Looking in All the Wrong Places

I was inspired. Betchya didn’t see this one coming ;).

If you’ve read enough of this blog, you’ve read the gist of my spiritual and religious history. It’s chock-filled with doubts, insecurities, and slamming the door in God’s face OVER and OVER again. You also probably know that when I lived in Rhode Island I fell in LOVE with my church and the family I made there. And three months after leaving I still miss them all like crazy, and I still try to keep in touch with my closest friends. I sometimes wonder why I connected so much there. Maybe it was the progressiveness of the church – and how they TRULY accepted every single person who walked through their door. They actively advocated for people of all race, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, monetary status, etc. They accepted me in, a single, 20-something who began attending by herself – and I was taken in like a daughter by my new pastors and friends.

Okay, soppy shit aside, the point is, we Love one another. They took me in, Loved me, and I Loved them in return. Because that’s what it’s about. It took me a while to realize this. Growing up in a Roman-Catholic church, I thought I had to confess to a priest and get through the seven sacraments and become a nun and never, ever sin to find God. I thought that the only way to experience God was on a Sunday morning after CCD, sitting in that gargantuan, stained-glass castle, while I listened to the Priest tell me I wasn’t good enough and I could never confess enough for God, and read to me from a big ‘ol book that made NO sense to me.

I was young. I stopped attending church when I was 12. Before that, I did sing in choir, which gave me a new experience, and gave my voice the training it needed to actually be decent as I grew up, but I digress. In the ten years between leaving the Catholic Church and finding a way to worship again, I looked for God everywhere. I looked to ancient religions, modern religions, obscure religions. I also began to fear the word “God” and refused to think of Jesus as anyone remotely relevant. Some worked for a time, and some didn’t. But at the same time…my life fell apart. Again, if you’ve read any of this blog, you have an idea of what my high school and college years were like – I won’t get into that here it’s not the time. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was all for a reason. It was all a part of my journey. Do I hate that I went through it? Of course. But do I think God was smiting me and forcing me to suffer for no reason? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t trade my experience with my EDNOS or depression or self-harm with anything. Because it’s a huge part of who I am right now, in this moment, when I thank God for all the good that is in my life right now. 

Okay, I’m getting soppy again. MY POINT IS: I looked in all the wrong places, until I started to think of God differently. Instead of a big, angry man sitting in the sky judging me, I learned to see God as Love. Pure, unsurpassed, never-ending Love. And then I came to find my place in the church. And then I came to realize what I really believed about God, Jesus, The Bible, and worship. God is Love. And Love is everything. It’s everywhere. And it is the only thing that matters in this world. Jesus was a teacher, yep. And he taught about Love. He taught his followers to love God (or love, love, worship LOVE, experience LOVE) above all, and to Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. Not too hard.

I find God when I get on my yoga mat, and in the bustle of the downtown noise I find a moment of silence in my head and I can fully hear my breath, my heartbeat, and the essence of my life, that’s God. I hear God in your laughter, and I see Him when the world outside is so quiet I don’t want to move for fear of ruining it. God isn’t in a building, and he isn’t in a book. He’s in the people that make up your life – the good and the bad, because they are equally important. He’s in the ground and the trees and the storms and the wildlife. Do I love the Bible that I have on my nightstand? I do. It’s calmed me and comforted me in many a dark and distressful time, when nothing else could. Do I take every single word as rote law and creed? Hardly. Because I know it was written thousands of years ago by many, many hands in many, many languages and we often interpret it wrong. So I take what I need and leave the rest.

And I’ll always take the Love.

Have a beautiful day, xx.

 

“For your steadfast Love is before my eyes,

and I walk in your faithfulness.”

Psalm 26:3 (ESV)

Fighting for Home

I’ve been in such a whirlwind the last few weeks. It’s been a little insane, and I’ve been at the end of my rope. I’m stressed, my skin is breaking out, I pulled a muscle in my back and I wake up stiff every single morning. I’m still searching for a full time job, and working on moving out of the house I live in currently. 

