Feeling burnt out? Overwhelmed? Over-committed?
I’ve found that doing spiritual and magical work on the regular is not too dissimilar to dragging your butt to the gym; there are some days when you feel utterly exhausted and not into it, but you absolutely always feel better when you’ve done it.
So how about the days when you’re putting the time in, but still not feeling it? Or when the rest of your life or other personal factors have drained the crap out of you, and you’re genuinely lacking on the necessary resources to be able to do the thing? How do you troubleshoot what the problems are, and better yet, how do you resolve them?
Here are a few potential scenarios and what to do about them:
- You’re trying too hard and/or doing things that take longer than they should. I have a number of daily commitments that when done back to back maybe total about 20-35 minutes of work depending on what I need to work on that day. Take a good luck at what you want to accomplish and figure out if you’ve potentially either spreading yourself too thin and/or taking on too much daily.
- You’re trying too hard, but in the sense that you’re not engaging your practices in the way that you should. Do you go into your daily work tense and stressed? Is that carrying into your ritual? Are you overthinking what you’re doing and/or forcing it versus being in the moment? Some practices are meant to be less active/willful, and more receptive. Let go, allow yourself to be where you are during the ritual and experience it versus micromanaging every little detail.
- You’re not trying hard enough, and are simply going through the motions. This is a close opposite to the previous scenario. Here there’s a possibility that you’re just saying some words and doing arm waving, but not really feeling it. Like in the previous example however, the answer is to be in the moment. Take your time. Don’t rush things or breeze through them, but allow yourself to actually experience what it is that you’re doing.
- You’re not being consistent enough in your practice. You’re either missing days when you’re actually doing the work, or you’re all over the place for whatever reason. It may not necessarily be that your heart isn’t into it; it’s just that life sometimes gets in the way. Instead of beating yourself up over it, just make sure that every day you do something. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but at least you’re moving along and not doing the additional problem of beating yourself up over it.
- You’re not being patient enough. Please, keep a journal. Notice how your sleeping habits are, how your day is going, how your moods are that day. If you’re expecting a lot to happen very quickly and/or expecting more drastic results, you may be not setting your expectations correctly. Unless you’re specifically working for an emergency–which is beyond the scope of regular, daily practice–you should be expecting that your changes will be subtle to start and will snowball over time. Don’t expect to be a wonder-worker overnight.
- Your life has a measurable amount of stress in it, and it’s impacting your attitudes towards your practices. Breathe. These practices are meant to help you minimize your stress, not increase it. If it’s more than just stress and also includes a number of personal issues, I definitely recommend looking towards doing purification work. Also, take care of yourself and do things in your practice that will help versus hurt.
- You actually don’t know what to do for your regular practice, and are lacking consistency in what you are doing. In this case, I would focus on the basics. Do meditation. There are some great apps that help with basic meditation. One of my favorites is Headspace. If you have an altar and/or working space, I recommend doing basic things such as making an offering to deities and/or spirits you relate to. If there are none, perhaps offerings to your ancestors might not be a bad place to start. It could be as simple as burning incense or lighting a candle, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just mindful practice done with intent. The idea is to get you going and feed your practice. You can always make it more elaborate later, or find something to do regularly which speaks to you. Even just doing the LBRP on a regular basis isn’t a bad place to start if you’re interested in more ceremonial magical practices.
In addition, I highly recommend that you take on the attitude of doing what you can versus comparing yourself to other people and/or setting your expectations unrealistically. It’s more important that you do what you can and if you can take on more one day, great. Otherwise, if you’re having an off day, just do what you’re able. Obviously setbacks happen, illnesses and injuries occur, and life can get in the way. The point is not to beat yourself up but to work with what you’ve got and where you’re at.
It’s true that a lot of us have a great deal on your plates, and there are circumstances surrounding us which may be exacerbating our normal levels of personal stress. In these times we must endeavor to take better care of ourselves and remember that we are human.