Saturday, August 30, 2008

Deeper into the groove

I made the list yesterday, or at least a first rough draft, then became involved in setting up Melinda's furniture.

Later in the day yesterday, then again this morning, I realized this list doesn't address some of the things that really need to change in my life. There is more to life than magic, and those things need to be addressed. But there isn't, and should not be, a complete firewall between Magick and 'normal life.' How did Lon Milo phrase it? "Magick isn't my life, but it makes my life Magickal." So, while the ' list' is mostly made, there is more thinking to be done.

Oakland is being an interesting place. If I was single and free of external obligation, it would be a temptation to move to a place like this. Melinda found an apartment in a mixed race neighborhood, in a [mostly] non-scary part of town. It is only a block off Lakeside. There is grocery, park, coffee and bar within walking distance. The apartment is well maintained (workmen came in yesterday and did repairs that will consume the first month or two of rent Melinda pays) and the manager is friendly. Parking is a bitch, so if I moved here I would be tempted to shed my car and get a good bike (and maybe a scooter or motorbike). Right now I am on the back patio, enjoying a cool breeze from the bay and loving the Heavenly Blue morning glory along the back fence. If I lived here, I would stake some sort of claim on the back porch, adding enough personal touch to see my personality in it, but not enough to frighten the neighbors.

Speaking of...two of them have wandered by taking things to the trash. First the lady with the pink shock of hair and the two miniature pincer dogs. Buddy and Elvis. Love it. Then the twenty something emo guy with one pant leg rolled up, the other down, and an air about him that speaks of a weak resolve not to drink quite that much next time he goes out to party.

On the down side, the neighbors are packed in close, and having a noisy or obnoxious one magnifies the effect. I thought this would be a big problem, but they all know to tone it down after dark. Other than a brief Barking Dog episode and some loud black ladies who stepped out of a stereotype, it is almost dead calm.

Back to life and magick. The big thing that bothers my right now is my weight and health. I stopped exercising this summer. Over the last few years my weight has slowly crept back up to just over 200 (a gain of about 30). My knees and joints are becoming more fragile. I seem to be in constant pain from one injury or one joint or something. Also, my alcohol use has gone up and this is having an effect on my body, psyche and spirit. All things are connected. Magick should inform and strengthen my mundane life. My mundane life should support and strengthen my Magick. When the equation is worked to the final line, Magick and Life become indistinguishable from each other. By this reasoning I can drop the question 'what to do next in magick' and ask 'what to do next in life.' The answer is to make a step or two to improve my health. I would be tempted to take on exercise, diet and alcohol all at the same time, but I already learned the wisdom of taking one step at a time. So the choice is made....

Continue with daily practice of Yoga as before. Do it with some intent in mind, such as to incorporate refining elements into it. Return to my previous exercise routine, working out each day (except Tuesday when I visit H and B), alternating aerobic and strength routines. Again, this will be for 20 days and will be tracked in the magickal diary. The starting date is to be September 2nd - my first full day back to work after this trip - and will end at the equinox.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Getting back in the groove

I completed 20 days of Raja Yoga, with the main intent of establishing the habit. I then intended to build from this to a next stage. The long term goal is to continue building on each stage until I be 'where I want to be' in the daily/regular practice of magic.

Analysis of the 20 days.

Good things:
  1. I intended to do only 10 minutes a day, but quickly took it to 20 minutes (for about 15 of the 20 days).

  2. I quickly reversed a temptation to pile other goals on the original goal. This prevented setting myself up for failure.

  3. At the beginning of the period, I read of breathing techniques used by Crowley. I incorporated a version of this into the practice and it was a great success.

  4. A journal was kept for all days of the period.

Bad things:
  1. Failure is likely to occur on days that are not 'routine'. In other words, days that are not work days and find me at home in the evening.

  2. I did skip one day near the end, and it was due to alcohol and other bad choices.

  3. At the first sign of success, I started to pile other goals onto the original goal (see related 'good thing' above).

  4. Once the 20 days was up, I stopped. This was not my original intent. The cause of failure is two-fold. First, the first day off practice was also the first of many days living outside normal routine. Second, I had no formally stated plan for what to do next.

  5. Journal entries were often delayed to the next day. They should have been done just after the end of each Yoga exercise.

The next thing to do is outline the next stage and start it. This will be done now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Under Pressure

I am not happy this weekend. I have pressure building from one of my friendships. There is continued frustration with Horus Oasis, both with the lack of interest and from my failure to meet my own expectations. There are all of the things I want to do that are going undone. The waste of energy on small things that don't matter. Losing time, energy and Will to alcohol. The only thing that is going well is I am doing well with my daily practice. The first 20 days ends in a few more days. There will be a break of sorts while I travel to San Fransisco. Then Gnostic Mass with the Thelemistas and a return to home. It will be nice to get away - to spend some time ignoring my problems. But then I will return home and my problems will still be here.

