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.