Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mister Rogers - You Are Special Just The Way You Are

Mister Rogers holds a very special place in my heart to this day. Here is a video I came across that contrasts the simple, wonderful message of Mister Rogers with other messages that we can be bombarded with as we grow up.

You are Deeply Loved,

Mark Andrew

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tearing Down Prejudice & Hatred Until We Are All Equal

Tonight I watched the Julia Roberts movie Mona Lisa Smile for the first time. Roberts stars as an art history professor at a conservative New England women's college in the 1950's. She quickly stirs the pot, challenging what 1950's society expects of "wholesome young women." Many, if not most women were expected to fill the role of good, obedient wives for their husbands, producing babies and making sure dinner was on the table by 5 o'clock. Self-ambition as far as careers go often took a back seat to expected obligations. But then things started to change as they irrevocably do with time, and now we know - hopefully - that women don't have to confine their ambitions because society expects them to. I say hopefully because there are still plenty of people who think, even in North America, that women should stay away from certain "men-only" roles and acquiesce to what men tell them to do.

In many many parts of the world it is more overtly shocking. Women are raped, beaten, and killed for challenging societal expectations (in marriage, in the workplace, in religious institutions, etc) Acid is thrown onto girl's faces as they walk down the street because they simply seek to go to school. Just this past week, a University of British Columbia graduate was visiting her Bangladeshi home, when her husband gouged out her eyes, leaving her blind, presumably because he didn't want her to be furthering her education. I write these things not to be grotesque, but because they still happen and we - I - must use my voice whenever I can to stand up and say, "Not in my world!" Much progress has been made in some ways, but there is a long way to go.

As progress was made with women, homosexuals weren't far behind in being considered the new pariah. Gay men weren't people who desired loving meaningful relationships, as much as they were promiscuous perverts who shouldn't be trusted around young boys. More beatings, lynchings, and suicides ensued because there was no acceptable place for them in society. When AIDS became an epidemic in the 1980's, many called it God's cure for homosexuals. As it was with women, much progress has been made. Here in Canada same-sex couples who are in love can be legally married, and increasingly these rights are being given in several states south of the border. However, many many people in power are still adamant that gays and lesbians should not have the same rights as heterosexual couples. Just last year, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, now a contender for the presidency of the United States of America, vetoed a bill that would allow same-sex partners to make end-of-life decisions. In other words, imagine having the love of your life that you've been with for 30 years die, and then being told you have no say where they should be buried. How low can you go? Really, how low? (Not coincidentally, as I sit here writing this article at 1:40 in the morning, Elton John's song American Triangle has just started playing on my iTunes playlist. It chronicles the savage beating of openly gay student Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998. Matthew was taken by two young men to a rural area, and beaten and tortured before being tied to a fence. He died 5 days later in hospital at the age of 21.) That was 13 years ago, not a long period of time. How about more recently? Most likely you've heard of the multiple examples of gay teens committing suicide because they felt there was no other option for them. Tyler Clementi (pictured) was an eighteen-year-old student in New Jersey who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. This occurred after his sexual encounter with a man in his dorm room was video streamed over the Internet without Clementi's knowledge. Hell, even teenagers who are suspected of being gay are committing suicide. Heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking.

To conclude, I have a couple points. As I've stated above, there has been a lot of progress in regards to the evolution of how marginalized members of society such as women and homosexuals are treated. But there is a long way to go.

My second point, or question, is this: Who's next? Who will we feel threatened by next because of our ignorance and in turn who will we marginalize or view as "less than us." Women? Gays? Black people? Aboriginals? Believe me, I know enough about ignorance. When I was a 15 year old back in small southwestern Ontario, I was writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper, righteously (or so I thought) fighting the tide toward gay marriage, because of what I had been taught and because of what I had interpreted from a handful of verses in my religious tome. And then my very best friend sat me down at the end of high school and confided in me that he was a gay man. It's amazing how your ideologies and ignorance can be stripped away from you when you are faced with flesh and blood reality. I am grateful that my blinders were ripped off.

