I've come to recognize that, in general, I'm a very busy person. I'm always either going to church, to class, to my paid job, to my internship, or doing homework. As I'm becoming more accustomed to and consistent in my Zen practice, I'm very slowly learning to calm my mind more and take a few minutes to just "exist".
On Samhain/Halloween, a good friend and I spent the evening in downtown Charleston. First, we had dinner at Tommy Condon's, one of my favorite Irish pubs/restaurants. Then, we walked through the battery and Waterfront Park. It was so quiet and peaceful. I just lay there for a few minutes on a seat on the deck, looking at the stars. I don't even remember the last time I really looked at the stars. The ocean, yes. The trees, yes. But the stars have a beauty of their own. Our ancestors used to navigate by them. We are made from them. This put me into an adequately somber mood for the final event of the evening - a haunted ghost tour. It was probably the most interesting "haunted tour" I've ever been on, in terms of learning about legend. Granted, I've only been on two, including this one. And, granted, the first one was a little more exciting, thanks to a streetlight flickering just as the guide was telling the story of a body buried beneath the candy shop directly across from the light. But this one had many more stories - makes sense, since Charleston is such an old city. And two of the stories actually centered around my church. So I thought that was an extra interesting bit. Because I was so tired, I held my own private prayers honoring my physical and spiritual ancestors on Monday, All Saint's Day.
Today, in between a meeting with one of my foster families and their caseworker(even though today was technically my day off....), an eye doctor appointment to order new contacts, and meeting with some classmates to work on a roleplay that we have to do for our counseling/micro-level class(I'm roleplaying a Jewish guy.... apparently everybody thinks I look Jewish), I went browsing around for some Christmas shopping ideas, since I want to start early so I give myself enough time, with all the other things going on in my schedule.
I'm amazed at how early people are starting to play Christmas music and put out Christmas decorations. Now, granted, I'm probably going to go ahead and decorate my seasonal altar for Christmas/Yule on my next day off with my Advent wreath, etc. But that's because as far as seasonal-related holidays go that are religiously oriented, that's the next one. Thanksgiving is mostly a secular holiday, a day to give thanks. There are no real decorations for that, as Druidry has other harvest-related holidays(and I struggle with harvest-related themes anyways since, at the moment, I don't garden). But still, Thanksgiving is completely overlooked in the media and shopping centers it seems. I feel giving thanks is important. And it just goes to show how we are always jumping from one thing to another.
I think that's the biggest lesson I've been learning these last few days. I need to stop and live in the moment, because that's all I have. The more I recognize that, my spirituality will grow. Appreciate life. Live in the moment. Corny, I know. But if we just learned this, how much better could we be?
Old and Ugly
6 hours ago