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The Beauty of Pain

Right now, a lot of people that I know are in pain. They hurt. Their lives are falling apart. They’re scared. Lonely. Frightened. And for many, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of the world is in pain.

Sometimes, the pain is our own creation. Sometimes it’s brought on us unjustly from outside sources. Sometimes it’s both. And in all cases, it hurts. Usually, a lot.

It’s hard for me to watch people in pain – for conflicted reasons. Sometimes, I think we need pain. And it can be hard for me to tell someone I care about that their pain is deserved, or serves a larger purpose. It must be how it is with the gods, sometimes. They love us (on the by and large). They want what is best for us (on the by and large). And yet, sometimes, they have to inflict pain upon us, or let us burn our hands on the proverbial stove. Why? Because sometimes people are stupid. Sometimes we have to hurt in order to really learn or grow.

Whenever life throws things my way, I always try to consider what purpose this could serve me long term. How might this pain and frustration be helping me to grow? I know that in our society, pain is feared and generally is to be avoided. But really- sometimes if it doesn’t sting bad enough, we’ll just go right back and do it again without any other considerations. And many times, when things are falling apart, there are other lessons that can be gleaned from the situation.

To illustrate this, allow me to pull from one of the worst years of my life.

I was living in Vegas. I could feel that the rug was going to be pulled out from under me. Sat likes to talk about how she sometimes is running towards a cliff- but can’t stop. At that time, I could see the cliff. I had been warned in dream, through runes, and in feeling that my job- my livelihood would soon end. And not just for me, but for the person I lived with, too. And I buried my head in the sand. No way! That wouldn’t happen!

And then, the floor fell out.

I was left without work. As was the other person making money in my household. We had no income at all. No severance pay, and no recourse to unemployment. We were surviving purely off of our savings. And despite my pleas and attempts to find work (in literally every state west of Ohio), nothing worked. Nothing was happening. I became unemployed in early May, and stayed that way all the way through to September. I watched as all of my hard earned savings ran out. I had to swallow my pride and fear and move back into my parents. I lost furniture. I lost fish in the move. I lost a lot of things. And I couldn’t see it getting any better.

But then! I got a job. We both got a job! On the same day as the interview! A miracle, right?!

Well, sort of. Shortly after my new job, I got the same nagging feeling of “the floor, it’s going to fall through”. And it was a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. Within a few months of being there, I lost my job again. As did the other person I lived with. So not only did we lose most of our savings from the Vegas debacle, we lost even more from having to get a new apartment in a new city, only to have to shut down the lease early because our managers couldn’t manage worth a damn, and the company went under. And once again, I found myself back at my parents. I had a new job, but everything stung. I was in a place I hated. My relationship at the time was falling apart (and would end spectacularly within a few months). And I was just so bitter at everything.

I was in a lot of pain.

However, despite this pain, a lot of good occurred. A lot of beautiful seeds were sewn. I could see glimpses of how I might be making strides to something better, but it was incredibly hard to believe it at the time. I felt I was deluding myself into thinking that things were better than they were. But in retrospect, I owe a lot of what I have to that time of languish. Here are a couple examples:

First off, do you like reading what I write? If you do, you should be thankful that I was unemployed as long as I was. My time of unemployment lasted nearly 5 months. Had it been any shorter, I would not have taken strides to join the Kemetic community at all. It was only right before I moved back to my parents house that I decided I should go talk to others. I mean, I had nothing else to do- so why  not. I firmly believe that if I had gotten a job sooner, I would not be here writing to you now.

Second, having such a long time off helped me to seriously work on my portfolio. I gained a lot of new skills while I tried desperately to expand my portfolio and skills so that I could apply to new work.

I also found that I am stronger than I thought- I was able to move back to my parents house and survive it.

I gained skills from the short job that I had that helped me to get my next job- the one I still have to this day. And my horrible failure to find work after my previous job fell through taught me to keep my portfolio up to date and ready to go- in case things fell apart. The pain of my previous situation allowed me to hit the ground running when my second job fell through- which is partially how I was able to find work so quickly.

