Do you keep a journal? A record of your pagan life? Some may call it a Book of Shadows. I have kept a journal in one way or another for many years. I have some wonderful leather bound books that I love to run my hands over, feeling the tooled patterns.
Often I have jotted notes in assorted notebooks of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes on loose pieces of paper stuffed into a box or a folder. I have so much stuff that I have forgotten what I have!
I have records of rituals, of weekly meetings with fellow pagans. I record my own thoughts to help me get a grip on things I’m dealing with, to understand how my pagan beliefs affect the way I react. I like to flip through the pages from years ago, to remember what I did, and to see how I have changed.
In September 2016, I recorded in my journal that our small group of fellow pagans and I had decided to spend some time on well-being promotion. I have a feeling that all of us were perhaps going through a stressful chunk of life. We identified the areas we needed support with. I’m sure that many people will relate to these: tiredness/exhaustion, stress, minor health problems, lack of energy and enthusiasm, and finding time to live a pagan life.
We decided to take a holistic approach to our problems. We looked to the foods that we were eating, to improve the body’s ability to maintain itself by giving it the best fuel to do that with. We considered which essential oils would benefit us. (I am an aromatherapist so could make suggestions while understanding the need to take care in the use of oils.) We had a herbalist amongst our number who had made us first aid kits based on herbal remedies so we had a think about using herbs again.
Daily affirmations would strengthen our resolve and bring about the necessary changes in our thinking that would lift us through our issues. Regular meditation would help us put aside tension for a while, and let the body and mind relax.
We also felt that we needed something else to concentrate on apart from our lives that were stressful at that time, so we planned creative activities such as art and crafts, and writing, so we had some ‘me’ time as a regular thing.
I haven’t recorded the outcomes in my journal, but as there was no further mention of well-being issues, I feel that some good must have come from it. The daily toil of living can take up much time. Working, looking after children and others who need our support, shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening, paying the bills: these all eat into our time, wiping out the time we need to focus on ourselves. Add into this mix the added problems brought about by ill-health and disability, we can lose sight of the things that we need to do to look after ourselves.
I find it helps to dedicate some time to me, when I just focus on what I need. I try to do this every day. It can be as simple as watching a TV programme from start to finish, or reading a book, sitting with my legs up or going for a nap, planning meals for the week so I have the food to cook rather than ordering in a Chinese. I am trying to plan for daily (gentle) exercise. I made myself an essential oil blend to help with stress relief – in a roller-ball bottle that I can use whenever needed to give me a lift.
Add that time to promote your own well-being to your list of things to do today. If you feel you don’t have the time, ask yourself what is truly more important. As they say in the advert ‘you are worth it’.
Written by Portland Jones, Disabilities Liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands