Platitude time. Cliche time. Semi-about-to-die truism time.
Life is busy.
It’s hard to make time.
Just do it.
OK, that’s out of my system.
Back in college when I first started practicing/studying Wicca – that’s the thing with Wicca, it can be more of a study than actual practice – I did struggle. Wicca, for the serious, requires a path of study as intense and self-directed as any college program. First there’s the trouble of rethinking and unthinking old beliefs once accepted for facts. Then there’s the additional challenge of mastering certain skills, reading continuously on history, physics (yes, physics – you use candles and fire that much, you damn well better know physics and revisit chemistry), new developments in science, psychology, overall health … when you’re in a college it becomes a course of study, a full program plus lab work that runs right alongside whatever you’re trying to get your degree in.
Once, overhwhelmed with trying to balance it all out with working 2 or 3 jobs and a family that undermined me rather than support me even emotionally, I posted to a listserve of older, practiced Pagans.
The answer I got… “I MAKE time for it.”
I’m the age now that the person who answered me at the time was then.
I know from direct experience …
that’s a bunch of chest-pounding crap.
A few years later, a mentor told me I should put magic first and work the rest of my life around it. While she was right about many things on a magical level, whole life integration was definitely not in her wheelhouse. That integration is really an unchartered skill and will likely define my work of the next decade.
The Artist’s Way hasn’t just helped me continue with creative projects, it’s helped me reassess and reintegrate all sectors of my life. Combine this with years as a fan of the show Clean House, and suddenly I have a view of how space for your activities significantly affects your ability to do them.
I still struggle to make time for everything – everyone does. But yes, I’ve made time for it – just not in the dramatic, “force yourself” way we’re taught to think of it.
What I needed then, and wasn’t given but found on my own, were still, small, gentle ways to make time for expressions of my religious faith.
In college, I created a five minute morning prayer ritual. Sometimes that’s all I did. For a few years after my divorce, I did a monthly house blessing… and that was it. I’ve come to accept that while religious, the heart of my interest is in magic. Magic takes time – a really consuming amount of time unless you’re so perfect you’d never actually need magic in the first place. Sometimes I designate weekends for it, like I do when I have to reorganize my closet. I’ve learned over time to practice spells in small doses, choosing things I can build up slowly day by day. A good magician has a boring life – boredom on the one hand is a kind of pain, but when accompanied with freedom from worry (or freedom to leave the boring situation) it can be a reward – an expanse of choices.
Lately, my Artist’s Way work that I’ve done since mid 2008 serves as my morning spiritual time. For me it’s morning pages, reading a passage from another creativity book and then reciting a prayer. For me it’s not just a spiritual act – it’s how I limber myself up for my day’s work of writing, blogging and communicating in general. It’s part of my routine.
My routine, however, would not work for the dispatcher up at 4 am or for the school teacher who needs enough caffeine for self-defence at 7 am. Maybe the teacher can get some desk time in; maybe the dispatcher can write short paragraphs on slow days or maybe doodle while she works and opt for a one line mantra to use throughout the day. Years ago a loved one told me that part of his Muslim faith meant praying at least 99 times per day – as you get up, before you eat, as you wash yourself. It was a string of prayers, little bits punctuating life, inviting the divine into your day. It’s an effective approach if you respond well physiologically to prayer.
Full moon rituals, however, have gone out the window – while I wrote and performed scores if them in my 20s, I honestly can’t remember the last time I performed a moon phase ritual. I simply haven’t felt the need in a long, long time. I might get back in the habit. I could make time for it.
Or I could simply continue the way I’m doing things now, with a daily touch-base. Some people do both. Some people write long blogs about how they go out of the way to make sure the divine is constantly present. That’s cool.
I write long blogs about what I’m thinking about.
That’s what I want to make time for. Every big project, no matter how big, gets a little time each day – tiny tasks. The small bursts of accomplishment are medication against the sense of being constantly overwhelmed.