And my relationship that ended- was a good thing. It opened me up to finding an even better relationship. Having my mother’s house as the location for that relationship to manifest was a blessing in disguise- because we really had to focus on working together and sticking it out together despite my living situation. Had the previous jobs not pushed everyone to a breaking point, who is to say if that relationship would have ever ended. Him leaving has been a huge blessing for me.

All of these things needed pain to occur. They needed stagnation, frustration, anger and sorrow. I needed to really get down and dirty with my negative emotions in order for good things to really manifest later. As an added bonus of going through that, I now know that I am tough as nails. I can look fear in the face daily and still figure out a way to keep moving. I learned that despite how dark and dreary life may be- you are never truly out of the game. There is always the potential for new growth, for bigger and better things. It tempered my will and strengthened my resolve to go through that. And I think that pain can be that way for many people- if you let it. Pain can be a good teacher. It can really show us how strong we are. It can show us what we are truly capable of. It can sew the seeds of growth, even if we don’t realize it at first.

I think we could all benefit from examining our pain, to see what it could be teaching us, what we could be learning from it. Perhaps the next time you find yourself wallowing in pain, take a look around and see if it might be helping you.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Astral, Rambles

 

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Still Waters Run Deep

Recently I have felt O hanging around me. Unlike Set, Osiris is a lot more subtle in communicating with me. Set is a lot like a dust storm- you can’t avoid it. It’s a gigantic wall of sand and debris that you can’t run away from. Even your shelter might not save you from the brunt of the storm. He is completely in your face. Osiris reminds me of roots. He comes from different angles. You see little messages here and there. And he has no issue with having others send you his messages to get the point across. The more you ignore him, the more the roots will surround you, coming at all these different angles. Eventually, they will be inescapable because you’ll be completely choked by them.

Set is like an alarm clock meets a tv with 24/7 static. Osiris is like soft whispers that slowly make you go mad.

And lately, Osiris has wanted something. I figure it has to do with the work I started for him last year. Much like before, whenever I go to the place where he wants me to be, I see the river. I see myself under the water. Unlike before, I can see the sun shining through the water- but always I return to the water.

There have been people who are willing to do oracles for me, to help me sort out what could be going on. I decided to try it out- just to see what I got back. Today, I got back an oracle from Hekate. It reads:

“You are looking for something that lies on the bottom of a deep well but you shall never reach it if you try to spare yourself from getting wet in Ancestral Waters.”

At first, I was not sure what to make of it. I don’t really fear my ancestors. Truth is, they hold very little interest for me. And to figure out what I’m afraid of (afraid of getting wet with), I would need to decipher what the water represents. So far, I have come up with two potential meanings.

1. My soul-line ancestors. People I was before and the influence those people can have on me now.
2. My waking family. Not ancestors yet, but still from my physical family.

The first aspect is really a fear situation. There is a whole separate part of my life that I no longer live. I closed the door and I don’t want it to be open again. I don’t see any benefit from opening said door again. And as it stands, I will likely be tackling this aspect after I get a better grasp of the family situation.

So about my family.

My family makes me miserable in most cases. My bio-father was never around, and my step-father is no prize either. Most of my family members are problem causers and drama fanatics who love to wreak havoc. They are also the sort of people who say “OMG I love you so much!”, yet they don’t have the time of day for you. They are everything I can’t stand in a person. They also played a role in creating a lot of the issues I have to this day.

You see, when I was living out of the state, it was really easy to ignore my family. They were far away. They couldn’t drive down the street to see me. They didn’t know what hours I was working, they knew very little about what was going on- so it was totally understandable that almost no one in my family called me or spoke to me. But then I had the misfortune of moving back to the desert. Down here, I have almost all of my mother’s side of the family within an hour’s drive. I can go and see three generations of family at any point in time if I want. We’re all here.

And all moving back here did was push in my face how little anyone even noticed I was gone.

I live an hour to an hour and a half from my mother. I work less than ten minutes away from where she works. You know how often I see her? I see her once per month for about 20 minutes when I drop cat food off to her. If I never dropped off the cat food, I’d see her maybe twice per year.

