Buddhism. Why Not? Pt 1

FYI – Every now and then I post something from my other blog here. It’s a one way ticket. I don’t post this stuff there. So, yeah. You can feel kinda special lol, cuz you are!


page_letters-COMINGOUTdidn’t grow up with Jesus. Or Mary. Or Joseph. Steepled churches, stained glass windows and the Bible were all kind of a mystery to me when I was a kid. I remember attending a black Baptist church when I was about 3.  A small, white, one-roomed building with deep mahogany pews and sunlit walls. It was where the colored congregated every Sunday to listen to The Preacher.

Shiny, brown-skinned folk strutted spectacular in their Sunday best and exotic plumage. A rare form of peacock indeed. I must have been fostered temporarily with God-fearing folk who felt the need to introduce me to the Lord, hence my memory of this Baptist church. I don’t remember ever meeting him though. What I do remember is being terrified by the wailing and moaning and fainting in the presence of Praise-Him-Hallelujah.

And the singing was kinda cool.

To be honest, Religion kinda scares me.

The idea of some omnipotent, wrathful, White GOD living in the sky who, if displeased by your behavior, will strike you down and condemn you to burn in the everlasting bowels of Hell ~ FOREVER ~ is just a little friggin terrifying to me. And truly horrific things have been done in the name of Religion since the beginning of time. But Religion is way too big a topic for this little blog, and it’s not my intention to offend or discriminate anyone or their belief system.

So, before I go on, I have to qualify that when I refer to Religion in this post, I am referring to Christianity.

I’m Canadian. I live in Canada. Love my country! And in Canada, Christianity is the largest religion. We don’t really have an official religion because we totally support the worldview that one religion is not the sole and exclusive source of Truth. We’re very open-minded about this sort of stuff and I’m down with that. Our right to choice of religious belief is a huge part of our political culture and makes me proud to be part of such a socially progressive nation. I think that’s why so many folks love us. And want to be us. Yay, Canada! We is diversified. 🙂

Having said that, Christians represent 67.3% of the population, with the Catholic Church having the most faithful attendees. Interestingly enough, according to the 2011 Census, (information about religion is only collected once every 10 years), Islam is the second largest religion in Canada, practiced by 3.2% of the population.

I think I’m a little surprised by that statistic.

But, somewhere in between the Christians and Muslims living in Canada, 23.9% of our total population has NO Religion at all. 

And this two-part post is sorta-kinda-loosely for those people.

The 23.9%.

Of which I am most definitely ONE.


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As a brown child growing up in middle-class, white suburbia, I was faced with reactions to my difference. A lot. They were thinly veiled beneath civility and politeness. But they were there just the same. By the time I was 7 and officially adopted, I had developed a not-so-fragile thicker skin. Curious stares no longer affected me. As much.

We didn’t have a lot of religious overtones in our house. My adoptive Mother was Armenian and her loosely termed religious bent was Presbyterian. My Dad is Welch and at some point adopted the Bahá’í Faith; a teaching of the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Mom kinda poo-pooed his choice of Religion, but I don’t think she really cared one way or another. Religion was the least of their differences. She may not have been big on Religion, but I do remember going to Sunday School in her Presbyterian church.

Sunday School was very confusing to me.

All the beautiful, colorful illustrations in the Children’s Bible Storybooks depicted white angels, a white God, and a white Jesus. Admittedly, he was a little tanned. 😉 And all the children gathered around Jesus on those pages? Yeah, they were all white too. Apparently, brown children didn’t exist when Jesus walked the earth.

Without a physically identifiable biblical figure or any sweet, angelic-looking brown-skinned children in the storybooks, I was lost in a sea of Whiteness. I could not make any spiritual connection. Once I asked my Sunday School teacher why no-one in the stories looked like me. She didn’t really have an answer. Not one that satisfied me enough to make me feel included and deserving of God’s Love.

How friggin sad is that?

It was the late 60’s. Civil movements and equality were definitely on the rise. Protests against wars were being staged. Causes and reasons were abundant for every situation. The world was changing in powerful ways. But in Small-Town-Anywhere, Canada, no-one had an answer for why there were no brown children in the Children’s Bible Storybooks.

