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From Caged to Free

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I was sad to see this Zebra Finch and his friends behind wire yesterday. They seemed content enough, but do they even remember that they were born to fly free?

It reminds me of how I used to be. Content and secure in my cage.

I was raised in what I thought was a Christian family, but now call pseudo-Christian. I inherited my beliefs about who God is from my mother and step-father and from others in the myriad of churches we attended. The Bible was portrayed as a book without error. I was to read it every day, memorize it and obey it without question. I was taught that being gay was an abomination to God, that divorce was wrong, that I needed to evangelize and help others to see the Truth.

We had The Truth. Anyone that didn’t think and believe the same as us was wrong. It was my responsibility to help them to see the error of their ways so that they could be saved. I was told that we weren’t religious as it wasn’t about following rules and regulations but rather a relationship with God. I believed all this and did my best to follow God and be all that I was meant to be.

The sad thing was that I held on to those beliefs for so long. But why wouldn’t I? Seeing I had The Truth, why would I question it? Why would I seek to understand more of who God was if I had him defined already? Yup. I had him in a box.

Problem. I didn’t realize that I was also in a box. Or rather, a cage.

Over the last two years I’ve been coming out of that cage. A big catalyst for me has been conversations with my Dad. He has challenged my thinking and belief systems in ways that no one else ever has. It has been really difficult at times – having the foundations of my world view rocked. However the biggest thing I’ve realized is that the God outside the box of religion is so much bigger and more amazing than I ever imagined.

Religion, race, roles we play…none of them matter. They aren’t what life is all about. We are souls first and foremost. We are all interconnected. How we treat one another, love one another and connect with one another is much more important than having a so-called monopoly on the truth and/or following someone else’s interpretation of ‘God’s rules’.

We were born to be free. Free to love, free to be.

 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

 

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Questioning Everything

Another historical post, written 14th December 2014.

I’m questioning a lot of things these days.

Not surprising seeing as last year [2013] I realized that my mother has been lying to me. Mothers shouldn’t lie and add to that I distinctly recall her teaching me about the importance of honesty and sincerity.

I have a plaque that my son (with help from Dad) bought me last Christmas. It says: MUM is love, warmth and comfort….the SPECIAL person in our life that is always there for us, SHARING our ups and downs and filling us with hope and joy. That’s what mothers are supposed to be like, right? Though I know I certainly don’t measure up to that 100% (can anyone?!), I do desire to be the best mother I can be to my children. I endeavour to keep learning and growing so that even while I’m not the perfect mother, I can become an ever better one.

And so, to discover (with proof!) that my mother has been lying to me all my life…that hurt. That her lies kept me from a meaningful relationship with my birth father for 35 years is gutting, heartbreaking, emotionally stressful, betrayal of an excruciating sort….is it any wonder that a year on I’m still questioning?

What in my life is real? What of my past is truth and what is fiction? The foundation of my internal beliefs – about the world, God, life, death – is it rock solid, or based on fairy tales?

I have a feeling that there are others out there asking similar questions. Some of you will be encouraged in this, but others may be in environments where questioning is discouraged, or even punished. I know from being raised in churches, that questioning one’s faith is considered dangerous or even backsliding! I don’t care! I’ve come to realize that questioning is healthy, and necessary for growth!

I have a hunger to learn and grow so I’m going to keep questioning!

~~

Back to 2015 and I’ve managed to unravel a fair amount of my beginnings. I’ve found a wonderful relationship with my Dad and have moved halfway around the world to live close to him. I’m still keen to process my past more fully and so I’ll likely be writing more of my back story. My spiritual journey seems interlinked with the unravelling of my past. When I think back over the past two years I’m rather excited by the enormity of the discoveries I’ve made and the difference they’ve had in my life. Yay for growth!

Magical Words

I am currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book ‘Big Magic’. And what a book it is! In one week I have gone from a long-term wannabe writer to actually writing. I have begun this blog – so what if it’s only for my eyes while I get going?! I have signed up today for Naniwrimo, something I’ve been wanting to do for 3-4 years! In preparation for Naniwrimo I’ve begun reading ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’ by Donald Maass, a book I have owned for about 6 months and which was on my wish list for about 3 years before that.

Elizabeth writes about Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. In reading through the first four so far I have found that Elizabeth is systematically dismantling all the excuses I’ve been fooling myself with for years.

I’ve been afraid. I’ve allowed the fear of not being good enough to hold me back from working towards a dream I’ve held since childhood. I’ve been inspired time and time again to write. I’ve started out many times, excited, passionate and with good intentions. Elizabeth talks about that too – cycles. I now know that my fears won’t go away, but I can move past them…up to those old sticking points and beyond.

So I’m choosing to move beyond fear. I’m choosing to be afraid and write anyway. It doesn’t have to be good, I just have to write. In the writing I will get better, in the writing I will begin to believe I can and in the believing I can, I will.

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for having the courage to write through your fears. Thank you for writing about ideas and geniuses and inspiration…and for giving me the permission to write. I am very grateful for the words in Big Magic. They are magic for me.

Blog Birth Date

13th December 2014

Definition of Unravel:

  1. to disentangle (something woven, tangled, or ravelled up); to disengage or separate the threads of.
  2. to explain; to clear from complication or difficulty; as, to unravel a mystery.

A lot is happening in our lives as I type this first post. Our house is on the market, we are planning a move around the world, and Christmas is less than two weeks away. In fact, the inspiration to start this blog came as my family returned from a trip to pick up a Christmas tree!

A lot is going on in my thoughts as well. You know the feeling when you start to get messages from all directions – from books, blog posts, conversations with friends and loved ones? That is what I’ve been experiencing these last few days.

It began with a final session for the year with our psychotherapist. After six sessions in the last three months, undertaken because I felt we were stuck in a rut in our marriage, we have reached a place of much more togetherness and understanding. The time and money we have spent have been well worth it. Old patterns in both of us have been addressed, feelings validated, plans encouraged. Leaving that last session I felt like we’d reached a milestone – a hard earned one. I also had a feeling that it was the first day of the rest of our lives.

And then came the exhortation from Lori Roeleveld in Running from a Crazy Man to be unreservedly me. To tell the story only I can tell.

And the blog post my Dad wrote, with the prompting to be brave enough to go public with what I have learned. And later in the same post the need to confront the system of power that is called patriarchy. Having been raised in a family where I experienced a certain brand of this debilitating and soul destroying control, I have a growing passion to empower others towards freedom by sharing some of my story.

And so this blog is born….

~~

The above was written 10 months ago. It’s taken me this long to once again find the courage to begin. But something is different now…more on that next time.

A Little About Me

I’m passionate about life, love and learning and am on a quest to be the best me I can be.

I have been married to my first love for 13 years and counting. [As of March 2016 I’ve  begun the process of separating]. I have three amazing children and they challenge me to grow and heal from my own childhood so that I can parent them better. In the process of trying to understand myself and my family of origin I have discovered an avid interest in psychotherapy.

I grew up in a Christian home, attending church until February 2011. I can no longer call myself a Christian, but I do believe in a Source of Life who loves us. This is one of the mysteries I’m passionate about unravelling!

We’ve recently moved from New Zealand to the United Kingdom to be near my Dad. I missed out on 35 years with him so we are here to make up for lost time! Dad has been a photographer for many years. He has bought me a camera and I’m rather enthusiastic about taking pictures!

I once thought I knew a lot about the meaning of life, but now I realize how much more there is to discover. This blog is about my search for answers. I’ve wanted to write for years, but fear of not being good enough has held me back. Now I’m finding the courage to learn how to be authentically me.