Spirituality 101 (or, a woman without a tribe)

 

The educator in me wanted to start this blog post with a quiz (don’t worry…it won’t be graded 🙂 )

  1. How many pairs of yoga pants do you own? (ok, this is primarily for females….although if you are a guy who wears yoga pants, I’m thrilled that you are living your truth!! Honestly!)
    a. 0
    b. 2 (to wear to yoga class)
    c. 7 (one for each day of the week)
  2. If you are a business owner, how do you price your product?
    a. I don’t own a business
    b. In dollars and cents, what else?
    c. Products and services are priced as an “energy exchange”
  3. Quartz is:
    a. A liquid measurement
    b. Used for making countertops
    c. A stone used in healing, psychic protection, and spiritual growth, just for starters
  4. How many types of yoga exist?
    a. What’s yoga?
    b. Um, there is more than 1 type?
    c. >20
  5. Which answer comes closest to describing your diet?
    a. I eat anything and everything!
    b. I enjoy a normal mix of healthy and not-so-healthy foods
    c. I eat a vegan/vegetarian/lacto-ovo/or pescatarian diet

So, how did you do?

Mostly A’s? You are a happy-go-lucky, ‘ignorance is bliss’ kind of person.
Mostly B’s? You are down-to-earth; your friends would probably call you “normal.”
Mostly C’s? Caution! You could be accused of being a metaphysical guru!

(disclaimer: this is in no way intended to diagnose any disorder; this writer is not a physician, clergy member, or psychiatrist; do not be alarmed or disturbed by the results – this is simply for fun!)

As you may have surmised from my recent radio interview (and which will be fleshed out in more detail in my book), I have recently “come out.” Although I still love Jesus and his message, I no longer identify with the major tenets of the Christian faith (or any “religious” doctrine). As you can imagine, giving up something that has been a part of your identity for over 50 years is difficult, because your entire world – friends, family, lifestyle – is woven into the fabric of that identity.

Over this past year, a year in which I separated from my Christian comfort zone, venturing out into the generic spiritual community at large, I found myself in limbo – not really feeling a part of this new spiritually-minded “tribe,” yet no longer a part of my old tribe. I realized early on that no matter the peer group, there is still a subtle pressure to conform. There is a role that must be played in order to gain true acceptance or to fit in. I found that the spiritual community was no different. In fact, just like mainstream religion, it even has its own language and practices (energy exchanges, anyone?). In essence, I was simply trading one doctrine for another. As I began to engage with my new tribe, it became evident that although we hold many of the same beliefs on the inside, we are not alike on the outside. For example, I don’t own a pair of yoga pants and in fact, can’t even touch my toes. Truth be told, I tend to be a bit assertive, I don’t know my carnelian from my citrine, I love red meat, and I curse….a lot. All of these things set me apart from the stereotypical “enlightened” individual.

The cool thing is that, once you shed that cloak of doctrine and start to live a life that is true – one in which the inside feeling matches the outside appearance – it becomes easy to detect and avoid doctrines in other disguises. Can I let you in on a secret? A spiritual guru doesn’t have a monopoly on truth any more than the priest or the rabbi. And besides, as I mentioned in a previous post, when you look outside of yourself for answers, you give away your power! Everything you need to know can be found within. It all boils down to the INDIVIDUAL’S relationship with God…Source…All That Is. There is no right or wrong way to live your life, so long as you are operating from a place of love. Feeling obligated to abide by a certain meditation technique or a particular kind of diet or yoga practice is simply another form of fear-based decision making.

Slowly but surely I am learning how to listen to that small voice inside, trust it, and then follow its guidance. It’s not about looking outside of ourselves to find direction or acceptance. I can tell you from experience that this is a challenging concept to overcome. There is no shortage of (very persuasive) people willing to tell us what to do, how to dress, what to eat, where to shop, when to speak, and…well, I think you get the idea. Instead, discover for yourself how liberating it is to live the life YOU were meant to live!