Accomplishment and Odin

Well, I haven’t posted anything here in a long time. That is because I have said many of the things that I had created this blog to say, and I only find it worthwhile to make a post if I have something worthwhile to say. I refuse to post filler just to be putting something out there. However, with the extra time on my hands while the nation is under lockdown, I have been thinking about heathenry and spiritual development.

More specifically, I have been thinking about various issues I have concerning accomplishment and perfectionism. In all areas of my life, from my time in college to my martial arts to my research, I have always been driven to measure how well I am doing by how much I have accomplished. The trouble is, a lot of the things I have always been involved in are long term projects, and that inevitably means that there are a lot of times when I work and work without making any progress, or life gets complicated and I can’t get anything done. That gets frustrating, of course, but it has also always tended to get me angry, depressed, and rather stressed out.

This is an entirely appropriate approach to life, in one way, as I am an Odinist, and Odinists are kind of supposed to be driven by achievement. We also tend to be obsessive. These things are a big part of why we tend to get a lot of things done. Hel, for me, “relaxation” means doing work that I am interested in instead of doing work for other people. It is difficult for me to stop doing things enough to watch a movie or a few episodes of a TV show. The only way I take a day off, in the way most people mean that phrase, is when I am made to by some outside force. This way of living is how I have managed to redevelop the practice of the berserkergang as a formal martial art, write several books, and much more.

It’s taken me a lot of years to realize that this attitude toward life is also something that gets in the way of getting things done. I have come to understand that pushing myself as hard as I can, all the time, is only good for short term gains. In the long run, it sets you back more. It’s like running at top speed through the woods. Over short distances, you make more progress than if you walk. Over long distances, you inevitably run into a tree, knock yourself out, and make less progress than if you had just walked. Something similar is true of too much focus on perfection. If you spend all your time trying to get everything perfect, you miss doing more things well enough, and you do less overall.

Now, I have always seen pushing myself relentlessly as an appropriately Odinic path in this world. After all, Odin’s path is one of hardship, of growing through challenge, deprivation, and sometimes even through pain. And that is all true, as far as it goes.

But my thinking on the matter did not go far enough. Have you ever noticed how heathenry has rather a lot of gods of war? Each of them serves a different purpose. They say you pray to Thor for the strength to win, to Tyr for the skill to win, and to Odin if you just want to win, period. Odin is crafty. His greatest weapon is his mind, and does whatever it takes to win, even if the methods are sometimes unorthodox. I have been learning, of late, how much more like that my approach to life should be.

Better to walk when I can, and sprint for short distances when I need to and when I can get away with it. Deliberately take a day off in the way that most people mean that phrase, every now and then. Learn, in other words, from the Old Man, whose example and advice is always of great value.

I seem to have some things I work out, spiritually. So I will probably be active here again for awhile. Good luck to all of you out there in virus-land, from my underground bunker. (Well, basement room in a boarding house. Close enough.)

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