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The Importance of Down Time

October 4, 2013 3 comments

*Yet another post culled from the draft bin.  ^_^

Down time is precious.  Sometimes, in the midst of life and wanting to do so much I can lose focus that down time is important.  To take that moment to breathe, or an hour or better to relax, unwind is one of the best gifts I can give myself, and those around me.  Heck, it can even be a gift to my Gods.  It is hard to be mindful when you are moving from anxiety to anxiety or the next “What do I do now?” to “Oh crap, x or y is due soon.”  Sometimes it comes down to just getting my time management to a point where I get the important, must-dos done.  Some of it is breaking down what is important right now, what things can be put off to be done later, and what things have to be put off.  Some of this is determining where I need to step back and say “This is my limit.”  There is always a need for mindfulness, that the relationships I have, human, Divine, and otherwise, need upkeep and work.

There is a part to this that is not often commented on: the Gods, the spirits, and the Ancestors do have patience.  This has been, perhaps as much as kindling deeper relationships with those I worship and ally with, a good deal of my learning experience.  I am not supposed to get everything right now.  I have living, breathing relationships with my Gods and spirits.  In this, I have had to learn, if for nothing else than a kind of patient silence, that sometimes leaving me be is the best thing the Gods, spirits, and Ancestors can do for me.  This forced downtime from direct, head-hitting spiritual dialogue and messages and such has pushed me to cultivate a deeper appreciation of the downtime given to me, and to silence.  I imagine, at times, how much more hectic my life would be if I had as much spiritual activity hitting me from as many directions as I had a year or so ago.  I would likely be very, very stressed in a time I can ill afford it.

This kind of forced spiritual downtime also means I am pushed to refocus on more mundane things, such as career and education, which, to me, are holy in their own right.  It also has moved me into recognizing everyday situations where I can bring my spirituality closer to me.  I prayed to my Ancestors during lunch breaks at work.  I hailed landvaettir at the local college either by saying a short prayer or giving a small salute or something similar as I passed them.  I teach my son and others to honor the Gods, spirits, and Ancestors as I can, and raise him with this path as best I can.  I do nightly prayers, make offerings, and write poetry.  I listen to people when they need help, and live in frith as best as I can.  For every time I screw up, I try to do better.  I’m not the best, not close, but I do as best I can.

Asking more than my best is not something I have heard from my Gods, Ancestors or spirits; that is something I have put on myself.  I am not saying I should not strive to be better; quite the opposite.  That said, expecting more than what I can give is foolish, and overtaxing myself with trying ‘do more’ or anxiety or guilt takes away from those things the Gods already have in front of me.  I would not expect my son to read at a vastly higher level than he can.  Would I want him to?  Yes.  However, that expectation is unrealistic, and if I put that on him, it may turn him off from reading entirely or just burn him out.  So too, with my spiritual work.  Sometimes the Gods are simply saying “you have enough on your plate” and I need to accept that.

Down time is precious in that it gives me time to get my head clear, something that I have needed sorely.  It is precious in that it can make me more receptive of my Gods and more perceptive of my biases, internal dialogues, and when I am ‘clear’ versus ‘muddled’.  It is precious in that when I have down time I can be more honest with myself, and with others, on where things stand.  I might have once recoiled at the thought, but I now view down time as precious sleep that anyone with spiritual engagement needs.  Stay awake for long enough, and you can go mad, or burn out, or simply just fall asleep and/or crash.  I am pretty surly when I have little sleep, and am even more unpleasant when I have not eaten or had coffee.  I am not much different with my spiritual work.

