Something that isn't discussed very often is how hard the path can be in Spirit Keeping. In many, many different ways and with new challenges cropping up all the time.
Potentially on the surface it looks like it should be a pathway to success. To have an arsenal of companions with abilities that humans can only dream about, ready to help you and guide you. And in many ways, it can be. But there's a lot of struggle in between that isn't always talked about.
There's the concept of it entirely, it's a niche in the spiritual world. In a world where you expect everyone to be open minded- because everyone claims to be - you still may often face off against people who scoff and laugh at the concept. You may have to keep this part of your life entirely secret as well. That can be very draining...
There's figuring out what type of being you mesh well with.
And figuring out how to recognize a calling...
And trying to learn to communicate...
And sometimes fear as well....
There's likely even more than that as everyone is different, every path is different, every experience is different. And that in itself can be stressful! I can't tell you the number of times I've talked to people who were at their wits end trying to communicate with their spirits, putting insane amounts of stress on themselves, and all because someone else (a friend, someone they know on a forum, another keeper they read about) CAN do those things.
It's hard to see someone else have something that you want, but it's horrible to try and live with that pressure. Not to mention, putting that sort of pressure on yourself is pretty much a death sentence to communication. Clamps you right down, nothing can get in no matter how much it wants to.
Doubt, too, is a killer in this world. But it's hard to stay away from it, isn't it? It's so easy to be the person who tells someone "Just don't doubt yourself. The moment doubt creeps in you shut yourself off to experience." Nearly impossible to be the person who has to put it into practice. Your mind wanders, you start wondering if all of this is even real. Then you have smug practitionner telling you 'just avoid doubt'.
Sure, lady. Easy peasy. Not.
Fear does the same thing as doubt, but how can you just NOT be scared? That's kind of against the primal human nature. And would be asking an awful lot of someone to just 'not be scared' when fear creeps in.
All of these things can create a vicious circle and one that a lot of people get trapped in. It makes what should be a wonderful path and wonderful calling sometimes horrible. Sometimes this world becomes a weight that pushes you down instead of lifting you up.
But you know what? That's okay. It really is.
Start by recognizing when you're feeling more upset and stressed by this path than happy. Just be honest with yourself that maybe you ARE feeling overwhelmed by everything. By letting yourself feel that, by admitting the truth of your situation, you start to alleviate the pressure. The more you try and insist you aren't feeling that way, the more pressure you feel. So just... admit it. Because there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way.
Next, try and isolate what is causing you the most stress. This can be just about anything from being unsure about a new companion you've brought home, to wanting more companions than you can afford, to not being able to communicate the way you want, to worrying that you aren't spending enough time with your companions. (Spoiler - Your spirits don't care how much time you do or don't spend with them. They have eternity stretched ahead of them, the entire life span of a human is a drop in the bucket, so a few days, a few years a few decades of not speaking to them directly? Not a big deal... ;) )
It can be ANYTHING ELSE as well. Not just what I've listed above. Anything.
Write it down. Doesn't have to be in a journal, it can be on the back of a receipt from last Christmas that's jammed in your pocket. And then look at it.
Decide if there's anything you can do to make it easier. No stress, though, simple solutions only.
Examples of simple solutions can be- To stop comparing yourself to others, to simply not worry so much, to try a new method of communication just for fun, to ask for help from a practitionner you trust, to give things some time and decide later.
Just really simple easy things. And give yourself permission to only care about the simple solutions.
Now, I know that the human brain doesn't always do 'simple' effectively. And that you can think of a simple solution and definitely swear you will stick to it, but that doesn't stop your mind racing a million miles an hour and turning the simple solution into something much bigger.
This is like fear and doubt and uncertainty... They spiral out of control, often without you doing anything about it.
So when that happens, when your mind starts buzzing and working you up and building things into mountains again... Let it.
No seriously, let it. Let it fly off the handle until you start to calm down naturally. Because if you try and stop it when it's getting going... well have you tried trying to catch a mosquito in a dark room? Kind of the same level of difficulty. (And yes, I'm sure some people are awesome at catching mosquitos in dark rooms..)
Once you start to calm down naturally, just continue with working towards the more simple solution. This way, you aren't fighting yourself. You aren't fighting the natural way your mind works in times of stress. You're not censoring yourself, you're not puting even more pressure on yourself. Just let it happen, and when it passes, go back to what you were doing before.
This isn't easy, none of this is. I won't try and tell you that this world and this path is all roses and happiness all the time. And I won't try and make you believe that the solution to help yourself is easy either.
This path is about dedication. It's about expanding your mind and your world. It's knowing that your path is going to be completely and utterly different to everyone else's. That every spirit, every person and every experience is unique.
You will hit stumbling blocks. You will sometimes have to censor your conversation around people who either don't believe or you just don't want to tell. And that's hard! It's really hard.
You'll have a million moments of doubt. A million moments of uncertainty. A million moments of despair.
But this path is worth the walk. It's worth the work. It's worth everything you have to face. Because no one can duplicate your experience. This path is something that is truly yours.
This path is what you make of it. What are you going to make of yours?