31 5 / 2013
Inspired by the tornados & floods in Oklahoma, for those who need comforting but can not turn to a higher power for it.
Love guides me; there’s nothing I need.
It brings me to my happy place & makes me feel better.
Love compels me to do what’s right for its own sake.
Although I go through terrifying times & places, I’m not afraid, because I am loved.
I am comforted by this love.
Love sustains me in the face of those who would hurt me; love surrounds me.
I am so blessed.
Surely goodness and mercy will always be with me, and I will be held in love forever.
20 5 / 2013
Today is my 31st birthday. Today on the CLF online worship, the service was about birth & creation stories. Coincidence? I think yes (this month’s topic is creation, and there were nods to Mother’s Day in there), but it was still a quite welcome one anyway.
Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in “fate/God or coincidence?” that it detracts from our enjoyment of events and wonder & bemusement at what happened.
27 4 / 2013
"We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies."
26 4 / 2013
Last night, we held one of our neighborhood sanctuaries on the topic of discernment: how do we decide which inner voice to follow? Often, we’re bombarded with many internal voices saying very different things. Where’s God amidst it all?
I was at this Sanctuary and I still don’t feel like I have an answer… or am any closer to it than when we went in. I mentioned that we’re making the big assumption that the good voices are the right ones and the bad voices are the wrong ones. Rev. Erik said we’d cover that later… but I don’t think we did. It is the assumption we make, but is it accurate? Can they ALWAYS be right? Can the negativity ALWAYS be wrong? This doesn’t sound right. The older I get, the more I’m learning (Core Belief?) that truth often lies in the middle, not the extremes. “Always” & “Never” is usually wrong. “Sometimes” and “Usually”… words with wiggle room… seem to hold more accuracy. So positivity always being right and negativity always being wrong doesn’t sound quite right. My guess is there are times when those “negative” voices have something to be listened to for our own internal betterment. But when? And how can we tell when?
I was disagreeing with someone on something the other night. I believe it was on something along the lines of needing/deserving what life gives us. I posited that thinking like that has only led to me feeling like I somehow deserve my crippling mental illness and that I must have done something wrong to earn it. I mentioned to Rev. Erik how it’s an idea that I have to actively work to squash to keep going forward towards mental wellness. It also came up about how can you tell which voices are the right ones, and someone mentioned feelings, and I mentioned how I have a mood disorder and can’t trust my feelings. My feelings change multiple times in an hour sometimes. My feelings can easily mislead me. My problem is, I don’t know which ones are leading me right and which ones are leading me wrong. Which is why I was so excited about this topic when Rev. Erik said we’d be covering it this week. And why I’m so disappointed in that I don’t feel like we were taught anything or came to any conclusions, whether singularly or as a whole.
Is it my fault that I didn’t get any further on the topic? I was having a bad depressive episode that night and actually was suicidal on the bus home and after I got home. 8T, once again, held me together, talked to me until 2am until there was sleep. Did others make headway with it? I’d be curious to find out.
I do enjoy the Sanctuaries, but sometimes I feel like we share too little of what’s going on with us in our heads, our thought processes, the journey we went on while we were there. I understand not everyone wants to share, but, OTOH, the format is participatory, so the only way we have to learn is through our own journeys and what others share of their journey.
I would be curious to hear Rev. Erik preach. To attend a standard UU service led by him. To learn more from him. I enjoy having exploratory spiritual outlets, but I also like standard spiritual outlets of traditional forms of worship and preaching. I learn from both.
Perhaps right now, what I want/need/crave more of in my life is external guidance. I do not feel I am at a place where I can explore internally (because of that channel being blocked off… or perhaps if I did indeed go there, I would truly fall apart, and I am not in a place that has enough support to do that, nor do I feel it would be accepted or appropriate), and I don’t feel like I’m coming up with any answers (or the right ones?) internally, so I’m looking outside myself.
Maybe I’m just burnt out with spirituality right now. I’ve been diving into spirituality more as I’ve been going through my mental health crisis, so at this point, I’m not sure if I find mental wellness and spiritual wholeness to be inherently heavily interlinked in my head, or if it’s just been associated with each other so much at this point in time. Either way, I feel burnt out on both.
