Jerks

Some people are just jerks. And we have to accept that.

In our lives, we will come across a multitude of people, some good, some bad, some indifferent. Realising that we have no control over how they behave, we come to the conclusion that the only thing we can control is how we in turn behave towards them. This is the true measure of our integrity.

In Zen philosophy, it’s often stated that everyone is perfect for where they are in their lives. Even if they are being a perfect jerk. What that essentially means is that we have to allow them to be a jerk, because we can’t really change them anyway. A person has to want to change themselves, and no one can do it for them. We might be able to perhaps point a finger in the direction we would wish them to go, hopefully in the direction of being less of a jerk, but in the end it’s up to them to do the walking. And it’s up to us to do the accepting that they may or may not take those steps.

jerkThis is awfully hard to do. Acceptance of the fact that some people are jerks, and that there is nothing we can do about it is tough. We’re so often coming across slogans and maxims such as “you can change the world” but really, all we can do is influence our own lives, work on our own behaviour, and if we’re lucky, some of that will ripple outwards into our community and into the wider stream of being. We can inspire others. But we can’t change other people, much as we would like.

We will come across jerks in our working life, in our home life, in all spheres of living. We will also come across some beautiful people, inspiring human beings that can help us to continue in our own journeys with a self-reflective quality that is not self-centred or self-obsessed. However, we often allow the jerks the most time, living and re-living our experiences with them over and over. We need to stop this cycle and focus on the important things.

It’s not easy, as I’ve said before. I do it, and have to consciously stop myself from doing it. I could have twenty lovely people support me and my work, and then have one work colleague who is a jerk about it. I can let that one person monopolise my thoughts, when they’ve been outnumbered twenty to one in real life. What I really should be doing is not seeking any external validation for the work I do, but hey, we’re all human and a little interaction and validation can go a long way. I suppose there’s a difference between support and validation, but that is another blog topic post!

I’ve had trouble with work colleagues: bullying, incompetence and outright lying just for starters. I’ve done all that I can in those situations that should have been done: reporting the problem, asking for assistance and calling people up on their actions. Some outcomes have been acceptable, some not, others just left unresolved. So what is one to do?  Just leave it? Let them be incompetent? Let them continue lying and deceiving others? Let them be jerks?

Well, yes.

Hard as it may seem, especially to someone who holds concepts of honour and integrity so highly, to allow others to be horrid, awful, wilfully mean or just plain inept is all a part of maintaining my own sanity. I do what I can in each situation, but at the end of the day I’ve done what I can, and it’s not in my hands anymore. Sometimes there will be a resolution that I agree with, but for the most part it won’t be satisfactory in the least.

This radiates outwards in all aspects of life. People will cut you off on the motorway. People will be rude to you down the phone. People will jump in front of you in line. People will take out their own troubles in life while you stand behind the counter wondering what you have done to deserve this. People will talk crap about you. People will say one thing and do another. And the only thing we can control is our own response to these situations.

Will we replay it again and again in our heads, allowing them all that time to make us angry, hurt or depressed? Or will we turn our thoughts to that which nourishes us, strengthens us, makes us want to share the inspiration that we’ve in turn been inspired by in the endless cycle and flow of awen?

The choice is yours. Just like it’s their choice whether to be a jerk or not.

Can we accept that?

 

Please consider contributing/subscribing to this blog to show your support! Click HERE for more details.

Advertisements

What does it mean to be a Druid today?

acornWhat does it mean to be a Druid in this modern day and age?

Being a Druid today does not mean trying to live in the same manner as our Celtic ancestors did in this land. We simply couldn’t – with our technology and changed world, our religion or spirituality must change. We can still follow the intention of our ancestors of blood, of the land or of tradition.  We can honour the land upon which we live, work to live in tune with the natural cycles of life, and live a life that is filled with honour, integrity and truth.  These latter three haven’t changed much over the course of millennia; they are still pretty much the same as they always were. Honour is living with great respect for yourself and for the world, for living a life filled with integrity and truth. Integrity is having the will to stand for what you believe in, even through the darkest nights of the soul.  It is standing strong though buffeted by high winds; it is living your soul truth.  Truth is living in accordance to the natural principle of life; it is finding your place in life and not working out of the bounds that our own bodies and souls are bound to in this life.  It is living in accordance with the natural world.

The Druids of old lived their religion – it wasn’t just a matter for the weekend, or eight times a year during the festivals.  Today we too can truly live our religion, allowing it to imbue our spirit with the inspiration to live a life that is wholly integrated between the spiritual and the mundane – in fact, the Druid would say that there is no separation, whether she be a Druid from the Iron Age or a Druid today. It is living in service, giving back for that which sustains us. We may not have the status of the Druids of old, which could be of benefit or detriment – power can corrupt, even as it can make the world a better place. Druids today show their power in their service and devotion to the natural world – from being a judge in the law courts to an RSPCA animal rescuer.  Our love of nature, whether bestowed by ancient or modern Druids, guides our way of life and our worldview.