I have two aunts and uncles that live an hour from me. They throw lots of parties for family members- birthdays, mother’s day- that sort of thing. Guess who never makes the invite list (and the one time that I did, I was ignored the whole evening).

I have grandparents (whom I love so dearly) who drive right past my house to go visit my cousin and uncle regularly. They have never been to my house. They never call and say ‘hey, let’s meet up for lunch’. Nothing. I only find out they’ve been up there after the fact.

These are the types of issues that perhaps need to be worked on. The feeling of being unwanted. The feeling of never being worthwhile, or worth anyone’s time. I prospects of being unloved and alone. The constant feeling of being the square peg trying to fit in the round hole.

There is another layer to this as well, though. The layer and question of- do I really want to maintain a relationship with these people who apparently don’t give a crap about me? If they have traits that I can’t stand, and they never bother giving me the time of day- do I really want to try and mend that? I think the answer depends on the person in question. There are some family members that I would LOVE to have a relationship with. And there are some that I really don’t care whether they stick around or not.

If this is the case, why do I care what the latter folks think of me? Why does it matter? What is the deeper problem nagging at me and creating these issues?

I suppose that is the real question.

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When the Well Runs Dry


I have spent a great deal of my Pagan life with my well overflowing. I’ve lived with someone with a broke open head. I work for a deity that will throw things at you and tell you to learn how to juggle… while riding a unicycle on a tight rope. So I know all about the well overflowing.

But, for one very very very long year- I had a barren, dry well. A well so dry, that the ground at the bottom cracked and turned to powder at the slightest touch. Ground that choked and begged for any moisture at all.

What frustrated me most about this time was that I could see the water disappearing. I knew it was being soaked up by the earth, evaporating into the air. But as I would look at my well day after day, watching the water get lower and lower- I knew there was nothing I could do. All I could do is watch the water disappear slowly but surely. And as I watched the water disappear, I got angry. Very angry. I felt betrayed by the world. I had been handed the bare necessities to make ends meet- but just barely. I was frustrated that despite my best effort, things were falling apart.

And to top it all off, at the time, I felt like the gods just didn’t care. I couldn’t reach them. I couldn’t hear them. It’s as if they had simply vanished from my life.

This, my friends, is what we call a Fallow Time. It’s a time when the water runs out, the land becomes parched, and in many cases- all of the plants you had growing seem to shrivel up and die. It can be a time of complete frustration, utter despair, and can result in a complete lack of faith in not only your gods or guides, but yourself.

I think it’s common for every person to hit dry spells- whether in a religious context or not. We all have times when things just aren’t working. When we are out of our groove, and nothing seems to be panning out. And the biggest question I often see is- what do you do when these times hit? How do you handle it?

My best answer comes in the form of a quote from Avatar, the Last Airbender (series, not the movie):

“I don’t know the answer. Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel- you can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving you will come to a better place.”

When your water runs out your initial reaction is to stare at the ground. The plants are gone. The growth is gone- and all you are left with is a barren field. And usually when this happens, we all sit there- and just stare. We get angry that all we can do is look at the ground as it looks back at us- mocking us. And we stomp our feet, scream, throw fits- all at the ground. And for what? That doesn’t bring the growth back.

But what does bring the growth back? If this metaphor was a garden- the answer would be easy. The master gardener would tell you to clear out the old growth. Plow and fertilize your soil. Gather your seeds, and prepare to plant them. You could try to plant them now, and bring in water from afar- or you could wait until the rainy season comes back, and plant them then. Either way, the best way to spend your time in the interim is preparation.

So why can’t we take this metaphor and use it when the Fallow Times hit? Your practice is dead and barren right now. You might be having a hard time focusing. You could be preoccupied with other problems and mundane situations. There could be financial hardship. Any number of reasons can cause a well to suddenly lose it’s water. However, the best thing to do once the water is gone isn’t to rail at the land which sustains you. It’s to prepare the land to be able to grow again. Slowly, take a step forward, then take another and another. It could be a while before you reach fertile times again- but at least you know that when you get there, you will be ready for the rain. Your seeds will be in hand, and your practice will be primed and ready for growth.

