Alternate Title: Look at Your Life; Look at Your Choices.
As usual, I had no idea what the point in this celebration is supposed to be. What kind of words should I be answering? Are they good words or bad words? Is there are a lot of cursing alongside those words or is this all clean language? Are they words or are they Words? Is there a little of heka threaded through those words? Maybe there’s absolutely no heka involved, though; or maybe even the whole thing is related to heka in some form or another and I have to answer them? That’s really just the age-old problem with recreating a dead religion, though. You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing nine times out of ten, so you slap-dash some shit together, call it a day, and hope for the best.
So, I went into this celebration having no fucking clue what I was supposed to be doing. As the days clicked by one by one on my calendar, I found myself beginning to worry about what the hell I was expected to answer for. I mean, I’m kind of a jerk. And I do whatever the fuck I want to do. And maybe, perhaps, just maybe, I’m not a really good devotee. Fuck. The anxiety about what the hell this holiday was for began to seriously mount up. Each day dawned with me having no fucking idea what the hell I was answering for or about. It was made even worse when someone else mentioned that the times they had celebrated this particular festival, they had been called to the carpet.
My anxiety was really beginning to spiral out of control. I would find myself staring off into space, trying to envision what I could expect.
I decided that worrying about it, though, wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I mean, worrying about something is all well and good for people with anxiety (like me), but it doesn’t actively accomplish anything. Luckily, work kind of took off around that point and it was an all hands on deck situation. I kind of had the mindset that since there was nothing I could do to fix whatever words I had to answer for, then I may as well just fucking take whatever gets thrown at me. I mean, to be honest, if I was a fucking bad devotee, then by fucking golly, I was going to be a bad fucking devotee. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it. It was stupid to believe that I could have possibly have fixed all of my fuck ups in a matter of weeks. So, I shrugged it off, wiped my hands clean, and waited for the big day to appear.
I’ll admit that I had butterflies when I woke up that morning.
The day in question dawned icy and chilly. (What do you expect in early December in Massachusetts?) A lovely sheen of ice had coated the entirety of the world outside during the overnight. It was so thoroughly covered that people everywhere went skidding the moment they stepped outside. My coworker destroyed a pair of shoes when she stepped out on her front porch that morning, sliding down her porch and into the yard. My landlord’s truck went rolling down his driveway – a giant hill – after he put it into park because of the layer of ice. I was just one of many who went down and just one of hundreds who “luckily” damaged a bone in offering to the unforgiving Winter Gods. Or, perhaps the god in question was a certain temperamental Irt-Re I know and love? My first thought when I wasn’t freaked from all of the damn pain was: Well, this is certainly timely.
I spent about half of my day at work. I had no idea that I had damaged anything significant. Honestly, when I went down initially – besides being embarrassed that my ass went skidding down the fucking driveway – it kind of felt like I had hit my “funny bone.” You know the one. The bone in your elbow that when you hit it just right, it really fucking hurts and everyone says about how totally not funny it is to hit your funny bone. Yeah, that’s the one. It felt like that only a lot worse. So, I went to work since I was able to move the arm (any poor person’s self-analysis after taking a tumble).The pain intensified, though and about halfway through the day, I told my boss that it felt like my arm bone was on fire so I was leaving for the hospital. I spent the rest of the afternoon and a good portion of my evening at the ER, getting X-rayed, being told it couldn’t be “too bad” since I was carrying a 1 pound (or less) purse in my injured arm’s hand, and just generally being miserable. All other worries and thoughts were gone in the aftermath. When I was medicated and splinted, I considered the circumstances again. Was this a sign?
Divination was all I had to figure this shit out and I couldn’t even shuffle a deck since my arm was all bound the fuck up. I ended up using one of many apps on my phone; all signs pointed to me being a big, dumb, fucking idiot. I could have salted the back steps and the driveway before stepping outside. I had noticed the ice coating on the car and on the railing and on the recycle bin. But I had decided it didn’t look “too bad,” even after being warned by a few people on Facebook that it was much worse than it looked. As I told the SO later, this whole fucking experience was best summed up as: “look at your life; look at your choices.”
With that phrase echoing in my head, it occurred to me that I may have discovered what the fuck that damn holiday was all about.
I got tossed in a fiber glass prison two days after the holiday. My sentence was for three weeks. The radial elbow was only “a little fractured.” (Side note: that was actually a phrase the doctor at the ER used when describing the fracture. When he said that, I just wanted to walk the fuck out of the ER and go to a better one. What fucking doctor uses that phrase? I mean, why not tell a woman she’s only a “little bit pregnant.”) I got nearly a month of time to do nothing except to look at my choices, to look at my life. Oh, so very much joy.
