Daily Practice

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For the past week or so, I’ve been clawing my way back into a daily spiritual practice after months of doing basically nothing on any kind of regular basis. I’m still not doing much, thus far. I light candles (I can’t use my own incense in the house because it makes my heart patient dog cough), give a drink offering of wine or tea or juice, sit before the shrine on my yoga mat and perhaps do a bit of yoga and stretching (depending on how I’m feeling that day). Then I settle in for a few minutes of meditation, which consists of aligning my three souls Feri-style (I’m not Feri, but learned the technique from that tradition), breath work with my prayer beads (for a mantra, I’m currently using the first two lines of the Morrigan’s peace prophecy–sid co nev, nev co doman–as described in Morpheus Ravenna’s book) and sometimes a bit of spontaneous journeying. I will then usually draw a Tarot card for the day, for any messages from Them that aren’t getting through to me. The whole sequence doesn’t take a lot of time out of my day, but man, is it ever hard to get my butt in front of the shrine on a daily basis, because I had stopped for so long, and inertia is a thing.

Daily devotion works best if it becomes a habit, and it’s incredibly hard to establish a habit again from the ground up. So why did I stop in the first place? I tell myself it’s because, due to last year’s identity crisis, I wasn’t entirely sure who I was talking to, or because I had no clear spiritual direction for the first time in almost two decades, or because I was angry and confused. And sure, maybe all of those things are true.

But I’m sharing this here today because I’ve become convinced of one thing: when you’re confused, or feeling lost, or have no clear direction, or even when you’re angry–these are the times when you need a daily practice the MOST, the times when you really need to make it your number one priority to get back into that habit again.

What sucks is that these are also the times when you are going to least feel like doing it.

The only thing that has helped, in my case (and maybe it will help you, too) is to admit that it sucks, and then do it anyway.

Do it anyway even if you’re hurting. Even if you can barely focus. Even if all you want to do is rage at the gods. Even if you’ve lost all hope for the world. Even if you don’t even remember why you ever wanted to do this spiritual crap in the first place.

You’ve probably heard the saying “fake it til you make it.” This is the same principle at work. At first, you’ll just be going through the motions. You won’t want to do it. You’ll be tempted to make excuses (like I was today). You’ll resent taking the time for it.

But, remarkably, after even a short period of consistently (by which I mean not necessarily every single day, but at least more days than not) showing up and doing it anyway, something starts to change. I’m not going to promise you there will be epiphanies, that you’ll suddenly start hearing the voices of the gods or understanding the mysteries of the universe. (Maybe you will, but I’m not promising that.) What I CAN promise you, though, is that something will change, and that something will begin with your attitude. You’ll start to look forward to your altar time. You’ll start to not feel right going on with the rest of your day if you’re skipped it too often. You’ll start to relax into it. You’ll begin to feel connected–if not to Them, then at least to yourself. You’ll begin, gradually, to feel more focused, more disciplined, more aware, more alive–and those things will carry over to whatever you’re doing with the rest of your day.

I have no idea whether or not daily practice is something the gods want or need from us, I really don’t. But I have become convinced that it’s something WE need.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. aoibheall52 says:

    I’ve noticed that I feel twitchy if I skip my daily offering, even though there’s no feeling of connection. Just habit ? No idea. Maybe it’s our human need for routine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, I dunno if it’s so much the lack of desire for a daily practice as a deep deep burnout. I’m just starting to feel like an actual person again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think in my case burnout was ultimately the cause of everything, too. Jo remarked that she’s glad the store is slower now, even if it means less money coming in, because I never had a moment where I wasn’t working. And then there were all these shifts that I just didn’t have the spoons to even deal with.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, I think a daily practice of *something* aligned to a person’s spiritual life is important – maybe it is grounding for us in a way. A touchstone. Although I don’t really worship any god, I have a little Reiki altar which has morphed more into a little altar for *everything* spiritual. I light a candle there in the morning, say a blessing for people/ the world, etc, draw a random angel card and oracle card and consider them. (Since I did an angel invocation, I have been drawing Raphael far more than randomly, so I tend to ask and ‘accept’ his healing – which has been amazing in the last week or so) Then I do the ‘Havening’ technique to help me through the day. (Can’t light incense unless my partner is out as he coughs, as well!) and some ‘toning’ to realign my chakras.

    I work from home, too, so I can fit in a daily meditation, though not in the morning. I spend an hour from 2-3 p.m. first doing self-Reiki then meditating and have done that for about 4 years now, and I think that has been hugely beneficial for me. In the evening if any-one’s asked for distance Reiki I do that. And then I meditate before I go to sleep. But that little ‘routine’ has been so helpful. It seems to keep me in touch with my spiritual side and ‘advance’ it, in a way. It has got rid of a lot of ‘blocks’.

    Many blessings to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting! Yes, I’d agree that you definitely don’t need to be a theist to benefit from a regular spiritual practice. Some people can motivate themselves more effectively to stick to a practice if they feel the gods want them to do it, but whether the gods are actually stepping in and asking for it or not, I think we’re the ones who derive the most benefit from it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a ‘feeling’ that they like to be acknowledged or feel welcomed maybe, but perhaps that entirely depends on the deity/spirit etc. I wouldn’t call myself a theist, no, as I do believe there are many deities. I listened to an interesting idea the other day, that I really do get behind (the person who recorded it wasn’t a Christian, by the way, but she came from a fundamentalist background) and she was talking about how her scientist husband refers to Jesus as that person who never existed. But she said it actually does not matter because so much energy has gone into worshiping him over the centuries that that energy has created in itself a ‘Jesus’. And I thought (coming from a non-fundie Christian background myself) that I can really get behind that.

        Perhaps it is important, at least in drawing close to our chosen deities/guides/spirits that we do put energy into our devotional practices and beliefs to create a ‘link’ between us/them. As you say, maybe *they* don’t need it at all, but we certainly may.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. FYI, “theist” just means you acknowledge the existence of a deity or deities. It doesn’t specify how many. (You preface it with things like mono- or poly- to do that.) When you said you didn’t worship any god, I figured you were a nontheist of some variety–my mistake.

        And yes, certainly our efforts (along with the collective efforts of others who may be connecting to the same gods) can create a link even if there was otherwise nothing to link to. That isn’t my own theology, but I can see how it would work!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I expect I mis-worded. No, I definitely believe in different deities existing. Maybe some like to be invited, maybe some are more…muscular, lol. But I do think keeping the connection up must be important.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Varian says:

    I’m slowly getting back into building my practice. I’ve decided to start with small steps, like daily one-card tarot draws (when I have the spoons) and morning coffee offerings, rather than go for Big Major Things right away.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *nods* I’m finding that small steps are harder to make excuses about, and the more small steps I take, the more I want to take bigger steps.

      Liked by 2 people

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