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The Gratitude of Uniqueness

I had another therapy session this past weekend. This time we discussed who I am, who I am not, and my attitude towards both of these. I have issues with who I am a lot of days. My therapist worded it as a sickness. That I seem to consider my traits to be some illness that I need to medicate or chase away (to which she said that my traits are not the problem, but my attitude towards my traits is). And sometimes this is very true. I always consider myself as the square peg in the round hole. The oddball. The monkey wrench in everyone’s plans. I often tell people that I was born ‘in the wrong place, in the wrong time’. I feel like almost everything about myself is just a bit weird or out of synch, and that those aspects of myself make it hard for me to get along with anyone, to fit in with society, coworkers, friends… you name it.

And of course, my rough and tumble reputation on the forums and other stereotypes and ideas about “who I am” that follow me like lost puppies throughout the years doesn’t help this idea. It’s really a mess when you get down to it.

To complicate this matter even further, I have an ego the size of a house. I love myself. I am god’s gift to man some days. I am the awesomest person you ever met. And if you don’t recognize it, well god cries for you. Seriously. And it really depends on the day and the group of people I’m around as to whether I hate myself, or love myself. As always, the two extremes.

Much like S and O, really.

Well apparently this business isn’t good for me.  This I love me I hate me… I can’t make up my mind… type thing doesn’t do me a lot of good. And it would seem that despite my egotistical nature from time to time, at my core, I really don’t like myself. I have a lot of issues with who I am and where I stand within my society. So this is what we are going to be working on next. This week’s phrase is:

I embrace and honor my uniqueness. I am grateful for who I am.

Which hurts to say. I can’t really say it. I feel fake when I say it. Like I’m lieing. Probably because I don’t see myself that way yet. Yes, I’m grateful for many of the things I can do, many of the things I have. But there is always this niggling “but” that follows. I am grateful for X, but I would prefer Y. That sort of thing. That is the root of my problem. I compare. A lot. I compare what I have, what you have, what she has, what they have, and what I think I should have. And if you aren’t the sort of person who does this, you are very lucky. Because when you compare yourself to others, you’re setting yourself up for failure. There will always be someone with something more. With more money, more women, more smarts, more looks. Much like with the RPG reference before, you can’t level up in everything. You can’t be a master mage, warrior and thief all at once. You will always have your limits. Things that you are predisposed to being able to do well. And other things that you will just never ever do well.

And that’s okay, honestly. Unless you’re me, it would seem.

And so I’m always looking at the other dog’s bone. Looking at how small mine is, and it always leaves me unsatisfied. If you are always comparing, you will always have a hole to fill. A gap that needs tending to. There will always be something. That something is s big problem for me. It’s keeping me from really seeing the bigger picture.

The second phrase that came up for this week is:

I deal with my pain and I stop giving in to my life depleting habits.

I have some horrible habits that allow me to deal with stress. I eat out, a lot. It relaxes (and stresses) me. When I get stressed, I crave fatty foods. Fries. Chicken nuggets. Chocolate. Coffee. Tea. Things that are bad for me (in excess). I know I need to stop this. I know I need to deal with everything under the surface. So I imagine this will all play together over the next few sessions. Ultimately working towards a goal of me being balanced, happy and not killing myself slowly with McDonalds.

This week’s hypnosis was called… gender balancing, or something to that accord. She had me go into a blank space and view two vortexes of energy. One masculine. One feminine. I was to view them how they are now. For me, I put the masculine on the right, and the feminine on the left. Masculine energy was red, Fem was blue. The Masculine energy was large. A huge tornado that tried to consume me multiple times. It had lightning styled bolts that would come out of it. It was a huge storm, really. The feminine energy was more like a water tornado. It was compact, well formed and smaller than the Masculine side. It did not try to take me over.

