Being Pagan in a 'Mundane' World
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Article ID: 3633
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,121
Times Read: 5,839
Posted: September 21st. 2001
Times Viewed: 5,839
For me, the question of how to be a Pagan in a mundane world is really a question of mindset. I have a great deal of control over this. I may not easily be able to control the details of the day or the month or the year, but I definitely have control over how I see them, respond to them, and integrate them into my life.
Needless to say, this is not always as simple as it sounds. It is, however, possible with some work and practice.
There are several things I think necessary for me to keep the right mindset: a job that I feel inspired by on an ongoing basis, reminders of the possiblilites of the universe, interactions with others that delight me, and support of those things which bring me joy, in the hope that the people who create them will continue to be able to do so.
The first, obviously, is the trickiest to achieve, but for me, probably the most meaningful in being able to do the others. I need to earn money to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head. The trick is finding a way to do that that is also inspirational to me.
In my case, that is finding a job where my knowledge and interest can help other people learn and explore new subjects. I've had this in two jobs out of three I've held so far. The first was working with my alma mater's web development team, and the second is my current job as a library paraprofessional. The last is not great pay, but the rest of it is greatand that's why I'm working on my Master's degree, so that I can do even more of the parts I like most.
It's a lot better than when I was doing technical support, and the most help I got to be was explaining to people how to use the programs (human resources consulting related) the company produced. It just wasn't fundamental enough to delight those places in me that needed to be regularly delighted by my work. After nine months there, I felt burned out, perpetually stressed, and worn down by the work, and had no energy to enjoy anything else.
Now, though, I love finding just the right book for someone to read. I love explaining how to find something, how to find information, so that the light goes on in their eyes. I love interacting with people who want to learn something for the sheer sake of learning. I delight in reading through the new books that come in, finding out what each one talks about.
It's an odd vocation, but not that uncommon. Finding that vocation and pursuing it wholeheartedly has been the biggest help in remembering the magical - because I see it every day, and encourage it in others as much as I can.
My next step is to keep books, art, music, and other creative arts that remind me of the magical in my daily life. I read fantasy and other speculative fiction novels. I listen to music that talks about fantastical and magical things, whether that is traditional ballads or modern artists such as Heather Alexander or explicitly Pagan musicians. My bedroom wall is decorated with pages cut from the collection of Sandman graphic novel covers, as is the wall above my altar. A stuffed dragon sits on my bookshelf. A set of pottery Satyr horns hangs on my car rearview mirror, regular reminder of the magical in my life.
But all of those physical objects could sit there all they wanted - and it wouldn't mean a thing without the right mindset. That, I have to go looking for.
In my case, I make a regular effort both to court the magicaland not dwell on the blatantly mundane.
As an example, I do watch the news (in the morning, to get the traffic and weather reports) but I generally listen to National Public Radio in the car, where the content is about half news, and about half fascinating tidbits about the world. That also lets me feel informed about the world without feeling too overwhelmed by it. If the news is really stressful (like during the endless post-election coverage last November and December), I just listen to it briefly, and stick in a CD.
The next part is interactions with those people who delight me. Again, this is a two sided coin.
I no longer tolerate people in my life who persistently make my life miserable, or make me doubt myself. I instead focus my time and attention on people who respect and support me and my choices, and what's important to me. That doesn't mean I don't spend time being supportivejust that my support goes to people who appreciate that I am doing so, and whose company I generally enjoy, rather than to people who don't appreciate it, or where every conversation ends up in a tangle of miscommunciation.
Another part of spending time with people is making time to do the simple things - have a good meal, go to a good movie, go ride the carousel at a local park. Simply doing things people enjoy doing is something that reminds me of the magical in my life.
There's also something magical in the sheer love and affection I get from my close friends and partners. Or even something as simple as the affection of my cat. Coming home to that, even after a stressful day or a horrible commute can quickly turn my mood around, and remind me of things forgotten in the stress of the day. I find having a ready-to-purr cat really helps reset my mindset when needed. Before I had a cat, I often used a specific book, or music, or taking a a short walking somewhere quiet and serene as a way to get myself back into a better mood.
The final step is in some way the most rewarding, and the best way to keep the things that keep me believing in magic alive. This is where I support people - both those close to me and authors, musicians and artists. I now focus my spending on authors who take obvious delight in their work, and who keep producing things that come from their hearts. I've been doing this on a commercial for perhaps six months now, and I've found that it both makes a difference in what I buy - and is giving me a richer and more deeply satisfying daily life.
The above steps still require my deliberately setting aside the mundane and looking for the magical - but they make it a great deal easier to do that. Setting up regular reminders for myselfin what I read, what I listen to, how I conduct my daymakes it much harder to slip into a daily grind where everything is just a cycle of get up, stagger to work, stagger home, go to bed.
It doesn't always work, but when I slip into that mindless routine, I taake a few days to just do what feels right for me, and refocus on things that bring me pleasure (as opposed to trudging from obligation to obligation) and that usually helps me regain my perspective.
Location: Arlington, Massachusetts
Author's Profile: To learn more about Jenett - Click HERE
Bio: Jenett Silver is looking forward to her 26th birthday on the fall equinox, and to her next year as a formal Dedicant. She's also looking forward to getting married, finishing her Master's degree in Library and Information Science, and spending even more time with things that bring joy to her heart. She can be reached at email@example.com. Other writings of hers are available at http://gleewood.org/writings
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