In the midst of all the crazy, I’ve realized a few things. 

About ten months ago, just after Easter last year, I began attending a new church about twenty minutes south of Providence. Needless to say, I found it. I found a new relationship with God and the Universe and a connection with people that I have never felt before. And these people have taken me in and loved me better than some of my own family. Unfortunately, now I have to leave. I’ve arranged my transfer for my part-time job, and I start at the store near my hometown on the 24th of February. And as soon as I got off the phone with the manager I called my mom and cried. Because this isn’t my choice. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to be away from this church, these people.

Yesterday I was at fellowship having tea and talking to my wonderful friends and they all told me I’m staying. One woman said she was going to talk to her husband about their pull-out couch in some spare room. Another said “You aren’t leaving!” as she told me she was going to continue looking for a place for me to live. 

I want to fight. I decided I was going to fight. But now I feel like I need to surrender. Surrender to the world and how it works. Fight while I can, but do what is ultimately going to be best for me now. I need to live in the moment. Right now I need to move back home while I get settled. And even though it hurts I have to remember that the Universe has my back. And if I’m meant to stay with my church, the Universe will be sure to keep me there. 

As much as I want to cry at all times, as much as I feel my depression creeping in and old habits begging to return, I know that things will happen. And I know that I will continue to fight for the people and places I call home. Home isn’t always where your family is or your hat or whatever. Home is usually where you feel the weight of the world lift off your shoulders when you walk in the door. Where you know you could stay for hours and not feel like you’re overstaying your welcome. 

 

Have a BEAUTIFUL day. xx

From God and Back

I was raised in a large, beautiful, Roman Catholic church. I went to Sunday School every week, and I sang in the choir right after at 10:00 mass. And I can honestly say it was probably the happiest time in my life. Looking back on it, I know exactly where my life began to take a turn. 

In middle school, I had a good friend. She was my best friend and we were inseparable. She convinced me to do cheerleading with her for the town. There went my Sundays. Football games, practices, and cheer competitions replaced my communion with God. 

Soon after, I began to act out a bit. I drank for the first time at 13 years old. Started lying to my parents about where I was going with this friend. And blatantly disregarding their advice and rules. After this friend and I went to different high schools, I realized I had put all of my energy into this one friendship that wasn’t serving me at all. We had a falling out and I fell into the worst parts of my life: depression, anxiety, eating disorders. 

Still, I couldn’t figure it out. I tried and tried to find religious paths that suited me. I thought that Wicca or another Pagan path could satisfy me. But time and time again, I would pick it up and loose it again. It just wasn’t for me. But I didn’t realize that at the time. For several years I lived in a haze of sadness and self-deprecation. Even as I got into college, a brand new start, nothing seemed to stick.

By this time I was AFRAID of the word “God”. I thought that if I believed in God that meant I would have to go back to believing in everything that my church taught me. And I don’t believe in many of the doctrines that the Roman Catholics put out to the world. I wanted to believe in nature in the way the world whispered to me when I walked in the woods. In the way the ocean calmed me when I strolled on the beach in the early morning. Little did I know, THIS voice was indeed God. 

As I struggled through my darkest time, just about a year ago, I stumbled upon this new generation of Spiritual Thinkers/Speakers. Gabby Bernstein was at the head of it for me and she helped me come into my own spiritually. With help from people like Mastin Kipp, Deepak Chopra, Ekchart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and Oprah, I began to realize that God is what you make Him. God is in everything and inside of you. You just have to surrender to Him and He will lead the way. 

You are destined for greatness. The only thing stopping you is your own ego’s fears. Once you are able to release your fear and the control of your ego, you are open to Love. And God is Love. You don’t have to sit in a church every week (though if it helps, by all means DO IT), or recite certain incantations or what have you. You just have to Love. Speak to God, listen to God and believe that He has your back. 

