As I go throughout my life, I recognize more and more that I need limits. Not only are they important in my physical life and in dealings with other people, but they are important in my spiritual life as well.
I am not the type of person to shy away from a challenge, especially when it pertains to my self-improvement. I’ve done a lot of things toward the goal of making myself a better person over the years. I’ve lost significant amounts of weight, quit smoking, quit eating things that were bad for me or that I was allergic to. (I know that one is a given, but I know family members who refuse to give things up, even when they know it hurts them!) I’ve changed my demeanor to the point that I have had people who haven’t seen me for a while come up to me and tell me I am a totally different person than what they knew before. The changes aren’t being driven from the outside. Instead, I’ve always wondered how far I can push myself to change, and to see what those changes would do for me.
Self improvement is one of the very basic things that I believe the Gods want us to do in this lifetime; we have to deal with the things that we are given, deal with the things that we have done to ourselves, and of course, deal with the stuff that others do. We have to get through all of this in order to get to the nature of who it is we are as human beings. It is only then that we see the gifts that the Gods give us to use in service to ourselves and others.
To that end, I believe the Gods take an active role in pushing you further in this life. They are going to give you opportunities to come to terms with things that are going on. They are going to give you opportunities to deal with roadblocks you put in your own way. And as a reward, they are going to give you keys to the different gifts that you hold inside of yourself. And the more you push yourself, the more the Gods will push you to go deeper into your spiritual path. In the end, what you do makes you better equiped to do their will on this planet. It’s never more than you can handle, but they still give as much as you think you can take.
That’s where the limits come in.
I’m recognizing the days of ‘overhauling’ my personal nature are pretty much over. At 41, I’m finally recognizing that I am enough, and that a lot of the mistakes, abuse and issues from my past are now dealt with. And if they aren’t dealt with now, they are at least on their way to becoming dealt with. But for a while there, I still kept piling on projects like I still needed a lot more work, and the Gods reciprocated by opening up other doors of possibility for me.
Finally, a couple months ago, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with stuff. . A friend of mine, after hearing about how in conversations with my Gods I was told about these possibilities, said to me that it was OK to say no. That thought had never occurred to me before. Say no to a God? Seriously?
It took me some time to realize it was true. And it’s all a part of self-care that I needed to do for myself now.
Now I understand. My Gods want me to say ‘no’ from time to time. It helps them know that I am putting my self-care first, something that is very important because of the physical maladies that I have to deal with on a day to day basis. They want me to know that I can stand up for myself, whether it be to them or to someone else who is either imposing on my time or causing me undue stress and harm.
I have a bet too, that I’m not the only one that needs to say ‘no’ occasionally. Gods, especially those in the Norse pantheon, don’t want us to bow and venerate them all of the time. They want us to work with them, both to make ourselves better and to make this world a better place. But the only way we can effectively enter a relationship with them and do that is if we are honest about our own limits. It’s weird to think that we can say ‘no’, as I know many who worship in pantheist traditions don’t think that they can. And those of us who were brought up in said traditions immediately carry that mindset of not being able to say ‘no’ to their polytheist practice.
Now that I have accepted it, I realize setting limits needs to happen frequently, and we need to be aware that they change. As a sufferer of fibromyalgia, I am constantly reviewing my efforts to stay active. And that means that if I want to pursue one activity, another one is going to suffer. I have to be OK with that. It doesn’t mean I’m going to drop the activity that suffers, but it does mean that it needs to go on hold for awhile. This is the same with my spiritual practices. I can’t spend an hour each day on practicing and reviewing the runes while also wanting to do a significant meditation practice and build a better spiritual gardening practice. All of that takes time and energy, and with fibro, both of those are significantly limited.
Especially as we start to journey toward the Autumnal Equinox, I find my spiritual practices going back to focusing on balance. Limits need to be created and maintained in order to find that balance. We still aren’t through this extensive year of work yet; and I expect the next months until year’s end are going to be very productive on many different levels. Reviewing and redefining my limits right now are going to go a long way to getting myself ready for the work ahead.
Photo from Deviant Art