Dominica Morning

Sometimes you take a trip. Sometimes the trip takes you.  –Eric Saperston

As a storyteller, I often think I have control of the story, especially when I’m on the outside of it, re-telling what happened, say, versus reporting what is currently happening.

Two months ago I set off for South America, with big stories to live and big plans to share them blow by blow. Two months later, I am still not in control of the story.

Sometimes the trip takes you

I started in Buenos Aires, to spend a week solo, and then climb aboard Semester At Sea, an ocean-faring college campus sailing around the Atlantic.

It turned into an epic journey, with staggering turns, fantastical beauty, and depths that have found no ground even yet. It was hollow with loss, dense with love, and it was miraculous. I am churning in its wake.

As is Story Charmer. At some point, Story Charmer will emerge from living in the world of the story—bobbing in the ocean of experience that delivered me from country to country—to re-tell what happened, from outside the story’s grasp. For now, I’m reeling from getting rocked. My world of the story met the actual world, and the echo is booming.

 

 

 

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Wiggle your fingers. Begin to move your toes. Feel your body come back into awareness. This is the end and the beginning. Shavasana.

Corpse

You could say Story Charmer has been in shavasana the last six months. Shavasana, the Sanskrit word for “corpse pose,” comes at the end of a yoga practice, the last pose in a sweating, stretching, praying, (sometimes pleading) workout.

Like it sounds, the body stretches out onto the floor like a corpse, limbs heavy, muscles slack. Breath slows. Heart rate calms. And, while I haven’t spent six months lying on my back in the dark, I have spent six months tucked into the quiet cocoon of a basement office, quaintly set in a back yard cottage, 1000 miles from the city and community I called home the last 4 years.

Sweating it out

In the months before its shavasana, my life became its own stretching, sweating, deepening yogic practice when I reached into love, packed up my single-gal ways, and moved to San Francisco with my boyfriend. A few months later, spent, and stirred by my creative urge, I gave up the work on which I’d built my business. And a few months after that, wondered

what’s my identity anymore?
what will I say without the crux of my business?
am I running far far away from everything I’ve built? And if so,
to what leaping-into-the-dark end?

Answerless, I telescoped back from social media and work communities, drifting farther away the dimmer my purpose became. Who am I? What is Story Charmer built on? What am I sharing? Are we friends because we’re buying from each other? Or are we buying from each other because we’re friends? Wait, we’re friends, right?

Further down in the heart, I cooked dinners for my boyfriend, wondered at cohabitation after so long solo, carried on intense breakthrough sessions with my therapist, and recoiled … in peace. After holding life, bracing against challenge, supporting the warrior pose of business-woman, and longer, of Pema, for such a duration, stillness was deafening.

Heartbeat in stillness

Despite its name, corpse pose is very much alive. The body’s rest is awash in the heat, sweat and prayer that came before. In this most vital pose, the body is resetting, integrating—its muscles, organs, its spirit—healing itself in the empty space before the action of every day resumes, and fills it. It’s the end of practice, and the beginning of what’s next.

Six months after it began, I can see that my practice had been intense, and that the silence was shavasana. Some stillness owns you till you take what it offers.

Curating the empty space

Story Charmer will be seeing some big changes in the coming months. The blog, she’ll slim down to stories on the journey, machinations in the mind. No explicit coaching here. Just exploring, relating, filtering life through story to find its perspective, its invitation to transform. The space cleared will make way for a new site and my gorgeous and gritty new story coaching offer in the new year.

For much of my copy writing career, I thrilled to my favorite part of the process, the client interview. Our conversations and what gets created from them are one hour of epic. And then, I’d slink off to my dark corner to write, solo, for another 20 to 30 hours. With my new offer, I’m over the moon to have found the sweet spot of client interaction, creation, and serving a (most fabulous) concrete need. I’ll tell you all about it in the weeks leading up to the launch. Till then, I hope you’ll enjoy the whopper stories that will inhabit Story Charmer till year’s end from South America.

