A good friend and someone who is somewhat of a spiritual mentor to me now often says that you need an open mind and a warm heart. An open mind to accept that there is not necessarily one right way, there is not one path, there are many, and to be open and accepting of different ways, and different paths, and to be willing to explore a new path if that is what is right for you. The warm heart comes along with the open mind and allows for compassion and real love for those around you who may need your prayers or support.
I regularly attend a sweat lodge ceremony. Sweat lodge ceremonies are a part of Native/Aboriginal North American spirituality, a spiritual path I now follow, and one that has brought me immeasurable healing over the past 3 or so years that I have been on this path. While I am not of Aboriginal descent myself, this is a universal, very ancient, and what I like to think of as pure and basic spirituality. It’s not weighed down by dogma or complex organization, and it is not a religion. It is simply a way of life. It is a path–often referred to as the “Red Road”.
It resonates with me in a way that nothing else ever has. It’s like in the past, with Christian Science, I tried to make it work, but I never quite “got it”. It was like I was always trying to squeeze into the stiff, uncomfortable new pair of jeans. Yes, I could get them on, but they never quite felt comfortable, so to speak. With this spiritual path I’m on now, it fits like that old well-worn and amazingly comfortable pair of jeans that’s your favourite that you always reach for from the closet. It just feels right; it fits just right.
Anyway, during a brief conversation with a friend between rounds he said something that really struck me profoundly. He was telling of a friend who is a minister or spiritual leader of sorts in the church that he attends. This man apparently has been of this particular faith for more than 25 years and has risen to a high level of respectability in this church, but he readily said to my friend that while this path was right for him and he had no doubt about that right now, he said that if something else were to come along that he realized was a better path for him, he would be open to taking that path–even after 25 years and a senior position in his church. This man always kept an open mind, and refused to limit himself. This just struck me as really amazing, and wonderful. To me, this meant no limits; live life to the fullest; and live it as it is meant to be lived. Most of all, my biggest take away was that we need to live our lives honestly; be honest with ourselves as well as others.
This made me think of my own journey of the last 4 or so years or even more, where I finally opened my mind to radically changing my path after a lifetime in one faith (Christian Science)–having the courage to leave that faith, and the all-encompassing cloistered-within-the-Christian-Science-community life I had been leading, and completely leaving it all behind to chart a new path, one that is truly my right path; not anybody else’s, not a path that I try to walk because I think I should or someone else thinks I should, but because it is the right path for me. I am so happy and so comfortable where I am now, and with the life I have now that I can’t even envision being where I was before. It’s almost like it was some weird movie I saw. I remember it, but it feels so distant, so foreign to me now. Sometimes I look back now and wonder why it took me so long.
Please note, this will be my last post for a few days. I am heading off for an extended long weekend where there be no phones and no internet. The only things I’m plugging into this weekend are nature, Mother Earth, and my own thoughts. It’s a time for me to reflect, decompress, and re-connect with what’s truly important. So, until then, dear readers, enjoy your weekend, and if you’re here in Canada, enjoy your long weekend.