[Much more. Redacted.]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pluggin along

I've kept up practice of Asana for thirteen days straight. So for so good. At the first sign of success with this I was tempted to pile more onto the plan. In fact I added a second item to the plan, but backed off from it the next day. I need to start simple, establish the habit, and not set myself up for failure.

Gads - you think an old guy like me would have progressed past this whole 'baby step' thing. Apparently not.

When the 20 days are up there will be a break of sorts forced by a trip to San Francisco. I'm helping move Melinda out. My selfish moment in the trip will be attending mass with The Thelemistas. It will be fun.

The second of my short term ambitions with Magick is to resume the practice of ritual, not only in resuming regular practice, but also in learning new ritual. Also in studying it - for while I have been doing the LBRP for years, I have never gone beyond the surface in studying the symbols and meanings of the ritual.

Nothing else to report. Back to cleaning the house.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So far, so good....

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of myself. The proposed cure was to buckle down and start Daily Practice again (but not to clutter this blog with details). So here is the executive summary.

I selected a starting point of just doing 20 straight days of Asana, only 10 minutes per day. The sole intent of this was to establish the habit. I also stated that any break in this would cause me to reset the count of 20 days. This was the most insightful thing I have done in many months. I am now on day seven of the the twenty and I am already having good results and learning a thing or two about the practice. This coincides with reading John St. John by Crowley, from which one good idea was taken, and has borne good fruit.

In other news, Sid and Harold were visiting from St George, putting their son in the MTC. I placed an old laptop with Harold, that he plans to use for genealogy. It is a computer I spent many hours with at work, that would otherwise be going to the shredder.

When mowing the lawn Friday morning, I came to a spot where my foot went 'squish'. I brushed it off as imagination. Then I squished again. The short version of the story is that, bright Monday morning, a crew will show up to dig the trench into which the new water supply line will be placed. Lovely.

Other than that, it has been a profoundly unproductive weekend. I am reading much, and getting small things done. Maybe when I run out of small things, I will begin to do the things that really matter.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Random Ramble

Today was the Sonzini family reunion. We are all busy becoming our parents. I have no idea what our parents are busy becoming.

After a few weeks of shoveling the mess, I have my temple space cleared out. I have the guest room cleared out. I have my old room decent enough for use as another guest room. The storage room upstairs is less crowded than it used to be. But the basement needs work. I will have to reposition Melinda's stuff and do some other cleaning before I can resume workouts. I estimate another week.

With the 4-10 schedule at work, I have given up going to the gym and my sleep schedule is messed up. This last part which surprises me because all I did was shift it a half hour earlier. I could experiment with the schedule, but with the summer two thirds done I don't see the point.

Melinda has found a place to live in Oakland, and may get a job managing the apartments in exchange for half of her rent. She is excited. We are moving her down the last week of August. Melinda and Kathleen will go a few days before me for two reasons. First, so I can help manage Gnostic Mass on the 23rd. Next, so they can call me after setting up camp and tell me what to bring and what to leave home. This will also leave me fewer days to be sitting around being bored and frustrated. I am planning to attend mass with the Thelemistas on the 30th and network Melinda with a few of The Gang. (I just hope they don't give me too hard a time for being a body master with The Caliphate O.T.O.)

I keep thinking I am figuring out this Delphi thing, and each time it finds a new way to bite me on the butt. The last time was a bit different, and has me ready to release. I thought the program was ready, then I recalled that the report units had been dropped from the project while I fixed other things. When I added them back, it errored out on compiling. A little bit of internet research turned up some ideas, but not a sure cure. So I dragged Eric over to the desk and between the two of us we got it working. Between the last error, where he provided the first half of the cure and I the second, and this one, where he only offered one small (but essential) suggestion, I am finally feeling able to handle this.

Programming is like Ceremonial Magick. In one mode it is the constant search for The One Thing, taking the aspirant through blind allies, false solutions and endless pain. In another mode it is repeating what you know, but always adding just a bit to the knowledge and practice with each repetition.

So much for the mundane.

I am tired of myself. More than that, I am tired of feeling this way about myself. There is no progress in life, in fact I am losing ground. I am also more aware with the passing of time just how little time I have left to this life. Do I give up and fail the fight? Do I keep up the old patterns of effort followed by inattention and failure? Do I finally find the key to my psyche and make the needed changes?

I am also tired of writing about it in this journal. Before the weekend is out, a new effort begins on a magickal diary and all will be recorded there.