mindingmybiz

This blog is my shared process in working towards integrating self-awareness with all other aspects of life, while on my way to becoming more authentic and whole.

Archive for the tag “spirituality”

I am unapologetically ME.

Sorry, but I’m not sorry for being; me.

Though, I will seek to apologize for my reactions which fall below my behavioral standards as I learn to receive or perceive rejection, judgment, and criticism while being WHO I AM. 

External rejection, judgment, and criticism are all welcome, as I consciously welcome MY AUTHENTICITY’S HOMECOMING.

There’s a cost that comes with being who you truly are.  Minimally, it will cost you the loss of temporary approval.  It could cost you more though, rather than just someone’s temporary approval, it could cost you the entire relationship if the foundation is based on you being a certain “you” that is not even really you.

There is also a cost to NOT living authentically.  And this comes through managing the effectiveness of all the ways to numb the pain that is calling you to live in alignment with YOU and to stop living a life in self-betrayal, to varying degrees.

Living inauthentically can cause you to develop a dependency on whatever in life may make you temporarily APPEAR to be secure and self-confident. You will need to invest more and more resources towards appearing this way (to others or yourself) by altering your image or even your own moods in some form to fool yourself, until YOU say – “ENOUGH”. Until then, you may settle with living a deeply insecure life, where you depend entirely on numbing out from this insecure and painful place.

In short – this insecure relationship you have with yourself is built on bullshit, and builds relationships with others built on more bullshit.  For some, a bullshit relationship is the only kind of acceptable relationship. It’s the only way they can feel safe because it’s so damn familiar; showing up in various masks, with familiar scripts. I’ve done this.  I empathize with the masked life. AND, I want more out of life than what my masks can deliver, no matter how sophisticated or glamorous they may look.

One of the masks I most comfortably wore (unconsciously) was this religious mask, mine happened to be “Christian”. While I still loosely identify as a Progressive Christian, hiding behind a rigid religious identity paid off for awhile, until my heart desired more

I’m consciously deconstructing and reconstructing my way of relating to all aspects of me, which is deep spiritual work. It no longer satisfies my soul to turn to a system of religious beliefs and practices defined by others in order to feel acceptable to the Divine and therefore, myself. Because I consciously resonant with the belief that I, as a human being am innately of the Divine.

I’m seeking to be more authentic, not “Christian” or even “spiritual”. This is what I see when I contemplate the life of Jesus or other spiritual beings who lived human lives, which inspire me.

I’ve been on this journey for a little bit. I’m finding that my tolerance level for numbing out and buying into bullshit becomes lower and lower. Simultaneously my appetite for deeper and more authentic connection internally and with others, expands.

I’m practicing authenticity, one imperfect step at a time. For me, this is what it means to be a spiritual being, having my unique human experience.

Coloring Outside of the Lines With My Questions

outside-the-lines 2014 is almost over.  In less than a month, I will hopefully be divorced.  This past year has been a long and bumpy road, but I chose to walk it even though I never hoped or planned for this.  Nonetheless, I am walking through this valley, be it as sloppy and imperfect as it is, I nevertheless made the conscience decision to walk through it the best I can.

My uphill battle is experienced mostly within, at the prompting of me taking in messages targeted at blaming and shaming me through upholding biased standards of perfection to my face that despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to meet or sustain meeting them for long.  The source of the pain that’s directed at me through blame and shame is real and valid.  It is human, yet I need to be mindful of what I will take on and what I will not.

I have gotten lost in the shuffle to gain approval from others, especially those who I thought were close to god and that god approved of, because that ultimately is what I was and am after – secure intimacy with the divine.

Who is god?  What is god like?  How do I feel his presence?  I want to feel fully known and fully loved, without feeling like I need to earn it or prove my loveability.  I’m trying to define what I am after, and it is this felt-sense of love and security that is just THERE, because that is the nature of love.  I do not need to fear being abandoned by love because of me being who I am.  I can rest securely in being me, and in being loved.  Why do I hunger for this?  Why is it so strong?  Why can’t I silence it without the painfully unwanted side effects of going numb inside?  This hunger for divine love calls me out and is relentless in getting met.  Why???  Is it because it is more available and accessible to me through experiencing and embracing this hunger for divine love instead of shutting it up?

In this current season of my life, I need to write out god’s name with a lower case ‘g’.  The uppercase spelling of god represents something to me that I am questioning because I fear it.  Love and fear at their core, have irreconcilable differences.  Love delivers security; fear delivers insecurity.  Love calms me; fear freezes me.  Love opens me up inside; fear closes me up inside.

