Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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PBP: D Is for Death (My Best Friend)

Artwork by Emily N3ver.  You can find her work at : https://www.facebook.com/EmilyN3ver

Artwork by Emily N3ver. You can find her work here as well as tumblr.

I know I sound full of angst to describe my best friend as Death, but I promise you it isn’t some angst (these days). While complicated at times for me to understand I’ve made peace with my understanding of it. I’d even call it a friendship with Death. It goes beyond an understanding of what it represents in my culture. For me it goes into my understanding of Death and how close it is to me at all times.

 

While Death is usually portrayed as a masculine character in the culture I was raised I found it didn’t work for me. For me Death is sexless, though loving, though I see why people characterize it as male. The motif of Death and the maiden is one that has been around since Medieval times. It morphed into a role of essentially the death of a woman’s virginity, as if Death were the one to deflower her. It was never my relationship with Death. I had my virginity taken against my will, and while Death was there for it I’ve since learned to look at my rape as an initiation. It was one of many throughout my life.

 

Death was around when my mother taught me about what happens when we die and the afterlife. It sat there and coached my mother on what to explain to a small child while still honest and frank. It is because of that coaching I didn’t fear it, but the spirits of those Death took. Death was there when my psychic abilities emerged, even when I didn’t fully understand why I could sense these things better than family members with similar abilities. It frightened me at times because while I knew of Death and didn’t understand its nature completely. Knowing about Death and my experiences with it flew in the face of my religious beliefs and that was hard to reconcile for a long time. My knowledge of Death and the dead was one of my first initiations.

 

I had another initiation with Death growing up, though I didn’t understand it as such until much later in life. My psychic abilities aside I was always considered “different”. I’m bizarre, and with a misdiagnosis of autism stigmatized by everyone at my school. My social skills were inert. Since I wasn’t included and didn’t understand human nature at the time I was left with myself to observe often. To this day I learn the most by watching others. It’s also why the arts came so easy for me: it requires observation on some level. In much of Medieval art Death was not only an artist but often an observer. During these years growing up I was initiated into the coven of observation, as a watcher and a dancer in life. I grew into my abilities more, but I didn’t grow in my understanding of them. I knew when someone close to me would die, and while my family believed in such abilities they didn’t understand my relationship with Death. As a result my understanding of it didn’t develop, and I became distraught. Due to other circumstances in my life I was suicidal from that distress as well as my checkered relationship with Death. Obviously I failed in my suicide attemtps, but Death was there to pick me up even after I felt like a failure. While Death didn’t comfort me it did initiate me into the knowledge of human suffering. It held me while my soul cried. I didn’t understand any of this at the time, but it took time to understand it today.

 

I didn’t begin to fully understand Death until I became more serious about my spiritual, and eventually my religious path. It was through my path that I became acquainted with Het-Hert and Her associations. While I don’t always associate Her with solely music, dancing, joy, love, and death these days She did help me understand why Death was around. In the early days of my path I found others who encouraged me and provided a safe environment to explore my abilities with those who died. In speaking with those spirits and helping spirits cross over thanks to what I learned helped me understand Death so much more. I learned those spirits were probably always around and had little to do with me. If they came to me, and it wasn’t a chance encountering, I tried to help them. This had led to some interesting adventures (literally!) and friendships. The spirits showed me things that were hidden. I uncovered things and comforted people. I even uncovered a few family secrets thanks to becoming more open to Death. I learned Death was always there and whispering not to frighten us, but to remind us of life. Death was there for me because it was there for everyone, but it meant no harm. It wanted us to know of the world around us, both seen and unseen. I wasn’t bad or even misunderstood for getting initiated by Death. It didn’t even make me special. It meant I was ready for what Death could offer anyone.

 

During this time I had another initiation with Death. I took on a hobby as a music critic and honed my observational skills and my own knowledge and experiences with art. As cheesy as it’s been I took my understanding of Death and use its name as my own. I decided since it was so cheesy to combine a bit of humor with it to lighten some of the tension for people. I don’t think it ever came off that way, though I was happy to have inspired and helped a couple of people with my endeavors. I even learned how to improve my artistry by observing what is and isn’t effective and why. When I abandoned that hobby I was initiated again, but this time with the idea of loss. Luckily I groped my way around and found some spiritual strength. There I struggled in many areas in spite of my preparations.

 

One place where I struggled to let Death come in had to do with my own ancestors. Knowing my family history I didn’t know how open they would be to my path and new ways of honoring them. I also remembered my relationship with spirits in the past, and I worried if my ancestors would act in ways I wouldn’t understand nor welcome. When I went through some stuff where I turned to them for help did I understand why I needed to allow Death in this part of my life. I learned honoring our ancestors was just as much for me as it is for them. The ones that will listen and care about me won’t really care how I go about it. My relationship with Death deepened when I learned honoring the dead isn’t a scary thing, and was initiated into ancestor veneration. It certainly hasn’t been my only initiation.

 

In the past few months my relationship with Death was further realized. In my despair of losing my partner I attempted suicide. I felt I lost everything at that point, and the past few years made the gradual erosion of my dreams and visions of my future worse. Death was ready for me, and I was ready for it. Once again I failed, but Death was there to hold me during my initiation. I have experienced the loss and death of so many things I felt I had nothing left, even though before I thought I lost everything. What I didn’t remember was how death is treated in alchemy. In order to acquire great things one must “die”. Death delivered as promised. My music critic hobby that I had revisited a while ago took precedence. I’ve been swamped with many tasks and opportunities. Everything I worked for was bearing fruit, but in a different garden than I originally cultivated. I have been initiated into something new and had to cultivate this new garden.

 

While cultivating and weeding my new field I further evaluated the people I want in my life. I looked at what it would take to be my best friend. I wanted someone who is there for me when I need them, encourages me to grow and will grow with me, who is honest, strong, and helps me be the best person who lives to my fullest potential. In that evaluation I found Death fit this. While I’m not willing to take Death as a lover, I’ve valued it as a close friend. Death has always been around and is consistent. Death helped me become a better person once I let it. Death is my best friend.

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Inspirational Tuesday: The Path of Self-Love

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I’ve fully figured out how to love myself. I feel lying to myself like that is a disservice and unloving. What I can tell you is that I had a long road to travel to get to the point where I committed to loving myself. It hasn’t been an easy road. It certainly wasn’t a road where I had some strong advantages in that regard.

