Category Archives: Spirituality

Cause You Gotta Have Faith

I believe in God again. Oh, sure. I believed in God before. He was the omniscient and omnipotent being that lived outside of my understanding and scope, but I still acknowledged, cause for me it just felt right that there is a God. Except for most of my life I did not pay Him much attention, nor contemplate my faith in any kind of constructive way. I just believed in Him.

As I said goodbye to the Motherland, I was kindly given a clue as to why I believe in Him.

God’s love is eternal, compassionate, and, most importantly, forgiving.

When was the last time someone reminded you of that fact? Maybe you already know it and that’s why you’re such an awesome person. You already know that love and compassion and forgiveness are the elements of good living and you’re as cool as a cucumber about ’em.

Or maybe this is the first time you’re hearing it. I know when I did it felt like I’d just discovered the Pythagorean theorem. And I went to Catholic school. But maybe it hit me like a tonne of bricks because I finally understood it within the context of my life. You can lead a horse to water…

We all place a lot of pressure on ourselves to do the best we can in our lives. What if I told you that what you’re doing is good enough? What if I told you that God will love you despite any number of shortcomings you think you see? Would it set you free?

These were questions posed to me by a stranger on the flight back to Canada. I could have shaken them off. I could have dismissed him as a kook and burrowed my head into a book or my laptop and ignored him for the rest of the eight hour flight. But I listened. In allowing my heart to open to God, it began to fill itself with joy, love, and hope.

All of the stupid bullshit that used to kick up a storm in my head disappeared. I dismissed it. I forgave it all. I made my peace with it because I finally understood that God wants us to be at peace. He doesn’t want us to hate our lives. He wants us to rejoice. And yes, there are shitty times. People die. Hearts are torn asunder. Pets get run over by cars. Kids are mean.

But babies are born. Love is kindled or even reignited. There are a million adoptable pets in North America alone. And yeah, kids are mean, but they’re also the darnedest, right? Yes, there is darkness, but there is lightness as well. And without the darkness, the lightness hardly seems that bright at all.

Through the wonders of the Internet, this is an actual shot of that mug. I remember this font.For a good long while I lost faith, which is like developing vertigo. You can still live, sure, but it’s more like you’re hanging on to blades of grass while the Earth spins out of control. We used to have Irish coffee mugs with this saying on them – “An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold on to one blade of grass and not fall of the face of the Earth.”

That’s what it felt like when I lost faith – holding onto a blade of grass as the world spun and spun and spun.

Now I get why I have faith in God. And it’s so comforting. Even as the earth continues to spin around, I keep a tight grip on that blade of grass, but now it’s coupled with a conviction that feels like a pair of moonboots that anchor me to the ground even more firmly. Thanks for the kickass pair of moonboots, God.

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Meditation and exercise linked to reduced flu symptoms

(Thinkstock/Thinkstock)

(Thinkstock/Thinkstock)

From the Globe and Mail:

In a paper published in the Annals of Family Medicine, Dr. Bruce Barrett and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked into the benefits of meditation and exercise for prevention of the flu. Before the annual flu season began, they divided their research volunteers into three groups: one that would practise meditation, another that would exercise regularly and a third control group that just carried on with normal daily life. They then tracked how many people in each group got sick and how severe and long-lasting their symptoms were. The results were surprising.

Both meditation and exercise reduced the number of people who got sick by about 25 per cent.

The severity of the symptoms was lowest in the meditation group, followed by the exercise group and most severe in the group that did neither.

This is good news for me having just begun group meditation last week. And since I’m feeling under the weather today I’m especially looking forward to this week’s session. I’m going to omm my way back to health (with the help of ColdFX and garlic too.)

If you’re interested in diving into your own spiritual playground but don’t have access to a group like mine, or you don’t like going outside of your home to experience the benefits of guided meditation, check out Youtube for videos. There are loads!

Safe Spaces

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I was raised Catholic as a child. The only video footage that exists of me from childhood is my first communion. You can see my shuffling in with the other second-graders. I was the only one wearing a blazer and mini skirt amid the floofy princess dresses and veils. I also had daisies in my hair, courtesy of my sister. We sang hymns, we participated in transubstantiation, and then we opened presents.

This was the extent of my relationship with religion for a long time. I attended Catholic school up until post-secondary. I applied to a Catholic university — King’s College — but chose Ryerson instead. But my relationship with religion was distant all the same. I didn’t go to mass. I didn’t pray. I wasn’t quite sure what I believed anyway. I ignored the question until it came knocking on my door last year asking if I believed in the after-life.

Since then I’ve begun asking more questions about my own spirituality. What exactly do I believe?

And for the most part I still don’t know. It’s kind of infuriating to be nearing thirty and still not have a clear picture in my head of the divine. But then is it supposed to be clear? What I am clear on is that how I experience the divine starts from inside of me. Attending mass has never appealed to me because the connection I make to what’s out there belongs inside of me. But I’ve never explored that. I think that’s because I spent so much time asleep. Unaware of the divine. Unaware of the energy that exists in us. Unaware of everything. Having come so close to the divine now through my father’s illness I am more aware of its power and influence on me. I enjoy exploring it.

For the majority of this year I’ve done that through therapy with a set of tools to understand how my subconscious works. Now I’m embarking on a new voyage into more subtler stuff.

Each of us has a safe space. Last night I found mine. It exists inside of me and I can access it whenever I want. That’s the beauty of a safe space — it doesn’t have to be a real space and you can go into it whenever you want.

My imagination was once my best friend. I loved making up stories, songs, plays. When I came to Canada, before I spoke English, and even after I learned how, I spent a lot of time playing alone. I’ve been building scenes in my head since I could form words. As I got older I noticed it got harder to do that. Not for lack of trying — I have scraps of paper and notebooks filled with ideas. Just the other day I picked up a piece of paper from the floor and it was an idea for a short mystery story. But, all the same, it has gotten harder to pull those ideas out and turn them into reality. Somewhere along the way I feel like I got lost. I strayed off the path.

Last night I was pulled back onto it and led into a safe space. It was good. Although it’s a construct of my mind, it feels like a real haven to catch my breath in and begin dreaming all over again. And, yes, it feels divine.