Faith is a touchy topic for me. While my trauma history (and other events of my childhood) left me distrusting of organized religious practice, my understanding of mental health accepts that spirituality is a vital component of a wellness driven life.
I’ve got plenty of personal hangups regarding the Christian faith. The events of my early childhood made it difficult for me to even begin to conceptualize a loving God. Instead I have spent most of my life grappling with the idea of a foreboding and judgmental power that turned its back on me when I was merely a defenseless child.
In my 20’s I sought peace by trying to come to terms with a different brand of spirituality. I have studied Buddhism and the Zen principles that DBT finds its rooting in, I’ve attended Kundalini yoga practices & drum circles and meditated in salt tanks.
My personal understanding of the universe comes from recognizing and respecting the points of intersection of these varied practices. But at 30, I’ve found this intellectualization is no longer enough for me. My heart yearns for more.
Theorizing on life just isn’t doing it for me anymore. The women I respect the most, they have a peace in their life that they directly contribute to their relationship with their higher power. Faith is more than just a thought process for them, it is an integral part of their everyday experience.
As I’ve begun the process of restructuring my life, I have made my search for faith a cornerstone priority. I’ve begun attending services at a Methodist church in my hometown.
Overall it’s been a healing experience. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to examine my own thoughts and biases as old emotions arise every time I attend. I’ve realized that I’ve held some pretty deep prejudices for a long time. Part of my growth means letting go of these assumptions and allowing for positive interactions to structure new schemas around.
For Ash Wednesday service, instead of focusing on fasting (something I have traditionally associated with penance and necessary payment for sin), the minister spoke of taking this period of time to have a personal pilgrimage to God.
She encouraged each congregant to spend the next forty days focused on their personal journey with God and the aspects of it that most need attunement. This I could get behind.
For me, fasting (or the idea of giving up anything) is likely to bring out all my wonderful black/white coping mechanisms. I’m all in, until I slip up once and then I’m all out. Which then leads to the shame and negative self talk – why don’t I just follow through?
This felt like a reasonable ask (and way less likely to trigger my neurotic tendencies). Could I spend the next month prioritizing my spiritual journey? Could I try to deepen my understanding & connection to my higher power during this time? Yes, I am willing to do both of those things.
I have no idea where the journey will take me as I make this pilgrimage. What I do know, is I am open to what the universe unveils to me. Each day I take the next right step – with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and heart ready to receive the lessons I have yet to learn.
It’s spring here in Texas & the bluebonnets have begun to pop up along the highways. The changing of seasons aligns perfectly with the Easter themes of life, death & rebirth.
No matter your spiritual background, this time of year lends itself to reflection. What do you want to let go of in the winter of last year? How are you being reborn this spring? What would it mean to you to focus on your spiritual journey for the next few weeks? Are you willing to dive deeper into this arena of your life on your path to life long wellness? I’d love to hear your thoughts!!
Love & light,
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