Have you ever had your heart broken? Have you ever felt the nearly endless twisting pain of grief from losing a loved one? Have you felt the dangerous surge of jealousy flow through you? Have you ever been obsessed by the rush of lust?
Each of us has at one time or another felt a few of these currents moving through our soul. And I bet most of us at one time or another, have lost our footing in the face of such powerful gods as love, death, jealousy and lust. These gods move through us without any concern over our wellbeing. They don’t care if we have a life worth living as they overwhelm us with their power. They simply move on their own lines of intention and it is a wonder when we come out the other side. We often feel weak or lost or confused. Reestablishing our connection to the greater world can take some time. Without a doubt we are changed.
Recently I have been in a place where a few of these gods are surging through my psyche, through my soul, through my physical being. Emotions have been running high. Irrational thoughts keep dancing across my conscious mind. Dreams reveal uncertainty, fear and insecurity as well as making it clear just what forces of Nature I am engaging with, what gods are dancing with me at this time. It isn’t easy.
Life in this place isn’t fun. But it is most definitely real. It is shaking me, waking me and breaking me. These gods reveal much about my inner life. They show places in my soul that I didn’t know were so weak, vulnerable or broken. They show me where I need to direct my conscious energy. They demand that I wake up and learn to craft better relationship with them if I wish to live a life worth living.
How to begin to craft such a relationship becomes the question. What is it I need to do in order to stand firm and not get washed away, falling into a reactionary place where I make poor choices? The answer isn’t one I think I like as it is so easy. It isn’t one I want to accept as it seems so little to go on. But as I look at my current state of being, as well as looking back at my life and all the instances of being hit hard by the gods, it comes to this. I must always be present.
Presence allows us to be wakeful to our own soul’s journey and our relationship to the other souls we encounter. We can’t be living in the past. We can’t be dreaming of the future. We can’t be fantasizing about being elsewhere while ignoring the place we are at. We don’t have a choice in this if we indeed want to live well. And at times, I am sure we don’t. We are simply too damaged to make the choice to live well. We often choose disconnection when we are incapable of dealing with our failures of relationship. Thankfully this is rare for me. But the pull is always strong. It is so tempting to close down, to pull back, to hide and lick my wounds alone. But the ethics of it all pulls me back into wanting to be awake, to be alive.
Ethics? Well I am speaking of the every minute ethics my pagan soul lives by. Even though pain makes me selfish, I realize it isn’t ethical to take other souls for granted. It is never okay to eat my food without acknowledgment and gratitude. It is never okay to engage with my wife, family, friends, unknown acquaintances, the wind, snow, cold, fire, the spirits of place, essentially all of Nature without being present, being honest, listening with attentiveness that is respectful of the other soul. Of course I fail at times, but the ideal stands.
So how do we become present when we are in a place of being hurt, overwhelmed, confused or filled with emotion? Presence is built on time and space. Being present in time and space is a state of ritual for me. So my Druid tradition helps guide me one step at a time into this place of ritual. To be present in space? Honor and acknowledge the souls around me, the spirits of place, touching with respect and equality. To be present in time? Honor, acknowledge and reach for connection to the ancestors of blood and spirit.
As I said, this isn’t much to go on but I do know without it, I cannot stand in the presence of the gods without getting torn apart. Rooting in place and in my ancestors is simple but not easy. And it makes all the difference. It is a challenge but such is life. Taking up the challenge is a choice. I begin slowly, honoring my own pains and processes. And as I begin to climb out of the darkness, the choice is only to grab the next rung and pull. Each time though, I move up a bit. And each time a little more inspiration surrounds me. I begin to live and create again. And simple things such as this post come into being.
Blessings of new beginnings,