There are some days that despite my physical practice, mental practice and emotional awareness, the weight of anxiety and stress is too heavy. All my long learned, hard won coping skills just won’t lift it. Those are the days that every movement is agony, every thought strained, every emotion negative. Those are days that the idea of doing energy work makes me nauseous.
It is on those days that my connection to what is beyond me is crucial.
Sometimes it is my grandmother, who was a ranch cook and raised four children alone. Despite her life of heavy physical labor and deeply abusive relationships, she was cheerful and optimistic. She died smiling.
Sometimes it is my childhood animal ally, Otter, who tends to sing the “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life” song from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Usually dancing with fish.
Sometimes it is Freyja, who reminds me that no matter how dark those clouds seem, there is always gold there. And I am deeply deserving of it. Because she said so.
Sometimes it is Hel, who silently lifts me up, sets me on my feet and points me in the right direction with care and great gentleness.
And there are many more, joyful and profound, profane and mundane reminders that I am not alone.
Be it ancestor, animal ally, wight or deity; it is my connection to the larger universe that lifts me up when I’ve reached the limit of my strength. It is my connection to those beings that provides me with answers I don’t have, certainty I don’t feel, compassion that I can’t reach.
There are also days when I am so joyous, so light, every thing is going well and smoothly and synchronicity is working in every thing that happens; those are the days I thank and honor those connections. I leave offerings for Hel, sing love songs for Freyja, dance with Otter, cook with my grandmother.
And there are the days in between, when the universe doesn’t manifest in a specific way, but the connections I have to it compel me to notice the beauty around me, to rejoice in my health and happiness, to be mindful of the impression I leave as I move through.
Those connections are important, not as faith or as belief, but as a living, engaged, loved and loving relationship with the universe. It has to be a relationship, a give and take of energy, love, care, hope. Doing the rights things to live up to the examples left to me by my ancestors, my allies and my deities of choice. Because while belief is nice, it is actions that are truly important. We are our deeds.
It’s not important whether you call it gods or ancestors or totems or animal guides or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or perhaps just the universe.
What is important is that in that still place in your soul, you hear the song of the universe and choose to sing along with it.
You mileage will most certainly vary.