In America, especially for women, it’s taught that love isn’t something we can do for ourselves unless there’s external validation for it. Our worthiness for love is taught from a very young age. Everything from my basic assertiveness to outright boorish attitudes was usually met with, “If you don’t act like a lady no one will love you. You will be alone. You must be accommodating and pleasant at all times.” What really got to me over the years was how to be “pleasant”. No matter how “pleasant” I was it was never enough. If I took pride in something I did I was “too proudful” and had to be taken down a peg in someone’s eyes. If I was articulate and conveyed a point intelligently I was “trying too hard to appear brainy” and had to be shown how stupid I really was. Even to this day I’m perplexed how an elementary school teacher exclaimed how I think too big and needed to dumb myself down. If I met these tasks, people took jabs at me in other ways. I was “too ugly”, “too fat” (it didn’t matter the only person thinner than me at times had a thyroid problem), “a slut” (my sexual activity, or lack thereof, was irrelevant), or some other attack on me that was code for acting inappropriately for my sex.

If American society doesn’t teach people to hate ourselves for one reason it finds others. When I very little I was misdiagnosed as developmentally disabled and saw the dark side of learning disabled programs. While there have been strident efforts towards reform and moving away from what it was even in the 80’s (which was when I spent my time) there’s still a lot of systematic abuse. Most of the abuse focuses on making those with disabilities feel inferior or how they don’t matter. I was lucky in that I wasn’t sexually abused, but I’ve heard stories of that happening. I won’t go into all the details of what I experienced because it would detract, not to mention it’s hard to explain how I felt in those moments especially at a young age. While I did escape that program when I entered kindergarten thanks to an experienced teacher passionate about her work with developmentally disabled children, as well as advocacy groups and the district psychologist in tow (I will someday explain why all of that was necessary) I still had that stigma. I still had to battle with my teachers’ prejudices towards me, teachers still convinced I was somehow “less than” due to their prejudices against the developmentally disabled. I didn’t feel I overcame that stigma until college.

Part of my reason for feeling I started to overcome my self-loathing in college happened for many reasons. After battling a very dysfunctional family, an ex-boyfriend who raped me and stalked me, various broken systems (the schools nor law enforcement cared my ex was stalking me, even if it happened on school grounds), as well as my suicidal tendencies I felt free. I had a newfound lease on life by attending college. For once I had a very clear vision of how I wanted my life to look and how I was going to do it. I believed – in retrospect maybe with naivete – college would enhance my odds of getting a career in the performing arts. I always loved dancing and creating pieces, and this love led me to prepare for a career as a choreographer. It was at this time where I ran into a classmate who decided I needed to learn how to be a gay diva. I know many people feel being a diva is only about being “bitchy”, but I’ve come to realize why acting like a diva on some level helps with love. When you live a life that is mired in people wanting to hate you for inherently existing and changing one’s surroundings isn’t possible, raising oneself above the mire through just one of many methods is the only way to do it. There was another way I learned to rise above the mess, one that is probably more socially acceptable.

During my studies I ended up finding a religious path which I consider life-affirming. I found it through my own experiences with Het-Hert and subsequent conversion to Kemeticism. At that time I believed like others the Ancient Egyptian gods could be placed in boxes. I felt Het-Hert was a goddess of love, and given my life I needed plenty. It seemed for a while that everything was falling into place, even with new friends who were loving and supportive. I was learning to heal from my rape through consensual sex, though I picked partners who sent mixed signals. Close to the end of college my life faced an incredible upheaval.

I watched everything I worked for fall apart in six years. I lost my job and couldn’t get rehired, I watched friends abandon me and take advantage of my situation, I abandoned my dream of being a choreographer, and found out how worthless my diploma is despite the assurance of my academic advisors. I lost all of my savings and watched as debts piled up. Saying I was devastated to watch the life I was trying to build crumble is an understatement. I know I annoyed those in my life, but I don’t know if they were too exhausted to tell me they were tired or they never had that compassion to begin with in some cases. Unlike many others I still kept to my faith, even if I felt everything including my self-identity wavered.   If anything during this time I did more to learn what I truly believed and my understanding of Het-Hert. I studied more about the practices of Dendera and started piecing together the rituals. I saw Het-Hert less as an archetype for love and more as a motherly goddess. What I learned about spiritual love in worshiping Her, however, didn’t leave me.

A few years ago I reached a point where I had enough of feeling used up and left for dead. I prayed to Sekhmet to help me clear out those in my life and practices which were toxic. I don’t know if it was a psychological motivator or if She doesn’t waste time but that prayer was answered in a quick and tumultuous way. People whom I thought would always be my friend I either cut out in a dramatic fashion or they parted ways with me. I also saw at that time people who were willing to pray for me as I got through clearing people out. As they cleared I saw my vision for my life return and have pursued it accordingly. I had violent fights with some of my family where they saw my true strength emerge and where I learned I still needed to grow. I saw my wake up call to where if I truly loved myself I would answer it. Part of that meant active pursuit of healing old scars from my past.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but putting my foot down was the first sign I was finally learning how to love myself. Because of that I kicked some folks out of my life while some folks left my life of their own volition. During that time I learned another path of self-love. I learned new ways to take care of my anxiety disorder. Some of it came in the form of therapy, some from researching what to do during an anxiety attack (I ran some of the methods over with my therapist, who found them healthy), and some of it through prayer. I regained my sense of self, albeit slowly.  Some of my experiences with this I’ve shared before on this blog.

Sharing my personal experiences taught me a new approach to self-love, though not in the way people would expect. I learned some people didn’t like I discussed the less pleasant aspects of my life and what I’ve learned from it. I got to see passive-aggressive remarks about how someone’s “trying to be a bad bitch”, “lying”, read posts of how I’m “schizophrenic”, how I’m “a homewrecking slut”, and so on. I was debating how to handle these issues. I couldn’t decide whether to confront these bullies (let’s call it what it is) head on. I prayed about it to Het-Hert and asked people I know have been through similar experiences. The response was something to the effect of ignore them; live my life. I agreed even at the time it was great advice, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling something had to be done. I kept praying to many gods about the issue.

It all made sense when I shared with a couple of other friends. When they looked at what was said and advised the same thing, one of them added the comment of how these are the type of people who have to hate. The people who act like this are truly hate mongers. I ended up responding with, “Well, I guess it’s time to love myself.” I was silent while those words echoed in my head. It was something I should have been doing anyway, but there it was: my dedication to love myself. I finally uttered the words of my path all these years. What started as worshiping an archetype became a personal manifestation for me.

