Foggy Interlude

A few weeks ago, I awoke to a foggy morning and I savored the interlude.  The peace of it.  The way it moves in and blankets the earth:  the land, the trees, the water, too.  In Florida, the Earthways Shamanic Path celebrates four seasons, Rainy, Hurricane, Dry and Fire.  In between some of the Seasons, there is a Foggy Interlude.

The foggy interlude isn’t a pause.  Time doesn’t stand still in a fog.  It just slows way, way down.  Or rather, because fog is so thick, we must slow down to travel, so this is a time of mindfulness.  Simultaneously, because fog envelopes us, it is possible to clear one’s mind and allow the fog to enter us, for a time.

Fog is magical.  Shapes change in the fog, distances morph, sound travels like poetry.  We can rest between what was, and what is yet to be in the fog,

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Traveling in a Foggy Interlude

Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around you, for we are all related.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

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Trusting Your Gut as a Shamanic Practice

You may wonder how trusting you gut is a shamanic practice. Let me tell you a story.

About nine weeks ago, I started a new diet, a new way of eating. Instead of eating mostly carbohydrates, some proteins, and some fats — and that’s about all there is to eat, people

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Whale learns to cook broccoli and peppers and garlic and capers

— I changed my percentages so I am now eating more fat than protein, and very few carbs. This plus lots of exercise, works surprisingly well to take off the weight and tone up.

When I embarked on this new way of eating I decided to go strict with it, so, I got a kitchen scale, and used a calorie counting app, mostly to keep track of my “macros,” which is a fancy way of saying how many grams of protein, fats, and carbs I was consuming at each meal, each day, each week. That activity created a certain mindfulness which made up for eating no chocolate candy or pasta. I also weigh myself twice a day, and record my progress in a note book. All of this is to acheive a certain state, a zone, and to stay in that state, once you get there.

All good until the end of week 6, when I embarked on what became a 2,000 mile, 12- day road trip through most of Florida, in my efforts to celebrate the Labor Day weekend with friends, then evacuate family members and button up two dwelling units, and then to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Irma.

I didn’t pack my various weights and measures at the start of my trip, but I did pack a cooler bag. And every so often in my travels, I bought food, cooked it, and repacked my cooler bag, wherever I could. I vowed to stay on this diet for the duration, because I had worked so hard up until this point.

I arrived at a Red Cross Hurricane Shelter in Marianna, Florida on Sunday night, just a few hours before Irma began making land fall on the Florida Keys. I was a very weary traveler, and was grateful to find shelter. Dinner was being served as I arrived: non-beef hot dogs (eg, corn-and-sugar-based) in buns, pretzels, and brownies. I also saw a bowl of chopped up fruit. None of this was on my diet, so I ate hard boiled eggs and cheese from my cooler. Not every meal was like this, but most were. By the second day, my Very Dear Man and I were making jokes about it.  (I want to be sure to emphasize that the rest of the accommodations at this shelter, were comfortable and gracious, as in a-state-of-grace, we were well cared for by the volunteers from the entire town, and we have no complaints about this experience.)

Let’s return to where the shamanic practice kicks in: I had to figure out how much to eat to stay in my zone, and how long I could eat my food in the cooler, before the contents became too warm to eat safely. This happened intuitively. My intuition kicked in, because I had no choice, but also, I trusted myself, and allowed it to kick in. Some of it was due to an imperative I had pushed myself into. I chose to stay on my diet, and I couldn’t eat spoiled food. I needed to get enough calories, and stick to the ratios of proteins, fats, carbs. And it happened.

I’ve also been learning to cook since I started this diet, but that’s a story for another post!

Share your peace with Mother Earth, Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us, for we are all connected.

[Timeline was correct when post was drafted 9/20/2017]

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

The last days of Hurricane Season

In the last days of Hurricane Season in Florida, we begin to relax a bit. A few weeks after the Equinox, the days began to get cooler by one or two degrees.  In Southwest Florida, there is an appreciable difference between 89 and 84 degrees.  89 is oppressive.  At 84, we feel we can cope. At 84, I can get out of my car and walk into a building at mid-day, and not be drenched with sweat.

In Hurricane Season, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, we are reminded of many spiritual lessons:

1.  In my case, my relationship with the Divine is real and sustaining.  This Season more than the other times of year, tests my faith, again and again.  And the Divine guide and protect me, and comfort me.  Listening to the Divine, is a daily practice.

2.  Striking the balance between planning and going with the flow, is an on-going lesson.

3.  Spiritual people are people.  This year, at least two of my spiritual mentors, people I admire, trust, and learn from, experienced the humbling reality of fear, and anxiety during Hurricane Irma.  So did I.  The best I can do, is learn from this.  What triggers fear?  Too much unknown.  What can I do about that?  Learn more and listen more.

4.  Hurricane Season teaches me,  again and again, how to ask for and receive help, and how to provide help to other people.

5.  The end of Hurricane Season is marked by the arrival of tourists.  Some of them will stay for a weekend, others will stay for the next 6 months.  As our population swells, our food banks need our support.

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You may want to consider celebrating the end of Hurricane Season, by sharing some of your hurricane provisions with a local food pantry.

Share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky, and the Big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Earthways Shamanic Path meets AutumnMeet 2017

20171014_125939.jpgI have returned from a short trip to AutumnMeet, which is a pagan festival put on by the great folks with Phoenix Festivals, Inc.

I presented a workshop on the Earthways Shamanic Path.  In this workshop, we learned about the Earthwats Path, and about Core Shsmamism, and ushered  out Hurricane Season, and welcomed in Dry Season.  I had a small but very attentive audience.

