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The Evolution of Mental Illness

I was recently participating in a discussion on Facebook about the negative voices that live in our heads, and heka that can be done to keep them at bay. In the post that was sparking the discussion, the author suggests that giving the negative voices in our heads a name and a form can help us to sit down and discuss things with them. It allows us to interact with parts of ourselves so that we can learn more about who we are, and more importantly, what causes some of these voices to speak up as they do. The long-term goal, as far as I could tell, was that by conversing with these voices, you’d hear less from them in time.

This got me thinking about the voices that pop up in my own head. Of course, I’m not talking about the voice of the gods or spirits that I work with. I’m talking about the voices that often tell me that I suck, or that remind me that I’m not doing as much as I’d like (often stated as “not doing as much as I should“). I’m talking about negative voices that often come with mental illness.

The more I began to mull over what those voices that embody my mental illness try to tell me is the “proper” reality that I live in, the more it really hit home that conversing with my internal voices probably wouldn’t do much for me. Why? Because I’ve found over the years that my mental illness evolves. You see, when I was younger, those voices would still tell me that I suck, but they’d use different reasons to showcase why it is that I suck. For example, when I was younger, I was a lot more isolated from other people, and I was frequently wracked with loneliness. So my voices would remind me about how no one really liked me, and how I could very easily just disappear and no one would notice, and I believed what my mental illness told me because I had nothing to prove them wrong. But now that I’ve worked through some of that baggage? It’s no longer used against me. If my voices want to bring me down, they know that that angle won’t work anymore, and so they choose a different soft point to poke at (such as “this particular person doesn’t like you and never will because you suck” etc.)

This is probably even remotely possible for me to detect on my end because of the shadow work that I’ve done over the past several years. I feel as though my trudging through life with all of my issues was a relatively plateaued affair until I began to actively hack at it in my late twenties via shadow work. Or in other words, my mental illness could hit me in the same spots over and over again when I was younger because I wasn’t making leaps and bounds worth of changes in the mental illness arena. The same issues and concerns I had in late high school were relatively similar to the issues and concerns I had in my early twenties. It only really shifted once I began the shadow work process.

But this highlights for me one of the ultimate caveats to shadow work that doesn’t seem to be spoken about enough–sometimes all the shadow work in the world won’t actually fix everything. I know I talked about this briefly in my post about shadow work being an ongoing process, but it really hit me hard when I realized that as I was beginning to learn how to outwit and overcome my mental illness, my mental illness was evolving to learn how to outwit me.

A side effect of this is that the voices have changed their ‘sales pitch’ to fit whatever topic is the most damaging at any given point in time. Once upon a time, my anxiety and depression could get away with telling me just about anything, and I’d believe it. But now they both have to work a little harder by formatting their statements a certain way in order for me to listen.

This probably sounds like an improvement, and in some ways it is. Due to the work I’ve put in, I can now shrug off certain statements that my brain will fling at me, and certain topics are relatively harmless to my mental health (in comparison to before). But don’t get me wrong–just because these mental illnesses seem to have to work a little harder to figure out what to tell me to get me to sink doesn’t mean that it’s still not effective. Nearly two years of being in mental illness hell is proof that these illnesses are very much in full swing and are effective at crippling me when they want to.

Another way to possibly illustrate it is to compare it to holes in a boat. If I have a boat that has a large hole in the bottom, there is no getting away from the fact that that sucks. Boats with holes don’t float very well. But let’s say that I learn how to somewhat patch this hole up, and now I have two smaller holes instead of one large one–some might consider that an improvement, but my boat still has holes in it. And that’s how I feel when I look at how my mental illness has shifted over the years. In some ways it’s an improvement, but I still have to live with mental illness. And that mental illness is still damned effective at doing what it does despite all of my best efforts.

The biggest point I really wanted to emphasize here is that shadow work will only do so much. Not many of us emphasize it enough, but there is no getting away from that fact: shadow work, therapy, all of these things that we use to try and heal ourselves from our trauma–they only go so far for some things. All of the shadow work in the world won’t erase mental illness, nor will it fix everything. You can definitely wage war against mental illness and push it back a bit, but just like isfet, it is always there lurking at the corners of ones mind. Just like with the gods working to maintain ma’at, the work we put in to stay as healthy as possible with mental illness is a non-stop, never-ending process.