Sunday School quickly became just another place where my difference was obvious. Where my Not Enough-Ness took root. Where I didn’t really belong. I was the only brown kid in my Sunday School, in my classroom,  in my neighborhood, and in my family. Everyone could see that I was different. And I could see them seeing my difference. Good Christian parents pushing down the pointing fingers of their Good Christian children or shushing them if they were too inquisitively loud about my difference. It didn’t matter that in my home, skin color was of no concern.

The world judged.

After services, everyone gathered for a few minutes in front of the church so the adults could say their Hello’s and How Are You’s. Share news, invites and quietly judge each-other. My Mom was a terrible gossip and she reveled in pointing out the hypocrisy of these God-fearing people. She really had little use for people in general.

The kids would run around, tagging, laughing and generally blowing off whatever do-good thing they had learned that morning. I usually stood by myself. Close to Mom. It was awkward. None of those kids were neighbors or friends. I wasn’t a part of the click. One Sunday, as I waited patiently for Mom to stop chatting, this little girl about 5 years old ~ me being a grown up 8 years old ~ walked up to me and without a word, pushed her finger into my cheek, and dragged it down my face. Then she looked at her finger in surprise.

She thought my brown would rub off.

Yeah.

That was pretty much the last day I formally attended church.

The following weekend, my Mom gave me a choice.

I chose to stop attending Sunday School.


Part 2 ~ Next Tuesday. At The Buddha Neuron.  If you like this, check it out! 🙂

Till then…

OWN YOURSELF!

ACCEPT, EMBRACE & LOVE

EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU YOU!

And Namaste your ASS off!

emoji_siggy-COMINGOUT

Emancipation

“Change plays such a significant role as we begin to process the excruciating, overwhelming feelings and emotions that inner work can sometimes generate. This healing of our truest selves is necessary before we can embark on any journey of light worth traveling and to live a joyous life before exploding in starlight off this mortal coil.” 

I read some version of this the other day. And then kinda scribbled out this edited version on a random piece of paper. It ultimately released my writer’s block and inspired this post. It’s a little all over the place. Full of emotions I have yet to grapple. Truths yet to behold. Feelings trying to be understood. Kinda like me right now. An emotional nugget wrapped up in an enigmatic codec only a celestial being could possibly decipher. And I’m kinda counting on that. 😉

Write. Speak. Truth.

I struggled with whether or not to post this. I didn’t want to hurt, offend, mislead or belittle anything or anyone. And that fear held me captive for a little bit. But then I remembered – again – that this is my blog. My freedom of expression place. My safe-to-be-me space. And if I can’t speak my truth here, then where??? This post is exactly how I felt at the time of its writing just over a week ago. Since then, a friend has died. Unnecessarily and unexpectedly. It kinda knocked my world off its axis a bit. Questioning life and what the hell it’s all about, ya know? And my relationship with K has experienced a huge shift. Good? Bad? Undecided. But Life is tail spinning. Crossroading. Again. And the fucking rabbit hole is looking really good right about now. And. Oh ya. Writer’s block is back. Great.

And through all of it, this post has been sitting in draft mode. Taunting me. Accusing me. Daring me. Telling me that I still owe it to myself to remain true to its intention. Not to back down. Not to give in. Not to ignore, or fear, the belief that drove its creation. Because no matter how rationally I may, or may not be, responding to the unpredictability of life in this very moment, a week ago the shit got real. And it woke something up that’s stirring deep in my belly now. Right along with my good friend, anxiety. Emancipation. It’s been howling in the wind forever it seems, but only now am I truly beginning to hear its song. And I need to talk about the new crazy that’s surfacing. Damn it!

Overwhelmed. Searching. Changing.

Things have transpired within and without over this past year, and in particular the past few months, that have left me feeling scattered and shattered. Doubting and questioning. Tearing down old belief systems in order to create new ones. It’s work. Hard work. Exhausting work. And it’s still going on. Every. Single. Day. And all without therapy. But something wondrous is beginning to emerge from the chaos. A sense of Purpose. My Purpose. One that can no longer be denied by the fear lurking deep in my reflection. A powerful, resonating voice has taken hold of my mind chatter. Calmly, quietly and without prejudice, it speaks to my Heart in an honest and undeniable way.

