Within any area of life, family, work and spirituality there are expectations. Some of them will be the expectations others have or seem to have of you, some of them will be expectations you have of yourself.
Recently I have hit something of a wall in my path of Druidry and indeed as a Pagan. That wall seems to block my path in every direction I turn and it’s made of the expectations I have placed on myself in the past and those I perceive, rightly or wrongly, others have placed upon me. Built into that wall over and over again are the words and concepts of service and commitment. I’ve only just been able to step back enough to be able to recognise the nature of the wall I am facing never mind find a way through, over or under it.
Rightly or wrongly I place a great deal of weight on my ability to make commitments to serve the wider Pagan and Druid community. Some of that weight has come from my perceptions of expectations in the wider pagan community that people should make a commitment to their path, should dedicate themselves to service in some way. Some of that weight has come from me judging myself against what I used to be able to do, the ways in which I could serve then and can not now.
Here’s a couple of the more memorable blog posts and a link to a web page I have read in the recent past that have both added to my wall and yet also allowed me to gain enough clarity to see what is building my wall.
There’s also been discussions about service and commitment on facebook groups and other places.
Today after reading this post on historical validation by my partner I realised that at some stage I replaced historical validation of my path with a need for validation through service and commitment. And that’s where feedback comes in. I, like most of us, judge myself on the feedback I receive either directly or indirectly about my service and commitment. My perception of the feedback I am currently receiving is that I somehow need to do more, that I am somehow less worthy of the title of Druid because I can not give more. This perception is strong enough that it forms a significant part of the reason why I no longer refer to myself as a Druid but as someone walking in the forest of Druidry.
I have made and fulfilled a number of commitments as a Pagan and Druid in the past. Some of them came to natural ends, others I stepped back from because of changes in my life. My perception of myself is that somehow I should be able to do more again but I can’t. I may want to do more but to even make the attempt to do so would almost certainly lead to letting people down and not being able to carry out tasks. This is the nature of my life as it is now. Somehow though I feel something of a failure, somehow less a Druid, less a Pagan because I can not make those commitments to service in the wider Druid and Pagan communities that I used to. The indirect feedback I am picking up out of all sorts of places is that I should do more and because that is what I am picking up I feel lessened and at a loss to know how to move forwards.
I don’t have the answers to all of this at the moment. I can’t see my way past this wall but I can now see what the wall is made up of. I can recognise that it is partly of my own building in the expectations I have of myself and in the feedback I am listening to the most.