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Learning to Write

It’s story time.

A little known fact about me is that I have depressive streaks (or possibly depression). I seem to live in a constant state between meh, anxiety and hating myself. It started early on for me, as I was raised by a mother whose husbands had no concern or care for me. My biological father thought it was better to spend his time creating a new family instead of investing in the family he had, and my step father- while claiming to care – was verbally abusive.

Growing up, my step-father would rather watch tv than interact with me, and my mother was always at work. Because I had no friends and  the rest of my family didn’t seem to care or wasn’t around, I grew up talking to “the air” and when I became old enough, I started to write.

I’d write my feelings out on paper and throw it away or tear it up and let it go on the wind. Execration at a young age, I suppose, but one day, I got sloppy. I was living at my step-grandparents at the time and I hated it there. Our apartment had flooded and we were living there temporarily. My step-grandparents didn’t like me because I wasn’t blood family and I shared a room with a toddler that would scream from 11pm to 3am almost every night. So to cope, I would write my feelings out on paper. I’d talk about how sad I was. How worthless I was. How much I hated myself and how the world would be better if I were not alive.

I forgot to mention I was in 4th grade at the time.

I was interrupted one day while writing my feelings out. It was snack time, and I went out into the kitchen to have something to eat. I would return to my room to find my paper missing and my mother would come in shortly afterwards to yell at me and tell me that these feelings weren’t “normal” and to not write about that sort of thing anymore.

I think it’s like this frame of Hyperbole and a Half, where she is trying to reach out for help, but instead, you end up scaring the person you’re talking to instead. And instead of my mom trying to get me some help, she got scared and told me to stop saying such scary things.

Either way, I quit writing. I stopped writing for years. I wouldn’t start writing again until high school, when my depression hit an all new low. It was at this point that I began to explore poetry and expressing my sadness through the use of rhyme, measure and lyrics because I had no other outlet or venue to cope.

And one day, in my stupidity, I showed my grandmother one of my poems. She thought I had stolen it and claimed it as my own.

I stopped writing again. The fact that she took me to be someone who would do that hurt too much for me to bring myself to put pen to paper.

I wouldn’t start writing again until I opened up my Kemetic blog on LJ nearly a decade later. I wouldn’t take my writing seriously until a few years after that, under the direction of a therapist. And only then did my words and writing find a niche and a place.

Only then did my writing come full circle. But then again, I’m now writing with more direction other than to say “I hurt”.

So why am I telling you this story? What is the moral in all of this?

The moral is that words have power. Sure, you hear us say it all the time “rah rah! words are important!” but I think we really don’t get how much of an influence words truly have. If you’re a Kemetic, set down your textbooks. Forget what Assman or Pinch or Reidy or anyone says about that thing called heka and just… think about it for a minute. Think about your own life and how many times you’ve stopped doing something because someone told you that you suck at it. How many times has your day turned to crap because someone said something mean, hurtful or spiteful?

And for those of us with depression or anxiety, it’s not very hard to understand or grasp- because I know for myself, it’s a daily battle because people are very calloused with their words and their actions.

The phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones” is the stupidest thing on the planet because it’s a gigantic lie. Words are just as powerful as any physical weapon. Words can break your spirit and wound you in ways that never heal, and when many of us cast stones and point fingers and call our fellow peers delusional and crazy in a flippant manner, what do you think you’re doing to that person? What kind of effect do you think that could have on that person?

You don’t know this person. You are not a mental health expert. You are not being helpful.

You are saying things that hurt people. And when people get hurt enough, their light gets extinguished. And no one prospers when that happens. Not you. Not me. Not the gods. And least of all, the person who’s ideas you snuffed out because you were being careless with your words.

I can’t tell you how many years I wasted not writing because every time I showed it to someone, I had a negative experience. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent hating myself because I was told via verbal communication- aka words that I was not normal and that what I felt was flat out, completely wrong.

It’s easy to write it off with “grow a pair” or “get some thicker skin” but that is the easy way out. The responsibility shouldn’t fall on the person who is being put down. The responsibility should fall on the person who is being an ass. And we should all be working on being better to one another.

And we should really work towards understanding not only the weight our words truly have, but the consequences our words can inflict and carry when we use them haphazardly.

