Looking Forward, Looking Back


Manage episode 315913060 series 2634748
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The Inner Critic: https://thewonderpodcast.podbean.com/e/the-inner-critic-1612153312/

The Body: https://thewonderpodcast.podbean.com/e/the-body-1627969025/

Beyond Misanthropy: https://thewonderpodcast.podbean.com/e/beyond-misanthropy/

Decomposition and You: https://thewonderpodcast.podbean.com/e/decomposition-and-you/

Pagan Families: https://thewonderpodcast.podbean.com/e/pagan-families/

Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com



Mark: Welcome back to the wonder science-based paganism. I'm your host Mark. And today we are doing our end of the year. Wrap up. Episode we're going to look backward and forward and talk a little bit about things that we can do to prepare for the coming new year. Setting some vision for where we're, we're all going to go.

And just sort of also really reflect on everything that we've put out this year on the podcast is there's been a lot of content.

Yucca: Yeah, they're really, as this'll be this looking at it now, this will be our 47th episode for this year.

Mark: That is Pretty close to every week.

Yucca: close. Yeah.

Mark: a few weeks that we had to cancel for one reason or another, but boy, 47 and this. Wow.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: be our third year two. We're going into, we started back in the beginning of 2020, and we're going into 2022. course. I can't believe that we are. It doesn't feel like 20, 21 has happened.

Mark: You know, we talked about this before. It is the weirdest thing. 2020 took about seven years. It went on and on and on. And I mean, there was the, the, the lead up to the election and there was the. The pandemic. And there were just all these horrible things that kept happening. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and, you know, just all these awful things,

Yucca: from fires

Mark: all that stuff.

Yeah. And, you know, floods and hurricanes and, oh my goodness. and.

then 2021 came along and it was lickety split. Okay. We've got a pandemic, but it seemed like. January six was kind of the last, the last crisis of 2020. I sort of counted that as part of 2020. But things have gotten much more quickly since, and it really is hard to believe that 2021 is over.

Yucca: Yeah, so, but there's been, as we were just saying, you know, almost 50, almost 50 episodes of this getting together and talking about a lot of really great topics and we've had a few interviews and which hopefully we'll be having more of next year as well. That's been really lovely to have guests on. So.

Mark: So.

We decided that we would spotlight five of our favorite episodes from this past year. And that obviously that's a trick in and of itself. If you've got 50 episodes, then you've got, you only get to pick one in 10. Right. But we went over them. And so these are the ones that we that we've decided to to highlight for you. And if you haven't heard them, you may consider going back into the archive on the podcast website and listening to those,

Yucca: And we'll put links as well in the show notes. So yeah, whatever you're listening on. Just go ahead and look below and you can click on that and go right to them.

Mark: Yep. And even if you've heard them before, you might want to give them. a listen again. I mean, we, we agreed that there was a lot of content that we think is really valuable in these episodes. And So.

These are, these are keepers.

Yucca: Yeah, well, the first one is one that we've actually referenced quite a bit. It's one that way back, we're looking at February 1st, we talked about the inner critic.

Mark: Yes. And this is such a, such a big issue for humans generally, I think, but especially steeped in the over culture of, you know, shame about the self and feeling constantly judged and questioning our value. The inner critic.

becomes a real, a real stumbling block to being able to do the things that we want to do or to feel free enough to express ourselves.

And as ritual practitioners, it particularly can get in our way, because it's really hard when you're there and you've got your focus all laid out and you're going to light the candles and the incense and the. Shrill voice in the back of your head is going, this is stupid and you're making an idiot out of yourself.

And what is this stuff all about? It's not reasonable. And we all have to find a way to calm that voice, to meet it and calm it and push through it so that we can be as alive as we really want to be.

Yucca: Right. There were, there was a lot that we talked about in that episode, including what the purpose of the critic voice is, where it comes from. And then I think my favorite part though, is that we talked about ways of dealing with that

Mark: Right.

Yucca: and brainstormed some fun, different kinds of rituals you could do or just strategies.

And it's something that I found myself thinking back. When my own critic has been very loud throughout the year and going well, we talked about this idea. Re-purposing, you know, giving it another job to be doing and all sorts of things like

that. So,

Mark: It's, it's kind of interesting. I do, I do the same thing sometimes I'll, I'll run up against some kind of an issue and then I'm like, wait a minute. I seem to remember we had something good to say about that. Maybe I'll go and listen to it and take our own words to heart. So,

that was the first.