Yep! Restored by shavasana, I’m on the “road” out in the world again. This time beginning in Buenos Aires and points along the Atlantic Southern Hemisphere. And it involves a ship, and the Amazon jungle, and bodies, stretching into life.

More to come… :-)

 

Photo credit: I found this lovely shavasana image at http://yoga.patients-care.com

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We gathered in class the week after 9/11, wondering what we were doing in Fine Arts when our city had just been bombed. What use? Our teacher implored us to recognize that art is exactly what we’ll need as we and our country begin to heal.


She was right. For 11 years, we and artists everywhere have traveled the grief that day triggered, accessed it, felt it, purged it, shared it collectively, in the art we’ve made, stories we’ve told, textures we’ve weaved. Turns out that in healing ourselves of that wound, we’ve been healing each other. Art heals. Stories mend. Creating invites what’s next.

There’s a story on that plate. If you’ve eaten the cake, hug an artist, or, better, buy him or her some creating time. If you’ve been healed by expression, thank yourself for finding your voice. If you’re still locked, invite your voice by eating more of the cake: surround yourself with art, trees, encouragers who see your beauty and the stories inside you. Listen for the muse in the voices of your people. Talk till you find your way down your story’s path.

Live. Lose. Create. Consume. Build anew. Live anew…

Make your cake. Let us eat it.

Photos by Pema Teeter, taken at SFMOMA’s cafe. Art begets art begets art.

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I read Faith Squared’s “Making Sense of Senseless Acts” this morning and felt a flame of the revolution flare up in me.

Then I read Chris Guillebeau’s “The Free Lunch Movement” and became a burning bush, all-consumed and a-crackle with the shift.

Last, I watched Tara Mohr’s new Wise Living video on Huffington Post, “7 Surprising Ways to Discover Your Calling,” because 1) I love catching everything I can of Tara Mohr’s, and 2) every story is a journey and at the beginning of every journey is a call to adventure. When you discover your life’s calling, in my observation, you begin an endless course of adventures.

Too hot to stand still

SO OFTEN, our call to adventure is the heat that makes us need to get up and change things. Stamp it out or fuel the fire, we can’t NOT react to the heat, the pressure, the too-small pants, too-cramped room, too-narrow mind that is twitching to burst open.

Tara’s wisdom is spot-on at every point. But my favorite is this: Afraid you don’t have what you need to accomplish your calling? ANSWER THE CALL. You gather what you need along the way.

Challenges and choice

That’s the point of a calling. It calls you to fulfill your purpose. It leads you on a journey full of challenges and choice. In so doing it fills your quiver with every shot you’ll need to meet the dragon.

Feel that heat inside? The revolution is at hand: Your story is calling. Will you answer it?

 

Photo credit: bstarcustomshop

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“Slipping around in the ashes.”

I heard myself say it to a friend yesterday.  I hadn’t been aware that I’d burned down the farm. But when I heard myself say it—  Saw the image in my mind, where the phrase came from—  Recognized the familiar feeling of being lost, then found in the stark gaze of it—  I got it.

In a springtime post, I described getting naked, stripping down Story Charmer to see what’s there, what’s mine, what’s not, to find out what gets restored, what departs after clearing out, getting real. Hell, finding real. Every so often, it’s good to check if the pulse still beats in the right places of one’s purpose. Turns out naked is smoking hot.

Barn’s burned down

After I said it, I paused. Thought. Yes. I’d burned down the farm. The smoke’s no longer rising. I can see past the skeleton structures, blackened, the cleared out pieces of them fallen, returning to earth.

*That’s* where those went. Huh. 

And then… I can plant a garden in that spot there.

And… Look at the sky leaning in so closely here, where before it tucked behind that tree…the tree is gone.

Fertile flames

In California, elements of the chaparral are designed to be more fertile once burned. In one of my life’s big transitions, I’ve returned home to California from Portland. Lush, liquid, evergreen Portland, Oregon. To desert heat, ocean wind, fleecy golden hills, eternal spring. And fires so familiar I’d forgotten how they burn.

Story Charmer has yet to get dressed. The closet burned down too. But the view. It’s clear and getting clearer. It’s simple as dirt and sky. And as life-bringing.

