Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ordeal vs. Ecstasy

Despite my many years of working with our world, other worlds and other people, I am still learning and growing myself. It would be a darn shame if I wasn't, for the highest thing we are called to do is "Know thyself" And thyself, that slippery little concept, changes rather regularly.
I started my journey in this life from an ordeal space. Trials to overcome and work through include but are not limited to; mental, emotional and physical abuse, abandonment, rape, depression, paranoia, heartbreak and despair.
I'm much better now :)

A colleague of mine is doing a wonderful thing. He's taking a mental health inventory of all the land mines and razor wire that lie buried in his psyche.
He's embarked on an ordeal that will make him a better person. And I am very proud of him.
At the same time, I am obscenely grateful that I am not in that space now.
Mind you, I still go through periods where I get complacent and the universe has to clue by four me with hideous amounts of pain. Or where I take things for granted and the universe then proceeds to yank those things out from under me.

But the ordeal is not my current primary mode of learning.
It doesn't have to hurt to be meaningful.
That may seem like a no-brainer to most people. To me, it was an epiphany, a revelation so
fundamental to my self and my practice that it stole my breath.

I am at this point in my life surrounded by hedonists. My beloved is a hedonist, many of my friends are hedonists and a whole new world has opened up to me.
For ecstasy is their goal.

Not ecstasy that is from a loss of will or consciousness, but rather a deepening of the awareness of the spiritual in all things, in sex, in food, in joy, in avoiding pain.
It has illuminated a deep conflict in myself. I work with ecstastic trance with my shamanistic techniques, to travel to other worlds, to retrieve parts of people that they have lost or left, to see the web of Wyrd as it surrounds us, permeates us, ties us together to the gods, to wights and beings and to one another. But that was the only place where that kind of letting go, feeling deep joy was permissible.
If it felt good, it couldn't possibly be meaningful.
Yet now I am surrounded by people that can reach that deep joy regularly.
That make everyday life ecstatic and in touch with the spiritual through simply
making a fantastic meal.
Or having fun sex.

It is an interesting and illuminating experience for me, an experience that made me really look at my definitions of joy and laziness, pain and ecstasy.

So I wish my friend well as he journeys on the ordeal path.
And dance with joy as I journey on mine.

As always, your mileage on your journey will most certainly vary.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you. I'm surrounded by ordeal workers among my friends and housemates, but I don't do ordeal work myself. I understand some of the reasons why it works for them, but I'm actually pretty grateful that it isn't something I have to do, too. And I don't feel that I am less capable of reaching ecstatic levels of spiritual enlightenment or connection with deity just because pain isn't a tool I need or want to use.

    So I'm the one who makes tasty snacks and dishes for people to eat after they come in from having done their ordeals ;)