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Your Spirituality is a Sword

Sometimes, life doesn’t go the way you wanted it to. I feel like the Universe has been beating this into my head a lot lately. It might even be to the point that if things did go my way, I wouldn’t know what to do. One of my goals this year was to keep my blog honest about my life and experience. I don’t like presenting myself as some sort of all-powerful, wise guru or leader- I’m just a normal person (ok, normal is subjective…) with stories and insights that I hope help you along your own spiritual journey. As a spiritual companion, I believe in the power of sharing journey, and I want my blog to reflect that.

Art piece- myself as kintsugi

I had hoped 2023 would be more gentle for me this year, but it is not turning out that way. This month, my health took a turn for the not so great, life altering change has to happen, potentially life threatening if I don’t change this course. Hi, My name is Sionainn, and I’m a priestess of The Morrigan. Battles are the norm, it seems. There is a whole lot I’d love to say about all of this- but there’s not enough time and I lack the energy. What I will say, before moving on, is take care of your health. Visit doctors (and that might mean battle, since finding a good doctor, one that listens is an important part of this healthcare self-care thing.) Don’t ignore signs of issues.

I didn’t ignore my signs, but I was sadly in the process of changing doctors- the one I was with was not in a good system, where I felt more number and inconvenience to my provider. I wasn’t listened to, my issues shrugged off- particularly those of an AFAB nature. So after covid, when I wasn’t feeling right even two months later, and having my appointment canceled once again by the provider, I decided to make the switch. This did postpone my care a little, but now it’s all underway. And it’s not the best news in the world, but it could be a lot worse.

Tower Card
It's Tower time.

For me, it’s Tower time. And I’m not the type of person who handles changes and transitions very well. I’m very much the kind of person that needs security on as many levels as possible. It’s a trauma-based response, from a time when my life was not safe, and survival was not guaranteed. Not everyone is the same, there are some people who actually respond to this sort of thing with grace and power, and I envy them more than a little. I’m not going to say I’m not doing ok though. While I’m not graceful under pressure, I am standing here, gripping the sword placed in my hand and facing the shit that’s being thrown at me. (Warning, there may be powerful language ahead, that some may find offensive.) I might be falling apart at the seams. I might have days where I just want to sit on the floor and cry. I might want to scream, and throw some plates at the wall and engage in mindless destruction. I might go through all 5 stages of grief in one day.

This is normal. All of it. No one gets through this type of thing whole and hale. No one simply smiles and says “Yeah, it’s fine. We’ll get through it.” and does that without batting an eyelash. If someone has told you they did, they are either a perfect human, or lying. I guarantee they struggled. Some of the strongest people I know, fall apart sometimes. And you know, sometimes it’s for a day. Sometimes, it’s for a couple of days, a week, a month. I know more than a few people who felt like they merely survived an entire year before they were able to keep themselves off the floor for more than a couple of days at time.

From co-star app- a message that appeared, but was wrong. I am broken, but I can put my pieces together again with spiritual glue.

This shit is exhausting. “You are never given more than you can handle.” Nah, we all know that a toxic positivity lie. We are frequently given more than we can handle. We break, and break and break again. Our breaking looks different. Some of us simply fall under the weight of it all, emerging as broken pieces of ourselves that takes a hell of a long time to heal, some of us become snarky, apathetic nihilists with something inside that died. Some of us crawl through the glass and shit and blood and emerge successfully, but traumatized. We aren’t ever the same, though we are not beyond “saving” and being able to live life again. And some of us turn to our spiritual sides, and our support systems, a single friend, or a community, and work through it slowly. Probably still with some trauma, partially transformed. We are stronger versions of ourselves. This is not to shame anyone- it’s a truth, and whatever way we get through it, at least we made it through. Human nature is wild and crazy, and our survival looks different because we are all different.

That said, what I wanted to talk about is how when things get tough, we tend to do one of two things- we drop anything we deem above basic care, anything that takes more than an iota of energy, or we turn inward, facing our struggles with our spirituality as our guide and weapon. If you are the latter, great! This isn’t so much for you. (Not that you should stop reading!) But if you are like me, listen up! (Hey self, you too!)

