Work/Life/Faith Balance

[I drafted this up a week ago, thinking I would have time to fine-tune it and post it then. Some of it feels even more relevant than when I wrote it, but the original last sentence is kind of hilarious now. (“So, now, the too-much-all-at-onceness of October has passed, and now I get to figure out what my “normal” schedule will be like.”)]

The Hierophant card has come up a couple times recently during my daily card pulls. I don’t pull them with the aim of getting divination for the day/current time, it’s more a quick way to do some tarot study every day. Sometimes, however, it is clear that the cards (or rune; I also pull a rune) ARE trying to tell me something.

My primary tarot deck is the Thoth deck, and the book I have says that part of what the Hierophant is about is “walking the mystical path with practical feet,” it’s about incorporating faith into your life – your mundane life, I guess it means.

While I suspect the card coming up recently is just random coincidence, this IS something I’ve been – not exactly struggling with, lately, but muttering about in an irritated fashion a lot. [This was before almost half of Everyone showed up on Sunday to chat.]

See, in mid-September, I got a job, a real, full-time, permanent job, with a 40 fucking minute commute, and suddenly it feels like I have no life outside of the job (which usually keeps me very busy during the day) except for basic life maintenance – and my regular devotional practices. On top of that, in the weeks between mid-August and getting the job, several other mundane life things suddenly started up.

So until the last week of October, I didn’t have much time even for some of my regular weekend devotional practices. I didn’t much like that, though I didn’t get any major signs that this was a problem for Loki (or Anyone else, though my relationships with the other Others are on the “infrequent” basis, so I wasn’t expecting any complaints from those quarters, even when my weekly altar tending schedule slipped, repeatedly).

So that was over a month – something like 6 weeks, in fact – without anything like the kind of deep, focused meditation time I had grown accustomed to over the past 14 months.

I missed Loki. Not that He was absent, or that we didn’t interact; He was present in the “normal day-to-day” way I’ve grown accustomed to, and many things were actually quite normal. And since sometime in the summer, He hadn’t done much in the way of pushing on my emotional problems, or pushing me to go study something relevant to my spiritual or life interests, so things had been relatively quiet for quite a while – a nice quiet, a comfortable quiet, not “why aren’t You talking to me???????” Earlier in the year, He’d told me to stop my evening meditation time, to use that for these other things – and while I wasn’t working, that was okay, since I still spent time every morning meditating, to talk with Him, or just spend time focused on Him.

Can’t do the morning thing while I have a day job – no time, and cannot function if I get up even earlier – even though morning is really the best time of day for me to do meditation. And I had so many weekend things during September/October that I had literally 1 day in October, the very last weekend, when I did not have to set an alarm, which was also the 1 day I got real time with Loki.

September/October was one of the most exhausting and busy stretches of time I’ve ever had to deal with. I don’t think I ever felt so overwhelmed when I was in grad school.

In addition to several other daily devotional things based on maintaining some kind of contact/communication, I use my morning commute time to try and spend time focused on Loki, but due to the time I have to get up in the morning, I’m not really in the best state for that, nor is the bus the space most conducive to anything like meditation. (I had better luck on the subway in Boston, for some reason). It is undeniably nice to have that time when I’m not doing much other than (trying) to focus on Him, but I’d rather have a much shorter commute that would leave me time in the evening, at home, for some real meditation, and deeper connection, or to at least have that time to do nothing more than relax. [A few days ago, He told me He wants time in the evenings again. My thoughts that my schedule might be lightening up have been revised, not that I object in any way to more time with Him, regardless of how He wants to spend that time.]

The other major hit has been to what passes for my social life. I miss being able to communicate, daily and often, with other pagan/polytheist people about what’s going on in our lives (the Weird and mundane both; these are friends, not just “fellow spirit-involved persons”), or have more intellectual or abstract discussions about all this stuff. My job almost invariably keeps me too busy to spend much time at all on any social networking sites, and I have precious little time at home for any kind of meaningful involvement in discussions online.

When I was fretting and having meltdowns about how little time I had for myself, I realized that part of it is because some of my “time for myself,” meaning, “time I am not at work,” is dedicated, every day, to doing things of a religious/spiritual nature: I spend about 30 minutes in the morning on such things, and then another variable amount every evening (if I’m really tired, it might be 10-15 minutes, but it can stretch out to 30 or more, easily), so when I think about the time I have truly “free,” or, in other words, time to spend messing around on Tumblr (or even, if I’m all out of other things, catching up on Facebook), that time is usually “while I’m eating” plus another half hour, if I am going to be diligent about getting to bed early enough to not feel like I’m half-dead the next day.

Because despite how my job has eaten most of my life, there have been other Things going on, and I’d like to talk about them with people who care and understand. I have not, however, had time to do much of that, or to sit down and do any kind of divination on some of those events. [Some of them have become slightly more clear without doing divination. While I do have some desire to know as much as possible as early as possible, I also think it is just fine to let relationships find their form in their own time, without pushing for answers.]

I need to do some of that soon, because I’m going out to the coast again in about a week, and I have a lot of questions I feel I should at least try to get some insight into.

In September, the Undines (I don’t know if Ran was there as well, but some/all of Them were very, very THERE) informed me that it was time to start learning from Them. I knew at some point the relationship would shift from purely devotional to some sort of learning experience, but I didn’t know when (if I’d had to guess, I would have expected it farther in the future, because I feel like my earth-oriented work – plants, mostly, I’ve barely done anything with stones or other earth sorts of things – hasn’t advanced enough to move on to another element yet).

