Over the past two days, I have gotten a lot of push-back over the last post I wrote, Faults, Limitations and Perspectives. A lot of the commentary centered around what was perceived as “defeatist” language or what some had termed as me abdicating my responsibilities as a leader because it was “too hard”. For me, nothing could be further from the truth, but I quickly realized I needed to explain a bit more than I had.
First off, Leadership
I have tried to be extremely clear about the fact that I do not see myself in terms of being a leader. I know some folks see me in terms of aspects of leadership and have attempted to apply certain aspects of such terminology to me – “leader”, “Priest”, and the such. Those particular cloaks do not really apply to me. In a manner of speaking, its easier to apply the concept of military leadership to where I envision myself. The military command structure is split into two echelons – officers and enlisted. Officers are in charge in whatever situation or scenario applies. Their focus is centered on long-range planning and growth. Enlisted are in charge where officers are not present. Higher-level enlisted are the Non-Commissioned Officers or Sergeants. Their perspective is much more shorter in vision. Charged with getting tasks done that apply to the longer range plans of the officer corps. Their aspect of leadership is typically gathered from their experience. This is where I see myself in terms of leadership.
I’m not in charge, except where necessity dictates. Within the aspects of how I handle my dealings with my two Gods, my charge has always been a simple one: be there when needs dictate. Otherwise, my charge has been to be ready; mentally and physically. Mine is not necessarily a position of leadership, except where needs dictate. When officers are not available to keep tasks on schedule, when they are not available to set the focus. I can perform functions as a leader, as a Priest, or whatever else is necessary, but I am not one of those. My functions are different. My focus is elsewhere. I am tasked with covering other needs. But I can step in where and when need arises.
I realize that a lot of the description in this comes under military concepts, perspectives and terminology. That’s not dictated to me, it is merely the construct that allows me to understand my positioning and perspective in a manner that is easier for my behavior to assimilate and utilize. I have no officers appointed above me. There is no military structure to report into. But the format is familiar enough to me, so that I can function where necessary. I am certain that there are other descriptors that might work better for someone else. This is the construct that allows me to function best in the roles I am asked to take on.
So what are my roles? What do I need to focus on? Where are things going? How do I fit in? Honestly, these are questions that we all ask ourselves in our own Spiritual walk. Mine is to help, assist, and fill the roles that are empty. At least fill those roles until someone far better equipped comes along to fill that spot. In a manner of speaking, my positioning is that of a band-aid.
Many folks talk about aspects of things as a “storm”. Sure, tough times are certainly here. The difficult side of things are more in the open than ever before. As a society, we have chosen to pull off the band-aids that have been over open wounds. Doing so has pulled off the protective scab that was there before. The wound is no longer fresh, and it has changed. So it seems to be different than before, but its the same wound. The protective scab needed to be removed, so the wound could be allowed to breathe again, and so that a new scab could be developed to allow stronger healing to place. My role is to be there with the new band-aid, ready to apply it to the wound after some helpful medicines can be applied to help speed healing, so antiseptics can be applied to help effect the healing.
My role is also to offer assistance to those needing help. Those that are trying to find direction in the wider Pagan campground. They are seeking a friendly campfire to sit at but are confused at the landscape set before them. They are unsure of which campfire to try and find. I’m not an answer for those seeking to find. I’m someone that can help guide them to where they need to be. Help them to find their answer.
There are campfires that I consider to be “home” for me. Where the people around those fires are family to me. Each holds a special place in my heart. But my place is not necessarily at their fires all of the time. In terms of Japanese legend, my place in this world is much more like that of Ronin rather than a bonded Samurai. Or I might be considered something closer to that of a Knight-errant, to utilize a classification that is more western in nature. I have no true home-fire. My positioning in life is more wilderness oriented than geared towards any aspect of societal nomenclature. But as I noted, part of my role is to step into the empty roles, as needed.
Third, Honesty and Truth
Honesty and truth about where I am in life is necessary, in order to properly function in roles that are not really meant for me. As a leader, I am a far better fit than I am as a Priest. I can perform in the role of a Priest in limited capacity, but it is an ill-fit indeed. As a leader, my fit is a little more precise, but there are certainly better individuals for that role than myself. Perhaps, part of my role is to function as a leader for a short period of time, mentoring another along until their grasp of the role is much stronger than my own. Perhaps. But my positioning is not to be in that function for any extended period of time.
I function far better as a Solo Pagan than as a group member. My preference is to be out in the wilder parts of the world. But I also realize that the wilder parts of the world will continue to shrink and disappear. What was once termed the “Wild West” of the Americas was a sign of the last frontier. Many went there to find a new life, a better life that was created through their own hands and hard work. Others went there to find solitude in an environment where few other westerners had been. Some of those folks stumbled into tribes of First Nations peoples, and discovered that within the beauty of the land where Gods, unfamiliar, and yet known. This is where I find myself. Traveling along ridge lines as the sun sets in the west, in a Spiritual environment that seems desolate, uninhabited – and yet is not. This is where I am most at home…