 

Photo by Chris Bennett 

 

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Wondering

Tina Fey stands outside my window, shuttling questions and getting ready for a gig. Inside, I try to figure out what to do with my fingers. I don’t know how, but they’re purple and stiff, and…shall we say…estranged from my hand. They’ve been sliced off. Maybe if I soak them, they’ll come back.

When I wake from the dream, I try to shoo off the image, till I remember that before bed, I’d put away dinner leftovers: two and a half barbecued sausages, which looked in the container like my fingers did in the dream. Weird. But a relief.

Wandering

At the farmers market a few hours later, I buy lettuce from a man who has no fingers on one hand. He wears a small, black, leather sheaf around what I’m assuming is the remaining portion of his hand. I drift back to Lisa, lettuce in hand and tell her I’m traveling between dream and waking world today. As I tell her this, I spy fresh dill, and wonder aloud if it will wilt on the long drive home. “Maybe if I soak it, it’ll come back,” I tell her. And then look at her wondering which world she’s in, dream or waking.

We round the corner. Kate joins us. I’m staying at her place while I’m in town. Sometime in the dark, between the dream and the rationalizing it, I got up to go to the bathroom and got spooked. “Grandpa,” I thought, loud in my head. Grandpa’s been gone a long time, but I still call on him when I want to feel safe.

Wonder

We wait for Kate to select peaches at a fruit stall, and while she does I’m fairly levitating in space-out mode. My eyes are fixed on the mulberries, and I think, “Mulberries. I haven’t seen mulberries since Grandpa’s mulberry tree.” And then I think, “Man, those mulberries are long. So long they’re curled. And purple. Like the fingers in my dream.” I get the willies I got on waking from the dream. And then I remember last night’s call to Grandpa in my head. And then I think, “Hey, Grandpa.” We leave the stall with Kate’s peaches and my arrival from my trip between worlds. Thanks, Grandpa.

Come to our party

Our first-ever Saturday morning pancakes and mimosa story charming party will be wonder-filled. Come over and tell+hear stories, drink champagne, and soak up Portland’s first blush of summer together.

Saturday, July 7, 10:30-2:30, downtown Portland, OR

As space is limited, slip in to the invite list to receive yours.

*

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Voice = Freedom

June 26, 2012

2012 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. Over 1 million in attendance! June 24, 2012. Photos by Pema Teeter.

What does love look like?

 

ONE MILLION voices surging in celebration and as many heartbeats collecting in the streets. Two million hands waving in solidarity, ten million fingers reaching into the simple, sweet liberation of being seen, being heard, being loved, together in one place, on the current of a legacy of freedom-fighters begun by one voice and then another, in the clamped quiet dark of oppression, and then a collective, and an ever rising tide, till freedom sounds like life out loud, together and apart, in joys and broken hearts, and the courage not to hide, till hiding un-becomes.

It gets better, indeed.

There is freedom in the light. Person, place, purpose, regime. What’s yours? Let your voice take you there.

 

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Today, sunlight and ocean.

Tomorrow divine light and conversation.

With Ronna Detrick. And Me!

Join us on the call.
May 27, 2012
10:00 am (PST)


Dial: 530.881.1300 Code: 590920#

(Skype callers: Add ‘freeconferencing.5308811300′ to your contacts.
Once you’ve dialed in, locate the key pad and enter the access code. )

 

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Original sin, the rewrite

I am compelled by stories. All stories – real, imagined, practical, fantastical, written, filmed, sung, lived. There is one particular genre that intrigues me most of all: ancient, before-the-dawn-of-time narratives of women. These tales weave and wind their way into every other story I know, hear, and tell. And for me, they have become my companions, muses, guides, and friends.

You may know some of these women. In fact, I’m certain you do. You may also have tried to forget them, dismiss them, and separate yourself from them. Because too often, their names summon up other stories that you’ve worked hard to escape: stories of your own.

When I read Pema’s last post, I felt that tension. She told her story – of curiosity, of desire, of shame, of silence, of separation, of hunger. And in it, she also told of the stories she had worked to escape: those of religion and even of God.

