• Solstice Blessings to All

    The Winter Solstice has passed, celebrations have occurred, and many of us are appreciative of the light in the darkness.

    This time of year is very challenging for some. There may be grief, sadness, and reminders of past losses. There may be loneliness and isolation, with many home alone, or even homeless. Many Pagans were born into Christian families, and while those family members continue their traditions (and assumptions), the Pagan family-member can feel ostracized or even invalidated. Reaching out to others can be challenging, especially when you might already be feeling invisible. Finding, or building, community can be difficult.

    Rather than talking about the idea of light returning, why not BE that light? So ‘hello’ to someone. Offer to help in some way. Find a way to put words into action regarding how you interact with others and the land. BE present. Be the present. Join in a gathering, an open event, and start to build new traditions and new connections. First steps often feel the shakiest, but who knows what joys may be found along the way?

    In the Darkness may you see the flicker of a candle. May that candle-flame be joined by others until the darkness is filled with light, with faces and voices, and with a sense of being connected to what was, what is, and what will be.

  • First Fruits

    Welcome to the First Harvest. Whether it be grains, fruits, or the product of your intentional actions….may you be blessed.

    I know it can be challenging to celebrate when there is so much chaos in our world right now. So much hate and violence can destroy gratitude and mindfulness of those things that are beautiful and life-sustaining. It’s important to stay connected to the earth, and to offer healing where possible, and to nurture that connection between yourself, the land, and all of life.

    What is your first harvest? What intentions did you send forth? What did you nurture? What action did you follow through with?

    My gardens are less fruitful this year, as I experimented with no-til concepts, and apparently missed an important step. Even so, my plants brought the bees, a few hummingbirds, and there are still fruits and vegetables to be harvested. A gathered about a gallon of blueberries prior to animals stripping the remaining berries.

  • The upheavals of mental health struggles.

    In my work as a therapist, I encounter a lot of different people. We explore the gamut of depression, anxiety, developmental challenges, personality disorders, and trauma. Some of those people are motivated to learn helpful skills, face their challenges and emotional injuries, and create a life that has a little more hope and meaning.

    We encounter these people in everyday experiences: a family member, a partner, a co-worker, a group member. We’re left reeling when they’re struggling to manage their mental health challenges, which can result in too much information-sharing, vicarious trauma, absence of boundaries, and their struggle to remember that each new encounter isn’t going to be another trauma-experience. Their struggle to discern whether someone’s words or behavior aren’t a threat is a profound challenge.

    Sometimes these people are aware of their actions, other times they’re oblivious to the damage they’re perpetuating. Their doubts and suspicions can feel unfair to the individual who has no understanding of trauma. Sometimes they expect others to know their triggers, take care of them, and not be held accountable. When expected to take accountability, they react with shock, outrage, sometimes complete withdrawal, and sometimes by demonizing the individual confronting the behavior. Sometimes they perceive threat when none has been offered, and lash out with accusations of “bully” and “abuser!.”

    Sometimes their reaction to complex trauma is to become a Victim Narcissist. Abusing others in their attempt to cope.

    How does a person cope with this experience? The impact of a Victim Narcissist? They may experience a sense of craziness and confusion, wonder “what the heck just happened?!” They may not feel grounded, and be questioning their reality, words, and actions (gas lighting). They’re left with all the broken pieces, as the VN has probably moved on, shut them out/or down; all after shaming, blaming, and attempting to stomp over other people’s boundaries and concerns…. due to the belief that the VNs experience is the only valid one.

    And the Victim Narcissist? They’re still hurting and emotionally bleeding. Their sense of instability is profound, with efforts to re-stablize taking the form of continued denial and avoidance. Avoidance of accountability, refusal to reflect on who they just hurt, and the perpetuation of continued pain.