Being Pagan Everyday

THE WONDER: Science-Based Paganism

01-01-2024 • 39 mins

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

Season 5 - Episode 1

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Mark: Welcome back to The Wonder, Science Based Paganism. I'm your host, Mark,

Yucca: And I'm Yucca.

Mark: and today we are talking about what happens after the frenzy of the holiday season. I know for a lot of people it's kind of a relief because it's very stressful and anxiety provoking, but for others the holidays really are kind of a haven in the midst of winter, and when they end there's sort of a letdown of No more parties, no more decoration, no more booze and sugar, you know, all that kind of stuff.

And it's hard because it's the coldest, darkest time of the year.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: So, we're going to talk about that today.

Yucca: Yeah. As you were saying that, I was thinking of that feeling that you get when your body, when you've had a bunch of adrenaline in your body, and then it fades, and all of a sudden you're like, oh,

Mark: Yeah. Welcome to, welcome to cortisol.

Yucca: yeah, now my arms are heavy, now what do I do? Right.

Mark: Yeah. I Really resonate with that right now because my work has been extremely busy. I wasn't able to take time, um, in the last two weeks of December. So, really been sprinting and there is that sort of sense now here in, you know, we're recording this on December 30th. On the Saturday, and I, so I get these three days, and I'm in this mode of what do I do?

What do I do? What do I do? Because I've been so doing for so long, right?

Yucca: Yeah. So I guess this is really a good opportunity to talk about the Well, transitions in general, but especially transition out of the holidays, and also the in between time. We'll come back to this in a minute, but the in between holidays, because at least those of us who follow the Wheel of the Year, we have a lot more holidays than most people do, but there's still these big chunks of time that we're in between, and what do we do during that in between?

Bye. Period. I think it's a really potent, powerful time period, but in a very different way than holidays are.

Mark: Yes, I agree. And then that leads us into, well, okay, well, when you're not celebrating, because you can't I mean, well, at

Yucca: day is a celebration in some ways, but

Mark: one level, we can be and hopefully are celebrating all the time because there's a lot to celebrate. But in the times that are between the peaks of that, how do we, how do we live as pagans every day?

Yucca: Right.

Mark: How do we, how do we enact that in our behavior? How do we choose it in our focus? And are what we pay attention to, um, so we'll be talking about that too.

Yucca: Yeah. Yeah, I'm really happy that this is coming out on the first of the year. Seems like a good welcome to 2024 kind of thing.

Mark: It does. 2024. Can you believe it?

Yucca: It no.

Mark: No. No.

Yucca: time, it feels like a sci fi Year. Does not feel like a real,

Mark: That's

Yucca: we're actually here.

Mark: Yeah. 2024 by Arthur C. Clarke.

Yucca: starting with the transitioning out we still have our solstice celebration decorations up, but in the next few days, those are gonna start coming down, and it's gonna be, we still have a lot of wintry things out.

So. Because at just the time of year we just like having our wintry things, because that's what's going on, but it's not going to be that solstice, right? It's not that, or Christmas, or whatever it is that it that folks are doing, it's not going to be that anymore. And so there's always kind of a, like a bitter sweetness to taking those things down.

Mm

Mark: It leaves a void in your home and in your sense of the specialness of the time. My Partner Nemea really gets a lot of psychological benefit out of the Yule tree, the solstice tree. And so we will still keep it up for another couple of weeks. Which means that we always miss the window for the

Yucca: Pick up.

Mark: company coming to pick it up.

Which means I have to chop it into little pieces and fit it into a yard waste bin. But and I keep the trunk for next year's Yule Log, so I have to do some chopping anyway. But You know, this is a moment where the hoopla is fading, and then you're left with, well, we're back to school, we're back to work, and it's gray and cold,

Yucca: And this particular year, it's fast since New Year's is happening on a Monday. Everybody's back on a Tuesday. If it was in the middle of the week, then usually things wouldn't start until the next week. But it's like, boom, here we go.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, one of the, one of the jokes that I've always made because my birthday is January 3rd is that my birthday is always the day you go back to work. It's, you know, it's always, it's like, okay, the party's over and now it's time to celebrate me. Right. And it's like, well, we're sick of parties and we're sick of sweets and we're sick of booze.

And we're, it's like, we don't want to get together in gatherings. We've been doing that for three weeks.

