage to see and make changes to the things we are capable of changing. Most importantly, we can ask for the Wisdom to understand the difference between what we CAN change and what we CAN’T change. Admittedly, during times of calm and control, this might seem an elementary feat. Anyone having experienced times of feeling so out of control will know quite differently.
In the middle of emotional Chaos, it is such a relief to discover the ability to recognize and screen out the crap, shove it aside, to focus on the real issues at hand. I liken this result of grabbing a firm hold of these words to…finding yourself blasting around a chaotic tornado… looking down into the calm of the center and wanting so badly to plant your backside firmly on the bottom, longing for merely a short break, to look up and out, but not knowing how to get there.
Some basic knowledge of Human Nature 101 is most helpful at this point. The mind can be a wicked culprit for allowing the merry-go-round to persist. Over analyzing situations to the point of “if I had/had not done this” or “if he/she had not or had done this” and the what if’s, in second guessing different outcomes, won’t ever change what actually came about. However, playing things over and over again in the mind is one of the games it can play on us. Another player in this is the heart. Emotions of jealously, anger, pain, hurt, fear, love, etc create a chaotic whirlpool as to find oneself lost in confusion to the degree of feeling out of control.
The Serenity Prayer invites your Soul into the equation. By, with respect to your well being, it allows you to set aside you’re thinking mind, you’re feeling heart and lets you focus on the facts at hand and what you can and cannot do about your situation. In asking for peace of mind to recognize the answers to your questions, your able to clear out the irrational thinking of the past, being unchangeable anyway, and the emotions of the heart coloring your perception of how to proceed to attain an acceptable sense of sanity, and allowing yourself to continue down your life’s path, instead of spinning helplessly out of control.
Having said all this…and especially at my most serious moments of crying out for help…I have found peaceful respite, some breathing space, to get my feet more firmly planted on the ground. It’s in times of extreme emotion and crying out to the universal energies for help, that we find our intentions the truest. It’s with True Intentions our requests for help are most heard. With our honest efforts to occupy the sense of Serenity for even the shortest time, we can most loudly hear the answers to our heartfelt questions.
One of my favorite analogies is, if you’re going to win the lottery you have to make the effort to go out and buy a ticket. If we want to reap the benefits the Universal Energies, they so lovingly want to bestow upon us…we have to make the proper efforts to allow them the open channel for us to receive. Just as in winning a big lotto jackpot…we must allow our Souls the opportunity to reap the benefits they so deserve.
This poem has, over time, never ceased to amaze me. No matter how simple or complex my situation…the words seem to change, sometimes ever so slightly, to accommodate my understanding of a particular situation. For as many years as I have known it…there are times it seemed to pop right up into my mind…and other times I had to go dig it up just to be sure. As simple as 4 or 5 lines can appear, this is a true testament to the depth of meaning it can take on for those in need.
The Universal Energies have blessed us with some wonderful tools. It’s with our choice in free will we are able to accept the use of them. This is but one of the many I have been thankful to have experienced and one I will never discard.
UPDATE: Quite a while after this article was written and while doing some research for a different subject, I came across the Serenity Prayer with credit given to Reinhold Niebuhr. I have included a short biography from http://who2.com/reinholdniebuhr.html and a few of his quotes.
Name at birth: Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr
During his lifetime, Reinhold Niebuhr was the best-known Christian intellectual in the United States. Ordained as a minister in the German Evangelical Synod of North America in 1913, Neibuhr pastored a middle-class congregation in Detroit for 13 years. In 1928 he began a career-long association with New York’s Union Theological Seminary, serving as professor of Christian ethics (1928-60) and dean (1950-60). Niebuhr neither created nor defended a particular belief system as much as he worked to apply Christian morals to contemporary political and social problems. His theological stance has been described as “Christian realism,” and most of his work was devoted to reconciling the concept of perfect love with a world in constant violent conflict. A prolific writer and a popular, engaging lecturer, Niebuhr became a national celebrity and influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. and policy makers in the administration of President John Kennedy. His books include Does Civilization Need Religion? (1927), The Nature and Destiny of Man (2 volumes, 1941-43) and Faith and History (1949). He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.
