I want to thank everyone that commented on my last post, JourneyFail. I’ll be getting back to you each sometime this weekend; my life has been complicated and busy lately, and I apologize for the lack of communication. Part of the commitment I made to myself when I started this blog was to always be honest, and more specifically, to always be honest about the problems I have with my faith, my practice, and my theology. So, in the interest of maintaining that commitment…
I’ve been driving myself crazy. Not news, I realize; most people, especially those of creative bent, do. But I think I’ve been driving myself crazy in a particularly pervasive and unrecognized sort of way: compartmentalization. I have started, relatively recently, attempting to separate my life into neat little categories and boxes and containers, often by brute force of will, so that this part of my life won’t touch that one. And this is particularly true of my spiritual practice, which is in a Very Special Box all its own.
I don’t think I’m alone in doing this, and the problems it causes for me are hardly unique to my situation. Compartmentalization has the nasty side effect of creating hierarchy; those boxes that represent my life are now arranged according to how important I or others feel they are or should be, in relation to the others. I have a hard time justifying ‘wasting’ time or money on my spiritual practice, for example; I also have a hard time making time for myself to practice, and allowing that practice to take up all of my attention and energy, at least for a little while–mainly because I know that many people don’t (or won’t, or can’t) value that kind of practice the way they value material things. I have psychologically tied my religious practice to my writing practice (for good reasons that will likely be explored in another post), and because of this habit of thought and action, I have ceased to think of myself primarily as ‘writer.’ Now I am ‘occupation,’ and spending hours scribbling down lines of poetry (or blog posts) seems frivolous, indulgent in an intolerable way that turns me away from my pen (or keyboard).
When we do this to ourselves, though, what kind of damage are we doing to ourselves and our spirits? What message are we sending to our children, and to those that think we should be ashamed of ourselves and our gods? We are, at the very least, affirming our doubt, our second-class-religion status, and we are telling the next generation that they should be afraid of reprisal for living their lives the way they choose. I am in the process of taking back my choices, of choosing to live in a way that is pleasing to me and my partner, that prioritizes what is important to me (and to him) no matter what anyone else has to say about it, of tearing down the walls and boxes and containers, of doing away with this arbitrary categorization that forces upon me ugly habits of thought that I despise.
I realize now that I have a vocation, as well as an occupation, and that it is my duty to never let occupation come before vocation. I am striving to become whole, a person contained within herself, capable of overcoming my own mental stumbling blocks to realize whatever it is deity/the universe/God Herself is trying to tell me and act on it, to do my Work. Meanwhile, I’ve created a huge road block, cordoned off the area, and refused access to half of my self for most of the time. I must find balance, a way to live life holistically, so that each part is singing in harmony with each other part, nested within one another organically. To do this, I must risk. I must leap, without knowing exactly where I’ll land. And I must find a way to ferret out these nests of dark fear and shame in my mind (a tall order for a recovering Catholic) so that my thoughts are my own again. We must all be vigilant, that we don’t let easy habits take over significant work or drown passion.