Monthly Archives: February 2013

Spiritual Emergence

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A grand opportunity keeps whirling around my mind, cutting corners so that the loop can spin shorter and faster.  My family and I have a real chance to do something groundbreaking.  Something memorable.  Something EPIC.  I feel as if I’ve been training myself for this chance subconsciously.

I have always struggled with spirituality.  As a youth, I was pretty much told that I was Christian.  I assume that I wanted to be Christian because all of my friends were.  That’s how it came to be that I became “saved.”  Well…that and all of the Southern Baptist threats of damnation and a burning soul in the fiery pits of Hell while being poked with Satan’s pitchfork.  I remember crying while the preacher had us all bowing our heads and praying at church one Youth Group Wednesday night.  I thought that I had felt the “spirit” enter me, just as the preacher said I would.  As a youth, I suppose I couldn’t tell the difference between this spirit I was supposed to feel and the emotion of the preacher’s powerful raised voice full of fearmongering.  Ah me. Southern Baptist beliefs.

I also remember shakily writing “Wendy was saved on date/date/year” in the front of the Bible that my parents had recently given to me.  I can clearly envision having to flip past the empty blank where the date I was supposed to be saved was supposed to be written before this “Blessed” event.  As an adult, I guess it makes sense that I went with the program.  I had many thumbs of pressure placed against the temples of my still developing mind.

Finally, years later, at another church, someone made fun of me for wearing the same dress to Sunday school about three or so Sundays in a row.  That was the end of my family church going days.  I didn’t want to be different, but even more, I didn’t want to be ridiculed in a place where I was supposed to be shown everlasting love and support.  Hypocrites.  Sure…children can be cruel.  I was about 11 or 12 at the time, so it really struck my poor little Southern ego pretty hard.  Luckily, my Mother didn’t force me to go back.  I’m not sure that it was because of the fashion critique, though.  I imagine that comment may have been the straw that broke the manger scene donkey’s back, though.  Or maybe it was because of the battle that had to be dealt with by the congregation every Sunday.  The one where the deacons and one particular youth minister were trying to get the congregation to vote out our current pastor.  That pastor turned out to be gay.  This is why they were trying to get him to leave the church.  The Youth Minister I mentioned was not only trying to get the current happy pastor voted out…he was also trying to get the congregation to vote him IN as a replacement for the pastor’s job.  In the South, this means that the pastor would also have to pack up his family (a wife and two daughters) and  leave his home, which was spitting distance from the church walls.  The Youth Minister got what he wanted.

Anyhow, that was the end of my religious experience until I was around 16.  Then, I decided to try out the local mega church because a lot of the popular girls went there AND because a lot of the popular, cool, cute, handsome and dreamy BOYS attended there too.  That didn’t last long either.  My social status was pretty much attacked there too.  Being that it was the mega church, there was a lot of money floating around in the gold plated donation trays.  The parents of the children I hung around with were the ones who could spare the big bills every Sunday and Wednesday.  The children of those parents were the ones who were monetarily funded to go on all of the extravagant church mission trips and outings…which I could not afford.  I was never offered help to be able to attend those cash carrying events, so I never went.  Soon there were inside jokes that were made on the church bus that I didn’t understand or couldn’t use because I wasn’t THERE when the joke was created.  I couldn’t possibly understand how funny it was.  “You should have seen it!  You should have been there!”  *sigh*  The joys of youth.

To end my church journey for good, I decided to go to a Southern Baptist University.  I won a grant to attend it and because of that, it was pretty much my only option if I wanted to attend college.  To give a short version of the college experience, I went to some of the chapel meetings to try to make new friends, be around boys (again) and to have something to do.  The college was in a small town ( there was literally one traffic light in the town at the time), so attending chapel sounded better than driving down to Wal-Mart to walk around and look at stuff that I didn’t have any money to buy.  I eventually went so much that I was brainwashed into thinking that maybe I should give this Christian thing another try.  I was saved…again.  This journey was a little more emotional for me.  I felt like I had made the right decision for a long time.  I was floating on glittery puffy Christian clouds where everyone was kind and generous and pure.  That went on for awhile…until my Father died.  I got so tired of hearing “he is in a better place” and “he’s looking down on you.”  Finally I called bullshit on the whole thing and just stopped trying to resign myself to any sort of religion.  I had no interest in searching anymore.

