Monthly Archives: March 2013

First Amendment Freedom

I’ve really been struggling to find my way spiritually for years now. I’ve bounced back and forth from practice to practice, never really settling and never really feeling like I was HOME. One of my biggest problems was feeling like I didn’t know the rules. To anything. I felt pulled toward earth based spirituality, paganism, Wicca, but always felt lost. Where do I start? How do I know what I’m supposed to do? What if I do something wrong? What if I mess up? As soon as I’d get close, all these types of questions would flood my head and spirit and drown me, pushing me further away from that which I really wanted. What I really needed, was freedom.

I didn’t realize until recently, thanks to a few good friends, that there shouldn’t be any rules. This is MY spiritual practice. MY path. Why should I let the rules of others dictate what I believe, what I feel and what I put my faith in? Of course there are religious observances, dates that have meaning, holidays and other events that serve as landmarks, but beyond that. No God would come down and strike me for choosing the wrong gemstone in my prayer. There was no one watching me, to make sure the words I spoke in ritual were exactly what was written in some book. The only rules I was struggling with, were the ones I placed on myself.

I truly believe that no matter what your beliefs, Christian, Pagan, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist or otherwise our goals are the same. The tenants of each one are similar and teach us to love one another. They teach us to be aware of other living beings and those around us, to be compassionate and grateful for what we have in this moment. They ask us to have faith, to pray and to feel hope where otherwise you may have none. They ask us to be both content and gentle with ourselves, yet to always strive to be better. We learn to help others before ourselves. We learn to love our neighbours as family and to turn inward, listening to our hearts. Should it really matter what the label is, or whether you pray on a Saturday while I pray on a Tuesday?

I really cannot stand religious zealots that preach such EXTREME measures that it is almost absurd that they claim to be doing it on behalf of some religious practice. Really? Truly? Your God told you to go harass someone who is making an already awful, HORRIBLE decision, to make their life worse on that day? Really? Huh.  Your God told you that all of a specific race/gender are inferior? Huh. But he’s a loving God.  Interesting. Your God said that certain people shouldn’t be able to marry, despite the fact they love each other? Well what kind of loving, understanding and compassionate god is that? It certainly isn’t one that I’d want to be leaning on and trusting with my heart. What people say or think is so wildly out of perspective sometimes that I just cannot really fathom or understand. I can’t help but laugh and shake my head. I wish I could ignore it, but it affects OTHER PEOPLE. Your insane extremism, is AFFECTING OTHERS. It’s a type of injustice I can’t get over.  You do you people, I’ll do me and everyone else will do themselves and we’ll be happy and loving and compassionate. Cool? I wish.

Oh right. Back to me.

My friend said to me in guidance, “start small.” And while so many worries and ‘what ifs’ ran through my brain, I tried. I started small. The very next morning before I fully woke, I spent a few moments in silent prayer to Kuan Yin, asking for peace and compassion in my struggles. And again the next morning. And the next. And..it was peaceful. It was a little breakthrough and lesson to trust myself. To trust my instincts and truly listen to those nudges that most of us brush aside. still feel somewhat nervous and fearful that I am not moving fast enough or in the right direction. These feelings of strength in my beliefs are new and budding but they are coming. I like them and want to keep going.

Truthfully, in my mind it comes down to this: if what you believe is encouraging you to be a better human being – a more compassionate, loving and grateful being, then who is to say you’re wrong?

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On Having Kids

I’m 32. Not exactly old, but not exactly a spring chicken when it comes to thinking about procreation and it’s something that is certainly on my brain. Every. Freaking. Day.

Over the years I’ve waffled back and forth as to whether I even WANT my own children. In college I didn’t want them. No way. No how. I didn’t want to be just like my own Mom (at the time) and I would ruin their lives. /drama.  After I met my first love, nature kicked in and I wanted BABIES. NOW.  Since then, the desire has come and gone and suddenly, come back again. With a vengeance.

What’s really happening I think, is I’m trying to convince myself that I will be okay if I don’t end up having children. Which I will be. I swear. For various reasons, I’m just not at a point right now where it is feasible. I know people say “You’re never really ready” but I’m honest when I say…I know, this is not the time even if I were confident in having babies.

I never dreamed of having babies as a child myself. I never really gave a thought to it to be honest. Much like I never dreamed of what my wedding would look like or life for that matter. There’s a part of me that feels selfish for thinking that…I don’t even know what I am doing with my life yet career wise and how could I give that possibility up to have a child at this point. I don’t think I could. Yes, I know. Children don’t end your life, but they DO change it. I can’t just jump to a fitness class, or full time school with ease…with a baby. Sure you can do it, but it isn’t quite as easy.

The problem is: I LOVE children. I really do. I am completely obsessed with everybody else’s’ kids. I know more about breastfeeding and childbirth than normal non-pregnant women do. I love everything surrounding it and can’t help to research, read up, study and learn constantly. I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding, natural childbirth and midwifery, yet I rarely speak up because I fear the dreaded, “You’ve never had children” comment. I know that I would make a wonderful Mother should it happen. Should I make that choice. I know I’d be super hard on myself, yet I really do think I could do a damn good job at raising independent, intelligent, compassionate and loving kids. I’d try to the best of my abilities anyway!

Yet still, I just DON’T KNOW if it will ever happen.

It’s true. I’ve never had children and sometimes it feels like I’m on the outside of some exclusive club, looking longingly toward the secret handshake protected inner sanctum and I just want in! I want to ask about birth stories, trials and tribulations, happiness and struggle. I want to know it all, I just…don’t know if I’ll ever have my own. And I’m not really sure I’m okay with it. Yet.

I really cannot properly express how intense my desire to be a part of this whole community is without being more of a complete creeper than I already am. I swear, I’m not leering at your children. I am merely looking at them (and you) in awe and thinking how freaking amazing they are and wonderful. I’m looking at you and thinking what a great job you’re doing and how amazing it is that you’re juggling a shopping cart, your infant who is screaming for food, your purse, another toddler all while trying to get groceries. I want to stop you, applaud you and hold your kid so you can find your keys.

I suspect that in the future, with or without my own children, I’ll become a doula or midwife. I will study my heart out and know all that I possibly can. I’ll continue to learn.  By god, I’ll help women bring their own babies into this world even if I don’t bring any into it on my own.

That, I just might be able to reconcile. For now. I think.