The reason to ignore hate mongers stems not only to bring peace of mind, but because you love yourself enough to know most aren’t worth the time and effort. There will always be someone who hates another for some reason, even if the reason only exists in their mind. Hatred towards people is in no short supply in this world. If left to my own devices I can generate enough self-loathing unmatched by 200 of my biggest “haters”. Let them put forth the time and effort. Yes, there will be a time when facing such hatred will come. There will be people who will do anything to make you feel their hatred for you so they don’t have to work as hard to hate. They will vandalize your things, they will spread rumors about you, they will attack you. However, not every act of hatred will be physically violent. Not every act of hatred towards me is worth my attention. I can call it out when it’s needed and encourage others to call out hatred. However the hatred I currently face is only bullying. I love myself too much to allow bullies into my life or my head.

I’ve cleaned house again and those people have been thrown out. When I find myself starting my self-loathing I’ve made it a habit to pray to Het-Hert to give myself enough love to get through it. I’m not always successful. After all I am human. I’m still learning some things about self-love. I know, though, I have a path that is exponentially less destructive than ever. It’s a path that includes self-compassion and learning to love the person I am and can be.


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New Year, Take Two

Tuesday morning I observed Wep Ronpet, and how I managed to not burn down the house is a mystery to me.  Almost everything that could go wrong did.  Water spills, incense not lighting, candles not lighting that should have, natron spilling, cascading statues– or maybe they were jumping ship–you name it.  I’ve had bad rituals before.  Anyone who has been on this type of path has at least one bad ritual.  Mishaps are common.  This bad ritual took the cake and a good chunk of my patience.  That wasn’t the worst part.

The grand finale came after all my rituals.  A cup of coffee I had on my craft desk got knocked over.  Almost everything got drenched on top of the desk, my cellphone in a compartment got hit (after a day in rice it works again), books ruined, and all I could do was stare.  The only silver lining is my computer’s harrowing escape from the coffee inundation and how no library books were in the flood plain.  When I found my cellphone wasn’t working right  and have to listen to family call me a loser behind my back.   I lost it and was too exhausted to care.  I’m self-soothing as I type.

It’s funny because I had originally intended to write about starting a new stage of life, about something to anticipate.  I’m not going to lie and say these events put a huge damper on it.  I was going to write about the new hopes for employment, or at least my etsy store taking off.  Either way being able to pay my bills would be nice for a change.  I’m angry and out of patience at this point with everyone and everything.  After some poor sleep and a failed attempt to improve my mood (though chocolate and hugs helped a bunch) I decided to examine my emotional exhaustion.  These past few years have been very unkind to me in almost every way and is only compounded by my anxiety disorder.  Trying to create a peaceful life has been a challenge, and one that sometimes I can’t meet.  Days like this one really strike a blow to trying to live a peaceful life.

On days where I fall flat on my face all I can do it get up.  I pull out the proverbial toolkit and examine the situation.  I understand I reacted the way I did not just to a ritual gone awry or the coffee inundation.  I’ve found after some contemplation that like my views on grief, I find stress is cumulative.  I’m not stressing about coffee inundations alone.  I’m stressing about everything going on in my life and my focus was that stressor.


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When Ma’at Means Hotep

I thought for the first time ever I’d participate in the Pagan Values Project. I’ve always wanted to participate, but something always came up and I couldn’t post in time. This time I have a chance and no excuses.

I think the main value Kemeticists strive for is to uphold Ma’at, and I’m no exception. Given how there isn’t a direct English translation of the word—though it’s usually something like “order”, “cosmic justice”, or “balance” just to name a few major ones—I’ve seen the idea of upholding Ma’at take many forms. For some it means serving the gods. For others it may mean community service. There are plenty who interpret upholding Ma’at to mean something beyond service. The latter applies to me in some respects. There will always be a part of me who will strive to help someone in need because I know what it’s like to wont. I also enjoy seeing people living up to their highest potential and try to help them achieve it in whatever way I can. I’ve also come to understand sometimes the best community service starts from within.

In Ancient Egyptian the word for peace was htp. One thing I try to focus on my blog is my interpretation of the Ancient stay calm within chaosEgyptian religion and peace currently plays a major part in it. People even in the Pagan community don’t fully understand why I’m not focused on living a positive life, and people outside of the community will try to construe peace to still mean positive. I feel there’s a difference between what I’ve observed as positive living and peaceful living. I’ve observed those who live positively (and truly positive lives, not just ignoring that bad things happen) don’t let adverse situations define them nor let it get them down. While one does that with a peaceful life as well, I’ve found the difference lies in the approach.

My way of approaching a peaceful life differs from how I’ve seen people handle living positively in the approach of finding opportunity in an adverse situation. To illustrate my point I’ll use meditation because of one common problem of poor concentration due to noises. When I lived with my partner we lived across the street from a college campus. One thing about college campuses is they have some bell (or like my alma mater a steam whistle) to signal when classes were over. This would go off regularly and posed a bit of a problem with meditating. When I discuss this scenario I found people trying to live a positive life were more inclined to look for a different spot to meditate. I found a pattern, on the other hand, with the bell and incorporated it into my meditation. I learned to do this with the other noises eventually. While someone living positively may also incorporate the bell I started to incorporate it with other noises. I found peace in finding the patterns to noise and turned it into music. I’ve found living peacefully mean learning to work within a situation as well as making the situation better.

meaningofpeaceI find Ma’at in peace because it isn’t about making the most of a situation. I’ve found in finding my balance peace is essential, and part of my peace is seeing a situation for what it is. In ascertaining what the situation seems to be I look for a solution. I try to do this with as little judgement and personal biases as possible. Sometimes I perform a Tarot reading to help me in removing those biases. Sometimes I will meditate before my Het-Hert shrine. I will read wisdom literature at times. Sometimes I sit down and try other methods, such as confiding in a friend. Whichever method I try I keep my aim at upholdling Ma’at by finding the solution which gives me the most peace without compromising my integrity.

I’ve found when I’m willing to compromise myself rather than compromise in a situation for the sake of peace is deceptive. If not for the fact I’m fooling myself it’s the feelings afterwards. I’ve found if I compromise myself I tend to feel resentful towards anything and everyone involved in the situation. The only thing I can do at that time is examine the situation and learn from it. Sometimes I need to vent before I can examine it. I run the risk of ruining my peace if I don’t clear my emotions. I’ve taken to the passage of the Maxims of Ptahhotep of letting someone vent in these instances.

[…] A man in distress wants to wash his heart
more than that his case be won. […]
Not all one pleads for can be granted,
but a good hearing calms the heart.

