Tuesday, June 5, 2012

PBP: Failing and finding solace

There are times in our lives when we all fail at something, may it be a test, a project or at being a good person (or a bad one, depending on whom you wanted to be in the first place). Within Paganism, failing is widely considered another version of success. As long as you have tried your best, put in the effort and honestly gave it what it deserved, you have no reason to consider your failure anything else than as a teaching moment. And if you didn't give it your all, well, then you can still call it a teaching moment, only this time it tells you something about yourself.

I don't know about you, but I think failing at something is one of the worst feelings in the world. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and if there is one thing I... fail at, it's failing. Even the thought of failing something in the near future makes me nauseous, takes away my appetite and keeps me up at night. This is why I am writing this at 5 a.m; I am so stressed out, I can no longer sleep.

I don't fail often. If the task was insurmountable in the first place, I don't worry about it, I try my best and promise to do better in the future. I have learned to pick my battles. Yet sometimes, battles are picked for you and it is all you can do to scrape by, at the skin of your teeth, and hope you have done enough. I have a test next week and I'm not sure if I will pass. If I don't, it's going to be one hell of a mess. So I worry, and I fail in advance.

It are times like these when I try to find solace in my faith. I turn to mythology and try to find heroes in a similar situation to mine; at the start of a test so great, there is no way to tell if there is even a chance of success. I envision myself on deck of the Argo, heading towards Colchis to procure the Golden Fleece. I think of Hēraklēs, standing in front of Eurystheus' throne as it's proclaimed he must complete ten (or twelve) labors to redeem himself after murdering his children in a psychotic break induced by Hera. I think of Perseus, who must have stood in defeat as his stepfather Polydectes proclaimed he must bring him the head of Médousa. With heavy sighs, these men took up sword and shield and forged on. To do, or die. When the price for failing is that high, it can not even be an option.

Nor Iásōn, nor Hēraklēs, nor Perseus had to complete their tasks alone. Iásōn had the Argonauts, but all of them had the help of the Gods. Athena gave Perseus the Aegis so he could see Médousa without laying eyes on her directly, Hera helped Iásōn along his journey and Hēraklēs had the help of Athena, Artemis, the Centaur Khiron, Hēphaistos and many, many others.

And all succeeded.

So I try to find their strength of character and their faith in the Gods as I struggle along towards my own test. I may not be saving my life or that of any damsel in distress in the process, but in the grand scheme of my life, this thing is pretty damn important none the less.

So I will not fail and I will find solace in my faith. I will rise to the challenge and complete the task laid out in front of me. I will pick up my sword and shield and do my absolute best and I will pray for guidance, motivation and inspiration.

And, Gods will it, I will succeed.

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