W is for… doing the Work

There’s been a lot of stress since I moved house. In the last two months, I’ve had a few things go wrong. The care fiasco that was so stressful I went a bit loopy (and which is not sorted yet – I’m still without care, although we’re making progress). Various aspects of my medical condition have decided to run out of control. I’ve developed chronic migraines (fingers crossed that the new medication keeps helping – they seem to be almost gone). I’ve been unable to do much, if any, work on my PhD, and I have a deadline for a chapter coming up. And now, unsurprisingly, my blood pressure is too high. (Stress + Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome can = a bit of a roller-coaster for the heart.)

This has all had an effect on my practice. As in, I haven’t been doing any. Well, not entirely none. I’ve been exploring the land in the new area where I live, including rivers, and off-the-track places hidden among urban sprawl. I did some things for Samhain, taking a Celtic reconstructionist approach to the festival: rowan crosses, saining and charms, as well as ancestor reverence. And I’ve continued my Ogham work – I’m currently on luis, whose rowan associations have been appropriate to the season. But my daily Work went by the wayside for a while. Rarely did I want to get up earlier or stay up a bit later to make offerings. I just didn’t see the point. It wasn’t helping with the chaos and the stress. I was too tired. So why not just go to bed?

And of course, that only made things worse. I need routine, and I need regular connection. I have to stop, regularly, and say “This is my limit — this is where I begin and end, and this is where everything else starts and ends, and we are separate and not so separate — and this is where my gods start and end, and we are separate and not so separate…” Without that connection to the numinous, I shrivel up a bit inside, start to lose my connection with my own sovereignty and power in my life — not to mention with my gods. I’ve been doing this for a long time – at least back to when I was attempting to be a Gnostic, meditating (very badly) to reach something that I never really understood. And I didn’t often want to do it then, either. There are always reasons not to do the Work. There are more reasons to do it.

Partly, too, this disconnection has been about the lack of a group. I really notice that I don’t have a community here, which has surprised me a bit, as I was never looking for a group in the beginning, and I’m not really looking for one now… My grove in Nottingham was full of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, but we didn’t really do the same things, when it came to our practice – each of us had a different focus, and I always felt like my Celtic recon stuff was very different from what the others were doing (although maybe everyone feels like that, in a diverse group). But it wasn’t about doing the same things. It was about being a community – a túath. I wonder if that doesn’t even have to be spiritual/religious – if it’s more about true, dedicated community of the kind that we don’t form enough, in the modern world. And I’ll always be a little bit on the outside of that, looking in – not least because of my Asperger’s. But someone needs to hold that space, on the edge. It’s a valid place to do the Work.

I’m working around the concept of liminality, at lot, at the moment. Bhéarra keeps popping up (everywhere), prompting me to define my limits and boundaries – and then, sometimes, to go beyond them, into the edges of things. I don’t know what that means yet. I know it’s interesting.

My aim, for now: Show up – at the altar, the hearth shrine, the land. Do the Work – whatever it turns out to be. Work now. Worry later.

4 thoughts on “W is for… doing the Work

  1. The best thing about variety of beliefs and practice is that everyone brings something of that with them. :)
    And as for going beyond your boundaries, transcendence of yourself (as in to go beyond your limits in order to develop more than what you are/have/have not/am(?)), surely.

    We miss you too btw. ;)

  2. Similarly I feel like I’m lacking in sustenance- in the connection to the divine that nourishes me if I don’t show up at my altar before work in the morning and connect with the spirits of place, the ancestors and my patron. Without this I’d feel lost and disconnected all day. It’s also really important for me to get out on the land at least 3-4 times a week and write some poetry.

    Hope you feel better soon x

  3. Hope you get to feeling better soon. <3

    I loved this whole post. This line in particular: "There are always reasons not to do the Work. There are more reasons to do it."

    That could be said about so many of the things in life that are good for us, either in body, mind, soul, or all. It's so easy to let go of the little things that enrich our life when things get difficult–and that's precisely when we need those things the most.

    I also hope you're able to find a supportive group that gives you that sense of community. <3

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