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Stop And Smell The Flowers

Being away – having a change of scene – it is an opportunity to press PAUSE. Lately, I have felt satisfied with the recent developments of my life. I have felt pleased with some of the positive decisions I have taken to look after my health – physically, emotionally and spiritually. This time away has been an opportunity to think clearly, to think deeply. I was reading a post about a week before we travelled. It confused me. It seemed very bitter, and it was obvious the person harboured hurt and blame. I am sensitive to people’s pain, yet what they said did not make sense.

The reason I have been thinking about it is that I have had a challenge these past few months because my parents (who associate with the Episcopalian church, as do a significant portion of other political figures) became angry because I listened to the service of another church. It seems odd because they have never been particularly active in their chosen faith. They hardly ever said a word about religion to me. I am not against them, their beliefs, their church. I did not choose to listen to a service by another church to hurt them. But when I mentioned the service I listened to, it was if I was the stinkiest – it was if they could not stand the odor.

Beliefs, faith, they can run very very deep. I would not want to comment on anyone else’s beliefs. My opinions and views on my own experience within the Episcopalian church have not left me with any bitterness or personal hurt. I spent long periods of my childhood away from my parents and my relatives went to other churches. I had a mix of “input” when it came to the ideas I was exposed to. As a youth, I did not know what I believed. I had a passing curiosity in spirituality and read about lots of faith, and asked friends about their religious beliefs. When I was in my mid-twenties, I began to deeply ponder why I existed at all. Perhaps that was the start of me being conscious that I had a spiritual hunger within. But I will say this…I want to be allowed to use my ability to reason and contemplate. I want to be allowed to search for answers to my questions. I want to be able to observe people who are living by a set of beliefs and determine what effect it is having on them.

What I have learnt is that if I listen to other people’s opinions of a set of beliefs or the people who believe them – I hear a very limited point of view. Often unwittingly, people who share their own point of view, are often giving a very questionable account. Sometimes…it comes across like Dominic Cummings giving his opinion of the conservative cabinet. (Not that I give a fig about the UK government or any other government for that matter – but of course I shall pay my taxes and make sure I abide by the law.)

So while I have been away, I have allowed myself time and space and peace to think, to read, to pray and to make decisions. Something has been brewing…and it would seem I am becoming more and more convinced. I think what I am trying to say is…I am ready to get on with my life now that I have found something I can finally believe in. I think I am changing. I feel more alive than I used to, and my desire to go on living is stronger. I am breathing in something fresh and fragrant and it is making me feel so much better about life, about our future, about everything. I am becoming sickened by anything that smacks of disregard for the precious gift of life, and love and loyalty and humility. I am starting to want to avoid things that sicken me.

I need to be allowed to think…but at the same time…I know I can be quite an emotional creature at times. So I do double check important things with people I trust. I trust Ben’s balanced viewpoint. I trust some of my very wise and balanced friends. So it has been reassuring that they have heard me out and they respect the conclusions I have come to. In fact, out of concern for me, two of my friends decided they would listen to one of the services of the church I had listened to. They were so impressed they have listened every Sunday since. It seems I am not crazy after all! I just seem to enjoy what makes sense.

My life is going to change a lot over the next six months. We are heading back to the US, to be near to Ben’s family. I find that beliefs and opinions run deeper in the US than the very multi-cultural city of London or our tiny village in a sleepy part of Hertfordshire. When we are back in the US, I will be a couple of hours drive away from one of my parents’ homes. I want to try to make peace with them, something that I have not been able to do over the phone. But at the same time, I want to be allowed to think, and reason, and believe what makes sense to me. I respect they feel the same way about their own chosen faith.

I have a lot to learn. But I am hungry to learn. I am willing to be corrected and change whatever is causing harm. I think maybe I am saying goodbye. I don’t know. I just find that a lot of the posts that appear in my WP Reader are making me physically sick. That tells you something doesn’t it. It means I am changing. I think that I need to be able to make decisions that make sense, that feel right and that deepen my peace of mind and joy in life.

I want to breathe in pure fresh clean air…I don’t want to feed my mind on poison. It is becoming easier for me to distinguish the murky fog that some people are intoxicated by and addicted to. I want to live a life full of genuine love and joy. It is becoming easier to recognise how to do that.

18 replies on “Stop And Smell The Flowers”

This is so lovely to read, and it is important to nourish your faith and your heart. They will help you through any challenges ahead. We are looking forward to seeing you so much. Safe journey back!!

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Thank you Noo!!! I want to nourish my heart. I want to be the kind of person that shows appreciation for this wonderful planet and gifts like love and kindness. I want to strengthen my desire to do good.