When you begin listening, truly listening, to your Higher Self – your Soul’s voice – you begin to hear truths that are self-evident. And I am beginning to listen. Truly listen. I don’t really have a choice. She is very persistent. And she’s telling me I need to find my Joy. My Purpose. My Self. Love. She is forcing me to reluctantly admit that very real change is necessary. In every area of my life. To accept the truth that I am not happy living within the restrictive confines of responsibilities and commitments necessary to maintain a relationship.

I. Need. More.

I need my freedom in a profoundly necessary, genuine and very real way in order to explore who and what I am. To determine fully what my Purpose is. To place myself in Service in such a way that, at this moment, excludes the demands of a partner. Kinda like a Buddhist Monk. And I am beginning to understand that in order to begin this deeply personal, life-affirming and long-awaited work, I need to live alone. Maybe even simply, be alone. I don’t know that I want to be alone. But I believe I need to be. Until I come to that long, over-due, happy state of truly knowing myself. My boundaries, my limitations, and my personal power. Until I can love someone from an honest place of giving, without fear of loss.

Without compromising who I am. What I need. Or what I want.

Only then will I be able to participate fully in, and give to, Life. Only then will I be able to participate fully in, and give to, Love. Only then will I be able to exchange the telling words restrictive and confining, for freeing and nurturing. Until then, for me, relationships will be struggles full of misery, misunderstandings, and hurts. I know this to be true because I have lived in that self evident truth for far too long and I write about it here!

I believe self-enlightenment is a singular pursuit and not one where many have found the correct balance between selfish and selfless. I have been trying to learn to love myself and love someone else at the same time. Is that even possible? I don’t think so. At least, that is not my experience so far. What has resulted is a bumpy, incredibly painful ride for everyone involved. This is not a path I want to keep revisiting. Perhaps, one day, I will come to understand love differently. But for now. Love is a fucking mystery.

Friends and past lovers all tell me the same thing. Over and over and over again. Even K tells me so. That no-one can give you happiness or peace. That it comes from within. That if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone love you? Make yourself number one. Live your life on your terms. If it’s not fun, run! And my personal favorite, “You have to love yourself first before you can truly love someone else.”

Ya… Everyone is FULL of sage advice.

This conflict internal has been ever present. From my earliest memory to now. I struggle with the complexity of Identity. Sexuality. And Love. I even struggle with Femininity. I don’t fully understand it or know how to embrace it. I know right? How can a femme woman not know, understand or feel her own femininity?

Welcome to my world.

Truth is, there was no time to revel in being a Girl. No blossoming into womanhood. No kind, loving, maternal figure to explain the blood between my thighs. The penalty for promiscuity. The pain of sex. Understanding and embracing my divine feminine power is something my daughter sweetly tries to teach me. No irony there. My beginnings nurtured nothing. Let alone being a Girl. I missed that beautifully critical stage of mental and physical development. Completely. And what I did learn about being a Girl wasn’t taught kindly.

Being with a woman has brought more understanding of my feminine than I had ever imagined it would. I still struggle with it. But I am learning to accept and appreciate that part of myself in ways that continue to surprise and heighten the depths of my being.

K makes me feel feminine. Incredibly so. She’s a Leo. A gentlewoman, a passionate lover and a true, old-school romantic. It can’t be helped. She is so Prince Charmingly male that I am the Belle of the Ball. Every. Single. Day. Such a contrast to any of my previous relationships. At first, I had no idea what to do with it. To go from, “You look hot, baby.” to “You are the most beautiful, intelligent, incredibly sexy woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Thank you for choosing me to share your life with.” was, well…geez. What’s a girl to say? (Mind you, depending on the context, hot can be sexy as hell. Kinda like how fuck can be a turn on if it’s said just the right way. Just sayin...)

