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June 2017

in Spirituality

How Spirituality Changed My Religious Beliefs

Can I be honest? Like completely honest?

Growing up, I HATED church.

I was born into the Catholic religion.  I went to private Catholic schools all my life and attending church was mandatory. The problem was, I never felt comfortable. The solemn and gloomy energy was overwhelming to me.  I would actually feel scared to be in a Catholic church...heck I even had nightmares about it. The energy just didn't feel right. Maybe it was because I was a fearful child? But once I finished high school, I breathed a sigh of relief that I would never have to step foot in a church again.

Or So I Thought...

All types of destructive behaviors had a stronghold of me in the beginning of my college years. I was a rebel without a cause. I ended up marrying an extremely abusive person who gave me that final push into darkness. I was able to escape and was divorced 7 months later, but the damage was already done. My life was spiraling out of control, and FAST. At that point I barely believed in God. One of my friends repeatedly invited me to go to a Christian church with her and I shot her down faster than the speed of light each time. Finally, I said yes [don't recall if I was drunk when I agreed]. So there I was entering this new church, hungover from the night before, when I heard the band rocking out. I don't remember the song at all; I just remember the music emanating this feeling of joy that penetrated my entire being. I began to cry and people started putting their hands on me...and for once in a very long time, I felt ACCEPTED. This Christian church quickly became my new home. The vibe was so friendly and relaxed; I felt comfortable, I felt LOVED. I no longer felt as if I was broken or damaged goods. I had a renewed sense of hope and I thought this was where I belonged.

When my son's father and I got together, our common beliefs in Christianity definitely helped the relationship, but it was also the cause of some fights. I mean seriously, I am not going to hell just because I have tattoos or get tarot card readings from a Santera I know...SHEESH. We attended church often but there was STILL something deep inside me that didn't feel quite right, like something just didn't make sense...this feeling grew faint as we stopped going to church. Upon ending our relationship, I returned to church full force. Again, it gave me that sense of love, belonging and acceptance...but the 'off' feeling came back with a vengeance.

IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO QUESTION YOUR BELIEFS, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING TRUTH OR LIES.

I decided to embark on a truth-seeking journey which lasted months. I NEEDED ANSWERS...to what, I don't know, but I had a gut feeling I would find them. I read tons of research from credible sources on religion, spirituality, faith, science and all others types of topics. The more I informed myself, the more things started to make sense to me. Why the heck was I following outdated, man-made 'rules' from a book only written to control the masses? Why was I made to believe by the church that the only way God would love me unconditionally was if I met all of his conditions...HUH?  Lies after lies debunked...Simply put, I came to my own conclusion that religion is a corrupt institution made by man to control man. The cloud of confusion started to lift and the 'off' feeling dissipated. A spiritual teacher was put in my path and as she guided me through soul work, I discovered Kundalini Yoga. EVERYTHING CHANGED. Like the light switch finally turned on.

Spirituality Is Subjective

Working with my spiritual teacher and practicing Kundalini Yoga brought me PERSONAL EXPERIENCES in which I was able to FEEL my soul...I was able to FEEL God and KNOW that I am an extension of God...I was able to feel the vastness of LOVE and PEACE! The actual feeling of it is quite indescribable and it may seem crazy, but it is my truth. [By the way, no I don't use drugs lol] I learned that spirituality is subjective...you just have to experience it for yourself. The beauty of knowing that God is this powerful primal force of loving, Divine Energy which is permanently there for us wherever we go, in whatever we do, is so comforting. If I EVER need to feel loved, accepted, or worthy, I can just turn to my Highest Self, my soul...for God resides there. I don't need to look for these things externally; they already live within me. Discovering this totally freed me and for once, I finally knew what it felt like to be in alignment with your highest truth. 

My Religion Is Love

Beliefs are just thoughts that you think over and over and accept them to be true. They can change at any given moment if you want them to. HOORAY FOR THAT! I took all the beautiful teachings of compassion, love, forgiveness, and wisdom from various religions and combined it with my experiences to create a new belief system for myself. I wholeheartedly believe in God...I KNOW God exists. I also believe in angels and spirit guides [I have physically seen and dreamt about them]. So do I plan on going back to church? Who knows? Do I think other people should stop going to church? No. Every soul is on a different path in life; I respect everyone's journey. If the church gives you comfort in a time of need, do what feels right to you. Feed your soul in whatever way it chooses to be fed. There is no right or wrong in your walk of life, only lessons.

