ICEBREAKER: DO YOU IDENTIFY AS A SPIRITUAL PERSON? IF SO, IN WHAT WAY?
I am a spiritual person.
I was raised in the United Church – which was a compromise between my Presbyterian-raised father and my fundamentalist Baptist mother. I attended Sunday school, was baptized and confirmed, participated in the choir, I was a member of the youth group and attended a United Church boarding school. My young life was firmly entrenched in faith-based learning – as well as its hypocrisy. (The last thing I’d ever want to be in this world is a member of the United Church Women. There is a whole cohort of us who are in agreement and we share plenty of laughs when the group is mentioned, we all feel like we dodged a bullet and are happy because of it. (No, it wasn’t important enough to join the group to make positive change from the inside, their mean-spirited judgment and hypocrisy is a foundation of their behaviour. Just because you say it with a smile does not make it kind or true – bless their hearts.))
My fundamental belief is that there is something bigger than me out there. Can I tell you what it is? No, and I don’t need to. I believe it’s enough to know that I’m but a speck of dust and show up every day with humility and compassion.
I enjoy my pagan practice. What does that mean? I follow the wheel of the year, I believe in nature, the four seasons, the phases of the moon. Going with the ebb and flow provided by the nature of science and the science of nature.
I believe in energy with a woo twist. I can amplify what I want to see and experience in my life and in the world by using crystals. I can translate what I see and understand better that which I’m learning by using oracle cards and my pendulum. I can clear space, protect myself and those I love, while being completely present and participatory in all that is meant for me by calling in spirit guides, cutting cords, elevating my vibration, understanding what is in and out of alignment. I can learn more about myself and how I show up in the world by slowing down and practicing meditation and communicating with my higher self and welcoming in universal messages meant for me.
I’m but a (grateful) speck of dust.
GOING DEEPER: WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU: JUSTICE OR FORGIVENESS?
In a broad way, what I’ve come to understand is that there’s an argument for both sides depending upon a given specific situation.
I believe forgiveness is a deeply personal act. You forgive for yourself, not for the person who has wronged you. You can ask for forgiveness but it is completely up to the person you wronged to determine the timeline for it – and they may never give it. You can also give forgiveness, but please make it gracious, humble and compassionate – I’ve often witnessed forgiveness given as a prideful and condescending act and it is not forgiveness, it is petty scorekeeping. Life, big or small, is filled with risk. Any time you engage with others there is an opportunity for a misstep or two. For me, the key is to live fully but mitigate the errors and keep them as non-consequential as possible OR decide to damn the consequences and live fully without any concern for your effect on others in your sphere of influence. I live my life balancing both, it all depends on the people involved around any given decision. The older I get the bolder my choices even though my responsibilities have grown as well.
Justice is a different thing. It is not up to me to dole out as an individual, it is only as a member of a community for me to uphold a mutually agreed-upon standard of behaviour. The consequences of not behaving in an acceptable manner is up to a larger authority than me to determine. Is justice punishment for bad behaviour? Is it a reward for good behaviour? Is it up to me to decide?
Is suppose after writing all that out, and thinking about it over the course of weeks, I believe forgiveness is far more complicated and far more important to me. Right now.