Everyone says it takes thirty days to form a habit. When one consciously attempts to form a habit then, what happens? What does it look like during that process of change? Well, I just hit my first thirty days a couple days ago, and I’m going to talk about it. The time spent has been life changing, habit forming, but not always what I expected it to be. So, if you’re looking at the prospect of a New Year’s resolution, or even, just wanting to change a habit, why not see what your process could look like?
Intention, Realization, & Contentment: A Process
When I first started my curriculum, the one laid out in Kabbalah Magic, I was excited. Things made sense to me, and yet, weren’t entirely clear. I had transitioned from Wicca to something else, and for the first time, I was seeing signs of what that something happened to be. My head swam with so many philosophies and labels for various groups. There was the Golden Dawn, Freemasonry, Ordo Templi Orientis, and words associated with each of them Heremetics, Kabbalah, Theosophy, Thelma. All this, all these labels were opened doors that would make sense if only I navigated them.
That first week showed an immense sort of promise. I studied intensely, and loved every moment of it. A surprising benefit was my newfound ability to sleep as well. Never have I slept like that. At the end of the day I craved my bed and a rest from the constant study. My dreams brought with them their own insight, my subconscious talking to my conscious. The idea of that would have seemed silly to me before, people don’t get divinely inspired dreams. But, what people do have is a subconscious and the need to communicate in symbols. Perhaps that is the best way to describe that first week in retrospect. I was captivated by new symbols, complex meanings, and I conversed endlessly with myself and gained a sense of higher inspiration.
My second week showed a somewhat climax for my first thirty days. This is comparable to that new love feeling giving way to reality. It doesn’t mean I loved my studies less, but the fascination gave way to application and practicality. Knowledge brings with it change, and this is the moment I felt that so clearly. That’s why things seems to level off for me. I finished one book, but then didn’t want to start another. My dreams seemed to taper off. There was a new mindset taking place, and I didn’t recognize it. My habits, or potential habits, took over, and I stuck with routine through that leveling off. Thankfully, I saw the importance of doing this because it pushed me to keep going. Self-criticism is tough, and I’d like to think I dealt with it pretty well.
Transitioning into that third week, I can see now a slow recognition taking place. There was the feeling of having lost my religion. Intuitively, I knew that Wicca was no longer what I was practicing. At the same time though, I refused to acknowledge what I was starting to understand. I clung to Hellenism knowing full well I had little in common, at least in terms of practice, with Hellenists. Excuses for this abound, and I know why I did it. Still, I told myself I was blending Hellenism with Kabbalah. That wasn’t true, at least not really. I was actually combining my understanding and way of relating to the world with the Kabbalah. In truth, I was shifting philosophies, seeing if mine blended seamlessly or not. This was actually the first step of taking on a new spiritual identity.
The process of taking on a new spiritual identity was not easy. There was actually a lot of hurt and issues to overcome. It’s worth noting that I was desperate not to give up my old gods. My Greek Pantheon is so important to me, and Greek Mythology has lessons that know no limits. I feel at home when talking about Ares and Athena. Why would I want that to change? There’s comfort in spirituality. At the same time though, I recognized my philosophy. My philosophy was largely shaped by the Western world. Not too surprisingly, I found Ancient Greece included in the Western world. This was just an extension of my beliefs, the next level. Neither one was better than the other, they were made to go together. Progressions are natural, but not exactly easy.
There are times, within any moment of change, that we aren’t proud of. We’d like to think that we’re better than we are. This is only human, in fact, it might be the very definition of human. That’s what this stage was like for me. I’d like to say I didn’t have to deal with any hardship because embracing beliefs is easy. But, at least for me, the new beliefs brought with them old hurts. These wounds, ones I’d thought already dealt with, opened without warning. Dealing with them was not easy, and in some cases, I still am. Let it be known here and now, I’m a female that has been deeply hurt by the religion I grew up initially. Many women complain that Christianity stifles them, or treats them as second class citizens, and I understand where these statements come from very clearly.
Healing old wounds that have been reopened is always the best solution. In terms of spiritual health, it is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. I don’t want to talk about this yet, but I find myself doing so nonetheless. The scalpel of improvement is sharp, and easily felt after the fact. For those wondering, I did move beyond the wounds it just wasn’t easy. In fact, I understand more about them now then I ever could before. This has led to actual closure, so I won’t have to return to a bleeding wound. Healing is indeed possible, but it takes trust, work, and honesty. The interesting thing is how clearly I can see the same hurt in others now without them even saying it directly. Some people are never able to move beyond the initial faith that hurt them, and I get that too.
At the end of my first thirty days, I discovered a different kind of reward for my effort. In many ways, I understand this is a small lesson. If this is thirty days, what about the whole year? That’s okay. I’m a little bit mystified that the curriculum I was on no longer fits me, but I found my own resources to form a new one. To me, that’s the end step in this first thirty days, learning to take initiative from the challenge. Resolve the challenge sure, but to also move beyond it for something new. Life is a journey, and where one journey stops, another begins. I have some great new habits too though, I do a card reading every day to meditate on, I journal my progress, and I even record my dreams!