Spiritual Growth

I knew returning home was going to be an enlightening experience, but I never imagined to what extent. Neither did I envision that I wouldn’t be the only one experiencing my return.

My family and friends, especially the ones who didn’t see me for over a decade, have been saying similar things: “You’ve changed Magaly.” “You are so different.” “You sound… weird.”

Every time a comment was made, I responded the same way: “Of course I’ve changed. I’m older.” To which they would add, “No, it’s something else.” I didn’t argue with them, but a little voice in my head kept on saying trust me, I’m just older.

Then the other day, during a morning run with my cousin, I realized that I was wrong. I noticed that there was something different about my cousin too. Yes, she is also older than she was 10 years ago, but time had nothing to do with the change. What I noticed in my cousin was pure spiritual growth. Could that be what others have seeing in me?

My cousin and I were raised Catholic. I became Pagan during my teen years and my cousin started following the Adventist path a few years back. We’ve talked since then, but we haven’t spent any quality time with each other. Ten minutes or so after we started running I told her, “You are different…” I caught myself and chuckled before adding, “You have grown spiritually. I like it.”

We discussed our religious beliefs and how they have affected our worldviews. Also, how they have helped us become people we really like. An hour later, I walked my cousin home and went back for another run. I had too many thoughts in my mind and they demanded to be sorted out.

I ran, thinking how am I different? A torrent of familiar thoughts rushed into my mind: me sitting in front of a lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, waiting for the sunrise. The regret I felt as I apologized to the oak I once scarred with the initials of people it never heard of. I thought about the joy filling my heart when the morning rain kissed my face and I thanked the gods for the refreshing blessing. My happiness when I think about the fact that I’m, well… so happy to be Pagan.

Has any event in your life made you come to similar realizations about your own spirituality?

17 comments:

  1. I can think of a few experiences, most of them way back in the past by now, after which it was not so much a matter of thinking that I was happy to be pagan (though I was) so much as that, simply, I KNEW I was a pagan and whether I was happy with it or not I couldn't do anything about it. Simple but profound experiences that told me that the land I stood on, the trees and streams and everything about, were something that I was so bound to that this was my life. A feeling of containment but also one of allegiance. I don't get those deeply profound experiences so much any more, but they have stayed with me as has a feeling of attachment and belonging so that, whatever crises I might have with the public and organised side of paganism from time to time, my absolute existence as a pagan is never in doubt.

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  2. I can totally relate the that "I KNEW" feeling. I was dating someone who told me that it would probably be better if I didn't mention to his family that I was Pagan because they wouldn't understand. I tried not to let that bother me--I know, silly mistake. But I am Pagan every second of the day. Is not that I go around talking about it, but my beliefs are reflected in the way I do and say things. Like you, I know nothing can change that. Better yet, I don't want it to change--EVER.

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  3. You carry yourself like a true priestess and witch. Like a Carribean daughter of Yemaya and a witch queen of Diana and Hecate.

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  4. Primo you are just too sweet ;) All I do is be me, but I guess there is a lot of witchiness that goes with that.

    Guess what? My dad and my brother got a swift of MY lemon oil and now they are addicted. so have to go back to the botanica. I'm so excited! And I haven't even tried the lavender yet :D

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  5. I had quite a few experiences mainly after reading certan books :) which showed me answers I had been looking for or things I half understood or that I knew about but didn't surface to mind before that moment. I am still finding my way and my path :) I might be pagan after all but there is still a bit of way to do before I actually find out!

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  6. Everyday I am reminded of how becoming Pagan has changed me. Just tonight at the meet up meeting I was thinking about that. How knowing Julie and her family has changed me. Being able to have friends like her and you as well when you lived here. Makes me see life in better ways. I feel blessed too that because of the Goddess and Gods I met a wonderful man that I don't want to lose. Kayle is a true blessing from them. It's awesome that he too is Pagan as well as his mom too. Mom has really opened up more to my Pagan path too. She supports it now. She will always be Christian. But she is a very liberal one. :D When someone can truly understand their faith and follow it in a way that makes them feel blessed I think it shines through them. I feel that I'm back to a point in my spiritual life that I've always felt peace with. I started that after high school I fell off it when I was gobbled in by a group at college -a Christian one- the name evangelistic- that's the name I was looking for. Was too extreme for me and I lost my peace within. I think once mom and dad divorced no matter how hard it was. I was searching again and it took a few tries but I never felt right till I stepped back, learned and realized that that peace and energy I felt with the earth, animals and nature...was my Pagan spirit. I embraced and for that it has changed me.

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  7. Equidae, I believe that the path toward discovering the workings of our own spirituality is very intricate and personal—I say that a lot, huh? lol Also, getting to the moment when you “just know” feels like having dreamt about something that then happens and you go “I always KNEW it! I just didn’t know what it meant!

