Even though I sound upset in my last post, be reassured: I am not always in pain. I simply am willing to acknowledge that sometimes life is very hard. My other writings to this date have been celebratory. I am committed to facing both light and shadow when I write because that is what the human experience is. Angels live in pure joy. People have to dig through the mud and air the dirty laundry before arriving at a place of peace.
Thank you for trying to share your spiritual beliefs with me. I got value out of praying at church, chanting in fellowship, and attending group rituals when it was my time to do so. I temporarily enjoy the peace and light of any healthy spiritual community. But my soul does not allow me to follow anything resembling a religion. I am now quite happy with a personal practice built around feminist spirituality (goddesses and moon circles), shamanic journeying, and indigenous/Earth-based ceremony. These things inspire me and I finally feel like I am at home…in my own home.
It is true that I need more social support in my everyday life, but I have never presumed that anyone from church would pick my son up from school and help him with his homework or take care of him when I am sick. Nor do I see gurus speaking to the larger picture of these social issues, the ones that inspire me to take action, like Occupy Wall Street did this past fall.
I ask you to understand that my writing is meant to be honest and healing for me and for the people who are called to read it. I understand that struggles are thrown my way to see how I will deal with them. Sometimes I am graceful, sometimes I am not, but I hope to be inspirational in how I write about my life because in the end, that is who I am: a writer. I had a long conversation with an old friend yesterday who has laughed and cried along with all of my posts so far because she is going through similar issues. It was very healing for both of us and it wouldn’t have happened if I did not post both sides of my story.
Please don’t be offended by this letter or feel that I am rejecting you personally. I am reassured to know that you are supported by your spiritual practice but I feel that it is time for me be honest and admit that your path is not for me. I hope that over time we can develop a friendship based on learning about each other’s different beliefs and life experiences because I know we both have a lot of beauty to share.
I hope you feel honored by my honesty: I take the same stance in my feelings about Jesus and have the same kind of openness with my beautiful Christian cousin. I love her dearly and am blessed to be in her life because her faith inspires me. But her practice of faith is not mine.
When I am ready, I’ll post some other writings about my spiritual path. For now, let’s say that I’m addicted to maintaining multiple home altars. For me, building altars is like a zen practice of flower arranging. It slows me down, connects me to Spirit and creates beauty in my home. For one of my altars, I made a clay sculpture of a lily at one of the monthly women’s gatherings that I host in my home, which is another part of my practice, as are eating sweet potatoes, making extended eye contact with my son, going to the beach, collecting spare change, donating to street musicians, and hugging loved ones.
Thank you always for your light spirit and your kind heart and for making the effort to share your faith with me. I hope we continue to teach each other. While this letter speaks to many people, I send a very special thanks to the friend who inspired it. You know who you are. You gave me the gifts of being able to remind my cousin how much I love her, and of starting a public conversation about relishing our spiritual differences.
With gratitude, love and respect,