Officially I work something like 33 hours a week, which is already over what I’m obligated to work. However, that is just teaching time. I usually go in early to prepare, and on days like today, when it’s possible my supervisor is going to drop in and evaluate my teaching, I show up three hours early to double-check all of my registers and frantically make sure all of my lesson plans look good and my tests are all graded. Then I come home and watch ten episodes of my favorite comedy, because I don’t have the emotions to spend on any dramatic conflict that’s going to last longer than about 10 minutes (and I need the comic relief from even the ten minute conflicts). It’s not exactly the way I pictured my life going after college–but I think we all go a little hog-wild on Pinterest planning our beautiful bohemian homes with the herb gardens for our Witchery, and then end up living in a small apartment, making Netflix-and-chill a solo affair. I mean, it’s not ideal, but it’s reality right now. I always think back to this wonderful woman who hosted me once while I was doing a class in the city. She had an extremely eclectic home, made her own jewelry, grew her own urban garden, wore natural fabrics, had adopted Mexican children, was a fitness instructor despite being 62, used natural homemade cosmetics, had been a vegetarian her whole life, organized everything in glass jars, advocated for more blankets over more heating…. WHY WEREN’T MY PARENTS HIPPIES? Looking back, I remember taking pictures of her whole house as future interior decorating inspiration. (Don’t worry, Chloe, we’ll get there….)
Maybe one of the reasons why that kind of life appeals to me is because this woman was the first person I had met who had taken the idea of caring for all things (the environment, the people of the world, the animals) and actually put it into practical and dedicated use. She was a beautiful woman (she’s still alive, but I’m saying “was” because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her now), but she wasn’t afraid to advocate for the things around her. She respectfully requested that we not waste food, that we take short showers, and that we respect her vegetarian lifestyle while we were living with her (it was a very short time and all very doable). I think it was great that my friend and I got paired with her, though, because not only did we do those things, but we wanted to learn about her lifestyle in earnest. We went shopping with her, we went dancing with her, we used her natural cosmetics, we made jewelry with her, and her husband even gave us some of his paintings for free. We loved learning things from them. It felt good to be a part of a family that was actually living for the world, not just themselves.
That is the essence of this journal entry, which is Discuss Goal of the Witch #8: Celebrate life. This one is not hard for me, because this is one of the things that became the foundation for my exploration in other spiritual paths. When I used to walk out on my college campus and see the birds darting around my head, I felt the energy from them. I felt like they had spirits that were so beautiful and yet so mysterious. I felt absolute joy at feeling the wet grass under my fingertips.
Sometime last year when I was starting to look into this path, I made a list roughly titled “What I Believe.” It was an effort to objectively think about my values and beliefs so that I could see which spiritual paths/religions fit them, rather than me stretching my beliefs to fit a “desirable” religion. The first thing I wrote was that everything has value–rocks, trees, plants, people, animals, rivers…everything has energy and even a kind of life. Everything is created and grows and peaks and dies, and it’s all beautiful and absolutely unique.
I don’t know if there’s an afterlife, but even on the darkest days, Earth resembles paradise.