After a long hiatus, I am finally back! I did not intend to take quite as lengthy of a break from writing as this, but I had to step away for a while to reflect. The last few months were challenging in many ways. And now it feels surreal to be in mid-November of 2020. We have had too much happen this year alone. And yet we are still in the middle of a ruthless pandemic, while continuing to face issues concerning racial equality. There is plenty to be said at a time like this. And I know I promised some resources and links before, so I will provide those in the next blog post as I will dive deeper into a few topics. With that said…what is this post about? I originally planned on writing about altered states in detail. However, this post will be more of a personal nature about doubt. I bring up doubt because in a spiritual sense when we question things, we look for answers in different ways, either through books or people—but having doubt when we thought we had answers reframes our state of mind. The past few months were a struggle about issues of identity—as an immigrant—as an American—as a witch—as a Hindu, and as an Indian American. Suffice it to say that I did not expect to face a spiritual crisis again, but life is not without its tests.
In late September this year, I signed up for a Yoga teacher training program in the interest of immersing myself in the traditions of my culture. For a while, I was confused and felt so removed from everything. I was concerned that I was not being true to my roots. I worried that I was somehow betraying my culture, that I was too “Americanized”, too witchy, not ethnic enough. The reality though is that I did not abandon the foundation—rather I have built on it. However, the fear of disloyalty permeated the center. I tried to turn away yet again from aspects of myself. I thought Yoga was the only way to feel more connected to my culture. While I loved the classes themselves, I was not ready for the teacher training. I was still very much a student. Despite being familiar with Yoga, it was new in a lot of ways. I also realized that I did not want any more “school” or certifications to teach—the training is extensive to be sure. It was clear to me after a few weeks that I also did not want to teach Yoga—I wanted to learn—as a practice for myself and a way of living. What also became evident to me was that I was falling into old patterns, patterns I thought I had broken away from, because I was desperate to understand myself. And the truth is that when I get desperate for change, I react impulsively.
Impulsive behavior, unfinished business, nervous talking, and a lack of confidence are all issues I have grappled with most of my life. They stem from doubts about how a person with a dual cultural identity lives as a balanced individual. When I wrote my first blog post as the Foxy Witch, I thought I had fully overcome the push and pull of this duality. But the seeds of doubt were waiting to be fostered. In the pandemic, they grew until I could no longer fool myself into thinking I had been liberated from those beliefs. I had hoped that Yoga teacher training would straighten me out. But I was looking for a band aid solution to my doubts and fears. Yes, Yoga is beneficial and would enrich my life profoundly. I am certain of that and will continue to practice it on my own for that reason. But as far as signing up for the teacher training, I made that decision on the spot one day without thinking at all about whether it was right for me. I convinced myself in the moment that it was, but the thing is, I have a track record for not being able to follow through with decisions I make that are impulsive. I love spontaneity as much as the next person, but I know myself enough to recognize these patterns. I simply was not ready. And I needed to admit that truth.
Initially, withdrawing from the teacher training program left me with an incredible amount of shame. I was ashamed because I thought I would have learned to be less impulsive by now. I was ashamed because I thought I was abandoning my culture again. I was ashamed that I did not heed the advice of my family who rightly understood where my impulsive tendencies originated. I was ashamed because I felt I had let myself down for the millionth time. Once I processed those feelings, that was when I learned that if I wanted to accept myself, it meant I would have to listen to intuition versus the knee-jerk impulse. My intuition had told me to slow down, because I was not ready for commitments of any kind and to pay attention to the mental and physical signals.
Fast forward to a week or so later after I quit the program, I slowly started to accept the decisions I made and turned inward. I should also mention that the decision to quit the program was one I spent time carefully deliberating as well as consulting with family. So, all in all, I decided to take a long, hard look at who I really was. I saw that I had doubts that ran deep and came from a place where I longed to fit in with something, anything. Today, I accept that I have these flaws. I am still sometimes a nervous talker, (yes, even with my family) because the need for acceptance can be a pervasive desire. But I also know that there are traits of strength and love that I rely on everyday. I had to let go of the old stories that placed me in a state of perpetual doubt. I think I kept myself in a kind of metaphorical limbo so that I would never forget the mistakes I made. In some ways, the irony was that I made more mistakes as a result, because I was just going in circles. These were after all the stories I believed about myself. The impulses, the doubting, the nerves—I had somehow let them dictate the sum, the totality of who I am. As soon as that realization hit me, I began to peel away the layers and dig deep.
I can say now that I accept that I have a duality about me, that I am a person with a distinct cultural background, that I am an American too, and that I tend to straddle the line with fringe paths, the occult mysteries—but I also follow the philosophical teachings of my background, and am definitely a Hindu at the core. I do not have all the answers. I may not ever have all the answers. But I have a stronger, better sense of self. From the depths of the shadows to the light at the end of the tunnel, I am journeying on, seeking truth and knowledge. If you read my personal story post all the way to the end, thank you. If not, I understand! It was a long one as always. The next post deals with different realms. Until then, be safe and have a wonderful rest of the month. With love, the Foxy Witch. Namaste.