What if I were able to tell them in ways that intrigued and invited? Graced and gifted? Were relevant and real? And what if, in hearing them, you could better understand your own?

This is my quest. This is my passion. This is my love. And this is what I’ve done with Pema’s last post as inspiration and hope.

What follows is the story of Eve…as told through the story of Pema. You’ve heard and read them both before. Read them anew. Hear them anew. And watch both stories transform when they are embraced by each other’s.

Eve’s response to Pema in her recent post, “God, Sex and My Divorce from Religion”:

Disclaimer: Run now or hold your peace

No parent wants to read about their child’s first sexual encounter under their own roof. And so for that reason, I caution my dad and anyone else who feels fatherly or motherly toward me, or anyone squeamish about teenage love to click away right now…

In the beginning: shame. Your story starts there…but not on its own, not because of you; rather because of others’ perception, right? I know. I understand. Still, so many years later, you still feel the heft of your years-ago choices. You still anticipate and assume the pain others will know. The weight of your world still rests on these choices…

The fate of the world rested on mine. Or so it’s been told.

Virginal

For all who have stayed. Welcome. To the night I got naked. With a girl. In my brother’s bedroom. It’s a passion play that, like all good dramas, begins its slow turn much earlier.

She and I were best friends. On this night, we turned lovers, in a willful gesture that I learned was desire. It took over me as if I was watching myself on a movie screen. And yet, I lived each moment in the heat that spread in my heart, my gut, my skin, exploding my head. Each choice. And then the next. I was 16.

Everything in me longs to scoop you up in a great big hug and never let you go. Everything in me longs to replay these tapes…the ones that started looping just after…the ones that moved you from desire to shame.

Can you imagine if desire were good? If every emotion, experience, and even explosion was hardly something from which you were restrained; but instead were welcomed? If curiosity had been affirmed? If no fear of shame had been present? If choice had not felt clandestine, secretive, hidden?

This was not imagination for me. It was real. Perfection. Desire. A taste. And all of it was good. Oh, I know, this is not how my story’s been told. Maybe there’s another way to tell yours, as well. Maybe it’s time we preached another.

My dad was a preacher. My mom slept nearby on the living room couch. My brother was no longer. At least, not his physical form. He had died suddenly, nine months before, at 17.

Did you wonder how sermons could be preached and mothers could sleep and life could go on when your brother was gone?

I used to. My son died, suddenly. It was not an accident. And not one aspect of my life was ever the same. But it seemed like life continued around me as though nothing had happened. I never understood how that could be. Many thought my innocence ended when I left the Garden (and you, that night at 16). That was nothing compared to his death.

The end of innocence

His room was intact. I would go in there from time to time, to make his absence real. And to pierce the mute, open doorway standing at the end of the hall, that no one walked through anymore, but which shone blue from the paint on his walls.

It had a bigger bed than mine, covered by the blue and red afghan our grandma crocheted. I would sit on it and stare out the window. Run my hand over coarse yarn and stare out the door. Stare into his closet. Velcro my eyes to the song lyrics he had written on the pad still on his desk. The cartoons he had drawn. His life still in the lines.

But this night, the scratchy afghan slipped to the floor. My best friend and I, we’d been to the beach. Heat from our sunburns made the room feel like day. Street lamp light sifted the darkness telling us it was night. All of it transcended time.

A story is told even before mine where God called the darkness good.

And somehow, that story…like yours…has been lost as time has passed. Now, particular things, spaces, and scenes become indelible symbols we cannot escape. A bed. An afghan. That one night. A tree. A snake. That one bite.

Resurrection mix tape

Dawn came. Then morning sun. Then sleep.

No matter what. These three always return. Over and over again. Dawn. Sun. Sleep. And maybe a fourth: resurrection.

It was Easter Sunday. My dad woke us ten minutes into slumber, to get ready for church.

Mmmm. That morning, after I took the bite, God called to me (just like your dad) and said, “Where are you?”

