Hamingja

When I started this blog, I envisioned becoming some type of guru about the application of the Nine Noble Virtues in daily life – for Heathens and everyone alike. So far, I have made five posts and barely hint on the 9NV. The ancestors had a concept we know as Hamingja – essentially luck but way more complex than simple luck.

In most tales the Hamingja is a guardian spirit that blesses a person based on their intent and actions in life. The more good a person does the stronger their Hamingja can become. Of course, luck can be inscrutable, and a blessing may not look to be that on the surface. For example, I have been blessed with a creative imagination. I can see fantastic images in my mind. I can see exactly what I want something to become. There is a disconnection between that imagination and my ability to apply it. Have you ever seen a beautifully decorated cake in a picture and tried to recreate that? Then end up with something that is edible, probably quite delicious, but you just don’t want to look at it? Well, that is my daily life only the picture is in my head.

This is what I am experiencing with this blog. I can see where I want it go and want I want from it, I just don’t know how to make that materialize, yet. Writing has always been something I want to get better at. I am an avid reader and one of my dreams is to write something that affects someone the way that my favorite authors affect me; that I could transport a reader to a different reality. The blog is a stepping stone in that journey. Here I can write something and publish it to that world, eventually I will get feedback – maybe confirmation that I am doing it correctly and hopefully some critique to help me improve. Mostly, though, the blog allows me to practice. It gives me a media in which to strengthen my Hamingja.

Part of the concept surrounding Hamingja is the ability to pass on the spirit to my descendants. I want to have a strong spirit; a mighty Hamingja. A person with a strong Hamingja can lend their blessing to others. When we wish a friend to have a safe journey home from a visit or when they go on a vacation – this is sharing our Hamingja to strengthen their own. The beautiful thing about this? When we do this, it doesn’t diminish our own Hamingja, but strengthens it.

I believe it was my Hamingja that showed me the Daily Prompts to give me an excuse to just write without the restraint of a specific topic. I will continue my research on the 9NV and I will write more on them, this is just an inscrutable interlude. The Daily Prompts are also a blessing that gives my blog exposure to an audience I would not have otherwise.

 

Daily Prompt: Dominant

via Daily Prompt: Dominan

While browsing blogs on WordPress, you know looking for ideas I could steal and make me look more clever, I found a post by The Daily Post. She does a daily prompt word and challenges (invites?) other bloggers to write a blog post on that word. This looks to be fun and interesting. The word today is “Dominant”.

The most important thing in my life, the dominant concern, is my family. My wife and three children. The dominant concern here is that I am doing it right. I’m sure most parents share my fear – am I doing it right…

This past November my wife and I celebrated 20 years of marriage, both of us still on our first. We have been together since 1995. We met in Japan (her native country) while I was stationed on the USS Independence (CV-62). Her friend was dating a friend of mine and thought I needed to find a good girl and stop being a “butterfly” that went from flower to flower. Now I would like to say it was love at first sight or some romantic bullshit like that…but it wasn’t. Another friend of mine was into her and I wasn’t going to fight my buddy over a woman (no matter how hot she was) I had just met. Long of the short – about a month later my ship was out on deployment and I got a letter. She asked me if I liked her and if I wanted to be her boyfriend…Yes, she regrets that letter now and then. She hooked me (I’m sure she was only after my money – because a junior enlisted Sailor rolls in cash).

Our children (20, 16, 11) are good kids. All do good in school, aren’t in trouble, don’t do drugs (as far as I know), basically I am proud of them. Sure, there are days that I have to sit down and remind myself of this when I am frustrated with having to tell them to do a chore…or take a shower. Seriously! The daughter (11) must be pretty much drug to the shower and forced to clean herself! This is a phase, right?

I think we are doing it right. Not perfectly, but adequately. This doesn’t mean that I will stop being afraid that I am screwing these kids up, but I don’t really need to be afraid of that.

Hospitality

Of the Nine Noble Virtues, Hospitality seems to be the one most in question right now in the US. Why would I say that? Well lets first define what Hospitality means, as related to the 9NV. Then we can discuss how it is relevant to the situation in the US.