So…where do I belong now spiritually?  The only answer I have to that question is that I feel the happiest when I am outdoors.  I can sit for hours and stare into nature.  I always feel rejuvenated after being out in the open, outside of any structure.  I have never been afraid of any sort of animal or insect (unless it jumps out and surprises me), so when I come across one, I often end up studying it.  I’ll watch a spider wrap its prey.  I’ll see if the ants all stay in the same line of formation if I place an obstacle in their path.  I’ll stare beak to nose with a curious bird.  I’ll sit next to the coop and watch the chickens.  I love nature.  I feel the most peace when I am surrounded by it.  This is why this opportunity that I began this blog with is truly so EPIC for me.  I will get a chance to be surrounded by nature ALL of the time.  I will be secluded and charmed.  I have no fear over how I will be able to handle the silence of it.  I am gleaming with excitement over the prospect that I might actually get to live the way I have always dreamed…in a cabin in the woods.

Granted…it might not start out as a cabin.  Hell, it might not even end up as a cabin.  Cabin or naught, I will be in nature.  I will get my hands dirty daily.  I will watch sun rays shine through glass topped jars.  I will rub the petals of the flowers that I come across in my path.  I will crouch and sit beside the rabbit who is surprised by my presence.  We will stare at and accept each other.  I will not be judged for doing these things, because the people who want to be a part of this community will see it and think it is beautiful.  I can be truly unleashed in a setting such as the one I dream of.  I am ready.  I want to meet the true spiritual being inside myself.  I know she’s there…she just hasn’t had the chance to emerge uninhibited.

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Sit and Rock vs. Stand and Explore

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follow yourSkimming through the contents of this blog has definitely shown a transition in thinking on my part.  A slow shift of consciousness, I might say.  I’ve done a lot of searching within my mind, within my self to truly feel more authentic in my beliefs.  I’ve strived to be aware of the ego, to stand firm in my beliefs and non religious convictions.  It has been a slow and painful process.  I am buy no means finished with the project.  I’ve been told that self-discovery is a process that most people are never willing to attempt.  Obviously, it took becoming a mother for me to delve into such a project.

Ayden Zen makes life far more interesting and beautiful than I could ever have imagined.  He feeds off of the energy of the world around him.  He learns, questions and grows…and looks to myself and his father for answers and support.  This is a huge responsibility. After a few years of parenting, I began to ponder, “How can I guide him through this life and answer the big questions for him if I do not know the answer to them myself?  How can I help groom him toward the right path if I haven’t walked the path myself?”  These questions began the journey of extreme self discovery for me.  It was not easy.

Once again, I have not made it to the end of the yellow brick path to collect my lifetime self-discovery achievement prize.  I feel good about my progress so far, however.

In my journey, I have seen what the consequences of NOT exploring yourself can produce.  I have complained about my family before, and you may think that I sound like an ungrateful, snobbish “better-than-thou” as I continue to complain about the people in my life who helped to make sure I made it to adulthood…but it is obvious that the root of my problems comes from my family, or lack there-of.   I have watched my Mother hold in any and all thoughts she might have.  Living off of tradition and in cliche’ and believing everything she hears without forming her own opinion.  I have cried over the loss of my diagnosed manic depressive father who left us in death via suicide.  I have watched my sister cling to friends because she has no family.  I have watched my aunt turn her brain to mush with high powered, psychotropic medications.  None of them could deal.  I have made a conscious decision to refuse to follow their lead.  I may have said it before, but this destructive cycle ends here.

follow your bliss

We moved from our mortgage rented house to live with my Aunt and try to build a better life for ourselves and our children last February.  It has been just over a year since we made that decision.  This past year has been one of the most bittersweet, trialing experiences of my adult life.  It has been exhausting, really.  But then again, aren’t most important transitions filled with tribulation?  We have fought and fought to keep on track…to remember why we are here…to not go running off across the country…to not give up.  Each and every time, as soon as we allowed ourselves to feel content and full of bliss, a pothole in the path would present itself.  If we weren’t paying attention to it, we would trip in it.  We fell victim to these potholes a few times.  Fell right in.  Luckily, once we realized we were sinking into them, we regained composure and pulled ourselves out of them…cleaned ourselves off and knew that from then on, we should be prepared for potholes and might want to make sure we looked down while we trotted along.

