Daily Archives: October 13, 2015

Remembering

Remembering Arthur, who in 1985 was twenty years my senior, Arthur who “loved me to pieces.” Who affirmed my beauty as well as my bright mind. Arthur who followed me across the country to Philadelphia where I attended University of Pennsylvania. I met Arthur as I moved through my feminist rebellion phase in my mid-forties. […]

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On my journey discovered that I was a survivor. I don’t have clear memories of ever being told I was bad, but I think I somehow translated my childhood experiences into a self-concept that different meant being bad. Heading toward adulthood,  I first ran from my differences, and then shoved gears into reverse and ran to them, always pushing myself so I wouldn’t be left behind or left out. Along the way, I uncover a duality deep within my being.

Partially accepting the imprint from my mother, I sometimes assume a woman-as-victim role, which I play out many times. The other side shows up as some version of a girl warrior with the mental picture from my inner being of a little girl in diapers who stands spread-legged with boxing gloves on, challenging whomever or whatever, saying, “Put up your dukes.” The size and attire of the girl/woman changes over the years but the image exemplifies a strong sense of determined survival in direct contrast to the victim role.

What I know now:

  • That duality accompanied me through adulthood, along with a powerful feeling that I would always be protected and guided.
  • However, it took many years before I could connect that sense to any spiritual model or belief system.

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Stay tuned. Next episode: “Untethered”

My childhood home was godless, devoid of any religious sustenance.  Both of my parents had been raised in devout Mormon homes, but that religion wasn’t practiced in their adult life. However, my mother made a half-hearted attempt to expose my brother and me to that religion by sending us to Sunday school. The weekly excursions to the LDS Third Ward had no connection to any parts of my life, and as soon as I could wiggle out of going, I ceased making the two-block trek. I don’t recall talking to my brother about it so I don’t know what his reactions were—however, neither of us became Mormons.

I brushed up against Catholicism and Christianity by sporadic attendance to services with a friend, Catholic, my aunt, Central Christian.

I remained unchurched until well into my forties. I gradually picked up dribs and drabs of spiritual food wherever I could. The concepts of Spirit and “Higher Power” didn’t solidify for me until my introduction to them through attending 12-step meetings—Adult Children of Alcoholics and Al-Anon—that I attended while in graduate school in Philadelphia and later still, the Science of Mind, a New Thought spirituality.

During the next twenty-five years, through three states, another country, the deaths of my parents, and reunification with my daughters, I bounced back and forth between the Unity and Unitarian faiths.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself in the telling of my story. I must weather multiple spring rains, droughts, and floods before I am able to develop beliefs and practices of my own that will fulfill my spiritual quest.

What I’ve come to realize is that:

  • Mom and Dad didn’t deliberately deprive me of God. By sending me to Sunday school, Mother was attempting to expose me to religion/God the only way she knew how.
  • In that thwarted effort, I ended up having an important part of my growing self neglected.

God enters by a private door into each individual. – R. Waldo Emerson

Stay tuned. Next episode: “Survivor.”