My Spiritual Journey: How do you face mortality without faith?
I grew up in a God-fearing church that pretty much ruined religion for me. Once I gained some independence and started asking questions about what was being taught in the church, I felt a lot of resentment and turned away from religion. When I disconnected from the church, I disconnected from God, not realizing I could (or should) refine a spiritual practice to meet my needs; one that is rooted in love and acceptance, opposed to fear and hate.
After my cardiac arrest, I felt connected to God. I wish I could tell you I “saw the light” and had an out of body experience… but I didn’t. In truth, I don’t remember shit. But for some reason, I felt connected to God, like he was telling me, in a super unfortunate way, “you’ll survive cancer” … but my first surgery (which, in the grand scheme of things, came very shortly after my cardiac arrest) was a doozy and ultimately, I never acted on the connection I felt to a higher power at that time. Having to deal with Stomeo (my ileostomy), I wasn’t in a good place. All I cared about was simply *surviving* until my next surgery, which was meant to free me of Stomeo and the rest of my cancer. I went through the motions of each day, wishing time would pass faster so I could get on with my life.
Ultimately, my second surgery came: I was freed of Stomeo, but not cancer. Instead, I was told I am “incurable.” This was a spiritual turning point for me. I don’t care who you are – if you face mortality that intimately, and still don’t feel an urge to explore spiritualism; you might be the tin man.
I started my spiritual journey with “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein – a super short book I still haven’t finished, but it seems like every time I pick it up, I read a message so poignant in that moment, its freaky. Bernstein encouraged me to start a regular meditation practice. I have been visiting different churches and working with my incredible acupuncturist on spiritual healing. I added prayer into my meditations and started reading the bible, out of sheer curiosity.
I have very slowly come back to [what many people call] God. I’m professing it here because having faith has a stigma attached to it for so many people, including myself. Not to mention, it’s an uncomfortable conversation. I want to not care about that stigma and how others judge my spiritual practice… I guess I think the best way to do that is to talk about it openly and honestly. So here it is:
I’ve developed a relationship with God and he is guiding me via pineapples….. more on that later.
With love and gratitude,