Once again I find myself driving home from work with a zillion thoughts zinging around in my head. As I drive I’m mentally preparing a list of the things I have to do that evening, that week, that month. There are the usual mundane things I have to do – laundry, housework, meal planning, yard work. If that wasn’t enough to do, there are items that I have to do concerning my spiritual practice. I have to get ready for Full Moon. I have to write ritual for Hekate’s Feast. I have to work on my page and my blog. I have to, I have to, I have to. Wait! Oh no! I’ve caught a bad case of the “Have Tos”.
The “Have To’s” is an insidious little virus, infecting us all from the moment we are born until the day we move on. We can’t seem to get away from them, all those pesky things we think we “have to” do. They hound us, wake us from our slumber, give us anxiety when we can’t get them all done. But do we really “have to”? Think about it? Who is demanding that we “have to” do anything? What do we truly “have to” do?
Okay, I am not advocating that you stop doing everything. Yes, there are those things we should do in order to take care of our well-being and the well-being of those we have chosen to place in our charge. We must eat, drink, breathe, love, work in some fashion to feed ourselves and provide ourselves and our charges with shelter, and, eventually, die. That’s it. Really. Everything else we do is a choice.
Yes, a choice. The way you eat, drink, keep fit physically (or don’t), your spirituality, are all choices. How, who and when we love are all choices. Where and how we live are all choices. Even how we die can be a choice, though it is an inevitability. When we understand that these things are choices we begin the eradication of the dreaded “Have Tos”
“But I have obligations,” you say. “What about those?” Just think on it for a moment. What are obligations? They are those tasks that society, family, or ourselves have placed upon us to perform. But you as an individual have a choice as to whether or not you wish to accept that task. You can choose to go your own way, behave how you wish, society be damned. Or you can conform to keep the peace, the status quo. That’s okay. It is your choice, either way. Truly, it is.
The infection of the “Have Tos” is not just contained to our physical life, but infiltrates into our spiritual and Witchcraft practices. Please, leave the “Have To’s” outside our circles, covens, and groves because once they get in, they are a bitch to cure. Those “Have Tos” fog our senses and cause us to forget why so many of us chose our paths to begin with. Catch that? Chose our paths. We shouldn’t “have to” honor the Sabbats or follow the moon cycles. We should want to. We don’t “have to” meditate, commune with nature or honor our Gods. We choose to, desire to, are happy to. As Witches, Wizards, Druids, or Pagans we have the power to choose how we practice, when we practice and why we practice. It really is that simple.
The “Have Tos” is a horrible infection but it can be cured with time. To do so we must desire to unlearn years of programming and prescribe ourselves a big dose of Free Will. You remember that? The Gods gave it to us for one reason, that we may choose our own destiny. Yes, the cure can be painful. Sometimes the choices we make may hurt ourselves or others and could be downright dangerous or horribly wrong. But we learn and grow from our mistakes, healing ourselves with each freely made choice.
Curing ourselves of the “Have Tos” does not mean we will never do things we don’t truly want to do. It just frees us to choose the how’s and why’s we are doing them. Society will not crumble because we choose not to mow the lawn today, leave a job you hate, don’t go to that family function for someone you detest, or run yourself ragged with your perpetual list of “have tos.”. Once we are cured, freed of the “Have Tos” we become happier, more relaxed and, ultimately, more productive members of this society and the world. So what are you waiting for? Take the cure.