I’m halfway through my weekend o’ work; today’s my day to rest before I go dig a hole in the ground tomorrow. I’m not going to say a whole lot; I’m still processing what I’ve experienced in the past two days, and preparing for the next two days. I’m also not sure how much I’ll talk about, and how much I’ll keep to myself.
One thing I will say though, is: there’s so much that I don’t know. I knew that before, but it really hit home this weekend. There will be some significant changes to the way I do things, to my expectations about myself and shamanism and what shamanism supposedly “is”; there will probably also be some major changes in my focus. I look at what I’ve been doing in the past six months, and in a way I feel like I’ve been sort of blindly stumbling around, looking for something and refusing to open my eyes–or, to be more accurate, my heart. Over-intellectualizing something this experiential doesn’t quite work, though I’ve always tended to slant more towards the cerebral side of things. Let’s just say that being immersed in experience has brought about some much-needed calibration
However, one thing I am learning is being humble without feeling humiliated. The former is an opening, a trusting vulnerability, and an acceptance of self. The latter is used to forcibly drag someone down, to force vulnerability on them and an ill-intended attempt to make someone accept things as they supposedly are. My initial reaction, when I realized that I needed to be going in a different direction, was to panic and think “Holy crap, I’m doing it all wrong! I must really be an arrogant fuck to think I was doing anything right; why the hell am I even doing this? What was I thinking? Maybe I should shut down my blog, because I didn’t enter into it the right way, and maybe it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. Maybe I should quit entirely, because I obviously don’t know what I’m doing!” And so forth.
But then I was told, by one of the spirits I was involved with, that I don’t have to throw it all out. Instead, I need to take what I’m learning and apply it to what I already have when I go home. Sure, I may discard some concepts and ideas that no longer really fit my experience (especially those due to over-intellectualizing), but I was already in the process of streamlining and realigning. Just because the process continues doesn’t mean that I’m completely screwed up. I need to honor what I have learned, and where I have come from, because it has led me to where I am now. It’s too tempting, I think, when people hit upon a major life-shift, to completely scrap everything from the past and have a “clean start”. Yet we can’t entirely divorce ourselves from our past; it’s a part of who we are. And I think it’s also a mistake to try to get rid of everything from “before”–baby and bathwater and all that.
The thing that I have to remember is that I wasn’t wrong, or bad, or stupid, for not doing things “right” prior to this weekend. Rather, I need to accept that that’s where I was at that point in time, and I hadn’t yet had the experiences that opened me up to what I’ve learned. Why beat myself up for not realizing something I’d had no exposure to? Instead, I’m learning to be more forgiving and understanding of myself, and accepting that I’m still learning; I don’t have to be perfect just yet (if ever).
And that goes along with the general theme of “opening up”. There’s a time and place to put up your defenses, but if you never learn to take them down when the time is right, then you miss out. My experience is deepening, and I’m finding that the amount of openness and trust that I had before won’t cut it, that I need to learn to give more. And that’s alright. I’m not a failure for not having realized this before. I’ve realized it, and I am putting it into practice–and that’s anything but failure.
So I’m off today to do a bit of solo hiking; Sedona has some beautiful places. I’m not so much interested in the tourist traps and the more popular “vortexes”–but there’s a lot of wilderness out there that’s calling to me…
I certainly would be sad to see you close the blog down. I know you want to keep things to yourself, but after going this far, it would really help if you would at least share with us what things you decided you were doing wrong, and such, so those of us following along with you can also know what pitfalls to avoid.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey so far.
I’ve also found with some things that simply having a teacher who’s been there and done that can be a big help.
Sedona is beautiful and has some great trails. My mate and I recently trekked through there along our vagabonding route. While you’re around there, check out Jerome. It’s a small town on a craggy mountainside with the feel of a creepy old Transylvanian village. There’s a motel at the top that used to be an insane asylum that’s worth a quick look (unfortunately only customers are allowed to explore it entirely).
You are one wise and courageous woman, a real trail-blazer. Of course, you are going to make a couple of ‘wrong’ turns along the way, but you are open enough to say ‘Whoa!” You still can trust yourself and your UPG – because even if right now you believe that you were on the wrong track after what you’ve learned this weekend, I’d bet my last dollar that by this time next year you will see *all* of this in a different light – both what you were doing, what you learned, and what you will do after this weekend.
Happy Equinox, sistah!
Considering that you started this blog to document your process and your spiritual growth and not to show that every thing you’ve ever done in your life is perfect, I don’t see any reason to stop writing here. Reassessment and reevaluation are a part of that process of growth. Sometimes reevaluation means we have to stop and head off in a different direction, and that’s okay. It’s really only modernist western thought that assumes progress is linear. Polytheistic and animist thought isn’t about the straight lines and the one true way.
Give yourself permission to be wrong now and then and allow for course corrections. Sometimes the detours are useful in and of themselves. You’ll still get where you’re going eventually.
“being humble without feeling humiliated”
seems to have been a theme that day….
sara–And thank you for your taking part in this as well. I’m glad people have been able to get good things out of this blog, even as its allowed me a familiar way to organize the stuff bouncing around in my head.
Soli–Yup. I’m still a fan of self-directed learning, but now I have a better idea of the appeal of asking for help. (Sometimes I’m just stubborn to realize it 😉 )
Cypherwulf–I didn’t get a chance to hit up Jerome this time, but it’s on my list of places to go next time through.
sravana–Thank you for your support (and a very belated Equinox 😛 ) I’ll be curious to see what happens in a year, too. Even the past six months have changed a lot.
Erynn–That’s a tough lesson sometimes, because we’re very much a “You’re not allowed to screw up!” culture. One of the hardest things for me to overcome was the fear of Not Doing Something Correctly, and I think that still sometimes comes out in times when I get hypercritical of others. Your mention of linear thought makes a lot of sense; that’s a tough pattern to break, too.
Acacia–It’s a much-needed theme in this culture, I think.