Now there's a provocative question, and one which has been argued for millennia. Can you have spirituality without religion, or vice versa?
My own feeling is that religion acts for some people as a framework for their spirituality, a pattern or structure. One is not dependent on the other - one can be spiritual without needing or wanting the framework. And one is not wrong and the other right.
I know deeply spiritual people who choose a very structured spirituality, with strictly observed rituals and often, dogma. And I know deeply religious people who do not require much of the structure, but enjoy the rituals associated with their chosen religion.
I often wonder about those who strictly follow a particular religion because it's "what they do." I used to work with a woman whose church was undergoing major upheaval in their doctrine. One day she told me that "now we believe this instead of that." I never understood that - she was told what to believe by an outside authority, rather than by her own relationship with the God of her choice.
In my own spiritual life, I am deeply spiritual, with a very deep relationship with my God and Spirit, with no interest in ritual or structure. I follow my own path, appreciating and understanding aspects of several faiths. I remember that same woman once questioning me about that, saying, "You can't just pick and choose what to believe." I beg to differ!
Whatever beliefs or tenets you follow, or you don't follow, I encourage you to think and explore for yourself, for what feels right to you. The God-In-You knows what is best for you.
What are your setpoints?
You probably know by now that I reinvented myself when a layoff in 2009 "forced" me to change my goals. You know when your GPS says "rerouting"? Well, that was me. And in the process of the journey I've met so many wonderful heart-based entrepreneurs who had the same issue.
Think about it - when you start out on a journey, you can set your GPS to your destination, but you won't get anywhere until the device determines your present location. And if you miss or ignore the instructions it gives you, you may end up in Poughkeepsie when you were aiming for Cleveland!
So I find it important to know my setpoints - where I am now and where I want to go. Once my spiritual GPS is set, I pay close attention while "driving" (living my life) so that I don't miss any of the "turn here" moments that Spirit provides me. That's when I've had the most success in my life and business. Co-creating with Spirit, with my goals and desires as the framework.
How do you negotiate life's turns? Are you good at following direction or do you sometimes decide to go another way? Comment below!
connections with the critters
Anyone who knows me knows that I am very connected to nature and animals. I credit my mother with planting that seed! I love the variety of birds that enjoy my feeders – their songs and chatter, their bright colors, their little birdie personalities. I absolutely love pets – I’m often much more comfortable sitting on the floor playing with critters than I am at a dinner party.
And I feel truly honored to have encounters with other non-domestic animals. I feel that they all have something to teach and communicate, and believe that they are far more connected to the energetic spirit world than we are.
I have one cat (down from three) who I love greatly, but it’s important to me to get dog-hugs often (here's me communing with my friend Patti's kids), and to connect with the birds and squirrels around me.
My own belief is that the God-Force (whatever term you like to use) created this incredibly beautiful earth and the creatures within it. We must respect them as intelligent beings with souls and purposes of their own, just as valid as our own.
How do you connect with the natural world? I'd love to hear from you - comment below!
Growth in the light
For me, God is in the dirt…and the green things, and the creatures. Every day I see the miracles of this wonderful co-creation called Earth. Especially in the spring here in NE Ohio, I treasure the refreshment, the re-emergence of life we experience. As I type this, the birds are singing, the grass is vivid emerald, and the trees outside my window are soft with baby leaves.
As we know, everything is energy, and now especially I am grateful for the increased activity in nature, after a long and bitter winter of nature’s rest.
Isn’t it a miracle that the changing light – a miracle itself – triggers such amazing change in the natural world? For those of you who garden, isn’t it a miracle to watch a seed push through the soil to reach that light? What causes that? What innate intelligence creates that growth?
Whatever you choose to believe, savor the growth, the spring, the dirt. Value it for the gift that is the natural world. And do what you can to preserve it!
What's in a name?
The name of the “supreme being” has been debated, fought over, written about and whispered for millennia. Having a Judeo-Christian foundation, I have chosen to use “God” as the term for the Creator. In the context of my life, the label does not matter – the concept is the important part. Whether you use the term universal consciousness, Allah, Almighty, Higher Power, Goddess or any other name you choose, the foundation of enlightened teaching is that a universal energy, a real force, exists. It is the energy with which you co-create, with which you co-exist, and within which you co-exist. This God-energy is not Michelangelo’s old man in heaven, nor a vengeful judging dictator who will smite you down, nor a benevolent grandfather, but instead an all-pervasive energy of love. And when we learn how to tap in and live in that love-force, our lives will change forever. I know – mine did!
Holly Matson is the owner of Lightseeds by Holly, an animal Reiki service to offer balance and wellbeing to animals.