Even though this passage is reference a court case and letting people air out their grievances it also applies in my case. Sometimes to regain my equilibrium I need to vent and move on. If I can’t move on after venting I can then look at the situation and learn from it. I understand how this isn’t always possible as well.

learn to surfThere will always be something that throws us off. There will be that person at work who’s attitude is something we internalize, or inexplicable anxiety sets in, or a myriad of other things which could ruin our peace. It’s why I don’t see peace as something stagnant; just like bop bags our peace gets knocked off center from time to time. We lose our peace as we flail about to regain our center. Part of regaining that peace for me is to practice my faith. When I go to my shrine to regain my peace I find myself first at my shrine before Het-Hert. I feel calmer when in Her presence at my shrine, one that is loving and often sympathetic without coddling. When I calm down I regain my peace either with that act alone, or it calms me down enough to figure out what I need to do.

Finding my peace is an integral part of my values. In finding peace I learn about myself and find ways to examine my religious practice within that value. It’s reminding myself of my tools like the wisdom literature. Sometimes it’s reminding myself I can breathe and move forward. Whichever way I use I go forward in my peace as one of my ways to uphold Ma’at. In that I regain my balance.


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Keeping an Eye on Recovery and Healing

uadjat

I know I’ve gotten very quiet again, and it’s with good reason. I’m still catching up on projects, but I also had life show up in a way where I had to put some things on the backburner. One of the wonderful things to happen is I caught a bug going around. During this time and when I needed rest another life event showed up. My partner decided to casually drop a huge bomb on me.

Without going into further detail about my partner’s history he had a few problems with drugs. He cleaned up, and I’ve known him during that process. I had full knowledge about his addiction and his recovery. I found that admirable compared to the other men I’ve dated who weren’t so honest with me nor themselves about their own addictions. In fact I supported him in his path of recovery and saw how much stronger he became and developed through it. It came as a surprise to me, then, when he casually admitted to a drug relapse.

I wasn’t completely blindsided by the relapse itself as I’d seen it coming down the road. I’ve found addiction isn’t whatever the fixation of the addiction is alone but the behaviors around it. As he headed down the road to relapse I saw the signs. He would fixate on trying drugs “one more time, just to be sure” (to which my answer was usually something to the effect of why stick beans up your nose twice. Plus it’s never “just one time”). He hung out more with people who regularly drank and used drugs (some people can handle their recovery and hang out with people who use drugs, but my partner is not one of them). The biggest sign, however, was how distant he grew with me. Even when we were together he was never fully present. At first I dismissed it as other behaviors, such as his ADD, but it grew distant in ways such as not being completely honest with me. We agreed from the beginning of our relationship that we’d try to open and honest with each other. I saw these signs and denied to myself there was a relapse. I was blindsided by his confession to relapsing as an aside rather than the topic of a conversation. I ran a gamut of emotions after his flippant confession. I felt betrayed, angry, gullible, lied to, hurt, self-blaming, but mostly angry. I knew these were natural emotions, especially for someone like me.

When I first entered a relationship with my partner I was willing to try a 12-step program. I felt given my dating history there was a common factor: I was picking these men. I felt if I entered a 12-step program for codependents I could support him and maybe learn more about myself. I also figured it would help in my recovery from bulimia and problems with self-mutilation. Even though I wasn’t purging at the time I relapsed in a previous relationship. I wanted to sort through the cause of my eating disorder so I wouldn’t relapse again and overcome my urge to self-mutilate. Neither of these behaviors were ones I wanted in my life and I didn’t want them to own me.

not selfish

I did find a support group at first thanks to the help of a friend. There were still some problems, namely how I felt like an outsider. I was always encouraged to try a different group in a different town and couldn’t really find a sponsor to guide me through the steps. Still I found it comfortable to be around namely supportive women with experience in the program and bearing on their life. When I attempted to dress my age they complimented me on my efforts. They comforted me when a family pet died. Some invited me to their going-away parties or to hang out after a meeting. I was encouraged to call some of them. They also focused on spirituality in its fullest as it was hosted at a Unitarian Universalist church, and most of the group attended or were members. Very rarely did someone actually identify a particular deity and left it at “Higher Power” or “The Universe”. When I was open about my faith I wasn’t judged, but encouraged to explore my connection to Het-Hert. I developed a very positive opinion of 12-step groups despite the drawbacks and even bought a book that examined Al-Anon literature each day. This changed after moving in with my partner.

After my partner and I moved in together we attended mostly NA and a few AA groups. There were some things I attribute now to culture shock since I moved from Kansas to Virginia. I expected some of that but I didn’t expect what is called in NA and AA “sick behavior”, which is best described as dysfunctional behavior. Though some of my issues with the heavy Christian focus were unrelated to the “spiritual but not religious” program of NA and AA it unnerved me regardless. There were times where the church hosting the group practically served as a church group, which is prohibited by NA and AA guidelines. The Lord’s Prayer was used pretty often, though the Serenity Prayer is a fairly Christian piece as well. One member actually said point blank that people who don’t worship Jesus will never recover and shouldn’t bother coming to meetings. While people verbally chided the man for stating this their actions agreed with his sentiment. As I opened up more about worshiping Het-Hert and wearing my Eye of Horus pendant to meetings people grew distant. I’m sure part of this behavior was because I felt standoffish about the strong Christian bias, but the response wasn’t helpful either at that time. The more I read the Al-Anon book the more it taught about the Christian submission that women were supposed to exhibit. It assumed that the co-dependent reading it was a woman. Other literature I encountered chided people for not being Christian and insinuated they wouldn’t get better without the Christian god. I couldn’t stomach the Christian bias and reduced how often I went. My partner continued attending as frequently as before, and I encouraged it as he still got something out of it. When I decreased my attendance at these groups the behavior got worse.

Some of the sickest behavior came when a couple of groups tried to break up my partner and I and hook him up with a group member, usually someone new. This led to emotional turmoil as I gained an incredible amount of weight and blamed his obliviousness on it. I thought if I lost the weight he’d listen to me more, maybe I could find the confidence and self-assurance I needed to know he wouldn’t leave. As my insecurities grew my resolve weakened. I fought self-mutilation; were it not for my partner arriving just in time I would have failed in that struggle a couple of times. Amongst other struggles it was growing too much for me and teetered on relapsing with bulimia again.

