Life is all about balance right? Balancing the books, spiritual and mundane, balancing the life to work ratio, balancing time for family and self and so on. But what if you are the kind of person who finds the idea of balance difficult, claustrophobic, restrictive or just plain unachievable most of the time, what then? 

I expect you can tell by what I’m saying that I’m not feeling balanced at the moment. I need a proper holiday, my brain is in meltdown after pushing my emotional boundaries hard this year. Add to that the uncertainty, worry and strife across the world and things really are starting to get on top of me. I’m getting emotionally scratchy, anxious and fractious.

I think the insidious thing about anxiety, depression and all their ilk, is how they creep up on you. Like clever little Ninjas they wait until you are distracted then jump on you from a great height, a bit like Cato from the Pink Panther movies only not quite as funny. I have my very own Cato beating me about the head right now. Inside my head I have become the hapless inspector Clouseau taken unawares by this crazed ninja and am blundering about the room trying to fend him off with a stick, or, writing a blog post, which amounts to the same thing in my book.

The precipitating events that have lead to this comic scene are numerous. Once again I have made promises to myself which I have not been able to keep, not because I was lazy or capricious, it has been simple things like the wind howling about for weeks (another thing that makes me edgy) preventing the recording of my meditation projects, unexpected delays in other areas like getting my Etsy shop together again and many others. So Cato has been sitting in the wardrobe, stick in hand, waiting for his moment. Now! he thinks, go, go, go! Right when I’m doubting myself at every turn, piling the world and all its woes on my shoulders, Wham!, while I’m thoroughly distracted with the balance of my mind a fragile thing, he leaps and chaos ensues! 

A number of clues to my see-sawing state of mind should have been obvious of the over the past few weeks, restlessness, fractiousness, the need to break out, to run away, change everything, endless practical and emotional blocks all building to a crescendo of self sabotage. 

Monday was a fabulous day of self sabotage in several ways, writing an overly emotional post to my DnD group about the adventure being just too dark for me and not coping with that. My behaviour at the pub moot (pagan gathering to chat about pagan stuff) I went to that night when we drew our subject of discussion for the evening from the ‘Jam Jar of Possibilities’ (An actual jam jar with many bits of paper inside on which are written suggested subjects for discussion. We instigate a table drum roll and someone pulls a paper out of the jar. We then chat with the aid of the ‘talking beer mat’, same principle as a talking stick). We drew the question what is your personal pagan grail? I was handed the beer mat, first to speak, oops! I heard myself launch into an agitated monolog on how I felt about the mythic cauldron and the cauldrons within and how they are fundamental to a pagan path and so on. Now this is all stuff I feel deeply, but there was some disassociated part of me listening to how I was expressing myself and it was thinking, what is she on? She is not talking with passion she’s ranting and sounding clean off! 

So the next morning I went over to the allotment to see how the plants were doing after all the wind and I felt ill leaving the house. After tending the earth, both metaphorically and actually, I came home, tried to make myself some food only to realised I was shaking like a leaf. Epiphany! My own personal Cato had finally leapt from the wardrobe and had been striking me repeatedly for a couple of days in the form of a low level panic attack, I was in fact deep in the throws of battle! 

Ah! Now it’s time to practice what I preach about the cauldron and the grails I hold within my own body. It is time for me to go on a quest for my Fisher King, to dive deep, check out the state of things and re-finding my balance using everything the cauldrons have taught me over the years. A ritual grail quest is in order. I will make my way, spiritual weapons in hand to fend off ‘Cato’ as he lurks in the shadows ready to sabotage my progress through the labyrinthine passages of my own mind. I will be starting from the deepest cauldron, checking in with the energy it contains, giving it some positive vibes and a good stir, then letting that work its way up through my heart and on into the crown. Then perhaps everything will calm down and I can get on with being productive again.

The obvious irony here being Cato is actually the faithful retainer of the ridiculous Inspector Clouseau and only attacks him at his employers insistence, in order that Clouseau can keep himself sharp and ready for anything. I have often wondered if the best part of Cato’s day is when he’s viciously attacking the infuriating Inspector, I have some sympathy with Cato as a concept. 

Anyhoo! I’ve been here before, I’ve got this. It may take me a while but the ritual grail quest is finally under way. As usual lessons will be learned and with the help of the Nine Maidens who’s breath stirs the cauldrons, I will be rekindled, refreshed and renewed shortly.