You made all those plans. You had each step planned. The first few steps went well. The next few steps went sideways. At the end, what you planned has been turned completely upside down, and does not resemble anything that you thought it would. As you sit in the middle of the smoking ruins, inconsolable over what has happened, your thoughts will eventually come to that inevitable thought: what do I do now?
I completely understand. Really, I do. I have been in this position more often than I care to remember. I can not only relate, but also am aware of the devastated feelings that come with it. I know how paralyzing it can feel, and how lost you can feel while your immediate world burns around you.
Realize this, this dream, this goal, this immediate world of yours may be destroyed, but all is not lost. Life will continue. Moving forward will be hard. However, it can be done. What I have found that works, are a series of steps – each building on the next.
Grieving and Anger
Be sad over what has happened, whatever it may be. You worked on everything, set plans into motion, and it all caught fire. You put a lot of your heart, soul, and energy into what you have done. Naturally, you will feel loss over what has happened. Don’t shove that aside. Feel that emotion. You need to grieve over this loss. Eventually, you will move forward from that point. You might even feel anger over everything. Don’t set that to the side either. Be angry. Its only natural to be pissed off that things didn’t happen the way that you wanted it to work out.
Today, we are constantly told to curtail our grief, and to let go of our anger. In my opinion, that can lead to repression of emotion, which can make things a bit worse. Let your emotions run their course. Be sad. Be angry. But make sure that neither of these emotions consume you completely. Feel your emotions, but don’t let your emotions become the absolute ruler of who you are. Remember, you are in control.
Re-Building and Re-Planning
Once you have let your emotions have their sway, the next step typically becomes either re-building or re-planning. You take the steps to rebuild your Life or approach to eventually move forward. Or you still want the goal or objective you were working for, and you set up a new course of action to achieve that – re-planning. In other words, you are not giving up. You are just re-visioning what needs to occur. This time, you will be more cautious, more attuned to what you were trying to do; to avoid the previous mistakes.
This phase, I have found, can take a lot more time than one might think. Preparation, setting down steps of action, getting things ready to go – all that takes a lot of time, effort, and forethought. So, what happens during all of this? Well, life, of course. You still must move on with the daily parts of life. Eating, sleeping, breathing, and whatever else you might need to do. However, I have found that there is one more thing to add – be positive.
Believe it or not, a positive attitude is helpful. Yes, I know it can be difficult to be positive when you are sitting in the middle of the smoking ruins of everything that you had planned. However, once you set things in motion to go forward, that positive attitude will be everything. Yeah, shit exploded in your face. However, once you get wiped off, and have a look around; you will find a new direction to go. Be positive about the changes, even when they don’t feel that great. That positive attitude will help you out more than you know. Don’t think it is all going to be awesome. There will be bad days. There will be stumbles. You will fall from time to time. It happens. That skinned knee is going to hurt. But it will heal.
Sacrifices and Endings
This is one of the toughest things to realize, and probably one of the most painful. To move forward, you may have to give up on something that means more to you than anyone can understand. No one is going to really be able to relate to the emotional pain of such a hard choice. There may come a time that you must let go of that precious aspect of you, to move forward. No shit folks, it WILL hurt. You may even have to backtrack along your Path to get back to where the last crossroads had occurred. There is nothing more painful than to walk back across territory that you had once seen as the perfect point in your life, just so you can get back to a choice that you had already been through. It’s painful and humbling.
Now, you are likely wondering how all of this applies to Paganism or even my Druidry? Well, I live my Paganism. My Druidry is a part of who I am. I go through this process in nearly everything that I do. It is not a perfect process – not by any means. However, it is an approach that has worked for me through most of my adult life. I have been through the agonizing aspects of this quite a bit. I have also been on the brighter, more positive sides of this as well. All of that is a part of life, a part of living. Perhaps, after reading this, you have decided that this would never work for you. That is completely understandable. Every individual person will find their own unique way of working through such moments in life. As individuals, we all experience differently. We all react differently. And that is a beautiful thing.