When I was a little girl, I remember hearing the adults say to never discuss religion or politics at a dinner party. I would love to bring back the custom of having dinner parties on a regular basis. I'm not sure I'd like to talk about politics these days and I doubt I would chat about organized religion, however I would relish hearing about peoples' spiritual practices.
I was raised in a family that belonged to and attended a protestant church. While my parents were quite liberal about many things, their views (especially my mother's) were very strong about which religion was better. I didn't get it because I had friends in school that went to all different churches and it didn't seem to matter regarding our friendship. Also, while I liked some of the music and even the rituals in "our" church, I really didn't "get" it. By the time I was in fourth grade, I was asking a lot of questions in Sunday School and I was getting reprimanded for doing so. More and more, it felt like religion was cramping my style. When I got older and noticed that wars were usually being fought over how people believed in their God or gods or goddesses and I studied the history of religious persecution, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
As an ongoing research project I started to pay attention to what I needed and wanted from a spiritual standpoint. I've always been interested in the mind/body connection with regard to my physical health. I learned early on that when I was happy about what was going on in my life and when I did things I liked to do, my body felt better, too. One area that I struggled with was fluctuating emotions. For a long time I tried to think my way through. I was smart. I had a lot of excellent education, but often I felt like I was thinking too much. There were moments when I was filled with fear and couldn't figure out what to do with it. Trying to rationalize a situation usually didn't help. Other times, I could feel like everything was right in the world and I was calm and centered, but I couldn't figure out where that came from.
I started to read and hear talks about the difference between my ego and soul. At first, I thought I understood it intellectually while I still wrestled with being in one state or another. Finally, not too long ago, I had a true Ah-ha moment. I realized that when I felt the most fear, even terror, it usually was all about my ego trying to protect me. When I was calm and collected and peaceful, I was in communication with my inner divine. As I considered these "truths", I also understood that I had been learning to trust my connection with the Universe, with Spirit, with God. In fact, I have become very aware over many years that I have angels (that's how it seems to me) and when I ask them to lend a hand, they always come through.
A church sometimes provides community and when it does, I think that's one of the most important functions it can fill. I love having connection with others and sometimes when I get together, perhaps at a dinner party, it feels like church to me. I've learned to often ask myself, "Barbara, what do you need now?". Then, when I get quiet or indulge in a gentle activity that feels pleasurably nourishing, I get in touch with my desires. I tap into tools I've learned through many beloved teachers. I don't ignore the warnings my ego is desperate for me to hear, but I do gently remind myself that my soul will see me through. This is what I wish for you.
Sparkles and Love,