Broken.

Last night, I was cleaning off Sekhmet’s altar. Every Sunday, I try to clean it up and refresh the flower offerings I have on there, as well get rid of the dust. Though I offer her my homage every morning with refreshed offerings, dust builds up pretty quickly. Carefully, I emptied all of the items off of the altar. And just as carefully, I managed to drop her icon. In tears, I fell to the floor, cursing myself for the bad devotee I must be. I knew that the icons I had for my deities are more prone to breaking then the mass produced resin ones I’ve had. (I’ve dropped Sekhmet’s resin statue time and again with no damage.) I knew that I had to be exceedingly careful when I migrated them from one place to another, but I still manage to let it fall to the floor.

As I cried about being a terrible devotee and for being so stupid, I thought everything was all right. The piece I thought would break – the uraeus and sun disc – were still attached. I thought I had managed to escape this. But, no. After clasping the image in my hands, I noticed that a part of the main had shattered. Her face was intact. Her sun disc was intact. Nothing else broke off the base of the statue, but just the ruffle of mane on the right side of her face. And I began to cry in earnest. I pressed the piece onto the table and began searching like a mad fool for the piece(s) that had broken off. I managed to find one piece, still semi-attached, but couldn’t find the bulk of the rest. I searched all across my kitchen floor, but found nothing. My repeated searches underneath furniture and beside furniture came up empty. (I suspect that the piece rocketed into the heating grate in the floor, but I can’t be sure.) Thoughts of gluing the piece were disintegrating before my empty hands and I felt nothing more than a vileness so thick that I could have vomited.

How stupid you are, I scolded of myself. How could you let this happen? You know what could happen. You’ve had this happen with your Djehuty piece. You were lucky then – the head didn’t fall off. But you were too stupid to pay closer attention. Were you in such a rush to get things set to rights that you couldn’t think more clearly? What is the matter with you? How do you fix this? Why would you do this thing? HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE? WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? WHY CAN’T YOU THINK CLEARLY? WHY ARE YOU SUCH A FUCKING BAD DEVOTEE?

This isn’t the first time I’ve had these thoughts in the last two weeks. I spent a good part of my Saturday – not this past one but the one previous – berating myself for being such a lazy, fat, and awful devotee. On Saturdays, once the weather changes, I attempt to get out to one of my local cemeteries to spend time with the Guédé. Though weather patterns are rapidly changing, it usually starts cooling off once September hits so that I can actually go out to the cemeteries without worry of causing myself heat exhaustion or heat stroke. (I’m terrible about keeping myself hydrated in the winter, never mind during a hundred degree heat with high humidity.) I ranted and raved at myself for being such a lazy asshole and for being a very bad servant of the Guédé. As a kind of, “I’m so sorry, Bawon,” I gave him some booze and soda.

That fuzzy white thing sure moved fast. I have no idea where it went after I looked away.

That fuzzy white thing sure moved fast. I have no idea where it went after I looked away.

This past Saturday, I went to my local graveyard. This is the one that I’ve spent the most time in and have gotten to know the residents very well. This is also the first cemetery where I truly felt that I had connection with the Guédé and where I first felt the presence of Bawon. As I came upon his and Maman’s grave, I saw a beautiful white caterpillar crawling across her gravestone. I felt the message therein – she, at least, was telling me that I was okay. She was trying to explain to me, I felt, with this caterpillar that I can come when I come and I do when I do and that I’ve given so much of myself over the last two years to the projects and servitude I have for the Guédé that it’s okay. I may even go so far as to say that, perchance, she believes I am not such a terrible servant after all. But the point is that I felt as though I were one. I have a job to do – I do it. It doesn’t matter what the background chatter in my mundane life will be, but I do it.

In same vein, I felt as though I were a truly bad and terrible devotee of Sekhmet’s to allow something so careless to happen on my watch. I have a job to do – I do it. It doesn’t matter what the background chatter in my mundane life will be, but I do it.

Sometimes, however, the background chatter in the mundane are just as important, if not more than whatever task or devotions or services we are providing.

