Can I make a difference?

There’s been a number of things happening in the world recently that have left me feeling overwhelmed and helpless.  I’m pretty sure I won’t be alone in those feelings. I’ve asked in a Facebook group what I can do to balance staying informed and feeling overwhelmed and wanting to hide.  I’ve asked what I can realistically do to help with some of these situations.  The advice I’ve had has been geared towards staying informed and speaking up.

Does it really make a difference for me to say I do not support racism?  Does it make a difference for me to say I support equality of genders, sexuality, ages? I’m just one woman, can I really make a difference?

And I pause…

I look at my words written clearly on this screen and begin to wonder when and how I came to doubt myself so much.  I wonder at when and how I came to doubt that each a single voice matters.

And I think…

On Saturday I went to my first PRIDE march.  I was one of thousands there.  Did my being there really make a difference?  I remind myself that yes, I really did make a difference.  I helped a group from the Scottish Pagan Federation take part in Glasgow PRIDE for the first time.  I also helped my parents take part in the march on a bus run by LBGT Age. I made a difference. Just me.

SPF at Glasgpw PRIDE 2017
Scottish Pagan Federation at Glasgow PRIDE 2017

Recently, I have been finding it very difficult to know when and where I can truly make a difference.  I’ve been feeling confused and helpless.  Writing this post is reminding me that I can make a difference sometimes.

One person really can make a difference. I can make a difference.  I do make a difference!

(Try say that last paragraph aloud and mean it.)

I know live a sheltered and pretty privileged life compared to many.  I don’t usually witness direct racism or homophobia or anything like that in my life except though the media. Sometimes there are media stories that I find so horrible that I want to shut them out, ignore them.  I must not do that! I do not want to bury my head in the sand when others are suffering.  I may not be able to do much to help or to support but I can keep trying to do what I can. Even if only stating clearly where I stand on many of these issues.  Making it clear to my family, my friends and any random individual that happens to read this page that:

I stand with millions of individuals and many organisations in condemning racism and all forms of racial abuse.

I stand with millions of individuals and many organisations in condemning all forms of hatred and abuse based on someone’s sexuality.

I stand with millions of individuals and many organisations in condemning all forms of hatred and abuse based on someone’s gender.

I stand with millions of individuals and many organisations in condemning all forms of hatred and abuse based on someone’s disability.

I stand with millions of individuals and many organisations in condemning all forms of hatred and abuse based on someone’s age.

I will do my best to challenge any abusive behaviours I personally witness and recognise in all areas of my life.

One person really can make a difference. I can make a difference.  I do make a difference!

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Healing Needs

Over the years I’ve felt the need to do something of a healing nature.  There have also been times I’ve needed some healing support myself.  Most of the time what I have done has been as an individual. I’ve prayed; dedicated and lit candles; developed and carried out healing spells; chanted and sung; sent out distance healing using Reiki; visited people in hospital and given healing in the form of Reiki and similar types of spiritual healing; and I’ve asked for some of these for myself from people I know that also do forms of spiritual healing.

I have a whiteboard hung on the wall by my shrine to those deities I have special relationships with and on it are the names of people I know of that have asked for healing either directly or via a trusted loved one.

I’m not medically trained.  I’m not trained in one of the many and varied healing  and associated professions  and I’ve never been called to do that sort of vital work.  What I can offer, what I do, can not replace good medical care and expertise.  What I offer is something that can support the heart and soul, something that helps with feeling loved, feeling cared for and supported all of which aids physical healing.

Recently though, I have felt the need to do more.

One aspect of doing more is to take on the role of healthcare chaplaincy coordinator with the Scottish Pagan Federation.  The basics of this role is to ensure NHS trusts in Scotland know where to come to if they wish for Pagan information and support.  Another is to provide a visiting service to any Pagan who is in hospital and would like a Pagan visitor.  I can’t do all of this myself by any means but there are volunteers across the country who will do what they can to support Pagans who find themselves in hospital.

The reality of our current society is that much of the longer term healthcare takes place in the home and community.  Now many Pagans will have some form of Pagan community they can turn to for support at these times, that might be an online community or a moot they attend when well enough but there are many that for all sorts of reasons will not have that support.  Part of the role I have with the Scottish Pagan Federation is to try and provide some support for Pagans in Scotland that find themselves isolated and in need due to their health, physical or mental.  Being able to support people though does rely on someone letting the Scottish Pagan Federation (via their contact form) or myself know that there is someone in need support and that’s not always easy in itself as often we don’t like to ask for support for ourselves even when we need it.

But I felt I needed to do something more.  I felt pushed, prodded, urged to set up some form of virtual healing group.  I bounced my ideas of a few others, some of whom are, or have been, involved in other healing groups.  I wanted something which was open to those of any type of Pagan and Heathen path to join.  I wanted something that didn’t restrict how healing was done or sent, other than it would be virtual.  I wanted something that had a central hub that requests to join and requests for healing went through.  And I wanted something that had the potential to grow.

I think in the Pagan Healing Circle that I have set up, I have planted the seeds.  It’s young yet but already I have close to a dozen individuals who have joined me in this circle.  Healing is being sent out for a couple of individuals already and I hope that as word spreads others will ask for healing too.

Healing requests come to me on a dedicated email address.  I then send them out to the rest of the circle and make a note of what date they are sent round.  The plan is that requests stay active for a month unless we get follow-up requests or feedback of some kind asking us to keep sending.  A minimum of a first name and what the healing is for is asked for, I don’t circulate the whole email I receive, just the request itself.  This is to preserve as much privacy as possible while still providing support and healing.

If you want to know more about this healing circle, would like to join or wish to make a healing request please do email me on paganhealingcircle@gmail.com.

Oh and we’ll happily accept healing requests for beloved animal companions too.

Image thanks to Awen Photos

First Principles

The words of another seeker encouraged me to look at what principles are the most important to me. I had to do some thinking to figure this out but essentially there are three things that have guided me for much if not all of my life. These are Love, Truth and Duty.

The most important one of these for me is Love. If I was to use one statement to illustrate what I mean by this I would turn to the new testament of the Bible and borrow the phrase “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.

Truth is something I seek and try to live by. I do not mean just telling the truth as I see it but walking my talk – or at least trying to – in all I do. To me Truth can be a multi faceted gem, we see maybe one or two faces of it clearly but some is obscured and some reflected. My truth is not necessarily the complete truth or the only truth but in seeking to walk in truth I hope to learn more of others and for others to learn more of me.

Duty is another difficult thing to explain. By duty I do not mean to do my duty as others see it but to do my duty as I see it. To serve to the best of my ability those that I have chosen to serve. To balance my duty to myself with the duties I have chosen to take on for others. Duty and service are closely entwined for me.

These are the principles that I believe have guided me all my life and are likely to continue to guide me in the future.