Sunday, April 29, 2012

What is a bad day, anyway?

I had a bad day. I didn't want to share that factoid with you, because my posts are supposed to be uplifting, and thought provoking. Insightful. So, why would I ever want to share my bad day with you? Why would I want to bring you down?
I spoke these thoughts aloud to my sounding board and one of my dearest friends Chris. She heard my words, but seemed confused. "Why WOULDN'T you want to share this part of your life? It means you are human, just like us. It shows your own vulnerability. Your strength when you climb out of that place. Just remember to share the lesson you gained while sitting in that dark space too". She is absolutely right.

So I had a bad day. I realized that sometimes it's OK to sit in that dark space. It's OK to feel mad, sad, frustrated. It's OK because we ALL have those feelings. We all have many of the same life experiences. We are really never alone, even if we think we are. We can feel sorry for ourselves, and try to remember to pat ourselves on the back, give ourselves self love, and empathy. Wouldn't you hope that from a true friend? Let me ask you this: Are you your own friend? You should be. It adds value to who you really are. You become a brighter light in the midst of our communities.

Sometimes that dark space can become a dungeon though. Sometimes we can drown in our own misery.    But that is your walk. Your journey. You need to find the tools in your "tool box for the soul" to help you lift yourself out of that dark space.

The dark nights of the soul as I have learned to call them from wise women in my life, are the most teachable moments that we can ever offer ourselves. It leads to introspection and revelation, if we really take the time to sit with it and try to understand why you are in that dark night in the first place. There is a lesson in every single thing you experience.

I have been going through a lot these past few months. Just like everyone else, right? Some of it has been quite honestly superficial. Ego driven. I fully admit it. Some of it has been deep down soul hurt, heart hurt, mind expanding/blowing revelations. I could easily choose to close myself off to not feel it. To be numb, to stuff it down a little further in my heart and smile instead. My mom always told me to just keep smiling, because eventually my day would be a good one. Pretend long enough and it becomes true.
I have learned that it isn't who I am, to stuff my feelings. I simply can't. I have to analyze every little detail to understand the situation. I need closure. What I have learned from what my mom said though wasn't so much that she wanted me to stuff the feelings, but to live in the present moment as much as possible. To be the light for others and that eventually it will fill you up. To be a positive person and that it become true for you.
I'm trying, mom.
I have felt tearful recently... a knot in my throat. My husband is the very first man that I have met that doesn't ever tell me not to cry. He doesn't care if it makes him uncomfortable. He doesn't try to fix my hurt. Crying is releasing, and healthy. It lets it all out. It's healing.
So I have cried. Not a lot, but enough to expel some of that hurt and frustration. I have asked for support. I have asked for laughter from others. It helps a little.
I have worked at finding the positive in every single thing that I have chosen to feel hurt in the last few months. I feel a little stronger. A little brighter. A little better.

So, I just wanted you to know that it's OK to have a bad day.

"There are two ways of spreading light ...
To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it."
~ Edith Wharton ~

I am here to shine a light in your dark places. As you walk through your dark nights of the soul, always remember that I will leave a light on for you. Will you leave a light on for me?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Testing Faith

I wrote this a year ago, right before Easter. I found it fitting to put it out there again, on this blog. Enjoy! ...

 "Why is Jesus's death and Resurrection mixed with The Easter Bunny and Easter Egg hunts?" Asked my daughter with a confused and perplexed face.
Oh boy. Big questions.

So we launched into a history lesson. A controversial one at that. We talked about Paganism. We talked about Ostara; the pagan goddess of Spring and fertility. She goes many names, Ishtar, Oestar. We discussed how the Pagan's celebrated Spring for thousands of years before the start of Christianity, and why Spring SHOULD be celebrated. Life, rebirth, warmer weather, longer days... Yes. Something to celebrate.

We discussed how the egg and rabbit are both associated with fertility (Spring)... which led to an interesting discussion skirting around sex, but she got the general idea when I explained it. She did like the story of coloring the eggs, and how it has a special place in the Pagan Spring festival, associating the colors with the sunlight of Spring.

The difficult part in our conversation was when we talked about the transition of Pagan tradition morphing with Christianity, from what I learned, was through force. How The leaders of the Christian faith wanted the Pagan traditions to cease to exist, to quietly disappear.  I tried to explain the parallel of pagan spring rituals and and Jesus's Resurrection. It wasn't easy.

It opened the door wide open to my own religious upbringing, and my beliefs. Telling Julia the story of myself as a young child watching a live reenactment of Jesus being whipped, dragging his cross across several blocks in the town that we lived in and being tied up on it. Remembering his words crying out in the night as he *died*"Oh God! Why have you forsaken me?"

I became very emotional telling this story to my daughter. It was a pivotal moment in my life that shaped a part of me. Traumatizing, if you will. To see someone that I was brought up to love.... this beloved man, and to see him hurt and killed in a very violent way, whoa. I didn't understand it at the time.

As a grown woman, as a mother, I actually love Easter. What I love most about it is the celebration of Spring, of LIFE. Flowers, coloring eggs, egg hunts, family gatherings, FOOD, bunnies.. There's a lightness. Happiness. It's like a long awaited dawn after a long winter's night. I want my children to know what all the parts of Easter represent. Both the Pagan and the Christian ways. Because that's who I am. I am a blend of all faiths. I cannot be pigeon holed into one way.

Every answer that I gave her brought up another question from her. Her confusion about all the different faiths of the world, and why there are so many. Especially when we discussed all the different  Christian faiths; Baptist, Lutheran, Protestant, Catholicism, etc. So many why's. Not understanding.
It felt like her world expanded a little more... or maybe.. exploded. There is so much that she just realized she doesn't understand, and it was pretty confusing for her.

My final explanation about religion to her based on my belief, was that there is no wrong way to love God. That the underlying essence of every religion is Love. That all religions preach for a person to live your very best life. In the end we all learn the greatest lesson: Love is unconditional. No matter what you believe.

I know I didn't answer all her questions. Glenn teased me later that it was quite the Sunday Sermon. Hah.

I want my children to explore their world. To determine their own way of believing. To follow their own paths, their own hearts passion. To not judge others, and to remember they are a spark of a brilliant Light that floods us all.