I have a hard time budgeting my spoons on a regular basis. Some days are better than others. Most of my budgeting is done on the fly. “I think I have this many spoons so I should be able to do this, this, and this.” But the thing is that I always end up with less spoons than I plan for. Due to this, I always end up stretched too thin. I do this at work, I do this in my personal life, and I do this with everything else. Part of the reason why I’m as introverted as I am today is because I fail at budgeting the spoons. I think, “This is more important right now so I’m going to do that.” The thing is that whatever “it” may be could look pretty damn important, but is it actually worth the spoon I may be utilizing for it? That’s my problem. I think everything deserves the spoons I have budgeted for it, whether the spoon exists or not. But the big huge thing here is that not everything actually deserves a spoon.

What I do during the day at work, invariably, is something like this: I see something that I need to do and then I do it. This is usually part of some project work that I have going on for various clients. Project work is not a top tier concern and takes backseat to most everything else. But I do it anyway because, eh, why not? However, right after I do the thing, then something more pressing comes in to give me heart palpitations. This is usually a high level repair situation for one of my various clients. And I end up working that repair for the rest of the day. Not all days are like that, of course, because there are some days where I don’t have a single pressing repair concern at all and it’s nothing but project work. However, while taking my time with my projects is something mandated because all repairs are top priority, some of the minor shit that I get done may not have been really necessary (either by me or just on that day). I just did it because I happened to have a free second – a second that I could have been utilizing in some other fashion or saving up for future use.

So, I enter work and I have all these spoons. My irises are in the shape of spoons – like money signs from the old cartoons – because I think I have so many to spare. But then something more pressing comes along and I have to drop everything to the wayside to see it done and quite possibly, whatever I’m dropping is very pressing to someone else (like the site). And then I feel like I can’t prioritize worth a shit.

This is a very serious problem.

This is also something I do with everything in my life. It’s not just something that’s work related but also something entirely devoted to anything going on in my life. I think I have enough spoons to do the dishes, wash some laundry, read a book to my son, clean off some altars, and the whole nine. However, what actually ends up happening is I have so much laundry that I need to do that I end up wasting spoons on that project when reading to my son should take a higher priority. I think that cleaning the altars before I can even remotely think about going to bed, even though I’m dead tired after doing a three-day working (this is literally what I did with my weekend when I wasn’t cleaning or grave-tending this weekend), because I’m a bad devotee if I don’t get it done.

And mistakes happen.

And accidents happen.

And everything else get shunted to that “later” that never actually ends up happening.

Recently, this story went viral across the Internet. I’ve seen it in reblogs on Tumblr as well as on posts on Facebook. With each time I’ve read it, I’ve taken something different away from the story. This weekend, after re-reading it for the millionth time, I realized that whatever parts I was taking away from it were not what I needed to take away from it. The point was that the golf balls are the important bits. While I tend to believe that my faith is an integral part of whom I am, and in some ways it is, it’s more a pebble than a golf ball. The things that are golf balls should be my family. They should be making sure my home is clean (OCD – not as bad as some but sets my teeth on edge when laundry baskets are full and dishes are in the sink). They should be going grocery shopping or getting the piddly little shit we need to keep a clean home. Nothing else should even compare unless I decide that something – my faith – should be golf ball sized.

I haven’t made that decision yet, so right now, it’s still just a pebble.

The lesson with the broken statue and the caterpillar aren’t really that I’m a bad person and that I can’t do whatever it is that I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it. The actual lesson is that I need to budget everything better. If that means I need to make a schedule for both at work and at home, then that’s what I need to do. And if that means that something more pressing comes up – a repair situation or book that needs to be read – then that’s what takes top priority.

Spoon management, man. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to read with a certain little man.

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12 thoughts on “Broken.

  1. Namaste,

    Having yourself on a schedule is a good thing. I work better with a schedule than I do with spoons. It’s gotten to the point now where I don’t even need the schedule. For instance, I used to pencil laundry for Wednesday. Now it’s either Tuesday or Wednesday. If nothing else is pressing then Wednesday. If I have yard work to do then I’ll do laundry on Tuesday and yard work Wednesday.

