New Poem: Originality

Originality

I look around, at this world that’s yet so unknown

A frightened child, horrified at things that have been done

I don’t know why it hurts so much, I’m tired of this pain

All I wanted was to belong, to fit in once again

 

Symbols earned, vows spoken, the blood of ancestry

All tied together, yet don’t quench the ache in me

I fought so hard to get here, for my authenticity

Yet now that I’ve achieved it, I don’t know who to be

 

Hurt rolls inside me, spilling from my eyes

Yet no way to quench the pain, none I recognize

Why do they all turn away from what I have become

Because parts of me are different, I’m whole but not just one

 

Yet still I try to find that place where I fit in

Knowing deep in my heart it will never be again

I wonder why I pushed myself, why I did all this work

When there is no one around who knows what I’m truly worth

 

So now I go forth mindlessly, in this world of pain

Watching how I interact, learning to understand again

Everything is so difficult, everything’s so new

Unsure of where to go, I simply push through.

 

 

Photo from Deviant Art

Advertisements

If You Want Change, you must Move

cocoon_by_vuzelMany times I see people in the Pagan community who get ‘stuck’.  Through no fault of their own, they get into a position that they don’t seem to get out of.  I myself has fallen into this predicament many times in my life.  It doesn’t matter if it is a physical, spiritual or mental issue.  You become unable to move.  And you may feel so lost that you aren’t sure what way is up.  The situation can feel hopeless.  Many times it may take someone else’s help to start you moving to get out of the situation.

Sometimes people who are stuck like this come to me for an intuitive reading.  I have been honored to be the catalyst for some of these people to realize that there are issues in their life that they need to tend to, and that is what is making them stuck.  And I have been excited to watch as they start to lift themselves out of this situation, strengthen their spirit and find new ways to live and grow.  To see this transformation is a blessing in itself.  Someone who is willing to transform their energy also helps to lift others around them.  I think on these clients that have taken my suggestions and transformed with happiness and joy.  I am amazed at how powerful and strong they become.

I also get clients who aren’t for some reason willing to listen to my suggestions.  One pops out in particular, and I will use them for an example.  The reading brought out that this person’s spouse was cheating on them with the client’s best friend.  In fact, the client confirmed this, and went further to say that the best friend suggested to the client that they stay with their spouse because the spouse loved them so much. But the guidance from the reading was very much in disagreement.  The message I got for the client was that they needed to get out of the situation; that it was toxic for the client’s growth as well as their self-esteem.  Yet later, I ran into the client again at a local pagan event, still very much connected to the cheating spouse and best friend, who were at the event with the client.

Change isn’t easy.  It sounds easy, but it’s not.  In order to change, even a little, we have to be willing to change our habits and thinking.  We have to be willing to try something new and stick with those modifications in order to make a change stick.  It doesn’t matter if this change is physical, mental or spiritual; you have to put in the work to get what it is what you want.

In other words, you have to move toward that change.

The people who cannot move toward the change they wish may not be doing it purposefully.  Counselors are taught that when someone is in a situation they refuse to move from, it is because they are still getting something of value out of that change.  It may be negative feedback they are receiving, but they are still receiving something.  In the case of my client, perhaps they feel that they have an identity as a pushover, or a victim.  The client is getting feedback from the spouse and the best friend to stay in the relationship; in other words stay in the victim and/or the pushover role.   And until the client no longer wants that role, they will not make a move to change.

I know the theory sounds simple, and to those from the outside looking at someone stuck in a situation that is harmful to them, we may be flabbergasted that the person cannot change.  But this is far from simple to the person who needs to do the change.  It takes a great deal of courage to step out of that which is comfortable and try something new.  That is where those of us watching someone who is trying to make a change in their life need to tread carefully.  To us, the change a person is trying to make looks easy; but the person making the change feels like every move toward that change is a significant struggle.

Overall, the entire situation is frustrating for both sides, especially when the person who tries to make a change backslides.  It gets even worse when the person is so tied into the negative situation that they recognize it’s bad and constantly talk about the change they want yet never makes a move toward making things better. This happens a lot.  In cases where the person refuses to change, perhaps they are getting something from the people suggesting the changes.  Perhaps they are getting attention because of the situation they are in, and that is their reward for being in the negative situation. Another possibility is that there could be a reason why the change cannot occur yet.  Perhaps they need to understand what it is that is going on around them before they change, so when they are in a similar situation later, they know what they need to do, or could be of service to someone else facing the same change.

