Spirituality and religion are not topics that I have written of before, mostly they just seem too “personal” to write about. Polite society taught us that you don’t discuss, at least with strangers, politics, religion and sex. Over the years though, things have changed. Sex has broken its barrier, and politics, while still dicey does seem to be on more lips than ever. The last bastion it seems is religion and its sister, spirituality. Like politics it can be divisive, often because it’s hard to find common ground.
While I have explored many topics in my writing, I veered away from spirituality. It isn’t just because it is a part of the old school off-limits list, but because it is deeply personal. Yet, it has been this transition, my seeking answers for life challenges, and the resulting changes in my thoughts about God that are a greater part of my personal growth. They are entwined with other choices and so continuing to leave out this strand of the conversation was to ignore an important part of the journey.
A Journey from the known to the unknown
When I began writing it was about the idea of transition. Of the change from known to unknown. While that continues as the underlying theme I am pulling three strands together for a more complete experience. Two strands already exist – Live and Play. Live will be perhaps the broadest strand – personal growth. Play is about bringing forth those things that bring us joy and happiness. Seek – is about looking for and sharing information and ideas that help to answer the big questions. It won’t be for everyone and that’s okay. But, if you find yourself asking the big questions, as I have done over the last 25 years, then this is for you.
Twenty-five years. Wow. That seems ridiculous and yet I can pin point the moment when my beliefs began to shift. It was a conversation, between myself and my daughter. She was 4 and it struck me that as I encouraged her to be whatever she was called to be, the religion I had been raised in said that was not possible. Her gender precluded that option. I had been willing to accept the limitations for myself, but as parent, I could not.
While I hung on for several more years, the final breaking point was the sexual abuse of boys. Years and years of it. The church that had held me to accountability and responsibility was willing to be neither to the most innocent. I was sickened. And that began my “dark night of the soul”.
My dark night of the soul
Author Thomas Moore describes a dark night of the soul as “not a surface challenge but a development that takes you away from the joy of your ordinary life. An external event or an internal mood strikes you at the core of your existence. This is not just a feeling but a rupture in your very being, and it may take a long while to get through to the other end of it.”
Rupture is a very apt word. What I had no longer fit, but it left me adrift. I looked for alternatives but none seemed to suit. I wished to have conversations but I knew no one willing to have them. It was indeed a dark night.
What saved me, was something seemingly unrelated.
The restlessness I was feeling within the spiritual side of me was mirrored in other areas of my life. I had a desire to be out in the world more, to bring in more of what I loved and to meet new people. Living on a country property, while beautiful, was limiting. My husband at the time did not share my yearning to expand our world. So, I found a way to connect with like-minded people and volunteered at a local music festival.
If one believes that there is another hand at work, and I do, then this experience is a shining example of outside forces bringing to me what I needed. Yes, I enjoyed 4 days of tremendously great music from around the world, but I also made a new friend. Someone like me, tested by life, and questioning it all. Miracle of miracles, she was willing to talk about it. The ensuing friendship resulted in my introduction to new people, and new thoughts about religion, spirituality and our connection to spirit.
So, from that time to this, there have been other difficult life challenges to face. Yet now I have a new way to look at them and new ideas to apply. These will be the types of things that I will discuss here. Authors, ideas and thoughts about our connection to God, spirit or source or however you choose to relate to a greater deity. If this isn’t for you, then it isn’t. But for those navigating the trying times, then I invite you to join the conversation. Because, whatever or wherever your life journey takes you, it is so much better if you have some people to share it all with.