I can however tell you this about myself: I no longer need to use a fictional demon as a scapegoat if I don't take personal responsibility for my own actions, because I am accountable for myself;  I no longer need to fear evil or feel hopeless in life situations, because I know about the Laws of the Universe, duality, and contrast; I no longer need to go crazy trying to meet conditions so I can be 'saved', there is nothing to be saved from; I no longer need to feel that an ascended master [Jesus] who lived centuries ago is the middle man to God, because God already lives within me; and I don't need to belong to a religion to feel loved, because I AM LOVE.

Image result for love is my religion rumi

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5 Valuable Lessons I Learned From Heartbreak

Heartbreak sucks.

Who's with me!? It just totally sucks. And what makes it suck even more is your family and friends showing you their love and support by telling you it's going to be alright. "YES LOGICALLY I KNOW THIS, i mean look at me duh, BUT EMOTIONALLY MY LIFE IS OVER, JUST LET ME CRY IN PEACE DAMMIT!" In heartbreak we can experience super intense feelings of despair, anger, hopelessness, confusion, fear, sadness, and loneliness (just to name a few). It can overwhelm you to the point where you just want to sleep most of the time because you don't want to FEEL anymore. I've had my fair share of heartaches, but none like the last one. This time was different. This time I 'got it'.

Even though I knew I had made the right decision by leaving, it was as if my whole entire world collapsed beneath me. I had never felt so many crappy feelings at once. I would hold my face and just cry in the fetal position for hours. I am sure you have too. (Even if you haven't, let's just say you did so I won't feel like a weirdo ok?)

Image result for heartbreak

But as time went by, my wounds started healing. This marks the stage of a new beginning...A time where you re-discover yourself and begin to rebuild your life. You start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly but surely, you are filled with realizations and gain an in-depth understanding of your experience. It's very difficult for you to embrace and learn the valuable lessons of heartbreak if you run off to be with someone else or choose to numb your pain with other things, which I had done in the past...but if you just stick with the pain, gently acknowledge and accept it, you will FINALLY 'get it' too, just like I did. These are 5 valuable lessons I learned from heartbreak: 

1. Self-Love Is Crucial.

That horrible aching pain you feel? It's not really longing for the person you lost. That pain is calling out for you to tend to it. To nurture it. To give it comfort. Who you really need is YOU, so don't try to fill the void with another person. Acknowledge that you are grieving and give yourself all the love you need. Eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise. Try to decrease negative thoughts and hurtful self-talk. Allow yourself to cry as much as you want, allow yourself moments of silence. These small acts of self-love go a long way while healing from the pain of a broken heart.

2. Healing Is NOT Linear.

I've made more loopty-loops than a roller coaster, and that's all right. One month I felt like I was finally making headway, and the next I felt like it all went down the drain. This is completely NORMAL. Heartbreak provides your soul with many lessons to be assimilated and if you don't get them at the time, they'll just come back around again when you are ready to receive or in a better state of mind. Just know that it is perfectly OK to have those moments where you do not think you are healing fast enough...because in reality, you're right on time...Divine time that is.

3. Forgiveness Is A Choice.

I think this is one of the most important lessons I've learned about life in general, but it is certainly heightened during heartbreak. It's so easy to stay in a place of blame. It does lessen the sting at one point, but after you just gotta let go. See here's the kicker: you may have to practice forgiveness almost every day. Perhaps several times a day. But it's a choice that is always available you. And if you do make the choice, it will bring you freedom and inner peace, at least for the moment. And damn it feels good to be liberated from bitterness, resentment, and anger, even if momentarily. I wrote about the path to forgiveness in another blog post.

4. People Do Not Change...Unless THEY Want To.

You CANNOT make someone change. Can I repeat that??? YOU CANNOT MAKE SOMEONE CHANGE. They must want to change on their own. Not for you. Not for their kids or family. But for themselves. You can hope and pray and beg. You can restrict them from everything or lay down crazy rules. You can even play mind games to try to coax them to change (doesn't work, it will backfire...trust me). They might alter their behavior temporarily to please you but in the end it is NOT GENUINE nor is it lasting. They must WANT to change for themselves, not for you or anyone else.

5. Transformation Is Inevitable.

In physics, the law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another.  And since we are all beings of energy, you cannot be destroyed darling! But you sure as heck can transform. Question is, what do you want to transform into? Do you want to level up or go back to who you once were? You have options! I made sure that no matter what happened, I was going to come out the other side a much better version of myself. I took self-growth and self-discovery seriously. It required strength, courage, lots of patience, and plenty of yoga, but here I am. And if I can do it, so can you.

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