Contemplating sacrifice

I’ve written before about all the reasons I don’t believe in or go in for sacrifice I come back to the issue at the end of a week that has broken me physically and left me with a very bruised mind. The latter is to a large extent a consequence of the former, pain and exhaustion being reliable depression triggers for me.

It hurts to type, but I’m here and typing the blog post anyway, because it’s what I do, and because if I stopped every time it hurts, most days  I wouldn’t get much done. Mostly I’ve learned not to notice what hurts my body, and I’ll take a fair amount of heart-hurting as well. Getting stuff done is important to me –the need to feel useful, the need to make a difference, however small.

There is a possibility that this week’s efforts could benefit me, in some direct way. There’s also distinct possibility that it won’t. Perhaps I have done enough to make a difference, perhaps not. It will be some weeks before I have any decent measure of what I have, or haven’t achieved here. There was possible scope to make a huge, positive difference. Did I do enough? There was no doubt in my mind that I had to give this my all, that I had to pour every ounce of strength, ability, passion and determination at my disposal, into what I’m doing. So I did that, and today I can hardly move and am tearful.

In a material sense, I have no idea if this was a price worth paying. I won’t know for a while. There may be differences already made that I cannot see. It’s also possible that I’ve just broken my body and battered my mind in order to change nothing. Except that perhaps, just perhaps, simply being willing to go that far and do that much of itself changes something. In terms of magical actions, that has to be a consideration.

What is a sacrifice if not the giving of something essential; life, time, blood, sweat, tears? What is the point of sacrifice if not to go beyond the ordinary, the viable, the normal and the likely to try and beget uncanny levels of change? Apparently that’s available as an option with no recourse to Gods. Simply that I have done this, and the reasons for which I have done it, changes me, if nothing else. I hurt with every last cell in my body. I do believe it was worth it.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

10 responses to “Contemplating sacrifice

  • syrbal-labrys

    Like you, I often am simply dissolved in pain. Like you, I have to ignore those who tell me not to get on with normal life obligations at such times — because I would get nothing done.

    I do sometimes get temporarily immobilized, and I find myself asking questions about just what the pain is “for”. Is it a warning to take note? Is it telling me to slow down in recognition of my age? Is it carrying a load for someone/something else?

    Then I tell myself navel-gazing time is over and go feed the geese, or the birds, or walk the dog. Or I go into the woods and lie down on a big erratic boulder. I don’t need to sacrifice; the need to band-aid the things my culture DOES sacrifice; and yes, sometimes I wonder if THAT is the pain I feel.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Sometimes we can not see immediately the value of what we have put so much of ourself into. So sometimes we have to wait and let things play on through before we can judge the value or the waste of what we do.

    Even waste has value in that we learn not to do that again and at least find other mistakes to make. Old mistakes are repetitive and boring new mistakes may help us learn something new.

    Meanwhile, so as to not become discouraged, we really do need to keep a list of what things that we ave done that work, and what we have learned from it. I often think that if we learned more from our successes that we would not have to learn so much from our mistakes.

    As to bruised minds, sometimes it requires a thicker skull. Mine is apparently pretty thick because I put a good dent into the steel of my pickup cab roof when I flipped the pickup over a Lincoln Town car a couple of times after colliding at 65 MPH. I only have twelve stitches along the ridge of my nose to show for it. I guess that means have a strong nose as well.

  • catchersrule

    I know where you’re coming from, and I agree, it’s rough at times like those. My central nervous system takes an automatic holiday when it’s too stressed, which for me means I HAVE to not do things more than watching television. But sometimes, there’s a kind of intermediate period when I literally can get a lot done during a day and at the same time can’t remember that I’ve done things, so I make a list and think “wow”. That’s very frustrating.

    I too have been told by various folk to take it easier when I’m not doing so well – and oh yes, that’s the worst of them all! At the same time I also know that if I overdo it at such times, my CNS will go into one of its “shutdown mode” periods and then I really won’t be able to do stuff.

    Is it possible for you to go at things more slowly when you aren’t feeling well? I won’t say “just rest” because I know how irritating that can be on the receiving end. Maybe modify the things you need to do a bit, though; that could help you at least end up in less pain (lol here I am typing this with arthritis in my wrists).

    (careful hugs from me, our cat, and the tree outside)

    • Nimue Brown

      Normally I am able to slow if I really need to, but I’ve had some exceptional things required of me this week, and the need to work miracles without the resources. It was a damn fine cause. I’d be happier if I knew it had worked out, and I can’t say it’s looking promising just now. But, not quitting, hopefully it wasn’t all in vain.

  • childrenofdemeter

    I understand a little of what you describe in your post today. Pain is an extraordinary thing. Its both a warning and a stimulus. It urges us on and it denies us. We can learn from it, use it, or be crippled by it. You choose to master it, to cope with it and it has made you stronger however wretched you may feel as a result. You are one more day beyond giving in and that is a fine place to be. I sincerely hope what you are striving towards comes to be.
    Bright blessing Nimue

  • Aurora J Stone

    The whole matter of pain and sacrifice related to doing something one believes in and hopes will make a difference is fraught, from my perspective.

    It can arise from the need to overcompensate for something missing inside oneself. It can be to mask something there is too much of going on in one’s life, quite often unpleasant. It can be from a genuine desire to do what one know needs to be done and ‘If I don’t do it then who else/no one will do it.

    The drive to achieve something is not inherently unhealthy. But it can get out of balance, like so many other things, and depends so much on what lies behind the drive, what drives the drive.

    I’m in no way saying this is in anyway true in this instance, but some people find the only way they know they are alive is to be in physical pain to push themselves to the point of exhaustion, not unlike those who must always be doing extreme sports or have to have the adrenalin rush, live on the edge. Frankly, I don’t understand this at all, nor to I admire such people.

    It is entirely different for those individuals a medical condition that means they are in pain all the time or can be if they are not careful. These people would do anything to have a pain free life, sometimes even a pain free moment. I admire their courage, grit and determination. They are an inspiration.

    The physical body is finite and fragile, as the soul/spirit is enduring and resilient. Part of the lessons we learn in life involve accepting our limitations and learning to be okay with them. To do that we have to push at or past them on occasion. For me when I do that alarms go off. It it made clear to retreat, to find again, not the comfortable place where I can be self satisfied and complacent, but to the place where I can have the energy and strength to be most effective. The challenge is that this place is not stable or static, it shifts around.

    Like so many other issues this one is bound with paradox and contradiction. I thank you for allowing me, by sharing this and other of your experiences, to ponder such matters and find out what I think about them.

    I hope what you have done bears fruit, or at the very least plants the seeds that at some future, indeterminate time there will bear fruit. Be gentle with yourself when you need to be.

    • Nimue Brown

      I think those are very good points, and the allure of a masochistic martyrdom is something to be wary of. Today I get to contemplate with Druids – apparently I do still know when to stop.

  • Aurora J Stone

    That is so good to hear. May your contemplation and the Druid companionship open the pathways of renewal of body and soul.

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