Archive for May, 2007

Reminder – Reiki Level Two course starts next Saturday (June 9th)

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

A week and a half left to register for this course! I will be taking registrations up to 48 hours before the course start time. If you want to register, please call or email me by the morning of May 7th.

LEVEL TWO (OKUDEN)
Saturday, June 9, 2007
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.)
Saturday, June 16, 2007
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.)

Please see http://www.brigidsflame.com/reikicourses.html for course description and contact information. You will need to contact me for fees and location (located near Yonge and Bloor).

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Rituals for the month of May

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

May 13, 2007 was Mother’s Day. Keeping that in mind, public ritual was about motherhood and the nature of being a mother. We had to move our location in the park that day because some people were using our normal spot (probably left right when we would have to start). Priesthood wasn’t around by 8:15 that night, so I decided to find another location. We got a little spot just off the main clearing where there was an apple tree. We then formed a circle around the tree. I thought having the tree in the center was a nice idea. In any case, I got lucky and didn’t have to do ritual. The Priestess was running late and showed up just in time.

May 20, 2007 – Yay! We got our park location back. Really didn’t think the same people could be in the park every Sunday for the whole spring-summer season. The ritual that night was one dedicated to Athena. That is about all I know. I spent most of the night hiding in the trees keeping an eye out. I’m starting to get used to being in the park by myself there. Really, I’m not alone because there’s a group of people in the distance. Amazing how well you can hear at night in the park.
athena ritual

May 27, 2007 – It was raining, so public ritual was moved indoors. It cleared up by the time ritual started, but it is likely that the park had some large puddles. The ritual was an “Eldering” ritual, that is, we acknowledged someone as the community’s Elder, in this case Rod aka Tarostar. The ritual recognized the contribution he has made to the community. It was a lovely ritual and Rod was dressed in Elder gear. I note that looked very much like the hermit in tarot cards carrying his staff and dressed in a robe (although the robe was red). People really look different in ritual some nights.

My private group did a spring cleaning ritual this month. This consisted of burning down remnants of past rituals such as papers and leftover candles. I had a good pile of leftover candles to burn down, mostly because they were large pillar candles that didn’t burn down well. Hehe… I made the fire grow quite big. Think it scared the Priestess that night though – not used to the big fires yet even though a big wok contains fire quite well. I thought it was still fun though – didn’t even get cold that night. 😀

This Thursday I will be Priestessing a semi-public ritual for TTWG. It’s a blue moon that night, that is, the second full moon in May and also, the third of four full moons in spring (a season usually only has three full moons). Blue moons happen about 2.2 years. (If you understand the Chinese lunisolar calendar, the reason for this is the same as for a leap month in the Chinese calendar. Although the blue moon isn’t necessarily at the same time as the Chinese leap month – the Chinese calendar involves different calculations.) Because the blue moon doesn’t happen every year, I wrote a simple ritual involving blue moon magic. Hopefully it will be fun for people. If you know about TTWG, you know that the full moon rituals are always held in the park year round – rain or shine. So far, it looks like rain, but warm. Hopefully, we will still have some fun on Thursday.

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Running and do jang days

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I went for a run. I ran to University and Charles, then ran/walked to Nathan’s work. The total distance is about 1.6 miles.

Later, we went to watch a movie (saw Hot Fuzz). When I got home I practiced some kicking techniques.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I went to the do jang. 😀 The first class we did patterns and one-step sparring. The second class was a regular class. I stayed afterwards for a bit to practice patterns and some more kicking.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I went to the do jang again. The class turned out to be non-contact sparring. It’s sparring season, that is, tournament season. Master Kim likes to give some extra time for the competitors to practice sparring.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I decided to run to Nathan’s work again. Picked him up from work, then we walked home.

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

More workout

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I went for another run. This time I ran only 1 mile. It was little slow like last time, but I was a little tired. A few more consistent weeks of running and I should be back up to running 5 km. The do jang’s 10 km run is on July 6. Our taekwondo Master likes to have the black belts run even if we’re not testing for our next dan to encourage the people who have to run it for the test. I missed out on the run last November as I was a tad sick, so I’m hoping and excited about running the 10 km again.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I went to the do jang again for poomse class and our regular class. There was a new person, so I paired up with her just to help her out. Turns out she took karate before, but just hadn’t done much exercise for about a year. I thought she was doing pretty good though. Some people can get pretty out of shape in one year, but she was still in decent shape. After a week or two, she’ll be fine with the cardio kicking classes.

