Thursday, August 16, 2012

transforming and evolving constructively

I've been thinking a lot about patterns and habits lately. And while this isn't the best photo of the page, here is  a recent creation inspired by the idea of transforming our habits constructively.

I know that I wrote recently on the idea of this constant desire to be more and do more at the expense of today, so this page might seem to contradict it. In actuality though, I think it's part of the evolution of that post because it was part of me contemplating that idea.

This is one of the things I love about art journaling. You know, when you look back a little and realize that the pages you've created can actually trace the process you're working through, albeit sometimes unconsciously.

I don't know, I'm in a period of transition and evaluation. But then again, when are we not in a period of transition? The only thing that is constant is change, right?

That said, I've been back on my pagan path and doing the work for almost 2 years now, and I see how things are shifting. I see how my friendships have evolved and grown or become more distant. I mentioned the other day to my covenmates that I see them more than I see most of my friends. That's not a bad thing, but it has at times been a challenging thing when it comes to long term friendships which have sometimes taken a lesser role in my day to day life.

This is not to say that those friends are less important to me. I hold them very dear to my heart. It's just that sometimes our oldest friendships have patterns that end up being shifted by all the spiritual work I'm doing. Sometimes I find it hard to have conversations with friends who aren't on the same path or place in life (and this is not always a pagan spirituality thing, sometimes it is a married and settled vs single and partying thing).

As a result, I've found that I've struggled a lot with trying to bridge the gap and claim my evolving identity under the auspices of old friendships that expect a certain side of me.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a coven thing. Nor is it strictly a pagan thing. It's a growing up thing mostly, but tinged by the added feature of my practices.

The risk in it all is that I don't want to get sanctimonious. I don't want to think things like, "oh, well my meditation makes me more in touch or evolved." Or things like "well I'm settled and content and they're still searching and not ready." Because let's face it, that's just bullshit and the minute we begin thinking like that, we've fallen into the ego trap! But how do you learn to weather those times when you're just in such different spaces than your friends?

It seems to me that some friendships seem to weather these moments of transition better than others. Some need time apart, and some you just have to struggle through it and have faith that it'll get better, while appreciating those moments of connection that still happen in the midst of it all.

But I digress...

I originally started this post wanted to talk about this habit that I'm currently working on finding a way to deal with more positively than just the "rip off the bandaid method".

See, I am a helper and I'm generous and accommodating. I will come pick you up and I will bake the birthday cake. Just because it's the nice thing to do. But then I get cranky when all of a sudden what was just an act of kindness has suddenly become an expectation. And one that is grossly taken for granted.

And then I tend to react, rather harshly. As in, I will avoid your birthday or go out of my way to not drive anyone, ever, until I've calmed down.

Obviously I just need to deal with it head on and be honest about my feelings. I know this. But how do you go about changing the patterns you've already created in your friendships without being a total bitch? Or without being passive aggressive?

I hate hurting people or making things uncomfortable. But now that I recognize the pattern very thoroughly, I'm trying to figure out the best way of going about changing it and the expectations I've created by not being more direct.

On a spiritual level, I want to manifest a world around myself that nurtures kindness and thoughtfulness. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt and I want to believe that people will rise to the occasion and do their part. In reality though, I seem to create situations that end up leaving me feeling resentful or at a loss as to how to resolve things constructively. In reality it is far too often the case that a small group does the work for a larger group who doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that they aren't carrying their share.

From friends who have me driving an hour of my way because they've placed me in a situation where I can't say no without leaving them stranded, to friends who talk and talk about themselves in the time they have and then give me 2 minutes to talk about my life in return, these days, I'm feeling the burn and I'm not always sure what the best solutions are.


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