A spiritual journey – introduction

I watch as the water fills my cupped hands and overflows into the sink. I stare at it and am disconnected from the here and now. I have left, mentally checked out, as I continue to stare at the flow of water and the savor the feel of it on my skin. My hands are cold. Again. It is winter and my hands are cold, always cold. I go to the restroom often just to run my hands under the hot water so they can warm up. Many times, I will just watch as the water flows over and down, away and gone. Stare at the water until I feel the warmth again, at least until I feel the warmth in my hands, again. Displaced. Not here. Unbelievably tired.

How like the water is my life, slowly filling up my day and nights, events overflowing and slipping away. Down into the drain never to be seen again. Too much water and it cannot be contained. Too many events, must dos, commitments and my life can not contain it all; things slip by, commitments unfulfilled, appointments forgotten. Even small amounts of water held in the hands will seep between the gaps and slip away, unnoticed and even, sometimes, unfelt. Little things forgotten until it is too late, birthdays uncelebrated, friends not called,  “I love you’s” unspoken, until it is all disconnected, a watcher in my own life, not even here. A self retreated and gone until I’m not even aware of what is missing.

In my early twenties or perhaps late teens, I left the religious trappings of my earlier life behind. I shrugged them off like an unwanted, old, worn out sweater that no longer kept me warm and safe. I was discontented with the beliefs I had in the past. I was unsatisfied with being female in male dominated religions. I was tired of being told I would never be good enough and that I would certainly never be male enough for those beliefs. I was fed up with being told to ask for forgiveness for something I never even did, being blamed for something that was not my fault. I was no longer willing to always be told I was born in sin and left to myself, I would always fail to live a good life. I was absolutely sick and tired of giving my power to someone else, to some god who was condensing and who was an unequal opportunity employer. So I left, walked away, turned my back on religion and moved on with my life.

That was not to say I didn’t believe in God. I did. I just could not wrap my faith around the stories, ideas and beliefs that I had learned up until that moment. I never really thought too much about what God meant to me after that. It was just sort of there. The entity I would rage to when things became too much, when life seemed too much of a burden, when I just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. The thing I blamed when dying seemed to be easier than living.

I remember coming home from another day at school then followed by another evening at work at  1:00 am. I was flying in the car at 90 miles per hour, in the dark, in the pouring rain and not caring if the car skidded out of control. Actually not caring at all, not feeling at all. Just numb. Just here. This was college when life was too, too much. Broken heart, broken faith, and broken trust. Broken. I walked away from that too. One year and 1/2. Time to heal, time to learn, time to find my footing again. Then I went back and finished what I had started. I still did not return to spirit in that time. I still had things to learn before I was ready to walk that path again. But it was a beginning of standing, a place to begin to learn what I wanted.

The year I turned 30 everything changed. I got married, started a job that took the place of one I hated, and moved into a new home. I brand new life! Except, guess what – I was still me. So, some things followed me, some things I could not shake. I had not changed. And as with anything – challenges arose. I learned that my husband did not know how to control his spending and had started to grow his credit card to beyond what we could pay off. That is was similar to the problem of an alcoholic and that he could not admit that there was an issue. This would continue for many years, there would be lies about it, promises made and broken from both sides, threats, tears and ultimatums. I did not and could not trust him to tell me the truth about his spending habits. I resorted to digging out the bills from the places he hid them or demanding that he show them to me. He resorted to making sure he collected the mail everyday so I wouldn’t see the bills come and hiding all the packages of his purchases and hoping I wouldn’t notice another new DVD or CD. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t but the trust and faith in him was completely shattered. I knew he would never tell me the complete truth about all he bought and all he spent and he would never admit that he had a problem. Awareness is the first step and he was unwilling to take that step because then it meant he wouldn’t be able to buy all his little toys. It meant he would have to give up something, make a sacrifice, become an adult. I was tired of being the sole adult in this relationship. I was tired of working to figure out how to pay the bills, save money and move forward only to learn the now his credit card was over 5,000 dollars and he two others that also had amounts on them. I was tired of working alone in what was supposedly a partnership. 8 years and I was done. I was going to walk away. One last ultimatum. I was leaving at the end of the year if nothing was resolved. If he didn’t get help. If he didn’t at least try to change that. Bye-bye. Gone. See you later alligator.

He got sick. Convenient, huh?

In December of 2005 my husband was diagnosed with renal failure. His own kidneys could no longer support his body. It took the medical community 2 months to figure out what was wrong. That still annoys me. 2 months. Come ON! My husband had been a diabetic since he was four, had known kidney challenges, yet it still took them 2 months to figure out the problem. Oh, and he only had about a 1/3 of his blood supply at the time. Another challenge that was known about him but had not been checked when he started having problems in October. End result – renal failure, dialysis 3 times a week and on the fast track for a transplant. He was sent to the hospital the next day, given his “jumper cables” as he called them and had his first dialysis the next day. He was 38.

Now what? We had medical insurance but this event did cause more financial strain. He was still able to work his full time job and still work sometimes at his part time job. That was the job that was supposedly being used to pay off the bills. Now, however, there was no way those bills were going to get paid off by him now. Again I felt the responsibility became mine to figure out. This time it would not be for long, this time just until after the transplant, then I was free to go without guilt about leaving “poor little jim” on his own. Maybe another year. Just get through one more year, and then I was free to live my life without the burden of an adult child who wants his mother to take care of him. I looked forward to the time when I was once again only responsible for my own life and my own challenges. I awaited it eagerly.

Well, we are still together. We renewed our vows in December of 2006 and plan to keep going. I still am challenged about some things and I’m sure he is too. We move towards finding ways to make it work.  We talk about things, commit to things, seek new perspectives. This year I sat him down and had him go through with me step by step what our bills are. He was interested and seemed to get where we are financially and what needs to happen for us to move ahead and get to where we want to be.  It’s not all roses and candies, it dishes, laundry and tuna sandwiches. And it’s real. I’m real, solid, firmly anchored in the here and now. Roses would be nice on occasion though. Hint. Hint.

So what changed? Hah! I’m not telling. At least not yet. Maybe later. Maybe you can guess. Maybe you can already see.

I realized, sometime in the year that I turned 40, I wanted something spiritual back into my life. Not that old stuff but something that really made my heart ring true. Of course for that to happen I would have to actually listen to my heart, another challenge, but you get the idea. So I began to look around. Well, read, listen and learn is more like it. I explore lots of things, different ideas that set off old voices in my head about sin and going to hell. I looked at different writers and different beliefs and was open to what came my way. Slowly I began to accept “Truths” back into my life, my “Truths”, realizing somewhere along the way that truth was very much wrapped in your own perspective. So I learned what I know to be true in my heart and let the rest go. Something else happened during that time. I created a space that allowed others to explore their truths too. I realized that was something I wanted to do world wide – create a space of tolerance and nonjudgment where people can explore what is true for them. Create a space where people have can live side by side with someone who has a different “Truth”, maybe even an opposing “Truth”, and there be peace,  harmony and cooperation. That started to become my spirituality, became my way, became my path. It is a place of infinite “Truths”, none greater or lesser than another, none imposed upon another, just a space of questioning, questing and discovery.

Let me explore my truth with you. Accept it or not as your own but know always that I will accept your truth and just that – your truth – with no judgment attached.

In love and light

Celina

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