So why am I posting about this now?  It’s because I have seen it yet again this past weekend.  It’s the same scenario – someone wanting change, they were invited to come to a ceremony that would be a catalyst for that change, but suddenly they were not able to attend, even though they expressed an interest in trying to better their situation.  And after the event, those same people again started to lament that forces beyond their control forced them to not make it (which wasn’t entirely the case), and lament their woes because they yet again are stuck in a situation they cannot get out of.

It also doesn’t hurt to enlist help when making changes in your life.  In the scenario I presented above, the client might do well with a certified counselor.  Others may do well by looking into speaking with a trusted friend, a spiritual advisor, finding a support group, getting a divinatory reading or looking for help in an area that they have not yet tried.

Perhaps discussing in this post is the very basic theory of why people do and don’t change will help someone understand why they are stuck.  Perhaps someone will look at this and see the theory that is discussed, and have the a-ha moment to get out of this situation. Maybe not.  But writing about it is something that at least helps me.  I was not the only one who recognized that people who needed and wanted to be there to help get them out of the situation were not present.  I was not the only one this past weekend who gets frustrated with people who frequently complain about their situation but never do anything about it.  And perhaps I needed to re-remember the fact that it is THEIR lives, and perhaps they are stuck, but it isn’t my place to help them get ‘unstuck’ without their being a part of it.  I can’t force them to go do something that would force a change in their life.   They have to do it for themselves.  The only thing I can do is to ensure that should they get to the point where they refuse to help themselves, that I am aware that they are at that point and take care not to get involved in a situation with the person where I get pulled into their drama.

If you are someone who wants to make a change, don’t give up.  Even incremental movement is something.   Just being open to moving out of your comfort zone puts you way ahead of the game.  And for me, if people ask me for help, I’ll be there to do what I can, but it will be up to the person who wants to change to move.

Photo from Deviant Art

A Story About A Choice

IMG_1636

I want to tell a story about something that happened to me today.  this event was very profound, as nothing like this had ever happened, especially when I was at work.

I am lucky to work for a company that has a mile nature trail on its campus.  Many associates take advantage of this trail.  Some do it for the exercise, or just to take a break from the daily grind.  I do it for that, but I also realize that there are a significant number of spirits in the woods and in the stream near the trails.  So i frequently also send a mental ‘shout out’ to them as I walk by.  There have also been many times that I have had conversations with the ones that choose to speak to me, and from those conversations, I’ve learned a lot about the path that I am currently on.

Today however, things were very different.  I took the path at a fast clip, as there was another associate who was also walking, and my introverted self didn’t really want to walk near the associate and try to facilitate small talk.  He, recognizing that I had much longer legs than he did and was walking much faster, allowed me to pass, and off I went into the first leg of the wooded part of the trail.

And I immediately spotted a large brown and white feather right in the middle of the trail.

Without thinking, I scooped the feather up mid-stride, and never broke my pace.  The feather reminded me of one of a red tailed hawk, a predatory bird that is frequently seen where I live.  However I knew that it was not.  It also seemed beaten up, much like if the bird had lost it in a fight.  I knew that my seeing the feather was a sign of something, as there is very rarely any feathers on this trail that I walk on a frequent basis.

That’s why the second feather was so surprising when I saw it.

This one was all black, like it had come from a blackbird, raven or crow.  Again, all three have been seen around the area, so I really had no way of knowing.  However, this one, unlike the brown and white one, was perfectly formed and surprisingly longer than most.

When I first saw the feather, I walked by it.  After the third step I felt like I had to turn around and get it, to which I did.  The associate I passed was still in range, and watched me walk back to get the second feather.  I quickly took up my fast pace in order to not have any questions asked of me, and overtook a second group of associates walking the trail to get some distance.

As I was carrying the feathers, I took a trail not rarely used (it was full of mud – I didn’t care) in order to double back and make sure a proper ‘thank you’ was said for the feathers.  As I said, they are very rare on these trails, so I had thought that I was very fortunate to find two on the same day, not 20 feet from each other.