Yucca: And I'm guessing as a kid, even though you're not a December birthday, you still probably got the let's just, this is your, this is your birthday present and your Christmas present all wrapped up to

Mark: You know, honestly, I don't remember that happening. Um, yeah, I don't know. I don't know.

Yucca: And I know a lot of December babies who complain about that.

Mark: yeah. Well, I mean, one of the things that's frustrating about it, of course, is that it would be nice to have a holiday some other time through the year because I'm kind of sick of parties and booze and sweets and presents and all that kind of stuff.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: you know, and I actually have had half birthday parties a couple of times.

On July 3rd. Yeah, so it's like, okay, I'm 46 and a half now. Time to have a party.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: so, anyway, let's talk a little bit about that, that transition, that, that kind of coming down off the peak. Because that's a real thing. I mean, it's a neurochemical thing. It's not just, it's not just something you can necessarily talk yourself out of because there is a change in modality from go, go, go, gotta be festive, gotta be festive, to okay, I have to be able to focus for work now.

I have to, you know, I have to take the kids to school all those kinds of sort of more mundane things that get you rooted back into the groove of your, your routine life.

Yucca: Mm hmm. Yeah. I think there's potential in when you, because those things are all things that are things you really actually have to do. There's a physical component to those things. And there's an opportunity to take a moment just to be aware of what you're doing as you're doing that. And there's a moment right there for that intention of recognizing, okay, I'm taking down the tree.

Right? Or, I'm getting back in the car, first, first day back in the car in the whole year. Just gonna take a few seconds to close my eyes and think about what this means and be conscious of the transition.

Mark: Mm hmm. And because it's a Because it's a shift from the out of routine nature of the previous few weeks, it gives you an opportunity to look at your established routine and decide whether that's really what you like. I mean, there are things you don't have a choice about, you do have to take the kids to school, you do have to do grocery shopping and all that kind of stuff, but maybe there are other things in your life that are habitual that you don't necessarily want to continue, or things that you want to add,

Yucca: Right? And that's, we talk a lot about how COVID has shaped and changed the world. I think that's one of the places where it really did so many people. It was like an extended period of out of the norm, and several months, years, rockiness of going back to the routine, but getting to go, is this the routine that I want?

And for a lot of people, the very, very loud no,

Mark: Yeah,

Yucca: And not that we're necessarily able to make all the changes that we would like to, but it gave us the opportunity to be aware that it could be different.

Mark: well, and the biggest example of that, I think, is that in order to conduct business at all, many businesses had to go to remote

Yucca: Mm

Mark: And when they went to remote work, workers found they liked it. They didn't like the expense and the time loss and the stress of a commute. They didn't, they, they'd much rather work at home if not full time than certainly part time.

And now employers are sort of strong arming many workers to get them back into the office, and the workers are balking. You know. There are tech workers that have moved out of California to small towns in the Midwest, and they're like, I'm not coming to the office, folks. I'm just, I'm not doing it. I mean, I'll, I'll fly in a couple of times a year for some kind of key thing that needs to happen.

But, you know, on a daily basis, everything I do is over the wire anyway. So, leave me alone. Let me do my job.

Yucca: I have to say, as someone who's pretty rural, to get into town is about an hour for us. So I love it. It makes there's so many things. I have a doctor's appointment coming up this week that I don't, that I don't need. It's just a consultation, right? They don't need to actually take any vitals. So I'm not going to drive anywhere.

They're not going to drive anywhere. We're just going to hop on the computer for a minute. Boom.

Mark: Yeah, telemedicine is a big deal, and especially for people living in rural areas. The advent of telemedicine is a huge step up in the quality of their care. So, yeah, it's a good thing.

Yucca: And education,

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: There's so much stuff, you know, I provide it that way, my kids get it, where we can be rural and have access to people all over the world. So, anyways, that's our tangent from returning to normal life.

Mark: tangent number one for this episode. Yeah, I mean, we get to reconsider what kind of life do we want to have within the constraints of the things we don't have a choice about. And that is, honestly, That's, that's the definition of freedom, really, you know.

Freedom isn't absolute, I can do whatever I want. Freedom is, there are things that are out of my control that are constraints that I'm going to have to meet like having to eat, stuff like that. And then there are other things that I have choices about, and that's where you have liberty. That's where you get to make decisions.

