Short Life Update

Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.

– Rikki Rogers

I apologize for my long absence. Life has gotten in the way of many things for me. During this time I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my spirituality. Personally, I have found that a lot of things have come into perspective for me. I feel that I have grown up a great deal in the past few months. More recently I have decided to dedicate myself to a whole food plant-based diet as well as am aiming to live more sustainably. I feel very strongly that this is part of how I shall live as a Druid. This is how I choose to honor the spirits.

I have begun to go outside more and plan on being more involved in and with nature. Gardening, hiking, walking along nature trails, camping, etc. are just some of the ways that I plan on being involved with the spirits. A lot of Druidry is about experiential learning–by getting your hands dirty. That is not to say that there isn’t great wisdom that can be gleaned from the written word, however much more can be gotten from the soil, the trees, the rivers and streams, and animals if we just take time and listen to what they have to say.

The new moon has just passed and I set my intentions for the coming days. I also wrote a list of behaviors that I wish to let go of as well. It felt good being able to set my intentions during that time. I’m still very much a beginner on my path, and I am grateful for every experience that I can get to improve along the way.

I think I shall begin to ask a question at the end of my posts from now on. So, for week’s question, which has two parts: What is a challenge that you personally faced on your spiritual path and how did overcome it?

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Spiritual Practice and Mental Health

The end of last year and the beginning of this year have been extremely hard for me in terms of mental health. I will not get into everything as much of it is deeply personal and I would rather that be kept private, however, I did experience some traumatic events in my life and it has completely destroyed the budding spiritual practice that I was beginning, which is, needless to say, frustrating. With that beginning of university, it has been hard to find time again to do my daily meditation. My depression has taken my energy and wit the recent traumatic event, I have been struggling just to get my work done.

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The event is still relevant in my life as I just recently had to deal with the police about it. My once semi-routine of meditation was cut off by a lot of things and I am planning on using that again to heal. I am also planning on doing garden work and crafting as well. There is a lot of healing that can be done in working with one’s hands. Whether it be cleaning, baking, cooking, knitting, sewing, gardening or any other kind of handiwork, working with one’s hands can help one process distressing life events. It has helped me in the past, especially during periods where my depression was at its worst. It also helped me when I was providing my younger sister with support with her mental health.

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New Year, Fresh Start!

Happy New Year! So much has happened in 2017. It feels like it is still December. I feel like I’ve changed a great deal over the past year. I’ve decided to explore my spirituality again and focus on my mental health as well. I started going to a support group and took up a job at a preschool during the summer. I’m so happy that I began really looking into my spirituality and mental health. I’ve learned so much about myself during the few months that I began seriously doing self-exploration.

I realized that I am an animist and panentheist Druid. I realized that I still have so much left to do in terms of self-love, self-worth, etc. I realized how much I was either dwelling on the past or obsessing over the future, which led to both depression and anxiety. That is why, when I composed my list of resolutions that I decided to choose things that would allow spiritual, emotional and physical growth.

Breathe.

So often I forget to do something that is so basic. Breathing is the most basic human action and yet it is overlooked so much. It’s automatic so I take it for granted. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to take time to focus on my breathing. That could be anytime or place. I just want to be able to center myself.

Live in the present.

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I would like to give some context on what it means to me. How will this look like in action in my life? I will, instead of thinking about other things, appreciate things in the moment. I will engage myself with the environment around me. Activities on campus, crafting clubs and events that go on nearby, and anything that comes my way that I want to try, I want to take advantage of those things. This also means paying attention to the natural world, which is really just saying the world around me.

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Animism and Panentheism: How I see deity

It’s been a long journey for me to figure out just who I am spiritually. I realized that I do not see deity as being any set pantheon of god and goddess. I knew a long time that I did not believe in the Christian god. I simply did not feel anything, even when I tried. Later on, as a tried to find who I was, nothing seemed to work. I stumbled upon the pantheism, which means that a person sees everything as a having a spark of divinity. That divinity is all a part of one spiritual source. They do not see deity as being a literal god or goddess or a literal pantheon of gods and goddesses.

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Idols of Lord Ganesha

I knew that I was not a pantheist, but that opened my eyes to something that I didn’t realize before. I do not see deity as being a literal god, goddess or pantheon of gods and goddesses. I see deity from the perspective of an animist and a panentheist. As an animist, I see deity as being individual spirits that dwell in everything. That is not just exclusive to things in the forest like trees and flowers and non-human animals. I see deity as being present in humans, towns, buildings, the elements, stuffed animals, rocks, music boxes. Everything has spiritual energy in it. In addition to this, I believe, from a panentheist’s perspective that, while everything has an individual spirit, it is all connected. It is like people–we are all individual’s but we are also all connected in some way. I do not believe that we are one being. I believe that part of us comes from one source that connects us all.

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Nosce te Ipsum

We are often asked the question, “Who are you?” The usual answer to this question is our name. My name is Shalvia. However, there is so much more to this question that what people think. Who a person is consists of more than just his or her name. A person’s identity consists of likes, dislikes, family, strongly held beliefs, hope and fears, gender, sexuality, political views, and so much more. Then there is the phrase, “Nosce te Ipsum” which, in English, means “know thyself”. This phrase extends to every aspect of our lives. This phrase has been very important to me recently.

I have been neglecting my spiritual path for a little while. A while ago I was doing some thinking about it, but recently I have begun seriously thinking about it. Druidry, since the time that I have begun exploring different spiritual paths, has always popped up. It feels right to me. I sense that the path is calling me in a way. I was raised in a Christian household. Ever since I was little before I could understand why I knew that Christianity was not the path for me.

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