Thinking About: Doing It My Way

So, Tuesday’s blog post was late by a single day. Thursday’s blog post is now late by two days. I really have a tough time when the winds on the seas of thought go completely calm. Plus, I don’t like to row. 😉

As I stated before, I am currently reading “Anthem: Rush in the ’70s” by Martin Popoff. Interestingly enough, my inspiration for this post comes from the “2112” chapter. The Mercury recording company executives were unhappy with “Caress of Steel” and there was apparently pressure on the band to produce an album with a hit single that could be promoted. Well, as a band, Rush decided to record an album that they wanted – one with an extended, Science-Fiction-ish story-line, and if it meant that the band would go bust – so be it. The result was 2112, an album that almost becomes a rite of rebellious teenage angst to have listened to. The album sold way beyond the first three albums, and continues to sell over 800 units per week, according to the band’s management.

The back story is a piece of nice background and perspective. However, Neil Peart was asked about the criticism of the band, the album, and their concerts. He replies dismissively that the reviews were negative and then explains why he doesn’t read the reviews. He had written a letter to author Tom Robbins stating that he had read Tom’s books and a scathing review in the New York Times. He mentioned that none of those reviewers really knew what they were talking about. In return, Robbins wrote Peart back and told him: “I don’t read the reviews. Because if I believed the good ones, I would have to believe the bad ones too.” That small statement was taken by Peart to be a strong piece of advice. He carried that through his time with Rush, seeing each album to be the very best record that the band could produce, and not worrying about what others might say.

When I made the very difficult decision to leave podcasting behind, and take up blogging instead – I caught a lot of flak. However, I knew it was the right thing to do. My podcasts were not very creative, and continuing to put them out was more of a chore than anything else for me at that time. I did enjoy my time putting them together, but in the end things were a measure of tedium I no longer wanted. I turned to blogging as a creative outlet, knowing that I enjoyed sitting at a keyboard and typing my thoughts. I have thousands upon thousands of lines in an electronic journal, as an example of that. I write in that every single day. Do I miss podcasting? Yes, every single day. At the same time, I still stick to my guns – I will not do another podcast without a co-host.

When I first started the blog, I had a lot of commentary provided to me, particularly in private. If you go through the earlier posts of this blog, you will find that some of the comments are quite well warranted. “Your writing seems disjointed.” That is quite a fair criticism. Many of those older posts have the feelings of being barely finished statements. I may spend some of the future weekend posts trying to bring those thoughts back to life. At the moment, I am thinking of calling some of those “Revisiting” posts, just as this post is part of the “Thinking About” series that I kicked up a while back.

Another comment that I typically got was “why don’t you write more like John Beckett?” John is my friend. I know him in a face-to-face setting; though my move to just south of the Texas/Oklahoma border made seeing him difficult. My latest move to my current location at the edge of the Texas hill country, just south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metro-Mess makes it even harder. I read John’s blog, Under the Ancient Oaks, frequently; though, like I do with most blogs, I do not comment as frequently as I did in the past. Writing like John, would mean that I would be compromising the way I write to be more like him, which – no offense meant John – I have no desire to do. We are both members of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. We both believe that the Gods are distinct, individual Beings. After that, we are essentially very different Pagans. As it should be. If I tried to be more like John in my writing, I would be emulating John, and not being me. The same goes for other bloggers that I read frequently: Nimue Brown, Cat Treadwell, and whole host of others that would make this blog even longer than it is. I read blogs for information, and sometimes I get a spark of creativity from what I read there. But each have their own individual style of writing, their own individual takes on topics, and their own individual approaches to their own Spirituality. For me, emulating their style and approach, while flattering, would not be true to who I am.

In a manner of thinking (not speaking), writing a blog is my way of pulling the curtain aside a little, and letting you see a small part of my life. Certainly, the blog is not like stepping into my world and learning more about me as an individual. A better place for that to happen would be in a setting around a campfire, having a casual setting, something I seriously miss during these times of COVID-19. As Peart came to a realization that missing out on the reviews allowed him the ability to judge and criticize his own personal approach to drumming and lyric writing, I also realized that doing things my own way is important. Important, not only to my writing, but also to the growth of how I approach my writing, and the manner in which I work through my topics. I don’t claim to know everything, or how everything works. In fact, sometimes I have no idea how to approach a concept or how to answer a question. However, I do my very best to gather my approach in a manner that is consistent with my own values, my own ideas, and my own creativity. Sometimes, its not pretty, but the aesthetic is not the goal – its the effort made in getting there.

