Monday, November 29, 2010

Reflections from my Book of Shadows: Right Action (And Words)

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny."    

Lately, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my words and deeds in the world- how they affect me, my family, my tribe, and outsiders. I have been spending lots of time in reflection- during sitting practice, after listening to others, and at random points during the day on my role in this world. What is my part to play in my family? My school? My religious community? My relationships? And is this my role because I default to it, or am I actively defining my roles, each and every day with a renewed commitment to them?

I have decided that I will pause before each word or deed and reflect upon them before issuing them forth. This is a way of being conscious and fully present while being with others. It also means that you are actively being the person that you truly wish to be. I define my words and deeds- not vice versa.

A friend of mine, Holly, says that she uses a three fold criteria to evaluate what she says before she says something to another:
Is it truthful? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
A good measure of whether the statement is worthwhile is that the statement must be two of the three in order to be worth putting out there into the world. All else is ego, vanity. I have found this exercise very helpful. Lately, I've had situations where I have had to say things that are truthful and necessary, but not kind. And I struggle with that. But the warrior's path (and being a Witch in the Feri tradition is just that) is not an easy one. And sometimes we have to be fierce and that is more compassionate in the long run than being "kind". To paraphrase Victor Anderson, "Do not coddle your (or another's) weaknesses- but do respect your frailties."

I know that I have hurt people in my life, as they have hurt me. I do try and make that happen less and less and also practice forgiveness, for my own sake if not theirs. I try and apologize when that is required, just, and the timing is right.

I went to a training for a model of group conflict resolution called Restorative Circles last week. I trained in the model and learned how to work on getting any group- be it a family, religious community, non-profit workplace, or any other group- to set up the model. I am looking forward on honing my skills as a facilitator in this model and teaching others as well. I think the world needs more of this. There is far too much strife, woe and infighting. Actively listening to one another, face-to-face, and understanding where another is coming from makes a huge difference. We may not always agree, but we can still be in right relation to one another when this happens. If you are interested in RC in the Bay Area, ask me! I will be actively involved.

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