Friday, September 28, 2012

Clear sight and green rage monsters

So, it turns out I have gestational diabetes. This comes as no surprise at all, given not only my family history, but that offspring #1 was whatchacall a big baby. It's been a very frustrating several weeks because my relationship to food has had to change drastically and far more quickly than I'm really comfortable with. I don't have enough time to slowly develop good habits over months, not that I don't already have good habits, but rather that I don't have optimal habits for a diabetic. Even so, I'm making a concerted effort for good health and that means wrestling with dieticians and counting carbs and testing when I should.

I love food so much. There's so much sensory information in a meal and, if you're doing it right, the experience can be one of the most pleasurable things in life. But counting carbs is frustrating and leaves me feeling deprived. Giving up my morning marshmallow cereal wasn't that big of a deal and we're already getting past ice cream season, but my big hangups are fruit and pasta. That's my kryptonite.

Gratuitous shot of a butterfly from our garden
that has nothing to do with this post. It's just pretty.

My two best friends had a conversation with each other about which of us would be what Avenger and they both decided in my absence that I'd be Dr. Bruce Banner. Of course there's the science thing, but really it's because I have the tendency to turn into a giant green rage monster (figuratively speaking) and even though I really try as hard as I can not to, I don't always have a handle on it. They didn't put it that way or even think about it in quite that way, but the correlation is not inaccurate.

Getting your spiritual act together is all about awareness and that's one of the biggest lessons I had to learn as I became a priestess. But it's not the kind of lesson you can learn just the once and get on with your new, enlightened life. It's work to keep developing the skill of self-awareness and applying the knowledge you've gained from it. One of the blessings of Apollo is that of clear sight: the ability to see things as they actually are without your preconceived ideas and emotions clouding everything. The emotions and ideas are still there, you can just see them for what they are and how, exactly, they obscure what's actually going on.

I made the mistake of letting my frustration get in the way of working toward better health. I hulked out without realizing what I was doing until after it was over and good, calm, logical, mild-mannered Bruce came back, feeling a little ashamed at letting the other guy get the better of him. It wasn't like I leveled a city block or literally smashed anything; I just got a little frustrated and let it get in the way of seeing what was really going on. All you can do at that point, even if you have leveled a city block or something, is take a deep, cleansing breath, try to figure out what happened, learn from it, and move on. So that's what I've decided to do: learn and move on, do better next time. I hope for the blessings of Apollo, not only for good health, but also so that I can see clearly what I can do to get there. 

At this point, I've got things more or less under control and it was my reasoned self that was able to do that rather than my emotional, reactive self. Reactivity is hardly ever helpful or useful and I have something to say about that in regards to how one responds to something that's offensive to one's religious beliefs, but perhaps for another post, eh?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Next on, "As the Seasons Turn..."

Last Sunday was one of those lovely September days and I spent part of it planting some recently-acquired berry bushes out by the back fence. I'm tickled pink that I can plant things in the ground in a space that's my own. I have plans of acquiring my Mamaw's irises and some irises and day-lilies from my BFF. One of these days, I'll get some native cane to plant by the road, but Sunday was for berry bushes and weeding the front garden. I've added some mums and cleared out around the existing mums that came with the house. I'm also inordinately thrilled that I have roses and my zinnia have just exploded after having planted them in the middle of a drought. I wasn't sure they were going to survive and now they're busting out in gorgeous oranges and yellows and white. I'd love to get some hyacinth, too, and maybe some tulips. I have some catnip in pots and some marigolds that, much to my surprise, survived the move.

There will definitely be an herb/vegetable garden out back and I've already got a rosemary bush just starting out. Next year, there will be basil, parsley, and thyme if I'm feeling adventurous. I've not had great luck with thyme, but I'm willing to keep trying until I find the right spot for it. There will also be tomatoes and probably odd little squashes or melons volunteering from the compost pile. I've got plenty of pots for mints and might also plant some in places John can't reach with the mower so that it'll crowd out the grass.


Here are some mums that came with the house, but were so covered up by the holly bush, the juniper, weeds, and the ground cover plant to the right (phlox, I think) that it only put up a few feeble leaves. Now it looks like it's going to bloom!

I can't not plant things in the ground. This is probably as much a part of my religion as prayer or belief in the Theoi. I find that when I spend time outside in the sun watching, listening, and working in nature that my stress levels go so far down as to approach nil. It's this that led me both to a career in Biology and to Paganism. I'm happiest in the garden or running around in the woods or chasing butterflies on the side of a mountain.

My dear Hellenic friend, Sean, discusses the intersection between Hellenic Polytheism and both the natural cycles of his Floridian climate and the festivals of the Great American Polis on his blog. And he's got the right idea, if you ask me. Imposing an Athenian festival schedule on a Tennessean climate is artificial and doesn't work. The gods are a part of nature and in order to really get the full experience of them, it's important to understand what's going on outside your window.