The first thing I learned on my spiritual journey is that all my preconceptions, prejudices, and comfort zones were going to be challenged. I grew up in an independent, fundamentalist Baptist church where I sang gospel music and hymns and was taught the Roman’s Road to lead others on the “true” path to heaven. Even when I was 110% working in the church and following all their precepts and dogmas, I didn’t feel completely whole. I felt like I was missing something.
Then, I started that fateful journey in March of 1998 and I realized a lot about myself. I had days and nights of tears as I realized just how much I depended on my family and how I missed them. I learned that I couldn’t put my trust in people I met online who I had thought were my faithful friends. I realized the man I had an affair with wasn’t the love of my life, but I got stuck with him having no place else to go and feeling like I should always be with the first man I shared myself body and soul with. For five and a half years, I gave him my loyalty, to realize we really weren’t meant for each other. I had given up too much of myself to stay in that relationship and it was causing me physical, emotional, and spiritual distress.
It was a painful part of my journey where I had to be broken to be fixed. Ever have a deviated septum? Often the process to fix this is to break the cartilage again in order to reset the septum so it will heal in the correct place. That was what had to happen to me. I had to be broken in all the places that I deviated from my destined path in order to get me back on track. Nothing could be more humbling than to be shown you don’t know everything about trust, love, and family, especially when you are 2,000 miles away from everyone and everything you grew up with and were familiar with.
During this time of being broken, one of my favorite books to read was “The Tao of Pooh”. Taoism helped me to categorize and filter everything going on inside of me. This breaking down process was trying to get me back to Pu, or the “uncarved block”. In “The Tao of Pooh”, Winnie the Pooh was portrayed as Pu as he was simple and untouched by society’s cutting tools. This is the perfect state in Taoism. The rest of Pooh’s friends were shown as various icons in society who are living in disillusionment. Owl was the scholar who imagined himself the most intelligent of everyone around him even when he was completely wrong on a subject. Rabbit was the control freak who got distressed whenever someone strayed from what he felt they should be doing. And so on….
I like how Wikipedia puts it: “Taoism posits that people may gain knowledge of the universe by understanding themselves.” I started to see what I was, what I became, and how some things were just not right about me. Once the process started, I began to see how I wasn’t what I was meant to be. Then I actively started to seek out what was right for me, dabbling in other things and seeing how they effected my life and either moved me forward or backward.
Next post will be around the first of February and I will discuss discovering co-dependency and how paganism affected my life.