After an impressionable and considerable portion of my life lived in problematic pretty – and the unwanted attention it has derived – it’s been nice having a partner who truly appreciates all of my womanly girlishness in ways that aren’t crude, lewd or rude. Or threatening. She embraces my feminine energy and its power. Thrills in it. Loves how it brings out her inner Dapper-Dan. Sometimes I think she’s more aware of it than I will ever be. But that’s K. She truly is a lover of women. A philogynist. Just ask her. She’s got the tattoo. 😉

And I do love her.

I sincerely do.

She has expanded my awareness of self more than anyone I’ve ever met. Taught me lessons I may have never learned without her guidance. Shown me there is a better, healthier way to handle my emotional triggers. And she’s done it with such grace, patience, and compassion that I am humbled in her presence. Often. Her willingness to remain open in the face of all the adversity and challenges I have brought into this relationship astound me. She came into my life at a time when I needed her. When I was so lost and broken that without her intervention, I’m not sure where I would be today. I was on the proverbial ledge. Ready to jump. She sat beside me and quietly, gently, lovingly talked me back inside. She’s been such a gift to me. I will always be grateful for her love. Always. In many ways, it is she who has brought me here to this enlightened place. Though she may not be thankful where her expansion has led.

K took me out of a darkness and helped heal my broken heart. I took her out of a darkness and helped her heal from Cancer. This has not been a one-sided affair. We have helped heal each other in some beautiful and very fundamental, meaningful ways. We came into each other’s lives for a reason. I don’t have all the answers. And this is no admission to the end of our connection. It is simply the beginning of a new experience. For both of us. Not all who meet and fall are destined to stay together. I’ve learned that the hard way, as has K. Life is funny like that. But when powerful, loving connections are made, they should be respected. Valued. And if at all possible, maintained. Even when it hurts to let go. I try to live by that philosophy no matter how hard it seems at first. I hope she feels the same.

This choice, and it IS a choice, to live emancipated is not one I am making lightly. I have thought of nothing else for weeks. It has taken me in and out of darkness. It has hurt and paralyzed me with fear. It has confused and angered me. Made me laugh and cry. Torn me apart countless times. I have wrestled with it extensively. And exhaustively. Because I have a good life with K. I want for nothing. She loves me. Adores me. Has proven over and over again that she would burn in the fire for me if need be. Has given me nothing but love. And more love. Compassion. Kindness. Been a Light when I was lost. And remains true to the betterment of my life. In every way. Spiritually. Mentally. Physically. In almost all respects, she is the perfect partner. And right now you’re probably thinking, “Then why would you ever want to give that up?” Trust me. I have asked myself the same thing. Over and over. And all I can say is…

Something is missing.

Something deep within. Something she can not give me.

The true happiness of inner peace.

And I need that.

I’m 55 years old and many hurts are as fresh today as they were at 5. I need to make peace with all that has made me so that I can make room for all that I was meant to be. From birth. And in my heart of hearts, I know I have to take this next step on my journey alone. If I am to grow into the fullest of my potential as a person, a healer, and a life partner, I need to choose me. Now. None of this is about leaving K. It’s about coming home to Me. My intention is not to hurt. Only to heal.

Sigh.

And something else is happening. Even more alarming, and almost scarier than declaring my own emancipation. I am beginning to question GOD. Not whether or not a Divine Being exists. No. I know that a Divine Being exists. I’m a Reiki Master. An Energy Worker. I believe completely and wholeheartedly in Universal Energy. It might sound crazy to some, but I know I have a calling. To Heal. Firstly, myself and then others. It makes complete sense to me now. Perhaps, on some level, I have always known this. That my purpose here on Earth is not just to suffer. Although, often times, great Sufferers are great Healers…and sometimes they are great Writers too lol. Someday, I hope to be both 😉

I have witnessed things in the name of healing that can only be explained by divine intervention. I have actually seen the ethereal glowing green energy of the Heart Chakra up close and personal! It’s fucking mind-blowing. And so unbelievably peaceful. There truly are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in our philosophy, Shakespeare. And we have barely touched the surface of what we are truly capable of as energetic beings. I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t believe in a Higher Power, in more than what we can see and touch. So, perhaps it isn’t GOD I am questioning, but rather Faith.