Then, Dayan Martinez and I co-led the workshop called, “Encountering the Native Goddess.”  Dayan is a generous co-facilatator, and it is always fun to see Dayan in person.

This was a nice family-oriented festival, at a lovely camp ground North of Lakeland, Fl.

I hope we get invited back next year!

Putting Things Right, Letting Things Go

It takes so much longer to put things right after a hurricane!

I am reorganizing my apartment thus morning, continuing to unpack my nicknacs and beloved objects from where I stored them before Hurricane Irma knocked on Florida’s door two weeks ago.

There’s an adrenalin rush which kicks in before a hurricane, which makes it possible for people to do all kinds of preparations. In my case, I made several car trips over a short couple of days to collect family members, and to hang up storm shutters on my house, and to help soneone put up shutters on their second story windows. I’ve embraced my inner squirrel and become an aerialist. (That was 500 miles).

Back at my apartment, I then removed all breakables from all surfaces, wrapped things up with tissue, and put things in boxes or big trash bags, and stowed those in the closet.

All of that was before bedtime on September 6th. The next morning, I headed out on what became a 6 day 1,400 mile evacuation + road trip.

Now that I’m back… and discovered how BLESSED I am to have no storm damage to my two places, it is time to put things back. This takes a lot of work, and energy. Two friends took the shutters off the house so I didn’t have to do that. Most of the second story shutters are still up in my friend’s place, and that’s a task for another day.

I’ve unpacked clothes and done laundry, and got my dryer repaired.

I’ve rested. And now I’m putting things back. But wait, do I really want to put all those nicknacks out? Do I really need them?

Can I let any of them go?

?

At this Equinox time, this is a good opportunity to find the balance. What really matters, what do I want to keep, what can I give away.

I don’t have to rush. I can take my time.

Share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path. All rights reserved.

Hurricane Timewarp

One of the odd dynamics of a hurricane, is that we enter a Timewarp: we loose all track of time, for several weeks. This happens for several reasons.

First, our normal schedules get interrupted with the effort of monitoring a storm. The storm predictions are posted at 2am, 5am, 8am, 11 am, 2 pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm. Once a storm is close to making land-fall, the advisories are posted hourly. You would think the rhythmic nature of this service would help you keep track of time, but it does not.

That’s because suddenly, you have so much else to do, preparing your home, and deciding whether to stay or to leave.

Then you are either in your home, eating all your hurricane snacks, too early. Or, you are traveling away frim your home, evacuating. Time is moving at a different speed. You might even go to a different time zine when you evacuate

Then, you are inside some shelter for 24-48 hours, and all the windows are boarded up. It is dark and quiet. You don’t know what day it is. Or the tine.

Then, the lights go out. You sit in your room with a few tgings poeered by a distsnt humming generator, or a flashlight, or candles. Waiting. The longer you sit there, the longer it seems to take. Eventually, you know the storm is over, and you go outside.

The sky is grey-yellow, dark, and ragged. The clouds are beat up, it’s windy, and exhilarating. But you have no clue whst time it is. You return indoors.

Then the clean up begins, while you wait for things to happen: when will the streets be cleared of tree limbs, when will the utility trucks arrive, when will the debris piles be collected, when will insurance agents arrive, when will the gas stations open, when will flood waters receed, when will school reopen, where the heck is FEMA, and when will my lights come back on?

When the lights do return, we all pause to do the Happy Dance.

And then you begin to return to your normal life, while all around your town are the very real signs of a hurticane having passed just a short while ago. Was that just yesterday? Or last week?

It will take awhile before you know.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path. All rights reserved.

What Have We Learned, After Hurricane Irma

Now that Hurrican Irma has passed through all of the Florida Peninsula at somewhere between 9 mph and 15 mph, we can all sit somewhere, and reflect upon what we have learned.

1. Florida is a long state, and it takes a really long time for a storm that is 800 miles across, to get all the way out of Florida. Paper maps would have been handy. A tv at the storm shelter, would have been reaally helpful. Or a marine radio.

2. If you bugged out, did you over pack? Do you know what you used, and what you didn’t use, what you could have left behind (strappy sandals) and what you wished you had with you? I wish I had brought more warm shirts. And a rain poncho. This is an opoortunity to reflect upon one’s ability to travel light

3. If you bugged put, did you leave soon enough? Did you get delayed by employers (Dang Them!), or by well meaning friends who were not tracking Irma since September 1st, when it was already a Cat. 3 Hurricane. Most employers were inflexible until the Governor issueed the state-wide disaster declaration (I think THAT happened September 5th), and the schools close. This is an individualized problem.

4. Many people reached out to me before the storm hit, to ask, what should I do, where should I go. I tried to provide suggestions, based upon your property’s elevation, and the age of the building and how it was constructed. The main thing I told people who were deciding whether to evacuate, was to get as far north as possible, as soon as possible, and then pick a diagonal based upon the storm’s updated information.

This is still good advice, but the difficulty is, it takes most people in Southwest Florida a long day to get that far north, and it creates a really long evacuation trip, if you leave soon enough.

I tried to guide some people to local shelters, too, depending upon their circumstances.

5. People who have not gone through a hurrucane before, have absolutely no frame of reference for how big a problem this storm was for Florida. Our state population is 20 million people, plus tourists and animals. At one point before Irma hit, 18 million people, were under evacuation orders. That is 90% of the state’s population. And none of us knew with any comfortable certainty, where the Eye would hit, or when. So, the opportunity to second-guess any decision you make, is very high. And, comments from well-meaning friends/family can derail peiple even further.

6. Making so many major decisions, is a brain-drain. As I edit this on September 20th, many people are still memtally exhausted and suffering from what we now call Post Irma Depression. Be nice to us.