And I really encourage people to listen to that, that, that episode, because this really is something that we all contend with and it's a very human struggle and you know, I think many of us may know people who seem to have actually pushed past the point where the inner critic has a real control over their lives.

And they're larger than life people. They're just sort of amazing, you know, filled with laughter and energy. And you can really see that at some point they've given themselves permission to be the fullness of who they are. And it's a beautiful thing to see.

Yucca: Yeah. So again, the link for that is in the show notes. If people want to check that out, we do really invite you to.

Mark: So what was our next episode we picked?

Yucca: So our next was the body.

Mark: Oh yeah, the body,

Yucca: Yes. The body. And so this is probably one that we said, oh yeah. And we talked about the inner critic for this one. Yeah. this is one that I think we can come back to again and again, there's so many layers.

Mark: indeed, indeed. And there are. I mean, I think that there are different issues for people that have different living experiences. I know that for people like you and me Jaco, where our emphasis has very much been on learning and education and reason, and a lot of cogitating it's much harder to.

Kind of get away from that very thinky state and immerse more in the body as, as a part of ourselves, right? As, as, as ourselves, not, not just a robot that we use to walk ourselves around, but truly an integrated part of who we are as being.

Yucca: And we talked to about some of the, the pressures coming from the over culture and what we grew up with. And that, by the way, is the topic that we're going to be coming back to soon as a full episode, talking about the over culture. You know, just some of those pressures and the shame and all of that, and really being able to get into ourselves and, and about how the body isn't really separate, you know, we're even talking about right now is being separate the body versus the mind.

But those aren't really different things.

Mark: Right, right. It's all, it's all one integrated system. And even our language won't let us talk about it. You know, we are, our language is so. Immersed in the idea of the the dualism of Mind, and body that we, we don't have a word for. The self that implies all of that. Even when we say the self that sort of implies the mind, the personality, the

Yucca: whatever soul

Mark: ghost, the ghost in the machine.

Right. Whereas the machine is seen as less important and as this sort of dumb rule, And that's not what's going on here. It's an entirely different thing.

So, that I think is a really interesting episode and I'm sure we'll be revisiting, you know, a number of those issues because it goes to, goes to self-image and body image and sexuality and everything.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: No, it really does go to all those different places. And what was the date on That

Yucca: That was August 2nd.

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: Yeah. And then not long after. So in September, September 20th we talked about misanthropy fact it was called beyond.

Mark: Yeah, that was a kind of a solemn conversation. Most of it, as I recall, because it's really a sad thing, you know, we were living in a time that many see as a district. And one of the things people tend to want to do when they are unhappy with how things are going is they want someone to blame. And so blaming humanity is, and just having kind of a, a dim view of humanity as a whole is one way that people come to grips with.

The Anthropocene and the sixth extinction and climate change and, you know, massive plastic pollution everywhere and all the, the many, many problems that we see. And our conclusion was that that's neither accurate nor helpful. Really.

Yucca: not very productive.

Mark: It's not that humans are not responsible for these things.

We're fully cognizant that we are responsible for these things, but just kind of throwing all of us in the trashcan and saying, well, I I'm, I'm on team trees rather than teen humans. It doesn't, it doesn't really do much for us. And it's an angry. Stance and anger can be a powerful motivator. It can drive activism that can help make things better.

But underneath that anger, there has to be love activism and, you know, revolutionary activity and all that kind of stuff. That's only been rooted in rage has never led anywhere. Good.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: It just has. So wanting what's good for the biosphere and for humanity is really an important piece. And we talked a little bit about ways to kind of move yourself in that direction.

It was a good conversation about.

Yucca: Yeah. And there definitely were some, some kind of hopeful sparks in there. And that's really the takeaway that I would hope people would have is that, oh, you know, just. Hating us and just giving up and throwing up your hands about it. Isn't going to help anybody, but, but look, you know, there's these, we can actually, all these things that we don't like about humans.

There's a flip side to that. It really depends on how you frame it and what you then choose to do with it.

Mark: Right. You know, we were talking about the over culture a minute ago. One of the things that we tend to do is we assume that our experience of humans is the way humans are that we're just built that way. We are cultural animals and we are driven by the culture that we absorb as we are raised. I was, we, we had dinner with friends last night and one of my friends was saying, you know, more and more, I'm thinking that.

The only way that I can get my mind to the right place around issues of equity and equality. And the earth is to re indigenize myself to, to go to a radically different way of understanding the relationship between humans and the natural world. And I think that's what we've been saying. In, you know, in the podcast in the wonder repeatedly is that really, you know, we, we can't just keep stumbling along through industrial capitalism and hoping that we're going to come up with a, a magic widget that's going to solve the problems.

