Thinking About: The Last Year

As we are approaching the end of another Julian calendar, there is a time to reflect on the past year. Many folks take the time here at the end of the year to look at the happenings of the past year through a different lens. I’m not different. Around the time of Samhain, I spend time reflecting on where my personal Spirituality has gone through another turn of the Wheel. Here at the end of the year, I look at more secular points. A lot of Pagans that I know don’t try to separate their daily Spirituality from the happenings of the world around them. I’m not part of that type of thinking, though I do understand that everything mixes and blends around the edges. The following is my perspective of the last year from my own eyes.

January was an odd time frame for me. Early in the month came the Capitol House invasion. Or riot. Or takeover. Or coup d’état. Whatever manner you want to frame the happenings over the election. Never in my lifetime would I dream that there would be a sizeable element of the US citizenry that would want to dispose of the way our country operates its election process – much less for a man that completely disregarded the document and principles he swore to uphold and defend on his own election four years prior. As an eight-year veteran of the US Armed Forces, I took a similar oath when I chose to wear the uniform in service to this country. And while I am no longer a member of the US military, its an oath that I’ve never set aside. I was appalled and disgusted by those that went into the halls of Congress, seeking to disrupt the election process that was underway on that day, and sought out to detain members of Congress for “perceived crimes.” Some even had the desire to injure or kill those members of Congress. Their looting of Congressional offices has left a taste of disgust in my mouth, particularly where their right to freedom of speech and protest is concerned. There is protest…and then there was outright acts of sedition on their part. Its not difficult to see where I stand on all of this. I’m just one single individual though.

January also saw major changes in my personal life. Some aspects were for the better. Some have affected my own health, which has not been the greatest throughout the year. I am not the person I was two years ago or even five years ago. But I do try my best. Even during the continued up and down trending of COVID-19. Sadly, my state’s governor – the inept Greg Abbott – continues to make a mockery of keeping people safe, simply so he can tweak the current President’s nose on the issue. Again, I’m one vote in a state that traditional votes Republican. Still, I do what I have to with my vote – I continue to vote my conscience on issues, which means Greg will never get my vote. Not because he’s a Republican. I could care less about what political party he is part of. Rather, its because he continually makes policy decisions based on what will get his popularity to rise. The rumor is that he is readying for a run at the Presidency. If former President Trump runs as well, I look forward to the personal attacks that Trump will level against Greg – just as Trump did against another Texas politician in Trumps’ first election – Senator Ted Cruz.

During the start of the Delta variant’s rise, I took a vacation to southwest Colorado. It was a trip I needed to take. I had a desire to revisit the exact site that I had my moment with Crow on a particular trail. Unfortunately, that trail, as well as that area of the Mesa Verde National Park, was closed. So, I decided to walk a different trail that was open. The trail was beautiful, and I could get a strong sense of the Spirits of Place that inhabit large areas of the Park. Unfortunately, my health issues complicated my walk of a trail that was a steep incline down, and a steep incline up. The severe climb up from the location of the cliff dwelling at the center of the trail caused my breathing issues to flare up to an alarming level. I believed this to be a severe flare up of my asthma that I had developed from my bout with pneumonia after the trip to Iceland a few years ago. Instead, its an indicator that I am starting to have heart-related issues, such as what my father passed away from quite a while back. The ailment is referred to medically as Tachycardia, which has symptoms such as shortness of breath and dizziness that result from a rise in rapid heart rate. That, coupled with my High Blood Pressure, has had my cardiologist add some medications to my already growing pharmacy that I take daily. I have also been told to exercise lightly for the time being, as well as severely cut back my salt intake. As I noted, health issues are a primary issue that has changed this calendar year for me.

Lastly, I have decided to go back for another degree (this will be my fourth). I am working on a Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics and Data Management, in order to upgrade my base-level knowledge and update my skill sets in the field of Data Analysis. My first class started just a few days ago. While I know most of the techniques and applied concepts for my field, I have never had formal training nor am I conversant in the terminology utilized within the field. That is the reason I am focusing on this degree – to bring myself up to speed. Part of the degree program adds certification in the field. I have always eschewed certifications, viewing education to be more important. Unfortunately, certifications are the first weed-out point for job applicants – a process that has likely cost me more than one chance at a job interview.

I continue to progress in my Ovate lessons. I do need to backtrack a bit and set things right according to the lesson instructions, but I continue to make my weekly progress in both my Druidry lessons, as well as in my daily Spirituality.

There’s a lot more to note for the year, but all of that belongs in my personal journals – not out here on the blog. I am willing to share parts of my daily life out here, but there are things that should remain private, as well as correspondence that I manage daily with a few folks. 😊I have shared some of my thoughts…but not everything. A guy’s got to have some secrets from the world.

–Tommy /|\

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