Spirituality is my Religion

What are you thankful for today?

While I don’t consider myself a religious person — I’m not aligned with any particular church or group — I am firm in my values and beliefs. I believe in social justice, I honor and protect animals and the environment, and I value family and good health. And, when it comes to health, I do consider it holistically, meaning I equally value health of mind, body, AND spirit.

I may not be religious, but spirituality is very important to me. If you ask me, which no one of the cloth ever has, religion is merely humanity’s way of organizing spirituality. Humans do have a way of needing to put things in categories to make sense of it all. In any case, there are aspects where religion and spirituality overlap, and it is here where I find my solace.

Prayer, for example, knows no religious bounds, and it is one area where religion and I agree. It is something I practice daily, and encourage with my children. We don’t pray to a particular god — or goddess — but we do review the day and talk about our friends or those in need, and think about good things we want for them. To me prayer doesn’t involve getting on your knees at your bedside, but it does require humility and reverence for something greater than the self. More than asking for something, prayer should represent an energy purity, or a gratitude for what one already has.

When I was a kid, my sister and I would visit my aunt who lived on a commune in northern California (aka magical forest land to a 10 and 12 year-old) for nearly three decades. Every visit, she would gift my sister and I a gratitude journal. Before we went to bed at night, she asked us to list three things we were thankful for that day. Air, mom and dad, the extra scoop of ice cream at dinner — no matter the day, good or bad, we were to find three things, small or big, that we were grateful for.

Over 20 years later, I continue to carry this practice with me and have passed it onto my children. It is vital to my spirituality as it grounds me and helps to focus my energy. I don’t pretend to know who God is, whether there is A god, or two, or one for every phase of the moon. I also don’t judge those who do believe in any one of those things. Especially when it comes to spirituality, or religion, to each their own. Some go to church on Sundays, some on Fridays, and some, like my aunt on a commune in Burnt Ranch California, believe church exists within you, wherever you are.

So from my couch, on my laptop, while the two things I am most grateful for in the world are tucked sound asleep, I pray you all have a blessed day and have absolutely no problem listing your three things to be thankful for tonight.

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