River's offerings

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02 Nov 2021 21:42 - 02 Nov 2021 21:48 #363763 by River
River's offerings was created by River
Strayers

Salmon are born when they hatch in a fresh water river. Soon afterward, they follow the river to the sea, where they spend time maturing, and when they are ready they carry out epic migrations back to the exact spots where they were born. It's a fascinating life cycle, but what happens when the hatchery rivers dry up or shift their course or become too polluted to be safe? If every salmon stuck to this exact blueprint for life, eventually the species would die out. But it doesn't, because of the "strayers." There is a tiny percentage of salmon who don't return to the hatching grounds where they were born when it's their turn to breed. They follow different instincts or even get lost and wander; they wind up in a new spot in a new river and thus they ensure the spread and resiliency of their species. Because salmon are a "keystone species" - that is, their impact in the world is greater than their simple biomass would lead us to expect - the fact that these strayers exist is vital to entire ecosystems. Not every salmon can be a strayer, though. It's risky. Some new-found rivers aren't suitable for breeding, and some wind up trapping salmon so that the babies can't return to the sea. Most salmon are instinctually programmed to return to their own hatching grounds, but they owe their ability to do so to the minority, the strayers.

When our paths lead us in unexpected or unexplored directions, we can't be afraid to be a strayer - whether that means a change in career, in lifestyle, in relationships, in beliefs, or whatever forging a new path might look like. Despite others possibly having discomfort and maybe even expressing that discomfort unkindly, they need the outliers and strayers. We all need do. The world needs us, just exactly as unique and individual as we are.
Last edit: 02 Nov 2021 21:48 by River.
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29 Nov 2021 17:39 #364404 by River
Replied by River on topic River's offerings
Heroes Together

It's very easy to see one person as a hero. Luke faces Vader alone at the end of Return of the Jedi. Boromir shields the Hobbits, and makes the ultimate sacrifice, alone in Fellowship of the Ring. The Black Panther steps forward to become the heroic focus even as he is surrounded by a cast of astounding talents and personalities.

But what about the ensemble heroes? Of course we all have personal favorites, but is there really a stand out savior among the X-Men? Is there a star in the Avengers? Which Ninja Turtle is the most important? Sometimes there just isn't a stand alone hero. Sometimes the skills of the group taking action and the needs of the situation call for a team approach.

It can be easy to want to cast ourselves as the hero. We sometimes crave the accolades and the prestige of being the one every can point to and say "she saved us!" And sometimes, that's exactly what is needed. Sometimes one person has to realize there is a wrong and stand up to make it right. Sometimes one person has to be the first to stand up, to walk out, to say no. Take time to consider carefully, though. Is there someone else who might do a better job? How could you support them? Are there people who have strengths that compliment your weaknesses, that you could team up with?

Knowing the difference between when an individual hero versus a team of heroes is called for can make all the difference in overcoming a difficult time. As Jedi we have to be aware of a situation and its flow as well as our own strengths and weaknesses and those of the people around us. In the end, it doesn't matter who does the saving. It only matters that people are saved.
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12 Dec 2021 14:22 #364681 by River
Replied by River on topic River's offerings
Reflection

Transition days throughout the year can be a good time to reflect. Whether it's the end of a week, the beginning of a month, a birthday, an anniversary, or the close of the year, these days inspire us to take time to consider where we have been and where we'd like to go.

As we consider the lessons we've learned and the lessons we still need to work on, the traits we've tried on and discarded or kept, and our new knowledge and whether we have encouraged it to mature into wisdom, it can be easy to begin to feel some judgment. Thoughts about wishing we'd gotten further on a project can sometimes turn into wondering if we tried hard enough or even if we as people are enough at all. Remembering a fitness goal we achieved is a good reason to celebrate, but we can sometimes forget all of the supports that were a part of our success. Balance and a big-picture outlook are important parts of reflection. Perhaps that project was never finished but you took that energy and put it into a new, more relevant or immediate project that is doing well. While you put a lot of energy and work into meeting that fitness goal, don't forget the people and resources that boosted you along the way and made your success possible.

In the past year I achieved my goal of being an apprentice at TOTJO. The Initiate's Program made me use my creativity and my analyzing skills in ways I never had and I am pleased that I stepped up and persevered. I also know that I would have quit many times over if not for the support of a Knight and an apprentice who constantly expressed their support and belief in me, even when I couldn't see my own worth. My time as an initiate tested my patience and my attachment to expectations, and I learned to lean into the former and release the latter. I learned to take charge of my own learning when I needed to. Several Knights and apprentices supported me during that time, reminding me that the right teacher and the right time would come, and offering me personal lessons to work on. Without them, and without the waiting lessons in the Supplemental Initiate's Program, I think I might have left the Temple during that time of waiting and transition. As I reflect on my success in becoming an apprentice, I also give gratitude to the supports that I had along the way. It is my accomplishment, but I did not reach it on my own.

