Posted in Everyday Life

The Stress of People Pleasing

screen-shot-2013-04-03-at-2-44-23-pmThis post has nothing to do with Paganism. I’ve decided to kind of branch out, and write about other topics, in addition to those of witchcraft and Paganism. I think this will help with periods of no posts. And frankly, believe it or not, there are times I get sick of talking or writing about spirituality. One thing to keep in mind is that everything I do, think, or see in life is filtered through my Pagan mind. I see the world through Paganism. It’s simply become a part of me.

Anyway, Christmas is 18 days away. For most of the past 20+ years, I have carried the burden of making sure everyone gets together, and have carried the stress of making sure everyone is happy. Both of those tasks are stressful. With divorces, multiple in-laws, and small children, it can be a daunting task to keep everyone happy. And it takes its’ toll. For the past several years, I seem to get sick right around New Year, and it seems to keep its’ hold on me longer each year. I’m fairly certain that the stress is affecting my already fragile immune system, and making me more susceptible to illness.

I’ve made the decision to shrug off worrying about everyone’s happiness this holiday season. I’ll contribute with gifts, food, and throwing off my own good cheer, but I am not going to assume the role of concerning myself with everyone’s happiness.

I know many people assign themselves this burden. Generally, we are the empaths, putting everyone else’s happiness before ours. It’s an unthankful and impossible chore. I’ve often marveled at the people at any kind of party or gathering, who make no effort to hide their unhappiness, displeasure, boredom, anger, or arguing from others. One year, one family member had a full-on fit with their spouse, and everyone gathered there wanted to crawl under the furniture. I find that behavior selfish and rude. I’d simply like to find a middle ground, where I concern myself with, well, myself.

In the past, after these gatherings, I reflect upon them, and realize that I never really got to sit back and enjoy whatever fellowship and joy there was. I was too busy worrying about everyone else. To be fair, nobody assigned me this job. I’ve done this to myself. I’m sure it will be a bit difficult to keep from assuming that role this year, but once-in-awhile, I need to worry about myself.

If you have had this compulsion to make sure everyone else’s happiness comes before yours, and have been able to change that behavior, I’d sure like to hear how you’ve done it. Any tips or suggestions are welcome!

Thanks for reading, and

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Paganism, Wicca

On Wiccan Sabbats

wheelofyearOne of the people who I follow on Twitter posed a question this morning that I thought required more space than 140 characters. The question was “what is your favorite Sabbat, and why?” For those not sure, a Sabbat is a major holidays in the Pagan or Wiccan paths. They are generally based upon seasonal changes and/or earth rotation. Here is a good concise description of each one.

It’s a tough question. I find positive aspects about each one, and my favorite Sabbat has changed often. When I first came to Paganism, Yule was my favorite, because it was the closest one associated with Christmas, which used to be my favorite holiday. Eventually, as my path took a goth turn, Samhain was my favorite. As the hippie in me kicked back in, I found Ostara to be my favorite, with the promise of spring.

While I love spring and summer, that time of year carries some requirement for outdoor fun and family/friend parties.  For me, Memorial Day, and especially the Fourth of July, usher in almost impossible expectations of celebrations. As our family has dwindled, along with the number of friends, so have our opportunities for celebrations, the likes you see peddled by advertisers on TV. While we have grandchildren, some are out-of-town, and time is divided with all the sets of grandparents that come with divorced families.

Yule has much the same level, perhaps even greater levels of expectations. Our family Yule/Christmas celebrations have become a huge effort on everyone’s part to get together. Thanksgiving is completely fractured. Too many dinners, too little time and stomach room.

As a result of all this, I would have to say that Mabon is my favorite Sabbat, followed by Samhain. Mabon signals a slower time of year, featuring a couple of months without holiday demands. The weather calms down, and offers some really comfortable temps before winter sets in. Samhain is simply a fun, goth holiday.

Reading over this, I guess I sound like a holiday Scrooge. The fractured time with what family is left, combined with fewer friends have dimmed the celebratory aspect of holidays, to be sure. We struggled mightily with that for years, but have now learned to lower our expectations, and just be happy with what comes.

I don’t do lavish celebrations or rituals for any of the Sabbats. I used to, but with my transition to a more relaxed, cottage witchcraft path, small celebrations or rituals are the rule of the day. I do, however, stay mindful of the basis of the Sabbats. It can be easy to get caught up in celebrating, but remembering why these Sabbats exist is really the most important factor.

Perhaps a deeper psychological explanation than the Twitter question required, but there you have it.

Blessed Be!