And finally, for those of you who are reading this, whose flames are dieing out because someone is being a jerk- don’t let your flame die out. Don’t give up what you do, love or believe because someone doesn’t have the sense to speak with care. Don’t allow yourself to hide away for years like I did.

Remember that we all bring something to this world. Even if we don’t realize it.

 

 

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Heka is a Two Way Street

A couple of weeks ago, I posed a question on ecauldron about the nature of Heka. We Kemetics all know that Heka can influence a lot. We speak words of power and praise to the gods. Everything we say and create becomes.

The question I posed then was: how much of our heka is inadvertently effecting the gods? 

I mean, think about it- we do these rituals to help establish ma’at in the world. We bring forth the First Time, Zep-Tepi. We refresh and renew the gods, the cosmos, ourselves. We do these great acts of power and strength and we wrap it up with… an offering of Oreos and Coke.

If all of our words have power, and everything in ritual has meaning and purpose- how much of our little actions add up and weaken the gods? I know that many people believe that the gods can’t be weakened, but it doesn’t seem to have been the case in antiquity. There are stories of the Egyptians threatening the gods with things such as withholding rituals, withholding offerings, lack of worship, etc. Why do that if the gods don’t need our help to keep things running? And as was stated in this post, yes it’s true that the world didn’t end when Egypt fell. But the Egyptian way of life certainly did. If things were still running with ma’at in mind, we wouldn’t have to take the time to relearn everything. We’d already know about it. Keeping up the cosmos is a responsibility that is shared by both humans and gods. We can’t rely on the gods to make everything better. If we decide to destroy this planet and create nothing but isfet- we will fall apart. And there is nothing the gods can do about that. So it seems to make sense to me that the gods need us on some level, and that daily ritual served to help the gods, the cosmos and ma’at. We helped through sacred action and utterance. We helped through heka.

And we still help through heka. Prayers. Rites. Community gatherings. Living life well. Putting away shopping carts. Saving spoons. Helping people. Helping yourself. Living life to the fullest. Embodying ma’at. All of that warm and fuzzy stuff.

But at the same time, a lot of what we do could be hurting the cosmos as well. We fight. Bicker. We hurt ourselves and others. We waste our spoons on useless crap. We ingest bad food. We have self esteem and body issues. We project our issues onto the gods. We feed the gods junk for dinner every night. We skip out on ritual all together.

If all of the good we do creates good things for the gods, then it would make sense that the opposite would be true. All of this crap we bog ourselves down with degrades the relationship with the Unseen world. It distorts the connection and creates problems in (potentially) both worlds. And the act of marginalizing and trivializing gods not only weakens them, it weakens our respect and actions towards them.

Let me use an example- the Internet.

All of us use the Internet, and we all have a sort of personality on here. We interact through means that are less than physical, in potentially the same way that gods do with us. In this small world, things get around. If I say that X person is a jerk to my circle of Internet friends, it’s likely that they will assume as such – and ultimately, that effects X. X could experience a lack of communication from others. They could see a drop in blog visits, subscriptions, or all of their FB friends could leave. They could be harassed. All sorts of things. All because I said X was a jerk.

Another example could be that I say X is stupid. They don’t know what they are talking about and you shouldn’t listen to them. How long before that effects the responses that X gets from others? How long before everything they say is dismissed because of some preconceived notion?

Don’t think it can happen? Look at the fallout Kemetic Orthodoxy experiences from the anger brought on by a few people. Look at the fallout some Kemetic authors experience because they have a checkered past in relation to Kemetic Orthodoxy. And while, yes, it’s entirely possible that people will try to find the truth, despite common ideas about what is and isn’t- there will still be a group of people who will never bridge that gap all because of what they have heard. The actions of a few can affect a large number of people.

Now let’s turn this around towards the gods.

If I treat, say… Wepwawet as nothing more than a form of Anpu? They are both ‘two sides of the same coin’ in some forms of Kemeticism. And many people treat Wepwawet as nothing more than Anubis in his work clothes- some weird aspect of him that comes out when he needs to be tougher- but not necessarily a true entity or god in his own right. So if this spreads around to a large group of Kemetics… how long before his reputation changes? How long before people quit treating him like an awesome (and separate) god that deserves our respect (and in some ways, fear) and we all start treating him like some weird fluke mood of Anpu? And if he starts getting treated like he isn’t entirely his own entity, how long before He Who Is the Highest of the Gods decides he wants nothing to do with us, and that he’s going to go open some ways elsewhere? Who is to say that the attitudes that many Kemetics share aren’t hurting or effecting the gods?

