ICEBREAKER: WHAT WAS ONE MAGICAL MEMORY FROM THIS PAST YEAR?
This was a notable year – remarkable highs and heartbreaking lows – magic could be found in all of it. We crammed a lot of living into the first few months only to be shut down by the pandemic in March. We loved and lived every minute of it through to the long weekend in August where things shut down again with Bill’s death.
The magical highlight of the year was when I realized that Bill was still communicating with me with signs (rainbows, butterflies, feathers and dimes) – and then he started talking to me. I shouldn’t have been the least bit surprised since he was always talking to me. We logged hours on the phone, then spent many sleepless nights where he simply couldn’t contain his excitement or curiosity about something that had happened during the day or an idea he had to share that simply couldn’t wait. He had the innocence and enthusiasm of a child combined with the wisdom and knowledge of an old man. He was such a blessing.
When I woke in Southampton to his deep timbre whispering to me to look at the real estate listings, only to find the yellow house that wouldn’t close off my phone, then to decide on the 3+ hour drive home with three of my kids that I was going to move and then follow the rainbows back to buy it a couple of weeks later – that was the most magical memory from this past year. (Note: he’s still talking!)
GOING DEEPER: HOW HAVE YOUR SPIRITUAL VIEWS CHANGED IN THE LAST DECADE?
Well, a decade ago if you had told me the story above I’d have laughed, rolled my eyes or made a less than kind guffaw.
I have always believed that there is some force, some entity, something bigger than me. I am but a speck of dust. The past ten years has helped me find how I fit in the scheme of things.
I have a foundation in religious beliefs: my father a pure Presbyterian and my mother a fundamentalist Baptist who settled on the kumbaya approach of the United Church of Canada in which to raise me and my two sisters. We were active members attending every Sunday, participating in choir, youth groups and the customs that came with all of it.
I know that being spiritual is not the same as being religious. I do not enjoy the trappings of religion and once I got over the idea that the forced man-made (emphasis on patriarchal) system is inherently oppressive, designed to control and influence as many as people possible, essentially a false container of safety and acceptance, I was able to embrace my own beliefs which are far more pagan and nature-based. My chosen system is far less corruptible simply because it is based on the natural flow of life and energy. The sun, the moon, the stars, the seasons – they are not trying to sway you to believe one thing or another, they just are what they are.
Fundamentally, I believe in what all religion is supposed to be based on: love. The difference is that I practice it.
I find comfort in church – the back pew, surrounded by stained glass windows, listening to the drone of the organ or blended voices in the choir. It is all beautiful – and pure to me.
I find even more solace in nature – sitting on the ground, surrounded by dappled sunlight through the trees, listening to the sound of the wind and water – the animals and the birds. It is all beautiful – and pure to me.
I find spirituality inside myself – my relationship to nature, to energy, to the universe. I have welcomed the Wheel of the Year, energy practices, meditation and anything that resonates as pure and uncontrived. There is no agenda in my spirituality. Live and let live; be and let be. I show up every day the best version of myself regularly working on my own improvement through learning and self-care. I am far from perfect, a true work in progress, but I do show up, 100% genuine and authentic as an example to my small circle of influence of how it can be done. In my chosen spiritual system I feel safe and loved.
My spiritual journey wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.