I know you read the title of this post and thought surely I was joking.
Truth is, I’ve always practiced my own brand of spirituality. I totally believe in a god that works in my life. I have a deep faith in the will of the Universe (for me, a synonym for god). And I find a lot of peace of mind knowing that I’m not alone.
And if I’m wrong and we all become worm food for eternity? Who cares. My faith was helpful while I lived.
I also believe that many truths can co-exist. You can believe in Jesus as your personal savior, or Buddha, or Allah, or tiny little fairies that speak to you in your sleep. Or you can believe that God is a patriarchal construct of government propaganda. I believe your truth is true for you. And mine is true for me.
(A friend once called me Morpheus when I explained my spirituality to her. Still makes me laugh to think of myself as a cloak-wearing man with nose-pinching sunglasses.)
But the whole church thing never appealed to me. Sure, I got baptized in the Catholic Church. I even signed up to be confirmed in High School…but that was only because I had a huge crush on one of the guys in the class. (Hi, John.) Once I was out on my own, I was more than happy to leave the church days behind me.
Somewhere along the line, though, I missed practicing spirituality with other people. I wasn’t yearning for religion; I just wanted to be around other people who were looking for spiritual answers.
I finally found the community that I’d been longing for when I discovered our local Unitarian Universalist church. But to be clear, I’m still (years later) slightly uncomfortable with the constructs of any church, including my own.
This is why I nearly spit my coffee out a couple of months ago when my friend, Brittany, asked if I’d like to co-lead a sermon with her.
“ON WHAT?!?” was my first thought.
But when she introduced the topic, I was intrigued.
And as we started working on it together, I found it totally rewarding and nerve wracking. But mostly rewarding.
Also, my friends were totally
sarcastic and hilarious supportive and helpful:
So here it is – a portion of the service I co-led on Sunday.
Blogging As A Spiritual Practice
Throughout the day, I pick up little thoughts to ponder or questions to mull over. Typically, these thoughts come with a little anxiety…a little mental static. Each of these questions, and the moments that raise them, is a single strand in the happy tangle of my life.
- Is the dog getting walked enough?
- How can I accept and treat with kindness that one co-worker who dances on my last nerve?
- Oh God. If I have to play “princess” one more time, I’m going to stick something in my eye. What kind of mother does that make me?
- What is my family’s identity? What about my marriage? What makes us, US?
- Pumpkin’s tantrums are awful. How can I parent her through them? Or do I just need to accept her frustration? Or both?
- Peanut’s personality is nothing like mine. How do I feel about having a daughter who is my opposite in many ways?
- How many important moments am I missing because I am constantly rushing?
- How can I show my gratitude to my partner for all he is and all he does?
- Am I happy? How do I know?
These questions – or more accurately, the absence of answers – weigh on me. The mental static of anxiety builds until I am irritable, restless, and discontent. I need a time and a place to form my answers.
The reality of having 2 small children, a well-tended marriage, a full time career and a poorly behaved (but beloved) Golden Retriever is that there is little time to think these questions through, never mind answer them.
I needed a time and a space to purge these anxieties and thoughts and fears. And that is what brought me to blogging. My goal was not to untangle the knots or to eventually have just one linear string. My goal was to appreciate each thread. To see, to notice, to spend time with each one. To value the interdependence of each string and the happy mess it creates. Until I embrace the mess. And I love the knots.
This is why I started my blog. And it’s no surprise that I named it “The Woven Moments.”
My blog is my empty canvas, to practice the 4th UU principle of A free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Here is my place to spend time with my threads of motherhood, partnership and marriage, spirituality, and even humor. Here is where my words are flashlights, guiding me to my truth(s).
Sometimes, I purge the anxiety of the day. Other times, I delight in the comedy of parenting. Or capture a fleeting thought or moment. Sometimes, I use the blog to walk through my fears.
Many of the gifts I’ve received from blogging were what I’d hoped for when I started out. I’ve reawakened my passion for writing. I’ve connected with other women and forged friendships with some. I’ve been challenged to look for inspiration in every day life (or, as my friend Brittany says, “thinking in blog”).
But many of the gifts I’ve received as a result of blogging were wholly unexpected.
- I have learned that I am funny. Not always….but sometimes. And occasionally, I’m really funny. Embracing my humor is part of embracing who I am.
- I started the blog to have a place to search, find, articulate and broadcast my truths. But I also found in it a place to celebrate this life I’ve built. To capture and savor moments that make my life mine.
- I’ve tackled tough and sometimes scary topics. I’ve written candidly about what it feels like to be morbidly obese. I’ve written about my deep insecurities as a parent. And a woman. I’ve written about the loss of our baby. I’ve shared my lifelong struggles with anxiety and depression. I did all of this writing for me….because it felt good and right and necessary to claim my story.
- I received emails, Facebook messages, tweets, comments, and more after writing each of these heavy pieces. Some from friends but many more from strangers. Each one was a stark reminder that I am not alone. That we are not alone. There is no better gift than to be reminded that we are all in this life together.
And it’s tangled.
And it’s messy.
And it’s perfect.