I have recently opened myself up to the idea of prayer, but have NO IDEA who I’m really praying too. What to call IT. How to connect with IT. People who have blind faith amaze and inspire me! I want to BE one of those people. I want to live in a spiritual practice that grounds me and allows me to feel a real connection to a Higher Power. I want to live in my own Grace. The one I know lives in each and every one of us.

I believe in the Soul. Reincarnation. Karma. Akashic Records. Quantum Theory. The Power of Thought. I know SOMETHING BIG orchestrated all of this! But at the moment, I’m just trying to decide whether IT is a He or a She, and whether to call them Bob or Martha. Or the Big Guy in The Sky. Or maybe, just go with God? Ya. I’m ripe with curiosities about the whole GOD thing.

It’s all very confusing.

Lately, a plethora of information has been coming to me in what feels like spiritual messages. I’ve been inviting them in, to a great degree, in the form of research for a book I’m writing. Reading story after story in self-help books about personal growth, overcoming childhood trauma, relationship stuff…even better writing practices. What’s surprising to me is that there is a HUGE, and not so subtle, religious/spiritual underlying bent in ALL of these writings! K warned me that this would happen. That I would start to see the connection with spirituality in my research. That I should be prepared to meet God, as it were. And I was like, “Cool. I’m down with that.” But I had no idea it would raise so many feelings! Or start coming at me in almost everything I do and see! It’s everywhere!!!

GOD stuff. FAITH stuff. ENLIGHTENMENT stuff.

LAW OF ATTRACTION stuff. SELF LOVE stuff.

It’s all been a little heady to be honest.

But the message is becoming transparent.

” BELIEVE IN AND LOVE YOURSELF, TRISH. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.”

But, as I am prone to do, I question everything! Even when the truth of the thing is settling comfortably in my heart. Old habits die hard. But hey…I’m working on it! Thing is, Self-love is becoming an overused, almost meaningless catch-phrase. We say it. We preach it. We bumper-stick it to shit. We think we understand what it truly means. But how many of us actually LOVE ourselves? Completely. Unconditionally. And without caveats? How many of us truly believe we are worth loving? How many of us live in the beautiful light of our own TRUTH and understand that we ARE love? I know that I have not yet come to this realization fully. I have not learned to love myself as l know I should. Or forgiven myself. Or believed in myself. I do not know the truth of my own worth. Or how powerful my own light is. Man. I have so much work to do!

I don’t really understand who I am. 

But I’m finally beginning to WANT to. 

So, I am seeking. A new journey is about to unfold. The journey to Self-Love. And it begins within. And sometimes that journey begins alone. And that’s okay too. This inner work I’m doing now is allowing me to find a strange, unfamiliar, slightly disturbing and-not-yet-completely-comfortable kind of peace in recognizing the honesty of what I need. I’ve never fully lived in that before. It is, at times, startling. And somewhat frightening. While at once being the most exhilarating and calming experience ever. Truly understanding and believing that you have the ability to live your life according to the sound of your own heartstrings, the rhythm of your own internal beat, and the guidance of your own voice, and no-one else’s is a gift unto itself.

I have lived in the shadows for far too long. A Shape-Shifter. The eternal People-Pleaser. Always being what I thought/think I should be to suit a situation or relationship. But never once have I lived completely, fearlessly and happily in my authentic being. Never once have I been true to the beauty I feel is my Soul. I’m not even sure I know how to do that. Or if I can. But I feel like I owe it to myself to try.

Ya…

There’s a lot going on inside the mind of this little nugget wrapped up in an enigmatic codec only a celestial being could possibly decipher.

And I’m kinda counting on that!

Still processing. Happily doing the work. Grateful for this life experience. Saddened by all the confusion, pain and trauma. Willing. Open. Accepting. Hopeful that the healing light I send out into the world will also find its way back to me. I’ve been in the darkness for far far too long.

I’m ready to be found. 🙏🏼

Namaste

(BTW: Love you Divine Celestial Being! Just sayin  😉 )