One of the things I have really enjoyed is going to various locations – some considered sacred – over the course of the past few years. I am fortunate enough to be able to do this, thanks to my job. Over the past few years, I have visited Glacier National Park, Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn mountains, the Rocky mountain range, and Carlsbad caverns to name a few. Each was a special moment, which I treasure deeply. And I have goals for a few more.
Tai Shan is no secret for anyone who knows me. I have yearned to climb the mountains pathway and see the sunrise from its peak for quite some time. Coming in two years, I may get that chance, as it looks like my college’s Honors program may make a trek to Japan. There is no way I will get that close and not take the opportunity to go. On its face, it is somewhat pricey in nature, but it certainly is on my radar.
Then there’s the trip back to England for Stonehenge, the Tor, and various other places. All of these are locales that I want to visit without a group (for the most part) so that I can spend as much time as I want at each one. Not sure how all that will work out (if at all), but its something that I need to look into. Plus there’s several locations in Ireland that I would love to see, but just won’t have the time (or flexibility) to do so.
Lastly, there’s all kinds of places within the United States. Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. The Redwood trees in California. Further trips to Glacier, Yellowstone, and a return to Medicine Wheel that I promised during my first time there. Closer to home, there is dinosaur tracks to see, a trip or five into the woods in Arkansas, and trips to the Gulf regions. My lovely little red caravan gives me the capacity to do these North American trips.
Like I said, I am lucky that I have the capability to take trips such as these. Many others cannot. But, these trips are more than visiting locations that I view as “sacred” or “beautiful”. Its about getting outside of the four walls of the house. Its about what I consider to be a fundamental aspect of Paganism for me: being outdoors with the dirt between my toes and fingers.
Over the past few weeks, I have found myself getting caught up in the media spin-cycle of the US Presidential race. I would spend far too many hours watching TV or reading online news. I even wrote quite a bit of it into my journal. And yes, I do go back and read what I have written. While doing just that, reading my journal, I started to notice a thread of sorts. I was not headed outside nearly as often as I had before. Not even for walks. I was caught up in something that had nothing to do with who I am as a Pagan, who I am as a Priest (as much as I think I *might* be one), or how I honor my Gods, my Goddess, or my Ancestors. In other words, I was off balance.
I never really noticed it, until a few days after the election. And once I recognized it, I started working towards correcting that, and finding my balance again. Instead of putting on National Public Radio when I got home, I put on Grateful Dead, Rush, Phish, Pat Metheny – any music that I identify readily with. I made time for meditations. I consciously put myself in a mindset to visit my Dream Crows before I went to sleep. I got back out to visit my Stone Circle. And I wrote.
Writing has been the really odd part. I have never considered myself much of a writer. I even decided to start in with the National Novel Writing Month, trying to cram three different projects into this idea. That failed miserably. I have since abandoned the idea, as I had become obsessed with word count rather than writing quality. Many of the journal entries that I wrote during that week-plus (about nine days) are really lacking in coherence and quality. Its a great concept for just writing something to be writing something. But its definitely not for me.
But everything has been about balance. About striving to find my center and cling as tightly as I can to it. Because wobbly, off-balance me is no fun to be around. I obsess on issues. I do not communicate beyond those issues. I become a very one-dimensional, one-note person. And that’s just not me.
There is not a whole lot of advice I can dispense concerning all of this. Find your center. See how far you are from it. Strive to get there. Make plans for ways to de-stress and regenerate your feelings towards the world around you. For me, that’s travelling to locations. And that means goals. Set those goals. See how to achieve those. And find a way to achieve those without risking the core of who you are. I have been a Pagan for over thirty years now. I have quite a bit of experience in knowing what works for me, and what does not. There is no way I can predict that for you, or even if this type of process will work for you or not. But trying it and making it work for you, is up to you.