Afterwards, I went to the gym again.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Pull-ups/chin-ups (this machine works on a counterweight, which means you are lifting your weight minus the weight you set the machine to; thus if I set the machine to 35 lbs, I’m really lifting 70 lbs if I weight 105)
-overhand (palms facing front) – 35 lbs
-underhand (palms facing back) – 25 lbs
-parallel (palms facing towards each other) – 25 lbs
Dips (same apparatus as for the chin-ups) – 25 lbs
Weighted squat machine – 120 lbs
Leg press – 275 lbs
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls – 105 lbs both legs
Hamstring flexor (lying down on stomach) – 50 lbs both legs, 20 lbs single leg
Hip adductors – 100 lbs
Hip abductors – 90 lbs
Seated row – 60 lbs
Seated chest press – 75 lbs
Lateral pull-downs – 75 lbs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights) – 45 lbs
Reverse pectoral fly (not sure exactly what this is called, it works the rhomboids in between the scapulae/shoulder blades) – 30 lbs
Shoulder fly – 40 lbs
Shoulder lift/press – 45 lbs
Back extensor – 180 lbs
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now) – 30 lbs, or 15 lbs single
Tricep extensor – 40 lbs (the dips do a good job of working the triceps, plus a special kind of push-up that I learned from taekwondo)
Leg lifts (I hate the new apparatus for this; might start doing these on a bench or the floor instead; did these on the floor in taekwondo class)

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae (this is the same as the machine that works in reverse of the pectoral fly)
– wrist strengthening – 15 lbs
– dead lift
Other exercises:
Pushups (I’m slowly working on single handed pushups – it’s very hard! For now, I’m just holding myself up on one hand for a 10 second count)
Situps
Cycling
Elliptical

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Do jang and gym days

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I went to the do jang for poomse class, and then took the regular class

After the do jang, I went to the gym.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Pull-ups/chin-ups
-overhand (palms facing front)
-underhand (palms facing back)
-parallel (palms facing towards each other)
Dips (same apparatus as for the chin-ups)
Weighted squat machine
Leg press
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls
Hamstring flexor (lying down)(this machine wasn’t working properly)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Lateral pull-downs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights)
Reverse pectoral fly (not sure exactly what this is called, it works the rhomboids in between the scapulae/shoulder blades)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift/press
Back extensor (did a back strengthening exercise in taekwondo class)
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now)
Tricep extensor (the dips do a good job of working the triceps, plus a special kind of push-up that I learned from taekwondo)
Leg lifts (I hate the new apparatus for this; might start doing these on a bench or the floor instead; did these on the floor in taekwondo class)

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae (this is the same as the machine that works in reverse of the pectoral fly)
– wrist strengthening

Other exercises:
Pushups
Situps (did a hundred in taekwondo class, including side situps)
Cycling
Elliptical

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I went to the do jang and took two classes. The first class was good because we get to work on what we felt needed work. The second class was a cardio kicking class.

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Angry, Controlling Behaviour, and Abuse

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Men can be abusive. Women can be abusive. Abusers are likely to be men, but women can be as abusive. This has not been stated often enough. Women can be as abusive as men.

One key myth about abuse is that an abuser becomes one because they were a victim of abuse. Research into abuse shows this is not the case. Many abusers use the “I was abused and therefore I can’t help it!” as an excuse for their behaviour. Sometimes it’s true that it happened. Other times it can be a big lie. Not all abusers were abused in the past. In either case, when someone tries to excuse their abusive actions with “I was abused”, it is merely a ploy to garner sympathy. Once they have sympathy from others, they feel that their actions are justified and they are free to continue to be abusive – after all, others understand it’s because the abuser was abused before. The reverse of this myth is also true. Whether or not someone has been abused is no indicator that they will be an abuser. There are many people who were abused who do not become abusers.

How does one recognize abuse? What is it? How do you recognize an abuser? The book, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft, delves into this and more. The author also points out that a woman can be as abusive as a man, as there are cases of abuse in lesbian couples as well as homosexual couples.

Abuse can vary in levels. It can happen in small ways or in big ways. It often accumulates over the years. Often, abusers will start with something small to see what they can get away with. Then they gradually escalate the level of abuse.

There are different forms of abuse – physical, mental, and emotional.

Most people are aware of physical abuse. Not many people are aware of mental and emotional abuse.

Abusers are known to be controlling and angry. These two qualities are key aspects in an abuser’s profile. Abusers do not know how to deal with anger. They then take that out on the victim by attempting to control that person. Methods of control include everything from physically hurting someone (so they do only what the abuser wants and not what the abuser disapproves of) to injecting negative thinking patterns on the victim (with comments such as “You’re a whore! You’ll never amount to anything. You’re no good without me.”) Another key component of control is manipulation. Abusers will try to manipulate others. Manipulation is important to an abuser because it can help to confuse matters and hide their intentions. Manipulation is also important as it gives them the sense of control they need. Abusers will use manipulative tactics in order to maintain a line of dialogue between the abuser and victim in order to prevent the victim from leaving (the relationship). Often the victim will lose sleep, feel anxiety, or even worse, just get plain sick.

There are differences in male and female abusers. Female abusers may not ever physically abuse someone, but they can be mentally and emotionally abusive.

Abusers can be anyone you know. They can be your father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. Abusers will often get as close to you as possible – physically, mentally, and emotionally. They will get to know everything about you as it helps them find ways to control and manipulate you and your life. Some abusers are also stalkers or will become one after the victim attempts to leave. They will attempt to be in every part of your life, never giving you a moment to yourself. Abusers’ ultimate goal is to control the victim because they cannot control their anger. Thus, abusers will never choose to leave a relationship permanently because they need access to the person. The person that leaves an abusive relationship is always the victim.

