My personal spirituality has changed so much over the course of my life. And since religion is one of those things “of which we don’t speak” in polite society, I haven’t always felt safe to talk about my spiritual journey. However, I’ve experienced a shift in the last couple of years that has inspired me to share with you.
My upbringing involved a very conservative form of Christianity. As a child, I was very comforted by the idea of a creator who was always watching out for me and always there for me. I liked the strict boundaries (I love rules, I know I’m weird) and even the black/white sense of morality. As I grew up and became an adult, I found their morality restrictive and exclusionary. The tenets of that church didn’t balance with my personal values and the experiences I was having in the world. And I was angry about that. So for a long time, I was on the outs with God. I called myself an atheist and was extremely critical towards people who did find comfort and support from their Christianity. (I was also an angry vegetarian for a while. I’m telling you – black/white is my default mindset, my growth edge is in the grey.)
Over time, I softened my atheism to agnosticism. Honestly, I really didn’t care. There wasn’t a lack in my life from not connecting to Spirit (as I’ve come to refer to my sense of divinity). I explored different elements of Paganism (I loved the girl power of Wicca and my Irish genes were curious about Celtic traditions), read about the Buddhist traditions, and I took the Belief-O-Matic quiz. When I got married, we chose a Unitarian Universalist church for our ceremony and when we were expecting our first child, my husband and I spent some time in their membership. (We LOVED that church, but we live further away now and don’t like to get up early on Sundays. Sorry!) I also began my journey with yoga. At the end of yoga class, after meditation, I felt the stillness and peace that I had felt as a child in church. I felt safe, loved and connected to something greater than myself.
Okay then, now what? No church, no authority, no rules. Just me, being still, being present. There was Spirit. As my yoga journey continued, I studied the Vedanta traditions and began to appreciate the oneness that linked all schools of faith. I visited the Lotus Shrine at Yogaville and meditated amongst altars for all the world’s faiths. My focus had shifted to what was good about faith (ALL faiths) and how Spirit informed these practices for all of human history. I felt the energy of divinity all around me and I was honoring that through being a good person (check out the Yoga Ethics for more about my guideposts). And then came Gabby Bernstein.
Gabby is a student of Marianne Williamson (running for President!) who is a student of A Course in Miracles. We’re gonna come back to The Course another day. But Gabby’s Spirit Junkie wisdom was exactly what I was looking for to fuel my soul. She promotes universal love and a belief that the Universe has your back. When the opportunity came up to go deeper through the Spirit Junkie Masterclass, I jumped at it. And what followed was weeks of spiritual devotion that helped me accept what I already knew to be true and grew my confidence so that I could share it. This has made me a more authentic yoga teacher and an informed mindful mentor. It also inspired me to connect with Danielle LaPorte and begin offering mindful mapping. It changed everything.
As we live, we must continue to learn and grow. It’s okay for our faith to ebb and flow through that process. I believe that we must all believe in something that supports us, no matter what form/forms that it takes. I know that many of you have had your own experiences and I would love to hear more about them, comment below with your Statement of Faith. Or the results of your Belief-O-Matic test! (My current Top 3 are: Liberal Quaker, Mahayana Buddhism, and Unitarian Universalism.)