    Debbie, I’m so glad things are working so well for you and that your life has been filled with so many blessings. We are the ones lucky because you touched our lives :) I remembered your mom’s skepticism and the way she struggled to try to support you and understand what her daughter was experiencing. I also have a theory, my shrimp fajitas had a lot to do with convincing your mom, that along with Attila’s loving glances have a total heart melting effect :D

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  8. I find that most recently (probably thanks to the soul-suck that is TBS) I have been most aware of my spiritual growth through very shallow means. Namely, through looking at those who HAVEN'T grown spiritually, at all. Even people I haven't known for ten years who I can tell just knowing them that they haven't grown a smidge in ten years and I thank the Universe that I have. I can't imagine the hollowness of soul that must come with a complete lack of growth or development.

    Dunno, I've been a fair bit shallow and cynical lately, and I feel a little bad about that . . . But really, I've grown spiritually, I swear, lol.

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  9. TBS--and the Marine Corps--can have that effect on people. One goes in 'human' and comes out as a being with serious thought about ruling the world lol.

    Seriously now, I think that going through military hardship, even field training, puts you in a state of mind that made you question a lot of stuff. Once I was on my way to the School Of Infantry, I stopped at the gas station to pick up coffee for the Duty. I was taking my squad to the live range that day, a experience that always made me unease: a bunch kids with live rounds *sigh* Anyhow, a little girl came up to me and through a piece of candy at my face. The little brat call me a "nasty killer." I looked at her and her mom just standing there and I knew the gods were holding me in their arms when I didn't smack the stupid grin off her mom's face.

    Yep, I felt blessed! lol

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  10. Very cool post. :)

    I did just have a similar experience (sort of). My boyfriend has four beautiful children that he and his now ex-wife have raised Pagan. While their mother packs up and moves into a new home with her new husband, the kids have been staying with us for more than two weeks, so we decided to set up a small altar to the mother goddess (take your pick which one ;) on the dresser top. We let them pick out a statue of a mother and child embracing/dancing at a local fair trade shop, then set out a small wooden offering bowl to collect their leaves and flowers and pebbles from playing outside, and included a small candle to light during nightly story time.

    Thinking about it later, I was blown away by the idea that (a) I'm dating a man with four kids and I'm not only "handling it" but absolutely loving all the mischief and magic these children have brought into my life, and (b) that setting up the altar was a powerful spiritual act not only for me, but for my new-found "family" as well. I never would have guessed I'd be so lucky, and I found myself smiling at how blessed I felt to be Pagan. I think following this path has helped me to deepen and mature not only spiritually, but mentally and emotionally, and I'm exceedingly grateful for it. :)

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  11. I do have moments, where the world just seems to stop and I see/hear/smell/realize things that I usually don't. Those are the moments when everything seems so clear.

    I just stopped by from SITS, and I've only spent a short amount of time "poking" around your site, but it's incredibly interesting and you are a great writer. I'm glad I found it!

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  12. Ali, I'm extremely happy for you! Goodness, I can 'hear' the bliss in your writing. What a wonderful thing, to find an already made family where everybody not only gets along, but enjoys the beauty of having each other. The children's altar sounds wonderful btw, and the fact that you guys use it during story time is just great. I think when I have my babies I'll do the same--I'll make sure to let them know that I got the idea from one of my favorite Druids :)

    Kelly, thanks so much for the kind words about my writing, it means the world to me. I love the way you said "I see/hear/smell/realize things..." it is a wonderful way of saying that you feel alive in your spirituality, I know that feeling!

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  13. Very thoughtfull post on spiritual growth.It should be very much helpfull

    Thanks,
    Karim -
    Positive thinking

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  14. Thanks so much Karim, hope to see you around our Eclectic Circle more often.

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  15. Thanks so much Karim, hope to see you around our Eclectic Circle more often.

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  16. Ali, I'm extremely happy for you! Goodness, I can 'hear' the bliss in your writing. What a wonderful thing, to find an already made family where everybody not only gets along, but enjoys the beauty of having each other. The children's altar sounds wonderful btw, and the fact that you guys use it during story time is just great. I think when I have my babies I'll do the same--I'll make sure to let them know that I got the idea from one of my favorite Druids :)

    Kelly, thanks so much for the kind words about my writing, it means the world to me. I love the way you said "I see/hear/smell/realize things..." it is a wonderful way of saying that you feel alive in your spirituality, I know that feeling!

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  17. Very thoughtfull post on spiritual growth.It should be very much helpfull

    Thanks,
    Karim -
    Positive thinking

    ReplyDelete