The virtue of Hospitality is the idea that a Heathen does not tolerate nor practice self-centeredness. Hospitality means that I have the obligation to give those in my home a generous reception and to extend my hearth and frith to them. A Heathen provides our gifts and support to our ancestors, our wights and our gods. We do not accept any that would subjugate us. The Havamal tells us that once a man has enough he should not crave for more. A generous person is happier. (Havamal Verse 48)

In ancient times places of refuge from the elements were few for the traveler. There were not Inns every few miles. No Motel 6 keeping the lights on. When a traveler came upon a village or farmstead they asked for accommodation from the home owner. If that home owner extended that accommodation to the weary traveler – and most would because frith obligates one to be generous – they accepted responsibility for the safety of their guest. It was bad mojo indeed to let harm come to your guest. The guest had expectations also. The host would offer their best to the guest. The guest accepted this but did not ask for more than was offered. Often the gift of being hosted was repaid with news and good tales. The traveler brought information from outside the area to the host. The guest perhaps told stories of war and the gods and of their travels and the sights they had seen. The host offered warm, dry and clean clothes.  A warm bed was offered, food was served, and drink was drunk. The guest took his leave before he overstayed his welcome.

So how is this applicable to the US today? I bet you think I am going to make this about immigration, and I am, but not entirely. Think about what our country would look like if we all treated each other as if we are the host? If we were generous in our daily lives? Of course, each person should work and earn their way but why should we not also be generous in our abundance? I am not suggesting that we give to those who won’t do for themselves, far from that. If a person isn’t capable it is only right to help them, if we can. If they are old, we should honor them. Learn from their wisdom and make sure they are cared for, that they do not go hungry that their homes are kept up and warm. The old are an easy one to agree on taking care of. The young – the children – are also easy to agree on.

What of those of able body and minds? What if their best is not enough? They work hard and just aren’t making it happen, at least not yet? Students who will someday be the professionals, the high school graduate who is just starting a career, the young mother who was left by the male she thought was a man? I think we can agree that these are worth our investments. Let the lazy starve. Do not reward their choices. What if they have children? The children should be cared for, should be taught to break the cycle. Feed the children – give them food, buy them clothes, give them mentorship. Let them come work in your garden and learn to be industrious.

Should it matter where they are born? Should the side of some arbitrary line on a map change our obligation to be frithful, hospitable and generous? I think not. If they are industrious or incapable of caring for themselves, I say we have the same obligation. Should a child be removed from Disney World if their parents snuck them in without paying? I would not remove the child, I would seek restitution from the parents, but I would not punish that child. This is not a good business decision perhaps, but it seems to be the right thing for me. I would want to do my best to impress upon that child that this not the right way of getting what you want, that working for and earning your way is the best way, though rarely the easiest of ways.

Who am I?

For as long as I remember, which is an increasingly shorter time period as the years roll by, I have searched for a connection to my purpose. Like many, I looked for this connection in religion. I started, also like many Americans, with Christianity. I studied the Bible, I prayed and meditated, and I never felt the connection; the calling. Then I came across the Nine Noble Virtues (9NV). When I discovered that they were connected to a pantheon, even if only loosely, I began exploring this pantheon. The lore was appealing; I felt called by it. The catch was that most of what I found in the beginning ranged from covertly to blatantly racist.

I questioned how I could feel called to a group of deities that existed on a racist creed? I am married to a Japanese woman and we have three children. I was reading about furthering the white race and keeping the bloodlines pure. All while seeing the core, the gods and goddesses and the honoring of the ancestors, the premise of the belief system as belonging to me. I fit here if not for the racism. So, I searched and researched. I found The Troth, a group of Heathens united in the lore and deities yet staunchly inclusive – meaning they didn’t believe nor accept the racism as being an intrinsic part of the package. I joined this organization and soon learned that they go back to the beginning of the reconstruction of the ancient ways.

I began to see that I am not a reconstruction type. I believe the gods and goddesses want us to bring them into the modern world, not constrain our efforts to recreating what once was. I have experienced many personal gnosis that support my belief. This is a great thing about a polytheistic spiritual walk with gods that desire personal relationships, in fact who want to be known as kin folk to us, they expect us to find our own path.

Until I found this path, I have separated, in my thoughts, the pursuit of spiritual connectiveness and personal development. I have been reading books in the personal development for a decade or so. I have lacked consistent application of the principles and ideas I read about. Most of the authors tie their success to their God and celebrate the relationship in their writings. I always felt that was missing in my studies of their works. Since I have made the connection between the two I feel more inspired and seem to be more consistent in my application. At this point I am centering my studies around two sources. Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the 9NV.

