It’s interesting how every time I stop working on a project for a while for any reason, whether I was forced to take a break or lost interest for a bit, I feel intensely guilty about it. Which causes anxiety and then I continue avoiding it for quite some time. Possibly to drop it and pretend it never happened in the first place. I’ve rebooted this blog in a couple forms, and every time I’ve deleted all previous posts and am having to rather strongly restrain myself from doing so this time. I’m trying to let myself be ok with the discomfort, with the visibility of my lack of consistency and struggle to keep a routine. It’s truly uncomfortable though. One of those inane but impossible to drop thoughts that circles your brain while you try to fall asleep, keeping you awake with the needless anxiety it causes. I know the best way to try and come to terms with this is to tackle it head on, to try and talk myself out of worrying so excessively about it. But the simple knowledge of that has kept me from working on the blog post after the first few sentences for days now. Which is odd- usually posts like this I bang out in a half our or so. But avoidance of the uncomfortable is my main coping mechanism, and it is so easy to slip into its grasp. Consider me posting this now, with all the evidence of months of no posts, an exercise in acceptance. Acceptance of the uncomfortable, and acceptance of my own imperfections.
I’ve actually been trying to break the cycle of intense interest poured into something only to drop it forever with another project of mine. See, I’ve always been at least an agnostic. The latter half of my life, atheist. But I find myself yearning for some sort of ritual in my life. Something that grounds me, that makes me feel connected to the world around me, that affirms my thoughts on being a part of nature and the whole world around me. So I started doing some research. I thought perhaps witchcraft or other sorts of paganism would give me, if not some of the exact things I was looking for, then perhaps inspiration for what felt right. I’ve read a number of books at this point, with very much a frame of mind of taking what makes sense to me or feels good and discarding the rest. I don’t really believe in supernatural but I want to do things that feel respectful of the world around me and ground and connect me to the world. When I get lost in depression or anxiety, it often feels like I’m heading from every reminder of the world at large around me. Perhaps if I can piece together some sort of ritual for myself to connect me, I can remind myself to look outside the myopic vision depression and anxiety produce.
But it’s something I’ve only been able to research in small gulps, entirely unlike how I usually tackle research projects. And it’s been good practice as well, for trying to make a project more manageable and figure out how to keep a more prolonged interest in something. I think I’ve completed most of the reading I want to do at this point, though of course that may change later as I try things and see what feels good and what just feels wonky no matter what. I’ve settled on initially trying out things that are herb based – not because I think there are any really inherent properties to the herbs themselves. But because I do think smells and tastes and the savoring of those things can evoke feelings and frames of mind within yourself (rather than invoking some power within it, or invoking some supernatural power). I have a whole mess of teas coming in a few days. The first few weeks will simply be trying each of these and savoring the smell and taste. And deciding how each makes me feel as I savor them. Notes to be taken for future reference, of course. I hope to do this each evening outside (though living in the midwest of the usa, that may not always be possible). What I’m hoping to build here is a notebook of how these things make me feel as I consume them, and then in the future I can look at those and decide how I would like to feel and try to use the tea in that manner. Eventually I want to expand it into candles or incense as well, and then try combining things to evoke more complex feelings and states of mind. But this is what the start of creating some ritualism for me is going to look like. Savoring some tea outdoors, without any electronics, for a period of time each evening to try and quiet my mind and remind myself that I belong in the world around me. Meditation would be a truly noble goal, but I haven’t had much luck with that at this point in my life, so I will simple start with just listening to the world around me and smelling and tasting. And we’ll build from there. So I hope.