When I doubled back, I found that I was the last associate to utilize the trails for that lunch hour.  So I had it all to myself.  And after a proper ‘thank you’, I was off.

As I continued to the farthest part of the trail, I realized that these feathers were more significant than I had originally thought.  While I wasn’t told specifically what each feather meant, I was told that one of the feathers would have to go back to the trail, and with it, a choice was to be made in my spiritual practices.

The beat up one seemed to symbolize my past.  It symbolized the abuse, it symbolized how hard I had pushed through to heal from everything, but it also symbolized all of the strength that I had gained and the spiritual allies that came to my aid.  At least that is what I sort of ‘assumed’.  I was never able to get a straight answer.

The black feather I think symbolized the unknown.  And from it I could sense that there was a hint of a gateway to transform into something that I was not yet able to become.  In the metaphysical sense, I could tell this feather contained no darkness, but yet it contained no light.  The only thing that I could truly comprehend from the energy was that it contained the beginnings of something new.

At this point I was coming to the second trail, which has a bridge over a fast flowing stream.  I was told that I could not keep both feathers; that one had to be dropped into that stream.  And if I chose not to drop one of the feathers, there would be some sort of consequence that I would be choosing to face.

Now I was still at work, and even though I am allowed to take a longer lunch hour, I knew I had to get back to my desk as I was expected for meetings.  It was only within a matter of moments that I was going to get to the bridge and cross it.  And even though it was a short distance, I was surprised at how much dread, pain and longing I felt.  Even though the meanings of the feathers were never truly clear, I knew they had some significant importance, and I didn’t have any time to study or understand that importance.

So onto the bridge I went, and as requested, one of the feathers went into the water.  I watched as it spiraled down and the current carried it under the bridge and down the stream.  For a moment, I thought about going down and trying to grab it as I saw it head toward the bank, but thought better of it.  Instead, I quickly walked away before I could see if it would get stuck.

The second feather now sits on my desk, next to a feather I had found on another walk, and three stones I used for focus and meditation during the day.  the feather sits in the middle of the three stones, much like a small altar in between my two monitors.

I am unsure of all of the intricacies of what it is I have chosen.  All I know and believe is that I have chosen to step away from that which I know and into the unknowns of a new path, one that will hopefully lead me to becoming someone who knows myself well, and can utilize what I know I am for the good of myself and those around me.

 

 

 

Paganism, Christianity and the Fear of God Syndrome

12274546_939102306171108_602826363158521536_n

Tansy Pat wrote a post yesterday regarding the compelling topic of the Christian God.  His post is reminiscent of things that I have had to deal with, being raised in a Roman Catholic family and then dealing with family members that went to the ‘ultra’ conservative side of Christianity.  This is also something a significant amount of pagans have to deal with, and ultimately also has other facets including feelings toward family, our Christian upbringings and all sorts of other pain and problems that make the entire topic a frustrating ball of crap.

Personally, I think it was awesome of him to bring up this topic.  I think it is something that needs to be talked about.  It takes a lot of guts to start thinking about and dealing with feelings and thoughts about a God that so many of us were taught at a young age to love and abide by.  Quite a few pagans I know get so angry about their upbringings that they never reconcile this.  Instead it becomes locked in their memories, where quite a bit of energy is needed to keep it locked, and lots of anger and negativity is thrown around in defense of anyone trying to suggest to them that they open it.

If people realized how much energy that they spend trying to avoid things and how much less they would use if they just dealt with their hurts, perhaps they would be more willing to dig into it and get it over with.

Sorry, just a short healer rant there.  But I digress.

Years ago, while trying to get a pagan group together in the town I lived in at the time, I came across a woman who would cast protective spells on her things.  She was very outgoing, and spoke often about different Gods and Goddesses.  However, when I approached her about the meetup I was trying to form, I got a very peculiar answer.

“I don’t want to get any other Gods mad at me”.  She replied.

When I pressed further, she changed the topic, and taking the hint I dropped it.  I found out later that her mother was a devout Christian.  And because she lived with her mother, she did a significant amount of work with her mother’s church.  So she was saying she didn’t want to get the Christian God mad at her for going to a Pagan meetup.