Not dealing with your problems, not dealing with who you are, not changing who you are for who you want to be are all irresponsible.  Especially when you are a parent.  We’re making it.  Slowly.

“Follow your bliss”, we always say.  “Our bliss is back!” we exclaim after it was once hidden and lost.  I am digging in deep and making sure that we stay as focused as ever now.  We have extreme opportunity in front of us.

From my perspective of my own journey, I am beginning to see that the less time I spend out in society or in social networking, the more the lessons that I have learned and the beliefs I have gathered along the way seem to STICK.  They stay in place.  They aren’t easily shifted.  It started with a break away from TV, then from being a business woman, then from people who aren’t of like mind…and so on.  It is continuing on now, with more power.  The positive end of the magnetic force that surrounds us is sticking…the negative is being repelled away.  I’m losing a bit of my corniness…my need to make others giggle and laugh so that I can have self gratification that I am liked and loved.  Just enough of all of my good aspects of personality are remaining (including a touch of the corn).  The bad are (I’d like to think) slowly being strained out.

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Here’s what I have learned.  Sit and Rock and become heavily medicated with what the world wants you to be (one of the herd) or Stand and Explore and become who you were meant to be.

I’m in a very good place these days, mentally.  My hands are a bit itchy physically…but that is the least of my worries.  I just hope that I can look back on this post and remember how I felt at this point in time and be able to say, “I made it past the hump.  I never lost track of my bliss.”

The Homesteading Ebb and Flow

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Today I took a walk through the center of 150 acres of Upstate NC property.  I’ve often blogged, typed, thought about how my perspective of what is important has changed slowly in the past few years.  I went from an egomaniac photographer to a stay at home mom who reads Mother Earth News articles and is actually losing interest in keeping up with Facebookland.

I read articles about homesteading and self-sufficiency and crave information about how to live “off the grid.”  The decision to begin learning about these things was not my own doing. Anyone who knows my husband can tell you that.  He has been learning and studying techniques in all of the above mentioned areas for the past few years.  I have always had the drive to learn, but not the ambition.  This has all changed in the past few months, especially.

The property that we walked around on today may be a grand opportunity for my family and for other like minded folks.  I won’t go into details about it in fear that I might karmically disrupt the good things that have been appearing to my family and I surrounding this property and the idea behind it.  I will say that there is a chance that this property will allow me to go as deep as I am willing to go into being an actual homesteader.  Not just dreaming about it.

We have slowly began to set foot into the homesteading scene over the past few years.  We planted a garden.  We have chickens. Aaron took a class in Permaculture.  I began baking our own bread.

Lately, I have had dreams of grandeur surrounding homesteading in general.  I want to keep bees and use their honey in my baking recipes.  I want to make candles from their beeswax.  I want to grow my own vegetables, plant my own herbs and have a stockpile of healthy, homegrown canned goods stocked in our pantry.  I want to see our sons grow up learning skills that are quickly becoming lost.  I want to be in the world but not of it.

I feel that just skimming through Facebook posts can really show you where most people’s brains rest in our society.  Exclamations of excitement over something that happened on their favorite television show.
The always humorous drunken posts.
Cell Phone captured photographs of strangers doing something they think is funny or do not approve of.

Granted, social media can be a great way to keep up with friends, family and loved ones.  I do enjoy reading posts about what is going on in the lives of people that I don’t get to see on a regular basis.  Sadly, however, I long for the old way of communication.  Letters, phone calls, and *GASP* —actual human interaction.

I find myself on Facebook in particular, because I actually get paid to run a few business Facebook sites.  I post statuses six days a week, keep up with any correspondence or messages that come through the site.  Contact the site owner if any important information crosses the page…and stay in touch with the page owner through email regarding the important things they’d like to make sure I mention on their FB site that are important to make the business grow and continue to be successful.

When I’m on Facebook as me, I find myself skimming random, droning comments and often end up the most interested in the homestead, crafty, bakey sites.  Seems fitting.

I guess we all ebb and flow with interest in changing topics throughout our life.  I am writing about this change in my flow of topic because I feel that my interest in homesteading and self sufficiency is not going to change.  I’m ready to grasp it and take hold.  I feel it is what I’m meant to do.  Now…back to those Mother Earth News magazines.  Hey, I’m still learning.