You know, it's going to take. More fundamental and substantive change than that. And that changes not only in the systems of the world, it's in the individuals of the world. And so it's incumbent on us to, to be that change

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: and you can't get there by hate. You just can't so beyond misanthropy check it out.

Yucca: And our next one is, be my favorite episode. To date, which is decomposition and you,

Mark: Oh, yes.

Yucca: yeah. So this was October 11th.

And this one, this was looking at this is kind of our getting into our death episode. We did last year, we did a death episode, which I think would be. I would have loved to put on this list, but we were only doing it for this year. But we talked about the, the role of decomposition both on a metaphoric level, but also on a really literal level.

And what does that, what is it in our world? Because that's fundamental to reality to nature.

Mark: Yeah. I I particularly love this episode because it, it goes straight at. A topic that even within the pagan community gets avoided a lot. Because a lot of the pagan community believes in reincarnation. And so there's this death and rebirth thing and the end is not explained, right? It's like there's death And rebirth, and then you're there again.

And you know, there you are being a happy, jolly creature again. And You know, in our science-based orientation, we don't see any evidence for that sort of an afterlife. And so really diving into, you know, here's what happens and here's why it's so important. And here's what happens to the component parts of us after we are disassembled.

And then we become reassembled into other things and.

Yucca: And so there is birth in there. It's just not ours.

Mark: Right. It's just

Yucca: our birth is coming from the death of others, but the, that self isn't continuing.

Mark: Right. And that's the other important point that gets made in that episode, I think is that we live by dent of the death of other creatures. It's just, it's inevitable. It happens inside our bodies as well as outside of our bodies or, you know, right at the threshold of our bodies with our mouths.

Yucca: I mean, that's what you look outside. You look at the soil, you look at the trees, everything around, remember 4 billion years ago. That was all. That was all love. It just drying. Right.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: But what we see, the life that we see is. Trillions upon trillions of individual deaths. So.

Mark: And that's not a sad thing. It's a wonderful thing. It's a wonderful thing that those deaths happened so that more life could continue. And that that reframing of our understanding of mortality, I think, is so important. The pagan community does a pretty good job. I think of, you know, accepting mortality, but it still kind of hedges its bets a lot with this reincarnation or afterlife or summer land or Valhalla or whatever it is.

And for those of us in the science based realm, Really confronting the fact that this life is this amazing miraculous improbable gift and it starts, and then it ends. And if that's okay and it's part of a beautiful process that unfolds so really encourage you to listen to that episode, that when

Yucca: It's a lot of fun. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah.

What do we have next?

Yucca: Well the other one and of course, Right. We had almost 50 episodes this, this year, but the most recent, well, one of the most recent was our episode on pagan families from earlier this month on the sixth. So December six. And so we had little lift and John join us and we got to talk about a lot of, a lot of great stuff in there.

Mark: We did. And and it was, it was fun for me to be in kind of a different role since I don't have kids to be more of the interlocutor and ask the questions. And then have the three of you answer them. Lilith had to leave early because her daughter hit a deer. And needed help. So we we should. have her back on at some point to talk more about this stuff.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So, because I know that she has, you know, very different ways of approaching things than John does and, you know, we want that diverse voice. But yeah, you know, for, for a lot of us who are raising families in these traditions and working to create the traditions as they go along, you know, it's not the same thing.

Doing, you know, even secular Christmas is kind of handed to you as a package and you know, what all the elements are and what you're expected to do. We are, we are creating a cycle of observances and holidays with deep personal meaning for ourselves and our families. And we're doing that largely from scratch. And so hearing from other pig and families about how they do that, I think, you know, it was really helpful.

Yucca: Yeah, and it was just fun to have fun to have that group and just get some different voices there and yeah.

Mark: yeah.

I I'm always struck You know, we've had several interviews over the course of the past couple of years, and I'm always struck by the enthusiasm. You know, people are, they're excited to be there and talk about their thing and what they're doing. I'm I'm, you know, when we had Daniel strain come on and talk about contemplated traditions, he was all pumped to talk about contemplate of traditions.

Yucca: And we had said no Wu, and that was just fantastic. She was wonderful. Yeah.

Mark: Yep. And we have a list of some other folks that we'd like to invite, to do interviews on the podcast in the coming years. So, you know, look forward to more of that happening.