Her response to me was a clear and classic case of the “Fear of God” syndrome.  It is something that until recently I dealt with too.  And I think it is also the thing that Tansy Pat speaks about in his post:

When I feel my heart flutter, when I feel anxiety, when I encounter hardship, when my blood sugar drops suddenly and I am faced again with the reality of being diabetic…I have this ingrained urge to believe I am being punished by this god I no longer worship, that I have brought these things upon myself.

When we start getting called by other gods growing up, or when we realize we have gifts that no other playmate or friend has, we start to become torn.  Our heart and gut says we have to honor ourselves.  However that is quickly overridden by our minds, which tell us that doing something like that is “bad” and will push us towards the path of “hell”.  I think the ‘Shit happens’ joke was right when it classified Christianity as “Shit happens because you are bad”.  We get that slammed into our brains so much it becomes a part of our DNA.  And no matter how much we fight it or lock away our feelings about our past, the fear is always there.

Tansy speaks to how he started figuring out how to deal with this Fear of God syndrome in his next post, where he talks about starting to recognize the origins of the Christian God.  By doing this, the Christian God starts to fit in within his framework of Divinity and thus he becomes more comfortable with it.  That was huge.

I am doing my best to handle my own Fear of God Syndrome.  But unlike Tansy, I have to fit it into my own personal framework.  It doesn’t fit to me to look at the history of God, and that is OK.  For me, I had to recognize where it fit by my discussion with the Christian God when I was still forced to attend mass.

As a minor, I was still forced to go to Roman Catholic mass, and of course, take communion.  At that time I was already a full-fledged witch and working with the native spirits where I lived.  However, not wanting to be totally disrespectful, I recognized the importance of communion to the Catholic tradition, and thus said a prayer to the Christian God to remove the blessing associated with the host after I consumed it.  I did this every time I took the host.  And every time, the reply I got was a joyful feeling that I could keep the blessing, even though I considered myself outside of the Christian religion.

It wasn’t until more recently that I recognized what the rest of the message was.  By the Christian God’s allowance of my keeping that blessing, I realized the Christian God isn’t the type of God that most Christians today believe or pray to.  The Christian God is a loving, caring god that is higher on the stalactite spectrum and excludes no one, unlike what most of his believers say.  If you pray to him, he listens, and if you don’t, that’s OK too.  If you have to recognize what his historical origins are to accept him, that is awesome.  If you have to just look him as divinity as a whole and not use his name, that’s fine too.

What makes things uncomfortable around the Christian God are his believers.  99% of the congregations in the United States don’t have a true home for the real Christian God in their churches.  There are a few that get it; the “Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented” group on Facebook, Pastor Rob Bell, who wrote the book “Love Wins” and immediately lost his congregation because of his writings gets it.  John Pavlovitz, whose blog “Stuff that Needs to be Said” has over 17,000 followers and over 18,000 Facebook followers also gets it.  They are the minority right now, but the movement has started to find a place back to what Christianity is supposed to be.

All of this recognition has allowed me to stop looking at Evangelical Christians with anger (although people like Kim Davis still get me in an uproar at times).  Instead, I look at them with pity.  If they knew the God I felt in that church all those years ago, perhaps they wouldn’t have so much anger and hatred for others.  Perhaps they would stop judging and start truly loving as they claim.

We as human beings are too individual to fit under one religion.  It was never meant to be.  We need to not be afraid to broaden our own horizons and find where we fit, where our soul can call home.  And we also need to be courageous enough to deal with the damage caused by trying to fit us into a ‘one size fits all’ belief system that truly doesn’t exist.   I believe doing both of these things is required for us to truly be free enough to worship our Gods and Goddesses with a complete body and soul.

Destructive Awakening; Dealing with Spiritual Struggle

theaesir

Upliftconnect.com on occasion has some articles that make you think.  Currently I am having some very hard time standing still, as I’ve talked about in my last posts.  So when I saw this post about how Awakening is a Destructive process, I realized that this topic is something that although discussed a lot, isn’t something that we truly understand unless it is currently happening to us at the present time.  But it would do us service to remember it more often.

