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Author Topic: Frustration and not finding the words.  (Read 4403 times)
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« Topic Start: November 04, 2007, 04:24:24 pm »

There are so many ways to go and things to learn in the pagan world.  Personally I've found several areas that really interest me, and I've done my best to explore them.  I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my beliefs and know enough about the beliefs of others that I don't generally sound like an idiot in polite conversations.  And yet...  I feel like there is something more that I need.  The problem is that I just don't know what to ask or say anymore.  I feel like I've discussed most of the things I really want to know with people, and I keep getting the same opinions and responses. 

Does anybody else feel this way?  Like they have a question but just can't find the words for it?  Or maybe you just don't have any idea what it is that you are neglecting?  How does one go about figuring that out?  When your spiritual life starts to feel stagnant how do you stir things up?
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« Reply #1: November 04, 2007, 08:22:32 pm »

There are so many ways to go and things to learn in the pagan world.  Personally I've found several areas that really interest me, and I've done my best to explore them.  I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my beliefs and know enough about the beliefs of others that I don't generally sound like an idiot in polite conversations.  And yet...  I feel like there is something more that I need.  The problem is that I just don't know what to ask or say anymore.  I feel like I've discussed most of the things I really want to know with people, and I keep getting the same opinions and responses. 

Does anybody else feel this way?  Like they have a question but just can't find the words for it?  Or maybe you just don't have any idea what it is that you are neglecting?  How does one go about figuring that out?  When your spiritual life starts to feel stagnant how do you stir things up?

Yes, sometimes this path is so overwhelming.  I've been there.  There is something you need--that you cannot find--and there ain't no one talking! [poor grammar is to make a point lol] I truly think that we find it, when we are at our most desperate point...when all we can say is "Here I am!!!"

And something that happened to me a few months ago, when I was frustrated and confused, a small voice within said "It's supposed to be hard, that's what makes it worthwhile".

Hang in there, whatever it is will come in time.

--edited because of my bad proofreading skills--
« Last Edit: November 04, 2007, 08:25:37 pm by darkplume » Logged


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« Reply #2: November 04, 2007, 10:14:45 pm »

Does anybody else feel this way?  Like they have a question but just can't find the words for it?  Or maybe you just don't have any idea what it is that you are neglecting?  How does one go about figuring that out?  When your spiritual life starts to feel stagnant how do you stir things up?

I've been there many a time, and very likely will be again. Stuff that helps me...

1) Take a break.

Sometimes when I hit the "Can't do anything with this and can't verbalise it either", it's because I'm exhausted (either from other stuff in my life, or from hitting my head into a stubborn wall for a while.) Consciously taking a break and doing something else helps a lot. Taking a break for a few days/weeks on an issue help me also figure out which of the following might be of most help.

2) Talk to friends.

I do this both in person, and through online journaling/commentary. (I find some stuff I have an easier time verbalising in writing, with an intended audience.) Usually a nice long chat with one of several friends over tea/dinner/walking helps knock some stuff loose. (These friends don't have to follow my same path, and in fact, only one of the friends I do this with regularly is in my group. It does help if they know enough about it that I don't have to stop and define terms every other sentence, and if they have some background about the me-specific stuff.)

3) Read. But not the obvious.

I knock a lot of stuff loose by reading fiction. Some of it is explicitly Pagan or esoteric. A lot of it isn't, but is dealing with related issues. (Power, relationships, magic, deity, etc.) Urban fantasy and fantasy in general are particularly potent, but a number of mystery and SF series books have helped out too. This helps because sometimes reframing the issue (as working in a whole different universe does!) helps me find words for my own issues. In other cases, it's given me a different way to look at the problem.

4) Back up to basics again.

If I'm still stuck, going back to basic techniques and practices and simplifying way down for a period of time can help. Sometimes I've gotten stuff tangled up in expectations and specific approaches. If I'm stuck, reading beginner-level books that still make me think helps. (Starhawk and Hilary Valentine's Twelve Wild Swans is a favorite here: it's not my normal practice, but the phrasing and focus is both similar and dissimilar enough that I learn things, come away with some different perspectives, and don't feel like I'm going in circles. Books on specific aspects of an issue work, too.)

5) Listening.

I spend a bunch of time lurking on various Pagan settings. (including a couple of really active email lists), and have a much smaller number of places I post. (This is the place I post by far the most, if that gives you any idea.) often passive-intake in reading other conversations has been helpful: it's weird how often people seem to be talking about exactly the right issue about a week or two after I start taking the above steps. Some things, I believe, we just need to be open to hearing, and the same conversation a month earlier would have passed by unnoticed.

However, for this to work, I need to be places I can hear new stuff.

6) Divination, meditation work, etc.