Finally, tonight as I listen to the brilliant Elton John in the early hours of a summers morning, I resolutely say, "Stand Up! May we never turn a blind eye to people around us who are being marginalized or prejudiced against, and may we help our fellow humankind to break through barriers placed on them by time, popular opinion, or ignorance. We can't sit back and wait for others in more prominent positions to do the job for us; we have a mighty voice. Stand up!

Our humanity demands nothing less from us.

Mark Andrew Alward

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rediscovering The Word Grace

For approximately a decade I have had a problem with the word "grace." No doubt it is because my religious beliefs have changed so much during that time.

I was once give a definition of the words "grace" and "mercy" from a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint, which at the time was predominantly my viewpoint.

"Mercy" meant not getting what we deserve from God, and "grace" meant getting what we don't deserve. Grace was undeserved. Even though I was a dirty, miserable sinner, God being gracious gave me good things. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me...right?

However, when I eventually came to believe that we are not dirty, miserable sinners, but rather loved, lovable, and deserving people, that left the word "grace" out in the cold. What was the purpose of the word if it didn't mean God doing us a favour and giving us good things every once in awhile?

I have missed the word "grace." It is a beautiful word. Tonight I did what all good writers do and I looked up the definition on The first thing that came up was: "elegance and beauty of movement, form, expression, or proportion." Now there is a definition that I can get behind. When I think of grace, I think of the way the leaves on the trees blow on an early Autumn morning. I think of two elderly people walking down the street hand in hand. I think of a beautiful dancer sweeping across the stage.

Once again I can embrace grace, and leave the unworthiness behind.

Monday, June 20, 2011

We Are Being Relentlessly Pursued By Love

How difficult is it to attain enlightenment or to have a close relationship with the Divine?

What have you tried? Of course there is prayer, meditation, doing good deeds, giving money to the church, trying to act in a decent manner and avoiding committing sins (whatever we label as sins).

We read countless numbers of books and articles and listen to thousands of sermons during our lifetimes. We try to garner advice on the spiritual life from teachers, friends, family.

So why does it seem so damned painstaking to have a healthy relationship with God sometimes?

Perhaps it's that we're just plain trying too hard. I recently stumbled across the New Living Translation of a verse found in the Psalms. It reads as follows:

"Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,and I will live in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23:6)

Interesting. This version doesn't simply suggest that God's goodness and love will "be with us" (as comforting as that may be) or that if we're lucky we'll attain goodness and love somehow. Here it says that God's goodness and love will pursue us. Which begs the question: What if we're just getting in the way? Am I viewing the Universe as a stingy place where I have to beg mercilessly for good things to happen to me? Do I have an "undeserving complex?" There's another verse in the Bible that talks about God working everything together for good for those who love God. Do you really believe that? Do I really believe that?

What if God (the Divine, the Universe, Spirit) is wanting to surprise us with abundance and goodness, but we're too busy out wandering around looking for it? There's the well-worn saying "Let Go & Let God." It tends to annoy me, as do many well-worn phrases. But perhaps there's a lot of truth to it. Instead of running around trying to become closer to God somehow, maybe we need to take some time each day simply resting in the knowledge that God is not only willing to be present in our lives, but She is pursuing us with an intense love that does not die.

I encourage you - I encourage myself - to take some time today to let yourself be pursued by Love.


Mark Andrew

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Loving You, So Why Aren't You Loving Me Back, Damn It?!

Are you and I able to love freely and without expectation of being loved in return? Or should we even have such an expectation or not?

I don't think it is too much to expect to receive love or know that we deserve love. But here's the clincher for me lately, and I have a ways to go before I fully and consistently implement it:

When we love someone, we can expect that we will receive the love that we need, but it might not come back from the person we are expecting or wanting it to come from.

How often have you, how often have I, loved someone as much as we thought we possibly could, yet in the back of our minds and in our hearts we had ulterior motives. We often love others because we want to feel good in return. Don't spend too much time beating yourself up over this; I think most of us do it at one time or another. But now we can stop. Why? Because it often leads to great frustration.

