My parents are both the 2nd to youngest in LARGE Catholic families. My dad went to Catholic school for many of his formative years. They were even married in true Catholic style.
I remember being bused to catechism class on Wednesdays when I was in Kindergarten. I remember my first confession and communion. When I was 16yo I was confirmed in the Church, but not without complications. And, that’s where and when my relationship with the Catholic Church ended.
I had a love, un-love, relationship with the Church for many reasons. And the unloved parts aren’t what are important. I loved going with my grandma and I think she really liked when we went with her. She was a silently strong woman of her faith. She didn’t push, beg, guilt, cajole, or bribe anyone to church. She went several times a week and volunteered when and where she could.
I loved knowing when to stand, when to kneel, when to sit. I loved the music and the stained glass windows. It felt like “home” when I was there with her. Maybe it’s why I contemplate seeking it out now. I seek connection on a level that is just not tangible.
In Defense of Spirituality
My concern for my human soul is great. It’s a piece of the bigger picture when I think about health. I don’t know if I will ever return to the Church. What I do know is that there is something I crave that cannot be filled with worldly ideas or things.
Research shows that people who report incorporating spiritual practice into their lives are more likely to live longer, report higher levels of happiness, cope better with the death of a loved one, and have a lower risk of depression and suicide.
But, WHY? It could be people who are on a spiritual journey choose to volunteer, donate, meditate, pray, and live in a like-minded community. There are definitely plenty of returned searches on Google to support this idea.
For me, the journey has definitely been disjointed. It has been put on hold over the years as more immediate needs have popped up. In the last year I have felt the pull again.
Fasting, prayer and meditation are some of the more obvious methods of strengthening spirituality that come to mind. Journaling, solitude, and creative expression are a few more suggestions I have heard. Practicing a grateful mindset and spending time in nature also seem to be components of a spiritual journey.
Where to start? This is where I, and many folks, seem to get hung up. The idea of spirituality and a spiritual journey gets to be overwhelming. Do declare myself a follower of Christ? Do I seek out a shaman or a dharma center? Do I get lost in the mountains? Baptize myself in a river?
I don’t know, or have, all the answers. I have an idea of what I am looking for and have started exploring again. I find myself listening to music artists like Johnny Cash, Ryan Bingham, and Chris Stapelton. I return to books that speak to my soul such as The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. I find myself saying little prayers for my children, husband, parents, friends, and clients. I am practicing a conscious effort to express my gratitude for my life. I yearn for time in the mountains. I’m not satisfied yet. There is definitely something missing, and intuitively I know that I WON’T know what it is until I see or feel it. Until then I will keep being curious. I will keep practicing the things that strengthen my spirituality.
What do you do to grow and strengthen your spirituality or relationship with God, Spirit, the Universe, Light, Source?