Finding What’s Lost

I’ve been feeling pretty lost lately.  I have no job and have had crappy luck finding one, though I’ve had several interviews.  My middle son has been having some pretty extreme behavior issues in school and at home again the last couple months after several months of doing better.  My finances are in ruin.  I haven’t been doing great with my diet and exercise, due to the stress, depression, and anxiety from everything else.  And a few other personal problems I am choosing not to discuss in my public blog.  I feel like I’ve been slowly losing myself over the course of the last few months… so what is a woman to do?

I have been distant from my spirituality for quite some time.  I have been overly skeptical and leaning away from anything spiritual, focusing more on the logical and scientific ways of thinking.  But I’ve gotta say, in tough times like these, science doesn’t bring me any peace of mind.  So I’ve decided to start back in with my spiritual studies.  A couple nights ago I asked my faithful tarot cards for guidance, and some wonderful wisdom came from them on all accounts of my current challenges.  Then last night I picked up a couple of my Laurie Cabot books and started reading her philosophies on Wicca/Paganism, and how she applies it to other faiths and walks of life.  I’ve gotta say, she is the person I left off with when I walked away from my spirituality, and she is the person reeling me back in and making me feel at home.

1016521_146840648841411_1015105813_nBasically the philosophy is, no matter what you believe in, or what terms you use for the Divine, it’s all the same.  You can put a name to it, you can call it God or Goddess, you can worship, meditate, pray to yourself or with others, but no matter what, you’re still calling on the energies of the earth and the Universe to aid in your needs, and the needs of others.  Even science confirms that directing energy with thought works.  So not only do I have the analytical part of my brain appeased, but I can get back into the spiritual side of me, where I find companionship with like-minded people, and comfort knowing the Universe has got my back.

I plan to start going to a women’s group I’ve been considering joining for about 2 years now.  I will start meditating when I can, and seeing my therapist again. And I’m going to take back control of my body for my own health and well-being as well.  I’ve been slacking in many ways of self-care, and it’s time I start taking care of me again, so I can be the best I can be for not only myself, but my family as well.

I believe once I get back on track, everything else will start to fall into place, just as it should.

Mother

I have accepted in recent months that I identify most closely with Athiesm.  I certainly don’t believe in Christianity in any way, nothing about prophets or anything monotheistic.  I’m not certain I believe in Gods or Goddesses or anything in that realm.  However, I do certainly believe in energy – half scientific and half metaphysical.  I believe in the power of prayer not because you’re depending on a God to help you, but because it is the projection of energy to help with a common goal.  I think gatherings in churches and festivals are a great idea, because it creates a community of like-minded individuals that can lean on each other for help, whether it be spiritually, medically, or financially.  I have a lot of ideas on what religion should not be, but that’s not what this post is about.

I have struggled with religion / spirituality for years.  I first was raised as Christian (Lutheran). When I started to question it, I was met with frustration and anger from my dad and the church.  Perhaps if they would have treated the situation differently, and met my curiousity with love and respect, with answers of faith rather than disgust, I would have continued down that path.  I don’t really know for certain.  But what I do know is that my curiousity was met with negative feedback, so I turned my back on it all.

Then I found this book “Earth Power” by Scott Cunningham in the bedroom of a friend when I was in 7th grade.  Reading it was like coming home!  The powers of Mother Earth, the elements, and the possibilities in it all drew me in all the way.  It started me on a quest to learn as much as possible.  Back then, in the early to mid 90s, there was not a lot of accurate information online on the subject, nor were there many books yet, but I did my best.  I found communities online of fellow Wiccans, I researched and performed my own solitary rituals, and I defended it all to the Christian community from which I had just come, and to my family.  My dad didn’t take kindly to it at all, but my mom just gave me the advice be careful.

I continued to follow this path for many years, and it grew and evolved with me as life happened, as I met more people in the same path, and as I gained more wisdom.  The event that turned the tables for me was when my fiancé Jason passed away in front of me and my boys.  He had a heart attack in the middle of our hallway at age 34 and died before the paramedics could arrive.  It was the first time I had witnessed a death, and the first time I had lost someone I was so close with.  Losing him turned my world absolutely upside down.  I was never and will never be the same.  It created a sense of doubt and wonder in me:  What happened to his body exactly, specifically, that made his life end?  How can a life be so very fragile?  Once he was taken from the hospital to the funeral home, what would happen to his body?  Was his spirit still around, wondering what had happened?  Was he just as sad and traumatized as me from the event?  What happened to his body when he was cremated?  How did the process work exactly?  What happens after life?  How do I keep on living my life when something so traumatizing happened?  And those questions led to more, and more.  Curiousities so far and wide in topic that I totally lost sight of my spirituality over the course of the following 5 years.  I instead studied science, the universe, technology, physics, biology and physiology, and more.    All the while wanting to rediscover my spirituality, but never quite finding a place for it in my ever-skeptical mind.

Which leads to now, today.  I have accepted that I am mostly an Athiest.  I believe in the good in people, but also the bad.  I believe strongly in balance. The energy that keeps us alive is also the energy we can focus to accomplish what we need or desire.  Prayer and meditation can focus that energy.  I would still like to reconnect with Mother Earth, re-establish my connection with the powers within and come back to my witchy ways.  After all, that is when I was the happiest.  It was what felt like home. I’m continuing to work on it.  I really think when I feel best is when I’ve been to a gathering or a group ritual.  But those will be coming up this summer and I will find my way to at least one, for my own spiritual well-being.  It’s time to put myself back out there, make some new connections with people that can help me, and enjoy the outdoors more frequently.