Yucca: Well, and if we go with that, you have choices on how you do the required things. Right? So, just using the, you have to eat, well, okay, but I get to choose what, and when, and, you know, all those sorts of things

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: does a, that element is a choice, right? And we can do that with everything in our lives,

Mark: Yes. Although

Yucca: well, there's, again, there's certain things we do not have control over as individuals, right?

Mark: what I was going to say is that when you're in a family situation and you have kids that you're making decisions for, that's another constraint because it's like, you might not want to eat until nine o'clock at night, but if their bedtime is seven, then you need to make sure that they're fed.

They're just things you don't have a choice about, right?

Yucca: But how do you respond

Mark: yes.

Yucca: to the fact that you have these people who are dependent and they have needs? How do you, how do you then respond, right? While still meeting those needs? You get to, as a parent, you don't have to do it a certain way because grandma did it that way.

Mark: Oh,

Yucca: You get to, you get to, you know, and there's lots of things grandma did that was awesome and other things grandma did that, oh my goodness, let's, let's not even talk about them, but you get to look at that and say, how does this work for my life?

And how does this work for theirs? And get to make those choices,

Mark: it's a good time for reflection, the beginning of the year. We talked about that last week some. Just to be really clear, you know, this is my life, it's my artwork, and I'm gonna do what I can within the constraints of what I've got. You know, if I've got a 2x4 canvas, I can't paint a 6x8 painting. That's the nature of the thing.

But you still have an awful lot of choices about what you put on that canvas. Um, so, so yeah that's, that's a place to start is feeling some agency. I think that one of the things about the post holiday letdown can often be feeling like you're sort of getting back into the harness and having less choices and, you know, less opportunity to just be happy and celebrate and stuff.

And that isn't entirely true. It's just that you have to do it within the constraints of what your life demands of you on a daily basis. So, let's talk a little bit about that. Dark time that we're coming into. I mean, it's not so dark. The light is, well, it is dark, but the light

Yucca: depends on where you, yeah, it depends on your environment. I mean, I can certainly notice that the days are getting longer, but there's, there Still really, really short right now.

Mark: Yes. And where I am, it's,

Yucca: we're going into the coldest time of the year. Even though it's not going to be the darkest, it's the coldest, most bitter, windiest, you know, it really is going to be true winter.

Mark: hmm, hmm. Yeah. Here I'm very pleased to report from California that we're getting a lot of rain.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: But that means that it's overcast and gray and we get tule fog in the morning on the mornings when it gets down around freezing. And it's It's, it's rarely bitter because when it does freeze, it's usually because it's clear.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: And so the heat is radiated away from the earth and not been reflected back by clouds. But the, the, the time still feels cold and you know, you, you kind of have to bundle up and, and the days are still very, very short.

Yucca: Mm hmm. And the shadow's long. That's the other thing that I always think about this time of year. Even when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, The shadows are just still long.

Mark: they are. Yeah.

Yucca: Yeah. So, and we're going to talk more about this time of year, especially in a few weeks we'll talk slog, right?

Mark: Slug.

Yucca: But you also have the stretches of time period between holidays in general, right?

And some, some holidays get more attention than others. sOme of them kind of, and this depends on each person individually but some of them just sort of get, you just sort of glide over them more easily than

Mark: Mm hmm. Mm

Yucca: I mean, I guess that for most, most people there's a few really big ones that we can pretty consistent throughout the whole community.

The winter solstice, hollows. Those are usually pretty big ones. On the other side of the year, what would you think? May?

Mark: Yeah,

Yucca: and maybe the equinox? But the other ones kinda Those are ones that sort of fall between the cracks sometimes.

Mark: Well, the overculture, the mainstream culture, doesn't have corollary holidays at those times. And so we don't get, we don't get the help of there being a day to take off or a set of themes like the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs or,

Yucca: Although May, we don't really get that either, but I think there's just such the still the powerful image of the maple and flowers

Mark: right,

Yucca: That's, that's still kind of hanging on there.

Mark: Yeah, um, and another, another tradition that's really embraced in the pagan community is Morris dancing, the season for which starts on May Day where they dance up the sun and then it ends on the autumnal equinox when they dance down the sun. And in some cases, I mean, I've seen people that, I've seen reports of Morris teams that are now like dancing down the sun on the winter solstice, which I think is also very cool, but,

dancing around wearing bells in the snow takes a particular kind of character, I think, not one that I have.

