Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another Fork in the Road

I hate that I wait so long sometimes to come and record my thoughts and feelings about things that are going on in my life or in the personal growth process that represents such a huge point of focus for me right now. Then again, sometimes I wonder if the fact that I can be sporadic about recording thoughts and feelings is really just part of the process.

Being part of a loving, long-term relationship that's extremely established at this point is part of the reasoning behind that. Seth and I agree that we're best friends and feel like we can talk to each other about pretty much anything. As a result, I tend to hash things out for myself on a mental basis by discussing them with my partner first. I don't always feel the need to discuss things further in my journals the way I used to. Sometimes I do... but not the way I used to in that my personal writings are really my only outlet for my feelings on my own personal growth process. Clearly that's changing a lot about how I blog and journal. I'm still coming to terms with how I feel about that.

One challenge I've certainly always had issues with is allowing myself permission to just be the way I am, providing "the way I am" isn't harming me or anyone else (and it almost never is). In some ways, I've been successful in this, but in others, I still have hang-ups. I worry a lot about not being a good enough person who's deserving enough of the successes I'd like to have in life. I definitely worry about being consistent enough to suit others... and those others certainly include myself.

When it comes to my blogging and social networking, I feel like I'm so inconsistent with both my own postings and my interactions with others that I hurt people's feelings sometimes, but I guess I really shouldn't. No one ever even seems to notice or mind but me. I keep forgetting that when I write here -- or on any other one of my personal blogs -- that it's OK for it to be just for me, to record something to look back on later or just to simply express myself. It's OK for it not to be anything else. (I have to worry about that enough at work!)

That said, it's certainly time for an update about me and about the evolution of the role spirituality plays in my life. Spirituality itself really does seem to keep knocking at the door in many ways, requesting to be a bigger part of my daily routine. I've been allowing that to a much greater degree over the past few months -- sometimes in practice and sometimes just mentally speaking -- but it's been a positive experience so far.

For one thing, I've definitely been feeling a pull toward letting spiritual counseling be a bigger part of my professional life at some point in the future. My plans for that seriously aren't that concrete yet and Lord only knows when I'll actually get around to doing anything practical in that arena. However, I definitely feel the need to begin doing something other than copywriting and web content production for my living eventually. I'd like it to be something that helps people, especially when it comes to understanding themselves and growing as individuals. I've found that I feel like I'm doing that when I help people with their astrological charts or even just listen to them voice their concerns about spirituality. I suppose it will all happen in its own good time and not before. I've never gotten anywhere I wanted to be by forcing things.

........

I've also been exploring some things in regards to what most people consider Catholic-based beliefs, although some of these concepts and practices figure into other branches of Christianity as well. I've been wanting a rosary for a long time and Seth gave me one for my birthday -- one with pretty red beads that match my hair (which has been dyed fire hydrant red since you heard from me last).

I already knew the main prayers associated with the rosary and was in the habit of saying them individually if I felt like I was in trouble or needed comfort. However, I have always wondered if it might benefit me to have a tool that encouraged me to pray from a more Christian direction more regularly as part of my daily habits. As much as astrology, tarot, meditation, spiritual study, and everything else I've always done to feel connected to the universe and connected to God have helped, it still kind of felt like something was missing and I've realized for a while now that that was probably simple prayer as a habit, as opposed to just an occasional occurrence.

Attempts to form habits don't always stick for me, as you know. I just have to try them. If they really, truly benefit me in some way, they seem to stick on their own without my having to force anything and for some reason, the rosary has been sticking for me. I made a really concentrated effort to learn the associated prayers that I didn't already know, learn the mysteries, and learn the protocol for praying a rosary properly. I've been doing a set of mysteries every day since I reached that point and you know what? I really fucking like it so far.

Seriously, it's been helping me a lot and leading me toward other things that have helped me as well. That process appears to be leading to a significant reduction in my stress levels and related issues. For instance, I haven't had one of my horrible migraine headaches in over a month, which is a pretty big deal for me. Normal headaches, yes. Sinus problems, yes. But no more of those debilitating cycles of pain that would make me vomit and keep me from being functional for days at a time. My energy levels are higher and I've been losing weight without even trying that hard. I don't yet dare kid myself that Mary herself took enough notice of stupid, insignificant little me to want to personally help me with my problems, but I definitely feel comfortable in saying that the act of praying and meditating in this way has really been positive for me.

I liked praying the rosary so much that I felt moved to try developing a regular scripture-reading habit again (mostly through a Bible app I have on my phone). So far, that has really stuck as well and really, the time I set aside for reading a couple of scriptures or devotionals (along with the actual news of what's going on in the world) has become one of my favorite parts of the day. I've progressed from there to checking out internet broadcasts of Sunday mass, reading about the saints, and studying more about both Mary and Jesus... and I think that I like all of that enough to continue with it as well.

You would think that having such a pagan-oriented viewpoint of the world when it comes to spirituality, I wouldn't find so many of these activities resonating with me to the point that they have been. It's actually surprising how well Jesus, Mary, the saints, and activities like praying a rosary do fit into my belief system and my way of life exactly the way it is though. In many ways, they've always been part of my life and my psyche, but I actually feel a little ashamed that I haven't let them be a bigger part of my daily routine a lot sooner. (Hopefully they forgive me.) I would like them to stay and continue sending me blessings, if that's indeed what has been happening lately.

So this whole "spiritual journey" thing is officially getting interesting... and now I can definitely say I don't really know of any other blogs that approach some of this from exactly the point I'm standing at right now. It's weird. I haven't changed my mind  about organized religion or about any of my beliefs... but I do feel like my spiritual life is growing, expanding, and continuing to evolve in order to encompass more different things. That has to be a positive thing.