Last night I found myself musing about the conflict between rationality and intuition, and what defines “normality”. These thoughts were prompted by something I wrote on the cryptocurrency-powered social sharing website, Steemit. I’m not a very technically-oriented person – I still don’t completely understand the ins and outs of cryptocurrency – but I have enjoyed using my little page on Steemit as a means of expressing my thoughts and refining my voice as a writer. I wouldn’t have found the courage to set up this website if I hadn’t practised my blog writing skills on Steemit first.
The concept of courage – specifically, finding the courage to be authentic – has been on my mind lately. How many people manage to be 100% true to themselves at all times? Very few, probably … though I would argue that it is often necessary for us not to vocalise every single opinion we have. Courtesy asks that we hold our tongue at times, agree to disagree, and allow others to have their own beliefs, eccentricities and quirks, provided that no one is being harmed by them.
When I set up this blog, I hoped that it would become a space for me to be a little bit more courageous with regard to the parts of myself that have seemed far too “weird” to discuss until now. This blog is my own little corner of the Internet (aside from anything else, I paid for the domain name, so why should I waste that money being anything less than completely authentic? 😉) but up until now, I have been holding back slightly.
Spirituality has been a great interest of mine for almost a decade now. I am fascinated by shamanism. I have studied the energy healing modality of Reiki, under the direction of a kind, loving aunt whose beliefs are similar to mine. I don’t follow any particular path – largely because organised religion (or anything that resembles it) is off-putting to me – but if I absolutely had to choose one specific path, paganism would be it. I tend not to go on about these things in my everyday life, though, as many of my loved ones are avowed atheists and sceptics. I can absolutely understand why. Great harm has been wrought by fanatical religious beliefs and unchecked superstition throughout the ages.
My own personal philosophy is that logic and intuition are equally important. It is vital to have a sensible, grounded approach to life.
For as long as I can remember, the side of me that is highly attuned to mysteries and magic – the side of me that wholeheartedly believes in the power of dreams, intuition and imagination, whether my rational mind likes it or not – has been a very strong component of who I am.
In a recent post about a trip I took to the Botanic Gardens, I wrote about how my camera would not focus properly when I was attempting to take a picture of the elf’s face in my favourite tree. A strange mist seemed to obscure every picture I took. The elf’s face always came out blurred. The fact that my camera mysteriously malfunctioned for that picture alone – but worked perfectly for every other photograph I took – indicated to me that the elf seemingly didn’t want to have his picture taken. This didn’t strike me as all that bizarre. I simply accepted it.
I have fully accepted that strange things like the camera incident happen to me from time to time. I accept that mysterious, irrational forces have been known to exert their influence within my life in small everyday incidents like that, but I wouldn’t be inclined to shout about from the rooftops.
As stated earlier, the reason this spiral of introspection has been set off within me is that I was composing a nature photography post on Steemit last night. I intended to simply retell the story of how my camera had failed whilst trying to photograph the elf’s face, remark that this might have proven that fairies were real (brushing off the comment as a silly joke that I didn’t actually mean), and then quickly move on.
Instead, I found myself sharing the John DeLorean anecdote mentioned in the same blog post where I talked about the elf. I then directly posed the question “Do I believe in fairies?” to myself, before answering it in the affirmative … thereby unveiling myself as a “weirdo” to all and sundry who might happen to come across what I had written. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as scary as I had imagined it might be.
Do I believe in fairies? The rational side of me is inclined to scoff at the idea, but to be perfectly honest, if I were ever placed in a situation where I was asked to damage an area rumoured to be a fairy fort – much like the workers described above [in the DeLorean story] – I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I suppose that in the deepest corners of my heart – which cannot be controlled by logic or rationality – the answer to that question is yes. Yes, I do.
I didn’t expect to end up typing anything like that, but it has given me a sense of greater courage in some ways.
Up until now, I have steered clear of saying exactly what I want to say on the subject of spirituality, for fear of other people thinking that I’m a dreadful weirdo. However, everyone who knows me well already knows that I’m ridiculously, incorrigibly weird (my love of cheesy music and taste for horrendous puns are just two of the things that have alerted them to this fact) and they love me in spite of that. Discovering that I hold a great deal of affection for fairies – even in the face of there being no concrete, solid evidence that they exist beyond the realm of my own subjective emotions and experiences – is just one more piece of information to add to their “Aisling is weird” data bank.
Those who are completely baffled by what I’m saying, or who don’t hold the same beliefs that I do, can simply choose not to read about my various ramblings on the subject. Enough hesitation. I will press “publish” now, and as I move forward with this blog, I will try to find the courage to be authentically, gloriously weird.
The pictures featured in this post are the property of The Realm of Froud, which is led by Wendy, Brian and Toby Froud, three amazing artists whose work I love. Their website is here and their Facebook page is here.