A few months ago, a friend of mine asked, “What is a non-political opinion you have that is likely to be VERY unpopular??”
That’s a neat one eh?
One said, “Yoga" another said, “Coconut water” and another was when people say they are putting things “out to the Universe”
I have two.
The trending intention of letting go what “doesn’t serve you” and the popular focus on “being of service”.
I know right? I just named two major drives while on a path of self development, spirituality, conscious living, or what-have-you; but for me, I feel they just slightly miss the mark a bit.
At fire ceremonies, breathwork, meditation, or other rituals of intention setting, we are likely to see practices of either bringing a quality, way of being, or circumstance closer to us and more present in life such as stability, joy, ease, love and health, or we are allowing, praying for, demanding, even banishing something to fall away and leave us. All the things big and small we don’t want anymore, a pattern of bad luck, friends who don’t support, a job we don’t like, a spouse, negative self-talk, a gnawing feeling of not being “good enough”, the experience of scarcity. You know them; things that no longer serve you. The stuff holding us back. It’s good work to do.
No longer serves.
There is an undertone that can be picked up on. It touches on our current “disposable” culture and with an implication of servitude - that something must “serve you” to be of value. Too often we forget how important the very hardest experiences truly are, particularly when we are in the thick of it. The very challenge they bring is where the blessed healing is found. We may be tired of it. We may think we have learned what we needed to learn, and with a limited scope of view determine its purpose fulfilled. Now if you have attended fire ceremonies with me you will know that I take this work seriously and fully believe in its power - it’s the casual, perhaps egocentric, and sometimes flippant use of the word “serve” that doesn’t sit well with me. Release, let go, move on - definitely - with honour to these challenges for bringing you the strength and wisdom they were intended to do...humbly. I’d love to have some different language to use, if you have suggestions, do let me know!
“Being of Service” is a beautiful goal of living a life of reciprocity, of sharing your gifts with the world to help bring healing and balance. A wonderful caring of others. What I and many other teachers see, is two-fold. First, the intense desire to “be of service” is most often an avenue for spiritual bypassing. Where we skip over the slow, tedious, not super fun and probably much like hell, deep personal work. The shadow work. The getting your poop together work. The learning. The living and deepening of the learning. It never is complete really - but there is such a drive to be of service that masses of people are taking courses, training, and workshops with the goal of adding to their career or skill-set in order to be of service. There is a drive to set up shop and start offering services the moment a certificate is printed, and folks in complete personal chaos are choosing to focus on others instead of tending to the very needed personal work first. Of course I don’t mean to imply anyone must be living in complete, smooth, life success before supporting others, that is unrealistic, but too often the line is not explored around when one is clear and grounded to offer what they are offering. There can be a lack of real self reflection, discussion, and integrity on both sides, the facilitators & teachers giving the offerings as well as learners & students perhaps needing time to deepen their experiences.
The second part of this that is often overlooked is “being of service” need not involve a healing practice offered to people. Being of service to the world, the earth, and its inhabitants may powerfully be simply cultivating and radiating good, strong, harmonious energy as one goes along living their ordinary life. It might be mindful, conscious loving of pets and trees, or picking up trash, maybe sacred jewelry making, or sending letters of gratitude and encouragement, attending other people's ceremonies or tending to our own private ones, creating temporary shrines in nature or just the great act of observing. “Being of service” may be nothing more than living a good life. Scientists, Mystics and the Average Joe alike can measure changes made to the environment around us given our different emotional states, focused attention, and by our pure observation alone.
So those are my two unpopular opinions.
You are most welcome to send me yours by comment or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to hear them!
A bean feasa of Gaelic heritage shares stories & insights from her animist and 'shamanic' practice on the West Coast of Canada.