Tag Archives: quaker

Core Story: Religion

1 Nov

St. John's Cathedral, Spokane, WARecently I’ve been thinking about how faith has shaped my core story.

I grew up Catholic, but around the age of nine, I began questioning that and soon rejected it on feminist grounds.  (Seriously.)  In high school I began to do some reading on Wicca and paganism, which had an appeal, but a lot of what I was reading was historically and scientifically inaccurate, so that didn’t take either.

Later I identified as an atheist, but I’m not.  I might not believe in the Judeo-Christian god, and I might have problems with the idea of a variety of rather specific gods and goddesses to choose from, but I do have faith that there is something larger than myself, and something worth a bit of reverence.

Last year I tried going to Quaker meeting (the unprogrammed version) and I enjoyed it.  It was an hour each week to sit in contemplative silence, giving attention to faith and waiting for something to speak to me.  I’ll probably continue that in the future, but it’s not a practical choice for me here in Spokane.  It allowed for me to be agnostic, but still actively interested, which I appreciated.  (Several members of that particular meeting were Christ focused, but no one felt moved to evangelize.)

Looking back, faith has always been a part of my core story.  I remember having endless discussions with my more devout friends, and even going to church with them purely out of (respectful) curiosity.  It’s always been an interest and right now it’s an interest I would like to pursue.  I don’t need answers, but I would like to have room for both faith and doubt in my life.  I would like to find a way to satisfy my appreciation of science and fact while still giving attention to my faith in the as yet unknown.

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If you’re comfortable, please tell me about your faith or lack thereof.  I am always very interested in how people feel about this subject, so I would love to hear your thoughts.  Also, if you have any relevant books (besides obvious choices such as the Bible) that made an impression on you, I would appreciate the recommendation.

Eliminate! Eliminate!

11 Dec
Imperial Daleks
Image by Kaptain Kobold via Flickr

Reverb10: Eleven Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

  1. People who do not appreciate me or treat me with care and respect.

    How will I eliminate this? I need to pay more attention to what people are bringing to my life and strengthen the positive relationships and eliminate the ones that drain me.

    What will this change? I spend too much time trying to fix things and worrying about how to make things work; relationships are not one-sided and I cannot make them work without the cooperation of the other person. If it’s not a collaborative effort to treat each other well and create a mutually supportive relationship, then it needs to go.

  2. The word should.

    How will I eliminate this? I get too caught up in my own expectations. I am a bit of a perfectionist, which is helpful in some circumstances, but is generally destructive. Instead, I’d like to start reminding myself of my goals and thinking about potential next steps. Any step forward is good, not just the steps I “should” be taking.

    What will this change? I think having the discipline to work toward my goals with the sense to be flexible will serve me far better than nitpicking what I “should” do.

  3. Clutter of any kind.

    How will I eliminate this? The first step is to go though everything completely. I’m actually very close with this — one more box and two more bags and I’ll be done. Beyond that is simple maintenance: monitor every thing that comes into my life and either find a use for it or let it go.

    What will this change? Clutter is a distraction at best and a form of self-sabotage at worst. I want my home to be an atmosphere conducive to living and building. Clutter in my home clutters my mind and demands my attention — if only so I can be irritated with it. I want a clear, calm place to start from, inside and out.

  4. Limits on my imagination.

    How will I eliminate this? Not a clue. I’m not even entirely sure what I mean, but it stuck with me as I was making this list.

    What will this change? I do think having a bigger imagination will help me see more ways to move forward, which can only help.

  5. Loneliness.

    How will I eliminate this? I think the first two items on this list are the best ways to go about eliminating loneliness. I certainly have enough relationships of varying types, but being more mindful of what I want and what I am building with someone else will be helpful.

    What will this change? I think it will give me a better sense of boundaries and keep me from becoming too dependent on the people I am closest too.

  6. Lack of dedication to my own well-being.

    How will I eliminate this? All I need to do is listen to my body and my emotions and act on what I need. I can already hear the messages, but I’m not following through.

    What will this change? Taking care of myself? It can only make me healthier in every way.

  7. Doubt in my own spark.

    How will I eliminate this? I have amazing self-confidence, but only in what I already am. When it comes to building and moving forward I frequently doubt my abilities or my chances of success. I’m not sure I can eliminate the doubt, but I can move on in spite of it.

    What will this change? If I can get past the doubt, I can try new things and build my empire. Settling for what I have, as good as much of it is, is not enough.

  8. Withdrawing.

    How will I eliminate this? I can remember to ask for help. I have many people willing to listen and provide hugs, and those seemingly little things can make a big difference. And even if I need something bigger, there might be someone willing and able to provide it, if they know I need it.

    What will this change? I can spend less time handling problems or recovering from difficult situations and more time moving forward. Withdrawing almost always means holding still, or a lateral movement at best, and that’s not what I’m trying to do.

  9. Disorder

    How will I eliminate this? Even a loose plan and a modicum of preparation make a huge difference for me. I don’t have to devote my life to planning and I don’t have to worry when things don’t go in a way I was prepared for, but a little structure makes a big difference.

    What will this change? Disorder, much like clutter and withdrawing, is a huge time-suck. I do not have unlimited time so I want to use it in ways that serve me.

  10. Unevaluated expectations.

    How will I eliminate this? It’s actually not that hard — all I have to do is pay attention to what I’m actually expecting to get out of a situation or experience with a person. (I came across this idea at Enter: Adulthood a few days ago, and it’s already proven helpful.)

    What will this change? Being aware of what I expect will make things easier. It will save me the disappointment of not getting something I didn’t know I wanted and it will make it easier for me to communicate and plan. Unspoken expectations make for unpleasant surprises.

  11. Fear-based decisions.

    How will I eliminate this? I tend to make fear-based decisions when something must be changed immediately, but I’m not prepared to make a change. Eliminating disorder from my life will help. Having faith in my own spark will help. Removing limits on my imagination will help. Evaluating my expectations will help. I will get there.

    What will this change? Is fear ever a good foundation? I was at a Quaker meeting a few months ago, and someone felt moved to say that there are only two forces in the universe: fear and love. I’ll never fully eliminate fear, but I do not want to build upon it.

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