Have you ever loved someone so much but they still refuse to supply you with the warm fuzzies you desire? This often happens when we have romantic feelings for someone. We say we want to love them, but really what we mean (sometimes) is that "I want you to fill this void in my life, and damn it, why aren't you doing it?" This results, according to the writer Henri Nouwen, in a kind of emotional violence, and a sometimes intense dissatisfaction or bitterness.

So what is the "better way?". We can say a thousand times that we want to love selflessly and give purely, so why not try doing so? I think we can be so resistant to doing this because if we do this we don't know or understand where we'll receive our love from. And that terrifies us.

But this is where I believe a great truth comes in: If we truly love someone without expectation of receiving love from them in return, which is perhaps the purest kind of love there is, you can count on the Universe bringing you the love that you need and desire, though it may not come from the person you have previously expected it to come from.

This requires a trust in the Universe (or if you prefer God or Life), that as much pure love as you put out there, you will receive it back to you. The Bible says that God will give you the desires of your heart, but it doesn't say that it will come from expected sources.

Trust in Life.

Know that your need for love will be met.

Try to love the people in your life without expectation.

You are Blessed,

Mark Andrew

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When Exactly Did We Give Up On Magic?

Today I was walking Uptown on a gorgeous June afternoon, and as I crossed the street I watched a mother leading her young daughter of 5 or 6 by the hand along the crosswalk. The girl was dressed all in pink, with a matching Hello Kitty backpack and a huge pink stuffed animal.

It was then that I wondered again: Why do we buy into the lie that we have to grow up? At which point exactly do we start learning to buy into societal norms of what is acceptable and expected of us? To put it another way: When exactly did we give up on magic?

You see, I long for the day, I yearn for the day when I grow old enough not to be wise or learn-ed or to have it all figured out, but rather for the day when I once again learn to laugh and cry and respond to the very simplest things in life. I am growing back to the time when I dreamed, and when dreams weren't thought of as silly or unreal or something to grow out of. Dreams were what we had, magic is what meant to us and our hearts delighted in it. If it is foolishness, I stand up. If it is foolishness I stand up and I raise my hand, pointing my finger to the sky and saying "ME! ME! ME! Pick ME!"

If we do not chase our passions, if we do not dream our dreams, if we settle, then a part of us will keep dying inside and we will never be satisfied. What is your word? What is your passion? What would you do right now if all of those expectations of behaviour were scattered across the sea like ashes? Where would you go? What would you do? What career would you pursue? Who would you sing a love song to at one in the morning while you froze outside their window?

Do not give up. You and I are not who we bought into. The dreams may have been fading and flickering quietly within for many many years now, but now is the time. Now is the time for more. Don't settle. Let's start today.

When exactly did we give up on magic? It is never ever too late to start again. Let's grow young again.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On Pain, Trust, Relationships, & Geese

Hello from a serene and gentle Waterloo Park at 630 in the evening. It is the absolute perfect weather and setting to sit and write in.

I'm thinking about several things tonight, so bear with me if I tend to switch topics slightly abruptly.

One of the things I am thinking about today is pain, and how while for the most part it is something undesirable, it also can serve a magnificent purpose. Firstly, when we feel pain, we are doing just that - feeling. I don't know about you, but it seems that I can go through entire swaths of days, even weeks or months, without feeling much of anything. We can get disappointed with how our lives are turning out, or get bitter, and we just "switch off." We can numb ourselves with entertainment, addictions, perhaps medication. And sometimes those things are needed for a time as a method of mere survival; we don't have the energy to do much of anything else.

But then we wake up, and we feel. And even if it is pain that we are feeling, it is still a reminder that we are human and have the capacity to feel. We don't have to stay in that place of pain forever, but perhaps we don't have to run away from it all the time either.

A second point about pain. I wonder if the amount of pain that we feel is directly proportionate to our capacity to feel immense joy and satisfaction. I think it may be true. As bad as things can sometimes get for us, I think there are infinite possibilities for us to feel exhilaration and deep happiness.

