Daily Post #4: Your Energy Vampire

I was challenged to look at the people who were taking energy from my life, to the point of exhaustion and considering letting them go. The term that was used was “energy vampire”. To my understanding, this term is a widely used term to describe a person that takes up so much space and time in your life, it becomes unhealthy for you.

I feel, personally, that the decision is entirely up to you, and you shouldn’t be shamed either way if you decide to keep them in your life or not. Personally, there are people in my life who need more of my energy, and they can’t help it because they have a medical diagnosis that requires extra care, or they are so young that they need extra energy from me to help them grow into beautiful human beings or psychologically they need more therapeutic communication. Whatever it is, I am reminded of their humanity, and, yes, sometimes it is exhausting, but it isn’t a crime to need more love and it isn’t a crime to try to challenge yourself to reach deeper levels of my own love, and kindness and patience and provide it to people who need it. They aren’t monsters for needing your energy, and I’m not a crazy person for wanting to freely give it to these people. They are mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, we are all family. It’s not easy. It’s labor and it might exhaust the reserves. But it’s a labor of love. On that note, yes, if I am not able to handle it, I should absolutely make every effort to make sure they receive the correct care from the correct people and if I do everything I can, and I’ve reached the very bottom- safely, and kindly, disengage. However, in my self reflection, I would ask myself how much of that was self-care and how much of it was ego-preservation/narcicism.

The term energy vampire is unkind, and dated. There are better ways to describe “energy vampires”. When terminology no longer ceases to be useful, then the terminology should evolve into language that is concise, descriptive, but also kind. Words matter. It’s why people are outraged by terminology like “shithole countries”, because, yes, it’s descriptive, but it isn’t kind.

I will say that being challenged in this way has sparked a fire in me to change my general attitude towards people. I recognize now that there are people who do not want your energy, who can’t handle your truth without feeling ashamed, or defensive. And for those people, safely, and kindly, disengage.

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Daily Post #3: Old Enough

I’m fortunate enough to be able to be a part of an intimate book club with my boyfriend, a very close friend of his and my boyfriend’s sister. We’ve spent months and months sharing our stories, our tears, our hopes and dreams, and how to better see in the darkness using the light of spirituality. They’ve really come to accept me as I am, and how I am learning to deepen my with the Divine.

Then something happened.

The topic was the Eucharist, a sacrament with Christianity in which bread was broken and wine was poured to symbolize the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. This was then eaten and drank respectively to remind us of the sacrifice of God’s only son, done with unconditional love for the people of the Earth. The glorious retelling of the story of sacrifice is suppose to instill us with awesome, and sometimes emotional, feelings.

I didn’t resonate with it.

To me, it felt as if scripture had so many references to bread and wine, thirst and hunger. This thirst and hunger were symbolic of the constant need of the soul, creating suffering in our lives. Christianity’s answer was the word of God. Many wisdom traditions offer their own answers. However, I couldn’t get past the fact that I was viewed as incomplete. Does that mean atheists and other people who do not subscribe to a religion are incomplete their entire lives? Does everyone need Jesus Christ in their life to be complete? Is there no hope for these people? Is there no hope for me?

I subscribe to idea that we are all enough. We are complete with or without anything else and that the Divine exists in all of us and anything that helps us to recognize the Divine within ourselves, enhance the human experience.

In the conversation, as I was trying to explain my view, I was reminded by someone in the group that I, a 31-year old man, was entirely too young to truly comprehend the message of the Eucharist. It took time, study, focused contemplation and reflection to truly understand what was being said. I neither agreed or disagreed. Like Oscar Wilde once said, “I’m not young enough to know eveything.” All I can do is write this down and reflect back to it. For right now, I do think I am complete. I think that the hunger in my soul is filled with the love of the Divine. Eucharist or no Eucharist, I will be fine.