You know what, though? I found a lot of interesting things in those three weeks. I found out things about myself, which was pretty important. Before the three weeks, I felt very much as if the person looking back at me in the mirror was a complete stranger. I often found myself wondering when I had decided that this was going to be who I had become all those years before. I found out things about what I wanted out to my life, what I wanted to do with that life, and how I wanted to approach things. I learned things about my shadow work, things about my religion, about my family, and everywhere in between. At the heart of every facet that I looked over, I found a single overarching theme throughout. That was kind of disconcerting; I hadn’t expected to find a pattern: impatience.
I am an impatient person. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I really fucking am an impatient person. I can teach people things, but if someone doesn’t get it after three or four times, then I grow impatient with their learning process. I end up doing it myself, even in the teaching, because of that impatience. (Let me tell you, this is very difficult for me as the parent of a child in elementary school. This is also a problem for the SO.) People taking dictation from me had better be able to write 95WPM (like me) otherwise, they’re too damn fucking slow. People who are only going 10MPH over the speed limit are the slowest fucking assholes and need to get the fuck out of my way. Honestly, the circumstances are immaterial. Trust me when I say that I am impatient and many of my choices over the years are based on that impatience whether I realized it at the time or not.
Do you want to know how hard it is to do anything with one warm, even a subordinate arm (my left arm was the one I went down on), stuck in a fucking cast? I hope many of you are saying that you don’t know how difficult it is. For those who don’t know, let me assure you that doing anything with a cast is enough to take many of your spoons allotted for the day. Now imagine who hard this all must be for someone who is headstrong, independent, and impatient. Yes, those three weeks were really difficult. I whined a lot.
But as much whining as I did because the SO had to wash my ass-length hair (and had absolutely no fucking experience with how to wash really fucking long hair), I also spent much time being introspective. Through all of the whining about how I couldn’t read any of my fiction books because they’re all mass market paperbacks and I couldn’t fucking hold them up for long periods of time, through all the nights I spent staring at the television screen in disgust because I couldn’t fucking type a damn thing on my computer, for all of the fucking moments where I woke up in the middle of the night because the weight of the cast on my fingertips had put them to sleep, I was spending a good deal of time inside of my head and thinking about my own impatience. I chose primarily to focus all of that inside-me on the not-so-painful but after a while, with nothing else to do, even the most painful and taboo subjects got glanced over, worked on.
Again and again and again, I kept seeing the same old warning sign: impatience ahead.
I’ll use an example to illustrate my point.
Just before Thanksgiving, I had a pressing need to destroy a bond that did me no favors in the keeping. I arbitrarily decided everything had to be gone, that I had to get rid of this bond by year’s end. I had plans (which I hope to detail in a further post because I plan on seeing this shit through) and nothing was going to stop me! The thing is that there is no arbitrary time frames for removing sickly bongs. It’s a slow process if done properly. I know that consciously, but nope. I had to take between four to six weeks to clear it all out. By rushing it, I was playing with fire, honestly, and quite possibly could have made things a lot worse on myself. And as I am hurtling on my head-long way towards disaster, or possible disaster, I fractured my fucking elbow. This made doing any of the writing and any of the heka that I had planned for this batch of shadow work impossible. So, I back burnered the whole damn project until I had the time, the ability, and the wherewithal to complete it properly.
While waiting the eternity (three weeks in real time, but legitimately, time is fucking relative and it fucking felt like 20 weeks to me) for the cast to come off, the urgency that I had felt about getting the shadow work done… Well, it faded. I took up doing other aspects of that working instead. There were items that I was leaving out and items that I needed to address as well, but I thought I could just do everything in six weeks with no problems. By slowing down and taking the time to see to other items internally, I was able to feel stronger as I slowly shed the bonds in both mind and body. Since I took up those other aspects that I had been ignoring, I found the whole process to go much more smoothly over all.
In looking back through my other shadow work adventures, there are two themes throughout: “I don’t want to” and “get it done now.” I wasn’t actually mandated to remove this bond as I had been at other times and in other circumstances. This was all my own idea (for once). And yet, I went into it with this sense of urgency that it had to be done before some “important date” and for what purpose? The only answer, of course, is that I was listening to my own internalized impatience.
Throughout the three weeks that I was encased in my fiber glass prison, I slowed down. I stopped rushing head long into pain filled waters, arbitrary cut offs, and instead, took the time to sight-see. I revised myself without that red hot impatience. I found it possible to breathe easily for once. And you know, I actually took a look around myself for the first time in ages. I don’t know if that qualifies as what people would call “stopping to smell the roses,” but it kind of felt like that was what I was doing. What I do know is that I feel a lot lighter. I don’t know how else to describe it, honestly. It’s just as if the millstone that had been attached to my neck was finally removed.
I looked at my life.
I looked at my choices.
I found things I wasn’t pleased with and I began the learning curve on how to cut that shit out.
I can’t say, conclusively, if this is what the festival is supposed to be about. I honestly doubt that this is how the ancients went about celebrating it. But, it doesn’t really matter. I’m only recreating a dead religion, after all.