Everything's Just Peachy Keen!


Artist: Paris Wyatt Llanson

By now you probably think I'm some kind of spiritual nut! But, quite

honestly, it's just a part of who I am. Not in a religious kind of way - in

fact,

I stopped going to church immediately after getting confirmed,

which I think was around 14.

I'd rather find my own way (with lots of mistakes to show for it!) by

studying all the spiritual paths. Whether it's Buddhism, Christianity,

Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, New Age or Ancient Mystery Schools -

I select a little

from one and then a little from another. And voila, that's my religion.

Thinking I'm a bit less focused than desirable? Well, I believe minds are

like parachutes - they work better when open! And you can be plenty

open in any kind of a religious community or perfectly closed

in the midst of the most determined beliefs.

Of course, I still like going to a church when the going gets tough. I

sometimes feel like God might be hearing me better in a sacred

environment!

Wrong, I'm sure. I know He listens when I shout or when I whisper,

when I'm desperately unhappy or when I'm genuinely thrilled,

when I'm bitter or when I'm grateful, when I'm sick or when I'm feeling

just fine...whether I think I'm talking to Him or not.

It took me a long time to trust enough to realize that God is with each of

us

all of the time. Might not feel that way during the lowest times and

certainly not in our most fearful moments.

Sometimes it feels like He's deserted the entire world! But I believe

that goes back to the fact that we have free will on this planet

and the problem isn't Him; the problem is us! As one expression goes:

"God will move the mountain, but I better bring a shovel."

I became convinced long ago that we are spiritual beings having a human

experience. Recently, I heard it said another way, which I might even

like better...we are not only human, we're divine. Frankly, I wish I

had a little more of the divine and a lot less of the human.

Now, some of the most spiritual people I know are agnostic or atheist.

They may be skeptical or even believe there is no God helping to guide

them, but what difference does THAT make? I don't care and I'm sure

God doesn't either!

I choose to believe that He's "running the show" for all of us no matter

what

we think. And He definitely has a wicked sense of humor!

A favorite Robin Williams line is:

"Do you think God gets stoned? I think so...look at the platypus."

In the beginning of my studies, I fantasized that with a serious spiritual

practice or faith, I could be immune to the vagaries of life. Wrong!

On a self-pitying day, I can recount the litany of things that have not

gone right in my life or have not materialized the way they should have.

Woe is me!

How about this, Kathy? --

"Get off the cross, we need the wood!"

But what if everything is perfect just the way it is? A hard concept to

wrap our heads around. For example, I've suffered with a mental illness

during my adult life. Depression really knows how to bring a fellow down

fast.

In my case, I'm beginning to think that those times when I have suffered

the most, in retrospect, I have probably really had the ear of God.

And most of those times, I have felt like God has deserted me. When you

care about these things as much as I do, it's a double whammy...

I feel like shit and then I lose my faith!

One of my spiritual teachers said to me once: "Kathleen, depression

is part of your spiritual path." Get the hook! These were

not the comforting words I wanted to hear.

At the beginning of my depressions, I thought that the route to take was

to resist Western medicine's approach to treating my illness. I thought at

that time with a more "spiritual approach" -- just a little more

meditation, a bit more swimming, a tad more yoga, a great deal more

spiritual reading, I should be able to shake this thing on my own.

This is one of those concepts I've come to disbelieve about some New

Age teachings - that your thinking has gotten you where you are and it's

changing your thinking that's going to cure your illness!

I'd be dead now if that was the approach I had taken with my

particular kind of depression.

Finally, a friend said to me "You know God just might be in those pills!"

I have not missed my medications since.

I do believe that asking for spiritual help works every time...maybe not

in the way we expect it to, and often not in the timeframe we would

like, but it will come. It's said that we are closest to God when we are

experiencing

the most difficult moments in life. Pain is the touchstone of

spiritual growth. For me, the best prayer of them all is

"God, please help me."

What would it feel like if we knew that everything in life unfolded

exactly as it should? Not because we're being punished but because we

have chosen to be here and be part of the "course work" in Earth School --

to grow through

pain and heal through love. A great quote by Kate Rubinstein is:

"We crave the deep place within that cannot be

touched by the ups and downs of life,

but rather just IS

--- connected and whole."

Maybe everything is just fine and dandy the way it is. What if there are

no mistakes? Contemplate this: some of us might just be in graduate

school (taking the toughest courses) and others are struggling to get

through kindergarten (and can't get over collecting toys and exerting

their power over the other kids!) I'm not quite sure which side of the

spectrum I'm on or, even would rather be on.

But now I'm confident that this doesn't really matter either. I am where I

am, not knowing exactly where that is, and I can learn from every life

experience -

both the best and the worst. In fact, I finally have realized that,

whether we know it or not, whether it feels that way or not:

Everything is fine and dandy just the way it is!

Share this with a friend. See below.

Who is Kathleen Pasley?

Kathleen has a life that encompasses numerous

areas of endeavor: writing, fundraising, marketing

and spirituality.

Two things help define her: she has been on

a serious spiritual path for 35 years and has

known serious depressive episodes.

She is committed to speaking from the heart

on spiritual issues and sharing honestly

and openly about mental illness.

www.kathleenpasley.com


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