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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Anxiety on Practice?  (Read 318 times)

Nymree

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Anxiety on Practice?
« on: October 07, 2017, 09:46:16 am »
Hi there, I have to say off the bat that I'm prone to perfectionism, anxiousness and sometimes obsessiveness in a way that can be restrictive. So everything I say here is within that psychological context.

I've been calling myself a Pagan for almost two years now, and recently Druidry felt right to me. I'm a literature student at university so basically any reading other than what has been assigned to me is a no-go, including my own spiritual learning because I'm constantly mentally exhausted by the studied texts. That being said, if things get any easier and I can bare to look at a book by next week, I might start allocating an hour of Druidry study each week for something to keep me going.

Ultimately though, it kind of feels like something is pushing me to get my practical hat on and start depending more on action in my spirituality. At least, right now practice over study seems the most practical and realist way to pursue my path.

However, I'm genuinely so nervous about practicing - even meditating by a tree or trying to connect with deity. This is because I'm afraid I'll get things wrong - without much study or a mentor to back me up - and I just won't have the energy to get myself out of any trouble. This is honestly more anxiousness, but I know if something went spiritually downhill I just wouldn't have the time to make it right.

So I'm caught in this place between two years of experience and that intuitional nudge to practice - especially in terms of connecting to nature - while not wanting to mess up a meditation, somehow screw up a communication if I meet a spiritual entity within that natural setting, or just do things wrong.

A big problem here is the transitional state of my path right now - I know I have to get things grounded again, learn under that path and set myself up a bit. But again, I'm already overwhelmed by my studies, and I sometimes don't feel like a "good enough" or "real" Pagan because, quite frankly, I just can't seem to practice without a lot of trouble mentally. Which is so frustrating, because I want to so badly!

Sorry if that was a bit rambly, it just stems a lot from that combination of anxiousness and frustration, making it an emotional problem as much as one of practicality.

I'd be grateful for any contributions on this subject, thanks for your time in reading this!

Blessed Be,

 Nymree

Waldhexe

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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 10:26:04 am »
Hi,

since you mention your interest in druidry and feeling anxious...it reminds me of a little book by Caitlín Matthews with daily prayers and meditations, which helped me in a time I was anxious. It's called "Celtic Devotional". I felt really well guided by it, it didn't take much time and I even used it in the train to work.

Nymree

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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2017, 02:17:06 pm »
a little book by Caitlín Matthews with daily prayers and meditations, which helped me in a time I was anxious. It's called "Celtic Devotional".

Thanks for the heads up, it sounds good and I'll definitely look into it for some point. May I ask, did it focus primarily on Celtic religious practice or deities? Or rather, would I be able to adapt it to a different set of religious beliefs, and still find the material useful, do you think?
Thanks for the response :)
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 02:23:07 pm by Nymree »

Eastling

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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2017, 04:52:25 pm »
Ultimately though, it kind of feels like something is pushing me to get my practical hat on and start depending more on action in my spirituality. At least, right now practice over study seems the most practical and realist way to pursue my path.

However, I'm genuinely so nervous about practicing - even meditating by a tree or trying to connect with deity. This is because I'm afraid I'll get things wrong - without much study or a mentor to back me up - and I just won't have the energy to get myself out of any trouble. This is honestly more anxiousness, but I know if something went spiritually downhill I just wouldn't have the time to make it right.

You have my sympathies. My own practice has little to do with druidry, but I know the feel of being too mentally tired to focus on "proper research," and not sure where to begin.

My advice would be to pick one or two simple meditations or rituals--for example, go out, touch a nice-looking tree, and spend a few minutes visualizing yourself thanking the tree for being there and helping improve your environment. Then do those activities on a regular basis. You may find yourself with more energy to do the research you need as you continue.

Of course, that doesn't address your problem of being anxious about "messing it up"--to that I'd say that I've found it pretty hard to make irrevocable, damaging mistakes in my own eclectic, bootstrapped practice. Yes, sometimes I've done a thing that hasn't wound up having much of an effect, and I've stopped doing it afterwards, but that's a natural part of developing a practice. The gods or Powers don't expect humans to never make mistakes. That would be silly.

You might want to just start by reading some simple online FAQs (I think there are a few in the Cauldron library?) to get some basic ritual ideas, rather than worrying about dense how-to texts that sap your brain to read.
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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2017, 06:29:34 pm »

However, I'm genuinely so nervous about practicing - even meditating by a tree or trying to connect with deity. This is because I'm afraid I'll get things wrong - without much study or a mentor to back me up - and I just won't have the energy to get myself out of any trouble. This is honestly more anxiousness, but I know if something went spiritually downhill I just wouldn't have the time to make it right.