What about you? Have you ever stopped for a moment and taken stock of the way you approach your Spirituality? Or how you troubleshoot and research something new that you cannot readily identify? Every individual human being has some degree of innate curiosity…take the time and explore it a bit. I know letting my own individual approach inform how I did things was helpful in establishing who and what I am today. Let the individual loose….explore….

–T /|\

What You Should Be…

Do you remember when you were a kid?  Well…for some of us that’s an easy point to remember. For older folk like me, it can be a bit of a chore. Hehehe However, I am sure that all of us can remember being asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, right? I wanted to play soccer or baseball professionally. Sadly, I didn’t have the drive to do either, though I still dearly love both sports. But my parents had dreams for me as well.

Both of my parents worked in the medical professions, so there was a keen desire for me to follow in those soft, muddy shoes. Honestly, there is not one thing that draws me to the medical professions of any sort. Unless you can allow that a computer technician is a sort of “doctor” for electronic technology. So maybe I did follow in their footsteps, to some extent. And I am sure that your parents – whoever happens to be reading this – had designs on what you were going to be when you “grew up” according to society’s standards. Right?

So, you were being aimed towards some sort of template that would turn you into something. Your job does the same thing. They send you to training associated with your job, so that you will meet these basic-level criteria of what your job function can accomplish. Your friends might do it. They set you up with a potential significant other, because he or she might be your “type” – some form of template of what a significant other might look like at your side in Life. Or they will make some sort of commentary about how you need to “do this” or “be that way” when you are off to visit a foreign country. They have a cardboard cutout – in their mind’s eye – of how you should or shouldn’t act or behave in another country or what questions you should or shouldn’t ask. Most of all that can be very sound advice, but its all based on their cognitive understand of the world, not yours.

The reality is that you really need to act like an honorable you. You don’t need to be a cardboard cutout, or be following some Gods-awful template. What you wind up with is a version of yourself that is not you. I am not sure about you, but if I presented myself before the Gods in an archetypal manner – I’m likely to have talons stuck in my ass as I get shoved back through the door. I took an interest in learning about the Gods and Goddesses because I saw Them as unique, self-contained entities with distinct personalities. I sincerely believe that They see each of us in the same manner. And I also believe that if They presented Themselves to us in a similar archetypal vein, that we would find no reason to interact with Them on an honesty, caring, and respectful manner.

So I tend to bristle when I hear people saw that someone needs to be “this way” or “do this thing” in order to be “that person.” If I truly wanted to wear the face of someone else or achieve the same mannerisms as another, I would have gone to see the Many-Faced God and go through the training that Arya Stark endured. My Gods and Goddess are all unique in Their interactions with me, so why would I want to interact with Them based off of a template or someone else’s interactions. Certainly, in the first interactions, utilizing some of the same techniques and concepts would be handy, but I would certainly find a need to stretch my legs and my imagination by adding and subtracting to the format, so I can find an approach that is uniquely “me”.

Now, maybe I have overblown things. Maybe a template approach works for others. Hooray, that works for them. I find that to be awesome. And I would certainly never dissuade someone from something that they have find to work. Rather, I would be overjoyed for them, and ecstatic that they have an approach that works well. They have achieved victory in part of the “battle” so to speak. Their footfalls work for them. What kind of an ass would I be if I sneered at that?? No, I find that to be stellar stuff. Its just doesn’t work for me. And if its a technique I have never seen or attempted to utilize…I might give it a try myself. I am always up for adopting techniques (yeah, stealing from the best – if you prefer) that might be better approaches. Or even filing different approaches off to the side for usage at another time and place.

Really, in the end – I don’t have to be anything that someone else thinks I need to be. I merely have to be me, and stay true to who I am inside of my own skin. Its nice and lovely for folks to say “you need to do this” or “you need to do that” in order that you might do this other thing over here. I might even follow someone’s advice for the first time I do that particular action. But I can almost guarantee – in the future, I’ll do what works for me, because to do anything else, would be me choosing to not be me.