Two things arrived in my mail yesterday that have brought my heart joy. First thing being this hat (seen on me above) by Fallen Broken Street. I purchased this hat with some birthday money from my mother in-law. I promised myself this year that I would buy things that I otherwise would not get for myself knowing I need other things more. It was so fun allowing myself a few indulgences in this way and fun for my parents on both sides as well.
The second thing to arrive in the mail was this book by Mandy Steward: Thrashing About with God and although I've only read a few pages, a handful of experts on her blog and her Instagram, I am already resonating deeply with her journey. I am already nodding. I am already feeling permission to thrash a bit in my own way or more so be more honest with myself and with those that care deeply for me.
This is why peoples stories are so important. If we tell our own stories, others feel braver to do the same. It is what the rippling effect of me spilling about my (in)fertility and adoption story became. I received countless stories in return and others were inspired to share on their blogs too and in turn, share their blogs with me. It opened my eyes to the beauty of being vulnerable and open and brave, oh so brave in the face of risking critical eyes from others who don't really know you or walk in your shoes.
I realized while reading Mandy's words, that I really need to release the desire for me to please others about my spiritual walk. I keep so quiet about it with most, with the exception of a few that have created a safe and cozy space for me to BE in it without unintentionally projecting their fear and worry about my soul. With compassion and gentleness, I need to let their fear and worry be theirs and not mine. With the tender and empathic heart that I have, that is not easy for me to do because I fully understand that it all is rooted in their love and care for me and that makes me love them more.
My walk with God, with Jesus, my attraction to Buddhism, the Feminine Divine and Goddess has all been so very personal, so very pure and full of questions but very very inner. I never pretend to have all the answers. In fact, the more I explore, the more questions I have and it feels good, so good and right and natural to ask them!
Its a tender and vulnerable thing to explore my seeking, my questions, my intuition this openly. People have strong opinions about their Faith and I understand and hold so much grace for that. I grew up around and worked in churches surrounded by strong opinions. It takes courage to not go with the flow, to not make decisions based on pleasing others, to not attach other's fear to your own walk. Today I am leaning on my courage to begin exploring this here.
This quote on Mandy's blog today, made me weep because its exactly what I have heard whispered to me in a gentle, loving voice all these years as I began stepping away from labeling my relationship to God...
“I felt smothered in my faith, and keenly aware that God wasn’t the one causing the smothering. I wanted out of Christianity (the only container I had for God), and instead of pushing back, I felt like God stepped back, put his hands up and said, ‘By all means, proceed. And even better? I’ll come with you!" ~ Mandy Steward
Boxes and labels, as they've come and gone in my life, Oh gosh, I've never felt right in my heart about it all. In regards to my faith, in regards to my son, to my health and the health of my family, to parenting and relationship dynamics, I feel suffocated by labels or assuming final answers as we are all so unique. I was born a wandering gypsy bohemian fae-soul and with a deep belief that we were created to explore our beautiful minds and souls and how we are all connected. Its ever so simple and ever so complicated but I am gathering that the complicated bit comes from us, not from God.
The word "thrashing" feels uncomfortable to me but I know its because I've held this all too tenderly and quietly and its time to let it out both gentle and wild, tenderly and fiercely.
Through it all, I feel cradled and held and also...set free.