So I'm caught in this place between two years of experience and that intuitional nudge to practice - especially in terms of connecting to nature - while not wanting to mess up a meditation, somehow screw up a communication if I meet a spiritual entity within that natural setting, or just do things wrong.

A big problem here is the transitional state of my path right now - I know I have to get things grounded again, learn under that path and set myself up a bit. But again, I'm already overwhelmed by my studies, and I sometimes don't feel like a "good enough" or "real" Pagan because, quite frankly, I just can't seem to practice without a lot of trouble mentally. Which is so frustrating, because I want to so badly!



No matter how much study you do you'll still mess up. I don't know anyone who hasn't and I still do fairly regularly! Unless you are pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone you will never progress much.

As Eastling says the gods/universe/whatever know we are human and expect us to get it wrong. In my early blunderings about I made plenty of mistakes but none had any serious consequences. Mostly nothing happened.

I'd find myself a nice tree that feels friendly, sit underneath it and see where that takes you.

astra

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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2017, 08:29:08 pm »
Hi there, I have to say off the bat that I'm prone to perfectionism, anxiousness and sometimes obsessiveness in a way that can be restrictive. So everything I say here is within that psychological context............

One thing that I treasure about being an eclectic pagan is that I can decide which ritual practices are right for me. It's freeing to be less dogmatic, not worry about doctrine, and not being compelled to follow "rules".

Sometimes you have to decide that you're going to truly let your inner voice guide you - and not dwell on getting it "right". 

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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 09:19:06 pm »
So I'm caught in this place between two years of experience and that intuitional nudge to practice - especially in terms of connecting to nature - while not wanting to mess up a meditation, somehow screw up a communication if I meet a spiritual entity within that natural setting, or just do things wrong.

When I've worked with people who are nervous about this, there are two kinds of things that can help.

One is to find some practices that are really hard to get wrong.

For example,
Find a spot you can get to regularly and go there on a regular basis that allows you to see changing seasons. This could be a tree, it could be a small pond or park on campus or near where you live, it could be a favourite view of your area. The key is to make sure it's easy to get to in all kinds of weather you're likely to get.

Go there, pause for a couple of minutes (literally: 1-5) and look around, on a regular basis. Look at what is the same as last time, what is different, how that might be tied to seasonal changes, or changes in the immediate environment. Maybe pick up trash if there is some.

This will probably not get you intense experiences, but it's a great way to build a connection to the natural world near where you live. If something happens and you can't keep up with it, pick up when you can, or pick a different location.

The other thing that can sometimes help with this kind of thing is to look at a specific practice, and then figure out what kinds of things might go unexpected, and what you can do about that.

So, let's take your list:

Not wanting to mess up a meditation

- What does it mean to you to mess up a meditation?
- What does it mean for it to go well?
- What happens if you try very simple, non-religious mindfulness meditations for short periods of time?
- What happens if you try longer ones?
- What happens if you try one where you clear your mind (or focus on something very simple, like your breath or counting breaths)
- What happens if you try one of those for longer?

Once you've done some exploring of those things, you can then contemplate trying more complex, spiritually focused ones.

Meeting an entity or being
Again, what kinds of things could go wrong?

- Are you the kind of person who's pretty polite to everyone? Or do you worry about that with people?

- If you worry about it with people, what coping skills do you have for that? (some people read etiquette books, other people read advice columns for scripts, some people watch movies to see how people interact: many of the same approaches can be worked through over time with entities.)

- Can you come up with a polite "Thank you, I hope you have a good day" script if you meet an entity that is polite, but doesn't commit you to anything? (This is the kind of thing where talking it through with people, like on this forum, might help.)

- And then, yes, not actively going and doing things that make you more likely to meet an entity (like, y'know, doing a meditation where that's a goal) until you feel more ready for that, and for where you might want that to go.
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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2017, 03:44:39 am »
Thanks for the heads up, it sounds good and I'll definitely look into it for some point. May I ask, did it focus primarily on Celtic religious practice or deities? Or rather, would I be able to adapt it to a different set of religious beliefs, and still find the material useful, do you think?
Thanks for the response :)
It doesn't focus on a specific belief system. It's a meditation/prayer book with celtic imaginery which could be used by pagans or christians or other religions. She uses wordings like "holy Ones" etc. where you can think of deities or of saints according to your religion. She uses the wheel of the year and there are different sets of prayers and meditations for each week day and the four seasons.

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Re: Anxiety on Practice?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2017, 08:05:52 am »
Hi there

Thanks for all of the replies everyone, I'm really grateful for all the support and responses this post has received. I'd reply to everyone individually but I feel like everything said here is really good advice and I'll follow up on a lot that's been said here - I've looked into the book and it looks perfect, and I'll be exploring more of the green areas on campus to see where I might find some nice spots.

Genuinely thank you everyone - I'm grateful for everything said here.

Blessed Be,

 Nymree

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