Monday, March 10, 2008

Working with "negative" emotions, living in this body - a beginning

Two bloggers have recently made reference to my post, Heal this, in quite different and interesting contexts. (Why doesn't Blogger have Trackback, anyway? I mean, it's a lovely surprise to find a reference to one of my posts while I'm reading someone else's blog, but it would also be nice if the conversations were tracked for readers.)

Medusa asks with regard to the "Heal this": "Are frustration and anger part of a spiritual path? If so, what are their purposes?" I like that those are the questions that came to her while she was reading what I wrote, because I hadn't formulated them myself, but they're good questions. I mean, the answer has to be "yes," right, because those emotions are inevitably part of this being human. Yet I so often find myself trying to disavow such feelings, trying to cut them off or deny them, and wishing I didn't feel them. I know that healing and change come from acceptance and allowing those feelings to be, but how does one accept the "negative" emotions? What is the practice? And does Wicca have anything at all to say to these questions? Or do we have to turn to Buddhism?

Sia writes about taking care of oneself on the spiritual path in If you're such a Goddess, then why do you treat yourself like s%*t? She talks about the daily struggle to make healthy choices, a struggle I share. As I asked my therapist last week, why am I enchanted by choices that may feel good in the very short term but don't in the longer term? And why do I resist simple things that feel really good, like daily yoga practice?

Most of the cultural discourse around "health" is profoundly alienating to me, grounded as it is in a Protestant work ethic and Judeo-Christian ideas about sin and virtue. As I was saying to a friend recently, I long for new narratives. What would an earth-centered ethics of health and the body look like? There are already some answers out there. I see lots of Pagan bloggers thinking and writing about these things, working out their own ways to live ethically and healthfully. I welcome the discussion, encourage more, and want myself to experiment more with passionate, respectful, earthy, joyous, non-linear, earthwise ways of living in this body, on this land.


Pax said...


I know in my own personal journey one of the most valuable resources I could find for dealling with difficult times came from Budhism. Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart. Excellent book!

As for the way in which a lot of us Pagans seem to talk about health and not act on it. I think a piece of this is that for a lot of Pagans we are more engaged with our faiths, our gods, and our world in a mental and emotional way and in less of a physical way.

Not all Pagans, admitedly, but for a lot of us it seems that there is not much in the way of integrated physical or health related practice beyond meditation.

Maybe we need more ecstatic dance, more meet ups involving walking, more play, more movement?


THE Michael said...

Sin is masochistic self-flagellation for Judeo-Christians. What WE have are decisions and consequences. I am quite comfortable with that.

Pitch313 said...

Doing something active helps us attain a more healthy condition. doing something active on a routine basis helps us integrate and sustain a helthy condition.

It's possible--even recommended--to begin with small steps, a little sopmething active here, a little more there, and build up to bigger, more active steps.

Take advantage of the training effect at your own pace in accord with your own goals.

Sometimes guidance from Deities and other figures may aid us to sustain healthy activities.

My own experience is that regular healthy activities enhance my Neo-Pagan practice.

Scrivener said...

FYI: Blogger does have trackback now. If you go to the dashboard and choose edit layout, then click on the edit button for blog posts, you should be able to check a box for "links to this post."

Inanna said...

D'oh! But it's not called "trackback"! (Silly me.) I still don't quite get how it works, but I'll check in with you about it. Thanks!