|Sage bundle and turkey feather used in smudging.|
This post was very hard to work on and even harder to post because of the statement of fact I will make about myself.
I choose to be a spiritual person rather than a religious one.
The question, "Does God exist?" or "Do you believe in God?" makes me very uncomfortable. Because the me raised in church and catholic school would say yes because she should, while the me who LOVED world religions and grew into an understanding of people would say something along the lines of the idea of a god being real.
Despite where I am in my life with my beliefs, there are people and teachings I cannot turn away from. My mother, for example, who is one of the strongest and most pure christians I know, was the first who taught me that church is more than a building and who still makes sure that I pray when I feel it. I can't truly kick twenty years of teachings.
But all the same I can't forget three of the most important happenings that put me here. And in all honesty made me question some of what I saw as I aged.
- Being scolded for reciting the "Hail Mary" in a Baptist church.
- Learning that being baptized in a non-Catholic Church did not mean I was "saved" or "baptized" in the Catholic Church. (I got in trouble for taking communion; something I did every Sunday in my own church home)
- Taking World Religions in my last year of high school and learning about religions with deep spiritual meaning and a much longer history than Christianity.
I like to believe these instances woke me up. The first two showed me how Christianity is not one inclusive religion but one beast with many heads. (in my own opinion)
With that said, I don't think christians are bad.
I have seen great work and received powerful guidance from many christians who were from many disciplines of christianity. I have also taken it upon myself to study other religions and science to pull together practices that make my spirituality special to me.
Prayer is slowly returning to my life as I feel more comfortable using it to put my intentions out into the universe rather than praying to one god in particular.
Meditation allows me to clam myself when I'm feeling stressed and worried. Opening all the windows and lighting incense and candles allow me to clear my mind and face my life with a fresh and open mind.
Smudging is an old Native American practice adopted by Pagan religions that involves burning sage or other herbs to banish bad vibes and in some instances bad spirits that have gathered in a place. When I've been angry, irritated, or sleeping poorly I do this to "cleanse" my apartment.
Implementation of Herbs into my diet and aromatherapy practices pulls me away from chemicals that exist in food and alcohol. I make my own detoxifying tea and have created several herb mixes whose scents can calm, focus, and heal me. I still enjoy greasy food (and meat) and the occasional drink but I try to balance. I have learned to better care for and love my body.
Unconditional Love was always taught from the begging for me. Jesus opened his arms to EVERYONE regardless of how they lived. In other religions there is a similar theme of opening up and caring for others. I've found myself slowly becoming more receptive of people and their situations whereas before I must have ignored them. Making others feel good makes me feel good as well.
I want people to understand that you can embrace what makes you comfortable without shunning where you came from. The choice is entirely yours. Be proud of it.
As I said before, posting this makes me extremely self conscious and worried. As someone who grew up christian, and with how christians react to non-christians I can only imagine some of the following conversations.
I invite comments and questions concerning this post, but I must say that if they are anything less than acceptance or pure curiosity, keep it to yourself.
Don't forget to follow!