October 4th, 2005
|10:50 am - "There are good days and bad days and going half-mad days. . ."|
I've been drawing trees of life and sephirot and labyrinths and emanations and sketches of God's personality. I bought two more books on Judaism, one of them on mysticism and the other on Sabbatai Zevi. I checked out necklaces representing various Kabbalistic ideas at the RenFest on Saturday, yet decided not to purchase.
A thought occurred to me while standing in line to get some food on Saturday. All this work in this paradigm may, very well, be over the top. It's entirely possible that I can get back what I feel I've lost though much simpler (and more Pagan) methods of piety and prayer.
I ought to confess something:
My altar has remained untouched since Summerland.
Honestly, I struggle with piety daily. I always have. My meditation journals are pretty crappy, honestly, and show that I had serious issues with mental discipline to start with. I shoot for twice daily devotionals, and in good times, I manage them. But as things have come up (or fallen down), the good times have been fewer than the bad ones for me.
This, in itself, doesn't bother me (i.e. that there are more bad than good times). Such things are par for the course when one is trying to get over a breakup.
What does bother me is my neglect of my altar and devotions. I certainly don't believe any less, I'm not having any sort of crisis of faith. . . yet I can't seem to get to my altar for 30 seconds to light three candles and stand in the presence I so love to stand in.
Perhaps, in the end, I generally find myself feeling unworthy, which is strange because I know I'm not. I know that no matter what, when I stand before my altar the next time, I'll be filled with those things I long to be filled with. It could be tomorrow or ten years from now, and the feeling will be the same. I don't feel like I've done things against my faith, or like I should be punsihed or anything like that. . . a religion without sin doesn't have room for those feelings. Yet at the same time, I have been acting as if my altar isn't even there.
I don't lack connection to my deities, either. I can feel them, see them, and taste them throughout my reality. They permeate just as strongly as they always have.
And yet dust gathers on my altar.
I feel that this is terribly wrong, and yet, I'm unsure how to fix it. I have no illusions about a magic wand that will make my bad days into good ones, or even really a sense that more good days will fix this issue.
Something tells me, though, that fixing the issue might just bring in more good days than bad.
But yesterday was a good day. I spent much of it chatting over IM with, exchanging emails with, reading letters from, or talking (in person or on the phone) with some of the most important people in my life.
I got into my office and found an IM waiting from Erien. In between customers and tickets, we had a wonderful, if short, conversation.
I saw singingwren and mistw02 briefly at lunch for a short chat with both and a flip through a Maxim magazine with the former.
I came home to not one but five letters from shizukagozen, which I then puzzled through the order of and I *think* I managed to read them in order. They're amazing letters, the kind you cherish for years and years. (And she only misspelled one word, go her!)
Tina came home shortly after that, and we made plans to go see Star Wars Ep. III. She'd never seen it, so we had dinner together and waited for the showtime to roll around.
While waiting for the night to sufficiently advance so that we weren't bumming around Sawmill and Bethel for four hours, healing_coyote called, and we chatted for a good hour until her hunger finally won out and she had to go eat.
Add to this that I got to converse with various other people, from jadewaterflame to perlgirlju, and you have a winning combination for a good day.
Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Music: "If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me", -JB
I have an mp3 of a neat song I think you should hear.
Sounds good to me. What's the song?
Coph Nia - Our Lady of the Stars
Certainly something I haven't heard yet. I'd love to.
I have a thing for stars. And women. So I can't go wrong.
Email it or try to send it through an IM?
email, please. IM doesn't work on my machine for file transfers.
I don't have your email. I'm guessing your last name dot something at osu dot edu, but you might have a gmail account. My email should be visible to you from my info page.
Sent :) Obviously, neither of us is keen on putting our emails on an open post that can be indexed :)
I get enough spam in my email without some webcrawling bot picking my email out so it can send me stuff I wouldn't be interested in if you put a gun to my head.
Your icons always make me smile.
|Date:||October 4th, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC)|| |
I have a similar problem with regular piety (note how often I make rituals). It's the same trouble I have going to the gym or getting up in the morning. But at the same time I have no trouble attending four regular RPG's (albeit on alternating days). I go to Spaghetti warehouse with friends every wednesday and I don't miss it unless I'm dead. I watch House every tuesday.
I had the same problem with TKD and kung Fu. I love it, I just can't bring myself to go. Maybe it's because it's hard?
Maybe. Maybe it's because I have to put something into it to get somehting out, whereas the other things are instant gratification.
Or maybe I just don't like those other things as much as I hope i do. I know I like my religion. I like it better than any other religion there is. But how much is that? I like martial arts, but I likve movies more than training. Is it just that I'm lazy, is it that I actually have ot put work into these things to make them worth doing while others do all teh work for me in those other activities . . . or maybe I'm just fooling myself about how much I like those things.
it's a weird thing to ponder and I ponder it often. I'm still not sure.
It is a perpetually difficult problem.
Part of it may be seeing obligations to others as more important than obligations to the self. Each of those things you do (and each of the thing I do), the things we make all the time, involve others.
Kung Fu, regular personal worship, and gym time all focus on the individual. We have trouble doing things for ourselves sometimes, I think, which is why other things are easier to get to. You have someone pushing you on, expecting your presence, being social with you.
Of course, this doesn't explain how you manage to never show up at a publig Grove function (unless it's a movie), but no theory is ever totally correct.