Abusers rarely change. They will convince themselves they have done nothing wrong. They believe they have done nothing wrong. Abusers are often in denial about their actions and may try to manipulate the victim into thinking s/he is the abusive one. Abusers are also capable of distorting the truth of the matter so that it looks as if the victim is to blame or is in the wrong.

I read the above book a few years ago when I was in an abusive relationship. The relationship lasted six months only (thankfully!) and consisted of mental and emotional abuse. After reading Bancroft’s book, I realized there were a few other relationships in my life that were or had been abusive. Along with an ex-boyfriend, other abusers in my life included an ex-husband, a sibling, and yes, even a female friend. In all of these relationships, the abuser was unwilling to change. I ended all of these relationships, and I am better for it.

I hope that people take all forms of abuse seriously. At least read Bancroft’s book and be aware of the issue. He exposes many myths about abuse and abusers and clarifies what really needs to be done. The best and only solution that seems to work requires the victim cutting all ties to the abuser. If you are counseling anyone in any form of an abusive relationship, be aware that trying to reconcile the two parties is not the solution. The victim needs to be removed from the abuser as soon as possible. If you are counseling an abuser, be aware that s/he will not change if s/he is in denial about the abusive behaviour.

(Side note: Abusers are controlling and angry, but not all controlling and angry people are abusers. Some people do learn to deal with their anger and control issues before it even becomes abusive behaviour. It seems though that once a person adopts abusive behaviour, they rarely change.)

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Exercise!

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

MM,

I’ve been busy since last Thurday, but I managed to get in a run on Monday afternoon before teaching reiki. It felt good to run again, even though it was a tad hard since the last time I ran was in November. I’ve done some cardio at the gym on the bicycle since November, but running is slightly different. I ran half a mile to the bank, and then did a short errand. Then ran one mile home. My time was a little slow, but that’s to be expected. Hopefully, my speed will increase again.

I didn’t get into the do jang last week like I hoped, but I will tomorrow. I promised myself, and I need to be teaching more often. With everything at WCC, it’s been hard to go in and teach taekwondo regularly. Perhaps though, it would help relieve some stress and tension. Plus, I do feel bad that my taekwondo Master has been trying to get me in more often. He recently opened a do jang in Barrie. Thus, he needs more help in this do jang now. Well, at least there’s motivation for me to go. I really don’t mind teaching, but it helps to know if people appreciate it.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Recent rituals – first week of May

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

MM,

I had a private group ritual last week. We celebrated Beltane. I was asked to Priestess it – I didn’t write it, but was happy to Priestess it. I was thinking recently that I needed to Priestess more rituals that I didn’t write to get more experience. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get enough experience if I was Priestess for only the rituals I wrote. It was an honour to be asked of course, and it should always be. We were making clay figures of things we wanted to work on in the home. I was having trouble deciding what to work on, and realistically, I just need a bigger place. I ended up making something to represent a yacht. Hey, why not aim big? Well, it looks more like a boat with a mast, but it’s the intent that counts more. I put me and my better half on it, and of course, my three kittens. Since I had some clay leftover, I also made a mini-cauldron. I need one. It would help with some ritual work. Since it was also a Beltane ritual and we were playing with what the Priest that night kept calling “essentially Play-do”, a little silliness was to be expected. Yes, we got a little silly while working on our clay. 😉

Sunday public ritual was an air related ritual. We ended having to move our ritual location because of some people playing soccer in our normal location. A pity, but it is a public park, and I was told that they appear to be the same people as last year in the park who didn’t want to be nice and move. Thus, there was no point in asking. Besides, presiding Priesthood seemed fine with moving the ritual location because we moved to a cliff area overlooking the riverbed – definitely more appropriate for working with the element air. As it was a small group that night, it was fairly easy to move everyone and to get them back down the hill afterwards. Unfortunately, anyone who showed up really late would have missed ritual. We had someone run back down to the normal location to look for any latecomers and bring them up, but we couldn’t rightly have them run back and forth all night. Moving the ritual to an alternate location was probably good for me as it requires me to get to know the park a little better. I’m finding that being outdoors as Summoner gives me a real connection with nature. I’ve participated in rituals at the park before, but even then you are surrounded by other people and you don’t quite feel alone with nature. The Summoner is often alone and that makes a difference.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Taekwondo meeting

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

I went to the do jang this past Saturday for a black belt meeting. Afterwards, I practiced some patterns and the one-step sparring techniques. It’s been a while. I’ve been missing the do jang. The past two weeks have been one thing after another. Last week, I was a little tired and stressed so I was at home pretty much absorbing myself in something relaxing and amusing. In any case, I have to go in this week. Maybe I can get in the do jang later tonight (class is at 7), and I promised to go in tomorrow. Probably would be good for me. It helps with the stress.

Lately though, it seems that Monday and Tuesday are my weekend days. Sunday nights are so busy and sometimes crazy, I like to have Monday to relax. Good thing I have a flexible schedule. Nice to not have to work for someone. Then on Tuesdays, I can try to get things organized in my head again. LOL Okay, back to organizing my thoughts. Hoping, hoping to get in the do jang tonight if I can.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame