It got me thinking about spirituality and the unknown.
I grew up Catholic, but I don’t think of myself as very religious. I sometimes hear snippets of what I believe in music, like the aforementioned Indigo Girls song or The Christians and the Pagans by Dar Williams. But ever since I was in high school and got into daily arguments with my religion teacher over why women couldn’t be priests or what the big deal was with being gay or just what was with all the rules – I’ve never been able to find a religion or religious group that’s resonated with me.
However, I now think of myself as a pretty spiritual individual. I just don’t define my spirituality by any religious organization’s definition or creed. I enjoy Brene Brown’s definition of spirituality according to her research:
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”
Growing up, I had pretty clear and specific religious beliefs. Now, everything’s more muddled. But I do believe that there’s a power greater than me, and having that belief makes my life a better and happier one.
To me, a lot of spirituality is just practical. To believe that there’s a power greater than me – well, of course there is. The world is spinning – wonderful things happen – terrible things happen – and none of those things are in my control. I don’t really believe in one specific greater being that makes the world turn; rather, I believe that there’s a balance to the universe that’s beyond my knowledge and power.
Sometimes things that are written off as naive or New Age-y just make sense to me. They’re practical.
Like gratitude. There’s a lot of talk about gratitude these days – keeping gratitude journals, making gratitude lists. Of course we feel better when we practice gratitude – we feel better when we think about things that make us happy! You can’t be grateful and negative at the same time. It’s just common sense.
It’s the same thing with being spiritual – or being an optimist. It doesn’t make sense to NOT be an optimist. If you’re an optimist, you believe things will work out for the best. If you’re right, and things work out well, then awesome. If you’re wrong, and things turn out terrible – you can deal with that when it happens, and you didn’t have to be in a crappy mood while the things were unfolding.
I hear a lot of people say that they’re not optimists – they’re realists. They think that being a pessimist or being a non-believer makes them practical. But if your ultimate goal is to have a happy life – then embracing spirituality, optimism, gratitude, and positivity is a realistic, practical, and sensible thing to do.