I am not immune to doubt

I want to write about this because it’s a realization that I keep realizing all over again, and each time it seems like a revelation while at the same time feeling like a no-brainer. I also want to write about it because even after having been on this path for as long as I have I do keep realizing it all over again. Now, typing “having been on this path for as long as I have” makes me feel like I’m putting on airs, which I’m sincerely not trying to do. But: I’ve been pagan for over two decades, and I’ve been devoted to Poseidon for just about two decades, and I’ve been devoted to Pops for thirteen and I gave marriage vows to Poseidon twelve years ago. So, it’s not a whole long lifetime yet, but it’s also nothing to sneeze at either. These things have shaped the core of my life, and they are part of my every day awareness and engagement with living my life. It’s not nothing.

And still doubt creeps in. Not of Them, not even of Their place in my life, or the shape of my life. Doubt comes in primarily when I read about what other people are doing, what their offering , what shape their lives are taking. I was privy to a written devotion to Poseidon, written by someone else (to keep this suitably vague) similar in idea to writing devotions I’ve done for Him since the very beginning. When I compare and contrast, I never seem to get to count things such as this being one of the constant sorts of devotional acts I’ve performed for/with Him since the beginning. (It’s also never about one-upmanship. It’s not as though I’m tallying the years and deciding I’m better.) The way this other person’s written devotion looks is different than mine, but then that should be a given. Except, in my head, it’s not. In my head, this person is more articulate, better informed, more concerned with things outside of themselves, and so on. I am narrowly focused, self-centered, self-involved, and selfish. All these things — which in and of themselves I think are important characteristics, at least to a point (because we are conditioned to give and give and give, and also to accept what our wants, needs, and interests should be without being encouraged to discover what our wants, needs, and interests actually are) — suddenly are the worst possible examples of introspection, and I’m wretched and horrid, and how do I even call myself His when I’m just so small minded?

Never mind that such thoughts are not a true reflection of the content of my written devotions. Never mind that they run the gamut from formal and articulated to intimate, sloppy, and, at times, incoherent.

This isn’t a contest. No one can give form to the relationship/s you have with the Powers better than you can — it’s your relationship. No one can perform your devotional acts better than you can. It is your heart that must be in them, it is your presence that must be with Them, it is your path. It is your path. Even when it’s sloppy and messy and incoherent. Even when you’d rather drop it all and go. Even when it’s an uphill battle. Even when you feel like your swimming through thick soup.

Comparing ourselves to what others are doing is useful as a tool of reflection and consideration. It’s useful as a source of inspiration.  Once it becomes a weapon set to inflict self-harm it needs to be let go.

And, because it’s so important: the fact that you are however far along your path as you are and that you may be experiencing any form of doubt is normal. Do not add that to the arsenal of self-harm. Let yourself be, let yourself experience the doubt . . . and then keep going.

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8 thoughts on “I am not immune to doubt

  1. I feel the same way. I see other pagans championing for worthy causes, and here I am concerned with my own little sphere of life. I’m not the one stepping up to volunteer or write petitions, but I do what I can here at home. I recycle, I take care of my kitties and the wildlife on my property, I’m mindful of the products I use, etc. But when I start to compare myself to those others that do so much, I feel that I’m not doing enough. And if I compare my relationships with my Gods to the relationships They have with others… I end up feeling quite inadequate. It’s hard sometimes. ❤

    • I remind myself of Therese of Lisieux when I start to tie myself into knots over what my devotion looks like compared to some people who are aiming to do Big Things. I remind myself that my calling is not to serve humans, though if they are served as a by-product of what I’m doing, then great! I remind myself that acting locally is important, even while holding global awareness in ones mind. I find Theresa’s writings to be inspirational and a great reminder that being “small” can be just as fulfilling and valid as being “big”, and that the world needs both.

      But it’s still hard, yes. And I think, it might always be.

  2. It would seem that I’m not the only one dealing with self-doubt right now. I just made a brief post about this on my blog, just last night. I mean, I’m an animist surrounded by devotional polytheists. They never try to make me feel like I am less than they are, but I tend to get that voice in the back of my head saying “Are you *really* doing things right?!?!”

    Thank you for posting this. IT makes me feel that my way is acceptable and valid, too.

  3. Thank you for writing this! It shows a lot of character and humility to be openly honest about yourself and your real or imagined faults or weaknesses. And are they? Are they weaknesses and faults, or just legitimate aspects of our natures that run roughshod over us when they get a chance?
    I really needed to hear this from someone because I’ve been terribly vicious to myself lately. Our self-correcting measures can be just as harmful when unchecked. Selfish rogues and regimented Nazi’s.
    When I get that way Odin can only do so much, then he has to stand at the sidelines watching with sad resignation as I burn myself out on the inner warpath.
    I feel unworthy of Him so I unconsciously alieenate myself from him then wonder why I feel abandoned and alone. But there he is on the sideline still. Just wondering when I’ll let him be part of the process.
    A lot of my self dealt damage comes from comparing myself to others. It must be because before I knew Odin AS Odin, there was no frame of reference to make a comparison; I was just the crazy lady who was oft times possessed of a demon. (Since I carried Christian sentiments and had no frame of reference to make a comparison in that way either.)
    When I suffer my various doubts and fears someone always says something, or an event always occurs to reassure me. 😊
    My ex didn’t want to buy me a dish drainer because he didn’t seem the sense in it since I could lay them on a towel to dry. I felt pretty worthless for not even warranting a five dollar dish drainer. I cried and prayed to Loki and Odin to help straighten out my sense of what makes me valuable. Well that’s a lifetime of work, but two days later a neighbor DID throw out a dish drainer! Score!
    Hail Odin! Hail Loki! Hail to my House Wight! 😀💙

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