The relationship between any spirit-worker and the Power(s) with which they work is unique, and so are the specific challenges. If it was all smooth sailing it wouldn’t really classify as “work”, right?
I don’t know about most spirit-workers, but for me there seems to be one core challenge with each Power I engage, and each little challenge is another perspective of the core concept. I get the logic behind it. This method teaches me all the many facets of each issue by forcing me to face them one at a time. My relationship with my Lady is no exception. The core issue with Her is the concept of possibility, and the challenge has been particularly vexing of late.
My Lady is very much a liminal goddess. She dwells at the betweens, and the winds of change are Hers to call. Stasis of any kind is against Her sense of “How Things Should Be” – to Her mind, the only constant is change.
I, however, am fairly OCD by nature. I like routines, I like order, I like predictability. I like having a plan and rules and boundaries. It’s why I’m so effective with project/event management. I get agitated if there is too much transition going on at any one time, and coping with change in multiple areas of life simultaneously makes it difficult for me to function in any of them. I consider life to be a juggling act, and with every change one of my bright rubber balls suddenly morphs into a sharp dagger. It disturbs my rhythm.
She’s been careful with me on this one. I am MUCH better than I was with it, and over time I’ve learned some flexibility with things, picked up a few coping mechanisms along the way. I’ve gotten good at juggling one dagger amongst the balls, and can occasionally manage multiples for brief periods. Most of the time She’s been careful to work within that. Now is not one of those times. We’re pushing the envelope, challenging several fundamental things I had thought were handled (silly me!), and we’re doing it all at once. Eek!
Challenge #1 is the whole concept of urban monasticism. She’s telling me now that this will change over time. I’m not sure what it means yet, but the comfort and support of a monastic lifestyle isn’t one I can expect to have indefinitely. I love the structure this lifestyle gives my days and the focus it requires, the way it keeps me grounded and focused, and have been resistant to losing that. She’s holding firm, though. I’ve started (once again *sigh*) substituting the method for the goal behind it, and that She won’t tolerate. She wants me to remain grounded and focused no matter what’s going on in my life. So something new is looming and I’m not sure yet how it will manifest. This makes me sad, and nervous, and I find myself trying to cling more tightly to the idea instead of gradually allowing myself to move away from it.
Challenge #2 is how I’ve viewed myself in the context of groups. In the past I’ve tended to shy away from leadership roles. I am well aware that I am not a special snowflake. I’ve preferred to facilitate rather than lead, suggest rather than order, and have left the official positions of authority to those who enjoy them. Most leading I’ve done has been leading by example. While that’s definitely part of my nature, focusing solely on that is ceasing to be an option. I’ve been told – firmly – that I’ll be taking on more clearly-defined leadership roles over the next few years. I’m willing, but it’s going to result in a lot of adjustments I’m not exactly eager to make (mainly for time-management reasons, but those priorities are likely to change as well).
Challenge #3 is work-related, and by extension home-related. My current employer will be laying me off in June. I can either be rehired in 3 months, or look for work elsewhere that actually matches my skills and experience. And if I’m doing that, why stay where I am to do it? That hits two of my “panic buttons” at once, and is causing me some additional nervousness. The whole situation is up in the air right now, and will be until I get a little more information.
Challenge #4 is my personal life. Yes, the whole thing. *laugh* Over the last few years I had pretty much internalized this idea that long-term relationships just weren’t practical for me. The commitment required would simply be too much to juggle with all of my other commitments. I was fairly comfortable with that, actually, and didn’t consider it much of a sacrifice. That’s been challenged of late, and I am again open to the possibility.
This is, I think, one of the side effects of working intimately with a Power that a lot of people miss. The Power refuses to stay compartmentalized. There is no “spiritual life” and “work life” or whatever – there is simply “life”, and They can affect all of it should They have the desire. My Lady refuses to allow me to close any doors in my life – especially the ones I’m most comfortable closing. She’s trying to get me to appreciate the inherent possibility of every moment, the idea that every second is a ball of potential waiting to take form if only I have the eyes to see it. Until I reach that point this will continue to be a recurring challenge, and will pop up where and when I least expect it.