Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My spiritual journey...adventures in wandering off the map.

I've come to some rather startling conclusions of late.
You know, the kind that leave you a bit breathless, thrilled, and well...
scared shitless?  

Yeah, those kind.

For awhile now I've felt an increase in that feeling of 'not fitting in', 
and that tends to drawn me down to The Ugly Place.
 And I've managed to avoid the terrors of That Place for several months (for the most part).
I decided to do some things intentionally.  
One of those things, and it's a biggie, is rewriting my spiritual blueprint.
Perhaps the biggest catalyst has been my facebook feed.

It's schizo.
I'm whiplashed from christian-y status-stuff like: 
'if you support Obamacare UR going to hell...share this if you love Jesus'
followed by my leftist, gay, new-age friends posting pictures of Batman being bitch-slapped, fairy dusted imps frolicking thru clover or my personal favorite, 
'the face of FOX news'

It all puts me in a mood.
It plays on that 'who the heck am I?' thing that makes me squirm.
So instead of stuffing that awkward feeling with say, a box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls (be still my heart),
I decided to begin defining where my beliefs sit at this present moment. 
'Cause that ties into my blog name, yeah?

Here's the deal.
I don't consider myself a Christian in the traditional sense anymore.
This means while I respect Jesus and his words and works on earth, I don't really think he was magic.
At least not anymore magic than the rest of us.
I do think he was in alignment with the source/energy/god/universe/creator/etc. 
I don't know that his murder was a sacrifice for all mankind,
but if it was, whether or not I believe it has no bearing on that work.
I don't think this source/energy/god/dess has a personality.
I don't think it prefers some to others.
I think we are all conduits for this energy and can choose to purposely or inadvertantly block this energy.
I'm still fuzzy on negative energy, but I believe if we continually block the Good,
we give place to the negative.
I speak from experience here folks.

If that doesn't get me the boot from the conservative christian map, the next tidbit might do the trick:
I don't believe there is a fount OUTSIDE OF MYSELF that can 'save' me.  
And by the way; I don't believe I'm inherently evil or good, so I don't need 'saved' from anything.
Yep, I've wondered off the reservation.

(not really, but a damn bit closer to wonderful than where I've been for 40 years...)

Interesting thing I've noticed thus far in the journey:
As I've dabbled in researching other forms of spirituality, 
there's lots of ways to believe a 'prosperity message' (using a Christian term).  
There's also lots of ways to believe a 'need something outside myself to fix myself message' too.....
People call on angels, claim abundance, plead with something outside themselves, offer sacrifice to something outside themselves, or just plain worship themselves.

None of these are working for me either (no judgement from me if this works for you).
As I mentioned briefly above, I'm warming to the idea that my thoughts are very powerful,
and spending time meditating on the good instead of say, 
the negative transfat of life 
has immediate positive effects on my spirit and moods, buuuuuttttt......

I'm just not a woo-woo person.

I wasn't one inside the crazy charasmatic circles where folks spoke in tongues or fell over or cackled like hens either (bless their hearts).
 That's why I've attended a safe wee Mennonite church for the last few years....
no clapping hands, raising hands, praying on people, altar calls, demonic infiltrations.
(yeah, I just typed that out loud)
Unfortunately, my wee church isn't bringing me life either.
My spirit feels caged and stifled there, and the relative safety from the craziness of my charasmatic past, while definitely needed for a time,  isn't worth the shrinking of my soul anymore.

My biggest influence so far in this journey is....

Ok, not really, but on second thought......maybe.

Actually, it's Ekhart Tolle (who oddly enough reminds me of Master Yoda) and his work A New Earth.
He's all about Being and living in the present, the Now, as that is the only reality.
(See?  My blog fits in all over the place in this post)
He talks about the ego, and how we disengage with it. 
He describes a life of awareness and being 'awakened'.  
His words make the most sense to me right now, and I'm considering hosting a book discussion group to delve deeper into his stuff in a real time, face-to-face environment.

There'll also be chocolate.  Just sayin'.

I don't know the difference yet between creating my own reality, working for change, etc....and at the same time just learning to live in the Now, live in peace no matter my circumstances, accepting what is.  Someone's got some 'splain'in to do.....hoping the book group might help.

In light of Tolle's book, I've also decided to give yoga a try.
Because everyone likes to see plus size women in yoga pants hiking their bottoms to the sky.
T-Tapp has been a great foundation to mindful movement, body alignment and breathing.
I think yoga will add another dimension to this,
a kind of Type 2 way of caring for my body and quieting my mind.
My squirrel brain needs some reigning in now and again, T1 that I am.

(me frolicking with the water fountain for all to see...my sis joins in, god/dessloveher)

And now for your reading pleasure, a brief history of my life with Jesus, 
who played the role of crucified and risen savior for most of it.
As writer, producer, and star in my production, though, I'm still deciding what role he'll play for the next act:

Birth to Age 11: Catholic Birth and Resurrection club (attended mostly Christmas and Easter) Remember attending some CCD classes in a stifling hot room but never got confirmed.  Damn.  I wanted that white veil and gloves.