If you’d rather call Him your ~ing (inner guide) as Gabby puts forward, by all means, do it. I did for a very long time before I became comfortable with using the word God again. But I’m so glad I did.

About nine months ago I had a conversation with my father, who is Catholic, but doesn’t attend church much anymore. He knows that he doesn’t have to because he lives rightly and does the best he can with what he is given. I told him I’d like to visit our church one day. I told him that I remember feeling very calm and comforted in the place. I LOVED going at one point. I loved the atmosphere and the people and the music. I loved that people came to worship and, for the most part, simply Love. I haven’t gone back yet, but it’s on my list. 

Today I want to stress the simple importance of Love. Don’t get caught up in semantics. God can be Jesus, Buddha, Love, your ~ing. As long as you listen to the voice in your head filled with Love and wisdom, you can’t go wrong. As long as you OPEN YOUR HEART to Love and pray to fully embody Love, you’ll live a miraculous life. 

My journey started with God as Jesus, and now my life is God as…Love. 

What’s your journey? What’s your place in life? I want to know!

Have a beautiful day, xx.

Keeping Your Chin Up in Hard $$$$$ Times.

I should say, lack of $$$$$. But regardless…

 

I’ve had several post topics in mind for a few days but I decided today to go with one that is different than the rest, but still very important to discuss. And this is one where I’d really love feedback from anyone who is reading and may be in the same situation.

I’m a college student who is, luckily, not in the position where I have to pay rent or for food. I have a wonderful extended family who has taken me in for free. I work a small part time job that pays minimum wage and I really only work weekends because I commute to school and it’s just too much. 

I also have credit card bills. 

And lots of money due this month.

Okay, it’s not thousands of dollars, but it’s a couple hundred more than I have in my checking account. And I’m not working this weekend because of the blizzard. 

So what now? How do I stay calm through all this? How do I make it work? 

This week in Gabby’s May Cause Miracles is all about “Raise Your Self-Worth, Raise Your Net-Worth”. Fitting, no? Clearly the universe is trying to tell me something by laying my financial problems on me THIS WEEK. But I’m still struggling with it. I do feel a little better. I do realize that I have all the money that I need. And when I need it, I’ll get it. But it’s so hard to keep that mindset when the actual numbers just don’t add up. I’ve never had to pay less than full on my credit cards, and the idea that I would have to…scares me. 

Why? Why does it? 

Because I’m afraid that I’m a failure if I don’t pay the full. I’m afraid it’ll look bad on my credit score. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint my mom if she finds out. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE FEAR BASED BULLSHIT. It’s my fucking ego talking at me in stupid terms and LIES. And I didn’t really understand it fully until I just sat here typing it out. So today, I’m going to meditate on gratitude. I’m going to forgive myself for having these fears surrounding money. I’m going to pay a bit more than the minimum due on my card and move on with my life. 

Sure, I’m going to curb my spending even more than I already have. And maybe even cut up one of my credit cards. But I won’t cut up my well-being. I won’t let this one incident RULE my life. 

Can you please stick with me and say the same?

Tell me in the comments: What do you do when financial times get rough? Is it simply numbers? Do you invite spirit or God or your ~ing to intervene and give you a lift? I want to hear from you. 

Have a beautiful day, xx.

Don’t be afraid to CREATE a practice that is YOURS.

In the realm of spiritual growth and personal enlightenment and well-being, there are a lot of different ways to go.

You can stick to a religious path, your birth religion in Christianity, Islam, Paganism, etc. Or you can follow someone’s spiritual jargon down to the letter. You can choose to become a vegan, if you so desire. You can choose to go to the gym every day in the name of Spirit and feeling more wholly yourself. You can choose to give up alcohol and other drugs that alter your mind or create problems for you if that is the case. You can choose to let go of your prescriptions and learn how to control your mind and body in other ways. 

You can do all these things.

But you don’t have to.