And similarly, if you find that you’ve been working for years trying to get headway with your mental illness, but find that you’re still only treading water, please know this: you’re not alone. Fighting against mental illness is hard and it’s a non-stop battle, and you’re not less for not being able to squash your mental illness down entirely. While so much of the world seems to want to imply that you can somehow teach your mental illness a thing, and make it so that it no longer effects you, that’s simply not true (and honestly smacks against the fact that it’s an illness). And if my experiences are any indication at all, as you improve at waging war against your illness, your illness could get more adept at waging war against you.

Because I haven’t said it enough, remember that shadow work is a tool in your toolbox, and the same way that a hammer doesn’t work that great for putting screws into something, sometimes shadow work isn’t the right tool for the job. Sometimes you’ll do your shadow work exactly as you’re supposed to, and you’ll still come out not completely healed. This isn’t necessarily your fault, but is the nature of living in imperfect bodies that are often riddled with illness. You’re not bad for not being able to fix an incurable illness. You’re not bad for not being able to “magic” such things away. And don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Have you found that shadow work only goes so far with mental illness? How do you combat this? Have you found that your illness has evolved or changed it’s “angle of attack” over the years?

 

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Thoughts on Oversharing

I have learned that if there is one thing that will get you side-eyed in the wider Pagan community, it’s oversharing. I’ve lost count of how many posts I’ve seen where someone will discount experiences, ideas, and people based off of how much information someone has revealed about a given topic in a certain amount of time. For example, if you show up to a new Pagan group and your first post/interaction tells everyone every intimate detail about your personal life, odds are everyone will take 3 steps back and be leery to talk to you for a while. Simply put, oversharing is often a red flag for a lot of people.

Oversharing is defined as “revealing an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life,” and the truth is, we do have quite a few people in the community who do share quite a lot. However, the line between sharing and oversharing is a hazy one, and will likely shift depending on who you’re talking to. Some people think that sharing pictures of your shrine is oversharing. Some people believe that you should never talk about your magical workings because that is oversharing. Others consider talking about anything sexual (whether tied to a non-physical being or physical being) to be oversharing. But in contrast, some people are okay with all of these things and welcome people to talk about them with as many juicy details as you can remember.

The act of oversharing isn’t inherently bad, but it does carry a stigma with it in almost every corner of our society. I find this to be somewhat unfortunate because it does tend to shut people down from openly discussing topics that might be beneficial to the group, and it can alienate members of a community. I myself have been guilty of oversharing, and I go through waves where I suppress my desire to share things about my life- both in the physical and in the Unseen- because I fear what could come of posting such things online where others can see it. This brought me to consider why it is that we sometimes overshare, and perhaps why it is that others dislike oversharing so much?

Why do people overshare?

In order to answer this question, I looked back at my own experiences to see why it was that I was so prone to oversharing once upon a time. If you were to take a look at my tumblr feed now, you’d probably think to yourself “Devo, you don’t overshare at all”, and you’d be correct. That’s because I fell out of the habit of sharing much of anything personal, and became almost too private in some respects. However, if you were to go back into my archives and look at, say, March of 2013, you’d see a very different story. The same could be said if you dug up my old LJ- I used to share an awful lot of random, useless information about myself, my practice, and my astral happenings to anyone who would listen to me.

But the more important question is: why?

Looking back at my own personal incidents of oversharing, I think the main factor for myself was anxiety. I was anxious about all of this new stuff that was going on, and I needed to put those emotions and feelings somewhere. Of course, I could have placed these emotions in a safe place where no one could see them, but then I wouldn’t be able to get feedback on what I was experiencing, and any possibility of experiencing validation from my peers wouldn’t have occurred. Validation during an anxious time is huge for a lot of people, and I was no exception. I can definitely recall myself asking and posting a bunch of very specific things, hoping that someone somewhere would happen across it and go “oh that thing! I know that thing that you speak of! It is definitely a thing!” All I really wanted was for someone to make me feel like I wasn’t losing my mind or making things up. And that caused me to share anything and everything that I thought could produce that sort of result.

Another aspect of this might be microblogging. Many people will microblog as a means of managing anxiety. This can be less about validation, and more about managing emotions in a more controlled environment where you are less likely to cause harm to anyone. Microblogging can also allow you to receive constructive (or not-so-constructive) feedback from people that can help you in whatever situation you find yourself in. And I think in many situations in the Pagan community, people are making multiple posts with lots of personal details because they are trying to cope with the anxiety they are facing about a given situation. Whether that’s tied to the prospect of gods actually talking to you, or of a deity actually having emotions for you beyond platonic friends, or the possibility that you fell into a non-physical plane and were chased by a group of people.

