I grew up in a kind of relaxed Catholicism. We didn't go to church much, and when we did, time seemed to slow almost to a halt... it was about as boring as a trip with Mom to Fabric Land. I got more of a spiritual boost picking peas with Grandma in her garden, or jamming out to Led Zeppelin in the family van, than reading the bible or getting the same robotic answers to my 'god questions' at school and home. I would try to apply logic and science to Creationism and bible quotes and come up short.
In the 8th Grade, I decided quietly to stop believing in God. I read Christopher Hitchens and respectfully zoned out during mandatory mass at Catholic school. I studied other world religions on a surface level and decided to be agnostic. Agnosticism carried me for a long time. It helped me release the need to blindly follow old traditions while observing the (mostly good) effects of spirituality on friends and family. I attended Mormon church in a small Texas town. I went to Mitzvahs and other Jewish celebrations. I learned the powerful kinetic and musical energy of African American worship. I listened to daily Islamic prayers over citywide loudspeakers near Mecca in the Middle East. I walked through mountain top Buddhist temples in Thailand and Malaysia. I stood atop a 70 meter ancient Mayan temple in Tikal, Guatemala. I learned about yoga and Ayurvedic principles. I read the Tao Te Ching. I got into some New-Agey stuff too: law of attraction and metaphysical mindfulness. I familiarized myself with breath work, chanting, sound healing, reiki, chakra balance. I learned about Paganism, and psychedelic culture too.
All I came up with is: there is so much out there.
I don't have a label for myself anymore. I have a deep respect for spirituality, and I have found a kind of inner guidance and 'alignment' in both centers of worship and ordinary places. I feel a sacredness in water--in the sound of it falling. I like to bless my food in my mind's eye--just a little thank you to the food itself for being so nourishing and abundant. I like to be in nature and just relax. I like putting myself in places where I feel small compared to the vastness of my surroundings. I like little mantras. I like 'crescent pose' and 'downward dog'. I feel spiritual when I'm dancing or just around music in general. I like getting lost in the stars from a rooftop or a hammock. I like the concept of different timelines and lifetimes. I like meditating. I like long journal pages filled with creative dreams. I like finding ways to tell people what I like about them.
This might sound childish, maybe unrealistic in these times, but I believe in people. I believe we are made of love, and we're here to learn and grow around love, and the ways it can be distorted or blocked. I believe in being present. I believe in listening. I believe that there is ultimately, so little that we actually know, and reverence to the not-knowing seems to be a more fulfilling path than trying to fit the whole universe into one set of human-conjured beliefs. I believe that most people and most spirituality is good and works for the people who embody it. I think it's foolish to try to force your beliefs on others. We get to decide for ourselves, whether we keep our beliefs silent or blast our manifesto to the world.
I definitely never pictured myself blogging about my personal spiritual journey in a 3 minute read, but life is unpredictable. Some small inner voice bubbled to the surface of my consciousness today and called me toward writing a post about how my beliefs have evolved.
All in all, I think each and every life has value. I think valuing one 'type' of human over another for any reason carries no real logic, and I think we all deserve love.
I think love is the profound source that lifts us into enlightenment and transcends us into higher versions of humanity. And I think whatever way you practice and align with that love is good if it works for you, especially here and now, in 2020, as the whole world repositions itself in our minds and hearts.