At this time I was a member of the Kemetic Orthodoxy, but I hadn’t felt drawn to practicing that way after my move. I still kept in contact with fellow members, many of whom were very supportive and loving during those times. While I had a community that I needed at the time I didn’t have a practice. I felt as if the more I tried to practice one of the member shrine practices, called senut, the more disconnected I felt from Het-Hert. I felt compelled to research the daily morning ritual as practiced in the temples initially out of curiosity. I found an outline and began to piece together how the rituals worked based on what information was available. I hadn’t completed my research at the time, but I started to practice with the little information I pieced together. Despite an incomplete ritual I found serenity in the few parts I could act out. I felt the presence of Het-Hert and Her love again in those moments. On the days where I could practice this makeshift ritual I didn’t have the urge to cut or harm myself.

meaningofpeace

In due time I had to move out of my partner’s apartment due to finances, but I found a comfortable stopping point with my research and continued my daily practice. Sometimes I didn’t perform all the stages because I needed to keep it at a bare minimum due to time, my emotional needs, lack of resources, or something else entirely. My shrine ritual didn’t always keep some urges at bay, but I found the serenity I couldn’t find in NA or AA. The literature of those groups were replaced by wisdom literature which I read so often the pages fell out and I had to rebind myself. I found the tools I felt I needed until I slipped into self-mutilation again.

I self-mutilated during—what I will call for now—a panic attack. My partner found out and encouraged me to seek help. Given this was around the time when I discovered my pulse was through the roof during a doctor’s visit I realized he was right. My anxiety was part of the problem and I didn’t have the tools to handle it. I sought mental help. I spoke with my therapist, worked on a few exercises with him, researched other methods to handle these issues, and added more tools. At one point, though, I couldn’t afford personal counseling. My therapist suggested a support group, but didn’t feel comfortable with that option due to my foray into the12-step program. I got the boot afterwards.

I’ve found prayers that work for me during my attacks and encouraged myself to visit my shrine during those times. I won’t into exactly which methods worked for the time being, because those methods can change. I also want to encourage people to seek professional help as I know with the little I got I was pointed in the right direction. A toolbox of methods that a therapist helped me devise and discuss my research helped my on my road of healing. I’ve made some peace with the idea I will never see myself as the person I want to look. It doesn’t negate my loveability. I learned new ideas and started falling in love with myself. Even though I sometimes need the encouragement of my partner he’s there.

As I worked on my healing my partner grew tired of NA and AA. He got tired of the improprieties, the strong Christian overtones, the general group drama, and read about the inefficacy of these programs. He decided after some time he would quit attending despite my protests. There was some backlash and the groups blamed me for his decision. Even though I was mildly annoyed at how much power they assumed I held over my partner, I dismissed it as ignorance. At first he looked into alternatives to 12-step programs, such as the SMART program. Looking into them was all that came of that endeavor. It was about that time he considered trying drugs and alcohol again. After our discussions, and the assurance he would discuss the issue further with me before any further action, he tried them behind my back.

His actions reminded me of what I experienced with the previous man I dated. He’d act in ways which were quite questionable about his fidelity during our relationship. The only reason I knew about it is because his family told me he did things behind my back. It wasn’t just that behavior alone. He’d drink every day, get into fights with me, use that as an excuse to break up, then date someone only to make up after it didn’t work out. I had an extremely poor self-esteem at the time and took him back only to re-experience the draining cycle. At one point I stopped trying to discuss with him and just screamed into the phone because he’d accuse me of something or put me down for every minute transgression. It was clear the guy wasn’t interested in changing. This is what it would always be. I would never pass snuff and he’d find some way to harm me even if he didn’t touch me. Alcohol was only fuel for his abuse. When I finally came to the realization I could do better he and I were going through another cycle. I felt nothing. No anger, no hurt, no emotion whatsoever. I knew then I was done and broke up with him. Many chide me for how frank I was about it, but it was the only way I could do it.

In some ways my breakup reminds me of a common question I’m asked. I’m often asked as a worshiper of Het-Hert how I reconcile the aspects of Her and Sekhmet. My answer has been very much based on Their epithets of the Eye of Heru. While one is not designated to certain associations with the Eye of Heru over the other I’ve found in my experience I associated Sekhmet more with not only protection but making a way, albeit a more violent and chaotic way, for Ma’at to prosper. While Het-Hert can also protect I found I associated Her more with protection in the sense of preserving Ma’at. It’s something I’ve felt I’ve never expressed well, but it seems to work and it’s something I understand enough. I know that when I need to remove things in my life which go against Ma’at it must be quick and oftentimes without mercy. Sometimes this serves me, but with people it’s been trickier. Sometimes it’s because it seems hurtful and is an emotional affair. In the case of my partner it led to my own personal turmoil.

Finding one’s own understanding of life is always a challenge, but it’s an even bigger challenge when it’s understanding life in the context of addiction and religion. There is no fable or myth which fully addresses this behavior (while sometimes it feels like someone is married to an addiction, conflating infidelity and addiction is fallacious), there’s no passage about it in any wisdom literature which focuses on it without conflating it with gluttony, nor is this addressed in the Negative Confessions. I had to trust myself to make the best decision. I consulted a friend about my issue who advised I wait until I’m healthier to decide. Even though this was sound advice I couldn’t put the issue out of my head long enough. I had been down this road far too many times before and knew it like the back of my hand, but I couldn’t emotionally figure out if my partner was willing to change. Part of me wanted to believe the relationship could be salvaged. Part of me didn’t want to bother.

I contemplated everything I experienced with addiction and living with others’ addiction. I turned myself into pretzels and committed other mental gymnastics. I wavered on one decision after another. As I distracted myself with no real avail by focusing on other tasks I found myself finally admitting I had no idea what to do. In that desperation an epiphany popped into my mind. What am I ready to do? Am I ready to walk away from someone who may prefer to live as an addict? Am I willing to hold firm on ending the relationship, no matter how much I loved him, for my health and possible safety? This rolled around in my head for some time. I admitted to myself while I wasn’t ready to walk away I was ready to do what was best for myself, and that meant I might have to end my relationship.

That night we spoke on the phone I told him my intentions to end the relationship. I got many of the canned responses of how he wouldn’t do it again, how he loved me and needed me, etc. He plead for me to stay. Not expecting an answer I asked him what his plan was to make sure he didn’t relapse anytime soon. I didn’t hear a plan outright, but I heard him fumbling about to piece together an answer. We argued. I couldn’t express myself rationally at one point and let all of my emotions take over. I broke down crying. He broke down crying because he didn’t know how to start over after years of recovery. We tried to find the words through the tears and came up with thoughts while unintelligible struck an emotional chord.  I had a few breakthroughs in that moment.

During all of that time when I was working on myself it never occurred to me that he needed support in his recovery as much as I needed support in mine. I assumed with at least the 12-step groups and the various sponsors he had someone was looking out for him. I assumed that encouraging him to go and to keep on his path to healing was all I needed to do. I also assumed I was fair to him by feeling I needed to walk away after his first relapse while in a relationship with me, whereas I’d messed up several times in my own. I remembered all those times how I felt I failed myself and how I wasn’t always certain how to regroup. He could have left during any of those times and he didn’t. My struggles with an eating disorder and self-mutilation took a toll on him as well despite never voicing it. He tried to be strong for my sake. He stuck by me while I tried again. What I chose to see at that time was only the healing that focused on me. I also realized because of this I was not ready to leave at all.