Another word that comes to mind is trust. I think there are probably a lot of people like me who have a deep longing to trust the inner voice that speaks to us throughout the day. Some may call it God, Spirit, The Universe, Source. We may hear it in set-aside times of meditation or reflection, or while we're walking down the street, while at work, or while making love with the one we cherish. But it's one thing to hear the inner voice; it's another thing to actually trust it. Why are we so resistant to it? One of the big reasons that comes to mind is that for thousands of years countless numbers of people within many cultures and religions have been taught NOT to trust themselves. We may have been taught - directly or inferred - that human beings are naturally flawed or worse, and therefore we can not trust ourselves. So it's no surprise that when we hear positive, loving messages coming from our very core, that we may initially dismiss or reject them. Goodness and love come from somewhere outside of ourselves, not from within. I can not state this any more strongly: I utterly and completely reject this belief. I believe that rather than being separate from Source (Mother/Father, Universe, God), we are absolutely one with her from before we were even born. We are born out of absolute love and goodness. Truly and deeply believing this (which may take time admittedly) leads us to a place where we can trust and completely accept the loving, affirmative messages that come from within throughout our days. Some of the messages I have heard are: "You deserve love," "You deserve to be happy," "You are accepted," "You don't have to be alone."

That leads to a brief, final point for this evening. Whatever it is that we are going through, however dark things may seem, however much despair and pain we may be experiencing, we don't deserve to go through it alone. We were made for relationship, and there are so many things that we can experience through them that we can not through being isolated. There are vital truths to be learned by sitting and talking with a friend over coffee. There is positive energy to be tapped into by being around a like-minded community (spiritual or otherwise). There is healing to be had by laying next to your lover. We don't deserve or need to be alone.

Well, I think I will leave it at that for this evening, spend a bit more time with the ducklings and geese here at the park, and sip on my tea.

Blessings to you, valuable one.

Mark Andrew

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Is The Difference Between Unitarians & The Unity Movement?

After the Sunday morning service at my spiritual centre this past Sunday, a fellow community member approached me with the question that I have faced numerous times: What is the difference between the Unitarians and Unity? I am the recipient of this question because I have had the pleasure of being part of both communities in recent years. Also, this past weekend I "Facebook Shared" a link to a 20-question online survey which postulated, based on your responses, which religion you were best suited for. Many of my friends, along with myself, had Unitarian Universalism in their top ten (for the record, Unity was not listed as an option, though New Age and New Thought were).

So why not attempt to answer the question "What is the difference between Unitarians and Unity?" I make this attempt solely on my experiences within my local Unitarian and Unity communities, and fully admit that my opinions/observations could be quite different from others.

First of all, no, Unitarians and Unity are not the same thing; this is a common misunderstanding. It's easy to get confused based on the names - and this article isn't even taking the United Church or the Unification Church into account!

A Bit Of History...very abbreviated

Unitarian Universalists

"The origins of the Unitarian movement were in 16th-century Europe. New patterns of thinking had emerged in the Renaissance, beginning in Italy, while further north the Protestant Reformation had affirmed the right of private judgement in matters of religion. But the established authorities, whether Catholic or Protestant, set boundaries beyond which thinking was not to venture. There were some few independent thinkers, however, who were not prepared to accept such limitations, and felt morally obliged to follow wherever their unfettered reasoning would lead them. Persons of this kind eventually became the founders of the Unitarian movement."

Initially, Unitarianism was considered to be a branch of Christianity, the big difference being that Unitarians believed God was One, rather than being a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Thus the name Unitarian.

Unitarianism has a long and widespread history. Some famous Unitarians include U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Taft, as well as Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. More recently, authors Robert Munsch and Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture) considered themselves Unitarians.

In the early 1960's, the Unitarians joined forces with the Universalist Church. Universalists believe that God saves everyone and that no one goes to Hell.

The Unity Movement

The Unity movement was founded in 1889 in Kansas City by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore after Myrtle claimed that she was healed from tuberculosis through the practise of prayer. The Fillmore's studied under various spiritual teachers and founded several organizations/publications under the Unity umbrella, such as Unity School of Christianity, Silent Unity prayer ministry, and Daily Word, a publication of inspirational writings. The Fillmores and others within Unity interpreted Christianity and the Bible differently than mainline Christianity, choosing to view them metaphysically rather than altogether literally.

