Do you ever fall off the spiritual wagon? Do you get excited about a new course of study or vow only to lose steam a few days later? Do you buy books about spiritual topics that you never get around to reading? Do you feel like you’ve lost a connection to something sacred? Do you struggle to stay committed to the work your spiritual path demands? You’re not alone.
I’ve been a practising Pagan since I was in my teens and I fall off the spiritual wagon sometimes. Here are some strategies that can help you stay committed and passionate.
1. Forgive yourself
Nobody is perfect. We don’t always succeed at everything every time. Your setbacks and failures will not define your success. Don’t let them mean more than they do. Rather than feeling guilty, just reflect on the lessons. Choose to forgive yourself and start fresh. It’s the new year, after all, a great time for beginnings. Be kind to yourself and simply start over or pick it back up.
Sometimes we take on too much. We want to learn about tarot and Reiki and totems and how to make candles and more about Druidry and we want to write a few articles and teach some classes. And in the end, you’re just exhausted and you end up doing very little of it superbly.
Reconsider your list and be honest about your time and how much you can commit to various projects. It would be pretty wonderful to lead a life of study and devotion, but the reality is that we have to make dinner and clean the toilet. We also need to find the time to sleep, eat, work, and see our families and friends. This isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t take that class on Reiki at all, but ask yourself whether it has to be now or can it wait a few months when your schedule is more open.
3. Take it slow
It’s not that you can’t meditate, do yoga, make offerings, and perform divination every single day, but if you’ve never done any of them, trying to take on all of these at once might be too much. Start with one task and when that’s fully integrated into your routine, then add another, and so forth. It may take longer to establish the complete routine you want, but you’ll get there. It’s your life, not a race.
4. Have a plan
Create a plan. Write down what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you are going to get it done. It’s not enough to resolve to meditate. It’s more effective to commit to meditating for 10 minutes every morning and then creating the space to do it. It’s not enough to say you want to learn to read tarot and then drown in a pile of books and decks. It’s more effective to pick one deck and one book and work on them for an hour every week. Be specific and realistic. Write it down and refer back to your plan often.
5. Get social
One of the best ways to stay accountable, motivated, and inspired is to engage with other people with similar goals and who are already successfully doing what you want to do. Do you want to be better about tending Brigid’s flame? Join Ord Brighideach. Do you want to be better about celebrating the Sabbats? Do it with friends. Sometimes we are likelier to honour our commitments to others than we are to ourselves. Turn this to your advantage.
6. Remember the big picture
Why do you want to honour your gods and ancestors regularly? Why do you want to learn divination? Why do you want to create sacred art? There will be setbacks. It is normal and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Remember #1: forgive yourself. And remember the big picture. Knowing why you want to do these things, how they enrich your life, and how you feel when you’re not doing it will guide you back on to the path. Relish those moments of success and pleasure. Capture them somehow so that when you fall of the spiritual wagon, you can remind yourself how good it feels and be inspired to get back on it.