My mother is gone, and our family has yet to recover. There were some great bonding moments between my father and I, yet even those have faded into the gray clouds she left behind. My sister went further down the spiral, now living in a halfway house. She makes progress from time to time, but brings it all down after a series of drinks. My brother remains stagnant in the family home with my father. He’s a self-professed professional online troll, and maker of poop and fart animations. My father has immersed himself in house projects to fill the void, while spending time with the kids and I whenever he’s able. I’m certain he doesn’t approve of my life choices and my partner, but that remains in the background when we spend time together.
I’ve done my best over the past couple years to bring us together and take family vacations at the beach. Yet it seemed with each trip, my sister’s resentment at not being included ensured that some catastrophe would occur while we’re away. Combining that with the complaints I fielded from everyone on the trip, having to plan and map out everything, and the stress and anxiety of going back out into society in general, it had become a thankless and daunting task.
Over the course of the past two years, I’ve managed to purchase a home and began to make it our own. I sold off some old IRA’s through COVID related programs to reduce the penalties and taxes. This was enough for a downpayment as well as some investments for future expenses. The market hasn’t really been working in my favor in that respect, but overall I haven’t lost anything, and the house value has already increased significantly. Financially things are shaky, given my partner’s lack of steady income, but I’ve received some raises and I’ve begun tightening the belt a bit to crack down on spending. Overall, I have nothing to complain about and we have done fairly well for ourselves considering how things are going for the majority of the nation during this recovery period.
The house backs up to some woods maintained by the county as a mountain bike park. There are numerous trails around some ponds, with animal and plant life abound. I began making offerings to the spirits of these lands, and have formed a sort of symbiotic relationship with it. I have been cleaning up the trash I find as I walk along and care for the area, and it has been a cathartic experience wandering through these woods. I take my stress and worries with me as I make my way out, and I leave them ground into the dirt when I leave. There are certainly physical benefits as well to the walks. I did a bit of mountain bike riding out there for a spell, but my knees haven’t been agreeing with it, so I stick to walks now. God, I sound like such an old man now, but I suppose I’m transitioning or evolving into middle age, so it’s par for the course. Spiritually speaking, we felt the house was dead. We’ve been doing our best to wake it up, but something about the previous owner has left a void of depression here. I think we’ve made progress, filling the house with the love and growth that we’ve made along the way, and the kids certainly liven up the place while they’re here. Some of that void I’m sure was from my mother’s passing, so perhaps I’m projecting a bit there, but my partner has felt the same. One thing is for sure. I’ve grown in my levels of discernment, not believing everything I think or feel, nor everything someone else has to say. I take the combination of the two and make a reasonable determination.
My partner and I continue to grow together. We have our moments, and our relationship, like my life, always seems up in the air. We care deeply for each other and do our best to help each other grow, along with staying out of each other’s way when needed. I’m certain that the majority of the struggles are my own, not knowing what I want or where I want to go, but we’ve created a stable and sane life together despite it all. She has been open and willing to compromise while I deal with my own personal issues relating to my sexuality, my grief over all that’s been lost, and my confusion as I begin to pick up all the pieces. We have both grown so much over the past few years. The people we were are dead and buried, and I believe we’ve done well in comforting each other through the birthing and growing pains of who we are to become.
I’ve made great strides in weathering my grief and making progress forward. I started with Jungian therapy, but the lack of insurance coverage made that impossible financially speaking. So I just floated for a bit, not really making any progress aside from my standard meditations, monthly tarot readings, and continuing to buy books that I never read or work through. I kept looking for answers, but forgot about my greatest lesson thus far. All the answers I’m looking for are within. Nobody can give it to me, and nobody can do it for me. There is no magic book, no group, no singular ritual, no nothing, that can give me the answers I’m seeking. I had to get back to work.
