Finding my Path Again

March 6, 2015 at 11:24 pm 7 comments

As Paganicon approaches, I find myself re-evaluating my (rather dormant!) spiritual path. I think for the past year, with the depression, it’s kind of like I’ve been wandering through the mists and need to find the path again, only to find it rather hidden and overgrown. I need to do some weeding, replace broken pavement stones and such. Being a caretaker of an old house, these home maintenance analogies come very easily to mind!

My main focus has had to be managing the depression, becoming active and involved with my communities in a sustainable manner that helps me get away from sitting at home alone stewing in my thoughts. One aspect of that has been becoming a Director of the Bisexual Organizing Project, a way to give myself a job (even if unpaid) with responsibilities that helps me develop my self-confidence and skills. The next step is to psych myself up enough to start looking for work again. I don’t have a specific idea of what I want to do, mainly Please Not Customer Service!!! Or at least not certain types. This time I would like to network with other people with disabilities- particularly learning disabilities/autism/developmental disabilities, and perhaps their family members and so forth.

Anyway, I am ignoring spiritual approaches that others do that don’t seem helpful to my situation (the Put the Gods first type stuff) and looking for ones that do seem helpful. I am looking for spiritual practices that might help me build up my confidence, reduce my anxieties, and re-direct negative though patterns in positive directions. I am not sure if I believe in magic, but if I’m not mistaken there are magical techniques that are more about changing how you think than changing the world around you. Without being totally, The Secret and the power of positive thinking can totally solve your problems!!!

I am also trying to back away from more intense and extreme versions of activism and social justice stuff. I’ve noticed that I feel good about going to meetings and doing things in person, but online discussions have a tendency to get really negative and depressing, so I am avoiding or at least being more selective about participating in them. In particular, climate change/Big Environmental Problems OMG!! are things I avoid, which is difficult because it’s also a big thing at Unity Unitarian. I have sat through at least two sermons about environmental destruction one of which listed in detail all the types of species that were endangered or going extinct that made me cry. It was like, yes I get it, humanity has messed up, and all this bad stuff is happening, but there wasn’t much space in the sermon for redemption, and oh here’s something small and manageable that you can actually do. It just fills you with despair, not a desire to be active. There’s also a lot of elitist baggage involved which is really alienating to someone who doesn’t have much money.

The other political area that I have to get away from for sanity reasons is the anti-capitalism and anarchism. I am not an anarchist, but I hang out with some of them online, and they can be cool people with whom I agree with some things. But a lot of the stuff they write I have to avoid, it’s like drinking a giant depression dose. I am skeptical of capitalism in many ways, and I realize it has a lot of problems but I kind of need to set that aside and well believe in it enough to go find a job, keep it etc. It seems like we’ve gone to the opposite extreme of Keeping Up with the Joneses, to a contest of who can intentionally live the simplest life on the least amount of money, involving the least amount of working for “The Man” and feeling morally superior to people who have regular jobs. When I signed up to be Pagan, that didn’t mean signing up to be poor. Wanting a decent job does not automatically make me Scrooge. I feel like we can’t have real discussions about these things because there is too much political division. Well that was long enough. More on the path development thing another day!

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Entry filed under: Autism/Asperger's, Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities, Ethics. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. brentblonigan  |  March 8, 2015 at 5:06 am

    Well, my political leanings are certainly very libertarian and very close to anarchist. I think we, as individuals, are sovereign and independent beings. That we are unique and special. Simple is best. The involvement of government in the affairs of many is probably not healthy.

    As far as depression or mental health is concerned, I have not seen much in the form of lobbying. We sure have plenty of lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry. We, New Zealand and America, are the only countries that allow advertising on the part of pharmaceutical companies directly the consumer. Of course, we are all infatuated with immediate gratification or the quick fix, one wonders about a lot of things. Are we all addicted. I think the society is addicted. But we do not want to go there for gosh sake.

    Reply
  • 2. Michaela Darjeeling  |  March 8, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Good luck on your path; I am sure you will find the way, or the way will find you 🙂 That said, have you looked into Taoism? It’s not really a religion, more like a way of life…and I find it to be very gentle and strict at the same time, ie it helps me keep my shit together 😀

    Good luck with the job search as well! I am in a similar situation, and I am also in a similar situation regards having to limit my exposure to certain movements or communities and etc. – I am becoming so exhausted and over-burdened by *the world*, I can’t even anymore. Sometimes I want to know nothing and just live my life without constant thinking about the environmental, ethical, societal, … consequences of whatever I do, but it seems there is no way back anymore.

    Anyhow, big hugs! Things will get better (or so I hope)!

    Reply
    • 3. caelesti  |  March 8, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      Thank you for the encouragement. Are there any specific resources you’d recommend about Taoism? It’s tricky with a lot of Eastern philosophies, due to their popularity in the West, there’s a lot of watered down New Agey stuff, and I’d like to avoid that.

      Reply
      • 4. Michaela Darjeeling  |  March 9, 2015 at 12:14 am

        My pleasure 🙂 My favorite is a website called DailyTao.org that gives a daily chapter that I can ponder on… And then there is this website which I find really good: http://personaltao.com/teachings/ + I found this blog just recently http://taotechingdaily.com/ and the author writes a lot about Tao as well, and essays to each chapter of the book. Hope some of it will help you somewhat 🙂 That Personal Tao is great even if you are a 0% taoist, the teachings are profound and compassionate.

  • 5. caelesti  |  March 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    I’m not a fan of the government micromanaging everything either, but a lot of people including myself, need help from the gov’t. (Healthcare in my case) I don’t like encouraging dependence, but going to the other extreme of hyper-individualism is very cruel and isolating. I didn’t say anything about lobbying and mental health, though there are groups like NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) that advocate for better policies. Didn’t know that was also the case with NZ and Big Pharma. This country is ruled by the corporations (which are legally people that have “free speech rights” and other nonsense…

    Reply
  • 6. Léithin Cluan  |  March 20, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    How did it go, the networking with disabled people at the con? I’ve been thinking how much we need a Paganism and Disability (or Pagans Against (Dis)Ableism) type group or at least campaigning website. It’s something I’d like to see, though I’m not sure where to start creating it.

    Reply
  • 7. caelesti  |  March 20, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I just kind of yakked with people in general, but disability stuff did come up in various conversations (eg. discussing recovering from depression) I am doing a workshop on neurodiversity & bisexuality at BOP’s conference, and thinking about a workshop for next Paganicon about incorporating disability into one’s spiritual practice & theology. Very much along the lines of the integration stuff you were talking about in one of your recent posts.

    Reply

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