Pastel floral farm skirt and my favorite greenish cropped top. What I wore that day is sealed on my memory, as is the way the sun slanted through the windows and her next to me in the pew in black pedal pushers. Somebody preached. About Jesus dying for our sins. And coming back to life. While I flashed on fresh sins I could still feel. And felt alive in them.

After I took the bite my eyes were opened – in a flash. And everything was more alive. I got dressed that day. But no matter what I covered myself with, nothing could hide all that I knew, all that I felt, all that had happened, all that was about to happen.

The people here hurt for me and my family’s loss deeply. They wrapped me in love as much as I would let them. And I knew with fearful certainty that if they knew the sins I knew, they would reject me without argument. That was the day a new piece of my spirit struggled free, while my relationship with religion ground to its end.

Many have thought the same of me; that my taking that apple marked the end of perfection with God. Many have been wrong. That one bit of delicious fruit is what changed everything, what opened up brand new worlds, and what enabled a new and intimate relationship with God. Found, not lost.

Lost

As it happened, it was my job to drive Grandma to church. That wasn’t going to change. So I went, every Sunday, for the next three years until I left for college, smiling to see the folks that raised me in this community, and dying inside to think we wouldn’t be having this conversation if they knew what I knew about me.

It has been the job of the church to tell my story a certain way. And I have died inside so many times, not because of what really happened, but because of what others’ decided happened. They talked as if they knew what I knew. They did not.

If you’ve ever been a closeted gay teen stoic at church, you know that hyper-self-awareness can widen into silence and separation. Turn into rejection and resentment. Years into the shut-down, I became allergic to all things holy. The day, a decade later, that I sat in traffic behind a Christian fish symbol bumper sticker, and raged at the intolerant audacity of a blindly religious vocal majority, I heard the silence in my car stab back at me. My outrage, the silent echo suggested, might be a bigger fish to fry than the one on the bumper.

No, not a closeted gay teen stoic at church. Just a banished shameful woman who cast the future of all humanity out of Eden and into hell. The religious vocal majority silenced me and separated me from my story. They rejected me and resented my choices. They fed me to the sharks…and blamed a snake.

A modern chance

There was no where to go in the traffic. No one to hear but myself. I’d learned enough to know that inordinate venom is usually the tip off to a personal problem buried so deep you can’t see it. It was there, gridlocked behind the Christian fish car, that I missed spirituality.

I’m not so sure that venom is always bad. But then, my relationship with snakes is different than most.

If I were a preacher, I’d be fourth in a generational line of them, starting with my great-grandfather on my dad’s side. Church, before there was a building for it, used to be held in the very house that I lived in. My dad as a boy would set out folding chairs in his living room for the congregants, which, if you’ve ever crammed into a living room and shared stories and reverence, you know is a silly name to call each other when it feels rather like family.

I missed…a feeling. That family. The reverence. The sensation of awe and peace and wonder that my dad called “the spirit.” I missed people caring and loving and coming together just to be together in a sacred hour. As much as I had grown to detest all things related to a religious tenet that would kill me if it had a modern chance, I even missed praying.

Most have been told that when I left Eden, God left me, that “spirit” departed. They have painted me as cast from God’s presence (and threatened all sinners hence with the same). Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it was my leaving of Eden that created the context for God’s intimacy, protection, and care in ways previously unknown. It was my leaving of Eden that caused God to pursue me. I might have missed that had I stayed.

Found

And so there in my car, I cracked open and allowed myself to feel, allowed myself to wonder, and to wander through thoughts of God as God related to ME and not a religion.

This IS my story. I allowed myself to feel. I allowed myself to wonder. I allowed myself to wander. And God related to me – always, endlessly, still.

That was the beginning of what has become an increasingly spiritual journey. I remembered the reverence with which I absorbed nature on the walks to school and in the national parks we traveled with my grandparents. I remembered the joy and gratitude of stewardship that my grandma modeled. And I remembered that I had as much fascination for a fundamentalist’s diehard faith as I had vitriol for what it espoused.