Yucca: And while we're on that topic, one of the things that we are looking for which you listeners might know somebody, or might be someone who'd be interested. So mark and I are both from the Northern hemisphere and we don't have any experience with a Southern hemisphere or with a tropical perspective.

On the wheel of the year. And so we'd be really interested in bringing someone on who that is, their framework.

Mark: Yeah.

absolutely. So, I'm especially fascinated to think about what you would do in the way of a wheel of the year for the tropics, because the C w they just don't have four seasons. It's not, that's just not how the world works there. So. Yeah.

If you have suggestions of someone that we can interview or you know, please drop us a line@thewonderpodcastcuesatgmail.com.

The wonder podcast, all one word Q s@gmail.com.

Yucca: And of course, any other suggestions for the coming year, things that you would like to hear, things that you'd like to hear more of that we've talked about already. Please let us know. We really love hearing from you.

Mark: Yeah. We've had some lovely messages lately that have just really been just thoughtful and warm and just so nice. And people have questions or requests for particular kinds of subject matter, but they're also just, they're just really nice about appreciating the podcast and, you know, getting value out of this.

So. That helps to keep us going that in the, you know, exorbitant paychecks that

Yucca: No, it's all, as he fell, if you know, this is, we don't,

Mark: it's all

Yucca: we don't make any money from this. In fact, we pay money to host and do all that stuff. So,

Mark: right. yeah,

Yucca: yeah, but it's worth it. That's very much so, well that was our five, but mark, you were mentioning when we were talking about the families, how. A lot of us as pagans and as pagan families, we're making this up as we go, right.

And we're forming these new traditions and kind of dreaming and an acting how we want things to be. And I think that's a great place to jump into the second half, which is the looking forward part because we are on the cusp of a new calendar. And we've talked about before, how people look at the calendar in many different ways.

For some people, the calendar, the new year starts at, and, and for some people at the solstice and some people do, you know, just the change of the calendar year or spring as being the beginning. But right now we are where the calendar year is switching. And this is a time period where a lot of people independent of religion are looking at, okay, there's this new year.

What, you know, what did I do this past year and what do I want to do in the future and how, you know, how, how am I going to be different this year? How are things going to be different?

Mark: Right. Right. And so that brings us to the topic of new year's resolutions and, and, you know, goal setting and, and all, all that kind of stuff. And of course, Both of those goals, setting in new year's resolutions are very sort of Protestant, Calvinist kinds of approaches to this sort of thing. Right. I mean, what's, what's always bothered me about new year's resolutions is that they're like they're like, You know, a crystal glass or something.

What if it gets, if it breaks, then it's gone. And so you're done. Okay. I'm going to go to the gym every week. Well, you go to the gym every week for three weeks, but you miss week four, then it's like, oh, well, forget it. I, I failed in my resolution. So what I like to do is to set themes for the coming year.

And some intentions, but the intentions aren't an intention is something that you can fail at and then try out again. Right. So it's less self-critical and it's less kind of task mastery. It's more like this is something I'm going to do for myself. And, you know, if I have a miserable cold in week four and I don't go to the gym, well, that's fine.

Then go, go next week.

Yucca: Yeah, and the framing would be different perhaps, right? Instead of I'm going to go to the gym once a week, every week of the year, it might be I'm going to prioritize my health. Right. And then how, you know, I'm going to this year, my theme is going to be prioritizing me and my health and how do I work towards.

Right. And so that staying home and staying in bed, when you have a cold, if that's, that could be woven into that theme.

Mark: Right. I mean, the, the whole, the whole element of self-improvement, rather than becoming this sort of miserable set of tasks that you have to complete becomes an exploration of how you can best take care of yourself. And I mean, this is particularly important. I think for people who have the, the, the sort of non Western culture, idealized body shapes, because you may not need or want to lose any weight.

There may not be any reason for you to lose any weight because you're, you know, you're shaped the way you're shaped, but you can still do.

Yucca: not necessarily,

Mark: An indicator of health.

Yucca: yeah, it, it can be a symptom of some things, but it isn't itself. You can't look at just the weight and talk about health from that.

Mark: Right. So having,

Yucca: picture.

Mark: so having the intention of, of improving your health. I mean, it might have something to do with weight, but it might very well not. Whereas many of these new year's resolutions are like, well, I'm going to lose 15 pounds and that's not, that's not really caring for yourself in the kind of way that, that really having more of a, a high level goal for what you're seeking to achieve. The other important thing that I want to say about that is that It's really important not to try to set a theme or an intention, which is heavily dependent on stuff. You have no control over. Which I failed that last year. I, last year I set a FIM for myself, a prosperity and at the beginning of the year, things looked pretty good.

