Being able to look back has always been a quality of mine that has been both a frustration and a savior, sometimes all at once. I am a worrier, my mind is never happy with just letting a thought be by itself for long. I am the type of person that keeps old letters or assignments long after their due date or even past the ability of the paper its printed on to stay together. I over think things until they are falling apart in my hands and I weep over the ashes. What I am writing now is the product of such. I don’t set my thoughts down lightly, its been one of my key characteristics, I always wait till the last minute not just because I am a procrastinator but also because it takes time for my thoughts to marshal themselves into some kind of order.
I think deeply about things that most would just gloss over and I am learning to be okay with that, in moderation. Always in moderation.
Looking back over my last post, I had the niggling thought that I had, in fact, lied to you all and myself. Not about something groundbreaking but important enough that it behooves me to correct myself.
I did, in fact, look back after starting this path. Several times even, its kind of what I do. One big thing I would always fret over was the concept of hell. I was terrified of the fact that I was going to hell for most of my childhood and early adulthood and that ingrained fear wasn’t going to be assuaged by me finding a place where I was comfortable in my own skin, it couldn’t be that easy. Just to be clear, even while I was a born again Christian I was always unsure of the destination of my soul, hours after I had been ‘saved’ I would sit and wonder if I had to do it again the next day or if that was it, one payment and I was covered for life.
When I first became a pagan, I flirted with idea that I was hedging my bets, I wanted my soul to be saved but I just didn’t agree with some of the doctrines of the church, my soul was safe, right? I agonized about this question for years and some days I still do. How do you deal with that nagging doubt?
The easy answer to that is that I take it day by day.
To put it in perspective, I have an anxiety disorder that I have to deal with or work around daily and the status of my immortal soul, I think, is just a manifestation of that. Its never going to go away and I will never be done with it but as time goes by I get less and less concerned by the question itself.
The first thing I had to master is the idea, belief, that everything builds on one another but not in a tower-like structure that will fall if the foundation is faulty. I personally have had to do away with the building analogy completely, because the foundation of my life is constantly being changed which honestly, doesn’t really make sense for any building that wants to remain in constant use.
The best analogy I can come up with, and I will be tinkering with it for awhile, is the idea that your beliefs and what defines you are like a garden. In each season of life, it can change and expand, as you need new things to be added or removed you have to go back without too much trouble. Even now I can go off on a large tangent really easily but I digress.
If you look at your life as a series of blocks stacked on top of each other, you are laboring under the impression the ones you place first hold the rest up and that also causes some unnecessary anxiety, at least for me. The other way of looking at it, the garden, is less about getting the foundations right the first time and more about the big picture or learn as you go, which make more sense to me.
I also like to think you my writing this way, I am constantly pruning and adding things in until I finally have to put it out there for others to see but even then I am still tinkering away. Everything I do is a work in progress and that takes away some of the anxiety.
Another feature of my garden, the analogy that I am playing with right now, is that there are no walls, nothing to protect me from the elements. The walls of the home or any building are there to keep the environment within stable and safe. The boundaries of my garden are more influx, some seasons the the flowers are blooming in carpets of color and others have the bare necessities with little thought given to aesthetics.
It just depends on what is needed or wanted, and this way of think is not just limited to the plants.
The center of my garden is an altar, one that I have made myself out of materials that are both sturdy enough for travel but also pliable and moldable.
I am a knitter and the idea of a portable altar made of cloth I have knitted for myself appeals, I am actually making one physically as well.
The idea of flexibility and portability really appeal to me on a visceral level, I want to be able to take it with me everywhere, its a part of me that I don’t just get out on special occasions or when I am comforatble. I take it everywhere I go.
It’s also something that I can change or remake with little trouble, which kind of the point.
while we are living we are forever changing and even death brings its own set of changes and transformations.
That is a truth that is at the core of us, and one that as humans we can struggle to really accept and be comfortable with.
Change is one of the scariest aspects of this life and our mortal beings rail against even as they embrace it at our deepest levels.
It’s a paradox but so are many of the best parts of life.
So, in conclusion, I just want to say that if you don’t have everything figured out or if your house on a hill is leaning a little too much to the side, that’s okay leave it, for now, it will be there when you get back. Come and sit with me awhile in my garden and maybe when you go you will have something to start your own.