I tried to just sit back and watch on Wednesday night. It worked, some, but I felt guilty that I wasn’t participating “properly”, and then when I tried to participate and it felt bad, I felt angry and frustrated that I couldn’t partake of my usual spiritual conduits because it hurt emotionally, and also that I couldn’t participate properly. I’d been having a very rough time at the Sanctuaries for months… ever since my crisis, actually. Mainly because I’ve been unable to have spiritual experiences in the ways I usually do (“commune with God” would be another way of putting it, if I believed in a deity) since then. I’ve been almost completely unable to feel spirituality (I have had a few rare moments, and they’ve never been while in spiritual settings) since then. It has been frustrating, and, frankly, painful.
We were supposed to do a collage dealing with inner voice discernment. I just sat there, hurting and traumatized. I was trying to catch Erik’s eye for most of the service already, trying to hold his gaze and hope to god he would figure out something was very wrong with me. Eventually it happened. He paired me up with him for the exercise, and we talked. But then I felt embarrassed & a bit humiliated that I needed special care and was bogarting his time.
Moments of happiness came when I was given permission to just do the exercise however I felt like… that I didn’t have to make it mean anything… that I could just do the art project with images that I liked. This permission set me free and I enjoyed picking out pretty pictures and gluing them to the boards we were given. I put dogs on mine because I like doggies. :-) There was also some Asian art that I just happened to choose… 1 with 2 koi (carp/goldfish) swimming side by side, one with a tree (dogwood?) in bloom.
Earlier we wrote down words that, I think (I’m having problems remembering the exact exercise), came to mind when it came to discerning that inner voice. We put them in a baggie and then drew words at random. I didn’t get any of my own words, but I found it interesting how a few words, a number of people wrote down. (I wish I could remember them now). I got safety and faith.
Safety is good. Safety is a theme that has been pertinent to my life a lot lately, but hasn’t been one that was ever really in my life much before. Or, rather, I think it was, but I didn’t think of it in those terms. It was in terms of wanting to feel loved and cared for, which is a form of feeling safe. But being physically safe from myself and needing to make sure I’m in situations where I’m psychologically safe is a newer thing for me.
Faith. Oh, good old faith. I believe I already wrote about faith on here. About my journey of finding meaning in the concept for the non-believer. Yes, folks, I took on “what is faith for those who don’t believe in faith?” And I got an answer. (Trusting in the decisions you’ve made during your best times while you’re in your worst times.)
I don’t really have a good ending for this. But I’m both looking forward to going to and also dreading going to the one on Sunday. We shall see what happens.
I do wish I wasn’t expected to participate like everyone else does. And I do wish that if I participated differently, that I wouldn’t stick out. I do think everyone’s staring at me for not doing what I’m supposed to do, and/or at least judging me for not doing it. I do feel like the whole world is judging me all the time. I wish I could stand up to even 1/100th of what they expected of me.
18 4 / 2013
"Faith is the only place in my life where I can hope everything and fear nothing."
Anonymous. (via thesanctuariesdc)
Truly thought provoking words. I head out on a vacation in a few hours… I might mull this over in my head for a few days. What is the meaning of this, what are its greater implications, is there a place in my life for this, and, if so, how do I put it into action?
09 4 / 2013
Each religious tradition and community is like an indispensable organ within the greater organism of the world life.
No longer can any tradition claim to be the sole source of truth. We each are cells in a vital organ of the planet. The liver cannot lord it over the kidneys, nor can the brain over the heart. We are all integral and essential for the planet, organically interdependent and connected. This we can all affirm and create cohorts of helpers.
In each of the traditions you will find committed and concerned co-workers who will share the burden of working for healing, motivated by their sense of being deployed by God.
Make friends with them in all their diversity. Grieve with them over what afflicts us - get to feel it and to own it as well and then celebrate together the privilege of being alive and of serving in the sacred task to restore our ailing planet to health."
09 4 / 2013
"As a religious people who affirm human compassion, advocate for human rights, and seek justice, we must never make the mistake of confusing a legal right with a moral right…our duty is to create laws founded on our highest sense of justice, equity, and compassion…We must choose a path that is founded on the recognition that we are connected, that we are all in this together."