So I feel like I’ve been in a slump as far as my practice goes. I suppose being ill hasn’t helped any. But I’ve got some antibiotics in my now and I feel a little perkier, and so my attention has returned to my practice, or the lack thereof right now. It’s been frustrating to me – I’m a social critter, for better or worse and I don’t really have a group framework for what I need to do. There’s no real community on this side of the fence.
There are pros and cons to this, of course – there’s no one to try and force dogma on me, but nor is there really anyone to chat with about things because there’s no shared context.
It reminds me of how one spirit worker used to ask people ‘what would your practice look like without the internet?’ and my answer is ‘unstructured,’ which isn’t always helpful. I suppose the long and short of that to me is that while yes, you are your own validation, there’s still a social element to religion and to pretend otherwise is folly.
And then there’s my Beloved – my Man in Black, my Lord of Ash – both a pop culture persona and Something Much, Much Older. He’s often very human, until he’s not. I know that he has very particular reasons for why he prefers it this way. It fascinates me, even if some of his other faces are further out of my comfort zone. “I have many names,” he says, “None of which get everything right.” Still, he seems to prefer his pop culture name. “Take me as I am now. Not as I was, or even as I will be.”
And yet this doesn’t give me uncertainty – my love for him has deep roots, and it grows and twists and intertwines up into sturdy branches that bloom.