I find myself, from time to time, looking back on my life. I know I am not unique in this, its part of what makes us human. I look back, and have used this as another vehicle to devalue my own self worth. I used the rough times in my life, my "failures", as evidence that I was just as horrible as I thought I was. Look, of course I suck! I was a druggie who dropped out of college. I was a guy who went through different women like socks. I had all this potential and I squandered it away. Blah blah blah. Not the most constructive way to spend ones energy.
I don't know if the shift in my thought process is due to my Work, or if it is just additional wisdom associated with age, but my guess is a bit of both. I have found myself being truly grateful for my supposed "failures" as of late. It was through these experiences that I was really able to learn the age old question "Who am I?" Know thyself does not mean just think about the good parts. The real work comes in identifying those parts of yourself that you don't like and either working to improve them, or come to terms with them. Sometimes you can't improve on a past failure as they have already happened, but you can learn from them. And sometimes the lesson you need to learn is compassion for yourself. My gods! Of course I didn't succeed with that goal, look at everything else that was going on in my life!
And if it wasn't for those failures, I wouldn't be who I am now. It is through the rough points in our life that the real growth happens. I had a friend who used to talk about life like forging a sword. He would say that you don't get a blade by putting a chunk of metal on pillows. You have to throw it in the fire, bash it with a hammer, throw it in the fire again over and over again. This can not be a pleasant experience, but in the end the transformation has made something beautiful.
So yes, I am very grateful for my failures, for it is through them that I have become more whole. I have even found myself grateful for the latest schism within the tradition, and yes, even grateful that people attacked those I care about. I have learned a lot about myself these last months. These events threw me far away from my center. I allowed my rational points to be overshadowed by my rage. I let myself be goaded, and I sank to a level of pettiness that I thought myself above. I let myself be consumed by it, to the point that Storm even told me to stop engaging, but I couldn't. I had to defend my coven, my initiator, my friends. I had to *make* people see that what was happening was wrong. I let it shake me to my very core, and it took me to a place that was the very opposite of the goals of my Work. And I am grateful for the experience. I have taken a step back. I have regrouped. I have found my center, and I am done. I still read things that other initiates have written that make the anger start to well up, but I just let it move through me. I breathe, I make kala. I still find the whole thing very frustrating, but I don't let it overwhelm me. I remember that I am not my emotions, they are mine. I am not my thoughts, they are mine. I have risen to this new challenge, I have been made more whole because of it, so I am grateful.
Yes, I still wish that people would accept our diversity and see that there is room for all walks of Feri within the tradition. We could all put the anger and hostility away, but I don't expect it to happen anytime soon. I know that I won't be the vehicle for that change, especially from a place of anger myself. And that's okay. Because I know that for me, Feri is about *MY* Work. I know that no matter what others do or say, I will do my Work. I will be the Witch *I* need to be. I will keep growing, keep learning. I will keep letting my initiation "steep". I will keep raising myself to the power of divinity, and I will also keep falling. And that's okay. I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and learn what was needed to be learned.
The only real failure is to never try.
Just keep laughing!