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Thursday, September 1, 2016

What Defines Spiritual Health?

Exactly what defines spiritual health? Who can say what spiritual health really is? As dysfunctional as our family was, that didn't mean there was an absence of spiritual health. The dichotomy was that on the one hand I had a father who terrorized his family in the name of God. On the other hand, that harsh environment enabled the flowering of a small child's dance with grace.

I've heard spiritual leaders say that unless you are born into a religious family, generally speaking one might not think too much about God, religion, or spirituality. At least not until your world falls apart and you start to question, "Why me?"

My world must have fallen apart at the ripe age of four when I was watering young fruit trees in my father's yard. I had to carry — maybe more like drag — pails of water across our farm yard from the trough where our cattle drank.

My father had just yelled at me again, this time rejecting my weeding efforts by roughly grabbing the hoe from my tiny hands and re-hoeing the entire circular bed around the tree. Rolling his "r's" in his heavy accent with emphasis on each new chop of the hoe into the hard Manitoba dirt, he bellowed into my face, "You are just pecking at the dirt. This is the proper way how to hoe the weeds!"

He motioned me to take the hoe again, and I did so — obediently. I was always too afraid of my dad to be anything less than perfectly obedient.

As a child, besides weeding, it was my job to drag a pail of water to each of the six fruit trees on a daily basis all summer long, to water three crab-apple trees in the front yard and three plum trees in the back yard.

That is when I wondered what help there was for me. Then, I remembered my attendance at our last Sunday meeting in which I heard about angels. Wide-eyed, I heard a talk about how anytime we are in trouble and don't know what to do, we can call upon the angels. They would surely come to help our family. It was so simple — all we had to do was ask. "Ask and you shall receive."

Isn't that how it goes? I was pretty sure that was exactly what the speaker said.

So, I tried it.

"Dear Angels, Please come and help me take care of these fruit trees!" I heard a tiny voice come out of my mouth.

I dumped the water out into the freshly dug dirt. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of light. A big flash — bright white! I dared not look at it directly, but there it was. An angel! I was sure!

Energized, I thought about what I had just witnessed while I watered the next five threes. Before I knew it, I had poured water into the last tree bed and I was done!

I have witnessed other — what I call "miracles" — throughout my life. However, the most striking example is the time as an adult, when I discovered — during a phone call — that a tribunal of religious elders had disfellowshipped me. I had been blacklisted, kicked out, excommunicated — no longer a member in good standing. That was the year 2000. Apparently I had been blatantly disobedient in following their stringent rules.

Reeling, I slumped onto my bed. That was the worst thing that could possibly happen to anyone — anyone — in our family's strict patriarchal religion. From now on unless I repented I would be forever shunned!

Instead of being struck dead by a bolt of lightning like I was expecting, I found myself swaddled by the most peaceful feeling ever experienced during my entire lifetime. In that moment, I knew I would be safe and cared for. Thereafter, through any overwhelming pressure, trial, or test I thought I could never bear, when I recalled that feeling of "pure peaceful presence" I then knew I could endure anything thrown at me. At that time, I received a clear message that it was not me who decided to leave the family religion. No. It was my soul.

I strongly believe, based on my life experiences, that  humans can activate — connect with — an unseen force which some holy writings call the "holy spirit" or "grace." This unseen force enables growth and connection to the "Divine" in each one of us to aid in our spiritual evolution.

Thank you, beautiful soul for leading me out of the family religion which I had so clearly outgrown. Surely, there blooms another growth step in the soul's desire to know itself as spiritually conscious in this human body.

In the blogs below, I write about other times when a strong sense of my spiritual nature seems to shine forth. It's never the same way twice!

Please feel free to comment on your times of strong connection to your spirituality — or whatever you choose to call it.

Health and Spirituality

Living Healed

Don't you see it? Don't you see your own growth? Many people, after leaving the Jehovah's Witness religion, see themselves as "broken." I don't. I see the thousands who left as ones having the courage to become their own person. Read more…

Sweet Magic of Life 

How many times did I check my coat pocket looking for that item in the last six months since I lost it? It's nothing special, just a worry stone that my favorite teacher gave me. It had the word "Grace" written in gold paint, long since worn away. Read more…

Goddess Hecate 

I've been exploring a book about the goddesses lately and love what I am learning. For example, while I'm reading about the goddess Hecate, who represents crossroads, I'm trying to apply what a crossroads might look like regarding my personal life. Read more…

Love of Nature 

I love being out in nature when it calls to me — and I connect to my heart. Just the other day I was out walking, during a lull in the buckets of rain we've been having, when I became aware of a chickadee hopping from branch to branch, directly beside me, along the sidewalk. She was no more than six feet away, keeping pace with me. I was delighted! Read more…

Affirmations

I knew of a therapist once who told all his clients, "Affirmations don't work, so don't do that!" Admittedly, some of my past affirmations didn't always work. They sounded like too much of a stretch from where I presently was to where I wanted to be. I have since learned that affirmations must be believable. Read more…

New Years Resolutions 

"I am empowered to move forward or make space and my gift is letting go," reads my horoscope. I could look back and see where I came from and see all what is "wrong" with my world — or I can look forward and create something new and wonderful for myself. Read more…

What is a Normal Desire Anyway?

As a young girl I was taught to feel ashamed of my desires. For example, when I was about four my Grandma asked me if I would like to dance like Ginger (as in Fred and Ginger). Oh, how I adored watching them dance. Read more…

Belief in Separation or Belief in Love?

Is it possible to feel a strong, loving connection to my children who don't speak to me because of a shunning order? Yes, I reply. I received some photos from family members, which I wrote about in a previous post. You may recall, the first run of photos only included my grand-daughter. In a second set, the family members provided photos of my son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter. They selected photos of my children with their backs turned toward me. Read more...

Fond Memories of Saskatoon

My cousin just blogged about her trip to Saskatoon and it made me reminisce — I once lived in Saskatoon, from 1978 – 2002. But, I must clarify that I really started LIVING after my divorce in '97. Read more…

 


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