The Druids of old were of the Celtic peoples – yet today one can be called a Druid without any Celtic ancestry.  Within Druidry, we honour the ancestors in a triad – ancestors of blood, of land and of tradition.  Where we may lack in one, we may find inspiration and guidance from the other two.  As far as I am aware, I have no Celtic ancestry in my recent heritage, however living in Britain and following teachers on the Druid path fill out two sides of the triad, providing me with balance.  I learn from studying what the Celtic worldview was like, from politics and culture, art and history, archaeology and more.  This fills in the last gap, which, all things considered, even those people who can claim Celtic descent should fully investigate. For those of Celtic descent living in other places of the world, their blood and tradition help to balance out their work with the spirits of a new land, and so on.

I do not try to reconstruct what the ancients did – that would not make sense in the modern world.  I understand things that the ancestors did not about nature – equally they understood things that I never could.  I use my knowledge, which is ever growing, to help me adapt my religion to better harmonise and be in balance with the world.  I use the Celtic worldview, as stated above, to guide me to live in accordance with the time and space of the here and now.

Druidry is all about relationship, whether ancient or modern.  While the ancient Druids may have tried to placate the gods with offerings or sacrifice, modern Druids may appear to do the same, but not for quite the same reasons.  We can never truly know the reasons why the ancients did what they did, as they did not write it down.  However, today we may offer daily gifts of thanks to the spirits of place in order to establish a relationship with them, to better understand and to show our gratitude. In relationship there is give and take – we seek the balance in all things.  We may howl at the wind in an attempt to understand why we are standing in the rain, soaked to our underwear, and receive the most blessed inspiration in doing so. We may just get wet.

Ancient Druids were the educated class, from what we can gather from the historical accounts by others about Druidry.  Today, Druids seek to sacrifice ignorance and to learn all that we can about our place in the world.  A Druid might be inspired to heal with herbs, and learn all that he can about that path. Another might be a poet or author, and use words to convey the awen bestowed by the gods, the ancestors and the land. Yet another might be a park ranger, working to protect wildlife – the possibilities are endless.  What links them all is in the continuous learning – we can never know everything about anything.  Druids are constantly learning. Even teachers and priests in the community are always learning, and never afraid to do so, for to do otherwise is simply allowing pride and passivity to come in the way of our relationship with the world.

It goes without saying that all Druids have a love and affinity with nature.  This love guides us in all that we do; it is our inspiration, our awen.  To be a Druid today is to live in accordance with nature, honouring nature in all that we do, with dedication and devotion, in service to the land, our gods and the community. In that, it is not so different from what we believe the ancients did!

Reblog : Standing on the knife’s edge of the equinox

Here is a reblog of my post on the SageWoman’s channel at Witches and Pagans… http://www.witchesandpagans.com/SageWoman-Blogs/the-knife-edge-of-the-equinox.html

Now we are diving deep into the cool waters of the West, into autumn’s light.  The equinox is just around the corner, and the new moon of September passed.  This year we will be blessed by a nearly full moon over the equinox, which is at 21:44 on Sunday, 22 September (where I live in the UK).  The tipping point is near, the balance will shift, and we will enter into the fading times of restful thought, of dreaming in the dark.

This is a pivotal point of the year.  Relishing in that special moment, when day and night are equal, we can ride that wave of energy, humming with all that we bring to it, the sacredness of the time and place in which we celebrate.  Standing at the edge, looking over the horizon for a moment, maybe two; we breathe deeply before we fall forward into our lives once again, with its cycles and spirals.

As we plunge into the depths of the dark half of the year, what will we bring with us along the journey?  Now is the time to think about what it is that we wish to carry forward, and what it is that we wish to leave behind.  It is a time to think about honour, integrity, loyalty, courage and wisdom.  It is a time to look at our actions, at our lives, and see in what way we can live in a more truthful way to our own wild natures, yet still moving within the compass of compassion and awareness.

Are you living your ethical code?  Are you in tune with your moral ideal? If not, now is the time to address that.  Looking over the year, our lives, generations upon generations of souls, we see what seeds have been planted, and which are most beneficial for all.  We carefully collect these seeds, to carry them with us through the dark months, to plant again next year.  We hone our sense of ethics, we look deeply into the meaning of honour.  What actions have we made that have been dishonourable? What will we do to ensure that this does not happen again? How can we live in tune with our ideals, and support our community, our planet, and our universe?

I know I am breathing deeply of late, with prayers into the growing dusk and spending time reflecting upon what has been, what requires change.  For me, autumn is a time of reflection, the light upon the water. And as I stand on the knife’s edge, I hold close to my heart my inspiration, my awen, and laughing I will fall forward into the cool darkness of winter, knowing that the cycle continues.