It’s taken me some time on my own spiritual wellness path to recognize that I can’t choke down a green smoothie. (Juices, when made properly, I LOVE…but the blender stuff…not for me!) I also really enjoy good wine and I swear that my anti-depressants saved my life. All of the ideas so many spiritual thinkers put forth are amazing. It’s great advice to cleanse your body in order to cleanse your mind. But you can’t go cold turkey and you can’t do it over night. And you shouldn’t have to, by any stretch. I love Shepherd’s pie and milk in my tea way too much to go vegan. And I’m so happy with the softness and curves of my body that I don’t think about the gym…like…ever. I’m good with a walk or two around the block with the dog and a solid 20 minutes of yoga 4-5 times a week. 

I do struggle to create a functional, stable Sadhana – but I’m working on it! I pray in the morning before I get out of bed. I try to stretch and/or meditate every morning. I take my time, I think about the moment, I’m grateful and I forgive. I eat foods that I enjoy and that get me going in the morning. I take my medication and my vitamins with care. I read. And then I get ready for my day/work/what have you. Sometimes it changes and sometimes I can’t finish everything I’d like. But I TRY. Which, to me, is the most important aspect of a spiritual practice. If you TRY in the direction of spiritual growth and bettering yourself so you may better the world, God is always on your side and your happiness will flow freely. 

So next time you’re reading and start thinking “well, I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that…” just let it be. DON’T try to force yourself to change too much. If you don’t like to call the Creative force or Spirit ‘God’ then…don’t. She doesn’t care what you call her, as long as you talk to her. Breathe into your own practice. As long as your thoughts and actions have Love behind them, you can’t go wrong. 

Have a BEAUTIFUL day, xx. 

Keeping Hope Alive as the World Gets Dark

I know that I’ve written about miracle set backs before on this blog already. But this blog also gives me a chance to vent out what I’m going through as it happens.

Lets just say, it hasn’t been the best week, and it’s only Wednesday! 

It started with little things, dropping a glass or being late for work. But then I got on edge, got into a car accident, and just completely fell apart. Now, here I am, my head filled with horrible thoughts of self-loathing and fear and I don’t know what to do. I find myself yearning for my addictions, wishing I had something to grasp on to.

Then, I figured it out. I was off balance. I was getting ready for bed and very literally TRIPPED over my meditation pillow. Like, seriously, what more of a sign could I need. It’s true, I had been away from home and very busy with travel, and I had been neglecting my meditations and yoga and prayer. So I stopped everything. I sat my butt down and listened. And I heard my ~ing say “CHILL THE F OUT GIRL. You’re moving too fast. Slow down, breathe, pray, stretch. Let it go and let it flow.”

So I did. I sat there and I did yoga. I said a lovely prayer before I went to bed and I released my anxieties to the universe, knowing they were taken care of. That’s not to say everything got better immediately, but it helped. And the next day I repeated the same thing. I resumed my usual schedule and things are slowly starting to feel better. Gone are the thoughts of returning to my dangerous addictions and actions. 

I also know, because that’s how it works, that because of all these crazy things happening that SOMETHING amazing is just around the corner. This is the universe telling me to get ahold of myself because something wonderful is about to come my way and I have to be able to receive it. And I can’t do that if I’m blocked and listening to my ego. 

So when shit hits the fan, turn it around. Turn back to love. Breathe, pray, meditate, listen to God. And you’ll be guided. 

Have a beautiful day. xx

GET WHAT YOU WANT IN 2013!

Tomorrow Gabrielle Bernstein is leading a FREE course on How to Create What You Want in 2013. Anyone, anywhere can attend. When you pre-order her new book, May Cause Miracles, you’re automatically enrolled in the course. Plus you get bonus meditations & her audiobook intro! http://gabbyb.tv/free-december-group-coaching

I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of May Cause Miracles. The meditations are looking to be AMAZING and I’m so looking forward to joining the THOUSANDS of Spirit Junkies tomorrow who are all looking to experience a wonderful coaching sesh with Gabby! Join us!

I’ll be back with a full blog post tomorrow

Have a beautiful day, xx.