Oct. 24th, Final Revision
Beliefs, Insecurities, Changes
Between 2010-2020, I often struggled with thoughts of self-confidence, my own imperfections, finding my creative voice, and not talking too much, though I had hope. I had heard many of the truths I believe now and had written about some of them, but now I believe the ones I wanted to in a more tangible, lasting way.
I had faith then and was very focused on scriptures. While I still have faith now, it isn’t in such a simplistic, easily explained way, and it isn’t now so much as seeing God as only ‘Father’ who is exclusively male, but not ‘un-male’ either, or that this God wants me to disregard and get rid of my emotions and dreams, or to feel like nobody in his great presence, or to keep recalling how imperfect I am as I check off mental lists of very tiny deeds I did but not focusing as much on their value to another when doing them but more on my own inadequacy. I was constantly questioning if ‘I’ve done enough to be a good person,’ hating my imperfections and a lack of reaching out which penetrated my soul and distracted me from others and myself. I was constantly hearing from others about forgiveness from God in an almost stoic way and I could not forgive myself too. I had received an idea that this earth is pretty much garbage and that we are just waiting here pointlessly to leave it behind someday. I had these types of spiritual beliefs subtly throughout those years, in ways I felt were not truly mine but felt I should not deny either, and others I had more strongly. I don’t believe this way now or feel them any longer.
I am now connected to the faith of my childhood along with other expressions from inspiring people and places, past and present.
I enjoy the reverence of Mass at times I wish to go and I don’t feel the need to go every week. I am happy there when I arrive and leave— seeing the candles lit, flowers, the quietness before Mass begins as I pray in secret alongside others who are praying in secret, organ music, clear speaking voices, the outstretched arms of Jesus at the altar reminding me of that great love for humanity I cherish and want to emulate in my own life, in a different, less completely sacrificial way; making eye contact with people during ‘peace,’ and receiving communion, which I feel is perfectly named for the way I feel when I receive it, toward One who feels extra close at that time, beyond words. Love does not abandon me after it dissolves and I leave the church or my home. I think of “Love” and its word variations, such as “Beloved,” heard commonly in Sufism, although I wasn’t thinking about Sufism at the time. I often just know it without those words either, as a name at times as ‘Jesus,’ feel that sacrifice and the rising and returning, although these letters ‘Jesus’ strung together, the Greek transliteration, or words people read in the Bible, aren’t to me all there is to know, or all that I have felt in my soul.
I enjoy the outside landscape of the church, the wide open grassy land and special corners where flowers and plants have been tended. I enjoy seeing a statue of Mary surrounded by daisies near a small stone-carved dedication to mothers. I have a deeper appreciation for her and connection with her now than I did before but had considered, as a mother and spiritual woman.
Last week I sat on a small bench in front of a stone Saint Francis that I had just discovered there and his famous prayer which begins, ‘Let me be an instrument of your peace’ had been carved into a stone plaque in front of it, this prayer I had memorized and recited years ago. I pray it interiorly.
During 2010 and 2014, I was submitting stories and kept getting disillusioned by the rejections from magazines I was receiving.
In 2018, I published a book of my poems written over several years titled “Moonflower,” the word came to me without trying to think of a title. I had struggled with the decision to actually publish a book as well as to select poems for it, fearing some weren’t truthful enough or if I wanted people who knew me now to know what I believed in some past poems. But the poems I selected I think are fine anyway.
Becoming a Yoga Teacher
Early this past spring I had a new appreciation for yoga which I have been practicing for many years. It became stronger when someone wanted to learn from me. I was happy she had asked. We meditated together another time in the dark of the night, as I had been meditating again every night after I had stopped for some time. It was nice to meditate with another person. Another friend we knew wanted to learn as well, so I chose some poses and lead a short class with them, and soon there was a little group. I decided a little bit after that I was going to become certified as a teacher because it was so nice to see these people feeling happy and more relaxed afterwards as I’d experienced too. I was happy they wanted to continue with it.
I received the certification and have felt satisfied, enjoyed the work even through the effort and challenge of learning, studying, practicing, and teaching aloud, and I am looking forward to new days.
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