I started hitting a few more recovery meetings and getting myself back into public. It’s been slow-going, but I’ve made progress and found a decent group I’ve been trying to get to every other week when the kids aren’t here. I’m not where I want to be there, but I’m making progress. I need to build another network, I’ve signed up for service meetings going into the county jail, and I’m in the beginnings of making some new friends. I’ve also begun mending the lines of communication with old friends, which hopefully will bear fruit as we move into summer time activities. I also started attending group functions with a local oasis of magical practitioners. I’ve met with them a few times, and I’m hopefully on track for initiation this year. I don’t know what to expect from that, as I know that my own personal practice is where I’ll make the most progress, but it’s a start in a new direction that will hopefully bring about some good changes personally and socially.
More recently, I began therapy with a licensed therapist who also happens to be a part of the national body I’ll be joining. It was important to find someone who was a for-real therapist, who wouldn’t be turned off by spiritual ideas. I mean, telling them I’m talking to the spirits of nature and feeling things touching me at night doesn’t usually go over well in psychological circles. We’ve been working through cognitive behavioral therapy, and he’s provided some suggestions for me to move forward. I’ve seen some marked progress, and we’ve even begun discussing some of my spiritual goals. All this has moved me towards further progress and motivation to continue on the path of return.
I signed up for a Bachelor’s program in Religious Studies last year, and am taking one class a semester since it’s paid for by my job. The coursework has been difficult with everything else I’ve got going on, but it’s been an impetus to get me working on things again, and I’m seeing how I get more done in my off-time now, because I’m so used to having to get things done for class. I don’t know how long I’ll continue, but I felt it was a waste not to capitalize on free college education. Right now I have to get through the bullshit prerequisites, but I did enjoy a world religions course where I learned how very little I know about all religions.
Numerous other developments have taken place over the course of the past two years, including a move into the world of the outdoors, hiking, camping and the like. Combining that with my passion for photography on my phone, I decided to purchase a used full-frame camera and made a move into the overwhelmingly large world of landscape and nature photography. I’ve been making purchases and moves to have some great adventures into the outdoors, and have done my best in learning how to capture those moments and share them with the world. My latest move was to trade my Subaru WRX in for an Outback. I’m officially driving a Papa wagon now. Thing is, it’s also a Wilderness version, with capabilities for off-road trips driving on the beach, in the mountains, or wherever. I won’t be doing any rock crawls, but being able to drive onto the outerbanks of North Carolina, sleep in the car, and take photos of the sunrise, sunset and nighttime stars will be an awesome experience. I will also have plenty of room for taking the kids and my partner along for other adventures. I’ve also begun building up a small travel trailer for our bikes, gear, maybe purchasing some kayaks, and all that. I’ve already taken some awesome hikes into the nearby mountains and state parks, and it has been inspirational for me to see what I’m capable of. My communications with nature and the possibilities it has opened up have been life altering.
There has also been some recent progress in my magical practices. I began doing some pathworkings on the Kabbalistic tree of life some time ago, but that fell by the wayside as I dipped into some depression and anxiety. I’ve been slowly making my way out of that pit in the past month or so. I researched, wrote, recorded and prepared for the next path, and will do my final pass on that pathworking this evening. I plan to move onto the next path soon, which I believe will hold some significant amounts of change and progress for me. I can’t say for sure that I’ve seen any discernible results from the work, but I seem to get a great deal of insight from writing them. I get the same from all of my writings. They seem to be a form of spiritual inspiration for me, where I begin writing, not knowing where I’m going with it, and at the end there is some bit of intuition or an epiphany that helps me when I need it most. So I will continue writing these pathworkings, doing the meditations, and see what the future holds in store for me as a result. I also intend to do more Jungian type creative writing and automatic writing in trance to see what comes of it. Perhaps I’ll begin sharing some of these, after redacting my own personal bits from them, if anyone holds an interest.
I think that pretty well covers it. There have been numerous other personal travails, successes and insights, but I’ve been doing my best to share those along the way in my musings, artwork and photography. My spiritual life is not a theory, I have to live it every day.
To Be Continued …