It hasn’t been a bad week, exactly. I wrapped up one songwriting class and started two new classes – another songwriting class and a guitar class that is already kicking my ass. I’ve been a little bit sick, but mostly in the typical-for-the-season sniffly way that is more a mild annoyance than anything. My debit card number was stolen, but the bank caught it right away, so even that wasn’t as terrible as it could have been.
I’m just…exhausted. I’m having stress dreams about work, which is absolutely a reflection of how I’ve been feeling at work every day. I’m swinging into a manic phase, which usually means more energy, but this time around is mostly resulting in restless nights and anxious days and me feeling like I’m running on empty.
So I’m trying to do little things to cheer myself up. Yesterday, I got a (much-needed, way overdue) haircut after work, which improved my mood immensely. I’ve been trying to remember, when I feel overwhelmed, to stop and do the little meditative visualization that made up the practical part of the druidry lesson that I’m on this week, and that does help. I started rereading (from the beginning) a web comic I’ve been enjoying for years. I’ve been listening to Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel on my lunch breaks and some of my commute. I’ve had Ben Wallace’s new album on heavy rotation in my daily soundtrack, occasionally switched up with a Bach cello suite.
And all of these things are helping. I’m okay, really, just tired and sometimes more on edge than I’d like to be. I have plenty of resources at my disposal, plenty of healthy ways to make myself feel more settled. I just need to remember to use them.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. Four years ago, I went to an Ash Wednesday service at the church I was attending in Minnesota, and it sparked some interesting thoughts, which I wrote about at my old blog, here. Looking back, I think that service and the thoughts that followed marked a pretty major turning point in my spiritual journey. It was the moment when I realized that I no longer needed to believe in a higher power for my life to feel like it had meaning, that I was far more concerned with living my life well and leaving the world a little better for my presence than I was about any sort of afterlife.
Remember that dust you are, and to dust you will return. I sort of feel, as I ponder these words while finding myself called to a more earth-centered spiritual path, like I’m coming full-circle, returning to familiar words and rituals with new eyes. We are born of the earth, we return to the earth…we should treat the earth well during the time in between. And beyond that, the idea that we’re all made of the same stuff. Yesterday, I registered for the correspondence course from The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids in an effort to lend more structure to my exploration of earth-centered spirituality. I have found lately that while I have no interest in returning to organized religion, I’ve been missing spiritual practice. I’ve slowly been trying to integrate some spiritual practice back into my life, but I tend to do better with things like that when I have some sort of externally-imposed structure. This course feels like it strikes the right balance: structure, but no dogma.
I’m excited to see where this year takes me. It’s a fight, sometimes, to remain present in the present moment and not to obsess over the future, but I think if I can do it, there will be a lot to learn along the way.