Friday, April 18, 2014
"I feel the spirit" EVERYWHERE!
There is no way you can ever describe to someone how soft the skin of the stingray is. You have to touch it and experience it for yourself. I touched the stingray and felt the spirit. I watched the stingray swim and felt the spirit.
Today and every day to come, I'm content and celebrate that I do not know what I believe. I find it acceptable and demand the right to be able to question things and take my time deciding what is right and wrong for me. My religion has become incredibly simple. For now my religion includes kindness, love, charity, and service and I feel by living these principles and following the dictates of my own conscience the best I can, has made me a better person this month than trying to live by the standards of any organized religion. I have more peace than ever and I still accept many of the teachings that have been instilled in meby the LDS church, but I accept them because they are right for me. I'm confident that if I was raised to follow my heart and live by principles of cooperation and kindness in another setting I may have become a similar person today. It's so interesting to me that the actual teachings of Darwin did not focus on competition and the survival of the fittest but of love and cooperation. I've found what brings me joy and peace and I seize the privilege of finding joy for myself today.
I do not know if I believe in a human God. I do not know if Christ was actually a savior of all man-kind, and I am okay with not knowing. I hope there is a God so that I can have a chat with him or her or it one day.
I still “feel the spirit” often; I just feel it for different things, yet it’s that same profound sense of peace and knowing. Yesterday I went on a bike ride to the north end of N. Topsail Island, NC. I felt the spirit burning in my soul. I felt an incredible sense of connection to the water, sand, air, and every living thing surrounding me. I felt like I was completely a part of that spot in that exact moment. I "feel the spirit" when I watched the animals at the zoo on Sunday, at the Aquarium watching the incredible water creatures two days ago. I feel in awe of an exceptionally beautiful sunset, when I study history and become in awe of the things people have done for us, and for our country, when I am spending time with my sisters, when I see how I fit into this world. I "feel the spirit" on a regular basis and recognize it much more liberally now that it's not tied with a church I belonged to.
I'm still grieving that for me I will never believe in the church again. I still wake up every morning and it's still gone. During all those church leadership meetings as relief society president, when we discussed ways to re-activate those who were inactive, I suspect many of them feel as I feel today. It's like I've woken up and am that person we've been scratching our heads about for the last year. Now that I suspect how they feel, I realize that the leaders in my ward were asking the wrong questions? They needed to ask, "do you believe in the Church anymore?" first, and then if they say yes, perhaps you have a fellow-shipping opportunity. If they say no, leadership should ask why, and listen to why, and accept that they cannot and will not understand what it feels like to not believe until you actually don't believe. I can describe this experience on this blog as much as possible, just as I can tell you how soft a stingrays skin is, but until you experience it for yourself, the descriptions are limited. In my experience, until the mind just let go of the irrational ideas about beliefs I'd been given, until I asked how I knew these beliefs in my mind, and until the doubt shelf and mental gymnastics ceased, there was no way I could understand.
Up until late February 2014, I was a total believer of the church my entire life. My doubt shelf was secure and my mind was exceptionally good at boxing up and putting off things that put my mind into rationale thought about religion. Once my mind said "enough", that it's not true, my mind now says “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I don't intend on ever being "shame on me" hopefully.
I loved the church and it was there when I needed it, but the pain I'm experiencing now would not have been necessary had I been raised without it. In my darkest hour of need when no one else was there, God was there, at least I wanted Him to be there and was trained that He was there. For me now, I trust that my body and mind is fully equipped to succor, heal, encourage, motivate, etc. I've felt an undeniable peace that I've accepted as truly incredible just to be human and to already have "the magic" within me. I have learned to be more self reliant, more able to stand on my own two feet, and to use what I believe to encourage others to believe also how incredible and capable they are to serve others and to heal themselves and serve themselves. I did not loose my testimony, I know right where it went...back into my incredible human heart and soul. Each day is a gift!!! Today is a gift.