Yucca: Right. And again, depends on your climate, right? A lot of that happening in, you know, southern Britain, they don't, yeah, they might get some snow, but it doesn't stick around the way you might have snow in, say, Wisconsin. Right. Yeah. It's very different places.

Mark: So we settle into our lives again and start doing the things. And I guess this is what brings us to This idea of being a pagan every day,

Yucca: Mm hmm. Mm

Mark: right? Even when you're not, you know, putting on your, your fancy rags and, you know, going out to a, a celebration on at the beginning of February or at the spring equinox or whatever it is,

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: you know, there's, there's a way of being aware of what's going on around us in the natural world and a way of looking for the beauty and the opportunities to celebrate and to be happy that.

thAt characterizes a pagan life, I think, and it's always a work in progress, but I've certainly found that, especially since my pagan practice became atheopaganism, explicitly, um, I just, I have more happiness now, because, because I'm, I'm making it, I'm choosing it. And of course we have so much grim, dire, dystopian talk in our mainstream culture. I think it's really beneficial to teach yourself, you know, to get wowed by flowers and the shapes of clouds and,

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: you know, the, the color of the sunset and, You know, that, that new picture from from the James Webb Telescope and, you know, all those. Just cool, cool things. The conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon, you know, pretty fantastic.

Yucca: Yeah, and that isn't something that is a switch you can flip. It's not where you can just say, I am going to be a more joyful, happy, grateful person. It's something that you practice and become by doing. And that's where the daily practice really comes in.

Mark: Yeah, it's a muscle. You have to, you have to exercise it, and it will become stronger over time.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: And a daily practice for me is really important, and I don't have a super elaborate daily practice, but it's still something that I go back to every day. And it just reminds me, okay, I am, I'm on a pagan path, I'm revealing the natural world, I'm connected with all this, and this is the lens that I turn on the world.

This is, this is how I understand things. And that helps me.

Yucca: Yeah. And what that practice is can and will look different for every person and for different points throughout our lives.

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: I'm guessing that your daily practice is different than it was 10 years ago, than it was 20 years ago, probably even different than it was 5. There's probably some core elements, but there's things that change.

Throughout whatever's happening in your life, what are the things you need? And, you know, maybe there are things that really do work. There are certain things that work and we come back to. And then things that become more important at different points.

Mark: And what's lovely about neopaganism is that you are not prescribed rituals, you can design rituals that fit with yourself and your current needs and your own creative aesthetic and what the, the freedom in that. And the, the precision with which a practice can address your personal needs is really amazing.

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: is. And you can try lots of different stuff until you find something that goes, Ooh, that's really good. I want to do that every day.

Yucca: And there is not shame at all in trying out research. Something that you didn't completely invent, right? If you find something that somebody says, Hey, this is a way to do it, you do this, this, and this, and you try that out, and you do that, and kind of dedicate yourself to being consistent with it for a several week process, or however long you decide is what works for you there's value in that.

You don't, because one of the things in neopaganism is sometimes it can be a little Overwhelming for people. It kind of just seems like this free for, oh, whatever works for you, whatever works for you. Sometimes people are like, yeah, but I don't know what works for me. I need a starting point, something.

Yeah. And that's not, that's not necessarily a bad thing. That's just where somebody is at that moment. And, and then they get to know themselves better as they go through this process. And that's something that we can come back to, right? Yeah.

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: adding new things in, and you don't have to know from the get go exactly what's going to be the right fit for you.

Mark: No.

Yucca: You change over time.

Mark: And, and. At least in the naturalistic pagan pathways that we talk about here, um, you can do it any way you want that works for you, that's fine, but you can also be inspired by other sources in other traditions, which doesn't mean stealing them,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: but it means being inspired by them because there are a lot of things that are so called ritual technologies.

Yucca: Mm

Mark: That are very powerful. And, I mean, lighting candles, right? I mean, people light candles all over the world for a lot of different reasons in sacred contexts. So you're not stealing anything from anyone by lighting a candle or burning incense or, you know, that kind of stuff. But it can still be, you know, very evocative and powerful for you.

You've talked about, um, the Simmerpot at your house, Yucca. And that's, I mean, that's a ritual practice, right? It's something that you do in order to create scents in the home that reflect your seasonal aesthetic and, you know, and that's another reminder of, oh, oh, it's spring,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: you know, oh, the, the, the smell changed.