    Another thing you might try is looking at everything as if it’s worship. You have to live, clean, eat, cook, work, tend to family needs. You don’t have to be at an “altar” to thank the Gods/Goddesses/Netjeru. Earth is the altar. So when you’re done cooking, thank them for allowing you to have food to prepare. When you’re done reading to your son, thank them for your family and the relationship you have with them. That way, you’ll spiritual practice can be connected to everything.

    There’s a quote I came across last month from Mother Teresa on prayer. It has helped me so I’d thought I’d share it with you.

    “There are some people who, in order not to pray, use an excuse the fact that life is so hectic that it prevents them from praying. This cannot be…Prayer does not demand that we interrupt our work, but that we continue working as if it were a prayer…It is not necessary to always be meditating, nor to consciously experience the sensation that we are talking to God, no matter how nice this would be….What matters is being with Him, living in Him, in His will. To love with a pure heart, to love everybody, especially to love the poor, is a twenty-four hour prayer.”

    Em Hotep!

  2. I am very sorry to hear about your icon. Accidents can and do happen, and it can be heartbreaking when it does. Perhaps Sekhmet wanted another one. I don’t mean to sound flip, but I have had that happen – She wanted something else.. It didnt matter how careful I was – it happened anyway. So that may be the case for you in this situation. It could also be that She wanted you to focus on the job at hand for Her as well.

    I do know, speaking from experience, that sometimes we get busy in our “stuff” and shove Netjer on the back burner thinking that it will be ok. It is clearly going to be between you and She what the ultimate message is, but this may give you the time and the space to really try and figure out what that message is.

    • It’s possible that I’ve been putting her off to the side lately. It’s been really difficult to juggle between work, life, and my faith. While I shouldn’t really, I don’t think, compartmentalize them as much as I do, I also feel like there are some bits that I can’t mix (work and religion, specifically).

      I don’t know. She seems okay. She hasn’t come to me in a dream, which I’ve asked her to do if she was unhappy with me. So, maybe I’m just a klutz.

      • I don’t know about you, but I find that if Sekhmet is peeved / annoyd / upset with you, it becomes obvious.

        I also think that of many of the Names, surprisingly, She understands more about the challenges Her children face, on various levels. I find it especially true of distractions- but when it’s time to focus on the matter of hand, I don’t think there is any Name that is more intense about that.

        • She definitely let’s me know when she’s irritated with me. I would never refer to her as “shy.”

          I have to agree. She does seem to be a bit more understanding about things than even her counterpart, Hetheru, at times.

  3. I have stuff happen like that fairly often; I can be rather spacy and clumsy. My small Sekhmet statue has been broken and repaired; I wasn’t happy when I broke it but it does make it resemble something old and I think that the various mysteries like to teach me that all is temporary and not to be too much of a perfectionist. I also had a modern Sekhmet statue break twice, so I finally decided that maybe she didn’t like it and removed it from the altar even though I’ve repaired it.

    While altars and offerings are important, what is more important is how you live your life and your attitude. While I can understand being unhappy about breaking something, it does not reflect on you as a person (other than maybe indicating you are distracted, which is one of the things that makes me clumsy:)

    • I’ve tentatively asked if she doesn’t like the statue. I haven’t received a nudge about it, so I have to hope that this was just really me being clumsy. I do stuff like this all the time, too. It’s not surprising at all.

      Thank you.

  4. everything else get shunted to that “later” that never actually ends up happening.

    One of the best things I’ve gotten from David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is the realization that this is absolutely normal. There will always, always be more stuff to do than there are time, spoons, money, and other necessary factors. The trick is to learn to feel okay about that, which means making sure that the things that are getting shunted off are the right things. Identifying your golf balls is a great first step.

    • I’m definitely going to have to ID what those golf balls are. I keep feeling like I’m failing when I can’t do whatever it is at the time I figure I could get it done. It drives me nuts.

  5. I don’t wan to stick my nose in this. However, having been there myself, I feel I have a responsibility to say something…

    You are in an emotional abusive relationship, with yourself. Berating yourself like that, only kills a small part of your soul. It does you no good, it does the situation no good. You aren’t perfect, you can’t possibly think of all potential outcomes and frankly poop happens. If worse came to worse, keep the statue for a time until you can get another one and give her extra offerings, or ask her what she would like. But verbally slapping yourself around, can’t be good.

    slowly sticking nose out.

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