Obvious, really, if this is part of my practice anyway. Good to take some extra time (without any explicit goal in mind) when I'm struggling with stuff, and see where I end up.

It's not a single-prong approach, because it's not a single issue problem. But usually these in tandem help me get somewhere - if not to a solution, a lot closer to an identifiable problem.
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« Reply #3: November 05, 2007, 12:22:34 pm »

There are so many ways to go and things to learn in the pagan world.  Personally I've found several areas that really interest me, and I've done my best to explore them.  I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my beliefs and know enough about the beliefs of others that I don't generally sound like an idiot in polite conversations.  And yet...  I feel like there is something more that I need.  The problem is that I just don't know what to ask or say anymore.  I feel like I've discussed most of the things I really want to know with people, and I keep getting the same opinions and responses. 
Does anybody else feel this way?  Like they have a question but just can't find the words for it?  Or maybe you just don't have any idea what it is that you are neglecting?  How does one go about figuring that out?  When your spiritual life starts to feel stagnant how do you stir things up?

Jenett covered it all pretty well I would say!  I only might add just a couple of things,

 1)There have been things I just hadn't felt comfortable opening up to anyone about. But, being on this board has lead me to people who have had similar experiences.  So, what I thought was really a "way too far out there" experience, wasn't after all.  I didn't have to ask any questions, just read posts.  Smiley

2) Make sure you are not just searching for an answer you want to hear. Don't ignore answers because they aren't what you expected them to be. Being honest with yourself is hard, but it will get you farther along.


Blessings along your path!
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« Reply #4: November 05, 2007, 12:49:18 pm »


Does anybody else feel this way?  Like they have a question but just can't find the words for it?  Or maybe you just don't have any idea what it is that you are neglecting?  How does one go about figuring that out?  When your spiritual life starts to feel stagnant how do you stir things up?

I had times when I feel like there was some potential that was about to come into focus for me, a big change waiting to happen.  I'm not sure how I view those feelings in retrospect.

But, I'd back up what Nile Lily said about making sure you're not just looking for the answer you *want.*  In the last few months I had my big epiphany which I had fought against for a while recently.  When I accepted that I was an atheist, and didn't believe in any religion, magic system, etc... I felt at peace, because I'd accepted what I deep down felt to be the *truth.*
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« Reply #5: November 06, 2007, 09:24:53 pm »

Yes, sometimes this path is so overwhelming.  I've been there.  There is something you need--that you cannot find--and there ain't no one talking! [poor grammar is to make a point lol] I truly think that we find it, when we are at our most desperate point...when all we can say is "Here I am!!!"

And something that happened to me a few months ago, when I was frustrated and confused, a small voice within said "It's supposed to be hard, that's what makes it worthwhile".

Hang in there, whatever it is will come in time.

--edited because of my bad proofreading skills--

Thanks, just saying something seems to have helped already.  I'm still feeling a bit of stress/pressure, but it seems to be flowing forward again.  I guess that's just the way it works sometimes. 
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« Reply #6: November 06, 2007, 09:28:13 pm »

I've been there many a time, and very likely will be again. Stuff that helps me...

3) Read. But not the obvious.

4) Back up to basics again.


Actually, these two are very very helpful to me, because they don't really require any outside stimulus.  I've been unintentionally taking your advice before even reading it.  Good call, I like your list a lot. 
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« Reply #7: November 06, 2007, 09:45:07 pm »

Actually, these two are very very helpful to me, because they don't really require any outside stimulus.  I've been unintentionally taking your advice before even reading it.  Good call, I like your list a lot. 

*grin* I'm fond of it, but biased.

I like the fact it's got both internal and external stuff - I find I usually need both to get me out of the funk. (Also, it's sometimes the weirdest conversatons that get me going: talking to a non-Pagan friend about something totally different sometimes sets a cascade going and makes everything much better, fast, so some of what I try to do when I get stuck is just to make some extra time for those kinds of conversations/opportunities. Go to a movie, read a different type of book, have tea with someone I don't see as often.)
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« Reply #8: November 10, 2007, 08:05:16 pm »



I knock a lot of stuff loose by reading fiction. Some of it is explicitly Pagan or esoteric. A lot of it isn't, but is dealing with related issues. (Power, relationships, magic, deity, etc.) Urban fantasy and fantasy in general are particularly potent, but a number of mystery and SF series books have helped out too. This helps because sometimes reframing the issue (as working in a whole different universe does!) helps me find words for my own issues. In other cases, it's given me a different way to look at the problem.



