Archive for April 24th, 2009

As part of my work in Druidry, I work in prison ministry, sending letters to druids in prison here in North America. I teach and mentor individual and groups who are incarcerated. It is sometimes challenging work, but it is rewarding on many levels.

I bring up this subject as I have been corresponding with a large Druid Order in Britain regarding this topic. It is very difficult to get people to step-up to the plate and pitch in. I understand completely as some of the people I have written are not very “pleasant” people. One Saturday I received three letters – one from a murderer and two from pedophiles. Believe it or not, the letters were very nice. They were all sincerely trying to learn Druidry. as heinous as their crimes were, they are not “monsters”. This work has taught me that sometimes good people make huge mistakes in life. Sometimes people get so disconnected and self-absorbed, they lose all sense of respecting the boundaries of another and the boundaries of ethics set by the community. They fail in relationship to another person or persons and to the community. We all do this (to much more minor degrees of course) all the time.

So another thing that came up in my recent letter writing was “reciprocity”. What obligation do we have to others and the greater community? This is a very important aspect of Druidry and of any healthy relationship. We receive inspiration from others and it is our obligation to use that inspiration to fuel our own creativity, and then to gift that creativity back to the world. When I say creativity, I don’t mean just art. I mean the way we live our lives. This is what I call the cycle of inspiration.

Inspiration is just energy and hoarding energy isn’t respectful and it isn’t healthy. If we hoard resources, the energy we hoard isn’t helping anyone, nothing is changing, no progress is being made. If we hoard emotions, it takes energy to resist their expression and it holds our emotional development stuck in time. If we hoard calories, we put on weight. If we hoard our creativity, we dishonor the inspiration that was gifted to us.

When I think of the prisoners who have committed crimes that have victims, it is easy see to the failure to respect and maintain boundaries, or any sense of healthy relationship to their victims. They failed in relationship. They didn’t just hoarded energy, they stole it. It wasn’t gifted to them. Where in life do we do similar things, even if on a small almost unnoticable scale? Where do we fail in relationship? Where do we take without realizing we are doing so?

So to tie these different thoughts together, I need to introduce one more. This is something from the corporate world, Franklin Covey’s – Seven Habits of Highly Effective people (not an endorsement of any kind – it is all just common sense to me). The idea is “Sphere of Influence”. We need to expend our energies where we have the most effect. So many people get caught up in national and global campaigns without once looking at what is going on in their own community. Politics is a great example of this. Almost no one goes to their town meetings where budgets that directly influence their local community are voted on. So we need to live local and act local. We need to gift back to the community that feeds us inspiration. I think we have an obligation to give back to the same community or to the individual soul that has given us inspiration, or any other form of energy (fuel, shelter, food, positions of influence, etc).

I think we will always fail at relationship if we are not living locally, not focusing on our sphere of influence. As long as we can take without it being a gift, without gratitude, and without completing the cycle and gifting back to the community, we will alway be enabled to fail in relationship. We will not necessarily see the end result of our actions. Our victims will remain invisible.

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