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)

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Working Miracles!

As some of you may know, the last six weeks of my life have been dedicated to working miracles via Gabby Bernstein’s brilliant new book, May Cause Miracles. The 42 day guide is a way to transform you life using the subtlest of shifts in your thoughts and behavior. These small changes make a HUGE impact. 

I’m not new to Gabby’s work or ways of teaching. In fact, she led me to spiritual discovery. She led me back to God, my ~ing, and finding my highest self. Or rather, she helped me find my own way back. 😉 Gabby teaches the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles, which you don’t have to read to understand the principles (especially when Gabby is your teacher), but it’s definitely a bonus if you have the chance to pick it up! It’s a beautiful text to turn to. 

My experience with MCM was a challenge, truly. It’s a daily effort, and it’s just a warm up for the time after the book is finished. Living mindfully, living a miracle-minded life is a full time job. You have to be open to it 100% of the time. You’ve gotta work the system otherwise, your ego will do the work for you, and you don’t want that to happen! 

I had many real breakthroughs. I laughed at my silly ego, and I cried tears of joy as I finally forgave certain people and situations. I even wrote a letter of forgiveness, to myself. I was able to let go of the pain I had caused myself. The torture I put myself through. I was able to forgive myself and heal, knowing that I have so much love in me and around me. 

There was also new awareness brought to my health. I’m living cleaner. I don’t intake drugs or alcohol nearly as much as I used to (never if I can help it). My caffeine is in the form of black tea if I ever have any. And I try to eat organic as often as possible. And SO MUCH WATER (but that’s nothing new, I’ve always been a fish). That isn’t to say that this changed overnight. I’ve been on this journey for years. It’s taken me a long time to get to the place where I am now. And I’m quite content. 

That is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the last six weeks: where I am is where I’m supposed to be. Here I am, and I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing – writing this blog for you. I needn’t worry about the past, for it’s done and I needn’t worry about the future because my ~ing will work it and I’ll know what to do when the time comes. It’s quite a miraculous way to live.

The levels of synchronicity are also UP UP UP in my daily life and that can only mean one thing: I’m totally goin’ with the groove. I’m flowing with life and it feels so wonderful.

So guys, listen up. You need to get on the train. I’m not a fan of bandwagons, unless they will SERIOUSLY help you to improve your life. All you need is a little love and miracles will be knocking down your door!

http://gabbyb.tv/books

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.

Followup to Lessons in BabyGap: Why Kids Are WAY Smarter Than Adults…

These are some of the most famous quotes from kids. You’ve seen the chain letters, where wise children talk about what it means to be in love. Just remember, they aren’t blinded by years of heartache, rotten ideas and falsehoods. Their minds are true.

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” –Terri, age 4

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.” — Noelle, age 7

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” –Billy, age 4

“Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work.” – Tom, age 7

“It’s love if they order one of those desserts that are on fire. They like to order those because it’s just like how their hearts are…on fire.” – Christine, age 9

“I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” – Harlen, age 8

Lessons In BabyGap

I wrote this post, and then lost it. It was beautiful and fantastic and the fact that I lost it makes me want to CRY. But I guess it happened for a reason, right? So here we go, round two.

If you don’t know, I work at the Gap. Usually, in BabyGap. And I absolutely adore it.

Long story short (after losing my first copy of this I’m way too lazy to write out the ENTIRE post again, apologies), the children always bring me back to earth about what is real and beautiful in life. Almost daily, a mother or father or couple will come in with a young child, either an infant or a little one under the age of 7 or 8. And every now and then he or she will be a real gem.

It’s rare that I ever find a truly shy child. Most of the time, they come in and smile at me, and we immediately get to playing games while their parent(s) shop. They try to hide, I pretend that I can’t find them. One time, a grandmother had to return to her car and left her grandson in my care. I was working in GapKids that day. And he stood with me at the register and we talked. I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he told me about what he was buying for his big sister. It was as if we were old friends or cousins.

Peek-a-boo is the most basic children’s game and it never fails to entertain. I used to wonder why, but I no longer do. It’s quite simple. Children can’t fathom that a person can simply hide. They don’t understand that someone can mask a part of themselves from someone. They believe in the goodness and truth of a human being. So the idea that you haven’t just disappeared and you’re, in fact, being false, doesn’t occur to them. And it isn’t because they aren’t educated, it’s because they aren’t tainted by the falsehoods of the world around them. They’re quite pure in that way and they are what we all should strive to be more like.

My favorite experience, by far was this next one. I was working in BabyGap, but I crossed over to Kids’ for a moment. Two girls around the age of 7 or 8 were leaving with their mother. And saying goodbye to everyone they passed. They saw me come in and said “Bye pretty girl!” I said goodbye. One shouted “I love you!” and the other said “I love you too!”

And their mother just laughed, maybe a little embarrassed. But I was touched. And they probably did love me. And I assured them I loved them too. Because of course I do. Why can’t we say I love you to everyone we pass by? Why?

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. 

Prayers for Connecticut

As most of you know by now, a tragedy occurred today in Newtown, Ct. My heart is broken for these lost souls and their families, and also for the man who committed these acts. It takes someone in a very dark place to do something like this. 

I was born and raised in Connecticut, and I always knew that people thought well of our state. But I also knew that bad things could happen anywhere and everywhere, but I never thought something could feel like this. I’m not exactly sure how to express it, either. And I’m not exactly sure how I feel.

I don’t believe that it’s a gun control issue, whatsoever. Do what you want with guns, the man would have just found an axe or used his bare hands if he was that determined. I don’t really blame it on the media, either. I watch plenty of shows that can be considered violent or immoral and I would never, ever dream of something this unfortunate and horrendous. I don’t blame it on mental illness, per say. I do believe that this man must have had something going on. He must have been in a very difficult and dark place. I don’t think that it’s an excuse, by any stretch. But I do think that as a society we are taught to bottle everything up.

Don’t act out, you’ll get in trouble.

Boys, don’t cry or you’ll look like a wimp. 

Girls, you play with the dolls and boys, the soldiers with guns and other weapons. 

Be a MAN, take control. 

If we don’t express our feelings in a healthy way, they build up. They result in words, thoughts, and actions we may not otherwise bring to the surface. For years I was struggling with depression and not dealing with my emotions, and it led to serious issues with suicidal thoughts and self harm. 

Again, that is no excuse, but it’s a fact. And we can’t change other people until we take a good hard look at ourselves. You, and you and you all just need to take a minute and think, “how can I be more loving TO MYSELF.” Yep, I’m saying it – be a little selfish. Treat yourself a little more kindly, honor your emotions and let yourself really step into them and don’t try to push them down.

Treat yourself kinder; treat others kinder. 

The world can change and respond to these little actions, one step at a time. 

Please pray for the families of those beautiful children lost today, and the man who committed this crime. xx