I had a well-paying job and things looked. And then in the space of a month, we were told that we had to move, which consumed all our savings. Our cat died and our and then I lost my job. Boom, boom, boom. And you know, none of those were things that I had any control over. They happened. For reasons that were, that were beyond my purview. So, this year I want to be more judicious about the theme that I set I've I haven't really thought about it yet, but I'm going to do that. And I really encourage you to take on. Which you can control in the context that we're in. We know we're going to be dealing with COVID for at least the first half of 2022.

So maybe, you know, setting a goal of having a house party once a month with 40 of your closest friends is not the thing to do

Yucca: Right. But even think about how, what you can control is how you respond to things. Right. So how are you going to respond to. Whatever the particular theme is that you have you know, what are the, what might your ritual life or paying more attention or things like that, that, that those are things that even if your life gets totally turned upside, And who knows what, what this next year is going to bring that what you do have control over.

And I'm thinking about this as we were mentioning Daniel earlier, thinking about, you know, taking a page from the Stoics, right? Thinking about what do, what can you control? And it isn't, what's going on with world politics or whether there's a fire or a S or a hurricane or a drought, or whether you'll have a job.

Or frankly, whether you'll be healthy or not, you know, there are steps you can take, but ultimately there are things that you can control and things you can't. And, and if you base your idea of success and your self-worth and happiness and those things you can't control, then you're setting yourself up for failure, no matter how good the year is.


Mark: right. And, and remember, you know, I'll, I'll, I'll insert this at this point. Remember the whole point of what we do as science-based pagans is.

to be happier and more effective people and to help the world be a better place. Right.

It's it's very simple. So. You know, if, if setting yourself up for that failure is not going to contribute to your sense of, of efficacy and your, your happiness, then it's time to rethink that, you know, because that's, that's what we're working to build.

Yucca: Yeah.

Another thing that this has been a theme that I've noticed for quite a few years 2016 was a pretty rough year for a lot of people. 2017 was a rough year, you know, on and on. And it's, it's very popular and I suppose it might be a little cathartic, but it's very popular to be very negative about the year that happened and very, very pessimistic about the next year.

Right. And be like, oh, well, you know, 2022. It's just going to be a repeat. No, everything's going to get worse. And and I, I would caution away from that because I think that, that the way that we frame things affects how, how we experienced them and not that hard things aren't going to happen. A bunch of terrible stuff's going to happen.

Right. But a bunch of, of wonderful things going to happen as well. And, and which thing we're looking at and how we're focusing on what we're looking at is going to change how we feel about it and perceive it. And I think that we also have a little bit of responsibility in the way that we talk about things, to how it frames the story and the experience for other people around them.

As someone who works with, with children and the youth a lot, I noticed that it's rough for them because the adults around them are all talking about how terrible this world is and how there's nothing left for them. And there's never going to be anything. Right. And, and that's, that's really, that's, that's a choice that we're making of what we're giving you.

So this is an opportunity to go, okay, I don't have control over. What's going to happen, but I'm going to choose to look at the positive. I'm going to choose to look at the beautiful and whatever I perceive as being beautiful and, and support that in my language and into my attitude.

Mark: That's very well said. Yes. I mean, we're not encouraging people to be Pollyannish.

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: we, we do need to look. We have to look at the world and, you know, be aware of everything, but that's not the same thing as letting yourself fall into bitterness because that that's a really profound kind of personal defeat.

It's very, very.

hard to have a happy and fulfilling life if you're fundamentally bitter about the nature of life. Right.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: There's a lot changing in the world and there's, there's a lot of wrong. That's been done. But that doesn't mean that we can't be exponents for something better and also find the joy and the sunsets and the sunrises and the first flowers of spring and the Moonrise and the rainbows and all those things.

Because those are very real too and ignoring them because the news, the nightly news was, was disturbing, is not a formula. For living well.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So we really invite you to sit down and think a little bit about, you know, what, what did you learn out of 2021? And What sorts of themes and intentions do you want to set for for 20, 22? And I should say, cause we haven't said it yet. You don't have to, I mean, you can just cruise right into January and you know, not worry about it.

But if you want to, if you do mark this calendar transition then it would be a good time to do. Some of that thinking and, and making some decisions for how you'd like to frame the upcoming year.

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: And in the meantime, we wish you a very happy new year. Thanks for spending time with us over 2021.

Yucca: and we look forward to 2022 with you.

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: Thanks so much everyone.

Mark: Thank you.

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