I think they call this collection of attributes “humanist,” and maybe that’s what I was becoming. But what I knew in the moment was that access to spirit was no longer trapped in the church box. It was no longer separate from me and my heathen ways. Access to spirit is mine if I want it, even if religion has its party without me.

I was fully human. And I was fully loved by God. Eden did not broker such. East of Eden did not prevent such. I was never, nor have YOU ever been separate from that same God. That’s worth a party, don’t you think?

I’ll bring the apples.

The good news

It is all I can do to stop typing. Pema’s story is so rich in beauty and desire, isn’t it? So is Eve’s. But do you see? The way we tell them (our own telling and others’) is what moves them to shame. Here the good, good news: if we can so easily make this shift, we can just as easily make another.

Stories of shame can be stories of redemption. Stories of separation can be stories of intimacy. And stories silenced can be stories told – celebrated – honored – lived. Pema’s. Eve’s. Yours. Mine.

This is my passion. This is my love. This is sacred stuff.

Inspired by Eve + Pema in the pulpit May 27

Toward that end I created Inspired by Eve. It’s a guide and companion to self-trust, deep knowing, and a delicious life of desire. 36 pages. An audio version of me telling my version of Eve’s story. Provocative writing/journaling/reflective prompts. And an invitation to understand your story in brand new ways. I’d love for you to have it. Click here to learn more. Come on: reach for the apple and take a bite. That hunger is good.

Sunday Services you want to WAKE UP for!
with Ronna Detrick, Spiritual Director and creator of Inspired by Eve.
and guest, Pema Teeter, Story Charmer
May 27, 2012
10:00 am (PST)


Together we will talk about new ways of understanding and incorporating faith, beliefs, spirituality, and gorgeous, significant story.

We need congregation. We need sacred space.
 And we need conversation that is unscripted, unedited, and unboundaried.
 We need each other.


Dial: 530.881.1300 Code: 590920#


(Skype callers: Add ‘freeconferencing.5308811300′ to your contacts.
Once you’ve dialed in, locate the key pad and enter the access code. )

Smart, engaging conversation about topics that matter. Soak up community wisdom. Even worship. It’s divine.


Join us.

 

Ronna Detrick provides Spiritual Direction to both individuals and businesses and creates Sacred Congregation for you! She gets at deep truths and talks about a God and faith you’re hungry for. She has recently released Inspired by Eve ~ a companion and guide to self-trust, deep knowing, and a delicious life of desire. Go on, take a bite: learn more.

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Disclaimer: Run now or hold your peace

No parent wants to read about their child’s first sexual encounter under their own roof. And so for that reason, I caution my dad and anyone else who feels fatherly or motherly toward me, or anyone squeamish about teenage love to click away right now.

See you clickers in the next post. 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 . . .

Virginal

For all who have stayed. Welcome. To the night I got naked. With a girl. In my brother’s bedroom. It’s a passion play that, like all good dramas, begins its slow turn much earlier.

She and I were best friends. On this night, we turned lovers, in a willful gesture that I learned was desire. It took over me as if I was watching myself on a movie screen. And yet, I lived each moment in the heat that spread in my heart, my gut, my skin, exploding my head. Each choice. And then the next. I was 16.

My dad was a preacher. My mom slept nearby on the living room couch. My brother was no longer. At least, not his physical form. He had died suddenly, nine months before, at 17.

The end of innocence

His room was intact. I would go in there from time to time, to make his absence real. And to pierce the mute, open doorway standing at the end of the hall, that no one walked through anymore, but which shone blue from the paint on his walls.

It had a bigger bed than mine, covered by the blue and red afghan our grandma crocheted. I would sit on it and stare out the window. Run my hand over coarse yarn and stare out the door. Stare into his closet. Velcro my eyes to the song lyrics he had written on the pad still on his desk. The cartoons he had drawn. His life still in the lines.

But this night, the scratchy afghan slipped to the floor. My best friend and I, we’d been to the beach. Heat from our sunburns made the room feel like day. Street lamp light sifted the darkness telling us it was night. All of it transcended time.

Resurrection mix tape

Dawn came. Then morning sun. Then sleep.

