I’m drawn to the path of the hermit, to silence, and solitude or just the company of Tom, who is very easy to be silent with. To be out in the hills, or sitting with the dead, away from the noise of living, and the concerns of people. To be off social media, out of blogging, not trying to turn experience into meaningful words I can share.
There would be issues in doing this full time. If I was to be a hermit, someone else would have to support me financially in doing that. It’s one thing to retire from the world having retired, but my life stage requires me to be financially active. I have to engage with people to work, I have to source things from people, I also need to show up as a parent.
Much of the urge to go into the hills and listen to the wind and sit with the dead is selfish. These things are increasingly easy for me, and increasingly comfortable. It’s the living I find difficult. Some of the living, some of the time.
I stood in ritual circle on Saturday and committed to being more of a community Druid. I pledged myself to holding space for anyone who wants it, in ritual a few times a year, socially, and in support of people by whatever means makes sense at the time. I will try to be more open-hearted, more generous, more present.
A small number of people have managed to cause me a vast amount of damage, one way and another. The urge to flee, and hide, to slip into silence and non-participation is as much a fear-based choice as it is a call to the wild. I’m tired of being hurt. I’m tired of feeling vulnerable, and having that vulnerability exploited. I’m tired of people who use me. I know they have been the minority, but every occasion of being available, every round of being open leaves me afraid that the person I’m dealing with will turn out to be one of the unhappy few.
At the moment I have a lot of reasons to think about who I can work for and on what terms. I’m considering who I’ll be available to and on what terms. People I can say no to. People who can say no to me without knocking me down. People who want to spend time with me (however infrequently that’s viable) not people I forever feel like I’m chasing to no good effect. People who respect my boundaries and don’t pounce on me, and who are more interested in finding right answers than proving themselves right. Not people who need to compete with me or score points or prove something.
And so, holding my best guess at where the boundaries need to be, I am shuffling forward, to be more in service, to be a community Druid while holding hermit time for myself. All too often, to offer service can be an open invitation to be used by all-comers. I can’t sustain that any more. I don’t think it’s an ethical way to treat a person, and I am no longer willing to facilitate people in treating me unethically. I have no idea what will come of this, but perhaps I can do more without being worn down by it.