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Bringing It Together

Over the last year, I've felt more and more as if my life were in pieces which, like separate ice flows, were drifting farther and farther apart. Quaker meeting, parenting my now 19-year-old, the New England landscape, old friendships and new ones, writing, my Pagan practice and community... everything except daily life with Peter has felt as if it were, though still there, less connected together, and less a part of a whole.

This summer seems to be about balancing that, I'm happy to say. I think this is part of the reason I said yes to serving on Ministry and Worship: though I can't imagine it being anything but brutal to really find the time for this major additional commitment, once the school year begins, I'm also really hungry to deepen both my worship and my connection to Mt. Toby. It feels like time.

The 11:40 hour worship sharing sessions over the last few weeks, on the spiritual disciplines of MFW, have been a wonderful tool for jump-starting me in worship. Though I'm still struggling to really go deep in the meeting itself, I've felt very powerful things coming out of the 11:40 hour time. I think that this, plus regular attendance on Sundays, will probably restore the depth of my worship, and that's great. I also think that a real effort to overcome my shyness, and to fight my natural urge to withdraw after MFW, will help me deepen my ties with Mt. Toby's human community. (I am, in a sense, obliged to, having accepted this nomination.) And having work to do--real, meaninful, deeply challenging work--with some of the members of meeting I respect most, will also help me become more rooted at Mt. Toby. Which is great.

But I'm also feeling a strong pull to find ways to deepen my Pagan spiritual practices again. In part, that's a result, I think, of having gotten hold of and read books recently published that friends of mine have written: Chas Clifton's scholarly history of American Craft, _Her Hidden Children_, and Kirk White's _Adept Circle Magick_. Especially Kirk's book, because it is _not_ scholarly, but practice-centered, and coming out of a practice that we have shared for many years now.

Understand, during the school year, I broke off even email contact with almost all of my friends, Pagan, Quaker, and otherwise. The friends I did see I saw only in guilty moments stolen from work, which I was always behind in. This left me feeling awful--like a Bad Friend. When I opened up Kirk's book and saw my name, not just listed up front in the acknowledgements section, but listed along with the names of other friends who saw me through some of the most profoundly transformative moments of my life--Doug N, Maureen R, Laura W--it brought tears to my eyes, and a sense of how deep those ties go, and how strong they are. These people are written in my heart... and so are the Gods we have honored together.

I have such a longing for the smell of woodsmoke and leaf mold, and the feeling that close connection with the Old Gods has given me. I need to make more time for my friends and for my Gods.

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