I totally understand this. I had the same problem with karate. But for me, what chafed the most was routine.
You see, we all like to have some degree of constancy. And the point of daily devotionals is to have a regular prayer/ritual. We don't want to do it just sometimes, but rather all the time. Because of this, even though we may be eager and motivated, there is still a concern that doing it according to a schedule will eventually diminish its (perceived) worth.
The problem with karate, for example, was that I had to do it twice a week on the same days at the same time (with the occasional third class a week thrown in to make up for the rare missed classes) for over three years. Naturally, by the second year, even though I was advancing and karate was still pretty awesome, it had started to become a chore. I became so tired and busy and stressed and whatever that I didn't want to have to do karate twice every week NO MATTER WHAT, I just wanted to take breaks and relax now and then. I was getting burnt out. I started to DREAD karate even though deep down I loved it. And that was a huge problem.
That is why daily devotionals concern me. I am afraid that, in the effort to keep them going, I will convert them into a do-or-die duty that strips away the sincerity and enjoyability of doing them. It's really hard when you try to do something regularly NOT to start to see it as a chore, as one more thing on your to-do list you have to do even when you wake up sick and tired or twenty-five minutes late for work. Of course we are not Nazis about it (or at least I won't be...?) but that doesn't mean we aren't striving to instill a new norm.
As for the individual thing, that's both true and not true. Me, I find it HARDER to deal with things for other people, because then since I cannot read their minds I have a tendency to exact my own ridiculously high standards on myself. I am never satisfied with what I do for others, and I never feel like it is enough... if it's for me, I also demand my personal best, but I am more understanding of how my own mind works. If I let myself down or compromise myself, sometimes, I can deal with that accordingly and move on fairly well, but if I let down another person, that is infinitely worse.
The reason this makes it harder is because it greatly increases the pressure -- and thus, while you do do whatever it is, burn-out looms threateningly closer and it is easy to grow resentful of the relentless expectations you feel are being leveled at you (whether or not they are all in your head.) Karate was fun, yes, but it stopped being fun when I realized I was only going because everyone was watching me and waiting for me to get my blackbelt. I did it out of duty, not out of love. And things done out of duty, though sometimes admirable, are weak in comparison to things done out of one's true will.
I think, after writing this, I realize my own biggest hang-up: I am afraid to start daily devotionals because I know my standards for myself are unforgiving and it's hard to accept that the Kindred might be somewhat more forgiving or understanding than me. I don't want to do them until I do them "RIGHT"... and I fear they will become an unpleasant task if I let them become a chore.
Piety is defined ... wrong, in the DP anyway.
to me (she says probably quoting from her DP essay w/o realizing it), piety is not just about do you hit the 8 big days and do i get up 15 minutes in the a.m. and spend 15 minutes in the p.m. contemplating my navel. How does one live in BETWEEN waking and sleeping?
if one contantly pulls the wings off of flies, throws cigarette butts on the ground, violates all rules of hospitality, and generally is a big pain in the ass to as many people around as one can possibly manage, then it's not going to matter how many rituals one attends and whether they pray every day. One is still a big jerk, and the gods'll know.
while my day definitely goes INFINITELY BETTER if i do my morning navel-contemplation, and i have been now successfully brainwashed to believe that it is necessary for me to do to be a Good Druid (tm), it's really LIVING by the virtues...WALKING THE WALK so to speak, that i think matters infinitely more to the Kindreds.
to put it another way, a friend of mine who is jewish was out of work with a baby on the way. however, he wouldn't apply for any retail jobs b/c he'd have to work on the sabbath (saturday). i asked him "Do you think Yahweh is really going to care that you kept the sabbath when you let your kid starve?"
Dunno. I classify doing devotionals with "walking the walk", and always have. Thus, in my world, it's generally impious not to do them.
It's something I need to do.
But I haven't managed it yet.
|Date:||October 5th, 2005 01:09 pm (UTC)|| |
well, they are pious and they are part of walking the walk. they aren't just the be-all end-all of that walk. this is where the definition in the virtues stops, wrongly imo. i think there is way more to it than that, enough that if one stumbles over the devotions part for a time, one is not soundly condemned as impious because there are other ways of 'measuring' piety.
forgot to log in...that was me :)
|Date:||October 4th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC)|| |
I went about 6 months not meditating when my life changed. I just couldn't find the way to schedule it in again. And I LIKE to meditate - like 20 minutes a day, at least.
I finally felt like I was just missing it too much, and changed my routine to fit it in again.
I still haven't quite managed to do that with exercise. *sigh*
My merging of the two was very helpful, exercise and piety.
Dunno. I have to do something, even if it just involves going in and cleaning the altar and the room. That might help a lot.
Ha, and probably sleeping in my own bed wouldn't hurt, too.
Last night before the last TOPY rite, I took the opposite approarch to that and slept on the floor by the shrine. You probably have better ideas, but thats my suggestion for the day.
Also, Toast Mk. 2 is being prepared. It may not help with toasting bread. But it doesn't matter, bcause its not my toaster. Me and James will fire it at the next rock show, which we hope the toaster will attend. Then the thing can be finalised in ritual. Working on the details. Mm. Bread. But, I digress...
That'd be a good plan. I look forward to hearing about Toast Mk. 2.
please don't kill my tulips.
Only one word? WTF, I rock.
You did good, kid.