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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Twisting God and Sex
A while ago I wrote a guest piece for a minister who is publishing a book relative to spirituality and sex workers. I was asked to give my thoughts on spirituality, life lessons, religion - if I had one, and to include a brief bio. I enjoyed the process it took to get my thoughts written down, but because I believe it to be such a private and personal thing, I took me a while to get it just the way I was comfortable with it. I still am not sure that it completely expresses how I feel but here's how it looks:
I'm happy to share what I believe and what's evolved for me up to this point.
I believe that spirituality, enlightenment, a soul force belongs to everyone and that the practice of learning and growing is a choice. It's a very personal experience that is shared by example in having been moved, touched and inspired, directly or indirectly. It can be inspired in infinite ways and is not limited to any particular place, in any particular book, by any particular practice, with any particular label. I believe that true spirituality doesn't divide, doesn't discriminate, doesn't impose, rather it connects. For me, spirituality is an empowering force that has no boundaries, no limits. It is optimism, a trust and awe in the universe, a connection to all life, and the opening of one's heart and mind. It's about finding grace in what you've got, in everything, right now.
I don't believe in a God and I don't subscribe to any particular religion. My thoughts about religion are that it is a path and a belief system - a choice, and just one of many. I don't believe that it is always helpful and I don't believe it is necessary for spiritual growth. It appears to me to be more fairytale and less truth, more of a reflection of the period, developed through the minds of those who wrote it. I can see how religion has a historical value and can be appealing to some, offering the strength and faith they are seeking, a ritual to adhere to, explanations and ways of thinking through uncertainty. There are plenty of things I don't know or understand and I'm okay with that. I don't feel a need to point to God to explain things that are confusing.
I can see that there are benefits and good intentions in religion, but mostly I find that it is limited in it's teaching, over promising and under delivering to it's faithful - falling short of all that I believe spirituality, enlightenment and personal growth have to offer. I don't believe that religion, organized or not, is synonymous with spirituality, I think they are distinctly different things.
I respect every one's right to choose to believe whatever they want and practice however they like. I have always felt that it should be done privately and respectfully, without harming or imposing on others. I don't believe religion belongs in public places or in public policy. Like sex, it should be discoverable and available to those who seek it and out of sight for the rest.
Religion can sometimes be threatening and dangerous in ways that don't seem to align with the values religion teaches. I find that morals and ethics, doing the right thing, living a meaningful life, happiness, love and respect are not exclusive practices to religion or the religious. They are available to everyone, everyone who chooses to practice them.
I am thankful that I am comfortable in my spirituality, that I feel good about living my life in alignment with all that I believe, and that I have the freedom to choose.
I was raised in a Catholic family that went to mass occasionally and on holidays, weddings and funerals. I studied for my First Communion, went to after school Catechism through Jr. High and attended Catholic school briefly. My parents were moderate liberals living in suburbia and raising their kids with openness and love. They divorced when I was 13. My brother and I lived between our parents, other family members and friends in the years after the divorce and I finally went out on my own at 17. I've been working full-time ever since, working my way up through secretarial positions at first, to management positions and finally as a business owner in residential real estate and property management currently.
I am a single mother, never married, and living a quiet life that is peaceful, fulfilling and most of all, happy. I love my dog, being a mom, spending time with friends and family, traveling, dining, sipping wine, listening to music, cooking, and when the weather's nice, I really love being outdoors - whether it's the beach, a rooftop, a garden, kayaking through the bay, horseback riding, exploring the city or sitting on the front porch.
Being a companion is how I date now - after 40. It's not for everyone, but it works for me. I want to connect with others in a meaningful way wherever I am, however I can, in whatever I do - that's part of who I am. Fortunately, I find that being a companion is another opportunity for me to do just that, and since I believe that sex is normal, natural and healthy, my intention for the interlude is always for an enlightening experience.