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Odin Project: Day 26

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Bitter is the drink | of failure and folly,

much drank before success;

Resolve is the friend | of those who do well,

for no wolf hunts in the den

 

Rest one must have | in regular time,

if one is to be well;

Even Ratatosk must stop | now and then His chatter

and leave the Eagle in peace

Odin Project: Day 23

November 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Lucky is he | whose head can find

bed soft and secure for his sleep;

Good are the friends | in whose home one rests

to doze without one eye open

My Horarium

April 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Note: This is a general schedule and will probably change according to needs, such as finding a job, or going to a meeting.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Rise:                                                    6:30 a.m.
Early Morning Prayers:                       7:00 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.
Breakfast:                                            7:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Planning the Day/Divination:             8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Sacred Reading/Reflections on Lore: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Study or Work:                                   10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Midday Prayer:                                   12:00 p.m. – 12:15 p.m
Lunch:                                                 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Manual Labor or Exercise:                  1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Recreation:                                          5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening Prayers:                                 6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Dinner:                                                6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sacred Reading/Conferring:               7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sleep:                                                  10:00 p.m.

Wednesday

Note: Wednesday is a day dedicated to Odin.  It is my Day of Silence, and a day I dedicate in deep connection to Him throughout the day.

Rise:                                                    6:30 a.m.
Early Morning Prayers:                       7:00 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.
Early Morning Ritual:                         7:15 a.m. -7:45 a.m.
Breakfast:                                            7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Planning the Day/Divination:             8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Sacred Reading/Reflections on Lore: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Study or Work:                                   11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Midday Prayer:                                   12:00 p.m. – 12:15 p.m
Lunch:                                                 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Study or Work:                                   1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Manual Labor or Exercise:                  4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Recreation:                                          5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening Prayers:                                 6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Dinner:                                                6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Silent Prayer:                                       7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sacred Reading/Conferring:               7:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Sacred Silence/Meditation:                 8:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
3rd High Ritual:                                  9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sleep:                                                  10:00 p.m.

Sunday

Rise:                                                    6:30 a.m.
Early Morning Prayers:                       7:00 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.
Early Morning Ritual:                         7:15 a.m. -7:45 a.m.
Breakfast:                                            7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Planning the Day/Divination:             8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
1st High Ritual:                                   9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Sacred Reading/Reflections on Lore: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Study or Work:                                   11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Midday Prayer:                                   12:00 p.m. – 12:15 p.m
Lunch:                                                 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Study or Work:                                   1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
2nd High Ritual:                                 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Manual Labor or Exercise:                  4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Recreation:                                          5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening Prayers:                                 6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Dinner:                                                6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Silent Prayer:                                       7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sacred Reading/Conferring:               7:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Sacred Silence/Meditation:                 8:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
3rd High Ritual:                                  9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sleep:                                                  10:00 p.m.

Meaning of Terms for My Horarium

Rise:  When I awake from sleep.  Prayers of thanks for waking or the day may be offered.

Early Morning Prayers:  These are prayers to praise and ask for blessings from the spirits of the early morning sun, landvaettir, Ancestors (Disir and Alfar), Gods and Goddesses.  It is to ground and center myself and prepare myself for the work of the day.

Early Morning Ritual:  This ritual is to invigorate myself for the day’s works, to align myself with the Gods and vaettir, and to praise Them.  The early morning ritual will likely consist of staðagaldr, mantras, cleansing, and other rituals that encourage proper energy flow and connection with the Gods and spirits.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner:  Given I am diabetic, I have to plan out when I eat and place them in points that will be best for my diet.  I will eat snacks as needed throughout the day, but I didn’t figure I needed to put it in the schedule.

Planning the Day/Divination:  Something I used to do that I want to get back in the habit of doing, is reading a Rune or set of Runes once a day.  This is a connective practice to the Runes, helping me to plan the Study or Work section, and/or seeing what lessons I may have for that day, or what things I need to contemplate.

High Ritual:  The High Rituals are designed to connect to Gods, Goddesses, Ancestors, spirits, or other beings in a deep, rich way.  The entire focus of the ritual is around the singular Goddess, God, Ancestor, landvaettir, etc., on developing a connection to Them.  This is not a ritual where things are done, such as utiseta or seidr, unless the Gods/spirits ask.  This is a time for worship, devotion, and connection.  The High Rituals are planned around factors of three, a sacred number to begin with as Odin, Vili and Ve made the world.

