Dear Pagani, Friends, and Self,
I was tempted to make this into another Pagan Values posting… I feel like I was slacking in not writing more posts; but inspiration and my everyday life had some things for me other than writing on Pagan Values like trying to live some of them. Besides there are so many excellent posts that it will take me a good long while to do up the Pagan Values Blogging page….
I’m stalling, let’s start over…
I was tempted to write this as a Pagan Values post, you know how in the many forms of Paganism our Values eventually force us to take a look at ourselves… whether its the Virtues of Witchcraft, or the Nine Noble Virtues, or the Mos Maiorum, or the Delphic Maxims, or however your particular Pagan path or predecessors codified their Virtues and Values and Ideals; at some point you need to stop looking at the list and start looking at yourself, and how Pagan practices encourage this? I do believe this, but I also think that writing this out of my head and heart and onto the screen will help me to deal with some of the Shadows of the title! This is in part as a result of the many Pagan Values essays I’ve read this month and in part due to some situations in my personal life. I have been trying to take a good long look at myself, my practice, and how I interact with and relate to the world around me.
I have been, and to some extent still am, a deeply fearful and insecure person. I have, and sometimes still do, hesitate(d) to act rather than failing at soemthing ~ even when doing ANYTHING was better than doing nothing. I have often allowed my own internal sense of a lack of worth guide me or influence me in my decisions and reactions.
I am responsible for those actions and decisions, I cannot undo them. I can cut the emotional ties of fear and self-doubt and self-loathing that tether my current self to those memories. I can do the difficult work of looking at myself and questioning why I am so driven to try and do for others and yet so often hesitant, or even unwilling, to do things for myself.
A friend recently asked me if I could honestly say that I loved myelf… and I couldn’t. I Do really-really like myself… but for whatever reason I hesitate to open my heart in Love to myself…
I can scry into my past in the mirror of my contemplation and see some of the roots and origins of these behaviors… Mom’s problems with alchoholism and depression, the disfunctional family dynamic growing up, Dad’s constant needlig, and my own reactions and bad choices related to all of the above. This view in the mirror of my contemplation isn’t all bleak or shadowy however!
I can look at my life and see so many times where I was capable seeing the saner better path, even when I was afraid to take it. I can see so many times in my journey where I stumbled and shuffled towards the path of sanity and strength and confidence and self-acceptance and self-love. I can see that I am at a point where I genuinely feel like I am ready to walk, rather than stumble, on the road of this journey.
For a lot of years there was this internal hesitation, this “someday later” when I would begin to live my life and deepen my practice and chase my dreams. Well, I believe, I feel, I think the time is now.
I have set aside a book for a dream journal. I am swimming daily. I am working on remembering to breathe correctly, I am excercising (swimming) each day, and I am praying.
I am beginning.
5 thoughts on “Staring into my Shadows”
I am beginning.
Excellent. That’s how it begins. Each day gives us a new chance. Do not let yesterday use up too much of today.
Good for you, Pax. May Hecate’s torch light the path before you.
Congratulations on having the courage to realize these things.
It’s funny, because I’ve come to the same conclusion lately- I put too much off because of some mythical “someday”.
So here’s to us!
Pax, I wish I knew you. I would love to share a pot of tea and slice of fresh pie with you at my kitchen table.
So: I just came from a week-long Gathering of 1300 Quakers, where I taught/led/facilitated a 15-hour workshop, with 20 participants, called “The Goddess Is Alive and Magic Is Afoot,” on the Goddess and magic.
And one of the things that came up in the workshop, and turned into the real work of the workshop, was healing from past trauma, from violence, from the unexpected deaths of loved ones, from marriages or partnerships gone bad, from the losses of ordinary life, from sexual assault, from childhoods that left us with coping strategies that were good then, but not compatible with the kinds of lives we can and want to lead now…
Transforming surviving into thriving; transforming seeds into fruits.
Magic, the good, old-fashioned, hard-work kind, has a role in this.
Magic is creating change in accordance with will. For many of us, what we will is to change our lives — to be happy, healthy, free from traumatic symptoms, free of critical voices that still repeat themselves in our heads, joyful, grace-filled, blessed, drama-free, surrounded by family of the heart (whether related to us or not), doing work we love (whether paid or volunteer), to love ourselves whole-heartedly… Each of us has something to contribute to that vision.
For me, the work I did in therapy healing from violence and creating change in my life, the work we did in my Coven to create change in the world and in each other’s lives… These have all been part of that magic.
So perhaps part of your Pagan values are: knowing thou art God; being divinely imperfect; growing in love for yourself; being patient with yourself/with the God-within…
I could go on, but it’s your story to tell. 🙂