I have never been a religious person. My parents were raised Catholic, but they did not teach my sister and me the religion, nor did they practice it themselves. We were taught to respect adults, finish our meals, live minimally, and study hard in school. God, church, prayers, even Santa Claus, were not a part of our lives. We had friends who would invite us to church, and we would go a few times. I would learn bits and pieces of the Bible here and there. It wasn’t until I was in college, and because of the admiration of a Christian boy, that I decided to learn more about Christianity. The funny thing was, it was my good nature that had attracted this boy to me, but when he found out that I was not a Christian, he was very surprised. So, I decided to learn what the fuss was all about. I took a class on the history of Christianity, where I read the Bible for the first time, and I joined a Bible study group. Out of love for this boy, my first love, I would have dived into any religion and believed it. And so I did with Christianity. I went to church with new found Christian friends who were all too eager to convert me. I sang along and swayed to Christian music, went to a youth lock-in, and generally tried to fit into the culture. I desperately wanted to believe in the teachings of Christianity, and fooled myself into believing, so that I could keep the love of my cute Christian boy. But I never felt I belonged. When I realized the Christian boy didn’t love me for me, my desire to keep the faith disappeared.
I have not had the urge to learn another religion or identify myself with any particular faith. I have always been very private about my beliefs because, honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out. I believe that this world is far beyond what we can comprehend. What I do know and feel is that we are all connected. I feel the connection when I look at all living things. Really look, really listen, really be in the present moment. There is a feeling of peace and immense gratitude to know that we are not alone in our joy and in our suffering.
You may call that connection, God, Love, Inner Spirit, Life Force, your Soul, or what have you. I don’t know what to call it, so I call it everything, but I do know it is love in its purest form. I have always had a very personal relationship with God, my Inner Spirit, my Life Force, that I didn’t know how to articulate and share with others. I just know God is a part of me, and a part of you, and a part of every living creature. I have felt God all of my life, but sadly my ego, has kept me from speaking about my spiritual journey and beliefs for fear of rejection. Oh well, we all have our own journeys, and it is never too late to start anything.
I have found text that I have really connected with in the last year, and has helped me to articulate what I feel. If you read my About page, then you will see that I quoted from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, “Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” I love this quote. So, I’m showing you my dance.
Today, I feel truly grateful. I am grateful for so many things…the list wouldn’t end. But knowing what I’m grateful for doesn’t necessarily mean I feel it. Today, I feel it. I looked out of my office window towards the sunny blue sky, and I felt a rush of joy and immense gratitude for just being alive. I am alive! I did not go through a near death experience, but I might as well have, because I feel so grateful for life. There is so much to learn about life, and I am grateful for the chance to observe it, learn from it, and live it!