Early on in my journey, I felt like I couldn’t talk about the religion piece of our uncovering. It wasn’t because I wasn’t comfortable talking about it. It was something I’d grown up immersed in. I went to church regularly. I was part of the church choir. I studied it at college. It was, and still is, an integral part of my life. But what I struggled with was how to talk about it. What language to use. How it fit in with where I, and my clients, were sitting.
It didn’t feel right to talk about it in the masculine, patriarchal sense of “God, The Father and Jesus, the Son” but I felt I also wasn't completely ready to give up on that either. The patriarchal way of talking about God felt familiar. I don't mean my church was patriarchal, but the language that we used about religion, the way we talked about the Bible, the way we talked about God, it was coated in that kind of terminology because that's the Christian tradition. But while I didn’t feel fully comfortable talking about God in the patriarchal sense, it also didn’t feel right to talk about God in the sense of the Divine Mother or Mother Earth. Of course, they weren’t the only two options. I also had people in my circles that were more new-age and personal development-focused talk about being connected to Source or the Universe. There were people I knew that believed in a sense of magic. There were people who believed in angels and angel guides. And while I liked what those beliefs represented and how they were embodied, I didn’t fully connect with them.
I sat somewhere in the middle of it all and I feel that so many of us feel that same way. Maybe we grew up with a religious tradition and started to find our own way but we want to hold on to pieces from both. It can feel like it’s hard to bring it all together and find our own way to what is sacred for us but what I’ve learned is that although we might feel like it’s all separate pieces that don’t truly fit, it’s all still there.
This became really clear to me recently when I was talking to a good friend of mine who I’d known for many years through our shared Christian spirituality communities. We had been working together at a new-age spirituality retreat at a holistic spa and at one point during the retreat, we had this ceremony where they washed all of our feet. It was a really beautiful, energy-healing foot bath in a copper bowl. But I was joking with my friend because in the Christian tradition that we had both grown up with, washing someone’s feet is a very “Jesus” thing to do. It's considered a way of following in the footsteps of Jesus who washed the feet of his disciples. For example, pastors along the border are watching the feet of migrants to honor their journey. It’s a practice that is steeped in Christian tradition and Christian regard for the wanderer and the refugee. But what was interesting was that the retreat leader, another friend of mine, had no idea about this connection because she’s not part of the Christian tradition. For her, washing someone's feet was a symbolic gesture for someone just being at her spa.
It was a funny and beautiful moment because it made me realize that as far as I might feel like I've wandered from God or as much as things might seem like they've changed, there are some things that stay the same. And those things go beyond universal love and regarding everyone as eternal consciousness and thinking that their soul is valuable. Those constants bring together all those pieces that we felt were separate. Because no matter what language we use for it or how we relate the divine or the sacred, it’s all still there.
How reassuring and beautiful is that?