 

The Nine Noble Virtues:

  1. Courage – doing the right thing despite any fear
  2. Discipline – self-discipline, forming good habits
  3. Honor – personal ethics
  4. Truth – sincerity, both to self and to others
  5. Fidelity – loyalty
  6. Hospitality – the relationship between host and guest
  7. Self-reliance – the ability and practice of being independent
  8. Industriousness – work ethic, finishing what you start
  9. Perseverance – never giving up

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  1. Be Proactive – respond not react
  2. Begin with the End in Mind – know where you want to go
  3. First Things First – know your priorities
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw – its cyclic – keep refreshing and studying

 

Looking at these two lists there is some correlation that can be easily seen and with some study, and the right perspective, the correlation can be expanded so that each Habit encompasses a number of the 9NV. Habit #1 – Be Proactive, for example, utilizes Honor, Discipline, Perseverance, and Truth. Dr. Covey describes the first Habit as being proactive. He talks about acting within your circle of influence and choosing to respond to circumstances instead of reacting to them. When we react, we chose to be a victim of the circumstance. Discipline is required to make that choice. Truth (to self) and Honor guides us to knowing when are making a proactive choice and being honest when we don’t. Perseverance is the virtue that shows us how to keep doing the right thing, even when it is easier just be a victim of circumstances.

Do you need to follow any religion to make the changes that Dr. Covey described? Nope. Does it make a difference if you are religious? Only if you are religiously active in making the right choices. So, why combine the two? I believe in a higher purpose than just existing; in a purpose for my existence. This leads me to the divine. The gods and goddesses I follow are honored by my deeds and accomplishments. When I grow and advance my self I honor my ancestors, which includes the gods and goddesses.

 

Vincent Enlund wrote this poem to explain our purpose in life, or at least some of our purpose:

My name is not my own,

It is borrowed from my ancestors,

I must return it unstained.

My Honor is not my own,

It is loaned from my decedents,

I must give it to them unbroken.

My blood is not my own,

It is a gift to generations yet unborn,

I should carry it with responsibility.

Why?

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. Mostly because those always seem to be doomed to fail. Something in my psyche that just doesn’t mesh with this type of resolution. Probably the fact that most of the times that I made resolutions I was cramming some idea in before midnight. Some concept I thought I was supposed to have of who I should become. New year, new me! Bullshit. New year, same ole me but I wrote some list and now I have something to feel guilty about the whole year. I stopped doing this about 10 years ago. I replaced the resolutions with a list of goals…yeah, I know, semantics. Over the last 10 years I have accomplished maybe 3 of the 100(ish) goals I have set for myself for the new year.

In 2016 I began a new chapter in my life. We moved from Kansas to Arkansas. New job for me, great offer and opportunity that I couldn’t pass on. I loved my last job. I liked my co-workers and my boss was probably the best boss I have ever had. This job was worth the loss of that. In March of 2017 we closed on a piece of land – 5 acres with a nice (but small) house. I have wanted a small farmstead type of place for a while and I finally got what I wanted.

This lead me to realize that my sedentary lifestyle of procrastination would not get anything done around my little potential farmstead. Now, this was not a new realization this one just came with a little more motivation to actually take action. Along with this I began to see that I was becoming negative minded, complaining about situations at work – allowing my self to choose the victimhood mentality. This awakening prompted me to make changes. I pulled out some books I have had for a long time and began studying again.

You do not need the books to change your life. A decision and action are what you need. To decide that you will make changes and then do it. So, don’t think I am promoting a dependence on anything outside of myself for my growth and change. Charlie “tremendous” Jones’ famous quote applies here – “You will be the same person in 5 years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I understand that I can make happen what I want without the books and spiritual growth – I don’t want to be the same person I am right now. I want to grow, intellectually and spiritually.

In December 2017 I decided to make a thought out, realistic, set of goals for 2018. I began with some tools: A custom planner, the book by Stephen R. Covey, and an attitude of getting it done. This blog is for accountability. If I publish this to the world I have to be accountable to everyone who reads this blog (hopefully someone reads it).

