I set up this blog one year ago for my AT journey; my intensions were to blog while I was on the
trial trail. I’ve written about all this before from different angles; the trail, the personal journey, failing completing the trail, trying to find work and improve myself. 2017 is (so far) the most memorable year in my life bar none. One significant part of reinventing myself that I have only mentioned, not really talked about, is spirituality or religion.
One’s spirituality is as personal and individual as a fingerprint; a one-to-one relationship with the Divine is no one else’s business *Matt. 6:6. Religion is different, religion is communal; whether or not you go to church says one thing about you and which church you go to says another. Religion is as divisive, if not more so, than politics, therefore, many (meek, intelligent, peace-loving) people completely avoid placing themselves in a position to be judged by not speaking of their own spirituality or religion. A good friend of mine admits that she is a closet Christian (my words) because there is so much animosity toward religious/Christian people. I cannot claim I know of what she speaks because I never discuss my spiritual preferences/beliefs except on WP. One not going to church, not belonging to organized religion is not synonymous with lacking a belief in the Divine or being a spiritual person.
A glimpse of my background: I did not grow up in a family that spoke of God or religion or the Bible…ever. But, somehow, I had an idea of a God at a young age ~ 7 years or so ~ and I fervently prayed to Him for (deliverance) because I was such a depressed child I wanted help. I have no idea now how I went about that other than pleading for relief. Years later I met a Jehovah’s Witness, studied the Bible, attended meetings, became baptized and continued to pray for help, deliverance, a ‘real’ relationship with Him along with ‘studying’ my ass off. I love learning so it is no surprise that I put some significant energy and time into reading the Bible. However, the whole process from beginning to ‘end’ did nothing for me. I became more and more depressed and eventually just stopped going to meetings and became agnostic. I was pretty sure there was a God or some massive intelligent energy source that has a ‘hand’ in the world and humans but I decided that having a relationship wasn’t part of the grand design — at least not for me. I felt I’d been a reject from the beginning and God and I agreed to disagree and that was that.
I believe in energy…energy in all things. I’m not a science brainiac and I cannot quote theories or laws of nature or science but there’s no doubt about how amazing everything is: the earth, life on earth for all living things, space and planets, the solar system, galaxies, and on and on. I just find it hard to believe that it’s all just happenstance and I know it seems even harder to believe in a ‘spirit person,’ the Alpha and Omega, an “invisible” Supreme Intelligent Being that created all we know about and more.
Atheists claim that way-back-when the ‘stories’ of God, Adam & Eve, and creationism was ‘made up’ because there was so much people did not know and humans need answers — we can’t abide not knowing. And I will be the first to admit, I am not a big fan of some of the contents in the Bible ~ actually quite a bit of it seems repugnant and I certainly cannot visualize God as a “father” figure or even a man. I find that repulsive.
Toward the end of 2017 with my own situation and the national/global ‘current events’, I started thinking more about “why are we here?, how likely is the world going to survive mankind?, is there a Divine? what’s my purpose?”…, etc., etc. While I was taking on reinventing myself as a full-time job I couldn’t overlook the fact that I needed help. If I was going to become less depressed and hopeless then I needed to find a reason not to be and it wasn’t sufficient to claim I have hope because I have a family or I am healthy or I have ‘so much’ in comparison to others – it’s all relative and it doesn’t help me feel any better. I had to look outside myself to find myself. I started reading and listening to more encouraging things * and you know when you click on one thing online you start seeing more of the same popup everywhere*. I’ve read self-help books before so I refocused on what I’d already learned and encompassed that into all the new stuff I was seeing and hearing. I honed my focus to only “good stuff” and eliminated negative stuff. I also started to pray – not to “God” but just imagining the universe, the energy, nature and I tried to tap into that consciously while I ‘talked’ to the universe. Sometimes I thought in terms of “God” or the “Divine” or “Yahweh” but mostly I just visualized a universal or global positive energy and I also did this while in the nature because that just feels closer to ‘real’ for me but I also prayed while driving, in the morning and before bed. Basically whenever I ‘thought’ of it or had something to express or ask.
The more I focused on rewiring my brain to be grateful, live in the present (or be conscious), to think positive, to allow what is and not judge or question, to write and write and write my thoughts, to reread over and over particular quotes I’d written down and taped where I looked at it everyday, to visualize things I wanted and to not dwell on what I did not want or what I feared, to make myself through sheer will not worry about what I cannot do anything about but just deal with what happens when it happens (again, being in the moment and not thinking of the past or the future), watching what I call inspirational videos and praying: declaring that I need help, guidance and that I – obviously – do not know what is best for me in the sense that I can decide and focus on a particular job but not really knowing whether or not it is in my best interests but that maybe another job would be a better fit for me, my genuine gratitude for what I do have – a year off from work to spend doing what I want .. even if I was unsure when I would be employed again. The combination of all this, all the time eventually was paying off. I became relaxed even though I had no idea what I was going to do for work but I decided to appreciate the time not working but hiking, spending time with family and most importantly focusing on me and making myself better. I justified that the longer I was unemployed must mean that I needed to work on me more so that’s what I have been doing.
Eventually I did get that job offer and I am relieved but that doesn’t change my drive to be more and do more. I still want to be relevant, find happiness, live life to my fullest and a sense of accomplishment in what I do and in my life so seeking the ‘Divine’ or guidance is a constant part of my daily consciousness. An important part of life I’ve come to realize is the difference between making or forcing something and allowing something. If I want something I do what I can to work toward that goal but the key difference is that once I’ve done all I can do…leave the rest up to the universe – so to speak; don’t obsess over it and don’t try to make it happen, if it’s meant to be, it will be. And that includes being in the moment, being aware and noticing ‘signs’ or that gut feeling or “coincidence”/opportunities. When something is ‘meant to be’, things just fall into place but paying attention in life opens those doors – when we become too focused on what we think we want or deserve or need we miss the indications that we are on the wrong path, we are not allowing the energy of the universe flow naturally to get us to where we should be.
All this does not mean that it all becomes easy – no, challenges are a part of life and they are what make us grow so we can never expect that even if we are doing ‘the right thing’, being ‘a good person’ that there won’t be challenges or upsets – there will be, no one escapes bad things, hurt, pain, heartache. The challenge is how we handle it, what we do with it, how we USE it to improve ourselves or serve others – somehow, and that’s what we have to find out, that’s how we ‘grow’.
So, there’s some background about me and what I’ve been doing for the last year (plus all those painful years prior). I will say right now that I am feeling the best I’ve EVER felt; about myself and about the world – even though it seems hopeless sometimes (which is why I don’t watch/read ‘news’) and the only thing that has changed is how I perceive it. What matters isn’t if I believe in God or not, if I pray or not – what matters is that what I believe makes me feel hopeful and then, in turn, I can be more optimistic and happier and I can do more with my time/life for myself and for others.
Daily Prompt: constant