Mama changed the smell. So, we're in a different time now.

Yucca: And they're old enough now that sometimes they get to be involved in the choice.

Mark: Oh,

Yucca: they're real little, it just happens. But as they get a little bit older, it's, hey! What do you think? Which one today? What do you mean both? Okay, let's try both. That's almost always the answer. I don't know if that'll go, but sure, let's try it.

So yeah.

Mark: In yeah. Terry PR in the, the BBC production of the Terry Pratchett Novel Hog Father, which is the only holiday movie that I have to watch every year.

Yucca: We read the Hogfather every year.

Mark: Do you? Yeah, yeah. There's this wonderful line by one of the, the wizards at the the University of Uns, the unseen University of on Mor Pork, where he says, let's just take everything and mix it up and see what happens.

And that's, that sounds very much like a five year old choosing what sense to put in a pot.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: Don't wanna, you don't wanna miss out on anything, right?

Yucca: Right. And so, you know, I try to be good first. Knowing that the everything in might be an option, you know, I limit it down to two or three options to begin with, but they still, it's still gonna be all of them. And if you ask multiple kids at the same time, they, out of principle, will choose the opposite of the other ones.

Mark: Ah, okay. Individuation. It's a thing. Huh.

Yucca: it was, I wish I had like a, you know, a save button in real life so I could go back and check what would happen if you did. Ask them independently, right? Like in games where you can be like, what if I chose the other dialogue? What would have happened? I wish we could do that in real life. So,

Mark: daily practices. They can be a lot of different things. I mean, a daily practice can be going for a walk in your neighborhood.

Yucca: Mm

Mark: You know, for a half an hour every day and just looking at what's happening in the gardens or in the shop windows, or, you know, if you're in a big, dense, urbanized city you know, just what's going on with traffic right now you know, what, what are the clouds doing are there, are there wildlife around, are there birds that are, that are around that you don't necessarily see at other times of the year that, That function of paying attention.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: And particularly paying attention to look for reasons to be happy is a learned skill, like, like Yucca was saying, and it sure improves your life.

Yucca: Right,

Mark: You know, one of the things that, that I have a really hard time with the Abrahamic religions about is that they don't seem to put much focus on being happy.

Yucca: right. At least not the mainstream ones. I think we could say that they're definitely bran you, you could make that argument for Sufism or Quakers or, you know, there's branches that do bring that in, um, but not as a, that's not really the theme on the, on the big scale.

Mark: no well, anyway,

Yucca: That's a, another conversation about the whys behind that and

Mark: Yeah, and it's not our subject.

Yucca: the,

Mark: You, you can find another podcast to learn about, you know, what they're going for and what, what their goals are.

Yucca: Context for why it developed that way? Which is fascinating, but I personally don't know enough to actually really comment on that. I can say my guesses on, well, I listened to that, you know, that one podcast, and they said this and that, and that made sense to me, but that's not actually my field.

So.

Mark: Yep, very helpful when you know what you don't know. Which is, of course, one of the, the banes of the internet is that certain people are authorities on everything. You know, the Dunning Kruger, uh, syndrome, uh,

Yucca: ways, right? The less you know, the more you think you do, and the more you know, the less you think you do.

Mark: the less you think you do and the less certain you are about any of your conclusions.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: Which is why evidence is a good thing. But, just for us, I mean,

Yucca: And this whole process that we've been sorting out over, over hundreds of years to try and get closer in and spiral closer and closer into truth. It's pretty great.

Mark: it is.

Yucca: I'm a big

Mark: It is. And it spins out lots of things that are almost certainly true. There, there are things that are nailed down pretty well in terms of the way the universe works, and the way particular organisms operate, and, and that kind of thing. Now, at any given moment, there is an opportunity for some Contrary evidence to come along that shows that we don't completely understand them yet.

But the fact that you're in New Mexico and I'm in California and we're talking now

Yucca: Feels face to face.

Mark: yes, and we can broadcast this for people all over the world to listen to is a reflection of the fact that we've gotten pretty good at predictable stuff in many ways.

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: Yeah,

Yucca: And in other places, we've, we've got a long way to go, but. We've got a process to, a process to be able to approach it with.

Mark: Yeah, to get there.

