Sympathy

I’m rather ashamed to admit (even to myself) that I think I associate being cared for to people having sympathy for me.  I think it is one of the reasons I find recovery to be scary.  I feel like I will lose the care of others if they do not have a reason to pity me.

Which sounds pitiful to me.

I think that as a child growing up with a chronic illness, I developed a self-concept that included an aura of illness.  However, that illness was not one that came with any obvious outside visibility.  When I developed anorexia, suddenly I felt a warped power in having others see that I was struggling with something, rather than it being a solitary and lonely battle.  I longed for that feeling of protection and so I lapped up a sense of being cared for because I was sick.  Although I don’t want to have others merely feel sorry for me, I also crave that feeling of safety.

As I begin to get well, I see how I need to, and want to, develop my confidence that the people who really matter value me for qualities beyond my illnesses.  That they are not going to turn their backs on me or forget about me if (I mean, WHEN) I am well.  In fact, those relationships will deepen because I will feel more like an equal participant rather than like I am merely taking from those I care about.

I have received feedback from my inner circle over and over again that they see me in shades of colour so much richer and vibrant than I see myself.  They value me and honour me for who I am, not because they simply feel badly for me.  Over the next while, as I continue to heal from my broken romance, I want to work to open to what they see.  To value myself for my strengths rather than seeing myself as merely a broken bird in constant need of being nursed back to life.  If I can do that, I believe I will lose some of my resistance to recovery.  I will finally rest more securely in the awareness that I am enough.  Just me, as I am.  No need for band-aids or doctoring.  No need to make a statement with a broken body.

How about you?  What self image do you hold onto, knowing the view is skewed but afraid to look straight at yourself?

A busy Sunday

Apparently when I dive in to something, I go full in!  It was a blustery day where I live yesterday making it an ideal day to be inside and exploring my faith seeking once more.

Please note: I am a religious ignoramus in many ways – if I get anything wrong in my descriptions or characterizations it is merely a function of my un-knowing – I am approaching this search with an open mind to various ways of connecting with spirit.

I started off my day with an Anglican service.  It had the distinct advantage of being near home.  It is a progressive, new, young congregation and I felt immediately welcomed into the experience.  This service involved a lot of ritual (liturgy, I’ve learned it is called) with standing and sitting and singing and repeating.  I loved the music – again, young and welcoming and with all the lyrics projected on a big screen (very helpful for those of us who needed guidance!).  I felt a bit awkward at some of the invocations of Jesus, his teachings and what that means.  I am learning about myself that while I feel at home in more traditional churches, I feel some resistance to traditional explanations of the bible and the need to pull others into one’s faith.

Late in the afternoon I visited an even smaller service with less than 15 people, gathering in a local cafe.  Despite the small congregation, they had a four person “choir” (do you call it that with only 4?) whose rich voices lifted in powerful song, filling and blessing the room.  This meeting had an even more progressive feel and clearly welcomed and embraced people from all walks of life.

Finally, in the evening, I attended a candlelit music service in a large cathedral (a United church this time).  I love the feel of history and reverence in such a setting and the choral music was calming and gentle.  It was gently peaceful.  Despite being tired from a busy day already, I was glad I took part.

After all that, I felt inspired and uplifted and yet still seeking, still searching.  I recognize this may be long process for me.  In the midst of all this Christianity, I still feel a pull toward more Eastern philosophies as well and am looking into various opportunities in that direction.  I have dipped my toe in Buddhist waters before and I know there is some resonance there for me.

Ultimately, I see that my soul feels pulled in the directions of inclusivity, believing as I do that there is not one “right” path – we are all taking different routes and making different connections to the same oneness.  I realize that it may be less about the specifics of the path than it is about finding that place that houses the community that will support me in embodying the spiritual principles of love, connection, hope and peace.

Reaching for faith

The end of my relationship has been really tough.  Messy too.  He continues to hold on and to want to try again and yet I know in my heart that would be a mistake.  We have tried (and tried and tried) for so long and I think the strong thing to do at this point to recognize and accept that we are not meant to be.  That is horribly painful and there is great loss, so much I miss, so much that I love, and yet we both deserve to get off of this roller coaster.

Many times in my life I have felt called to spirituality though I have yet to find a community and belief system that really feels like home.  In this current time of darkness, I am once again reaching out and wanting to connect with a force bigger than myself.

I spoke to a good friend who is strong in her Christian faith about the merits of “church shopping” because I was feeling a bit jaded at the thought.  We had a great discussion, however, that living one’s faith, whatever tradition that be, is the true test of one’s devotion. With that in mind, it makes sense to seek a venue where I can feel comfortable and supported in exploring my beliefs.

Over the coming months, I will try to keep up with some posts on this spiritual journey and where it ends up taking me. I welcome your thought and comments, my friends.

Today, I attended a Unity Church morning service and also a later musical service in a United Church.

I had read through the website of the Unity Church and expected to feel embraced and centered in the teachings.  I started off a little weary as the crowd was rather homogenous, and admittedly, rather older, than I had expected.  However, when the ministers spoke, I felt more warmth.  I connected with parts of the message (the importance of being present in each moment in our lives) but was surprised to find that I did not connect with some of the language (like “higher consciousness”). I thought that kind of inclusiveness would be to my liking but felt I wanted a more defined focus point.  I didn’t expect that in myself and I am glad I am remaining open enough to this process to see what unfolds within me.  It seems that I find a kind of safety and comfort in the concept of God.

The musical service was in an old and beautiful cathedral near my home.  It was a different kind of experience than a typical Sunday service as it was music interspersed by reflections, not a sermon format.  I loved the music and felt great peace in the sanctuary.  I may come back for a regular service and I definitely will come again for the musical program.

I have a number of different services and formats as potentials for next Sunday and I will continue to reflect inwardly in the meantime.  I am looking at this not just as a search for a weekly appointment, but a journey to find the soul connection I crave.