I know that lots of Pagans get a huge boost from festivals, conferences, etc.
I’m an INTJ, and a mean, grumpy, elitist, old woman, and I like my Paganism at a distance from most other Pagans, and you can hate me for that if you like.
But I thought that maybe I’d share a few of my INTJ tips for surviving a conference.
The conferences that I attend are either full of lawyers or full of Pagans. Both of those groups, it will likely not surprise you to learn, are full of ginormous egos, huge auras, more mental noise than your average, poor INTJ can easily stand. I’ve had to learn a few strategies for surviving and, although I think there are likely better guides elsewhere, here are my tips:
(1) I get a hotel room. By myself. Sacred Space is not too terribly far from my home and, this year, in particular, I debated a long time over the cost of a hotel room. I could just drive up and drive back. The cost of the gasoline and of the wear & tear on my car would likely be less than the cost of the hotel. But having a hotel room lets me escape at lunch time, and even for a few minutes between sessions. I go ahead and pay for the mini-fridge and the microwave, which let me have a bit of time to myself at, at least, breakfast and lunch. At legal conferences, I pay for room service. Every little bit helps.
(2) I try to arrive early enough to spend some real time with the landbase. I check in, unpack, make my hotel room as much like home as I can. And, then, I circumnavigate the hotel, leave offerings for the trees, pour blots for the land wights. I’m going to be here a few days; I want to be welcome, be grounded. Knowing where to escape can be a big help when there’s just too much NOISE.
(3) I stick, as much as possible, to my normal schedule. That may mean missing the late-night party, or getting up at my regular time to have breakfast and meditate. But a schedule is a container and I need one, esp. surrounded by so many magical presences.
(4) I get some exercise. If it’s nasty outside, that may mean the treadmill in the gym (ear buds firmly implanted), but, if I possibly can, I go outside to walk alone. Me, the landbase, the early sun, the sun at noon, the trees in the late afternoon sunlight. I can draw strength from that. Obviously women, especially, need to make safety decisions.
(5) I plan my social interactions. There are a few people with whom I really, really want to have meals or catch up. And there are a lot of amazing people with whom it would be fantastic to say that I’d eaten but whom I am going to miss this time around. C’est la vie.
(6) I manage my interactions with the outside world. Always, before I go to Sacred Space, I tell my clients and colleagues that I will be away on a religious retreat with limited access to voice-mail and email. Sometimes, checking back into my work-world is too much, but, sometimes, it helps to ground me and give me an escape from too many esoteric auras. Providing myself with the early excuse lets me be as distant as I want AND gets me credit if I choose to move back into a world where I’m sure of the ground. I tell Son and DiL where I’ll be and how to reach me, giving me a secure tether back to the mundane world.
How do you go to conferences?
* I had an discussion this weekend with the women in my circle about the whole “What is Wicca?” issue. Interestingly, our general consensus was that “Wicca” is the term that we usually use when discussing our religion with the “outside world.” (Maybe that’s less than accurate. One woman, who is an ordained Wiccan Priestess and who can perform weddings under that title, indicated that it does generally describe what she is.) Most of the time, that’s all that’s necessary. “Wicca,” after all, is recognized by the U.S. government as a religion that can be listed on gravestones at Arlington Cemetery, so people who don’t know much about us at least understand that it’s a “real” religion. If I’m talking to other Pagans, I’d probably describe myself as a Dianic Witch with a very eclectic background. Given the focus of my practice upon relationship with my landbase, “hedgeWitch” is probably a good description, as well, although that can mean different things to different people.
On the one hand, labels are important. Words have power. OTOH, religious practice can shift, vary, move like water, and, labels, an airy characteristic, can be inaccurate. In the end, we agreed, we’re all Witches.
* This may be the best knitting project ever. It would be especially good for beginning knitters. Great way to use up scraps and tail ends. I’ve already knitted a few, full of spells for health and survival.
* I’ve said for some time that the freedom that government health care would give to innovators would be one of the best things to come from the Affordable Heath Care Act. Geeks Get Covered taps into that:
Keep working in your garage!
Helen Simpson is more succinct:
“The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying “Faire et se taire” (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’ “
That is, in fact, how all writing gets done.
My own motto is similarly French.
It was, first, Sarah Bernhardt’s: “Quande meme”, which, in today’s vernacular, would be, “Whatever,” but which Madame Berhnardt translated as: “Even So,” meaning, IMHO, “Keep Going, No Matter What.”
What’s your motto? What gets engraved on your stationery, carved on your tomb, embroidered upon your linens, tattooed on your inner thigh?
* Spent a long time today dreaming here. And here.
* Got my bonus for last year. My rule for bonuses is: Invest almost all of it. But take out a little bit and buy something fun. This year’s fun is a grow light. I’ll let you know what I think.
Picture found here.