How Wiccans Can Handle Stress and Prejudice
We all deal with stress in our lives. However, members of a minority religion face additional stressors. Many Wiccans and Pagans in general have experienced some form of prejudice and some have even been the victims of hate crimes. These and other terrible acts upon us can really take a toll.
Although I am fortunate to live in the San Francisco Bay Area where there is more acceptance of people with differences, I have still faced prejudice. I have lost friendships and suffered the actions of intolerant people.
So how can we combat the stresses of such actions?
First, assess the situation. Can you educate the offending person? I have been in situations when the offending person thinks he’s right and will hear nothing that differs from his beliefs.
Make sure no one is being harmed. There is a big difference between offensive words and physical violence. One may need to take action. Maybe you need to quickly get to a place of safety. One might even have to call 911 for police intervention.
Take care of your own feelings. Before I get caught up in an aggression tornado, I remember to simply breathe. Concentrating on your breath is a great way to help yourself calm down. Then you can take control of the words that come out of your mouth. You can’t control what they say, but you can control what you say and do.
Find your way to compassion. The Gods and Goddesses love their children (all of them) so become the Goddess in her nurturing state. Let her energy flow within you. Let the Goddess help you select your words. Avoid words that sting, instead say something constructive and nurturing to the conversation. How would this sound? One way to respond is: “I heard what you said. That’s not what my life is about. I’m leaving this room.”
When I say compassion, I do not mean let them walk all over you. The idea is to make space in yourself to understand those who are ignorant of your beliefs. They don’t know what they are talking about. To take their words personally gives them power. Do not let that happen. Do not give these untruths any power.
Renew yourself. Once the incident is over, take some time to do a Breathing Meditation. I know how much it helps as a salve to the wounds their words have left.
Find a quiet place where you know you will not be disturbed. Silence your cell phone or home phone. Get comfortable and relax. You can burn some of your favorite incense and light a candle. I find dimming the lights to be helpful.
Here is the process:
As you relax, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathing in and out deeply, envision a beautiful white light shinning down and surrounding you. Next, deeply breathe in that light, pulling in the beautiful cleansing properties of it. Hold this breath for the count of three.
When you breathe out, picture a black smoke made of those toxic words, actions and emotions. You expel the black smoke from your body. Imagine the black smoke absorbed and purified by the light around you. After your exhalation, hold your breath for a count of three. This is where you acknowledge the transformation of energy.
Continue this process until you feel you have expelled all of the negative comments/feelings/energies that were placed upon you. Finish this meditation by thanking the Gods for their shinning light.
May this meditation renew you and free you of any negative effects created by prejudice.
Once free of toxins, you can experience the blessings of life with the Gods and Goddesses.