Similarities Between Unitarians & Unity

1) Both religions/movements have no set creed or dogma which one must believe in in order to be "saved."

2) Both embrace that there are many ways to experience religion/God and that no one has the absolute only "right" answer.

3) Both Unitarians and Unity generally embrace the gay and lesbian community, though both would probably admit there is still work to be done to make their congregations even more welcoming.

4) Both Unitarians and Unity believe 100% in the equality of women and men. (During my time within both movements I have had 3 ministers, all women.)

5) While, as mentioned Unitarians and Unity have their roots within Christianity and ties to it, I would argue that both are moving steadily away from being able to be called Christian movements. Unitarianism in particular is it's own liberal religion and very few adherents in some congregations would consider themselves Christians. More people within Unity would be comfortable calling themselves Christians, but this too is changing I believe. As a reflection of this, many Unity congregations are dropping "Christianity" from their names (For instance, my congregation recently changed its name from Unity Centre of Practical Christianity to Unity Kitchener.)

Differences Between Unitarians & Unity

I would say that Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion, while Unity is a spiritual movement. Now, in saying this I add the caveat that this does not mean that Unitarians are not spiritual and that those within Unity aren't religious. But in general I would use those definitions.

Unitarianism today has a strong humanist contingent who would say there is no God. Meanwhile, most within Unity would say that God does exist (though many would refer to him/her by a different name.)

Again, my experience (and I stress MY) has been that Unitarians are more religious and Unity is more about spirituality. This might be a good time to list the Unitarian Principles as well as Unity Principles. Again, these are not creeds by which one must be "saved." These principles are as follows:

Unitarian Universalism

There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

1)The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2)Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3)Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4)A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5)The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6)The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7)Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The Unitarians also have a list of sources which they draw upon:

Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:

1)Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
2)Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
3)Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
4)Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
5)Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
6)Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Unity Principles

The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are:

1) God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
2) We are spiritual beings, created in God's image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.
3) We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
4) There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God.
5) Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.

I would note that probably every member of Unity would agree 100% with the Unitarian principles, while many Unitarians would not agree with the Unity principles. This isn't a critique, but an observation.

Why I Switched From Unitarianism To Unity

As a bit of background, I was raised as an evangelical Christian and eventually took these beliefs to be my own. There was God the Father, His son Jesus, whose blood sacrifice was the only way humankind could be saved from Hell, and the Holy Spirit who came afterwards. After high school I attended Bible college for 3 years with thoughts of perhaps engaging in missionary or ministerial work. However, near the end of my time at the Bible college, I began to seriously question some of the major tenets of evangelicalism, namely the existence of Hell, and the belief that Jesus was the only way to Heaven. I left the college and for a couple of years did not attend church anywhere. But I always believed in something more, something divine; that never left me. So I thought I'd check out some other options rather than evangelical churches. First I attended a United Church; while they were very nice, there was still too much Christian language for me. And then I ventured into the Unitarian congregation which was located near where I lived. Immediately I felt that I was in the right place. I was welcomed by members and the minister and am friends with several to this day. People were free to believe whatever they wanted to with no threat of judgment hanging over them. I was part of the congregation for probably about 2 years, and found them to be a warm, caring community. Some accuse Unitarians of merely being a "social club," but this is not the case.

If I liked it so much, why did I leave? Because I was missing spiritual direction, I was missing that divine aspect that I had never stopped believing in or experiencing. I strongly believed in God/Mother/Spirit, but I didn't get the sense that most others in the congregation believed similarly. As a reflection of the congregation, sometimes you didn't hear much about God at all on a Sunday morning.

So I checked out Unity and am now a member there as well as having the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors. When I look at the Unity principles, I agree with all of them, very strongly in most cases. I believe in the existence of the Divine, which is about goodness and oneness. I believe that the Divine lives in everyone and everywhere. I believe that I am divine in nature, as is everyone else. We are God being born into this world. I also like Unity's emphasis on prayer and meditation. Something that is HUGE in Unity is changing your life by changing your thoughts. This is accomplished through regular times of affirmative prayer and meditation. Unity also talks a lot about "energy" and "consciousness," and adheres to the belief that "thoughts create things." Therefore, at Unity, you'll here a lot about The Law of Attraction (commonly known as The Secret). You're also likely to hear quotes from New Thought/New Age authors and speakers such as Neale Donald Walsch, Wayne Dyer, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, etc. Again, I would say that Unity is better identified as New Thought or New Age than it is Christian, though during a Sunday service you may also here quotes from Jesus or other Biblical figures.

