The Thrill of Adventure, The Thrill of “What If”

I’m trying very hard to convince myself to go on a bicycle ride today.  The problem is, my inner voice.  It keeps coming up with excuses.  Not all of the excuses are bad – I really don’t have a patch kit or a pump installed on my new bike.  If I get a flat, I *am* royally screwed.  I’m not on the tour where in five seconds, another cyclist will help me out; or where I can just call a number and vehicle sag will be there within minutes.

When I leave this house and venture out farther than I can walk – 10, 15, 20 miles – I’m taking a risk.  And not only a safety risk.  If I venture out of this house, farther than I can walk, I’ll be doing it in cycling gear.  The jersey, the shorts, the shoes.

Part of the reason i didn’t buy the jersey my first year of that cycling tour was because I felt that I hadn’t earned it yet – hadn’t proved myself to anyone.  This year, I bought it because I was a veteran.  And after this tour, I felt I had the right to a better bike.  A better way to ride.  So I forked over about $900 total for shoes and pedals (they attach to each other) and a brand new, spiffy road bike.

But now I’m in territory I haven’t biked before(not really, anyway).    Am I good enough for these buffalo cyclists?  These buffalo motorists?  Will a car hit me if I use the road?  I have to use the road.

And what about deeper into my psyche?  What about that voice that says I’m not good enough – not strong enough?  To do a twenty mile ride?  Or to do a century?  The voice that says – sure, you’ve been carb loading and eating great for 2 days.  It means nothing.  You’ve ate horrible for 20 years.  This is just a phase.

And I have to force myself to reevaluate what I’m doing.  Do I like cycling?  Yes.  I love the adventure – what’s around the corner?  Can I make it up that hill?  How fast can I go?  How far can I go?  Can I keep up to that person ahead of me?

I know.  It sounds like I’m trying to have a healthy relationship with cycling – and failing.  If you replace “cycling” with “boyfriend” it all sort of fits together in a weird sort of way.

And the worst part is, I know how to overcome this: ride.  It’s as simple as that.  Beyond the day to day training schedule and diet plans and power bars, I just need to ride.  I can put on my normal clothes to feel like I’m not forcing myself to be something else; I can take side roads so I don’t have to deal with traffic.  But in the end, I have to ride.

Spiritually?  This is a pattern of self doubt.  I know others go through the same process, be it in an athletic or spiritual aspect of their lives.  Am I good enough?  What if others judge me?

And I know that we all have been taught since kindergarten not to care about what others think…but it’s easier said than done.  And so, in spiritual dilemma, or athletic dilemma, or even a work or school related dilemma, I think the solution is right there: do something.  Don’t think and ponder and question and doubt.

Tell that voice inside to STFU.  GTFO.  (That means shut up, for you non internet-lingo savvy people) And do something about it.  That way, at the end of the day, you can have the last few words:  I told you so.

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What You Get Is Not What You Expected

Again with a shorter post today, as I don’t really have any divine inspiration.  But, I’d like to talk a minute about spontaneity in life.  Many people accept understanding of this matter with various explanations: “Everything happens for a reason”; “There are no coincidences”; etc.

For us, we explain it with the interaction between thought, will, and action in relation to the Universe.  In addition, the more that we are aware of the relationship between those three and the universe, the higher chance there is of any of those three affecting the Universe – essentially, pulling its strings to make way for our thought/will/action.

But the Universe has its own plans for us, too.  And sometimes, it is not the wisest to carve a path through our lives, but instead follow where the opportunities open.  That is how people start with a botany degree and end up working for the government in finances.

Which is how, today, after stopping by my college to meet with my boss and say hi to a few professors, I ended up with a housesitting job for the middle two weeks of August.  And a free lunch.

Beat that for random.

Blessed Be!

Sacrifice, Blood, and Everything In Between

Using WordPress’s amazing stats features, I’ve been noticing that a lot of people have been coming to my site with search terms like “blood” and “sacrifice” along with some derivative of paganism.  I’ve decided to address the issue, perhaps to generate a little traffic, but also to explore the topic.  I realize that I spoke of the topic before.
If you’re not Wiccan, and perhaps are thinking about heading along the path, and you see this post and get kind of scared, you can put that fear to rest.  In one of our three pieces of classic literature, the Charge of the Goddess, our good lady tells us,

Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold: I am the Mother of All Living, and My Love is poured out upon the Earth.

Yes, that’s right.  She is the Mother.  She doesn’t need anything from us except our existence.  She asks for nothing, and gives all in return.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t work like that.

With any decision, any action, there is always a sacrifice.  The way I was taught with tarot was a 10 card spread.  And the four cards outside of the six card cross were: Overview of the situation, Action required, Sacrifice required, New Outcome.

As a woman, my monthly blood flow is a sacrifice representative of our lady – if we just bleed for seven days, experience bloating and cramping…for maybe 10 or 12 measely children in the future – imagine what our Lady must go through!

Continuing on, with any spell or ritual where you set out specifically to accomplish something, there is a sacrifice.  No, it is not, most of the time, as romantic as a blood sacrifice – sometimes its time, or energy, or creating something, or destroying something.

But, sacrificing your own blood is a serious endeavor, and although not necessary by any means, is often a heavily symbolic gesture loaded with perhaps, enough power, to achieve your goal.  I’m assuming that, when blood is used, it is most often used as a way of binding yourself to something.  To another, to a concept, to an oath or promise, to an organization.  The theory behind blood oaths is that, we don’t break them.  Its sympathetic magic, representative of the idea that if we break this oath, this binding, we will die, or bleed, or something bad will happen.  Our life force is inherently tied into this act, this decision, this magic.

Now the question is  – should I, as a member of the ‘softer gender’, a woman, ever feel the need to take a blood oath?  After all, I can Draw Down The Moon.  Why should I, as an incarnate of our good lady, representative of the Goddess and life-giver in ritual, one who can speak with the power of the lady on a full moon or in my cycles – use my own blood as a binding?  I provide a blood sacrifice once a month.  A sacrifice to the existence of man, be what it may.  I, and my mother before I, and her mother before her, all providing for the sanctity of life.

I am not being sexist or even feminist by any means.  I am merely recognizing the roles that we must play in the cycles of life.  There are those who fall out of these roles – and that is fine, has happened for centuries, no problems – those who serve as go-betweens between the sexes – but in the end, in our religion, the woman is the embodiment of life, and man, her consort, not lesser or greater, but equal, and different.

Of course, other sacrifices can be just as symbolic.  In the end, it is not necessarily the sacrifice you make that is the catalyst – it is the preparation.  It is the action that you take after the sacrifice – your endeavors to accomplish your goal, complete your spell, follow through with your rituals – that will determine how successful you are.   The sacrifices, it seems, are for us to remind ourselves that something is important to us.  Always a good thing.
So, I’ve touched on blood oaths and sacrifice, and hope that will satisfy my Google browsers.   For the rest of you, I hope you keep coming back – I’ll probably be hitting some interesting topics with animals and exercise, as those seem to be the two things I’m focusing on at present.

Blessed Be!