Monday, October 7, 2013

Sit, Stop, Listen, Feel, Hear.

Spring is moving on towards summer. It feels too early for that, too early in the year, but I remind myself it is October and Summernights (Beltane for some) is on the horizon. While I don't like the brightness of the sun, or the heat, I think that this year spring is a balm for my soul. The hopefulness of the season is infectious; I feel like the world is full of possibilities. 

I am trying to focus on compassion. I have found that when I remember everyone around me is a person with their own struggles, I feel less anxiety. I have found that when I hope for the best for others, and pray similarly, I feel more at peace. Compassion soothes my stress, and as it seems to be so beneficial, I am trying to practice it more often. Not that it's easy. Humans are noisy and annoying, and I am cynical and bitter, and some people are just deliberately awful. Looking at you, Tea Party. But not for long, because I am striving for peace and you make me angry.

I am dealing with medical issues at the moment regarding mysterious pain. I had tests for rheumatoid arthritis, and researched it heavily for a week or two. Its progressive nature distressed me - as a Heathen, as a Pagan whose faith incorporates activity and physical strength and improvement. I'm a runner, as of this January, and I want to be strong and able to defend myself. I realised that these avenues may become closed off to me at some point. I started thinking about alternatives. If I could not do this, what else could I do to embrace spiritual experience? I wondered if being a seidh-kona was my role in life, if I was to throw myself into mystic experiences. The RA tests were negative, but that sense of spiritual drive has remained. That "why aren't you meditating more?", that "there is so much work to be done!", that "sit! stop! listen!" of it all. I think of Heathens of ages past Sitting Out on mounds and suchlike. I reflect on how much I used to go Hedge-Riding compared to now, and wonder, did I skip steps, back then? Am I returning now to a place I spent too little time in before? Sit, stop, listen. Let the world come to you. Smell the air, feel the sun, hear the whisper of the wind.

And in a way this links back to the compassion: there's an element here of being spiritually receptive, rather than... I don't know, reactive, perhaps. It's something in the air, something in the dawn of Summer. Something in the close of the secular year. It's all caught up with the strawberries in champagne, and the hope of newness. And it's so much better than last year because I'm not an anxious mess. (I'm still anxious, but I'm not a mess. Baby steps!)

I'm not entirely sure where this is all leading me. I think of the Path in the Woods, as I often do when confused as to where I am and where I am going. Today when I think of it, the Path in the Woods is green and gold. The ground is packed earth, clear of leaf-litter and twigs, but uneven, twisted, broken by tree roots. I am not looking at the ground. I am looking at the sky, visible above, blue and dotted with fluffy white clouds. Golden sunlight filters down. The trees here are not overly tall, and their leaves are wide and bright, bright green. The sun lights them from above and they almost glow. The Path is pleasant at the moment, but I wonder to myself, because the path itself is treacherous, with its sudden drops and raised roots, and I am not looking where I am going. I wonder if this is an Omen.