Do Not Take Folks for Granted

I’m staying for now. We decided we’ll take baby steps in moving past the relapse. We’ve agreed that since he’s had his “trial” with drugs and found he couldn’t manage they were completely prohibited. If I find out he’s tried them again I am gone. It’s true he may still relapse and try to hide it from me. I honestly have no guarantees about these things. He knows it will take time for me to rebuild my trust provided it’s not irreparable. I’ve asked him to be more vocal about his needs. I’ve also agreed to give him a guest spot to write about recovery from the perspective of an alternative faith because he knows there isn’t a lot of information about it from an alternative faith perspective. I’ve prayed a lot about guiding us through the best outcome and to write what needs to be said.

I know that recovering from addiction isn’t an easy road, and it’s one that is toiling at lightest sometimes. This is provided someone with an addiction is willing to get help. If they want to let addiction rule I encourage the person in the addict’s life to leave. It doesn’t get better in those instances. I know from experience a person with an addiction—be it to alcohol, drugs, or whatever—will drag everyone in their lives down with them. It will take lots of healing even in the hands of a therapist. It can be done, and it’s scary. It requires feeling around in the dark, but you will find a light source that will help you see.

As I’ve prayed to find the best way to write this blog post I keep focusing on Het-Hert.  One of Her epithets is the “Eye of Ra”, and it led to my contemplation of the Eye of Horus in a roundabout way. Some people associate the Eye of Horus with healing. It amuses me not only because I wore an Eye of Horus pendant to NA and AA but for other reasons. There are some theories how the Eye of Horus was also the model for fraction measurements for things like medicine and land. I’ve found my way of healing consists of many pieces and methods cobbled together.  The same could be said about my partner’s healing and recovery.  It’s been fractured and incomplete at times, but the different parts he managed to make work pieced together cohesively as a whole.  My medicine has consisted of many attributes and possibly fractured, but I managed to make my way whole.

steppingstone


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A New Perspective: Teachers (and Leaders)

When I first wrote this blog post years ago I was trying to untangle all of my issues and experiences with teachers. It’s still an ongoing process. Teachers are very valuable and provide the structure and approach to learning we need. There are many teachers out there who strive to meet this ideal. One big problem of being a teacher is the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and many people (myself included) allow their negative experiences to color their overall experience based on the squeaky wheels. We tend to place leaders in the same role of teachers as well, and this gets problematic.

Part of the reason I’ve refused leadership and teaching roles in the past is due to questioning my own ability to rise to the occasion. Teaching and leading requires a lot of skill, experience, and patience. Someone may have skills but little patience for someone who believes an individual exists to hand over certifications or positions without the work. Most people don’t like the approach to gaining such qualifications. It includes lesson plans, and if one tries to act like a smart aleck with a teacher or leader the person can and will be called to task. It makes them see their tom foolery to the end.

Teaching isn’t a role one should take lightly since it provides a significant contribution to both the individual and the community. When I first wrote this post I mentioned an individual in my local Pagan community who professed to be a teacher. He, like many others in alternative faiths, assumed the role without any verifiable qualifications. His inconsistent teachings and unethical behavior got him ousted from the community when people took notice and compared stories. In a perfect world all dubious individuals would suffer a similar fate, but we don’t live in a perfect world. I will say that in more recent years more Pagans have called out dubious teachings and practices.

Another reason teaching should be carefully considered is due to the Kemetic and general Neo-Pagan communities’ expectations of teachers, let alone leaders. Teachers are human and they are fallible. There’s this expectation of how teachers should be like Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way. They must lead the perfect life with the perfect skills and with utmost eloquence. We forget sometimes we don’t even come close to measuring up to the standard we place teachers or leaders. Many leaders and teachers have a “regular” job and have to teach, lead ritual, et cetera on the side. They get tired, financially strapped and can’t run certain things, run down, ill, and that’s the tip of the iceberg. I’ve seen too many consider this a moral failing on the part of the leader or teacher, when in reality it’s their humanity showing.

Even though those who shouldn’t teach, yet try, exist there are plenty who should and do teach. It’s a matter of finding a teacher best suited for one’s needs. This is not an easy task. Finding the right teacher is difficult. It depends on the individual, the pracitce, how experienced of a teacher one desires, costs, the purpose for learning, and that’s not even an exhaustive list. There are a myriad of considerations. Sometimes we find the right teacher in the most unexpected places. I found my Isis Seichem teacher when we were members of a religious organization. It involves a balance of openness to possible teachers tempered by a willingness to question to see if one is right for the individual.

I think the understanding of how to find a teacher is also tied to why so many people are ill qualified, yet willing, to take leadership and teaching roles: self-importance. The demand for an often unattainable standard comes from this notion the person is of some moral superiority. I’ve seen all too often where the person thinks he or she is some reincarnation of someone historical figure and that excuses them from work, or the way people tie unfortunate circumstances to moral failings. Self-importance excuses away honest examination of oneself and one’s intentions of either accepting a leadership or teaching role as well as becoming a student. If someone sees a subject or tool as opposed to a partnership, no experience or qualification will suffice.

Taking on a role of leadership or teaching is neither easy nor lightly taken. Both are often thankless and never pay in proportion to the work involved. Some will find their own rewards and reasons for pursuing it beyond pay or prestige. Sometimes it’s with good intentions and understanding of one’s skills and abilities, other times without. This is what determines if someone is of moral integrity in such a position as opposed to life circumstances. Through the containment or elimination of self-importance in both a teacher or leader and a student or follower the stronger an opportunity for growth occurs.


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Devotional Tuesday: Turning Away from the Truth

Mandatory Disclaimer:  This is just my personal take on some of the passages and may or may not pull from academic sources.  In other words, this is just my interpretation of things.  Take it or leave it.

“O Youth Who came forth from a Heliopolitan nome, I have not been deaf to words of truth.”

I started writing this post a few months ago after dealing with folks on Yahoo! news. The gist of it was a biased source was cited, I pointed this out, and I was accused of being some sort of basher. Bear in mind this accusation came with foul and inflammatory language followed by how I needed to “mind my language” when I used no such language myself. I wanted to dismiss the whole thing as a troll, being Yahoo! and all, and possibly shame myself for bothering with Yahoo! That incident kept eating at me, though. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I realized after a few strings of other events that it was my frustration with an ongoing issue: ignoring the facts for the sake of a “truth”.

