Textual Arachne

A weaver of threads.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Learning to say Yes

The summer holidays have always been hard for me to celebrate well. It's easier to think Deep Religious Thoughts about the world when it's under snow, or struggling through slush, or slowly turning the green into red and gold. During the summer I end up either enjoying myself and forgetting to consecrate the days, or wanting to turn a meditation on warmth and plenty into one warning of cold times to come, hinting at gloom and doom.

I suppose on one hand those are fine responses; the first an embrace of the moment, the second a way of uniting the year the same way that I look ahead to summer during my winter posts. But both somehow seem to miss the point of the summer holidays--the "be here now" of Beltane, Solstice, Lammas. And thinking about the recurring theme of gifts of the holidays that I've been writing about has made me more aware that I'm rarely able to give myself to a summer holiday completely. I'm either entirely inside myself and my own enjoyment (which is fine, but not ideal) or I'm looking back or ahead to colder times (which is also fine, and also not ideal). Considering Beltane in particular has made me confront this.

Every holiday brings a gift, and every holiday calls forth a gift from us. Beltane is about learning to say Yes.

I don't mean acquiescing, allowing someone else's idea of Yes to pull you along with it. I don't mean saying "yes, but..." I don't mean saying Yes to pressure or coercion. A situation where you can't really say No is also one where you can't really say Yes, and vice versa. And it's not about saying Yes to a person or a plan or an idea.

It's about saying Yes to the entire thing.

I'm not good at saying Yes. I'm very skilled at saying "Yes, but...," prone to saying "Okay, if that's what you want," and occasionally good at saying No. None of these things are the Yes that Beltane calls out of us.

Yes in the Molly Bloom sense. Yes in the embrace of life outside and inside. Yes to who you are. Yes to what the Goddess, Universe, Gods, are in you. Yes in the maypole and the blooming apple trees, Yes to evening and morning.

The unconditional Yes terrifies me. And it should--in almost any case, it's a recipe for abuse, for heartbreak, for harm. Even if we know what's coming later in the year or where we came from in the winter, it's still going to hurt when we undergo it. But Beltane isn't asking a permanent Yes, just Yes for today. Tomorrow we'll figure out How and What Next.

In return, Beltane gives us life: life in its birth, blooming, sprouting, joyful springlife. Like the other holidays, I don't know which comes first. Do we respond to the gift of life with Yes, or do we announce our Yes and are given life as a result?

I don't know what your Yes will look like. Morris dancing, lovemaking, feasting, debate, fellowship, enlightenment, meditation, hedonism, charity...all of these and more could be Yes. But let it be Yes, and not "yes, but..." and not "okay, I guess so." I am slowly learning what this might be for my Yes today. May yours be blessed.


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