So what led to this leaving of the church? As I began to pay attention to the places that were hurting, asking questions, seeking guidance, investigating the soul ~ this beautiful breakthrough developed. I had to take a DEEP look at all that just felt wrong and false. It’s been 18 months in the making( or more). I was stuck returning to church every Sunday attempting to be a ‘loyal soldier’. But how long can we fake continuing to live in an unhealthy way? Where is the spiritual growth and transformation for just being a ‘loyal’ follower?
One of the questions I am getting asked recently is, “Where are you going to church now?!’ Well, if you must know….. : I’m going to ,’The Church of Rest and Relax on Sunday”. 😎😃. Continuing to gather with friends and celebrate life on a regular basis as we did before- THIS, I have found , is more spiritual and transformational (and fun) than checking the box for attendance at a religious service.
Obviously I continue to feed my soul with spiritual practices, disciplines to BE STILL and ponder and meditate and pray. Always giving of our lives to others as we can. And these ‘practices’ have been a part of my life for years- these practices have saved me. As well as reading and listening to many others that have had similar struggles with the gift of the disappointment of the church institution, government and mythology. Others who have been brave and paved the way to a deeper spirituality and simpler life, a life of traditions and practices to feed our souls and sit in awe of the mystery of God. Others who were onto the dysfunction of a religious ‘rules of inclusion and exclusion system’. It’s called Spiritual Evolution Baby!!!
Still I admit there is a bit of grief. For a loss of an ideal. For waiting so long to speak up.
I was having coffee with a dear friend of mine who is currently in a position of leadership at a church. (She has been one of the graceful ones that is my friend regardless of what I think or do 😍) and at one point during our conversation about this shift and journey in my life I felt tears coming down my eyes and a bit of sadness. She very gently jumped in and asked – Why the tears, what are you feeling?? Grief I suppose. Grief from the loss of an ideal? Grief that it took me so long to get rid of the hindrance of not speaking up just because I was taught to ‘believe’ in things without ever questioning? Sadness of the awareness that many friendships were just sitting on performance and belief based approval? Most likely. I mean it really is pretty sad. And so I sat there with her and I welcomed the sadness. Because it’s good to acknowledge that there is grief when we lose something. And as emotional beings we have the need to process and FEEL. Including feeling the bad or difficult emotions.
Also, as I sat there I remembered that it’s not the first time something like this happens — this is just the freshest wound.
Breaking free from BS can start as a lonelier road at times- but it really is one that I have traveled many times before.
Growing up I didn’t like all the lame and limiting ‘society’ rules and expectations of needing to be proper and quiet and thin and so pretty so that you can succeed and find a rich husband or hang with the right people. So I went on my own- and soon found other renegades that also knew we were meant for more. And for each other. ❤️
It can be hard to be free when your mind keeps pulling you back to what you have learned and programmed as the ‘right’ thing. I think this is why we choose other ways to cope as we fight for this FREEDOM. I used alcohol for a while. And did my thing. Fighting against the machine with music, art, revolutionary ideas. Half ass most of the time because of the ‘booze use’ to cover up the shame of not fitting in or meeting the grandparents / parents/ church and society’s expectations. Not all of us are born to fit the mold. I certainly was not. I really don’t even think ANY of us are: we just choose to comply or not. I’ve also used the drug of perfectionism. That did not work either.
Every time I heard, ” Oh Gris, the rebel w/ out a cause”. Blah blah. Listen people, – there is ALWAYS A CAUSE. It’s a deep known fact that we are meant for more- You think because you have a roof over your head, decent food, a faith group to belong to and a family that ‘works’ that you don’t have a ’cause’. Causes might be relative- but there is always a cause.
The deep, unconscious knowing that we are being told lies. Held back. Controlled. Society and low level conscious adults molding us – telling us what to feel, think and do since we are in elementary school. I know we can care and still hold loving kindness values, justice and respect for ourselves outside of a formal institution frame.
I decide now to make my own mold. And it’s a good one. I can choose to decide to allow my kids and my other loved ones the space to BE. To LOVE authentically and without limits. To find and give kindness to our world while we are here and have the time.
The path is rocky. But I can hike. With a heavy bag on my back- and a light one too. And so can you by the way.