Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Faith and Service

"It wasn’t until I began to do heavy community work and writing regularly that I realized where my niche was and what kind of role Kemeticism would play for me. My ma’at, my balance is in interacting with the community and creating resources for other Kemetics to use. I find more benefit for myself in these actions than I ever did inside of a shrine or ritual setup. For me, living the faith is equivalent to doing regularly community work, keeping this blog updated, and reading regularly."


Via this AMAZING Blog post

I've been thinking about having my values and actions in concordance along with the roles I want to take on in my life. Amazingly blogging has been a large part of that. I've found it rewarding to think that there is an archive of my knowledge that some other young woman entering college could refer to as a resource. As I write blog posts, I try and think of what I would've wanted to know going into the situation, how I can convey my understanding so that the wheel isn't reinvented. One of the biggest things I felt I've done for the dorm is to update their handbook - the Random Hall cookbook. So I find myself relating very much to this post, that writing is a form of service to a community.

And there's a feedback between the service to a community and a service to self. I've written before that I know I don't have a large readership, but that writing down my goals to share with the internet at large increases my commitment to them. Writing for a blog - as well as journaling - has become a part of my practice of daily ma'at. While I don't share what I write each day, I sense the internal changes. In addition to helping to regulate my mood, writing helps me to find my internal goals. Writing is a type of spiritual work, I think. There's a lot to be said of the practice of heka, using word weaving to craft the world. For me, I'm realizing that writing is a major part of turning an internal intent into a practical action or practicing spell.
" As you begin to find the core “staples” of your practice, a lot of the useless stuff will fall to the wayside, which may seem scary at first, but I think that’s par for the course when you finally find the meat and potatoes of your practice."

Balance in the craft is a lot about coming in touch with your true goals. For example, I used to have a goal of writing every day, then every week. Now I write in large portions over the summer. I've embraced the seasonality as well as the external limits on my writing. Instead of having a method goal (write every day), I returned to a goal (write enough to post twice weekly year round) and found an internal truth (writing allows me to know and recreate myself). Ma'at is about creation in line with justice and truth. There is nothing more true about writing in small planned periods than irregular productive bursts.
"To force someone to perform daily rites when they are not well suited for them (for whatever reasons) would be counter productive and would not be conducive for building a sense of ma’at in that practitioner’s life and practice."

If that practice doesn't keep me balanced, I have the space and permission to discard it.

The catch for this is that the external world won't always get this. Your most productive times might be at dusk, writing and watching the sunset. But your workplace will probably operate 9-5. My preference is for strong routines, where I am at home and unwinding at the same time every night. But MIT culture encourages (read:forces) students to be available to email and group meetings at almost any hour. In this case, you have to practice ma'at. Balance between the daily practice that is forced on you and the daily practice that you yearn for. Can you find a job that allows you to do 10-6? Can I let my group members know in advance I can't start a meeting after 10pm? Yes!

I think that this bit is very important: by removing the useless aspects of your practice, you allow yourself to focus on the core of it. Giving that energy to a place it really belongs in! It also means that you see meaningful improvements in a practice that really matters, as opposed to struggling to make headway in something that is arbitrary. I can say that my actions have fallen more in line with my values. I can also say that I know myself better, both in terms of the changes I've made and those I want to make. Knowing where to focus my energy and castings means that I make progress more efficiently.