Settling Back In (or, Starting from Scratch).

Things are starting to come together into a comfortable routine in Sobeq-land. It’s been a hell of a journey here. This time last year, I was just settling into a hotel suite to wait for my childhood home to be raised ten feet, and rebuilt from a total disaster zone. I’d spent two months living in a gutted structure where only two rooms had electricity, no hot water, no shower, no kitchen, no bathroom walls. Now, I have a place of my own with a loving fiancé; I am planning a wedding, my sister is having a baby, my family is mostly healthy (or at least, physically stable) — things are good. It is time to rebuild everything else, take steps back to stability in my personal and spiritual life.

It honestly feels like I am starting from scratch. I have lost the momentum I had before the storm. Psychologically, there is motivation simply in having had a consistent practice. It is harder to break a streak than it is to continue it. Now, it has been so long since I was able to maintain a daily ritual practice that inertia is keeping me down. A priest in motion tends to stay in motion; a priest at rest tends to stay at rest. I suppose.

Building that momentum is harder too, now. As I prepared to become a priest, I built my momentum with excitement and anticipation. I did Senut every day, knowing that soon I would open my shrine for the priesthood’s daily rite. I was proud, my gods were proud — it felt new, joyful, full of promise.

Now I feel guilty. It is true, when we came back from the hotel suite our house still had no shower. It is true, I could not do the Rite while I had contractors milling in and out of my rooms, leaving screwdrivers on shrines and tracking dirt and debris. It is true, that not long after that ended, I got engaged and my life became a flurry of activity; and then I made plans to move, and the semester started, and the holidays came upon us… and now here we are. It is true that all of these things make it difficult to come back to shrine, and that I could never have anticipated any one of them until they happened. And yet I still  feel guilty, I like I should slink back to my shrine with my tail between my legs. Every time inertia gets the better of me, I feel worse.

I think that’s what makes it harder to get back up when we fall — that wave of guilt that comes with having stepped back. Not only are we trying to battle inertia, but our own internal monologue of shame. If each time we tried to rebuild we could access that flurry of excitement and anticipation, would it be easier to come back from hiatus? I think so. It’s that guilt and shame that can lead people to give up on their goals; we consider even the rebuilding process a failure, because it feels so uncomfortable. What if we could see it for what it is? What if we recognized that this is the same process we went through once before with joy?

The Christian New Testament has that lovely parable of the prodigal son. Kemetic thinking has Zep Tepi, the world made new each dawn. Weeks ago, my Father said something to the effect of, “don’t worry about what you were doing yesterday; do it today like you’d always been doing it this way.” In other words, forget how many times you went to sleep instead of going to shrine. Forget how many times you could only bring your prayers, not your purity. Forget all the times you knelt before the shrine emptyhanded, because you could not bring offerings. Come as though you’d always come, pure and eager, with arms full of incense and flowers for the gods. And so I go, each day that I can, as though the last day were the same as the present one.

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