Life Update 2018 + The Parable of the Raft

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I know I keep putting up the odd update here and there, but it’s purely to let you folks know that I’m still around and what’s been happening. From my last post I briefly explained that I had disappeared due to a police case, and that I was living through some hard times. Since then things went from bad to worse and it felt like I had been cursed somehow. However, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been slowly feeling like my old self, though I know I’ve gone through enough to have changed and developed more. I’d love to hold onto the happier and younger me, but like the raft in one of Buddha’s well known parables, I no longer need it, but to take a moment to acknowledge what I had been through will allow me to continue on in life.

The Parable of the Raft

I was recently reminded of this parable when I was just opening my eyes up to the fact that I had hit rock bottom. As positive as I try to be online, in the real world a few friends had noticed how much I had changed negatively over the last few years and a couple did come forward to help me regain who I was in the most patient and encouraging ways. Whilst revisiting my spiritual life, something I had weakened a lot during my depression, I started reading old Buddhist books I had bought myself years back. I always find myself picking up Buddhist, Thelemic or Luciferian theory when I’m at my lowest as they remind me of my humanity and the mindfulness I’m failing to honour myself with.

In this case, the parable, to paraphrase, focuses on a man who has come across a wide and deep river. Where he is fully aware of dangerous things around him and he doesn’t want to be in such a negative place. This is what leads him on a journey where he comes to the rivers edge. Across the way he sees another shore where things look nice, better, more inviting and decides he must get there. He can’t wade into the rough waters to cross it and he realises there isn’t a bridge in sight. After some time to think he decides on building himself a simple but secure raft to get across. He crosses the river safely and without too much issue, and lands on shore. Examining the new area he has come to he sees a path leading into the forest. Gathering up his things for his journey that must continue he realises that he doesn’t have space or the strength to carry the raft with him. He wonders what to do with the raft and begins questioning himself about whether he will need it once he sets off. He decides to leave it and focus on what will come as he journeys on. It is explained by Buddha that the raft was helpful for him to get across, but he doesn’t need it anymore.

The raft is a metaphor for Dharma (cosmic law/the nature of things). In my own personal understanding the parable isn’t about letting go of dharma, but rather letting go of my misunderstanding of of what I’ve known, been taught or believe for temporary situations. In other words, realigning who I was at one time in my life, (the dangers that the man encounters and lives with) in order to build my own raft to reach a better understanding of the lesson I was undertaking without realising until I came to the end of it (when he made it to the other shore). After I had learned that lesson, regardless of how sad, lonely and hard it was, I can now take what I’ve learned and keep moving on. So in this case the man wasn’t throwing away dharma, but rather acknowledging it and being thankful before continuing on with his journey. I hope that makes sense! That’s just my interpretation of it, as that particular Sutta has been interpreted in a few ways, I’ll link that particular Sutta at the end.

Similarly, after everything I had gone through, looking at my life retrospectively, do I need to take my raft with me?

An Update in Brief

It’s true what they say about the post-graduation blues, it hits you out of the blue whether you are prepared or not. At the same time as dealing with not being able to start my PGCE as I’d hoped and coming to terms with not planning another career and thus doing menial roles for the rest of my life, and living pay-check to pay-check, I had been stalked, doxxed and left to mourn the loss of everything I had worked hard for online. Except, I didn’t mourn at all as in my personal life someone else ended up going through a deep tragedy themselves and I had to focus on that for the last few years sidelining my issue to the back burner. In comparison what I had gone through was a slow burn and not the sudden shock the other person went through.

When things were getting bad they got worse. I ended up in a job, that in the beginning was lovely and kept me active, though I was naive, too nice and too supportive to others and in huge denial about the bullying I had to endure with the knowledge of many people doing nothing to help or support me with. The emotional turmoil eventually grew to such a height that I had stopped communicating with my friends or even writing in my journals, I stopped being creative and practically went invisible. Again, a handful of long time friends had noticed the change and did what they could to support me and help me build up just enough confidence to open my eyes to the constant negativity around me. Those years caused me to meditate a lot less. Instead of doing Resh or other meditations almost daily, I ended up doing a simple breathing exercise once or twice a month. I wasn’t casting, I wasn’t divining, nothing. I was too depressed and even my body was constantly making me sick to get me to just stay home, to stay in bed and just cry relentlessly. As with any situation in which you’re at rock bottom you wind up questioning yourself and wondering why everything is happening the way it was for so long. With the bullying at work I blamed myself for not being a chav enough to fit in, I hated myself for being a nerd and for being cultured, bright and too intelligent, which was the reason I was such a target for abuse and gaslighting. I went through such unfair and unnecessary crap, and was ignored even when I spoke up. It got to the point where I was instead being labelled “sad, a snitch, a loser, a cunt” by others. Eventually it all came to ahead when I was given a choice from senior staff members, either leave or deal with the daily issues and shut up.

It seemed, like the man in the parable, I had come to the crossing at the river. I can either stay on this shore where there is nothing for me or work my way across to the other side and continue on there. In this case my raft was my resignation in silence and loneliness. I had to be brave, build up my confidence again and reconnect with who I was before I lost who I was to other negative situations in my life. I had to be mindful toward myself again and go with the flow, to see what happened over the last few years as a long and painful lesson.

As for wondering whether I should take the raft with me, no. I won’t be taking it with me. What’s past is past, the good and the extremely bad, and I have to pick myself up and continue to heal as I continue on my life journey. I’m glad I can look at my life and know that throughout all the unnecessary crap I’ve remained wholly myself and nothing else. I’ve been through small moments where I adapt to new surroundings and new people, but whilst I adjust to a new habitat the person I was, the person I am eventually comes forth and unfortunately 90% of the time it rubs people the wrong way. It was only a handful around me that destroyed me enough to where I almost lost all that I was. For them it was for laughs, for a lack of empathy and understanding and mostly because they just didn’t give a shit about people they weren’t friends with. Even the nice people were fake and it was shocking to come to terms with, but without that long lesson I wouldn’t be on a great path of healing. I acknowledge I’m now on a new side of life and throughout it all I keep my faith strong, and my faith is my strong belief in myself and my own strength and connection to the universe within me.

Time to get back up when things fall apart…

Sy Calaelen

Ps. I’m playing around with opening titles and ending cards to get my YouTube channels back up and running. Watch this space I guess, x x x

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Author: Sy Calaelen

Sy Calaelen is a British writer, blogger and Youtube vlogger, though she isn't filming at the moment. English literature graduate. Both sites will focus on literary reviews, book lists, comic books and nerd chat, writing and novel tips, and discussions in magick, paganism and the occult. A mixture of everything from her. Reach out on social media from Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, GoodReads, and Pinterest.

4 thoughts on “Life Update 2018 + The Parable of the Raft

  1. It’s good to see you get back on your feet. To be honest I thought you had given up on this journey and disappeared from the face of the planet! Seeing that beautiful face of yours was a pleasant surprise, certainly. Good luck on your journey. I hope to keep learning from you ❤

  2. I know this is random and a bit late but I have been following you since you were known as shazzypbear on youtube back in 2009. You were my favorite witch to watch and I learned a lot about how I wanted to practice from you. I saw you recently posted video in honor of tiptoechick and got excited to hear how everything has been going since you left. Anyways I’m in very similar situation, graduated looking for job, had a rather chaotic and depressing year and realized I hadn’t really meditated or done yoga or esbat in over a year. So I’m also trying to reconnect with myself. Good luck and hope to see another video soon.

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