The Elephant in the Room II

There are other forces in the house (i.e. the psyche) besides the dog’s instincts: cultural and spiritual forces. There are angels and gods, and other varieties of archetype and stereotype.  We’re taught to ignore these too, so when we see an “angel” we ignore it for fear of going mad!

There are also intruders, burglars and gatecrashers that have come, uninvited, into the house through a door or window you left open (or someone else opened for you). And even though they don’t belong here, we’ve been taught to accept them as though they were. Shouldn’t we learn to identify them, reject them and guard well the house’s portals?

And have you ever looked upstairs? There a mysterious room filled with toys and colourful paintings. For many people this is a room that is shut off when we reach adulthood, and it gets abandoned. But it doesn’t go away. It is another “elephant in the room”. Hey, the inner child has a life to live, too! 😉

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NCAT

(Nature Connected Activities in Tarragona)

Last month we walked along Playa Larga near Tarragona and had several nationalities: a Dutch couple, a Portuguese, a Greek, several Spaniards, a Venezuelan, a Scotsman, an Englishman (yours truly) and a Swiss woman (Mika) – it sounds like the beginning of a complex bar joke (but it wasn’t, lol).  It was a beautiful place with forest right next to the sea. This month we go to the Febró ravine; I’ll tell you about that.

Recently we had our first NCAT English meet up. We were asked recently if we had outings specifically for speaking English, so we obliged and created a new branch of NCAT. This group is more for people that want to practice their English in an informal setting. We do have a few exercises to learn some basics, but just something simple whilst we walk. There’s plenty of extranjeros (foreigners, like me) that want to learn Spanish, so why not an NCAT Spanish?

We also have NCAT Eco-Art; the first workshop will be the end of this month. Here we use natural materials to create works of art (mandalas, “touchscapes”, etc.), but working with ecopsychological principles by becoming aware of the natural world around us with senses little used!

Here are the links for each group:

NCAT – for excursions and activities out in nature.

NCAT English – excursions in nature, learning and practicing English.

NCAT Ecoart – artistic activities in nature, combining natural materials with ecopsychological principles.

New Year, New Direction

I started this blog for a couple of reasons. I felt I needed something where I could share my thoughts, but not with so much depth as The Grove of Quotes. Also it was made to accompany me through my work through OBOD‘s Druid grade (third and final grade that I started a little over two years ago). Now I’m coming to the end of the course I can reflect a little on where this blog has been and where it will go.

This blog has helped me express some thoughts I encountered in the course, sharing ideas on learning and creating languages, sharing other creative endeavours such as art and stories, and so on. And I shall carry on, but my focus will be changing. The course is ending, but the process of becoming a Druid is just starting. I have aquired the tools, now it’s the time to apply them in my life. For that reason “druid in training” is still apt.

In the new year I’ll be starting a course in Ecopsychology (Mika has just finished it) and we’ll be do more activities combining art with ecopsychological insight (Ecoart workshops). We’ll also be working with CEN (as mentioned in a previous post) and continuing our development of a sustainable ecological project, and so taking my druidry into action.

Happy New Year!

The Mayfly

Amazing creatures, they spend most of their lives eating and growing beneath water, and then when their time has come to emerge from the water they spend a few hours looking for a mate, breed and then die. As adults they don’t even have a mouth or digestive organs they can use because they won’t live long enough to need them!

As a symbol they reflect perfectly the mortal state, being both short-lived and delicate. The word that always comes to mind is ephemeral, a perfect word to describe them (and without intention I have just discovered that in French they are called éphémère and in Spanish efímera, though maybe it was an association floating around the back of my mind).

There is something graceful and beautiful in their delicacy, and that is much like our life. When looked from a larger and longer view-point, aren’t we delicate? Aren’t our lives short? We are ephemeral creatures, living a short while and then disappearing.

For me, the brevity of life makes it so much more sweeter and intense than immortality, and full of beauty, distilled in the brief light of each day.

The Spiritual Life and Living Spirituality

A few times I hear things like “I’ve got to put aside my spirituality for a while and concentrate on real life.” One time I spoke to a mother and she said to me “I used to be into spiritual stuff but then I became a mother. But now the kids are older I’m able to explore spiritual stuff again.” Makes me wonder what she meant by “spiritual”, is caring for and educating the next generarion somehow unspiritual? I suppose she meant she couldn’t meditate, do ritual or contemplate the meaning of life whilst she was meditating on the growth, care and development of her children, which is very understandable, just not unspiritual. Quite the opposite I feel.

In an OBOD context I’ve seen people saying “I’m putting aside the course because I need to sort some things out in my life”, but sometimes it is said in a way that means their whole spiritual journey is put on hold while they sort out “real life issues”. I can understand the course itself being put aside, because doing a course like that does take time and energy to do, but the course, or the journey of which it is a part of, doesn’t disapear, it just takes on more living dimensions.

I made the suggestion to one person that they hadn’t put the course aside but that they were just going deeper into the subject matter, that of life itself.

After Life

There are two ways to interpret this: will I still exist after I die? or in what sort of state will I be leaving the world in?

Both concern continuity, but one is continuity of an ego, whilst the other is continuity of world and my actions in it. When I think of dying, am I thinking of myself or of the world? Which is more important?

My priorities have changed, and now my concerns have become far less “unworldly” and now I look more to what is happening in the world and how I leave it behind. The afterlife can wait, if there is one. I am “incarnated”, and I will not dishonour this incarnation by seeking something has no relevance to my living, breathing, bodily existence.

So when I ask myself “what next” it is always about the after-life that lives beyond my mortal limit, the continuity that transcends me. I am living a life and from this living arise consequences that will affect those that live after me; I don’t live in a bubble where I don’t affect the world and the world doesn’t affect me.

Continuity is found in the living breathe embodiments that live beyond and after me; it is a flame that passes down through time, and it my honour to carry this flame for a while and then pass it to others.