Self-compassion really needs to be part of it.
There are things I keep relearning about myself and then, somehow, forgetting, and having to learn all over again, generally in a hard and humbling way. Take today, for instance. Beth and I decided when we were writing up our calendar outline for 2012 that this year we’d like to move the cross-quarter days to the astrological dates rather than the calendar dates. So, Imbolc (for us, Ewemeolc), would be moved from February 2nd to today, the 4th. We even had things planned — various house cleaning projects (not a lot; have I mentioned how much I love living in a smaller place??) and errands to run (post office to mail off books and store orders, last minute stuff to get for ritual, etc.) and then there was Beth’s seidr to do, and then and then and then and then . . .
My limits? So, I get overwhelmed fast, even on good days. Maybe it’s sad, maybe it’s pathetic, but I try to face it without judgment, because judgment changes nothing and once I’m overwhelmed I’m pretty much done. I have a really hard time with holidays and, more generally, in preparing to leave the house. It’s stressful, and I can trace the source of this. Show me one child of an alcoholic that does not get crazy-anxious around holidays. Holidays meant, if we were staying home and having people over: a whirlwind of activity to get the house into reasonable shape, putting on a good face and pretending that everything was just fine even though everyone there saw the flipping elephant, and sitting on pins and needles while waiting to see what castastrophe was going to befall us. Holidays at other peoples homes at least were free of the getting the house into order, but it brought its own worries. It was stressful and it’s still stressful, even when my holidays are chosen holidays, involved typically one other person at most but rarely more than a handful, and pretty relaxed.
Knowing where it comes from, you’d think that it’d be easy to over come. What is easy, though, is forgetting. Forgetting to get things in place in a timely manner to help not fall into this space of near panic. Taking a few minutes the day before to see to last minute things. “Oh, we’ll be out anyway, we can just duck into the store. The crowded store. On Saturday. Easy!” Some people can; I can’t. I especially can’t when impending monthly doom is pressing down on me, if you catch my meaning. Like it or not, that’s also a big factor — my ability to function, my emotional stability, becomes compromised. I deal with this by sleeping more and nesting, not by giving myself a big list of things that need to be done.
Tomorrow morning we’ll great the dawn, smudge the house, and bless the spinning wheels. I’ll plant the crocuses, we’ll libate goat milk (the nearest thing to sheep milk we can get here; it’s appropriate. Same niche, different areas). Tonight, there was seidr, and i’m feeling more settled in my skin. I’m reminded that coping skills set in place and established help for when days like this come around. I freaked out, and then I cleaned, and there was ritual, and suddenly I feel more together. I wish I could skip the freaking out part.
But, it’s also timely. What good is compassion if we can’t extend it to ourselves, as well? My gods will not smite me, not for this. Tomorrow works as well as today did, better, in fact, because now I’m prepared. And we learned that having seidr on the actual holiday is too much for me to cope with, so we’re fixing that in advance. Learn, breathe, and be.
(but it’s still humbling . . . )