February 2nd…so many things going on today. Groundhog Day (poor guy just wants to come out and pee – all those people watching him as he tries to make it to the porta-potty down the way). The start of Presidential Primary season for the Democrats. Imbolc. A new month. And the Super Bowl (otherwise known as the blessed day that NFL games come to an end). Or, if you prefer (which I do) MLB Spring Training is right around the corner. But regardless of that, its the start of a new month.
I always look at new months as the chance to get new starts on things that might have fallen off. Or to spend time cleaning out the stuff that is not necessary, and adding new stuff that you think you might want to try. For me, calendars are fairly useful reminder tools, provided I remember to use them. 🙂 On my coming calendar are appointments for all three of my cats. What should be on my calendar are all my medical appointments, but because all my docs send me SMS messages about appointments – I have been slacking in that department. 😦 The reality is that I have slipped a bit in my calendar usage.
I used to favor a paper and pen method, but I do not always remember to tote that around with me. And when I do, I have a tendency to leave it behind sometimes, as I was reminded yesterday when I left my iPhone in the restaurant I was having lunch in. Because of that, its far easier for me to utilize Google’s calendar feature. I can sync it to my desktops, my phone, and several other places. Its easy to use, easy to update, and I can color coordinate things into sub-calendars to keep things in focus. Plus, I have gotten into the habit of checking it several times per day, as I am sync’d up with a few other folks’ calendars too – so I can see what they are doing as well. Organization is such a plus!
Except when you fall off that cycle of organization, and stop doing things. You have to have a moment where you come back and check things out. I like to call it a “recheck” moment.
I have this moment several times in a day. When I leave the house, I stop and check to make sure I have everything I need. I do this again, when I return to the house. A silly habit…but it was one that let me know my iPhone was missing yesterday. Shortly after I made the retrieval of the iPhone, I started thinking about how I use this in my own Spiritual practice. So, I thought this might be a good thought process to ruminate over.
So, I am a Pagan with zero other people to share my practice with. Every year, right around December, I start trying to plan out the time frames where I will be celebrating particular Spiritual points in the Wheel of the Year with others. I mean, let’s face it, doing your thing on your own is an essentially part of who and what I am, but everyone needs time with other folks too. So, I take some time and plan out the times of when. I have two particular gatherings that I really enjoy attending because of the people I get to share time with – the ADF Imbolc Retreat near Mountain Home, Texas and OBOD’s Gulf Coast Gathering in Louisiana. I have made a few Pantheacon events over the years, and started trying to figure out the funds for that. In mid-December, it was apparent that I was not going to make Pantheacon – funds were just too tight. Shortly after that, the folks that were running the ADF Imbolc Retreat announced that they were going to go on hiatus for a short time.
Here was the recheck moment for me. At this point, I have only a single event where I can be around other Pagans during the year. And a single event will not be enough for me. So, my recheck moment turned to looking at other events. Austin has an upcoming WitchFest. I’ll be living closer to that when it occurs, so it becomes a very cost-effective trip for me. So, there is an opportunity that can be added to my schedule. With other trips out of the schedule, the question then becomes whether a trip to Atlanta for MysticSouth might be an option. All of that remains in “maybe” mode. But at the moment, it seems somewhat more feasible – provided the event does not sell out.
So, after checking into those particular options, I am now setting into the calendar aspects of my daily practice. These are set as reminders, things that I need to look through and insure that I do. These are the promises and vows that I have made – parts of my bonds with Abonoba, Crow and Coyote. As I get older, even the stuff that I have managed to handle as rote memory do not always translate into everyday activities. So reminders become important moments to jar my memory loose. I have also added periods of time set aside for reading (because I am always reading and trying to learn more – being a student is a lifelong class), as well as points for specific writing. As all of this keeps adding up on the calendar, I am really beginning to understand the need for some time management – a skill I have always struggled with in my life. At the end of today, I’ll take another moment for a final re-check moment. I’ll try to make sure I am not over-scheduling myself on daily tasks, and then set everything to the side for usage starting in the morning.
For me, re-checks occur everywhere. I stop, take inventory, and assess where I am. Ritual starts in ten minutes? Stop. Re-check. Quick inventory. Fix what needs to be fixed. Prepare yourself mentally. But I have always seen the first month as that moment where daily, weekly and even monthly processes that make part of my life can get a quick look through. Sometimes, something I wanted to try just isn’t working. That means it needs a quick re-check to be fixed, altered or discarded. These re-checks were instituted into my life through the US Air Force, and have continued with me to this day. Granted, I am using my own period of assessment, but the process is still the same. Maybe something like this would work for you? Maybe not. Only you can be the determining factor on that.