I also had a goal of growing my art business. Objectively, I failed at this goal. Not only did I not grow the business, it's actually pretty dormant right now. It's easy for me to feel bad about that; to judge myself as lazy and lacking perseverance and commitment. But when I look underneath that specific failure, I realize that the energy I had been putting into art was put into other areas that felt more important. I concentrated on my health during a time when it was declining further. I put time into becoming a part of the Temple's community and into my lessons so that I could achieve my goal of apprenticeship. My priorities shifted and with that knowledge, I don't need to lay judgment on myself for failing to grow my art business. I will reevaluate it as a goal and perhaps set it again, depending on my current priorities.

As you take time to reflect, whenever you do, take time also to send gratitude to the people, resources, and circumstances that are a part of your life. As you take time to reflect, whenever you do, take time to remember that we all try our best in each moment given that moment's resources. Reflect with a pure heart and non-judgmental mind, shift what needs to be shifted, reallocate resources, and go into the next period of time knowing you are honoring yourself and the world as you continue moving forward.
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02 Jan 2022 17:54 - 02 Jan 2022 18:24 #365075 by River
Replied by River on topic River's offerings
The (Swallowtail) Butterfly Effect

I work as a fiddle player at Renaissance Festivals. I particularly enjoy working at my home festival, which is the one geographically closest to me and that I'm at every year for its full two month run. I have many friends who I only get to see at this festival, because they travel the faire circuit as relatively nomadic performers. One of these traveling friends is named Sky.

One year, many years ago, I was playing a song called The Swallowtail Jig on my fiddle as Sky happened to walk past me. She stopped and listened to the whole thing, which was unusual as performers almost always have somewhere to be. When I stopped, she blew me a kiss, waved, and said "that's my favorite song, thank you" as she ran off. A Swallowtail is a type of butterfly, and it actually reminds me a bit of Sky because she often, purely coincidently, dressed in the same yellow and blue colors as the swallowtail butterfly and she flitted around from spot to spot twirling her long hair and skirts, like a butterfly skipping from flower to flower. And so, every time I saw Sky coming my way that season, I wrapped up whatever I was playing and started the Swallowtail Jig. It was just a fun little way to say hello to her, since she and I were both busy entertaining the patrons. She would always blow me a kiss or wave as she went by, and I'd segue back into my planned play list and not think much more of it.

Years later, she and I happened to be opening acts for the show of a mutual friend. I went on first, and performed a mix of fiddle songs and original poetry. One of the songs happened to be the Swallowtail Jig. I didn't even know Sky was the other opener when I created my performance piece, the jig just happened to fit best with what I was doing. When Sky went on after me, she performed a spoken word piece. It told the story of a very difficult year for her. It was a year when she had finally quit her day job to pursue the arts full time, and she had left an abusive husband who was being really horrible and frightening about the breakup. She continued her piece, confiding that she had considered ending her own life many times that year. And then one day she happened to hear her favorite piece of music while she was at work at a festival, struggling to keep her fake smile in place. She took time she couldn't really afford to stop and listen, and went on her way feeling a bit lighter and with a real smile on her face. That week as she dealt with getting a restraining order against her ex-husband, she was in a very dark place. She thought to herself, though, that there was always that one piece of music in the world, and she might hear it again. She decided she would hang long enough to hear that one beautiful piece of music played live one more time. She told herself that everytime she wanted to give up, and she continued to hear that piece of music nearly every day she was at work at the Renaissance Festival. Each time it lightened her heart, at least for a while, and reminded her that there is still beauty in the world. Because of that song, and the fiddler who remembered she loved it, she made it through the worst year of her life.

I was in tears as I listened from backstage. When she was done performing her set piece, she addressed the audience. "The person who was on before me, River, was that fiddler and my favorite song was a part of its performance. River had no idea how much hearing that song meant to me until just now, but I am forever grateful for its act of kindness."

She was right, I had no idea. We weren't close friends and we didn't really talk much at all, much less about deep things. I just had a random fun little idea to play her "her song" when I saw her and I went with it... and it made all the difference. Friends, act however compassion moves you to act, even if you don't know why. Some day your kind act may be the reason someone finds the strength they need.
Last edit: 02 Jan 2022 18:24 by River.

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02 Jan 2022 18:28 #365076 by River
Replied by River on topic River's offerings
If there is a way to add video to sermons, I have a video of me playing the song fron the sermon above that could be fun to add if you use the sermon. No worries if it's a pain or just not possible, though.

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02 Jan 2022 22:21 #365082 by Edan
Replied by Edan on topic River's offerings
Videos can be entered but they would need to be hosted somewhere online (e.g. youtube)

Walk slowly if you must

Current apprentices - Knight Vampiric_Conure, River, Kira, Llama Su (LOA)
House of Jestor

Solve et Coagula

Get in touch on discord Edan#1707
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02 Jan 2022 23:05 #365083 by Rosalyn J
Replied by Rosalyn J on topic River's offerings
If ya send it my way, along with the type of visibility you want, I can put it on the temple's youtube

Pax Per Ministerium
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02 Jan 2022 23:10 #365084 by River
Replied by River on topic River's offerings
The video is on a public Facebook page, here

fb.watch/ahWrDebX3m/

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02 Jan 2022 23:49 #365085 by River
Replied by River on topic River's offerings
And here it is on the Temple YouTube!
Thanks, Roz!

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