I had my first lesson? test? both? in October, and – well, I think I felt amusement from Them at my responses. They asked, “What do you want to know?” which I was entirely unprepared to answer, but after internally screaming for a moment, I went for my standard, “What do You think I need to know?” The response, and mine in turn . . . left me feeling like. I don’t even know. What was I supposed to take from that? What AM I supposed to be learning here?

I think it’s tied in, somehow, with the land spirit and community(ies) right by that beach – but I don’t know; I am guessing. It would make sense – but just because it makes sense right now doesn’t mean it actually IS that way. (The list of things that have “made sense” just where Loki has been involved, that later turned out to not be what they looked like would be a lengthy list.) [When I was thinking how to rearrange altars to accommodate Sunna, I got a sense that combining the Ocean Powers with the land spirits would be okay. Perhaps preferred? I don’t know. They remain separate for now due to space constraints. The main land spirit there – the spirit-of-place – inhabits an area which includes a long, narrow peninsula, as well as other stretches of very beach-adjacent land (perhaps parts of the beaches, even? I don’t know), so the ocean is very much part of that ecosystem, and I have several tokens from various spirits in that place.]

I have asked different sources for divination on what the fuck am I supposed to be a) learning all this elemental magic for and b) doing with the land spirit and its communities and c) is it related/interconnected/etc.

I get big picture kinds of answers, a general sense of things – which leaves me feeling I haven’t had things answered at all, frankly, though everything that I’ve asked more narrowly-focused questions about has been generally encouraging, in a “keep doing what you’re doing, don’t rush” kind of way. One of the experienced diviners I asked about this (though my question may have been too broad at the time, since I had less information myself, and was working from assumptions that were probably wrong) early this year indicated that I don’t have all of my “weapons” yet, so I can’t/won’t know more until then. I suspect this is related to my elemental education, but I DON’T KNOW THAT EITHER, since I’m also supposed to be studying the runes more in-depth (which I am), and working on deeper trance and similar things (which I have, sometimes, sporadically, and am now supposed to be working on more again more regularly – I think the idea is to get to where I can actually journey/fare-forth/whatever . . . but I. don’t. know.).

So there’s Loki, and various other spirit-related things. And the day job. Which would already keep me pretty busy.

Since late August, I am also active with 2 or 3 or 4? . . . 5? . . . I’ve kind of lost count, I know it’s a low number, but I’ve been a bit overwhelmed . . . local non-profit/advocacy/volunteer organizations. So that’s additional time away from “fucking around online” or “laundry in a timely manner” or “tidying up the growing stack of papers” or “maybe I will actually sit down and read a book for a change.” I’d cut down but they all seem Relevant to my Interests, I feel like my involvement was arranged in beyond-mundane ways, and I enjoy the work, so I don’t really want to cut down at the moment.

The coast trip is one weekend day a month; one of the volunteer groups is another day a month (with the potential for more); another would also be another day or more a month but they’re done with their major work for the season; another is yet-another commitment of several hours a week . . . one is a weekly commitment . . . In October, I also had a short-term job that took up 2 entire weekends, and a one-time project for another group, and I had a moment around that time where I was listing out everything I needed to get done in just 1 week, and I felt like I had to end the sentence with “and Guilder to blame for it.”

So, at the beginning of November, when I wrote this up originally, I was looking at a much lighter schedule, thinking, “Now I can relax and figure out what my normal life routine will be like.”

And then last weekend various um, Family members all more or less inquired how I was doing, some like They were hunting for a specific answer, and gave me the impression (some very unmistakably) that I can ask Them for help with anything. (Which is overwhelming in its own way.) Between that, and some things I was talking about with one of Them during a previous week, AND a couple other comments some of the Others said last week, and several of the daily tarot/rune draws, I finally finally got the sense that I have the go-ahead to do what I’ve been pestering Loki about since I moved here, and which He nixed as recently as last month, which is “Can I start looking for a new place? When am I moving again? I know this is a ‘not for long’ place, so how long IS that? When do I get to move somewhere closer to all the things, and by myself, I don’t want roommates, this room is too small. Will it be soon? How about now? ????”

So I’ve made out a pretty detailed list of requirements and ideals. And I am going to take Them up on Their offer and say, “This. Please?”

It appears the free time I was looking forward to enjoying this month, and next, and who knows how long it will actually take to find the/a right place, is going to at least partly taken up with checking out new places, and packing (won’t be too terrible; so much of my stuff never got unpacked due to space limits), and moving.

And then I can relax, a bit, and figure out what my normal life will be like – until the next change.

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing for months, which is adjust things as they need adjusting, and consider revising what “normal” means.

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About Fjothr Lokakvan

More or less Northern Tradition polytheist.
This entry was posted in Land and Land Spirits, Life, Loki, Polytheism, Ran and the Undines and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Work/Life/Faith Balance

  1. Aubs Tea says:

    Can I just say that I’m really pleased I’m not the only one who has a hard time balancing “me time” with “mundane” and “religious” time taking up most of my day?

    • Yeah . . . :| I had a feeling I’d run into this sort of “problem” once I had a full-time job, because I spend a lot of time doing things for/with Loki, and I don’t want to give that up. It’s really frustrating, because I have a long list of skills I need to develop, but I literally do not have the time to spend very much regular time on more than 1 of them. The rune study, and my daily card/rune pulls, are the only things I do on a regular basis, so all the other stuff is kind of . . . not happening right now, though I think I got another “PLANTS. YOU NEED TO DO MORE WITH PLANTS” shove recently, and I’m feeling a bit belligerent about it. (I can probably make time for it once a week; I was -planning- on doing that when I thought there was a group I could work with, but it turns out they’re no longer active, so I was like “Yay, more time for me!” but maybe I ought to reconsider that. . . . Curse my work ethic.)

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