I understand truth is a very subjective concept. In some philosophies truth is seen as how the person observes and perceives their surroundings. Even what is seen as a current truth may change at a later date. It was considered “truth” the world was flat. It was considered “truth” we lived in a geocentric universe. It was considered “truth” there was a call to destroy Ancient Egyptian ruins until the creators of the hoax revealed the truth and the intentions.

So what happens when the truth changes? What happens when we find out we live in a heliocentric system or that something is a hoax? For many the answer is simple: you accept it if there’s strong evidence to support the new view. For that individual his or her truth changes. This applies to religious growth for me. The truth is constantly changing for me as I learn new things. When I learn more about my world I grow into a different person. It’s, for me, a way of becoming something better in the face of truth.

I see a personal reason that this confession is associated with the nome associated with the primordial mound. The act of creation, as I see it, takes action and takes knowledge. This is much like the Wadjet’s alleged purpose to help the pharaoh. When faced with the truth and what isn’t he could discern the best course of action. If one turns away from truth in this matter chaos ensues. What I see on a personal level is one doesn’t grow into a better person.

There’s a case that I encountered with this. There was a man who insisted that women shouldn’t “dress immodestly” if they don’t want to be ogled. I pointed out for large-breasted women this is almost impossible (citing my own experience) and suggested self control as a more viable option. We argued about this where I cited a study supporting my point and pointed out when called upon said violations individuals tend to act aggressively. The conversation degenerated and the man, upon further suggestion he not look at a woman’s breasts, acted aggressively. The irony isn’t lost on me, but that’s not the point. The point is the man took it personally that such violations of social norms are an individual’s responsibility. As a result of not facing one possible truth nothing was gained from either party except resentment. He’s resentful that I implied he lacked self control and I’m resentful that someone scoffed at empirical evidence and personal experience. The incident, however, demonstrates exactly what happens when I see people ignoring a truth.

When we don’t face a truth, when we ignore it for the sake of convenience, I’ve found nothing changes for the better. Instead things stay the same at best or worsen in a more likely scenario. When faced with a new truth it means we have to make a decision, one which changes our beliefs. That’s uncomfortable at times, painful at others, and sometimes the easiest thing to do. Most of it is contingent on the willingness to change and how willing we are to scrutinize new information. I’m not saying one should accept all information wholesale nor without scrutiny. What I am saying is just because the information may be unpleasant or come from an unpleasant source doesn’t negate a strongly supported idea. In the Maxims of Ptahhotep it’s written:

Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge, but

confer with the ignorant man as well as with the learned, for the

limit of skill has not been attained, and there is no crafts-

man who has fully acquired his mastery.

There is no such thing as the penultimate master. There’s always something to learn or at times relearn and from a source to learn it. Sometimes we let bias get in the way of that. Sometimes we believe we have more life experience than others, or our age determines our knowledge, or that our upbringing, or even education, gives us more value in skill or knowledge than others. It’s possible, but that doesn’t grant full expertise. We’re all knowledgeable in some areas and less knowledgeable in others.

If one is to listen to truth, how does one ensure openness to the truth? I don’t have any ultimate answers, but this is what’s worked for me most of the time:

Be aware of personal bias or biases. Tallying personal biases is probably one of the hardest things to do. It means swallowing our pride and admitting to ourselves we aren’t likely as kind or impartial as we hoped. It’s still vital to the learning process, just the same. If we turn a blind eye to our shortcomings we can never grow honestly. Don’t ignore biases which lean in a positive direction either. A bias is still a bias.

Examine why the new information should be rejected or accepted. Is the new information biased? Does it come from a biased source? Is the information dated? Or is the new information coming from a source from which you are biased against or towards? Sometimes we like to hear information which supports our bias or confirm an idea we’ve already formed, regardless if the information is sound.

Consider the changes the new information brings. Sometimes people reject new information not because it’s biased, but because it brings a change. Some people fear change for personal reasons.

Be open to the change the new information brings. If it clears all biases and any reason to reject the change is overcome then accept it and let the change or changes happen.

It’s not an easy task to consider new information and changes. It’s not easy to change based on new information. If one wishes to continuously grow, however, I feel the willingness to accept it needs to happen.


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When to Walk Away from Commitments

“Follow your desire as long as you live and do not perform more than is ordered…”

-The Maxims of Ptahhotep, transl. by R.O. Faulkner

It’s no secret to those in my life this holiday season tends to be tough on me.  In fact it’s hard on a significant amount of people.  The stress of planning, shopping, meetings, gatherings, and the accumulation of many projects.  I ended up with a reminder from a friend about being busy as opposed to sedulous.  Most of the reminder emerged from my personal feelings about some of my commitments to online events as well as helping my family decorate for Christmas.  Despite my hatred of Christmas and observe it for the sake of my family I partook in not one but two holidays to which I feel no connection.

Agreeing to help out in holidays I don’t personally observe was my first mistake.  Apart from Christmas I don’t observe Yule and this internet event focused on this.  The group had been quiet for a while, and I started to see how quiet it was.  Except for me no one monitored the group.  I couldn’t get a hold of anyone else nor the resources set aside for this group.  I had no choice but to start this event from scratch.  Luckily some notes were left and some people helped me with research.  Without them I couldn’t have managed what I did.

I haven’t been so lucky with my family.  I thought if I volunteered to help with decorating the Christmas tree, one which was creatively speaking a Herculean task for my parents, I contribute meaningfully.  Instead I was handed a mess of resentments over a color scheme my mother didn’t like, her frustration with a design she saw somewhere on YouTube that wasn’t working for her, all heaped into one emotional, passive aggressive mess.  It was another lesson in when to be helpful.

I showed signs of feeling taken for granted.  I received complaints about arranging an event because it wasn’t the way such-and-such person would have run it, I had to dig from my own time and resources at the last minute, and my mother obstructed any creative endeavor with the tree (she even fought with me about ribbon width!)  I felt cheated, used, unappreciated, the whole gambit of resentful emotions.  When discussing with my friends how drained I felt one question kept popping up: why am I doing this?  I believed I gave reasons at the time, but in retrospect I gave excuses.  It was to the tune of “my obligation” or “giving back” or some other sense of duty.  That changed overnight.

I had my umpteenth struggle with my mother about how to decorate the tree last night.  I’m the type of person who, when planning, tries to be as clear and precise as possible so that there’s no confusion.  When gathering the additional materials for the tree I explained what I designed and what I would need.  Well after these materials were purchased and ready to be made my mother decided to drop a bomb on me.  She had her own plans for those materials, plans which she never communicated, and rendered anything I wanted to do useless.  I stared at her for a moment and reminded her I had gone over this with her.  She dismissed my reminder.  I grew so frustrated at this point I was speechless.  I saw all my time and effort dissolve in that one moment and couldn’t think of any way to salvage it.  I stared at her and saw the project as hopeless.  I realized then I was doing this for no reason, not even out of kindness.