Then, I was to visualize how these energies should be. So I made the Feminine bigger, the Masculine smaller. I made the Masculine more compact and well formed. Eradicating the lightning and all of that. Making them almost mirror images of each other. After that, I was to merge them. So I did and they became this huge tornado of varying blues and reds. The form of the tornado became more wobbly. It wasn’t that it was unstable, but it was no longer a straight line, it curved.

And finally, I was to mesh with the vortex. In the hypnosis, it was stated to have the vortex start at your crown and work it’s way down, but I decided to just walk straight into the tornado, and combine my stuff that way.

The experience was interesting. The visualizations were very clear for me. I have been told that we will probably be doing this one multiple times. That it will take time to balance out my two halves, to even out my inner turmoil, which I expected. Afterwards, we did another blessing. And again, I ended up on the same porch with the same furin and the same windy grass. The only difference was that I saw a figure on the horizon this time. I’m not sure who or what he was. But he was there.

I didn’t get much homework this time. I am to continue my studies on gratitude. To try and really understand it better. And more than mentally understanding it, I need to feel it. Because it’s not something you can really think through it’s something you experience. And quite frankly, I don’t experience it enough. I’m kind of at a dead end with where to go on this front, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something. Talk to more people, read more articles. Eventually, the pieces will come together.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work

 

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Creating with Words

I had another therapy session this past weekend. I feel like things are finally coming into place.

We discussed the source of my anger in this session, along with how my anger influences my speech, which in turn will influence my life. I talked to her about when my anger really started and in some ways how I have yet to completely come to terms with it (though it has gotten better). The lay offs of my past, the money that was lost, the foundations that slipped and the eventual move in to my parents all laid the ground work for my situation now. Of course, what really was the problem was my attitude towards things. As I told her about the trials of this era in my life, she noted that I used a lot of negative words. Words like hate, frustrating, irritating, crap, etc. She told me that these words, and my constant use of these words, creates a never ending problem for me.

She explained it to me that the universe gives us what we think about most. It doesn’t know whether we love or hate these things. It merely gives us more of what we focus on. I consider this to be like poles on a magnet. I don’t know which pole is which, I just know that the magnets attract together. So every time I use words like hate, dislike, frustrating- I bring more hatred, more dislike and more frustration into my life. Of course, I don’t have to verbally say these words to enact that- merely thinking this way causes the attraction. And thus the cycle repeats.

My phrase for this week is:

I am careful with my choice in words because it creates my reality.

This whole concept should really be a no brainer for me. Kemeticism and Shintoism both promote words and the pronunciation of words as being divine. Words are not to be taken lightly, and the words that we use can manifest into our lives (aka heka). So why I haven’t tried to nip this in the bud earlier is beyond me. When I was telling her about how Kemeticism and Shinto both state that words are divine and magical, she looked me in the eye and told me that words have souls. Recently, I remember seeing a question for Tamara on HoN, asking if words or glyphs had netjeri in them. I believe her answer was more or less a ‘yes’. So once again, more reasons to watch my words. Plus, the things that we say on the internet are ever more important- because this is all people have to judge us on. You can’t see me, read my face or my body language. All you have are my words. And my words need to be clear if you are to understand what I’m trying to get across. Words are more important than we give them credit for.

In order to fix this, she asked me to do two things:

  1. Any time that I have a negative feeling or thought about anyone or anything, I am to write it down into a journal.
  2. I am to write 10 things every day that I am grateful for.

In order to help repattern my brain, I need to look at all of the negativity I bring to myself daily. I need to examine it and see why I’m thinking this way, and then learn to accept the things I can’t change, or work towards solutions to things that I can. The 10 items of gratefulness are to help bring more positive into my life.

I am also to start looking into how gratefulness plays into Shinto and Kemetic practice. I will evaluate it and see how I can apply it to my life. Much like how I did with unconditional love.

