On my last entry the ever insightful Niklas suggested I think about things in terms of house-holding. I’ve been mulling over that this week. I’ve barely tended my outside shrine, hardly had time or focus to sit. I find that I need to adjust my shrine, or else accept that everything will rust. But there’s always one more load of laundry to deal with, one more diaper to change, one more need to meet.
While the ideas of Place and Land have little overlap with Hindu spirituality proper, the lessons I learned last summer are ever so applicable now.
I feel like I’m doing things all wrong this quarter, that I’m being lazy, that I haven’t spent enough time, that this quarter will end before it gets off the ground. I remind myself that this project is just a beginning. None of this ends when my project officially ends. There is no doing it wrong. Last summer I wrote about being my own guru, about listening to what I need, about going deeper within. If I am honest, I need to rest. Spring, while on the surface a time of bursting energy: blooms, blood, blossoms, has always been a challenge for me. While most people feel the rush from the sun and the pull of the earth, I have often had my worst depressive episodes in the spring. Spring actually makes me want to hibernate. It’s not usually until June that I snap out of it and start to enjoy the pulse. I had forgotten this. I will let myself rest.
That realization brings me to quote myself: “I am starting to see that perhaps the questions of discipline, at this point in time, for me, may not be what I need to be focusing on.” I struggle with Doing It Right. But for my purposes, right now, doing it at all, and doing it with an open mind and heart, is more important than doing it Right.
I discovered though my Hindu practice that my practice is as a house-holder. “Every day I care for my family and as a parent I have to love and care for my kids without attachment to the outcome. Parenting is a spiritual practice! This is my karma-yoga. It is also a form of devotion, even as I cultivate relationships with the gods [or land spirits].” Of course, there are struggles. Am I really resting? Am I really taking care of my family? Couldn’t I be out tending my altar right now? And it all swings back around to the beginning and worrying about doing it right.
There is no way that I am going to learn everything or even most things about this new state, new town, new home in just this quarter. There is no way I am going to make lasting relationships with the spirits of anything in a mere 12 weeks. But like I discovered with Hinduism, I am making a start; I am forging new relationships, new practices, and this quarter is a beginning, not an end. I have every intention in getting back to Hindu practice, and the Land certainly isn’t going anywhere.