Niebuhr is credited with authoring what has been called the Serenity Prayer, a form of which is used by Alcoholics Anonymous. One version of it goes like this:
God give me the serenity to accept things which cannot be changed; give me courage to change things which must be changed; and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.
Extra credit: His brother, Helmut Richard Niebuhr, was also a well-known theologian and clergyman… In his early years Reinhold Niebuhr was an active socialist, but he advocated early intervention against Adolf Hitler in World War II, and by the end of the war had moved away from socialism to condemn totalitarian communism.
“Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it”
“Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.”
“If we can find God only as he is revealed in nature we have no moral God”
Written By Jasmine
Finding the right place in your home for a relaxing ritual is an important part in making it become routine. Whether you want to meditate, do yoga exercises, setting up time for spiritually enhancing reading or writing…to have an area that is an extension of yourself can be inspiring.
Most meditation and yoga experts suggest keeping a regular schedule (20 to 30 min. a day if possible). There is nothing more convenient and special than dedicating space in your home to the meditative activity of your choice. Spiritual growth is nourished by the nutrients you choose to feed it. Your environment is a direct influence. It can also be an encouraging means by which to maintain a regular schedule.
Choose a room that feels comfortable and adapt it to fit your needs. Avoid a busy area, as in the kitchen or living room, where noise and activity is high. Focus on a space that is more private and not the center of activity in your home. Some might be able to relax more in a dark room while others might prefer a space filled with natural light. A room where the decor is not so busy as to have your energy bouncing off everything but is tranquil. If its too dark you might have the urge to go to sleep. Perhaps a peaceful den, extra bedroom or a sunroom are all good choices for a meditative space. Get rid of any clutter so it’s a dedicated space. A quiet area and a good choice is away from a telephone. A room with a window overlooking a garden, pond, lake, etc. is a wonderful, calming inspiration. A window is also a good choice, besides the view refreshing you upon opening your eyes, in offering fresh air to keep you alert.
Not everyone has the luxury of devoting an entire room to their own sacred place. A corner or alcove can be just fine. You don’t have to be behind closed doors, especially if this is not an option in your home. It can be helpful to face away from the doorway of the room you’re in, to avoid distraction. The key point to meditation is that it can be done in any circumstances. If the place you feel most comfortable turns out to be the living room couch, don’t be discouraged, so be it. Just make sure anyone who shares your home knows your plans so you can avoid unwanted interruptions.
A small table draped with an appealing cloth and objects placed on it, such as special spiritual book, symbols of your faith, photos of loved ones or mementos of special places you have visited. Elements of nature can also be incorporated, such as a feather or a rock found on a special adventure. How about one of those personal, table top waterfalls, if you have the room? Perhaps a special gift you received of a living plant. Candles and incense can add an element of ritual. Especially important in establishing sacred routines.
Once you find the area you choose to call “yours”…set about to claim and re-decorate! If your fortunate enough to claim a whole room, adding…for example, a comfortable chair, bookshelves for your own library, meditation rug, a table for your personal alter or anything else you deem *sacred* for your own personal place.
Its a place to set thoughtful, and meaningful items that, collectively, will emanate positive energy. A place where you can sit…and absorb the energy you have planted the seeds for. Don’t try to fill it up all in one go. As with anything done on a spiritual level, its a layering, natural process to evolve with your own growth.
Once you have chosen and set up this area…for yourself…let it be known this is your own personal space. Others in your household should respect it as such, as should yourself. It’s a part of your life to keep dusted, uncluttered and always tidy, with a certain reverence and honor. Always ready for your next visit. It should be a part of your home you will feel comfort in. No window? A pleasing poster or painting would serve the purpose. Don’t allow it to become a dropping ground for those odds and ends of domestic life!
In this busy, freeway fast, world…its so essential to our Soul to recognize the need for spiritual comfort. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed, its easy to feel, since there is no huge blocks of time to give to such luxurious needs of the soul…its futile to even try! The truth is, the Soul really requires little upkeep. Most people spend much more time on personal hygiene than they do in providing food for the Soul on a daily basis. Claim and create your own, personal, sacred space and make it a special place to spend a few minutes of your time out of the day.