There are several ideologies that have helped to guide me over the course of my lifetime.
As a child my beliefs were shaped by the teachings of Jesus and the Ten Commandments. As a young adult, I left the church of my youth and found solace in the teachings of Yoga and the Yamas and Niyamas and in the Eightfold Path of Buddhism. When John and I married and began to make plans for our family, we found a spiritual home in a Unitarian Universalist community, with its open doors and Guiding Principles that resonated deeply in our hearts.
But the greatest influence on what I believe about myself and about humanity comes from the guidance I received from my loving and supportive parents who, despite their sadness and pain over my decision to leave the church they call home, have supported me in my many spiritual explorations.
It is thanks in large part to my parents and their unconditional love for my sister and me – a love that I challenged mightily in my early teen years and again in my early adulthood years – that I am comfortable sifting through all the many paths that are available in this world and choosing, based on what I feel in my heart, what works for me.
One powerful personal guidance principle that I follow, influenced by all that I have listed above, is that of being in right relations. This is something I’ve never stopped to define, just sort of felt, but for me it is about being in alignment with and feeling good about Self and relationships with others.
When I am feeling “off” and uncomfortable, once I’ve addressed physical causes like hunger or fatigue, my discomfort is often due to being out of alignment or not in right relations with someone close to me.
Sometimes it’s a lack of attention to the relationship and a feeling of distance or disconnection. Sometimes it’s something that one of us has done or said.
As I shared here last week, I recently entered into a place of being far from right relations with someone I have considered a close friend for several years.
I met with my friend this past weekend.
I have decided not to share any details about our meeting, which for me was a powerful and sacred experience, other than to say that we talked and listened and cried and hugged and at times even laughed, ever so tentatively.
What my friend did was wrong and he really hurt me. Neither of us are “over” what happened. We are not sweeping it under the rug and pretending it didn’t happen. We still have much work to do individually and collectively.
But we have taken a big step towards returning to right relations. And I am very grateful.
My beautiful friend, Jen Lashua, of Love & Tea Co., shared this photo and these words with me last week and, with her permission, I share them with you.
I can’t stop thinking of how amazing the lotus flower is…
growing out of the dark mirky thick mud,
emerges an amazing creation of nature
with all her beauty…
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Namaste friends and happy weekend to you!
(And Happy 39th Anniversary Mom & Dad! I love you both very much!)