The 1st High Ritual is experienced at 9 a.m. in dedication to the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasil.

The 2nd High Ritual is experienced at 3 p.m. in dedication to the Sacred Three who existed at or before Creation: Auðumla, Ymir, and Surt, and to the creators of Midgard: Odin, Vili, and Ve.  Other triads that may be seen is Kari the North Wind, Logi the hungering Fire, and Ran the thieving Sea, or .

The 3rd High Ritual is experienced at 9 p.m. in the evening in dedication to the Nine Days that Odin hung on the Tree.  It may also symbolize the time it took for Hermod to ride the Nine Nights to ask for Balder’s release from Hel.

Each High Ritual may have a thematic component, although this may change day-to-day as needs arise or the Gods communicate:

The 1st may be organized around a singular God/dess or spirit of one of the Nine Worlds.

It may also be a time to organize one’s day, spiritually, and align with the Gods, spirits, etc.

The 2nd may be organized around connecting to, worshiping, or thanking the primal creators.

It may also be a time to focus on physical, or immediately impactful spiritual work.

The 3rd may be organized around connecting to, praising, honoring, or communing with Odin.

It may also be a time to focus on work that lets go of old habits or embraces new, painful lessons.

Sacred Reading/Reflections on Lore:  Something I have been meaning to dedicate myself to is reading the lore and reflecting on its meanings.  Sacred reading is, to me, not about taking apart sacred poetry and examining it, but experiencing it.  It is about experiencing the spiritual truths in the surviving lore, reflecting perhaps even line-by-line on the Hávamál or Völuspá.  I am taking my direction in this from the ground of monastic sacred reading and Jewish sacred reading, in that the reading experience itself is a spiritual experience, as is the reflection on the meaning of the words, and meditations on the passages.

Study or Work:  This is time set aside to complete tasks, chores, and the like.  If needed, this is also the time set aside to study materials, such as to answer questions about lore, a practice, or an experience.  This is also the time to write blogs, read emails, and in general, do essential maintenance work for the physical part of my life.

 

Midday Prayers:  These are prayers to praise and ask for blessing from the spirits of the noonday sun, weather vaettir, landvaettir, Ancestors (Disir, and Alfar) and the Gods.  It is to keep my energy moving and my mind focused on the work of the day.

Manual Labor or Exercise:  To keep myself strong, and healthy, planning regular times for exercise or labor will be useful.  It is early enough in the day to do things, but not late in the day so that there is no sunlight.  A good many projects could be completed by continuously working on them, allowing me to keep healthy while doing it.  Keeping oneself grounded in physical work is as important as engaging in the intellectual and esoteric spiritual pursuits.

Recreation:  If I have learned anything from my experiences, it is that I did not give recreation its proper time.  Had I given myself time to relax, my weekends might have been more productive.  After all, I wouldn’t have cast aside time to recover from a week of work if I took time out to do that regularly.

Evening Prayers:  These are prayers to praise and ask for blessings from the spirits of the evening sun and/or moon, landvaettir, Ancestors (Disir and Alfar), Gods and Goddesses.  It is to ground and center myself, and rest from the work of the day.

Silent Prayer:  This is mindful, contemplative prayer that is done in absolute silence.  This is about the silence of the mind in prayer and connection to the Gods, Ancestors, vaettir, or with whomever else I wish to deepen my connection.

Sacred Reading/Conferring on Lore:  This is time set aside from Sacred Reading, as above, but also allows for time in group reflection on the lore, like with a book club or interfaith meeting.

Sleep:  When I go to sleep.  Prayers of thanksgiving, protection, and peace may be offered.

I devised the scheduling based on the Clear Creek Monastery’s Horarium and also used Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary’s Horarium for inspiration.


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