Although I don't think she intended it to be this way, my friend Renee has become my spiritual guru/life inspiration. She is on her own spiritual/life journey at the moment and she is so open and sharing with it that it is inspiring. I have been in a rut for so long, long enough that it sometimes feels like I will never get out of it. That's not to say I am particularly unhappy, because I am not. I just feel like there should be something more, that it could be better. I have lost a lot of my faith, in humanity and spiritually, over the years. There are a lot of reasons for it and they have pretty much overwhelmed me. Major changes, loss, family issues, trust issues, and a whole lot of trauma and stress. It has gotten to the point that I sometimes feel like I just can't get a break. Add to that, some ongoing medical issues with some extreme emotional ties, and it can get pretty draining emotionally. And being emotionally drained drains me physically and mentally and puts me in this rut that I am in.
But watching Renee and sharing in her own journey and talking with her has really opened my eyes to some things. It is amazing how a simple comment from another person can suddenly illuminate things for you in a way that you didn't get on your own. And itt helps that, spiritually, we follow similar paths so there is a level of sisterhood there. One day she talked about making time for faith, not letting mundane life overtake everything else, even if for just a few minutes a day. And she is totally right. Faith isn't about taking huge chunks of time. Even a few minutes a day can inspire and refresh you and help build that connection that will carry you through the day. So I have started that, spending some time every morning, whether in ritual or just reading an on-topic book. And it is helping immensely.
She has been having me give her my thoughts on some of the things that she is working on, one of which was about the "back and forth" of life, wavering between paths and choices. It got me thinking about my own life and brought a whole lot of things to light that I had never really paid attention to. We also talked about how we define ourselves and how that affects other areas of her life. And I realized just how much my own self-definition (and self-esteem) colors my life. It was more than a little shocking to me. It also made me realize how much of how I think others define me is more about how I define myself, probably clouding my own vision.
All of this has made me realize how much I need to change things for myself. A big part of that is taking care of myself,. My life centers around my family. It is why I gave up my Army career, a move that, while was right for my family, took away my identity. I don't think I have really found one since then. And that just leaves me feeling somewhat unfulfilled. How can expect my family to take me seriously and value me, if I don't do it for myself? Dr. Phil once said that you are treated how you allow yourself to be treated. There is wisdom in that.
In a world where religion and faith can be so much in odds with one another, I feel like I spend a whole lot of time in the broom closet. Being non-Christian isn't always a popular choice and I been on the receiving end of more than my fair share of discrimination because of it. With Renee, there is a sisterhood because we share beliefs. But there isn't always a chasm, and I find that beautiful. My friend Autumn is Christian, but completely accepting and kind and we think so much alike on so many things. And a friend I have had since high school, Ginny, is Mormon and equally accepting and wonderful. Having the chasm closed like that helps restore my faith in people.