The hypnosis for this week involved looking into my past lives to help figure out why I’m here. She told me that some part of me can’t understand why I’m here. That things are different, or aren’t quite the same as in the past, and I’m having difficulties grasping what it is I am here to do, etc. In the meditation, she had me go into a hall of records. Mine was a round room. Almost like a tall dome. Around the outer walls were tons of files. There were files up to the ceiling. In the center of the room, there was a big round pillar. There is also a circular countertop or table top that runs through the pillar. This table had even more files and books on it. The hypnosis had me go and gather files that I might need. I ran around and grabbed a whole bunch of them from various areas. I then held these to my chest, and a light came forth. I more or less stood there in the light until my brain told me to get up and return to being awake.

I seem to like to spew light from my chest.

I guess these things are supposed to help calm me down on a subconscious level. To help me figure out the missing pieces. I have no clue if it’s done much for me yet. I think she wants me to go back in there to dig for a specific book, though I don’t know that doing so does much. She told me the book that comes to mind for her. I can picture it, but I can’t really open it, or read it’s contents. The room I visited in the hypnosis I have seen and visited before.

So that was my session. I went and bought two books to write my stuff down in. A larger grey book for my anger, and a small little yellow book for my gratefulness. The anger book I may eventually destroy once it is full thereby releasing the anger. Almost like an execration rite. The yellow book I’ll keep, more than likely.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work

 

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Proactively Irritating

I went to another session of therapy this past weekend. This time we focused on me letting go. Of lots of things. Things that bother me, things that I can’t control, things that I want to control… I guess a lot more bothers me than I give credit for. The moral of the session was:

I will be proactive in finding solutions to things that irritate me.

Or something to that effect. We talked about some of the small stuff that bugs me on a daily basis. Such as getting to bed late, getting up later, not eating in, not leaving on time… small stuff that slowly grinds on me – sometimes on a subconscious level. I was asked to talk with my other about how we could fix some of these issues and to come up with a game plan. I have done so and here is the general gist of what we’re going to do.

  • We need to get up within the first 2 alarms. No more of this snooze game stuff. Get up.
  • Be more active in packing our lunches the day before so that we aren’t wasting time in the morning.
  • Ditto for dishes- get them done the night before.
  • Think of smaller, easier things to eat for breakfast to free up time.
  • I need to work on cooking so that I can help with making food in the mornings and the evenings.
  • Get off the internet sooner in the evenings so that we get to bed sooner.
  • Stick to it.

None of this stuff is incredibly new, but she is holding me to my shit- which really makes me want to stick to it. I guess you could say she’s holding me accountable. Which I need. She also called me out on my shit in regards to cooking. Telling me that I need to do it. Which I knew. I know why I don’t cook, and it’s stupid, but I’ve been allowed to get away with it for so long, so I went with it anyways as dishonorable as that is. And really, it boils down to fear. I was scared to cook and get made fun of, or to have people hate it. It’s a weird fear that developed in my youth with my family and is now going to be broken, because it has to be broken. I figure if I can bake complex loaves of bread, I can make regular food. I just need to get over this stupid fear of mine. So that shall be interesting.

The hypnosis was something like the world bridge or dream bridge… it had a name. In it, I floated up over the Earth and visualized an identical planet next to it, a planet that was perfect. For me, the mirror planet looked like some weird iridescent ball that you could see through. I had to see a bridge connecting the two (some weird white arced light) and walk from one to the other. In that world, I was to walk down the street and see my house (heavy Japanese influence). I walked inside of my perfect house (also Japanese influenced) and sat around in it, feeling comfortable. I then had to go into a room that was my ‘purpose’. The room had white walls (makes me think of shoji screen, perhaps) and tatami floors (whole house did). In it, there were two shrines, one on each wall. I couldn’t really define anything, but I know what it was supposed to be. I think there was a desk in there, too. This is apparently my purpose. Before I could really think about it, I was pulled out of that world and put back in this one. I imagine the point is to try and bring the perfect world and this world into one over time.

We then did another blessing. Once again, as soon as she went into song, I found myself on that porch, furin ringing and the grass blowing. Slowly, my mind shifted to sitting in front of a campfire in the middle of the night. I really wish I knew what was up with that porch.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work

 

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