Separation Anxiety... or Growth?
Article ID: 11360
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,629
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Author: Kestryl Angell
Posted: February 11th. 2007
Times Viewed: 2,554
I read, hear and counsel often people who are in flux in their spiritual lives. They seek something they don’t have in the path they have followed to that point.
Whether that is inner peace, a stronger sense of self or of connection to Deity, whether it is wanting to leave behind concepts and practices that seem hypocritical to them or they simply did not “feel right” in their former path, whether it left them with extreme anger and bitterness or merely an apathy of spirit, they seek something else.
Many struggle with several facets of this experience. The change of it, the leaving behind of common concepts such as familial acceptability, social acceptability, the ease of being “mainstream” in some way in favor of something that is decidedly not so is one that they can struggle with in mild to chaotic ways.
Yet it all boils down to one thing…. change and growth is happening in them and they do not have the tools in that moment to deal with it appropriately. They have been taught, to one degree or another to fear change, while still trying to settle a spirit that innately craves it.
We seek roots, but long for flow. We seek foundations, traditions, history, a place to be from…yet we long for the future that is unknown, mutable and in some cases, highly surprising.
We want the warmth and security of clan, family, community, partnership…yet we want the freedom to be individuals with such voracity that some remain alone on one level or another or many through lifetimes simply for the “right” to be an individual. If they only took a moment to see it slightly differently, they would realize they do not have to strive in loneliness to achieve it for it already exists inside them, right in the palm of their own hand.
Why must we make it such an “all or nothing” experience? Why must we drive ourselves into separation anxiety from things we may have held dear for all the previous years of our lives? Why must we cause ourselves all kinds of stress instead of simply realizing that we can choose to accept the change as just that, a change and simply embrace it and our past and move forward more fulfilled?
So many I help through these struggles seem to feel that they must leave behind one path to embrace another. They feel that they must totally stop believing and behaving in the way they did prior to their separation from their old path, as it no longer gives them comfort.
The key to their peace is quite simple really and often eludes them until they are given outside “permission” to take it with them and grow beyond its previously set boundaries in their mind, heart and spirit.
When one leaves, say for the sake of argument, Christianity, for Paganism…does it mean the Christian God and principles for good living are totally wrong? No, it doesn’t.
When you leave the Christian practices because of the behavior of those who live in hypocrisy in the guise of faith, does that mean that all of Christianity automatically becomes incorrect because people disillusioned you? No, it doesn’t.
If you are a Buddhist, say perhaps once even a Nun or Priest, and yet your Path, your Spirit, guided you past this office to be more, does that mean that suddenly you are no longer Clergy, Teacher, Counselor and Guide to others? No, it doesn’t.
In all these cases and so many others, what is truly occurring is that you—as a unique, amazing and wonderful part of the Universe—are growing. It means you have outgrown, for whatever reason, your previous belief’s shell and are ready to encompass more.
There is no requirement of growth to leave behind all that you once found comfort, solace and support within from those old ways. There is no requirement for you to STOP finding beauty, joy and harmony in their music or their practices.
There is no requirement for you to leave anything other than the parts of that previous path that no longer work for you and find new pieces to fill the holes left behind when you do so.
If we are truly to be wise followers of our faith, we must be willing to find the seeds of truth in every path, worldwide. Only in this way will the human race eventually find that they are not required NOT to say, do or believe one thing or another—but simply must accept that others may or may not do likewise—and that’s ok.
If you came from a Christian path and became a Pagan, yet still have traditions from your childhood Christmas celebrations that comfort you, DO THEM! Pass them on as family traditions with Joy and give those you pass them to the frame of reference to understand and choose for themselves their own path one day. Just remember to do the same with your Yule celebrations and traditions.
Explain them ALL, not just one or the other. Heck, make a point of including a new one from somewhere else in the world on an annual basis! It can be part of your own special holiday fun! Future generations should have the right to decide just as you fought for in your own life.
If you come from another path and find yourself drawn to different one, take the one you had with you and find how the new pieces fit together. The puzzle is merely a more complete picture of your inner map, your inner workings and how Deity speaks to you personally. It is not a paint-by-numbers that is “ruined” if you do not find yourself born, living and dying in the same faith path.
It is a masterpiece that only you and the Universe can create as time goes by and must be far more like a garden than is never quite finished—there is always room for one more rose to bloom. It is your LIFE!
So when change finds you, whether it is that niggling sense of something not quite being right in your spirit or a screaming requirement for immediate and total directional change in your spiritual life, do not fear. You are still being guided and you are still being shown wisdom and goodness. You are still being shown the Path of your Life and ways to become something better—if only you are brave enough to find them.
Let change become a joyous adventure instead of a shadow-thick dread. Let it be a part of the flow of Nature through your life and person, making you a reflective microcosmic picture of the Universe itself—always growing, always becoming something more than the sum of its parts.
Embrace the changes and don’t work so hard at shunning utterly the past that brought you here. Like the ancestors you’ve never met, it is still worthy of thanks and gratitude for it brought you to become who you are becoming—so, it can’t be all bad!
Remember, you create your own reality.
So, what will yours be?
Location: Columbia, Missouri
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