“I’m through,” I whimpered, “I’m through with your childish games.  I’m too grown up for this.”  I walked away and left her to her own devices.  She didn’t want my help, anyway.

I’ve had time to think about my projects up to this point and it all needed one question answered: why was I doing this?  I’ve evaluated the time, effort, and other resources I’ve put into my projects up to this point.  I realized my friends were right in that I became too busy and spread myself thin.  I’ve had all the wrong projects on the back burner so I could be “charitable”, when in reality I set myself up for failure.  I was contradicting my own message about the pitfalls of this act.  My endeavor resulted in exhaustion.  Luckily since I can identify the issue I can solve it.

On my part I can identify which projects I feel are best for me.  I can also take advantage of the holiday season to rest and work on those.  Because of that I won’t blog as much for the next couple of weeks.  This will remove any distractions for myself to get things done which should have been out the door months ago.

I’ve learned this holiday season that it’s time to walk away from some commitments when the costs outweigh the benefits.  When I put forth more effort than I get back it means I have to muster up more energy for other work, energy or resources I may lack.  I’ve also learned to walk away from commitments when I’m truly doing it to placate my ego.  In the end the result is the same.  I have less than what I intended to gain.


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A New Perspective: Know It Will Be Okay

When I first wrote this blog post I was dealing with a lot of worry. I worried that I wasn’t going to ever know financial stability, I worried that my life would never be what I wanted it to be, I worried that I would live my life alone, I worried about everything I hoped or dreamed would be unfulfilled. Basically I worried about everything. My remedy, or what I thought was the remedy, was to remind myself of the Reiki Principles of Mikao Usui, namely not to worry. When I contemplated how to handle my worries I ended up taking a rather over-simplistic view.

At the time I attributed much of my worry to idea I wasn’t willing to surrender. Given how I’m a person who doesn’t surrender (or at least not without a fight) I knew trying to learn how would prove quite the challenge. What I’ve learned instead was the difference between surrender as submission and surrender as release. When most people think of “surrender” they think of submission in some fashion. I thought the idea of surrendering was an act of submission, and sometimes it can be. I know that the past year has taught me about the act of surrendering as a form of release.

I’ll admit I haven’t been in a happy place mentally or emotionally for some time. As I look back on my blog posts I’ve seen it bubble to the surface. I was completely in a living situation I never wanted to revisit and surrounded by extremely unsupportive people, though I believed otherwise. I’m sure the same could be said about me while those parties in question truly believe they were supportive. I saw otherwise when I set out to start my own business. I researched everything I could think of to learn, I looked into what regulations by which I needed to abide, and even how much money I would need to start my venture. I started to ask my friends who ran their own businesses, and the truth stared me down. One I had put much trust into offered to “buy me out” despite her cries of how I need to be independent. Sometime later we had a long conversation about her offer and other offers where I mentioned my concern about how it seemed contrary to my “quest” to be independent.

“We’re all dependent on someone to some degree,” is how she responded. Even though I agree with this sentiment in a normal circumstance, given the conversation it unsettled me. I worried about the implications and what to do. I performed a Tarot reading for myself, and it told me what I knew I had to do, but wasn’t ready to do: let go. I stayed a little bit longer until she tried to humiliate me in front of her friends. I blew up and ended the friendship. In that moment of my ego I finally let go of the friendship that was damaging me.

When I first wrote this blog post I had it in my mind that my ego was the cause of not surrendering. I used a passage from a book at that time. I have a different view now of the passage from Dona G. Kelly, author of Lotus Leaves, with the passage about surrender I used:

 If you feel that you cannot give up your free will- the right to make your own decisions- then, you still have residue of Ego, which is part of the personality. The Masters lay great stress upon the need for self-surrender […] Surrender is not easy, nor can it be achieved through a miracle. It is a slow, painstaking, labor of Love.

Not surrendering may still be an act of Ego, but I don’t feel that’s anything to shun right now. I still believe it’s a long process that requires lots of love. More often than not it’s been self-love. I had to love myself enough to no longer tolerate sick behavior.
I had to love myself enough to know this woman would hold our mutual friends emotionally hostage and that I would lose friends in this process. It hurt to see her expect my friends (it’s been a year and I’m still hearing from friends about this situation) to “rescue me” even though she claimed I seek that and chided me for it. All I’ve done is all I can do: speak my side when asked, cast spells to sever our ties, prayers, and protect myself. After a year of diligence I’m almost free.

In the span of that year I worried about many things. When I paid my doctor a visit for an ear infection I got an eye opener: my resting heart rate was through the roof. She examined me to the best of her ability and I spoke with her about what was on my mind. I was blessed in my doctor also held a degree in psycho-medince. We came to the conclusion it was the stress from my worry and some underlying mental health issues. All the stress I put on myself from worry (and later I learned the product of my mental illness) took its toll on my heart. I had to pull myself together or these things would be the death of me.
I finally sought help through both a therapist and my own research into my diagnoses. Each time I saw something that endorsed feeling whatever I’m feeling and not fight it. While I wasn’t surrendering to the attack itself, I was submitting to the idea of having one. No more could I fight the attack, but to pull alongside it and feel what I needed to feel. My partner understood and has been one of many ways for me to submit to my attack. I’ve also developed other ways of handling my impending worry from awareness and tackling the causes of my worry to seeking a creative outlet for it when solutions aren’t apparent. My writing, painting, drawing, calligraphy, and now scrapbooking help me release. I know tackling my worry is still a work in progress, but now I have more experience and insight with it. More than anything, what has been important for tackling my worry was to submit to a routine. In this routine I approach my shrine with offerings, time with Het-Hert, and sometimes my worry. I submit to Her and to Her I give my worries. I pray for help when I need it, and sometimes I pray as a form of gratitude. I surrender to Het-Hert.
In the span of those years since I first posted about surrendering my worry and thus my ego I’ve learned quite a bit. I’ve learned there are times that I shouldn’t ignore my ego but should also understand why I worry. I’ve also learned there are different types of surrender and sometimes I must consciously choose which type in order to tackle my worry. Most importantly I’ve learned surrender isn’t a loss of will but understanding the limitations of my own. When I looked over my older blog post on this topic I smirked at the last lines I wrote:

In these times, while we feel there is much to worry about, can also prove more fruitful. These times can become a great opportunity for our nation, or at least our communities, to grow in a healthy way. All we need is faith in the forces at work as well as our own.