Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going

I'm walking the labyrinth as part of a ritual of descending and letting go that I created for our Greece retreat. Photo by Patti Shelton

I’m walking the labyrinth as part of a ritual of descending and letting go that I created for our Greece retreat. Photo by Patti Shelton

Every so often in life we’re called upon to evaluate what we’re doing, whether it’s working, and if we need to continue. I haven’t posted to this blog in about 3 months, mostly because that time was filled with travel, schooling, and lots of busyness, and I haven’t had much time to reflect and turn inward, which is essential to my work in this world. So, I’ve recently made some changes which should allow me to get on with my work.

In September I started work toward finishing my PhD in Mythological Studies, which requires a monthly trip to Santa Barbara. I spent much of the month of October traveling, researching ancient Goddess traditions on the island of Malta, then leading a women’s retreat in Greece. I came home feeling fairly depleted, but I had only 12 hours at home with my family before I had to fly to Santa Barbara for my next session at Pacifica.

Once I was home from that, I was able to really settle down and get to work, but I was finding that the coursework for Pacifica was taking much of my available work time, limited to the hours that my children are in school each day.

All I want to do is work on my two books that I have in progress, and I’ve been feeling frustrated that I didn’t seem to have time for that with the Pacifica work. So, I just withdrew from the PhD program. I thought, at first, that I’d be sad about leaving Pacifica, which is something I’ve been looking forward to doing ever since I finished my masters degree there in 2006. However, I feel totally at peace about the decision, and ready to get to work to put all of my energy into my writing projects.

It can be so easy in modern life to get caught up in our busyness, to just keep going from one thing to the next, not understanding why we keep getting sick, or not sleeping, or snapping at our kids or spouse. Myth has some wonderful things to teach us about turning inward, disengaging from the busyness. I can feel myself making that inward turn right now. I’m not fully disengaging from the world (not possible, with two kids), but I do need that time in each day to make my Inanna-style descent, to find my creative place and fully commit to it, for the hours that I have available. This journey downwards and inwards centers me each day, in a way that the outward-facing work of school and retreats just can’t do. I look forward to the path inward.

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