All of this Pagan stuff is kinda overwhelming when you first come into it, and I think that that influences a lot of why people overshare. Especially when they start out. It’s less about being an “attention whore” and more about trying to cope and understand what you’re learning and/or experiencing. And in that same vein, I have found that most people will slowly share less and less as they get more experienced. It’s as if you gain a sort of filter or “standard” for what should or should not be shared with others. And for many people, it’s that very standard that they use to judge how much others should be sharing about their own practice- which can be detrimental if it causes someone to treat people poorly over it.

Is oversharing bad?

You may be looking at this and hearing about how oversharing is disliked and wondering if it’s a bad thing to overshare your experiences. The truth is, oversharing is not inherently bad. So long as you are comfortable with the amount of information you are sharing, that is what is most important. However, there are some instances where oversharing is probably not recommended that I feel everyone should consider.

The first consideration is your safety. Oversharing can be problematic if you’re handing out information that can be used to cause you harm. Harm can come in many forms when it comes to the Pagan community, and so you should consider things from several angles before posting something online. For example, one of the biggest things people are warned about is posting anything that could lead people to where you live, work, etc. You wouldn’t want to post stuff that would make it easy for stalkery types to find you, or stuff that might cause you to lose your job if someone sent the information to your boss. However, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Data mining and manipulation run rampant in the wider community, and you should be careful not to post too much information that might make it easy for someone to manipulate you, lie to you, or fake a spiritual experience to get something out of you.

Another thing to consider is your audience. Sometimes people are not equipped to handle oversharing or overly sensitive topics. Making sure that you are putting your information in a place where others can choose to engage or skip the information based off of their current needs is important. You wouldn’t want to weigh someone down with baggage that they can’t handle. Those types of situations don’t benefit anyone. In addition to this, if your content is too mature for your audience, could trigger your audience, or my break the rules of a particular group or forum you’re in, then you probably should reconsider whether you should be sharing or not.

It’s also important to consider the needs of anyone else you might be mentioning in your sharing. If your experience includes someone else besides yourself- whether that be a physical person or a non-physical entity, you should heavily consider what effect your sharing of that information could have on the other people involved. If you’re not sure, it’s probably better to double-check with them before posting any relevant information. And if your sharing could hurt anyone in particular, you should also possibly reconsider.

Why all the hassle with oversharing?

The one thing that I haven’t been able to really pin down is why we consider oversharing to be an inherently negative thing. Why is it that we automatically assume that the less you share, the more legit your practice is? Does it have to do with the appearance of being secure in your practice? Does it have to do with some notion that oversharing is a cry for attention, and that that is somehow bad? Is there something else that we have possibly missed all together?

The more I have picked apart the ideas and methods behind oversharing, the more I have realized that many of us judge those who share a lot about their lives unfairly, or perhaps too quickly. Divulging large parts of your practice doesn’t really indicate anything, in all truthfulness. I’ve met people who share a little and people who share a lot- and I’ve met people who seemed legit and not-so-legit in both categories. Even though I’ve been trained to consider oversharing a red flag, I’ve not found that it necessarily indicates something either way about the accuracy, discernment or truthfulness of the individual in question.

It seems to me that oversharing often gets a bad rap for no particular reason. It’s my hope that by reconsidering the nature of oversharing- what causes it, and how much is truly too much can help us to redefine what it means to share vs. overshare. I mean, so long as you’re being critical in what you share, or considering the things mentioned above, there really isn’t anything wrong with sharing your experiences in whatever capacity you feel is best.

For those of you who share a lot- are there any reasons behind why you share as much as you do? Have you received any negative feedback or associations tied to your openness?

And for those of you who are critical of oversharing- are there reasons behind why you are critical? Have you found any trends with oversharing that have made you wary of the practice?

 
8 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2015 in Rambles

 

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Some Things Can’t Be Compartmentalized

com·part·men·tal·ize verb \kəm-ˌpärt-ˈmen-tə-ˌlīz, ˌkäm-\

: to separate (something) into sections or categories
: to separate (two or more things) from each other
: to put (something) in a place that is separate from other things

I remember sitting in a stress management workshop earlier this year. I am always interested in learning new ideas regarding stress management (especially in the workplace), so I was eager to see what this presenter had to say. One of the most interesting points that she brought up was the notion that you should not compartmentalize your personal life and your work life. According to her, there should be a sort of dove-tailing of the two. You should be able to celebrate aspects of your home life while at work, and work should integrate in other ways in your daily life.

