Howling Into the Wind: Stuck in the Middle With Me

Pushback. Blowback. Criticism. Disagreement. All part of what daily life has been for me. No matter the perspective that I espouse, there’s always some individual somewhere watching with a disapproving look on their face. When President Trump was an office, my stance of essentially ignoring him drew criticism from my friends who were quite liberal. How could I just ignore him and his antics? He’s destroying the world around us. He’s an affront to everything decent in the United States. You can’t ignore what he’s doing. When I did criticize some of his more inane stances within US politics, my more conservative friends called me a traitor to the Constitution that I defended for eight years in an active duty uniform. A stance of defense where I chose to be governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice instead of the Constitution I swore to defend. In all honesty, it didn’t matter which stance I took – someone was going to vehemently disagree with me, tell me that I was wrong, and level charges towards me that I was violating my oath of fidelity to the Constitution.

I get the same degree of pushback within my approach to my Paganism, and my Druidry. My friends who follow a reconstructionist path will say that I am wrong in my approach to working on my own. I don’t have the correct “source” material. Like I need to quote my sources in appropriate and correct Modern Language Association (MLA) format in every ritual that I write, or every blog post I create. They don’t press the MLA quotation aspect, but there are days it feels that way. My more eclectic friends will tell me that I need to let go of the connections I have to affiliated groups and learn to govern myself without input from elsewhere.

Even within my professional life, I catch the lower levels of the Nine Hells over the way I manage what I do. Improvisation is not a skill to be used by Information Technology professionals. There are set processes that must be adhered to religiously. I shouldn’t learn coding principles for data reporting. Just push the button on the software and let it generate the report. Or conversely those that want to go the “home brew” route with everything. I shouldn’t trust the software tool that I am using. I should write one on my own, that way I know everything that its doing. No matter where I turn, I seem to be caught in the middle.

But the middle is not a bad place to be. Granted, I am altering AC/DC’s song “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” ever so slightly. But I’m really ok with being in the middle of things. For me, being in the middle provides me with the flexibility to alter my approaches appropriately to the situations I find myself in. And I prefer flexibility. It gives me options. I am provided with choices. I like choices.

I’m not a Republican, Democrat, or any other political party. I remain an unaffiliated voter because I get the opportunity to look over all the candidates and choose from the perspective that I can relate to the best. Sadly, these days that always feel like the impossible: choosing between two bad sides. Within my Paganism and Druidry, I am not trying to reinvent the Wheel. In fact, I’m just trying to find perspectives that match my own far better. Nor am I trying to match my Spiritual practices to what my ancestors did so long ago. I’m not living tens, hundreds, or even thousands of years ago. I’m living here and now. My Spiritual practices are here and now. Thus, I am not trying to reconstitute something from the Past. I’m working in the here and now. Professionally, I will do whatever it takes to get the job done or to get the system running again. I’m not worried about violating the “correctness” of how it gets done. I just want it running right now. I’ll come back later and set things into the appropriate aspect of operations long after I got it working.

For me, being in the middle provides me the flexibility to make choices to get results. Rightness, wrongness, correct processes, incorrect methodologies – none of that matters at the moment of getting things running.

I know where my mindset comes from. The United States Air Force taught me this process and concept. Make it run. If I use correct wiring or if I hold things together with chewing gum and bailing wire – it doesn’t matter. Just make it go for the time being. Putting it together the correct manner takes a back seat to getting it running. Believe me, I’ve gotten tons of pushback on this process throughout my life.

Some folks call me concept a “fly by the seat of your pants” concept. ::shrug:: I grok that perspective. I’ve been told that I do things the “wrong” way as well. Honestly, I’m alright with that too. I learned that its just easier to do what you need to do than to worry about how you get perceived by others. I’m not looking for the love and adoration of others over how I handle my Pagansim and Druidry. I’m not seeking anyone else’s approval than my own. Nor am I seeking to have others do things the same way that I do. Everyone walks the Path that suits them the best.

Will you get criticized for doing things this way or that? Sure, you will. There so many ways to deal with your Spirituality. How much it bothers you is up to you. I cannot and will not determine what is right and wrong for you. I can present you with a perspective or a choice. Whether you choose to accept that choice or set that perspective up as a precept of what you are going to do is ultimately your choice. And honestly, your reasoning for accepting, rejecting, or altering what is presented to you is all your business, not mine.

–Tommy /|\

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