Psychologically, we as humans don’t do something unless we get some sort of reward out of it.  An easy example of this is overeating.  I still have problems with this from time to time.  Inevitably, I get triggered by something that starts to give me uncomfortable feelings.  It could be a problem at work, lack of sleep or a multitude of other things.  But I know subconsciously, if I get uncomfortable with something, I can put something in my mouth, albeit chocolate, coffee, chips or other unhealthy things, to help me deal with that uncomfortable feeling.  The food that I put in my mouth will inevitably allow my brain to release endorphins in my blood, which makes me feel better.  That is my reward for eating, and thus, I also side step those uncomfortable feelings.

But those endorphins don’t last long, and sooner or later that uncomfortable feeling comes back.  So do I eat again, causing myself more problems down the road by gaining weight, or should I start focusing on what it is that makes us uncomfortable?  It’s a simple yet painful dilemma.  I either get the quick reward from eating, or I travel the hard road of dealing with what makes me uncomfortable and take away the trigger.

Not only do we have to deal with psychological issues, but many of us on a spiritual path have to deal with the exact same thing in the spiritual realm as well.  What I hear my Gods tell me is to surrender to the uncomfortable feelings and the suffering it brings.  They tell me the only true way to deal with emotions is not to hide from them, but to lean in to that which hurts and find the root of the problem.  Once that is done, we will have started to shatter that which has hold on us.  Then are able to move forward.  But this time, we move forward as more awakened beings who are more in tune to the earth and much more alive.

This destructive process is different for everyone.  It’s even hard to explain to another pagan because it is such a personal experience.  Over the years I have heard about many journeys and stories of reconciliation of struggle from friends, and many are vivid accounts of issues and problems that seem to melt away once they finally start to understand where the true suffering is coming from.  Even though the experience and timing of these spiritual struggles various, the term ‘dark night of the soul’ has been coined in part because the struggle is shared by so many.

As we are starting to prepare for a new year, I am certain that many of the people who read this already are having struggles of their own, or will have to rise up to meet a struggle like this sometime soon.  Remember that you are not alone, that the process will take as long as it takes, and that there will be an end to the struggle.  And what will come out of the struggle is a stronger, more connected, more authentic person.

Enlightenment is a destructive process.
It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier.
Enlightenment is the
crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing
through the facade of pretense. It’s the
complete eradication of everything we
imagined to be true.
– Adyashanti

 

November and the Shaking of the Bones

IMG_0667I take a break from my day job by taking a daily walk around the area near my work.  Normally, the stroll involves a dead end street that has very few businesses and lots of trees.

As fall hits the Midwest,  I have been struck by how much the trees have changed after the falling of the leaves.  The trunks of some of these trees seem like they have become whiter as the days grow colder.  That whitening very much reminds me of the process of bones being whitened by their exposure.

The analogy fits for the time of the year.  The celebration of death and the harvest has come and gone.  Now we are catching our breath and be still before the rush of holiday mundanity hits us between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day.

The vision of those whitening trees awoke in me another realization.  It takes stillness to start the transformation into something new.  Stillness allows you to look within yourself and listen for the voice that gives you direction to move forward in a new way.  We must make time for that stillness in order to understand what our next steps in this life are in preparation for the new beginnings of Yule.

This is so very true for me in this moment.  I recognize the need to be still and let my own bones picked clean of things that I no longer need in my life.  I need to recognize the fact that I am enough.  I don’t need the baggage I have carried around for years in order to move forward spiritually anymore.  I am OK to be who it is I am; no gimmicks, no self-imposed guilt, no Ego.  Just me, myself and I standing in the dark, ready to accept what is in store.

It’s harder than it sounds; I felt like I have pushed myself to have control for a significant portion of my life.  Now in many aspects of my life I am no longer in control, and I have had to learn to be OK with it.  Further, the only way to really be true to what it is I am and what I am to do is to recognize that I don’t need to be in control of what is happening.  I just need to learn to trust myself and my strengths in order to get through this time within my life.

When I started this new path, I was told that things would be uncomfortable; but that I would never be lead into things I could not handle.  I deeply trust in that.  I am being asked to be still and look into that which I am frightened of during this dark time of the year.  I will do my best to do just that.