I think the idea behind it was that you should be able to come together as more than coworkers and that we should help each other be successful both at work and at home. And that there is a place for home life in the work place (since one often influences the other). However, as she told us this, I couldn’t help but think “this is an awfully privileged way of looking at things”. And I still believe this to be true.

That being said, I am forced to live a very compartmentalized life.

My life outside of the workplace (home life) rarely touches anything else I do. My coworkers know only the bare minimum about me, and my family knows even less than my coworkers do. People know very little about my Kemetic work, people know very little about my partner. In many ways, people hardly know anything about how my mental health influences my behaviour, either. And I keep it that way on purpose, because compartmentalizing keeps me safe.

When we wrote about this topic for KRT a few months back, it seemed that many of us are forced to live our lives in segments for fear of persecution, job loss, or being ostracized. Many of us are forced to keep our relationships secret or our religions secret because if coworkers or family members found out, we might have problems. Many of us have to put up with sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia or body shaming in the office (or with our families) because if we bring up any concerns regarding these things, we are looking at the possibility of drama in the near future. Many of us are forced to keep ourselves hidden, because if we were honest about who we are, we’d be screwed over.

“Library Cabinet” by Lori Murga via Flickr

The problem with this is, it’s very difficult to live a compartmentalized life. And honestly, there are some things you simply can’t or shouldn’t compartmentalize away for the ease and comfort of others. Despite this, compartmentalization lives on because we don’t live in an ideal world.

I realized recently that compartmentalization also seems to be effecting parts of our religious community. In the same way that you might not want to talk about your homosexual relationship at work for fear of getting shunned, some people don’t want to talk about their god-spouse relationship with other Kemetics for fear that they’ll get kicked off of the island.

And I think that is a shame.

It starts off innocently enough- where a group will talk about generalized Kemeticism with other Kemetics. And while we may all start off with only talking about generic Kemeticism, as people become more comfortable with one another, or with the Kemetic community, eventually other things bleed through because there are just things you can’t compartmentalize. You see, in order to really be practicing Kemeticism, it should permeate a large portion, if not all of your life. To live in ma’at means to live in ma’at 24/7, not just when you’re sitting in shrine.

So when I begin to try and live in ma’at, and I’m faced with how ma’at looks for someone who has a mental disorder, or for someone who has physical limitations, or for someone who is a minority in our culture – my compartmentalization starts to fall away. Because on the inside, I am not a bunch of compartments. I am a whole person who is forced to keep parts hidden away for my safety.

And when this happens and I begin to discuss Kemeticism more in-depth with my peers, that bleed-through is going to show up. People are going to notice that my gender and my sexual orientation and my mental problems are going to influence my views on ma’at, the gods, and how I view the community and Kemeticism as a whole. Because I am a whole person whose religion permeates all aspects of life, I can’t compartmentalize that very readily when discussing Kemeticism with others.

Sometimes this lack of compartmentalization effects others. I saw an example of this recently, when a group of Kemetics within an organization wished to make a safe space for themselves to allow for safe discussion and solidarity. I was talking with someone about this, and they didn’t understand why these people felt the need to bring “non-religious things” into the religious forum. These people removing that barrier that is compartmentalization had made this person feel extremely uncomfortable.

The thing is, these people were not bringing in anything that wasn’t religious into a religious group. As with my example above, these are whole people who shouldn’t have to compartmentalize and hide intrinsic parts of themselves from Kemetic discussion (or discussion with other Kemetics). For these people, their lives are forever effected by a set of circumstances they can’t control; in much the same way that my life is effected because by my mental health issues. While I can try to hide that I have problems with my brain, at the end of the day, my entire existence is framed from this perspective. And when I talk about Kemeticism and community, I’m going to be operating from the same perspective.

I’m not bringing mental health issues into Kemeticism, or trying to derail Kemetic discussion with my health issues. I’m simply discussing from the perspective that I already know and trying to relay how one (mental health) can effect the other (Kemeticism/religion). And while people who don’t have mental health issues might not understand how one relates to the other, I think its important for us as a community to realize that we shouldn’t ask our community members to segment parts of themselves off for our comfort. If we truly are trying to understand one another and grow as a community, we need to understand that each of us has our own perspective, our own background, and that this perspective and background is going to effect every aspect of our religious experience. Instead of asking our community members to hide these aspects of themselves (whether openly or silently), we should be looking to understand their perspective and understand why they feel the way that they do. And in turn, learn from their experiences and broaden our own horizons in the process.