Daily Blog #2: The Absence of Spirituality

One of the most difficult things to wrap around my mind is the seminary requirement of a consistent, and meaningful spiritual practice. When I was asked during my application to seminary if I had a spiritual practice, I found myself searching the depths of my mind for an answer but couldn’t produce one. Do I pray? Well yes- but my prayers usually consist of asking for something, hands clasped and eyes to the sky. It was never really directed to anyone in particular, just a plea into the void, hoping the universe will begin to construct new paths. There are times when I felt the intensity behind my words and there are times when the entire experience feels like a slowly deflating tire.

“So… google ‘spiritual practice'”, I told myself flatly. I found this definition:

A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of inducing spiritual experiences and cultivating spiritual development.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_practice, Accessed 7/4/2017)

Then I asked myself, what do I do that is:

  • Regular or full time
  • Allows me to experience something that  shapes myself into a better person.
  • Allows me to learn, evolve and grow my values
  • Deepening my understanding of the meaning of life

I placed my pen to a piece of paper and just allowed my thoughts to pour out, and I couldn’t even believe this myself: I wrote “I forgive.”. I reflected on that for a moment. I ended up with a list of things including forgiveness, gratitude and patience. These spiritual practices are core to shaping a once vengeful, ungrateful and impatient self into a far better person today. It dawned on me during that application essay that I wasn’t absent of spirituality. Seminary wasn’t suppose to teach me how to be a spiritual person. It was only the application process and seminary has already shown me that I was a spiritual person this entire time; and that seminary exists in my life experience to open my eyes in a new way to the world around me.

 

Thanks for reading my blog! Comment below on what your spiritual practices are and how they cultivate your spirituality!

Daily Blog #1: Reactions to Joining Seminary

Seminary school was a big decision for me. In a world where I couldn’t commit to an ice cream flavor, committing to two years of seminary school was a big step up. I imagined that an immersion into learning about the world’s faiths, religions and spirituality through the lenses of interspirituality would be fun, exciting, and an eye-opening learning experience. Unfortunately, it seems like not everyone in my life agrees; which is why I am going to start my daily blog with the top 5 reactions from friends and family when I tell him/her I am going to go to seminary. 

  1.  “I hope you’re not doing this for me.” My current partner works closely with the seminary and was concerned that I am doing this to make him happy. Although he did inspire me to move into this direction, but to go as far as to say that he is the reason, would be a total lie. I am a fan of learning new ideas, and in truth, the seminary I am going to join pays homage to all religions and spiritual practices. What better place to discover my own spirituality? If this helps to deepen my relationship with my partner, then that is an added bonus. 
  2. “Wouldn’t you be happier at a Catholic seminary?” Growing up in a Catholic household, I was met with a great deal of resistance from very close, catholic members of my family. My mother’s internal conflict was a push and pull between being happy that I am moving closer to God, but terrified that I am opening myself to new spiritual practices. To this I say, “My education in Christianity will not be lacking. To understand the divine, I should open myself to new thoughts and ideas.”
  3. “But you’re not even spiritual.” I am. Everyone has the capacity of being spiritual whether anyone is aware of it or not. The simple act of forgiving, being grateful, doing for others things they can not do for themselves, are all spiritual practices. I am going to school, essentially, to sharpen that focus and to search for understanding; and not just understanding of God, but also myself. 
  4. “You are just bored.” I am that as well, actually. This one hit the nail on the head one hundred percent. I am tired of performing tasks, and moving through life without meaning or purpose; and going to church and having it not mean anything to me, other than how well I can memorize rote prayers for years and years to come. How incredibly boring. I want to appreciate the meaning behind the ceremony, I want to truly understand the traditions, and the spiritual traditions of others. It energizes me to see what is out there- and I want to be in a safe place to help me navigate a mine field of scam religions that aim to empty your pockets or praise propaganda.
  5. “I love you and I support your decision.” “I’m so excited for you.” “I think you’ll do really well in seminary” “You have the personality for seminary, I think.” “OFCOURSE! I’D be happy to write your recommendation!” These were my favorite reactions. If it wasn’t for the love and support of my partner, my friends and my family, I would’ve never considered starting this path to learning more about the world we live in, the space beyond this world, and, more importantly, myself. 

That’s the end of my first blog post! Please reach out to me and tell me what you think! Comment below about the reactions you recieved about trying something new!