Friday, February 25, 2011

How May I Service You Today?

Today Thorn Coyle blogs about Service is Power which is something very near and dear to my heart. I've considered myself a v. service oriented person and all wink wink Secretary references aside, it can be challenging to explain how and why this is part of my spirituality.

I think service can be a difficult concept to our community because there are obvious services that many of us do not do. Helping at a soup kitchen or a domestic violence helpline, volunteering in Haiti, etc. If you do those things, you are truly an angel. But many of us get too bogged down in our daily lives and it can be challenging to get involved in a larger more global cause. To that I say two things:

1. Think globally, act locally.

2. What do you give a fuck about?

The first one is to indicate that you need to think about all the things you hopefully do for your more immediate family, friends and community. Maybe you don't volunteer at a shelter, but unfortunately, most of us have known friends who got themselves into a situation they can't get out of. And sometimes, for some of us, there is a light of some kind that we happen to be in the right place at the right time and the other person is in the right mindframe so that when you say, Honey, this has got to stop. Right now. The other person replies, You're right. And it's going to, right now. Maybe you don't volunteer at a soup kitchen but you take your unemployed friend out for dinner. Or maybe you volunteer your time and energy into your local pagan community and you make the feast or offer to do registeration for a larger pagan event. Think carefully about all the small kindnesses you do in a day - when you listen to a friend cry, when you help a sibling move, when you watch a cousin's baby for an hour, all of those services big and small that you do. And ask yourself, could I do more? Because . . .you probably could. Make your mom dinner one night, buy your friend her coffee for no reason, watch a coven mate's kid for two hours so she can sleep, all of those things that we do out of love and out of kindess are some of the best human experiences there are. And if you grit your teeth and do something nice anyway when you don't feel like it? The Jewish faith calls that a mitzvah and it counts even more. I believe that, I really do.

The second part is what my first year women's studies class professor very exasperatedly said to us when she had enough of us that day. And I find it guides my life. What do you give a fuck about? What is more important to you than anything? What do you believe in more than anything? What is your driving force? What gets you out of bed in the morning? It forces you to cut through the bullshit and focus on what is really important. You can't save all the starving orphan nuclear whales in Africa. So what is more important to you than anything? For me it was Hurricane Katrina. So important that I signed up for the Red Cross and was willing to go, even though I was shit scared and didn't know what to expect. I went to my training, I got all my paperwork done and I was ready to do it. I talked a lot to my exbf who was home from Iraq briefly and I felt stupid about being scared, I wasn't even going to leave the country. But he said there's always someone who got there before you, who managed to make an IV out of duct tape and a ziplock bag. That's okay. You'll be there when you go. I didn't get called, but I did fund raise for Katerina. And if abortion became illegal, there are a lot of things I'd be willing to do there. Where will you lay yourself on the line?

Finally, as Pagans and magic users, I think service can be sort of . . .pushed aside. It's not cool, it's not cynical, it's not furthering whatever your Master Plan for World Domination (tm) is, it's not something you can really sneer while doing. We're all adrift anyway, man. Service forces us to look beyond ourselves. Service forces us to wear our hearts on our sleeves. Service forces us to be sincere. And frankly, as a whole, these are things we are not good at. And we need to be. Service isn't v. glamorous, it's generally doing shit work that no one wants to do, but man, it recharges me way more than anything else, way more than ten episodes of Degrassi, way more than Drawing Down, way more than High Priestessing, way more than meditation. I would really honestly and truly rather be washing dishes in the back than leading a rite. Service really and truly is where my heart is, I feel like I am as close as I possibly can be to touching the gods when I am serving others. Honestly, I think at the end of the day, service is what binds kitchen witches together because it tends to be something we all do, no matter if we're a witch in the woods or a soccer mom with 2.5 children and a white picket fence. What's more beautiful than that to bind us all together?


Theo Huffman said...

Bravo! Couldn't agree more. I, too, am into rolling my sleeves up and grabbing a broom whenever there's some social event going on, and I help my mother-in-law with the mountain of dishes at family dinners.

This came to me late in life. I shudder to think how passive and selfish I was when I was younger.

AMORC is very big on emphasizing that the fastest way to advance spiritually is to serve your fellow human beings in any way you can. It is something that all orders should teach, and teach adamantly.

We are here to serve each other, that is why we are incarnated together. It's as simple as that. And anyone who develops special powers and skills (I am looking at YOU mages and sorcerers!)is obliged to use them for the benefit of others.

Again, I heartily agree with your posting.

Rufus Opus said...

Finally, as Pagans and magic users, I think service can be sort of . . .pushed aside. It's not cool, it's not cynical, it's not furthering whatever your Master Plan for World Domination (tm) is, it's not something you can really sneer while doing.

I'm in the more cynical camp regarding Service, personally. Still advocate it, for purely hedonistic reasons, but yeah, I resent it.

Anonymous said...

I am the guiltiest guilty person who was ever guilty. *sigh* I suck.

But I guess that just it. I have all this energy I put toward self loathing because I want to be the one out there helping the world.

I wanted a career at a non-profit. I wanted to march in a protest. I wanted to help with my local Pagan Pride Day. I want to help around the house.

But I didn't and I can't and I don't know if I ever will. I hate myself for not helping because I know others need it. I hate myself for accepting help and not being able to give it. I hate watching others sacrifice and go without just so I can go on living.

It feels like something inside of me is slowly being suffocated by a boa constrictor. Even if I didn't hate myself for being so useless, I know that thing would still be inside me suffocating.

So every day I to pray/mediate/recite mantras/whatever so that maybe that thing won't die. Maybe if I try hard enough They really will hear my pleas for Libya, my mom's job, etc. Maybe if I can give of myself spiritually than maybe I won't have been for nothing.

Right now that seems like all the service I can give, but never seems enough. Somedays it hurts worse than others. Today is one of those days, where I'm in so much physical pain that I can't stop crying and I feel like I'm going to vomit and I know I don't make sense.

My service is highly disproportionate. I have a lot to make up for if I ever can.

Deborah Castellano said...

@ Scrib - thank you for all your kind words :D

@ Queen - But you're doing a lot more than that, you're raising awareness about a little known condition and working with people to do that. That's a big deal. And you work with the land spirits and you love your mom like whoa and you always do whatever you can do whenever you can do it to help friends. That's a big deal! Don't sell yourself short!

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