For a long time, I’ve tried to live by the mantra of “everything is the same.” Which isn’t to say, interchangeable.
I do think that the successes I’ve had in one area of my life can be investigated to look for paths to success in other areas, however. That’s what the mantra is supposed to mean: succeeding here sets me up to succeed there, no matter how disparate the two things might be.
Of course I’m bringing this back around to my blogging and, more generally, my spiritual life. I got busy. But, just as I can tell when I don’t run (I haven’t been doing that, either) because I snap at my kids more, I’ve found that I can tell when I neglect my spiritual practice because I’m more generally dissatisfied.
But, running and my spiritual practice aren’t similar only in that they contribute to my well-being, they’re similar (I hope), in that the strategies I’ve found to make running a part of my life may well help with my spirituality.
First, it’s not a luxury. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that meditating, devotions, taking omens were all things that I did when ‘I have time.’ It’s not how I think about eating, or, for that matter, about running. It’s an important part of my life, and I have to get it done.
Second, success begets success. Keeping to a running schedule for a week makes the next week easier to do. When you hit a month, it’s easier to get the next month in. I need to get a spiritual schedule that’s just as easy to stick to, so that the successes can pile up.
Lastly, it’s a part of my identity. I don’t think that anybody who knows me at all well doesn’t know that I run. Not that I talk about it all the time, but I do talk about it. “I noticed this while I was out running” or “I only know that area from running, I’ve never had to park there” or, most frequently, “I had this idea while I was running.” I don’t talk about my paganism. My wife knows, my kids know I like stories about ‘the gods’ (I tell Bible stories as well as Greek Mythology), and a few close friends and siblings know. But, even though they know, I don’t brag about sticking to a schedule of meditation the way I brag about running. (“Guess who has two thumbs and got three meditations in this week? … “This guy!”)
That last part is a tricky one. Partly, because it seems like a funny thing to ‘brag’ about, but why wouldn’t I talk about the minor successes in my life? Also, I know from being on the other side of it, that people don’t always want you talking about your spiritual life because it can come off as being evangelizing. Or ‘holier-than-thou.’ (Bragging about running — when you have my figure — just means you’re going to talk about how much you eat, next). Finally, I’m not big on defending pagan beliefs to atheists or, worse, hyper-Christian family members. It’s a fine line.
However, I think that the more I’m a secret pagan, the more my practice will suffer.