How things have changed over time

At the beginning, I wanted so badly to make the world a better place. Instead, I was pushed to focus on making my own life better. Sure, social and environmental issues are important too, but I don’t have the ability to do anything about them, and worrying about it was just making me feel awful all the time, which only hurts me without fixing anything. Better to focus on my own happiness, selfish as that may sound.

There were many other instances where I wanted to go one way, and was advised to go a different way, and sometimes back and forth.

At one point, I needed to take a break from social media, blogs, and people in general, and focus just on myself, without any other voices in the room. I need that from time to time, to be alone with myself for a while, but this time I needed it for much longer.

Then it was the opposite: I was encouraged to spend MORE time with people, put myself out there and interact more with people I don’t know well, as well as spend more time with friends.

Do more, do less, do more again but don’t go overboard. Avoid stressful situations–then go INTO stressful situations and deal with whatever needs dealing with, but be careful to only take on as much as I can handle. And so on, in every aspect of life. I didn’t always understand, but I went along with most of it, because it felt right.

After a couple years, I’m starting to see where all the little nudges have been leading me. I’ve been going in a certain direction for some time, but as things keep shifting around me all the time, I keep having to adjust various things to maintain a balance.

I still struggle with some things, especially things like asking for help when I need it, but I’m slowly getting there.

And all the little things that seemed unrelated to anything else? They all fit together. Like the moment when you realize that all those boring hours of practicing scales have given you the skill needed to play a song, and the seemingly pointless repetition now makes sense. And even though there’s still a long way to go…that moment of understanding, that’s something.

Well, that’s the generalities. In looking at specifics, this is what has stuck with me most:

“Choose life, every day.”

Why I was away

Two months since my last post. Between feeling disconnected from my gods, and being heartsick, and…things I can’t talk about, there hasn’t been much to say.

I can talk about it a bit now, though.

Oct 1, 2015
September was a very difficult month, emotionally speaking. My life in general had been going well, and I was happy. The only not-great thing was that I haven’t been able to feel any of my gods for some time, but I figured they were probably just busy, no big deal. But their absence continues, and I miss them more and more the longer it goes on.

I know that things like stress can make muck up signal reception, but I’ve been feeling pretty good, so I don’t get it. Still, I wasn’t worried, I expected it would clear up eventually. But now it’s been going on long enough that it has started to bother me.

And then I started having some other problems, the sort where it would really help to talk to someone, and I found myself with no one to talk to; not only were all my gods silent, but all my human friends are unavailable too! I thought I would just wait a bit until someone becomes available, but weeks went by, and everyone is still unavailable, and I have gone from sad to desperately lonely.

But then I realized, everyone is unavailable. Maybe that’s my cue that I need to spend some time by myself. I wish I didn’t have to be alone, but sometimes it’s needed.

Once I committed to giving myself time alone, I calmed down. I still miss everyone, but I’m no longer desperate. I’m doing well by myself. It’s even kind of nice, not having to think about anyone other than myself, for a while. Not to sound like thinking about the people and deities in my life takes effort, no, having them in my thoughts is natural and effortless, but after a while I get so used to having them in my thoughts all the time that I forget how to be me by myself.

And so I occasionally need to spend some time alone, with myself.

I had been, unintentionally, alone for over a month already. But being alone, in itself, provides no benefit. I need to take an active part in my solitude, I need to intentionally withdraw from the world, to get back to myself. I wish I had remembered that sooner. I guess I need more practice.

I have no idea how long I’ll need to be alone. I promised myself that I would take as long as it needs. I want to talk about this, but I’m going to hold off on updating my blog until after this is done, as talking about it now would be the opposite of having time alone.

Oct 12, 2015
I am ready to come out of my hermitage. Twelve days? It felt like several weeks.

I had abandoned wordpress and facebook for more than a month, and was only minimally active on tumblr. My level of activity on social media had already decreased drastically, even before I realized that I needed time alone. I think I was drifting away from social interaction even without realizing it, but I still tried to cling to friends, and to my deities, and that had to stop for a while, to give me a chance to do what I needed to do.

It’s good to be back.

As I’m thinking over everything that’s happened and where I am in life, I think I’m at a better place right now than I have ever been. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s also really good, with a promise of even better things to come.

Life is a struggle, but I will keep striving to get to where I want and need to be, and I will get there.

Changing directions

When I was little, I started out with an animistic view of the world. Then I was taught that some things are not alive, and even though plants are living things in a sense, they don’t possess consciousness. At the time, I believed that, because the grownups know what’s what, right? But eventually I ended up defaulting back to animism. I can’t remember when or how that happened, and it’s interesting to me, because no plant or stream or anything ever talked to me, so what was my belief even based on? But it’s the only thing that ever felt right to me.