It’s bad enough that many of us have to segment off very important parts of our lives because our society has a very limited view of what is acceptable and “normal”, and I would hope that we wouldn’t want to bring this into our religious community as well. It is better when we try to reach out and understand our peers and their situations. We are able to lift all of us up simultaneously when discussion can be open, friendly and safe for our community members. And while it may take some time for all of our community members to feel safe enough to share their thoughts openly (and in the meantime, we create small groups where safe discussion can occur), it is my hope that we can slowly move forward in showing that we are accepting of the diversity that exists amongst our community members.

Because at the end of the say, Kemeticism should influence your entire existence and your entire self. And you shouldn’t have to compartmentalize or hide that stuff, especially with community members that are supposed to be a sort of support group. I can only hope in time that this will become a reality.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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The Importance of Netjeri

*Please note that the bulk of this post is entirely UPG and is a theory that I am currently experimenting with. This entire post has a large YMMV disclaimer on it.*

It is my understanding that Netjeri are the little guys of the Duat. While they can be powerful, well-known little guys, they are still under the gods in rank and typically work for the gods in some fashion or another (typically, I’m sure there are exceptions to the rules). And in a modern context, it doesn’t seem that many Netjeri get any notice from Kemetic practitioners, and on the by and large, they are pretty much unknown, or disregarded.

I question if this is a good thing.

When you think about it, the gods have Netjeri in their service. They command netjeri (often written as “demons”) to go do things for them. However, if their netjeri are receiving no sustenance from the Kemetics who know that they exist, or if the gods are forced to share their meager offerings with the netjeri in their service, it seems to me that all parties would be weaker or suffering out of a lack of support through offerings by devotees/practitioners.

I would like to share an experience that I’ve had recently as a form of reference for this line of thinking.

At the river, there is an offering table where I will place a variety of items that are specifically for Osiris or his entourage. Normally, these offerings are very simple- incense, water and bread. Usually, when I arrive at the river, I will leave offerings on the table and they go to… wherever they go to. Once I’ve returned later, I will find the offering table is clean, and the process starts over again.

One evening, I was bored and decided to sit down in front of the offering table and stare off at the river below. I noticed when I looked back down at the offering table that the offerings I had placed there earlier had disappeared.

Thus began the experimenting.

I decided to start small. I’d put a jug of water here. A few rolls there. And I’d wait.

And slowly but surely, each item would disappear.

So I slowly added more items of a variety of natures. I’d bring out the standard beer and water, fruit, cheese and bread. But after a while, I got even more curious, and I’d place out bowls of candy, chocolate and other junk foods.

Everything would disappear. It’s almost like the table was a portal, and on the other end, O’s staff was taking the offerings in and processing them. Jokingly, I stated that I hoped it wasn’t a netjeri who oversaw this, because O would return to find his staff incredibly buzzed off of a ton of beer and chocolate. It would be a mad house.

It’s from this experience that I really began to question if the gods have staff, and who or what feeds the staff that work for the gods. Is it our offerings? Is there sustenance that comes from the Duat? Is is ma’at (what gods are said to live off of)? Is it something else?

And with that- should we be considering a deity’s entourage when we put offerings out?

One of the most common ways that netjeri get mention in modern Kemeticism is under the question of “are you sure it was a god that you were talking to, or was it actually a netjeri?” This is commonly the response given when you have a weird experience with a “deity” or when you’re getting odd vibes or responses from your gods. You see, when the gods are out doing their thing, netjeri often pick up the phones and scribble down our messages for the gods to check later. They also like to sometimes pretend to be gods when they are obviously not. So we often get weird experiences from time to time at the hands of a bored or hungry netjeri.

However, if we were to start paying attention to netjeri, and leaving small tokens out for them, don’t you think it possible that they could become a useful part of your Kemetic toolbox? Perhaps if you were to show them that you notice that they exist, they’d be a little more attentive when they scribble down your message, and maybe they’d make sure that your message is the first to get to the god in question. Perhaps they wouldn’t have to pretend to be a deity in your presence because they know they’ll get something from you with or without the deity mask on their face.

