I have been feeding my gods and ancestors fast food of late. Paraffin tea lights from the grocery store (not even cheap paraffin tea lights) that, woops, are heavily scented with lemon grass (or possibly “lemon grass”). They make the house stink to high heaven. I’m not fond of them, myself, although I’m fairly certain I’m not suffering any wrath from People who are ticked off with my lousy meal choices here. (Phew).
Maybe they’re being Understanding about the whole thing, given the messy situation that the house is in right now.
At any rate, we are slowly climbing out from under the mess that is our Household Emergency (I don’t just mean the giant leak, and I don’t just mean ants in the bathroom, I mean a bunch of other stuff that also has happened at the same time. Krikey), but it’s going to be another couple of weeks before we can even start the work of purging.
Actually, that’s probably not even true. We could potentially start purging stuff from the Work Room right now (starting with the drowned stereo system, I suspect).
But, yes, things are still feeling a little bit Fraught on the home front.
BUT, to edge slightly closer to my point of “Keeping At It”:
I have this horrible tendency to blow things off due to embarrassment. When I was in university, I tended to prefer to skip a class entirely rather than show up late. It was mortifying to waltz in even just five minutes after the lecture was due to have started, but ditching the class entirely, even if it just mean hanging out on campus until my next one, was entirely okay in my world. For some reason.
It did not make a whole lot of sense.
Maybe this is one of those stupid “Gifted Kids Who Are Used To Getting Things Right the First Time, They Never Learn to Keep Trying” things (which, btw, I think is a fairly bullshit theory, personally, since I Tried my ass off, gifted or not), but it’s really hard to keep at something that feels like you either have no natural aptitude for it, or else that feels like getting smacked in the face with your failures again and again as you try to regain a skill that you had last year, or five years ago, or ten yours ago, or, or, or…
…And this has got me thinking about The Incredible Power of Habit and how it links up with Pagan practices as much as it links up with anything else. I’ve talked, before, about how I’m frequently late with offerings and how, depending on how late I get, I may be inclined to just Forget The Whole Thing.
At least I think I have.
I remember reading The Mists of Avalon (which, given the second-wave feminist leanings it espouses and my own then very second-wave feelings, you’d think I’d have liked a whole lot more) a decade and more ago, and the bit where Morgain is in Whales, relearning the rituals she learned as a child, “counting, painfully, on (her) fingers” to get the days and directions right for each invocation as she built the habits of daily devotions back into her body.
It can feel silly. Like “I hope no-one is watching me bumble through this, looking like a fool” silly.
It can feel a lot like Sitting In the Dark when you (when I) haven’t got a clue whether what you’re picking up when you try to shield or cast or ground or center or otherwise orient yourself in altered/altered space… is real. Sure, it could mean it’s working. But it could also mean you’ve gotten light headed from all that concentrated breath work, or that the slight blurriness around the edges of everything is more because you’ve been staring at the same point on the wall for the past twenty minutes… rather than because you’re shifting worlds a little bit.
It can feel a lot like “How much of this am I really just making up?”
Diana Paxton, in Trance-Portation: Learning to Navigate the Inner World, says that if it feels like you’re just making things up, then to go with that because you’re still teaching yourself new ways of thinking and forming habits and patterns that you will be able to slip into after (and while) it stops feeling like you’re making stuff up.
This is good to remember.
It doesn’t make it any easier to do, but it’s good to remember while you struggle and grit your teeth and try to practice when no-body is home to see you looking like a fool.
You feel like an idiot. But keep at it.
You have no idea if you’re doing this right or messing things up completely. Keep at it.
You’re embarrassed to be even trying thing, feeling as clueless as you do. Doesn’t matter: Keep at it.
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