It was Easter Sunday. My dad woke us ten minutes into slumber, to get ready for church.

Pastel floral farm skirt and my favorite greenish cropped top. What I wore that day is sealed on my memory, as is the way the sun slanted through the windows and her next to me in the pew in black pedal pushers. Somebody preached. About Jesus dying for our sins. And coming back to life. While I flashed on fresh sins I could still feel. And felt alive in them.

The people here hurt for me and my family’s loss deeply. They wrapped me in love as much as I would let them. And I knew with fearful certainty that if they knew the sins I knew, they would reject me without argument. That was the day a new piece of my spirit struggled free, while my relationship with religion ground to its end.

Lost

As it happened, it was my job to drive Grandma to church. That wasn’t going to change. So I went, every Sunday, for the next three years until I left for college, smiling to see the folks that raised me in this community, and dying inside to think we wouldn’t be having this conversation if they knew what I knew about me.

If you’ve ever been a closeted gay teen stoic at church, you know that hyper-self-awareness can widen into silence and separation. Turn into rejection and resentment. Years into the shut-down, I became allergic to all things holy. The day, a decade later, that I sat in traffic behind a Christian fish symbol bumper sticker, and raged at the intolerant audacity of a blindly religious vocal majority, I heard the silence in my car stab back at me. My outrage, the silent echo suggested, might be a bigger fish to fry than the one on the bumper.

A modern chance

There was no where to go in the traffic. No one to hear but myself. I’d learned enough to know that inordinate venom is usually the tip off to a personal problem buried so deep you can’t see it. It was there, gridlocked behind the Christian fish car, that I missed spirituality.

If I were a preacher, I’d be fourth in a generational line of them, starting with my great-grandfather on my dad’s side. Church, before there was a building for it, used to be held in the very house that I lived in. My dad as a boy would set out folding chairs in his living room for the congregants, which, if you’ve ever crammed into a living room and shared stories and reverence, you know is a silly name to call each other when it feels rather like family.

I missed…a feeling. That family. The reverence. The sensation of awe and peace and wonder that my dad called “the spirit.” I missed people caring and loving and coming together just to be together in a sacred hour. As much as I had grown to detest all things related to a religious tenet that would kill me if it had a modern chance, I even missed praying.

Found

And so there in my car, I cracked open and allowed myself to feel, allowed myself to wonder, and to wander through thoughts of God as God related to ME and not a religion.

That was the beginning of what has become an increasingly spiritual journey. I remembered the reverence with which I absorbed nature on the walks to school and in the national parks we traveled with my grandparents. I remembered the joy and gratitude of stewardship that my grandma modeled. And I remembered that I had as much fascination for a fundamentalist’s diehard faith as I had vitriol for what it espoused.

I think they call this collection of attributes “humanist,” and maybe that’s what I was becoming. But what I knew in the moment was that access to spirit was no longer trapped in the church box. It was no longer separate from me and my heathen ways. Access to spirit is mine if I want it, even if religion has its party without me.

Thank God.

In the Pulpit with Ronna Detrick

In addition to stripping down and exploring through memories, I’m gearing up for Sunday morning in the pulpit with Ronna Detrick, spiritual adviser and conversation sparker extraordinaire, creator of sacred community through conversations on God and women. Please join us for her inspired invocation of the divine in all of us, as we talk about new ways of understanding and incorporating faith, beliefs, spirituality, and gorgeous, significant story.

Sunday Services you want to WAKE UP for!
with Ronna Detrick, Spiritual Director and creator of Inspired by Eve.
and guest, Pema Teeter, Story Charmer
May 27, 2012
10:00 am (PST)
We need congregation. We need sacred space.
 And we need conversation that is unscripted, unedited, and unboundaried.
 We need each other.

Dial: 530.881.1300 Code: 590920#

(Skype callers: Add ‘freeconferencing.5308811300′ to your contacts.
Once you’ve dialed in, locate the key pad and enter the access code. )

Smart, engaging conversation about topics that matter. Soak up community wisdom. Even worship. It’s divine.

I hope you’ll join us.

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