It’s ok if you struggle with your spiritual side when things are tough. When things are tough, I struggle to do basic, everyday stuff. Shower? I’ll do it because it’s my baseline. If I can’t bring myself to shower, please send help- I know I’m in trouble. Sometimes, I can barely eat, dress, read, write, clean, focus. How can I be expected to pray? I don’t want to pray. In my case, with my medical struggles, while I’m not angry with the Gods (they didn’t do this, I did, or my body simply carries a lot of bad genes and weaknesses, and I got screwed by the current lack of care that covid really hurts some people.) I also don’t feel like talking to them. It’s not like they are going to come down and heal me miraculously. That's not how it works.

Hello, my name is Sionainn and sometimes, I can be a petulant child. When I’m mad at someone, when I’m upset with circumstances, and even myself, when I’m sad, depressed, frustrated, usually almost any negative feeling- I want to be alone. And yes, that includes the Gods. Or at least, I don’t want to make the effort. Because as someone with trauma in her history, things like hope feel dangerous. If I'm mad, I know I can say things I regret. I need time, to think, to calm, to face things with a clearer head. It takes a lot, even after shadow work and exploration to not respond like this. This is why I like having a good support community. Friends that don’t do the work for me, but they can give me that push without making me feel as though I'm a burden, I'm being unreasonable or being "too negative." (Thanks to Deborah, for seeing my pain and listening without judgment.)

And over the years, my own relationship with The Morrigan has helped. She has never not slapped me on the back of my head, and told me to stop being that petulant child when I am being so. But She’s also never stopped me from crying in her arms. She's never not helped me get through struggles. Last year, she pushed me into the arms of Brigid. I didn’t think about it. I paid my due to Brigid, but I didn’t really establish the connection with her that I think, looking back, I was supposed to make. Hindsight is 20/20. The door was never shut, and Brigid is standing behind me (Did I mention she looks like my friend Dillen, only with flaming red hair?) with the look of a concerned, stern mom. “Well. Better late than never. Light that candle, Sionainn. Let’s get to work.”

I don’t know what the future holds for me. I had wanted to get more done this month, but it appears that my focus is myself. I have several doctor’s appointments to get through, including the one that will hopefully give me the most answers- what treatment and care will we be starting with? I’ve cried more this year than last year combined. I’m pretty sure there are more tears coming as I learn and grow. As I step out of my comfort zone. In my bullet journal, I picked the word “Transmutation” as my word of the year. The Universe took that a little more literally than I intended.

Inspiration. The key word is not what you think it is though: It's CHOOSE.

And while my default was not to turn to my spirituality to get me through, the Universe itself saw to that I would still arm myself with my spirituality. My meeting with my own spiritual companion opened my eyes to some beautiful, healing and strengthening thoughts. (Thanks Sára.) An assignment for Spi Dir included a wonderful book called Wild Mercy by Mirabai Starr which has been unexpectedly healing, as well a book I’ve had to read for a writing retreat I’m doing called Writing towards Wholeness by Susan M. Tiberghien. The retreat, offered by a fellow Spiritual Companion has been a very powerful writing experience, something I might offer in the future as well, and my own writings I might share on Ko-fi. I even had a beautiful moment of vulnerability and support in my spiritual direction supervision group- I have fantastic peers and educators. I have been seen.

My words to you then are this- you don’t have to pray, or use any sort of energy you don’t have to turn to your spirituality to get you through. But trust in it. One thing that doesn’t take energy is to simply light a candle, and sit. No words, no actions, just sit in stillness, and see what comes. And don’t be afraid to allocate some energy to reach out to a friend who can see you, and listen. We love to pretend spirituality is love and light, gentle and loving, but in truth, spirituality can be hard. It can be darkness, pain and tears. It can be our sword and shield. Not to attack others, but to defend against life's struggles, and the things that are hurting us, keeping us from living life to the fullest, or chained and stagnant. To cut away the things that keep us from our higher selves. Whether its troubles, pain, illness, or hardship strikes, when we’re so weighed down by the world, our spirituality protects us, and this is why I advocate for not saving our prayers and spiritual work for times when life is “better.” Use it now, in battle.

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