11-14: Assemblies of God where I learned I would burn in hell if I didn't say a specific prayer, babbled incoherently as proof I wasn't gonna fry, and to feel ashamed of myself most of the time. A lovely experience.  I did like the music though...except for those times my mom put my plus-sized arse in front of the congregation to sing plus-sized Sandi Patti tunes in which I forgot the words and attempted to squeal on pitch.

18-21: newly married with a baby, we were lucky to get the sisters into a bra to even attend a church.

21-35ish: Vineyard.  I spent a lot of years here, and they were mostly good ones.  I learned Jesus was tender and merciful, loving and kind.  It got it's grounding in the early days with a hippy Californian muscian, so my thirst for meaningful, passionate music was quenched. We attended 3 different congregations (Indy, Dallas, 2 in Fort Wayne) in which each pastor was an ego-maniac on the prowl. I led worship, wrote and recorded music, annnnd pissed off the pastors.  In that order.  Evidently I had an 'issue with authority'. Whatev. Watched said pastors take a dump on several very dear friends.  Told said pastors to kiss it and walked. Not very T1 of me, but my T4 secondary had taken the wheel at that point.

(me leading/singing with the guitar at the Vineyard in 2000...my two girls in front, both married now and the one on the left has a baby girl)

35-present: the last 10 years have had me searching for ways to burst my bubble of experience within the confines of Conservative Christianity.  I realized I had a BIG. FAT. ZERO friends or aquaintances outside that paradigm.  Red flags tattered and torn, I finally got clued in that perhaps that wasn't the healthiest way to live a life that was supposedly following Christ's example.  So I started reading all these really controversial people like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren and Shane Claiborne and Don Miller and Anne Lamott.  Lo and behold I began to see a way thru my dilemas with faulty church leadership and rigid bible translations.  I also became a democrat.  I volunteered for Obama's campaign. Twas a good time for me.  I would've loved to just pitch my tent in that place and call it a day.  It was then I discovered the small Mennonite Church I mentioned above, where most members are over the age of 65, many of whom were conscientious objectors in WW2, almost all have done oversees missions, annnnd can't hear very well anymore...Hubs and I became members and tried to plug in, learned much about living a faith grounded in the works of Jesus and not a bunch of hyper-spiritual woo woo experiences. Those folks were appalled at the stories we shared about the theology of our past churches.  We are still at that church, in fact, hubs fills in now and again for the pastor and I sing in the choir.....but times, they is a'changin'....

I recently went back to my therapist who is teaching me to really listen and respect my inner voice that wants to BOLT as soon as the first organ note sounds on Sunday morning.
During Lent, I truly thought I would crawl out of my skin if I had to sing one more word about the bloody death of Christ for a sinner like me.
And besides, coming from the Vineyard, where a plethora of excellent music is produced each week,
to singing hymns and 'contemporary songs' from the '70's has been just a tad too difficult for my T1 soul to deal with. 

I used to blog at a place called Tracking the Edge....I'll resurrect some of those posts here in the future, as they get more into the nitty-gritty of how my spiritual evolution has unfolded.  In the meantime, here's a post I wrote in 2009 about where I found myself at that point....I've even moved beyond this, though, as at that time I still believed in Jesus' death was sacrificial in a literal sense.

Lastly, I visited a Unity church this past weekend that wasn't a fit, but it *was* a hoot listening to a fill-in gay Reformed Catholic priest end his sermon singing Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" to back up trax.  
Next week I'll bravely attempt a Congregational Church downtown.
Maybe they'll play Adelle's "Rolling in the Deep" on the handbells?
We can hope.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I have been struggling with a similar inner voice that goes against what I was raised knowing and what I thought I believed for many years. I will look into some of the books you read to see if they help me find my new direction.

  2. Cindy, I will write you with a more thoughtful comment later since I need to get a few things done here this morning, but have you heard of Alain de Botton? He did a TED Talk earlier this year called Atheism 2.0, and I'm currently halfway through reading his Religion For Atheists, which is outstanding. He's an atheist but such a kind one, if that makes sense (I'm pretty much an atheist myself but I have difficulty identifying with the angry, exceedingly jaded atheists out there that seem to predominate atheism), and he recognizes the importance of the practices of religion in helping people through life, in engendering community, etc. You know, the things our spirits need that are difficult to cultivate in secular society since there are no real mechanisms to bring non-believers together. Hope I'm making sense, but Google his TED talk and I think you'll find some wisdom in it. And I would love to participate in a book discussion...it's been several years since I read Eckhart Tolle!

    Take care,

  3. Absolutely fabulous journey and one that you are fullfilling beautifully and are on track!
    I saw ET up there and I wondered if you listen to or follow Dee Wallace at the Awakening Zone.
    She also has her own site, www.iamdeewallace.com. She did a webinar on Spirituality & Religion.
    I trust and recommend it as I believe that you would resonate with the information.

    We are an awakening in ourselves. We need to start more churches like this one, http://www.awakeningzone.com/Episode.aspx?EpisodeID=1155, mind you, it is a church service via the web, so we do not get the companionship of a community of believers, but to me, this is the churches that we are seeking and maybe need to manifest here in our state. Much, much love to you along this journey. We are not alone. *Ü*

  4. minus the catholic birth and resurrection club, our paths have been identical.

    Right now, I am attending a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, have had others tagged me with the label neopagan when I don't even know what that means! LOLOL!


I'm all ears! Er, eyes.