And I was Born Again

I remember the moment I was born again. It wasn’t in a church. It wasn’t during a “conversion” conversation. I was alone, in a room with about 120 other people. I was sitting in a Vocal Awareness session led by Arthur Joseph during a week long workshop to become a better public speaker. It was strange work, holding your tongue with a washcloth while making noises from your throat. I was self-conscious and felt silly. Then came the moment. I had an overwhelming sensation that took me back to the time I was standing in my back yard as a five year old child. I suddenly grew very still. I was aware like I had never been aware before. I wanted to crawl under the chair. As soon as the session ended, I raced up to my room and wept. And wept. And wept some more. I reconnected to a time in my life where I didn’t have a voice. Where I hid in my room, in closets, in books. And wept. My friend Brenda was there, caring for me. She brought me alkaline water and made me oatmeal. I’ll never forget that. The next session that afternoon was to provide comedic relief. It was a session on how to insert humor into your speeches. I couldn’t find it within myself to go. It was like I was looking at myself from the outside. I was urged to go back into the space, that the workshop had been designed to take you deep then bring you back up. To ebb and flow. What I learned about myself during that time is that...

What is “negative”?

We’ve whitewashed our language to the point that anything that doesn’t make us feel good is perceived as negative. To this, I have to say, must stop. There are major issues in the world however, we are truly only concerned with OUR world. As a collective, we  seem to have lost our curiosity and become resistant and unaccepting to the plights and perils of human suffering. There is a subjective line between what is actually negative and what is simply us, choosing denial. It’s the difference between what is acceptable and what is not – to us. Who are we to dictate how others should show up? Why do we feel the need to control everyone’s emotions, passions and the moments of deep intensities that challenge humanity? “The response to war is to live like brothers and sisters. The response to injustice is to share. The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope. The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness. To work for community is to work for humanity.” ~ Jean Vanier As I have begun to speak up for injustice and abusive practices, some of my community feels that my sharing has gotten angry. As a meditation instructor, I think people have an idea that people who have a strong meditation practice live a calm and care-free existance. Maybe in some circles, but I refuse to ascribe to an idea of how others choose to live a contemplative life. For some people, that works. For some, choosing to remain in that state is their saving grace. Not for me. I am too outspoken and too passionate to live a life of...

What the Duggar Scandal Did For Me

Something about the recent Josh Duggar scandal caused me to look inside and finally decide to express my journey as what I have come to understand to be a “disenfranchised evangelical”. For years, I struggled in silence as I questioned my faith and fought to define what spirituality meant to me, while deprogramming myself from the idea of eternal damnation to hell for even considering stepping onto this path. As I grew into a position of strength with what I knew to be true for me, I was still left with friends and family members who were concerned for my salvation and soul. As I followed this story, I saw the storm of opinions from all sides – I have friends who are atheists and friends who are extremely right wing and conservative. What I cannot deny, is that this situation is forcing everyone to come to terms with what is known as Christian Patriarchy. It’s time we see this scandal for what it is: the only logical outgrowth of sick teachings and demented theology meant to enshrine male privilege and keep women and children weak and voiceless. ~ Captain Cassidy During these last couple of days of writing publicly about my coming out and the spiritual bullying that is the fundamentalist movement, I connected with Teresa Macbain, former Methodist pastor turned atheist, after reading this article she penned about the toxic systems in the church that allow for systematic abuse. I had to say something. I had to join the voices of the many disenfranchised who have been damaged and left in the wake of the unsustainable teaching that is patriarchy. Cloaked in ideas that it...

Liberated Activism

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a Skype visit with my new friend Chandra Nicole, founder of Rebel Academy. During our time together, the phrase “liberated activism” spilled from my lips. The phrase was so profound, I wish that I would have had a paper and pen to write it down so that I wouldn’t forget what I had said. Fortunately, Chandra kept that neatly held for me when I was ready to remember it again. Today’s Love Note… “Spiritual blinders” is a phrase often referred to in the fundamentalist Christian faith that objects to seeing or absorbing information, thoughts or ideas that contradict the Bible. This meant denying and rejecting any concepts that challenged your ideas and beliefs about the “Word of God”. In the spiritual community, I have found a similar equivalent, and that is when we throw out feel good phrases to deflect and resist the spiritual truth or expression of another. Yesterday, I wrote about spiritual bullying. This fear based oppression is weaved throughout fundamentalist Christianity. It’s also weaved throughout the spiritual community, and I’ll tell you why. We have often have risen out of such dark places, we work hard to stay in “state”. Staying in state is the idea that we are to remain positive, happy and joyful at all times. It applies in Christian doctrine and in what could be considered New Age, Metaphysical or spiritual movements however, we often take it out of context and in doing so, repress our natural human emotion in the process. This is neither healthy for us or our relationships. They tell us to wear...

The Day I Punched Wendy in the Nose

I was bullied as a child. I was too soft. Too sensitive. Toughening kids up to prepare them for the “real world” was quite prevalent. Eventually, I became splintered. I developed quite the attitude to cover up the rawness of who I really was. I was in second grade. The man my mom was married to at the time was very strict and I wasn’t allowed to leave the yard. I’d stand outside, play in the grass, swing on the playset. I did have a bicycle, but I don’t remember riding it very much. Maybe when my mom was allowed to take me. I remember it being in the yard one day. Wendy was one of the kids in my neighborhood and in my class. Rumor had it she had failed twice and really belonged in fourth grade. I believed it because she was BIG. And she was mean. She would take the bike out of my yard, take off my training wheels, go ride it around the neighborhood and throw it back in my yard. I’d just stand there and stare at her. I honestly had no clue how to handle something like this in my space. It was beyond my level of understanding. Looking back, that would probably make the start of a great movie 😀 The bathrooms were in the back of our class, not like they have them now, down the halls. When it was time for bathroom break, we’d line up in front of the doors, boys on one side, girls on the other and take turns. I sat in the back of the...

I’m Coming Out

Many people have asked me what religion I am now and wonder why I chose to separate from my fundamentalist Christian faith. Today’s Love Note… I was five years old. I was standing in the backyard, gazing into the horizon. I felt such peace and oneness with everything. I felt so connected and grounded. I rubbed my legs together and BAM, got stung by a bee. I remember feeling so upset that I had gotten zapped out of my peaceful state. I don’t know that I ever returned to that state until many years later. I had a pretty interesting childhood, but I’ll just speak to the part about fitting in. Like Marianne Williamson says in her book A Return to Love, it was like everyone had the instruction manual to life and I was clueless. I absorbed what everyone else did or said to define how I was supposed to show up. That may sound silly now but remember, I was a still a child. I was always sensitive and reserved . I probably turned into a rebel in high school because it was just too damned hard being an emotional softy. I couldn’t function with myself, so I turned into badass. I didn’t care about much of anything except having fun and doing whatever I wanted. I knew I wasn’t living the truth of my existence, but I didn’t even know where to start. After my mom moved away with my little brother, I fell into a hole. My only support system convinced me to leave my car and all my possessions and pick up their one way ticket to...