I've done it. Not that any one of you knows, but heck - making it public feels cathartic, so I'll tell you. I'm no longer a Christian. No longer a follower of Christ. No longer affiliated with any religious organization. I've divorced myself from the god I thought I knew. And right now, I know nothing. If feels liberating. It feels terrifying. It's completely new for me. And exciting in that way. But FUCK, it's time I grew up and stopped oiling the machine my family said was God.
Oh, and I'm angry. Heh. Can you tell?
On the flip side of all this anger and rage is this new life I'm building to replace the old one that was never mine to begin with. This beautiful image was done by a student named Patrick. Every quarter I give an assignment called the God Poster, where everyone assesses their own spiritual beliefs and cranks out a poster. This was as study he did, and I've kept it for over a year. It hangs in my studio now.
The definition of church has always perplexed me. I never really believed that God only showed up on Sunday mornings, but you can bet I felt the peer pressure of attending church as I knew it back then. I was told that Jesus never listened to angry rock and roll music and that my mohawk in high school reflected badly on my family and the church. I was taught shame and guilt and the ever necessary duty and obligation an only daughter, middle child must carry. And I carried that torch up until two weeks ago. Since then you should see what my stomach has done to me. It's been horrific.
I contacted the church I grew up in, was confirmed in, married in, buried my beloved brother and grandfather in, to tell them goodbye. I did it in love. Without rage or much of a fuss. That evening as I drove to Binders to teach another class (which by the way IS church to me) I cried and cried and shook while clutching the steering wheel and nearly threw up right there on the dashboard of my red minivan.
Saying goodbye to St. Patrick's is the bravest thing I've ever done. I imagine this year will be filled with many other brave steps. So look out world. Catch me if you see me falling too hard.
But dang. Having reached my fortieth birthday with a list of the following really woke me up to the realization that my beliefs about myself, my past, my future and my god just weren't good for me anymore. Since seeing Debra, an emotional intuitive and performance coach, she and I have worked together to find the source of my daily headaches, tail bone pain, blood clots, TMJ, stuttering, acne, migraines, placenta previa, hypertension, and general misery. I'm the sickest forty-year-old I know. I would like to point the finger at one source of all my pain - but really, I signed up at conception for my path and I'm going to continue walking it in joyful responsibility for myself.
So! Here's the part where channel Zoro.
Ask me if I've had a migraine in the past 3 months. NO. (slice through the air!)
Tailbone pain greatly decreased. YES. (another whip through the air!)
Ask me if I've picked up knitting again because my hands no longer hurt. YES. (here I pick up my knitting needles and whooooosh them in the air!!)
I think I am finally beginning to realize who I really am, who I am not, who has failed me, how I have failed myself, who god is to me, who god is not.
I do believe that Jesus of Nazareth was greatly illuminated. I believe I am as much a daughter of god as he claims to be his son. I think all the creatures we worship in so many different ways all round this beautiful world are god. We are all god. I want to love god. I want to know god. Our parents became god to us from birth on. It's only natural to look to them for guidance as our first instinct is to survive. Today I release the myth of god my parents offered me. Today I release myself from anything and everything I thought I knew, thought I cherished, thought would keep me safe, thought I feared.
I open to the big scary nothingness of letting go. I seeing this moment of being lost. I let it take me. I let it guide me. I'll allow myself to fall, to offend, to cry out, to scream and to howl like the angry, beautiful, passionate beast that I am.
I will never, ever tell Anton who god is. Ever. I'll tell him to rather look into his own heart, his own hands, his beautiful face, whether it be sad or angry or joyful. The church would have us believe that we and god are separate. We are not. Never have been. How can you be separate from yourself? It's just not possible.