Sorry if this post seems rather pointless.  I’m just sorting through my history and trying to make sense of things for myself.  I’d like to get back on a spiritual path that is more fulfilling than just science and facts.  I’ve improved my psychological state, I’m working on making big improvements to my physical self, so now it’s time to dig deep and really work on my spiritual self as well.

Spiritual Growth

The Pagan Experience asked some questions on this topic, so I’ll be answering them in the standard Q&A style.

What do these two words mean to you? Spiritual means a faith structure in some higher power than human.  Growth means changing and maturing with age and/or experience.  So spiritual growth to me, means growing and maturing your faith over a lifetime.  My faith has certainly changed over my lifetime.  I started out being raised Christian by my mom and dad.  During puberty and shortly after, during my early teens, I got curious about other faiths and started reading and doing some research.  I decided Christianity wasn’t for me (though I do acknowledge that is where my roots lay), and started going toward Wicca.  I continued to research and read, and it grew into more of a universal eclectic Pagan faith.  Then later into my 20s and early 30s, more science got introduced into my faith, and as it stands now I don’t have faith as much as scientific theories.  I’m not nearly educated enough in all the scientific details of the way life and the universe works, so I can’t put it all together in a way that satisfies my mind.  Which is why I’m here, exploring faith once again.  I’d like to get back in touch with the spiritual side of life.  I’d like to feel like I belong, and like I’m a part of the bigger picture.  Science has made me feel small and insignificant, and that is certainly not what I need in my life.  I need love.  It may seem like my spirituality got stunted somewhere, but honestly I feel this will strengthen it, in the long run.  Because I’ve gone down this road, and the curiosity no longer exists to take this path again.

How do you measure your growth? To me, spiritual growth is an entirely personal, internal standard.  I believe the spectrum would be completely lost and godless to completely secure and comfortable with your place in the universe.  No one else can tell you how you feel, so that has to be measured internally.  I’ve been at both sides of the spectrum, and I’m most familiar with being somewhere in the middle, as I’m sure most people are.  Currently, I feel pretty close to the lost side.  But I’m working my way back up.

What supports it? Supporting your growth would be doing what feels right.  If you appreciate and find value in something, such as prayer, meditation, education, research, ritual, etc, than those are the things you should do that will support your growth.  For me, writing and exploring my own thoughts and feelings on the topic of spirituality and faith are what feels right, for now.  I’ll continue to write and think through things, and research and read what others think and feel through this blogging challenge.  And then I’ll put it all together in a way that makes sense to me.  I don’t believe there are any rights or wrongs in this area.  Its just what feels right.

What challenges its potential? Challenges to spiritual growth could be major life changes, traumatic events such as a death or divorce, disability, or even something as small as someone verbally discouraging you for what you believe.  Sometimes these challenges can turn out to be an opportunity for growth, but other times they just knock your faith down further.  My faith first started to slip when my fiance passed away in 2009.  I can’t honestly explain my frame of mind at that point in time any longer, but I was extremely depressed and felt very betrayed by “God” or whatever controls life and death.  I felt like to life was too fragile and unpredictable to be trusted, and it scared me away from any trust I had in life whatsoever.  I couldn’t commit to anything in my life, not even my beliefs.  Over time I started to gain back a little, but even to this day I know and feel life is way too short and fragile.  More recently I found out I have a pituitary tumor, and even though its not fatal, I had a very hard time accepting it for the first couple of weeks.  It made me look my own mortality in the face, and that is what has lead me back to trying to find my spirituality.  So the health scare was a challenge that gave me a push in the right direction.

How does it effect change in others? I don’t feel that my personal spiritual growth effects others around me unless I directly talk about or demonstrate my faith in front of them.  My direct family, like my kids and husband, would have a much more direct effect just by listening to what I think, and witnessing any rituals or readings I may do.  But other, such as my co-workers, friends and acquaintances don’t even need to know anything about what I believe.  Therefore it has no effect on them.

2016 Writing Goals

I have decided to participate in the Grimoire Challenge and The Pagan Experience to help with my writing this year, as well as rediscovering my spirituality.  I have gotten completely off track, and have been some of an atheist over the last year or so, not really knowing what I believe in, if anything.  Logically and psychologically I know that religion and spirituality are important for people.  It’s important for mental health, and it’s important for a sense of belonging.  That’s my point of view on it anyway.  I thought I was fine without honestly, until I started having more health issues recently.  And even though my health issues aren’t necessarily serious, it started me on the path of thinking about my own mortality.  And with a lack of belief in anything, I have started to feel more and more lost.  So this year I want to work on finding my path again.  I don’t know where it will take me, or if I’ll even consider myself Pagan anymore by the time I find it.  But I want to use this year and these “challenges” to help make myself whole again.

In my writing journey, I want to:

  • define my understanding of life
  • define my understanding of the afterlife
  • acknowledge a higher power
  • develop a plan of worship/prayer/spellwork/communication
  • define my morals and ethics
  • find a group of like-minded people to share experiences, wisdom and conversation with
  • continue to learn and grow through reading, conversations, writing, and mediation, documenting my progress along the way

I am not promising to write every day, or even every week.  With my busy schedule it can be challenging to stick to a schedule outside of work, kids and pets.  But I do want to post at least every 2 weeks (or at least 25 times) in 2016 on the topic of spirituality.

Here’s to a productive 2016!

Faith

How do I get it back when I’ve reasoned it all away?  How do I get back the security in knowing that someone is watching over me, helping me along, and guiding me through life?  How do I get my head out of science and just regain my faith again?  I feel like I’ve let it go too far, and I can’t stop now.  Its lonely in this place of no faith.  I really need some guidance.