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Steady As She Goes

I took two weeks off from writing; big mistake.

As a result my brain has been overloaded with an array of thoughts and I’ve had no way to put them in order, to synthesize, or to really function without terrible anxiety. I can’t neglect that any longer.

I had every intention of putting up a Tarot Tuesday post, but the work had me travelling cross-country this week for professional development. Lazy excuse, I know. I should have thought through that a little better. So what my *plan* is from here on out is to categorize types of posts by days: Sundays = Theology, Tuesdays = Tarot, Thursdays = Personal. I’m doing a major “brain dump” between today and tomorrow to make sure that I can keep up with this plan. I can already see that my caffeine intake will likely skyrocket…

Anyway, onto my topic of today’s post. What makes up your foundation?

Is it faith? Family? Conviction in purpose? If you’re anything like me it’s a combination of these things. Regardless, it’s important to have a deep and solid foundation in our lives, as this either helps/hinders us during difficult times. I’ve been reminded of this very recently with the events going on in my personal life. I’ve done quite a lot of reflection on my foundation as a result! Yet, I’ve only really started to put careful thought and effort into making sure that my own foundation, in a spiritual sense, is strong enough to support me throughout my life.

It is something I have always been aware of, this concept that in order for one to move forward in life with confidence and optimism, one must have a firm foundation on which to stand. It makes perfect sense to the logic/rational side of my brain. My brothers and partner are all very hands-on, tangible people. They understand more intangible concepts and theories when you can make it into a tangible analogy. I like to think that my brain works a little differently, but this spiritual foundation idea really had me frustrated until a good friend put it in a more literal/tangible way.

I was complaining about how uncertain everything was becoming in my life, how it stressed me out in a completely new way. I was quickly sliding into a self-pity sinkhole when I expressed that I craved stability. The response was quick and, in my mind, rather witty: “Well if you want stability maybe you should study earthquake-proof structures.”

I sort of laughed, thinking that this was a bit sarcastic, but before I could reply back there was a question posed, “Do you know what makes these structures earthquake proof?”
I admit, I had an idea, but only in a general sense. My friend responded back to me in a way that really made me sit back in my chair. The response to what made a building earthquake proof was simple: A deep foundation and a flexible structure/frame.

Well, damn. If that didn’t resonate with me in such a profound way. I don’t know if an actual earthquake could have done a better job of getting me out of my whiny, “woe-is-me” mode. It humbled me and made me think that I had been acting rather selfishly as of late. I had been thinking me, me, me and what am I going to do? I was imagining that I was left out in the middle of a fog with no sense of where to go. When in reality, I had people who cared enough to help me and a growing faith in the Divine to see me through. I just needed that “reality check” to remind me that I had been a little too short sighted and focused only on myself recently. I thought I had gotten away from that…

This is where my “reluctant” paganism comes into play. All my life, I’ve operated in a very selfish way when it comes to the Divine. I left Christianity because I saw so many congregants lead such hypocritical lives, that I was wondering why God didn’t just smack them down for not being Christ-centered. I questioned, and wondered, and thought that there must be another path that had less “me” people and more “God” people. Little did I realize that I was really no better in a number of ways. I prayed only when I was desperate and not when I was thankful. I refused to give my time and money to some charities because they did not appear “worthy” to me on the scale of needs in the community. I did not attend outreach or volunteer because it did not fit my schedule.

I reached for Paganism, in part, because it allowed me to be at the center. Or at least it did for a while…which helps me to understand why in biblical texts “Pagan” as an adjective really seems to mean “complete opposite of Christ”, ie: self centered versus God centered. The Divine pulled me to my Pagan path with this simple boost to my ego. I got to think that I was in control and was so much more enlightened than my Christian counterparts. And then years later, when I encountered my first major internal/external conflict, the Gods promptly put me back in my place. I was forcibly reminded that I am not the center of the damn universe – and my so both my spirit and ego finally got on the same page.

I attribute part of this conflict to the fact that I had never really formed a foundation on/around anything other than myself. Yes, I had my family, and that helped me through, but the fact of the matter is they will not always physically be around to support me. I’m aware that the Divine, particularly some of the manifestations I’ve come across, has a twisted sense of humor. The phrase “be careful what you wish for” is so damn true. I wanted to be in control and be master of my own destiny, “IMMA INDEPENDENT WOMAN DON’T NEED NO GOD!” -facepalm-

Thank you, Ishtar for letting me fall flat on my ego. ‘Cause ego is not what foundations are made of. I had to realize that and I had to start building my foundation with the thought that “I’m really not in control here.” That in itself took a lot of energy and heartache. If I put myself first, always, then I’m really just going to end up alone in a sinkhole of my own making. If I continue to act selfishly, and without considering the fact that my decisions can be someone else’s “earthquake”, I will never know the love and grace that comes with seeing the Divine through someone else’s eyes. I know the difference between being in solitude and being lonely.

So,  long winded way of my getting to the point. What makes up my foundation? 

My foundation is my family, my partner, my friends and more recently…reluctantly, my faith in the Divine. My faith in something bigger, stronger, more compassionate than I. When I think about the earthquake proof structure – the flexible structure would be my family, partner, and friends, while my foundation is my deepening faith in the Gods. My reluctance is still there, I still struggle with letting go of control and trusting anything unknown/uncertain. I struggle with trusting myself as well though, and this is the dance I do with the Gods. This learning to think beyond being self centered and to put a little more faith in the Divine. “Lord, help me to accept the things I cannot change and change the things that I can. Amen”

What does your foundation look like and how have you built it over time? Where are the cracks and have you repaired them? How does your faith and your family tie into your own personal structure?

 

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thereluctantpagan

Writer, Wannabe Artist, Overthinker, List-Maker, Photographer, Chronic Under-Salter

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