I am thankful for both the Unitarians and Unity and that both have congregations here in my community of Kitchener-Waterloo.

1)Here are the links to the Unitarian and Unity main websites:

Unitarian Universalist


2) If you are in Kitchener-Waterloo, here are the websites of the local Unitarian and Unity congregations:

First Unitarian Congregation Of Waterloo

Unity Kitchener

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Random Thoughts On A Wordless Sunday

4:37p.m. Uptown Waterloo

It's kind of frustrating when as a writer you come across moments, even several days, when you seem to have nothing to say. Usually on such occasions I just refrain from attempting to write, but what's the challenge in that? So I'll see what random thoughts I can come up with.

1) I'm really enjoying Elton John's "Songs From The West Coast" album at the moment. I highly recommend it. I know someone who would never listen to Elton John because he's gay. Nor would they watch Ellen because she's a lesbian. How absurd is that? A question I have always wanted to ask this person is "Did you ask the cashier at the grocery store today if she's straight? Was the person you purchased your couch off of a heterosexual? Can you be sure?" If you're going to avoid gays like the plague you better be thorough!

2) When I got to church this morning there wasn't coffee out like there usually is before the service. As a result, I seriously almost nodded off and fell off my chair more than once (though the sermon was good...) Also, I haven't been able to "fake it" for years now. I've had a shitty week, and just couldn't bring myself to sing or take part in the responsive affirmations today. It's the same when I don't believe something, I won't recite it simply because everyone else is.

3) I wonder if everyone wants companionship? I mean, some people are fiercely independent, but I wonder if even they desire it every now and then; I would think so. The question just came to my mind: "What is it that everyone really wants?" Love is the obvious answer, but it's too easy. So "companionship" and "understanding" are coming to mind instead. I think most of us want the comfort of knowing that there is at least one other person on this planet who truly understands us through and through and wants to be with us.

4) I'm hoping for a call back from a potential employer tomorrow or Tuesday, but secretly I don't want to start immediately so that I can continue to re-grow my beard.

5) Once again I'm addicted to Star Trek: The Next Generation thanks to a friend lending me the first two seasons. I really have to find the picture I had taken in uniform when I was 12 years old. True story.

6) This week I have had serious questions about my spiritual beliefs, almost to the point of wondering if there is in fact anything deeper about life or a spiritual reality whatsoever. Perhaps it's just a need to read into things that I've had since I was a kid. But then an incredibly sexy young woman walks into the coffee shop and I'm a believer again.

7) I'm ready for a lot of changes.

8) I must start singing again.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday,


Friday, June 3, 2011

Giving Up The Monk Outfit

Why is it that I have often thought that the way to spiritual and personal growth is to spend a vast amount of time alone? Has it been necessary to spend countless hours over the last, oh, 16 years contemplating life through spiritual books and journalling?

Part of this is natural, as I am a borderline introvert (see the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test). And I truly have enjoyed reading lots of inspirational books as well as writing.

But some of this has to do with isolating and thinking that for some reason I need to come to some big spiritual understanding before truly connecting with others.

And I'm done with it. Sure there will be times that I'll still enjoy my personal space and spiritual growth, but I am exhausted from reading and thinking and writing and thinking.

I'm ready to learn through touch, through physical closeness and intimacy. I think that one can experience a lot of true healing without a word being said; just from the touch of a hand, the caress of a kiss, by embracing someone that you are in love with.

This requires a kind of vulnerability which can be scary, but it is more than worth it. I was not meant to be alone, you were not meant to be alone. It might mean giving up some of your comfort zone, but the dividends are so fulfilling. To feel the warmth of someone laying beside you, to brush the hair back from their face as you look into their eyes.

A lot can be learned and a lot can be healed if I put down the book, put down the pen, and reach out.