Your first sentence here is so fitting, I feel exactly the same. Sometimes I find that one sentence of a novel i'm reading can affect me more than the hours I spent studying a book upon some aspect of religion. Reframing the issue, as you say, and sometimes just going right back to basics, can really help my mind (and spirit) recover when it's in one if it's slumps.
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« Reply #9: November 10, 2007, 08:14:42 pm »

Your first sentence here is so fitting, I feel exactly the same. Sometimes I find that one sentence of a novel i'm reading can affect me more than the hours I spent studying a book upon some aspect of religion. Reframing the issue, as you say, and sometimes just going right back to basics, can really help my mind (and spirit) recover when it's in one if it's slumps.

Not to mention, some themes are simply easier to address in fiction.

I find both reading and writing to radically change my ideas about some things in ways that a hundred texts on the issue never could.
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« Reply #10: November 10, 2007, 08:56:38 pm »

... And yet...  I feel like there is something more that I need.  The problem is that I just don't know what to ask or say anymore.  I feel like I've discussed most of the things I really want to know with people, and I keep getting the same opinions and responses. 

Does anybody else feel this way?  Like they have a question but just can't find the words for it?  Or maybe you just don't have any idea what it is that you are neglecting?  How does one go about figuring that out?  When your spiritual life starts to feel stagnant how do you stir things up?

something you need, a question to ask.
Doesn't really sound like a stagnant problem. More like you've hit a wall or jut.  The questions and answers you seek, you must look inward.

I had times when I feel like there was some potential that was about to come into focus for me, a big change waiting to happen.  I'm not sure how I view those feelings in retrospect.

EverFool hit a big one. When I become frustrated, it's like I can't move forward. Like there is something there but just can't... grasp it in your mind or a wall blocking. The question like on the tip of your tongue. Took me a while to realise that when I feel like this, understanding/knowledge/road will come forward.  A few times it was like a Eureka moment where you see full circle of something not just Pieces. At which time moving forward has new life and energy.

Perhaps you too Go, go through these steps. Look backward and see the past do you have memory of this type of senario? But don't stay in the past to long, *grins* for the future may grow brighter with a door/portal opening. Perhaps shed some light on it.  Cheesy Sorry, just had to pun.

ya know... most doors I come across swings both ways. Just thought I'd mention it.
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« Reply #11: June 23, 2008, 03:35:01 am »

There are so many ways to go and things to learn in the pagan world.  Personally I've found several areas that really interest me, and I've done my best to explore them.  I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my beliefs and know enough about the beliefs of others that I don't generally sound like an idiot in polite conversations.  And yet...  I feel like there is something more that I need.  The problem is that I just don't know what to ask or say anymore.  I feel like I've discussed most of the things I really want to know with people, and I keep getting the same opinions and responses. 

Does anybody else feel this way?  Like they have a question but just can't find the words for it?  Or maybe you just don't have any idea what it is that you are neglecting?  How does one go about figuring that out?  When your spiritual life starts to feel stagnant how do you stir things up?

Maybe you could try something like I did when I first "fell out" of Christianity... I did a google search, keyword "religion".  that gave me many options, but the one that stuck in my head was the word witch, as up to that point I considered witches those evil greenish hags from tales of make-believe to remind children that certain things are wrong or unsafe, etc.

It was through that I found first Wicca, then paganism in general, then my own specific views, which can't be ascribed to any single path, or any combination of paths I've yet seen.  That was my "thwap", as I've seen it called here.  In fact, that is how most of my "thwap"'s have come to me.  Just doing random searches, or rather very general searches.  Not looking for anything really in particular. 

Possibly try narrowing down what the problem seems to be.  Is it with religion in general, certain ideas that either don't make sense, or you are just unsure of whether they fit into the overall scheme of things?  Sort of go through a bit of soul searching, meditation possibly to focus on and pin down what exactly it is that is giving you this unsatisfied(?) feeling at the moment. 

When something like this happens to me, I usually sit back and just let my mind wander where it will, not focusing on anything in particular, at least not with any sort of purpose.  It's almost like putting your mind in the state of subconsciousness it follows while in sleep.  (You've all probably had the experience of waking in the middle of the night with that "Doh, that's it!!" feeling, after busting your brain all day trying to figure something out.)  It may take some practice to get it right, but it actaully works for me most of the time.  I've heard others say to refocus your mind on something other than whatever the problem area is, but that never worked for me, this method is similar, it refocuses your mind on nothing and everything all at once... it's a bit hard to explain. Undecided
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 03:54:12 am by wisdomsbane » Logged

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« Reply #12: June 23, 2008, 11:51:35 am »

I find both reading and writing to radically change my ideas about some things in ways that a hundred texts on the issue never could.

True that.  Writing about something in a different world helps me get a better perspective on things.  Sometimes it helps me figure out what's important to me that I hadn't been aware of before.  There's some ritual phrasing that I say often that originally came from my fiction.  Smiley  Oh, and a bit of my ethics.
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