Sunday, March 7, 2010

Religion, Spirituality, and Somewhere In-Between

My biological father's family came from one hundred percent German ancestry, while my mother's came from a combination of German and Irish, so as a result, I was born into the religious world of Catholicism. I thank the stars above that they divorced when I was only four. Otherwise, my parochial years might have eventually turned into a bad Britney Spears video. I am, after all, the girl who got into trouble for kissing her first boy and mooning the neighbors in the heart of Chicago's NW suburbs before the age of six. Yes, inside I'm really a wild and carefree spirit that when left to her own devices, takes unpredictable, sometimes shocking risks. That's part of the rebel in me that's always been there and isn't looking to leave anytime soon.

Unfortunately, fate has a funny way of coming back to bite you in the behind. When my Mom married by adoptive father and moved us out to Colorado, through trial and error we eventually became Lutheran. On the Protestant side of Christianity, the Lutheran denomination is the closest to being a Catholic as you can get. After a brief stint in the local public elementary schools, my parents decided that we should attend our church's on-site school. My adoptive father, being of the World War One generation, was a deeply religious person. Our entire social life revolved around the church. Between my home and school life there were the nightly prayers before dinner, the soup suppers for Lent, the Catechism and Confirmation classes, Youth Group, Advent and Holy Week services, Sunday services, Sunday school, Vacation Bible get the picture.

Growing up, I didn't really question all of the doctrine and activity my younger sister and I were spoon-fed. It was normal. And it provided some sense of comfort and answers to some of the more paranormal experiences I had. That is until my parents thought the Janet Jackson tape I had bought and was listening to had to be thrown out, or that I could no longer watch daytime dramas because they were "satanic," or that I needed a lecture on how the peace sign necklace I had borrowed from a friend was really an upside down, broken cross that refuted Jesus’ death and resurrection, or that I needed to be home before dark. It's no wonder I started smoking behind their backs, among other things.

Fast forwarding through the high school years, where I embraced the inner artsy, liberal writer/thespian, through the college years, where I decided to eventually disguise myself as a conservative, business person with a touch of individuality, to today, where I find myself yet once again exploring the realm of spirituality. Granted, I think that realm has always been with me, but it's liberating in a sense to allow yourself to return to what truly feels right. To me spirituality in a nutshell is acknowledging the existence and validity of the unseen, without passing judgment and automatic damnation on the differences within humanity's fabric. When I think of spirituality vs. religion, the spiritual realm comes down to an inner, individual journey that connects the physical with the mystically undefined. It is a realm in which we all are connected, time is not linear, where answers come from collective consciousness, soul guides, an inner voice, and our thoughts create the reality we see.

Like most empaths that I've talked to or read about, I'm attracted to and see validity in Buddhism, other Eastern religions, Astrology, and Numerology. Like a lot of empaths, I've had too many personal experiences with the psychic/intuitive and paranormal to know that an unseen reality exists. But, on the other hand, I still believe in a Higher Power. To me, the evidence of this is as plain as day. Nature is as simply complicated and structured as the inventions that we have created for ourselves and our planet. Only a powerful, intelligent source beyond our imagination could have put this all in motion. I just don't think that we are the ones to interpret what this Higher Power views as the correct course of action for humanity; we are not here to judge each other.

True to my Libra-like nature, I struggle with seeking balance between what I was brought up to believe and what I've been drawn to embrace. I suppose that's what true spirituality is all about. Somewhere between what's preached from a pulpit and what's actually felt as truth, one finds the right mix that makes sense to you, and only you.

Let's just hope that I don't have to start smoking again once my Mom discovers that I meditate and no longer feel the need to take communion. Perhaps I can get my Dad to break it to her from the other side. She always listened to him better anyway.


  1. I love your definition of spirituality!

  2. "Somewhere between what's preached from a pulpit and what's actually felt as truth, one finds the right mix that makes sense to you, and only you."

    I agree! Enjoyed reading this. I grew up Catholic, but have always considered myself spiritual and not religious. Christianity in its religious forms doesn't do much for me so I study and practice other paths and find the commonalities in them confirming of a greater truth for me.

  3. If God wanted us to know and learn so much, why did he make is so incredibly complicated and confusing, so that if there even is anyone who has it right, they had to have the perfect circumstances, personality etc. isn't God supposed to be more help than that? If he's all powerful, then he would've made it simple to find, if he wanted us to find him. I think he did, and we are the ones complicating everything. If I don't remind myself of this every day, I feel like my head will explode, so I have to assume that it's ok, and I feel it every day, that God likes it, and approves. The name of my own personal religion: The Surpassing Way.