The list of goals for 2018 will expand – as one project is accomplished another one will be added. Projects will be added to the list whether one is done or not – that is the nature of living this lifestyle we are trying to accomplish: debt free and self-sustainable are the ultimate goals – but that is a 10-year plan. So here are the basic goals for 2018:

Create a project list when one project is accomplished replace it with another one – always have something that needs done and always be completing the projects

o   Break down the projects to schedule them each month/weekend

o   Add projects as they are presented

o   Prioritize the projects

  • Need
  • Saves money
  • Saves energy
  • Emergency use
  • Animal related (chicken coop)
  • Want
  • Anything that doesn’t meet the need criteria
  • Daily tasks

o   Read 30 minutes (or more)

  • Try for 3 non-fiction books a month
  • Something work related
  • Something spiritually related
  • Something in the self-development genre
  • Historical biography or history related
  • Philosophy oriented

o   Write in my journal

o   Work on a blog post

o   Exercise

  • Start in January
  • Push ups
  • Sit ups
  • Squats
  • Weekend (days off) tasks

o   Choose a project and complete it – or get as much done as I can in the days off.

  • Get some fishing/camping in this summer
  • By the end of the year

o   Build a chicken coop and get chickens

o   Insulate the house – seal up the drafts

o   Replace the heating system in our house

o   Get the generator set up

  • Shed for generator
  • Switch installed for switching to generator
  • Tie propane to the generator for longer use

o   Well house on solar power

o   Garden planted/set up

o   Build table for the wife

 

This list is not finished, and I will expand on it over the course of this year. I plan to combine some of the activities. For example, when we built the chicken coop I will write some blogs posts on that experience. I plan to use the blog to stay accountable to the plan and will write updates as things progress.

The Journey Begins

A wise person once told me that if I was going tell anyone else how to live to do so in a story. This person also told me that if I was going to tell a story include a lesson on life in the story. So, I guess I am going to tell you a story with a lesson on life. This does not mean that I consider myself an authority on life or that I have it all figured out. Trust that I do not know anything, really, I’m just stumbling through and occasionally pick up a bit of wisdom.

Stephen Covey, author of the best seller 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says that when you study something you should plan to teach what you learn as soon as you can. This is the what I am attempting to do. It should be known, up front, that most of my content will be stolen, borrowed, or otherwise appropriated from someone else and that very little will be original material. I just can’t reinvent the wheel. I will always give credit to the source I got the information from, when I can. It is likely my sources also stole the material.

Who am I and, more importantly, why do I feel I something worth sharing? I am just an average guy with an opinion, on just about everything. I will try to focus on just a few of those opinions but my mind tends to wonder. When left to wonder, my mind tends to get me into trouble.

My name is Mike, but I like to use the tag EliteTypeO, mostly because I think it is clever and I like to show off my cleverness. Typos are my specialty, so I say an elite typo-ist (that is more of that cleverness – making up words). Type O (negative) is the universal blood type that can be given to everyone while, yet can only accept its match and among the rarer types, (positive) is the most common blood type. This is a play on words (more cleverness) in that I see myself as both average and yet unique.

One of the themes of this blog will be centered on my religious beliefs. If you read this far a little more won’t hurt you…don’t be scared of that word; I am not going to get preachy on you. I am a polytheist. So that you don’t have to google that, it means I believe in a multitude of deities. I believe they all exist, and I have a relationship with several. Primarily, My focus is on the Northern European Traditions. There are many names used to describe this: Asatru, Odinism, Odinic, and Heathen to name a few. I tend to stay away from calling myself an Odinist or that my beliefs are Odinic. First, I am not dedicated to Odin exclusively. Second, these names have been abducted by racist groups who believe one must be of (traceable) European heritage (read white). I strive to live my life by a certain code that is based on the Nine Noble Virtues:

  1. Courage
  2. Honor
  3. Discipline
  4. Fidelity
  5. Hospitality
  6. Industriousness
  7. Perseverance
  8. Self-Reliance
  9. Truth

This is in no particular order and I am not going to define them here. There will be an offering, later, that will get into the specifics of these and my opinion of them. I would note that not all Heathens recognize these virtues, for various reasons.

A second focus I have will be based on my studies of the Stephen Covey book mentioned earlier, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I am a self-guided student of the book and in no way affiliated with Mr. Covey or his organization. If this changes – which I see no reason it would – I will be the first to tell you (hopefully).

My thought is to tie together the Nine Noble Virtues (aka 9NV) and the 7 Habits by telling a story of how I apply them (we have come back to that whole story/lesson thing). Some ways that I might demonstrate my application is through projects I do for my “Homestead”. I live on a small, rural, piece of Arkansas and I am striving to move more towards self-sufficiency. Not fully off grid, but being capable of going there if I need to.

There will be essays, there will be rants, there will probably be some pictures. There will be blood, cussing, sweating, and, occasionally, some popcorn eaten. Welcome to my life.