If you're familiar with my blog you might have noticed that there is a category called "little pagan life" and might have heard me mention my religion every once in a while. I don't write about spirituality very often, partly because I'm not sure how to write about it and not make it sound kitchy or esoteric, partly because it is not a predominant topic I write about, and partly because I don't want to make anybody feel like I'm pushing my beliefs on them.
So, dear reader, whatever background you have, note that the following text talks about my very personal spirituality and religion. I don't claim for it to be the only truth, nor would I ever want to challenge anybody elses beliefs.
For everyone who doesn't really know where to file "pagan": I believe in Gods and Godesses, I pray to Father sky and Mother Earth, I talk with the spirits that are in everything we see and don't see and I believe that the energy that the whole world is made out of is holy and part of the godly matter, just like you and me.
The story that leads up to this Wednesday in November 2011 begins about two years back, in the summer of 2009. That was the summer when I quit my job and traveled for half a year. I spent most of 2010 working different short-time jobs and then took another half year of in early 2011 to pursue my dream of illustrating children's books.
I think it was somewhere between different journeys in that first summer that I realised that this is the time you always dream about when you are younger. I had finished school, finished studying, I was all grown up and independent. This was the time where I could start doin whatever I wanted.
This realisation started to really depress me, because it seemed like I wasn't passionate enough about anything I tried to really make it feel like I was living a dream. I liked traveling, but it made me homesick and I realised that it could never be the sole content of my life. But when I was working, I felt itchy to get moving again. I couldn't see myself fulfilled by my job as a kindergarten teacher, even when I took a nature education course that I felt very inspired by.
Then I plunged into illustration. I loved making art the main focus of my life at home (and sneaking in a lot of traveling). But I felt guilty about not being professional enough, not working hard enough, not progressing fast enough... I felt insecure if I really wanted to put so much energy into something I couldn't really see myself making a living out of very soon.
Everything in my life that I like I liked - but I was not driven by it.
|I like painting|
I yearned for a purpose, for the feeling of doing the right thing. Whenever I looked at my life I had the feeling that I would look back when I was older and think "Was that really all there is?"
But what more could I do? The more goals I set myself the more stressed and depressed I got. If I took it easy the feeling of guilt would come back.
I just didn't know what to do! I felt so empty and confused and unfocused, no matter what I did.
In the course of this year I realised more and more that I would not be able to solve this problem with my waking mind. I started praying more and more intensely, begging the Gods to give me a sign, a clue, something that would ease my mind.
Be careful what you wish for for your wish might be granted...
On this Wednesday, I went out for a walk. This is what I wrote in my journal afterwards. It might sound a bit unctuous, but it is as close to the experience as I can get.
As I am walking, I know that the world is beautiful. The sun is shining from a clear blue sky, lighting up the grass and bare trees next to the footpath and caressing my face. Looking at the mountaintops makes me feel as if I was standing at the side of a giant river, looking up at the shapes of the pebbles looming over me, glistening in all their water-washed glory.
I see the beauty and I like it, but my soul is not connected with it. It circles in its own universe of doubts and thoughts; plans, desires, fears race through my mind.
|I needed a big, neon sign|
I had prayed for guidance, for relief, for a sign, anything, for a long long time. I was not even sure if my prayers were heard, for the more desperately I was looking for a solution with my rational mind the further I felt I drifted away from the peaceful center of my mind and the more disconnected I became with my spirituality.
I have prayed, nonetheless. I have lit candles, whispered prayers before going to sleep, wished for help as hard as I could. I had cried and I had given up on it, only to start all over again.
On this afteroon, as I am walking through the beauty without feeling it in my soul, the Gods decide to reach out for me.
There are no rainbows, no flashes of lights, no beating wings, but I know that what I am receiving at this moment is an epiphany. I could not even try to describe which angle of my consciousness is shifting or what thoughts I have at this moment, when the whole world, nature and all its forces and spirits, when Gaia raises to embrace me.
At this moment, I feel the purpose of my life – of life – as clearly as if it had been laid out in front of me, just for me. It is no thought, no words in my head, nothing that I have worked out in my mind that wells up inside me. It is the feeling, the sense of the ultimate, the purpose, and it is inscribed in every single one of my cells. Clouds of mist are snatched away from the outer layers of my soul and revealing what my self has known from the moment it came to being.
I look up at the mountain, and I see. I look at the river and I hear. I run over the grass and I feel. I smile at the sun and the trees. Seconds later, a deep, never ending feeling of gratitude wells up inside me and I am in tears. Then it strikes me again how lucky I am and how everything is alright now. I chuckle and start to sing along with the music I'm listening to until I can't hold myself together anymore and laugh out loud, skipping along the path. I have been touched by the Godess, by her grace and love. I am not lost. I am secure in her hands and life is so simple and beautiful before my eyes, like the most perfect crystal that has ever been found. I wipe my face because I'm crying again.
Ok, I swear by my glowing soul that there is no word of exaggeration in this last paragraph (not in the whole text actually...), this is really how it happened and a couple of bicyclists must have had a very peculiar experience...
And what is it now, the meaning of life, the ultimate truth, the thing that made me act like a freaking fool on abright Wednesday afternoon? I'll tell you, but I warn you: It sounds simple, it is simple, and you can read it as many times as you want, if you don't feel it, if it doesn't hit you in the face with your very own personal epiphany, it will only be a bunch of pretty words.
The purpose of life is to be yourself. To contribute with everything that you have, with your happiness. Make art, make love, smile, do yourself good, broaden your mind. Be the source of unconditional love for the universe. You don't have to force yourself to do anything that does not bring you joy, if it isn't for an ultimate purpose of joy. Bring joy into the life of others. Freely and to your own heart's delight. You cannot force the world to change, but you can be the change in the world, the jewel that is picked up by whoever is meant to find it and be touched by it. Trust in Her to guide you so that you will touch the right beings at the right time.
This is the big thing that happened to me last week. You see, nothing that really shows on the outside... but on the inside... I'm still so shaken and feeling so blessed and grateful and just at ease... Everything I have done since this day has been filled with love and smiles and has felt like the fulfillment of my very personal task in life.
Also, there have been a couple more things that added up on top of this. But this post is already leeeengthy and I will talk about it tomorrow.
If you've made it this far: Thank you!! It feels so good to be able to spill this because I'm so excited about it!