What is love?  I read that god is love in the bible.  But what is the bible?  It is an ancient book written by humans who lived long ago, in a very different culture and historical setting.  What do I personally share in common with those humans who wrote texts that are included in the bible?  Well, for starters I share in common living on this planet called earth and interacting with the earth and all who share this earth through human flesh and blood.  So, there are some similarities that permeate through gender, racial, historical and other socio-cultural barriers.  But, how much of the writing in the bible is more of a representation of that particular culture’s context in which the writing came from, and how much of the bible’s writing is more of a representation of the timeless and ever relevant nature of the divine and of humanity?  Doesn’t god meet us where we are at?  But people in the bible were at a different place than I am at, due to a variety of factors like what they knew and didn’t know about the planet earth, humanity, neuroscience, human anatomy and other cultures and people far away from their own geographical locations. Many educated people in this time believed the earth was flat and that the earth was at the center of the universe, no?.  Yet, god still entered into the human race and met humanity where it was at within that specific time and culture.  That is what I take as the essence of the christmas story.  It was the divine entering into humanity as a fetus in a woman’s uterus and taking upon our limited human nature and experiencing that which only humans can experience through their human flesh and blood, no?  god had to enter into the human race through a particular culture (Jewish), at a particular point of history which enveloped their current understanding and discovery of science, medicine, politics, religion, culture, history, psychology, philosophy, etc., which defined and confined their understanding of what it is to experience being human and how the divine transcends those very humanly confined elements of socio-cultural/historical context.

I want love.  That’s all.  I want divine love, to receive it and redistribute it to those I come into meaningful contact with.  That is the artful masterpiece I’m envisioning within me.  It’s a work in progress, always.  I’m bringing it back to the basics, which is love.  Though I have areas of personal and unique weaknesses, strengths, wounds, talents, abilities, understandings, misunderstandings, shame, pride, fear, accomplishments, unfinished business – all which are still works in progress – I am totally human and I am a masterpiece because I was made by the divine, whom I call god, whom this book called the bible says is love and that seems to cross over sociocultural categories.

What does fear and love have to do with one another?  I keep finding myself coming back to a timeless and relevant message that resonates within me that I found in the bible:  “there is no fear in love.  but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.  the one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  – 1 john 4:18

The masterpiece within me is my human heart which is fused with the divine, my essence is growing in perfect love, which drives out fear.  Divine love does not enlist or trust in the power of fear, because fear does have power; the power to coerce.  – Yuck.  I’m finding how repelling that is becoming to me.  That is not love, that is control based in fear.  Love transforms by driving out fear, not by eliciting it or by ignoring it, but by expelling it.

Jessie J’s song “Masterpiece” passionately captures how I interpret me in my current season with all that’s evolving within me.  I’m finding myself meditating on it and experiencing god’s presence.

Jesus Follower or Christian GroupThink Follower?

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I so admire my weekly spiritual teacher (aka pastor).  He explicitly affirmed me identifying with the notion of being resistant to identifying myself as a Christian, especially to people who do not identify themselves as “Christians”.  -Inconceivable!  I dig it.

I can’t know what cognitive and somatic associations get conjured up for you when hearing the label “Christian” but I know what mine are, and it isn’t much of anything I want to be associated with regarding my spirituality and the way I want to live that out.

I consciously seek personal and in-depth contact with God, as I understand God.  My understanding of God is primarily interpreted and informed through the life of Jesus, shown in the new testament of the bible, not Christian groupthink.

My understanding of God is in active recovery from a complicitly abusive religious system which interprets me, God and others through a shame and intimidation based system, in the name of Christianity.

When I read certain bible verses, I often find myself needing to rephrase the statements, due to them being inappropriately applied and interpreted over me by a complicitly abusive religious system.  It’s a system that has used certain bible verses to accomplish changing my thoughts and behaviors through using shame and spiritual intimidation.

I am also at-risk for doing this not only to myself, but to others as well – no more denial.  That is why I want and need spiritual teachers who GET this, AND to be involved within a community of others who do as well.

When it comes to what I extract from bible verses, words are extremely important, and ameliorating Christian-jargon takes conscious effort, but I have found it to be very enlightening.

An example taken from “The Voice” version of Colossians 4:5-6

“Be wise when you engage with those outside of the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter.  When you speak the word, speak it gracefully (as if seasoned with salt), so you will know how to respond to everyone rightly.”

My personal interpretation (everyone has one) is this:

Be mindful when I engage with those who for whatever reason, do not associate within Christian circles, make the most of every moment and encounter you find yourself in.  I am not called to force these moments and encounters,  just to notice them.  When I use my words to talk, do it gracefully and season (not drench) it with salt.  Salt is what gives it flavor, which is my authentic-self and personality.  Grace doesn’t mean being pretentiously nice, because that tastes bad.  Seasoning with salt is being mindful that my call to authenticity is not a license to be insensitive and presumptuous towards others.  The combination of grace and salt, will position me to respond to everyone rightly, through transparency and humility.  Rightly doesn’t mean having the “one right” or “better” answer.  It is right, to admit that there are many answers I do not have for others.  It is right, when I have direct experience with the issue at hand, to share my experience of how I see my decision to follow Jesus shaping my circumstances and myself.  When I do not have direct experience or am largely unaware/ignorant of the issue someone is experiencing or sharing with me about, I can respond with sincerity and compassion saying, “I don’t really know.”  THAT is responding rightly.

Jesus Follower or Christian GroupThink Follower?  There is a difference.

 

 

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