I can’t wait to see you. I am so sorry I will miss the party for Wills 😦

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Interesting analogy – asking Dominic Cummings about conservative leaders will give you a very singular point of view. I have heard people who are imbittered about perceived injustices still gnashing their teeth years later, seemingly not willing to acknowledge they may bear some responsibility for whatever rift developed.

It is always a good idea to be cautious around people who are only telling you about the negative and cannot give you a balanced account. Beliefs can run deep, but if someone is not able to reason clearly, I would be very careful.

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Maybe I am becoming more suspicious, but nowadays, if someone says something that seems unbalanced, I start to question where it is they are coming from. Am I hearing an accurate point of view, or am I hearing an imbittered, angry opinion?

Yes beliefs can run very deep, so I try to be careful.

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Full respect Jenna! Beliefs based just on what someone else tells you to think are likely to be fickle. Searching and researching for yourself, contemplating, pondering, reasoning – it all leads to much stronger faith. There are too many people led along by the current, who have lost the ability to make impartial decisions based on solid evidence. Social media has made it easy for someone to voice a false version of events based on their own distorted view and sadly that influences some weak minded people.

Breathe in pure air, don’t let the pervading spirit or attitude of people stop you from being the kind of person you want to be, working towards the kind of world you want to live in. My belief is we need to live in a world were there is much less selfishness and greed. Love, peace, loyalty, kindness, cleanliness these all ought to be the dominant hallmarks of our society. When they are not, I believe something is very wrong, and needs to change.

Keep dreaming!!! Keep dreaming of a world where people love what is good.

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Hi Marie,
We just came back yesterday. Thank you for your lovely comments. I don’t plan to stop writing, but I think I am becoming more selective about what I write, and I am definitely becoming more selective about what I read. I think that in the past I “liked” posts I did not actually like, as a way of showing some sort of respect for the courage behind certain posts. But overtime, I have lost respect and started to feel more and more uncomfortable about certain content that was appearing in my Reader. So I have had to say goodbye to bloggers who were regularly publishing material that seemed to be pushing the boundaries of shock and offensiveness. I just cannot support that, it is becoming sickening. I still love to read the creative expressions of erotica and sensuality, but I think I am becoming more choosy.

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I agree, Jenna, be selective on what you read, I have followed and unfollowed many bloggers in the years I am blogging. Sometimes you read a blog, and you like it, and then a year later you realize you have outgrown it. Just be selective, like you said 🙂

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I find as I evolve over time I go back through my list and delete the blogs I followed that no longer suit. Much like yourself I find a growing sense of need to do something to make things better. I am disgusted by so much of what goes on around and when I have spoken of how my voice is small, I have been told that “no matter how small it is still a voice that some will hear. And that is how to make things better.” I would miss you greatly if you were to decide to stop blogging. I love reading your posts. 🙂

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You know Jay-lyn, I don’t want to upset anyone, but in the past, I used to “like” posts that I did not actually like. I think I did it as a way of showing some kind of support for their courage. But more and more I see that some bloggers are not really being courageous, they are just exulting in writing words, or showing pictures that are likely to shock and deeply offend. I cannot be part of that anymore. It runs against my nature. I really do care about people of lots of different cultures, beliefs, ages, and although I have an interest in love, romance, dreamy sensuality, I would hope that for the most part I find ways to express it in ways that would not appall anyone. Occasionally I drop some raucous poetry, or a very erotic story, or a candid personal account. But I have seen some things in my WP Reader that were so disturbing, I just felt I could not condone or be connected with that. It seemed to be beyond any kind of expression of erotic enjoyment – it seemed to be material that was deliberately targeting the sensibilities of others to cause pain. I just don’t like that. So I am going to be more choosy about what I read, what I like, what I take part in. I don’t want to upset anyone, but neither can I support something that would cause so much distress to someone who is actually very lovely and does not deserve to have their values mocked like that.

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It is not upsetting anyone to respect your own boundaries and setting down what you will and will not tolerate. I find more and more that the people whose blogs I follow are more like me or I am more like them (what a conundrum there) and I can relax and enjoy. Generally they are people who enjoy life and their joy comes through in their writing. Not to say that at times there is not pain and upset but and I think I may have mentioned before that when I began to blog a close friend told me that people who enjoy my writing will find me. Much as I found you. I will really miss you if you do decide to go for I love your blog. The joy you write with is through everything 99% of the time that 1% reserved for anger or pain. I understand needing to protect oneself from the pain and agony that bombarded out senses daily. 🤗💜

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Thank you so much Jay-lyn. That makes so much sense and I think being able to relate to someone does probably steer our choices.

I will keep writing, but I am also going to make sure to be myself, especially when it comes to what I choose to read from other bloggers.

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Thank you for the vote of confidence Hugh. I have to admit, on certain subjects, I don’t feel very sure of myself. That is partly why I have asked other people around me for advice. When they say I am not losing my marbles it is reassuring!

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