Hi, again! First, a quick note to my LJ-feed folks–could you do me the kindness of posting your comments to my entries to the actual therioshamanism.com site, rather than the LJ-feed posts? I don’t get comment notifications for LJ, and I don’t really have the time to go back and check my recent posts. However, I do get comment notifications for therioshamanism.com. Muchas gracias!
One thing that has been made clear to me since embarking on this quest is just how much I don’t know. Now that I’m reevaluating my path, I’m beginning to see the holes in my experience that need to be filled. For example, for all the neat stuff I’ve been able to do with animal magic and other paradigms over the years, and for all the bad habits I’ve deprogrammed out of myself, I still have yet to successfully put together a daily meditation or other practice that consistently lasted for more than a week. And while I’ve had some experience with various altered states of consciousness, I could use more control in more advanced states outside of shapeshifting-related trance (both totemic and therianthropic).
When I first came to this realization, I will admit it was a bit of a blow to the ego. I thought to myself, “Well, what the hell have I been doing screwing around the past decade and change?” Actually, I’ve had this happen a couple of times in response to multiple experiences recently that showed me where I need work. It didn’t help that my first “assignment” from the totems was basic 101-level elemental work.
Needless to say, while I haven’t entertained any thoughts of giving up, I have felt pretty down on myself lately, questioning whether I’ve wasted the past 10+ years and wishing I’d been more focused. There were even times when I questioned the magical stuff I’ve written, whether I had the authority to write Fang and Fur. Hello, self-absorbed pity party.
However, after having done the elemental exercise that the totems suggested in this ritual for a couple of days, I was able to see progress, and to appreciate why they’d brought it up. This, coupled with some conversations I’d had with my husband, Taylor, helped me to stop focusing on my perceived “failures”, and instead to accept that going back to the basics doesn’t make one inferior. It may simply mean that when you’re rebuilding, you start from the ground up. And since I have more to work with than I did all those years ago, I’m in a better place in a lot of ways.
I’ve been learning a lot the past decade and change. And I’ve been able to convey some of what I’ve learned through my writing. Starting over doesn’t negate or lessen what I’ve already done, nor do I have to throw everything out the window. Even if I find that I don’t see things the same way as I did a couple of years ago, it doesn’t mean my experiences then were less genuine. It simply means that I’m continuing to refine my experiences, rather than letting myself stagnate into a pool of dogma. In a way, my writing has been a record of my evolution as a person, and even if I find that I don’t agree with it all ten years from now, that doesn’t decrease its value. Each article, each book, each journal entry is a snapshot of who I am and what I’m doing at that time, and is one step on a continuous path.
And as for the insecurity and egocentricism? These are things to work on. They don’t make me a terrible person, nor do they automatically disqualify my from what I’m doing. Rather, the acknowledgment that they’re there and that I can work on making myself better in those regards is a step in the right direction. Rather than being crushed by humiliation, I can be refocused through humility and self-honesty, and take away some of the fear-based barriers in my way.
So I’m okay with doing some 101-level work. It’s a good reminder of why it works, and it helps me to create a more solid foundation for a new stretch of my path.