Dealing With Life…Through Common Courtesy

My way of working with my own Druidry is something similar to motorcycle maintenance. Every so often, I have to park it in the driveway, pop off the wires, and check the engine. One of the things I start with is how well I am looking into, and interacting with the connections to my own environments. Environments, plural.

Imbolc Retreat 2015 - photo by Amanda Godwin
Imbolc Retreat 2015 – photo by Amanda Godwin

There are many environments that we all work with. Personal, interpersonal, spiritual, ecological, and a few others. But let’s start with personal and interpersonal. In this particular area, I am looking at how I interact with other people, as well as how I interact with myself. Others may have a different definition for these – but these terms work for me in the manner I define them. I know there are problems here when I am not giving a rat’s hang about others or myself. The second place to look is in my manner of dealing with the ecological issues around me – a connection I am always having to work on. If I find that I am not worried about how my daily life impacts the environment around me – its a fairly good indicator that I have something to work on here. The last component is that of the Spiritual connections – my connections to the Gods, the Goddesses, the Spirits of Place, the Spirits of Time, my Ancestors…typically, this is struck out of balance when I neglect to do my meditation work. In mechanical maintenance, this is similar to checking the oil level and gas filter. This works fine for one or two issues – but what if everything seems to be out of balance.  What then?

And its here that I find myself. Right now. Or put far better by George Harrison in his “Just For Today

Just for today
I could try to live through this day only
Not deal with all life’s problems
Just for today

But, things get interesting as the day moved on – and became another day. Dreams and meditations are a large part of my daily Path. In my dreams lately, I have caught glimpses of a face looking out at me – from inside the hedges, from within the forest’s edge, from behind the thick foliage of a tree. Always smiling. Fo me, an obvious nudge towards something that I need. What it is exactly, I have no idea – but so far its been fun trying to figure it out.

But through it all, I caught another angle of what has been bothering me – lack of common courtesy. The manner in which we – the collective we here – attack and belittle one another. Why?  To win a fucking point in a discussion that we’ve managed to turn into a heated argument. Over what?  A disagreement over what a particular statement says or doesn’t say? We then make assumptions of what someone has meant in what they’ve said – without taking the common courtesy of the moment to consult them? And then we come out guns blazing, looking to eviscerate that individual within the medium of the internet?  Shit, perhaps this could have happened face-to-face in a local coffee-shop too?? All over the idea of looking good to people who may happen across our posting? Have we really lost our hold on common decency and good conversation that much?  I certainly hope not.

I’ve never really explored the idea that I have a stronger degree of empathy than I thought I might. But perhaps that may be the reason that I feel “unhinged” and “unconnected” from time to time. A while back, I stopped reading political news – simply because I felt so angry all the time when reading it. I still pick up drips and drabs here and there…but for the most part, I have been ignoring the political news. And I have felt better over that. I really have. I’m not angry and feeling off-balance all the time. Am I going to have to do the same thing in the Pagan blogosphere as well?  I certainly hope not. But it does leave me with one particular thought…

When are we going to stop bickering over concepts, definitions, and issues – and focus on what is necessary to get our world back in balance? Get to where we can start solving some of the world’s issues (fossil fuel reliance; fighting wars over religious, political and social issues; treating one another as humans, not as blacks, whites, asians, lgbt, straight, bi, what have you) and helping to make our society a better place to live? I’ll be honest, I really see the Pagan community as being part of the vanguard towards these types of solutions – but we’ll never get there if we’re more concerned with throwing people under the bus over misunderstood definitions. In my opinion – we seriously need to rework our focus…I know I do, and currently am. I can’t lead people with words – I do better by being the example.

Yesterday, I watched my neighbor’s (across the very busy street here in the neighborhood) dogs squeeze their way through a hole in his fence, and start wandering the street. My first thought was “fuck it – they are his dogs, his problem.” It took me a few more moments to think about what I would hope for if those dogs were my cats instead. I strapped on my tennis shoes, crossed the street, and called the dogs to follow me. I brought them to his front door, rang the doorbell and explained why his dogs were in the front yard with me, rather than in the backyard where he had left them. Instead of turning my back on an individual I have never talked to in the nine years I have lived here – I went out and helped solve a problem so that his dogs would not be hurt – or picked up by the local pound. My first thought was to be an isolated individual. My second thought was to be a helpful individual and keep a pair of dogs from harm’s way. Common courtesy.

We can certainly place our Gods and Goddesses first and foremost in our spiritual practice (and we should – in my opinion). However, we also need to place some common courtesy back into our daily lives, so we can help combat the simple apathy that unfortunately permeates our environment…and believe me – a kind word, a simple action, a smile — all of that goes a long, long way to changing the way other people feel.

That’s my two pence, spend it how you wish…

Grateful Dead - Fare The Well - 05July2015

The feeling we have here — remember it, take it home and do some good with it. I’ll leave you with this, please, be kind.  –Mickey Hart

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One thought on “Dealing With Life…Through Common Courtesy

  1. Well said my friend. I only speak to a few of my neighbors and not nearly often enough at that. You’ve got the right idea. There is a great need to build bridges and focus on the important matters rather than piddle over terms and definitions til we’re all blue in the face.

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