Yucca: so, and when we talk about a daily practice, that's a process too. It may not necessarily be the scientific method, but you can actually bring a lot of that into your own life and that can be really helpful.

Right, just some of those, the, Your observation and testing and all of that, but having the process is really the first step

Mark: Yeah. And when you think about it, a lot of what people call a grimoire or a book of shadows, you know, those are great romantic names

Yucca: for your lab book, for your field book,

Mark: Exactly. That's, that's, that's exactly what it is. It's like, okay, I did this this time. It felt like this. This is what I would change.

This is what I would keep. Onward we go.

Yucca: right? And sometimes they even have very specific rules that you're supposed to follow, like writing in pen and, you know, all the things and dating it. Yeah, some, depending on what lab you're in, there's some. The rules can be pretty intense for how you do your notebook.

Mark: Really?

Yucca: Well, because they, well, again, depending on what the lab is, but you can later use that as evidence for patent disputes and all of that kind of stuff.

Mark: I see. Yeah, that makes sense. You don't want that stuff written in pencil.

Yucca: Yeah, so there's rules and now there's a lot of them have gone digital. But there's very specific rules about how you do it and even. So, one place that I worked, I had to have the supervisor initial when I crossed something out. They had to initial that it was like a second, a witness, basically, that you were crossing out in the notebook.

So,

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: Yeah, like with a contract. If you cross something out you have to initial it.

Yucca: yeah. But, the, when you're doing your Book of Shadow or something like that, you can come up with your own fun rules that you can do for whatever practical reason, but also Just because it makes it feel kind of special and, and, you know.

Mark: Yeah. Have a special pen. There's a member of the Atheopagan Society Council who is a fanatic about fountain pens.

Yucca: Ooh.

Mark: And she has all these amazing fountain pens and ink, including Ultraviolet, sensitive, invisible ink.

Yucca: Ooh.

Mark: Isn't that cool?

Yucca: like

Mark: You have to shine a UV flashlight on it in order to read it, but the pages look completely blank otherwise.

I mean, and there's, you know, there's all these wonderful inks like oxblood ink and, you know, all this stuff, which isn't actually made, isn't actually made from oxblood, it's just that color.

Yucca: Oh, okay. It's gonna say the DM in me immediately thinks of using that pen for a secret message that you have to give the players and they can't decipher it until you give them the right the right prop or something.

Mark: Yeah, yeah like a wand that glows UV,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Something like that. That would be really cool.

Yucca: You just come up with some fantasy sounding name for it instead of UV, though.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: Well, we used to have ultravision and infravision in Dungeons Dragons. That got turned into darkvision, which is a catch all. Covers You know, so instead of seeing a heat imprint, um, or, you know, seeing at far distance because the ultraviolet is more penetrating you just have this one magical thing that just lets you see stuff that's further away.

Yucca: Yeah, you just explain it in different ways, but it makes the The rolling work, the stats work easier.

Mark: It does. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm not going to talk about Shadow Dark. I really am not. We were talking before the thing, I got a new role playing game that I participated in the Kickstarter for, and it's, it looks really wonderful, and it's very simple. Very simple, modern mechanics, but a real old school kind of feel.

So, that's all I'm going to say about Shadow Dark.

Yucca: All right, um, well maybe that's one of those activities to do in the long stretches between holidays.

Mark: Yes. If it's going to be dark, you might as well be in a dungeon.

Yucca: right, yep, well this was great. Any other thoughts for the, for the new year, for our different topics today, of kind of the letdown from the holidays between. Holidays and daily practice.

Mark: I, I guess the one thing that I would reinforce is to experiment, you know, really ask, ask uncomfortable questions about the routines in your life that don't serve you, and experiment with different ways to make that feel better, um, and that's, that And a daily practice, to me, really helps. The daily practice should not feel like a burden. Remember, the practice is for you, you're not for the practice. It's, it's not like, you know, it's not like

Yucca: There's not some god that you're trying to please.

Mark: right, or some religious institution. So this is all about you identifying. What helps you to live what feels like an optimized life. Because you know what? When people are happy, they spread it around. They, when people are happy, they empower other people. They

Yucca: Just feel good to be around.

Mark: yes, they feel good to be around.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that's something we can all aspire to, I think. So yeah, this has been great, Yucca. Thank you so much for the conversation and Happy New Year!

Yucca: Happy New Year, everyone!