When I first wrote this post I dealt with a major onslaught of “armchair Pagans”. In my mind these are the Pagans who never really practice, never explore what their beliefs mean, or anything that would fall under practicing a faith save reading about it. I had grown so tired of these Pagans because these seem to be the ones with the biggest persecution complexes. There are lots of instances where Pagans and anyone not of The Big Three face discrimination and persecution in this country (I’ll post again my chronicles with Farmville,Virgina and the occult murder accusations in the near future). Sometimes, however, the persecution isn’t from outside.
I’ve found that sometimes we create our own conflict, be it from our interpretations or some perceived need to be diametrical. It’s why it’s important to analyze where we can (though I’ve always emphasized there are exceptions). Even recently I got into a fight with my significant other, yet we managed to work things out and hear where we still need work as people and a couple. I have to remember, with all of my decisions, with all that I’ve faced, I will face more conflicts and personal challenges. It also means I remind myself to keep awareness.
This thought also led me to the idea of closure. I know I’d like to feel that in today’s world it’s simple to even get as much as an apology for wronging someone. It’s clearly not the case; for someone to apologize, let alone rectify a wrong, means someone has to admit to wrongdoing. In these moments I get angry. I feel like I’m afflicted undeservedly and as if there is no justice. It’s part of the conflict within myself.
Eventually I do pull through these moments of anger. I’ve found my own understandings, healthy coping mechanisms, and ways to press forward from the pain and anger. Sometimes it means becoming an activist so it doesn’t happen to someone else, and should it happen there’s recourse. Sometimes it means educating people. Sometimes it means finding ways to focus on the present so I realize I’m not in those moments again. Sometimes I am left honoring my feelings and leaving it at that.
I’ve also found my faith has been helpful, if nothing else it serves as a routine. In my original post my biggest criticism at the time with “armchair Pagans” was how much talk and not enough practicing occurred. I based it at the time on the amount of blog posts doling out information but not enough on exploring the faith or any active work on the part of the blogger. I’m aware faith is a private thing, but there are some experiences which are universal. We wouldn’t have wisdom literature otherwise. While faith is private it is part of a religious practice and shouldn’t be neglected.
Today I live my religious life walking and sharing my experiences. I strive to find order in my life in every way possible. I’m not perfect and I know I’ll never be perfect even by my standards. What it does mean for me is living in a way that provides the tools for personal improvement. I live my life striving to be the best person I can and forgiving when I can’t meet it. It also means understanding others may not always meet my expectations and how I learn to manage it in my own way.