Moving On Gracefully: Leaving Your Spiritual Group

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While there are a lot of warnings and admonishments regarding what to look for in a spiritual community

there is very little to rely on when you are contemplating moving on.

Most folk consider leaving after some kind of personal

blow up. They feel misunderstood or mistrust the

leadership of the group. In a heated discussion they

decide to quit. There usually isn’t a lot of thinking

about it, more of a emotional reaction. Their anger

or feeling of victimization usually soothes them for

quite a while after leaving as well as the stories

they sometimes tell of how horrific things were for

them. Most of these folk are new, less than 1 year in

the organization and its easy to fall back on the

cliche that ‘it just wasn’t right for them’.

But what about the seeker who has devoted a inordinate

amount of time to the group, let’s say over 5 years?

A personal blow up isn’t going to cause a dedicated

member to lose her cool and quit…At least not right

away. She knows disagreements come and go, as well as

people, but she’s committed to her path and the

Deities she serves.

What type of things should she consider? The retreat

that she’s organized faithfully for the past few

years? Or the land that the group purchased with a lot

of hard work and sweat where she planted a grove

dedicated to Diana? Should she continue to work on the

newsletter that only she knows how to layout? Or

should she stop doing the outreach programs to local

schools and media that she does every Samhain?

She is acutely aware of the part she plays in the

group and what she will miss as well as all of the

things connected to it.

What types of things could she look at to help the

decision and resulting transition to move as smoothly

as possible?

Here’s a several ideas and suggestions to think about

when dealing with the decision to leave a coven,

circle, temple, or other type of spiritual

organization.

These suggestions only work if the organization you

are involved with respects and trusts your judgement

of what is right for you. This may sound ludicrous

for some folk but a lot of organizations do not. If

you are involved in a organization that doesn’t

encourage you to review your journey with your

spiritual leaders, to sit down and be honest about

your thoughts of leaving and why, and doesn’t offer

you any support during the transition in a healthy

manner, these suggestions may not be useful to you as

a tool to use with the leadership but to work with in

a journal or a supportive friend or counselor.

1. Review your commitment to the organization. Before

you leave completely consider gently passing on taking

on new responsibilities. Perhaps you may find another

path of service to the organization as fulfilling as

the one you last held.

2. Take a sabbatical. Time away from a situation can

lend some clarity to it that being involved cannot.

3. Realize that you may have grown and changed in some

ways you aren’t completely aware of. For all of the

rhetoric of facing your shadow-self and the related

drama you may have simply reached a point in your life

where you are ready to pursue another path of personal

growth. If you are fortunate you may be able to

maintain your same spiritual family, but then again,

you may not.

4. If you are feeling that the group is stagnant,

consider organizing a new program with the support of

the group. You may feel as if the group isn’t

growing. After mapping out the work hours and

resources needed you may choose to consider a new

outreach project or program to pursue within the

group.

5. Consider that you could be in resistance to growing

in the particular way that this group is supporting

you to grow. Sometimes as much as we think we are

open minded and flexible our spiritual path can act as

a magnifying glass to show us areas where we are not

as we see ourselves to be. Instead of quitting be

still and realize that the situation you are in just

may be something you simply don’t want to deal with,

not a situation to run from. It may be a challenge to

be faced.

6. Review your goals and boundaries within the group.

It is possible that you have met your original goals

for joining, or perhaps you didn’t have any when you

joined. Now with new responsibilities and changes in

your life you don’t have the free time you had before

to attend every group function. Look at what your

goals are. What are you in the group to do? Why are

you in this particular group? If you don’t know it is

important that you find out. It is easy to feel

unfulfilled when you haven’t any clue what

fulfillment is to you or how to measure it.

7. Look at the role you play within the group. If you

are involved in committees that aren’t working choose

to relinquish that role when your term on the

committee is up. Don’t have a term? Start encouraging

the group to set them. Not just for yourself but for

everyone involved. Burnout can be dealt with and

avoided with some planning.

Working with these ideas may make the difference

between revitalizing a spiritual organization or

leaving it altogether.

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Source by Meri Tahset