Whatever else I may be, it’s built on a foundation of animism, and that affects how I interact with the world: Since I believe that everything deserves to be treated with respect, I try to be a good neighbor or a good guest to whoever I’m sharing space with. And when I see places where nature is hurting, I want to help.

That desire, of wanting to make things better somehow, that’s been the most important thing to me for…I guess most of my life. I think it is a good aspiration, but it seems I need to walk a different path.

The way I relate to the world won’t change, I will go on being a good neighbor, but I have to give up this notion of trying to help make things better. I think help is very much needed, but that work is not for me. I have other things I need to be doing; I need to focus on that now, and let this go. There is a keen sense of loss in this, but I want to move forward.

Despite that loss, I’m happy with my new direction. I think I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and really excited to be moving forward. Also a little scared, because while I have a general sense of where I’m going and how I’ll be getting there, I don’t know how I’m supposed to get past all the obstacles in my way. But I’m going for it anyway. I have to.

Pain

Changes are coming. Life-altering changes. The process has already started and cannot be stopped. It’s not something that I would want to stop anyway; what’s coming is a good thing, great even, and something that I want very much. But it hurts.

I don’t understand why it should be painful. I get to watch something amazing unfold, something that I wished for a very long time, and I’m happy that it’s happening…so why does it hurt?

(Sorry for the vagueblogging, I’m just posting this for myself.)

(ETA: Here’s a non-vague post about it.)

Reblog: “Karma” by B. T. Newberg

Humanistic Paganism

There is only one stream of karma: cause and effect.

There is only one stream of karma: that of the entire ecosystem.

There is no individual karma, all is inextricably bound together.

There is no individual karma, all return to the earth equally at death.

The good receive their just reward: rejoining nature, freed of ego.

The bad receive their just punishment: annihilated into nature, freed of ego.

Rejoining the original influence, the good are physically recycled for the nutriment of all.

Expunged of ill influence, the bad are physically recycled for the nutriment of all.

Those who wish worse for the bad misperceive their place in the ecosystem.

Those who wish better for the good misperceive their place in the ecosystem.

They think individually, but they are not individuals.

They think individually, but they are the one earth.

There is only one stream of karma: cause and effect.

There…

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Monday’s rite

I was going to do this writeup on Tuesday, but my family had a medical emergency (everyone is okay now) so I had to postpone things. Luckily I had made some notes so I remember what I want to say. Always make notes!

~

Monday’s rite was pulled together last minute. I wasn’t planning to do anything, but the thought of ancestors came up, and then I suddenly got very emotional, with a sense of urgency, like “Do the thing, and do it NOW.” So I went out, got the flowers and bread, and did the thing.

It had been a long time since I’ve spent any time with my akhu. I keep meaning to do something for them, but I never know what to do or what to say, so I kept putting it off.

I thought I might do something for The Beautiful Festival of the Valley, but didn’t, as usual. That was around the 20th, I think. After that, things started…coming to my attention. There was one particular ancestor who was on my mind a lot. No reason for it, she was just…there.

And then the 25th hit me pretty hard, being both Memorial Day and The Glorious 25th of May. Yes, the latter is a fictional holiday. The Discworld quotes made me cry, which they’ve never done before. And then the crows. There were crows everywhere. At that point I said “Alright, I hear you, I’ll do the thing.”

I had had plans for Monday. But no, “We’ve canceled your plans, you’re doing this now.” Alright then, time to get to work.

I cleaned the room and changed into clean clothes, and felt like I should wear something red. Then it was off to the store. I thought bread would be a good thing to have, so I ran out for a fresh-baked bun, and also some flowers. I was thinking carnations or something, but I ended up with roses. I do not like roses, but that’s what came home with me. Well, they’re not for me, so whatever they like, right? I also unexpectedly picked up some strawberries.

I notice there was a red theme. Red roses, strawberries, red bowls, red candle, and me wearing red. I’m not sure if the color co-ordination was coincidence or not. If it was purposeful, I don’t know the reason for it. There’s the obvious connection of blood, but maybe not.

This day was for all of those whose actions have made it possible for me to be here. Not just ancestors related to me, but anyone whose life has had a part in bringing me to where I am.

The candle burned from 6pm until after sunset. That idea of taking the light into the night also came up unexpectedly.

Other than making the offering and inviting any who were interested in being present, I didn’t do much, basically just thanked them. I said a bit more than that, but that about sums it up. I also tried to be open to them talking to me, but didn’t get anything. Which is how it usually goes, but I try. Although it was mostly uneventful, I did sit with them for the full three and a half hours. That time spent together felt very important, and I wanted to give it–and my dead–the attention they deserved.

For my honored dead

I thank those who came before
and paved the way for me.
I would not be where I am
if it wasn’t for all of you,
both ancestors and strangers,
whose actions have made possible
that which I have today.
May you never be forgotten.

 

A cup of water, bread, strawberries, roses, and a candle.

I’ll post a longer writeup of this tomorrow.