Sometimes, paying attention to the little guy can bring benefit to you. It also brings benefit to the gods because their staff is actually being fed – and so the whole structure can become stronger for it. If you consider it in today’s standards- feeding only the gods is like only feeding our CEOs and hoping that the little people beneath the CEOs actually get something from it.

Because of this, every time that I go to the river now, I try to leave out a small bowl of candy for the netjeri. I make sure that there are enough rolls and other things for multiple people to survive off of. I try to make sure that I give enough that any staff or entourage may be able to partake in the food. I do this in hopes that the entire group may benefit from it, and to show my thanks that they continue to help make the cogs of the Duat turn and still help the gods with their tasks.

Have you ever worked closely with netjeri? Would you consider leaving offerings for the netjeri?

 

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How “why” can hurt us

I recently worked on a CE course that discussed stress and the nature of stress. According to this course, one of the types of stress that people experience is called “psychological stress”. This type of stress is largely internal- you know, the chatting of the brain, the mental turmoil and strife that people experience. One of the coping mechanisms that the speaker suggested to people who suffer from psychological stress is to stop asking “why”.

Now, this doesn’t mean to stop asking questions. In fact, the speaker also listed that maintaining a healthy sense of curiosity (and thereby asking questions) is also useful for coping and leading a happy, less stressed life.

But what she means is specifically- to not ask people, or yourself, “why”. Such examples would be:

  • Why are you doing that?
  • Why are you late?
  • Why can’t you do this properly?
  • Why do I constantly fall short?
  • Why did I eat a whole pie in one sitting?

When you start a question with the word “Why” you instantly make the person that you are addressing defensive. This is because the question comes from an angle that the person has to defend their actions and it invalidates their choices all in one blow. This is equally true when you ask your parent or kid “why” as when you ask yourself “why”.

So why am I bringing up asking why? Because I think there are two lessons to be learned from this concept. The first stems within ourselves, the second involves how we interact with other people within our community (because, you know- I’m a boat paddler and everything comes back to community).

Let’s first address ourselves- the practitioners who actually make up the community of Kemetics.

As can be seen by a variety of posts over the years, many of us feel inadequate. And this inadequacy seems to not be a Kemetic-only phenomena- lots of Pagans and polytheists that I’ve met feel like they aren’t doing a good enough job. Because we feel inadequate, we start to ask questions of ourselves, “why can’t I get it right?” “why am I no good at doing this?”. These types of questions instantly invalidates our actions and choices and reinforces that we are being overly critical of our actions and choices which leads to a cycle of self-depreciation and usually lands us into a fallow period or depression and anxiety (or all three).

It’s not a good place to be, and its not helpful for any of us.

So how do we combat the “why”?

According to the speaker, you need to rephrase your questions. Asking “why” shuts down all possibilities and opportunities to really reflect and grow from the situation. “Why” is merely criticizing the actions and nothing further. Instead, make use of other active words such as “who, what, when, where and how”.

For example, instead of asking “Why can’t I get it right”, perhaps ask yourself “What is it about this situation that I might not be doing as well as I could?” and from there “What actions could I take to better the situation that I find myself in?”

Instead of “Why can’t I hear the gods?” try “What methods could I try to hear the gods?” or “What other parts of my practice could I focus on instead?”.

Or perhaps instead of “Why does my practice suck?” try “How could I expand my current practice” or “What about my current practice makes me feel so unhappy? How could I change that? What could cause me to feel that way?”

By removing the “why”, you are being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to be okay with your decisions and choices. You’re not making subconscious judgement calls on how you do things, and it allows you to reflect in a safe manner on where you are currently at with your situation and emotions. I think it’s a very useful tool for all of us with problems with self-depreciation.

I also think that this could translate into how we talk to others within the community. By being aware of how we phrase our questions and how those questions effect us (and others) on a subconscious level can allow us to use language that opens up avenues for discourse as opposed to instantly shutting down a conversation for being “too harsh” in your language.

So when someone pops up with some random fact about Aset being the Mother, Maiden and Crone- instead of saying “why on earth would you think that?” ask them instead “Where did you read about that? Do you remember the book or website you got it from?” That way, the person will hopefully remain more open to discussion and perhaps both sides can learn a little bit of something from one another.

Perhaps if we were to work on how we use ‘why’- both on a singular personal level and on an interfaith community level- we could all be a little bit happier.

 

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