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2014 Samhain Resolution

Samhain is sometimes called the Witches New Year, as it's considered the beginning of the dark half of the year. Back in the day, it was a time for the final harvest (animals) and bracing for the cold months ahead. I'm a city girl, so many of the ancient traditions just don't work with me. Bonfire? Not without driving out to the sticks and either renting a cabin or freezing to death in a tent. Slaughtering animals? Yeahhh... no. Jewel does a pretty good job of that, but we do thank the animals when we eat. Battoning down the hatches? Oh, do you mean like when the landlord sent guys over to replace our windows a couple of weeks ago? Does that count? Storing up food? I've got coupons and pantry for that! And yes, there's a first aid kit and a blanket in the trunk with at least a half tank of gas at all times, plus I have my AAA card, credit cards and some cash in my wallet. That's how I prepare for winter!

On the secular calendar, it's tradition for many people to make a New Year's resolution, which oftentimes fail miserably. Besides the fact many of the resolutions are impossibly vague in the sense the issue to resolve has no specifics in attaining them (e.g., "I'm going to lose weight!", "I'm going to quit smoking!" or even "I'm going to restart my life!"), many resolutions are made while tipsy and/or because it's the popular thing to do. Therefore, I believe a resolution made on a religious holiday holds more weight, simply because you're not just telling yourself and your friends what you're doing, you're making a promise to deities - you are oath-bound!

I'm more of a secular/agnostic Pagan, I guess you could say, especially compared to my Polytheist friends, possibly because in the 19 years I've been Pagan, I've never had that type of relationship - and not from a lack of trying. Meh, I figure if They want to have a sit-down with me, that will certainly happen. However, one thing my dad used to say, who was an Agnostic, was it's arrogant to not have faith in something, because the universe is just too big for it all to be an accident, and we're not as smart as we think we are. With that being said, I put faith in the Other, those who work the special effects to my magick. And if I make a promise on a day like today, then I consider that a promise that is absolute. It must be fulfilled to the best of my ability.

Last year at Samhain, my resolution was to be less judgmental. I knew better than to declare I would not be judgy, because hey - I'm human, and I'm bound to make a frowny face about something at some point. I am a pretty strong on the bookkeeping side of things, so I did a review of the last year on how I've done. And guess what - I definitely succeeded, but of course I have a long way to go.

The easiest way to track my judginess is with my job. As many of you know, I'm a leasing agent here in Chicago, which means I'm the real estate agent that posts ads in the apartments section of Craigslist all the time, hoping you'll like what you see and give me a call. Since last year, the amount of clients (landlords) I work with have increased by almost 50%, and I've already surpassed my total income for the year with two full months left to go. Not. Too. Shabby. But that was the easy thing to look at.

I then reviewed all of the leases I've signed, and I started to recall the people behind the names. Some of them - their stories were definitely beyond the scope of my initial training three years ago. (Has it been that long already?) I've been taking on more low-income areas, and I've realized how much more rewarding it is. Sure, I still have some pretty sweet digs on my pipeline (like the one bedroom loft in Wicker Park with all the bells and whistles for $1700 a month), but my heart lies with helping people who just need a little more help to help themselves.

Being less judgy too has helped in my personal life, thereby making me a happier person. This is not to say I don't question things, because I certainly do, but I ask with genuine curiosity. For example, I wonder sometimes if one person writes a piece about how his feelings were hurt, and the piece states we should all side with him, I question if it's really a case of over-sensitivity by an individual, or if he's got a point about us needing to correct something. And, even if it's just the one person being a bit too thin-skinned, I do try to see his point.

At the same time, if someone is being outright rude to me directly, I find it's best to simply block the person (if it's online), to nod and smile, or to politely yet sternly state the behavior is unacceptable. An example of the latter would be like a current tenant who started screaming at me due to an issue she was having with the landlord, which of course had nothing to do with me. (She was so loud, you could hear her outside the building!) I said to her, very calmly and with a smile, not to yell at me, and I am just trying to do my job (which was to take pictures and measurements). It worked, temporarily, and I felt good about how that was handled.

So yes, I feel I have satisfactory held up to my end of the promise, and I will continue to work on being less judgy. I can't say if I'll ever be completely without judgment, but it's a strong work in progress! In addition to that, this year I resolve to be better at the whole green thing. That is a toughie for me, because I go through an enormous amount of paper in spite of cutting back where I can (applications, leases, etc.), I love my scalding-hot 45 minute showers, our groceries consist of what's on sale and (hopefully) combined with coupons, and yeah, we buy a lot of brand name cleaners that require little to no elbow grease. It'll be a little harder to track my progress on that, but we shall see next year at this time how we do.

Have you thought of a Samhain resolution? It has to be something you know in your heart you will not give up once Yule rolls around, because as I mentioned, a Samhain resolution is oath-bound. Oh, and Pinkie Pie is watching you! (And your gods! And your ancestors!)

Blessed Samhain to you and yours!

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Lori Dake is a life-long native several generations back, a mom to an adult son and has been together with her husband over twenty years. She is a real estate broker primarily serving the North Side and has also worked as a paralegal for several years. Sometimes, she’s a hardcore fashionista, and sometimes a concert shirt and jeans are more her style. Hobbies include painting while listening to 80’s metal, writing, participating in various forms of philanthropy and creating fabulous meals on a budget.

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