All of our actions carry weight. All of our assumptions and ideas carry weight. How often do you think about what you say and do and how it could be affecting the gods and world around us? Are you creating a world that embodies ma’at?

 
22 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

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Life is an RPG

During one of my recent therapy sessions, my therapist told me that she believed life (and to an extent this whole planet/place) is made just to test us. It’s here to help us grow and learn, and that all of the strife and struggle we go through is merely to make us stronger. To help us get to the next level. She recommended I consider this the next time I got upset, or felt my emotions charging my actions. That perhaps it would be easier for me to do what is best for the situation if I realized this is only a test. I considered her words, and I came up with this.

Life is like an RPG.

Seriously. It is. For those of you who don’t know what an RPG is, it is a “role playing game”. In these games, you create a character, and you get to choose your actions based off of your character’s parameters. Many times you will run around and do things for people, and you usually have to talk to every. single. person. ever. In these conversations, you usually get to pick what your response is. And generally speaking, it follows a simple pattern:

How "Zero Punctuation" sees it.

  • Response 1: Nice, heroic, concerned response
  • Response 2: Neutral or funny guy response
  • Response 3: Asshole response

Based off of what you’re trying to do, you pick the response that will get the result that you want. If you need to harden someone, you might pick number 3. If you’re trying to get into another character’s pants, you’ll probably pick response 1 all the time. I’ve even gone so far as to play a whole game choosing nothing but the third response- just to see how the story changes when you’re a complete dick to everyone.

What I’m trying to get at is you pick your words based off of what you’re trying to get done. It’s a means to an end. There aren’t a whole lot of emotions in picking your responses. You don’t get angry or emotionally distraught when some peasant screams at you belligerently and falsely accuses you of stealing their pigs or something. Instead you take the good guy route and nicely figure out what he means, or you laugh at him as you pick the asshole response. There isn’t a lot of emotions tied to what you’re doing. You’re using the responses to best suit your needs in each situation.

So why isn’t life that way?

How many times in your life have you let your stomach dictate what comes out of your mouth? How many times can you recall letting a bad situation (an argument or disagreement) get to you and then turning and lashing out at someone else who isn’t even involved (aka an innocent bystander)? Can you recall how many times you’ve said something out of spite or anger that you regret later?

Perhaps if we treated life more like an RPG, we wouldn’t have so many of these situations. You could do like the Twix commercials- someone says something that sparks an emotion in you. Pause for a moment to figure out what is actually going on. See if it really is smart to select Response 3. Or if perhaps being calm in the situation would actually make everything better.

I’m considering calling this “Think twice, Speak once”.

Much like ‘measure twice, cut once’, if you consider your options first, you’ll only have to say your piece once, as opposed to multiple times trying to rectify whatever came out the first time. Always giving into our stomachs for our speech leads to quick reactions that only cloud up the situation. It causes us more stress and strife than if we were all to take a step back and assess the situations we encounter without emotion.

This all really reminds me of Super-Nanny. In Super-Nanny, you often see parents at the end of their ropes. They’re trying to be adults and be good parents to their children. Yet these kids are able to drag the parents right down to their level. The parent starts to scream, the kid screams back and it’s a whole downhill slide from there. When she comes in to work with these parents, she constantly has to tell them not to get emotional. That you are the adult. You need to remain calm. That if your anger interferes, it won’t work. If you’re too emotional, take a breath, walk away and come back with a clear head to discipline your child. But the whole moral of the story is don’t react. Act. It’s a lot like an RPG, really. Your words and actions are taking you to a certain result that you want (the child behaving). You say what you need to say or have to say in order to get your children to mind. And you don’t decide that because they are screaming you need to scream too. (This actually reminds me of this link I found when researching Unconditional Love).

Imagine what could be if you applied that to every situation in your life. Imagine if everyone you knew did that too. Imagine how much simpler situations might become if everyone applied ‘think twice and speak once’.

And they say that games can’t teach you anything.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work, Rambles

 

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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.

 
8 Comments

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

 

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