Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In the beginning was the Word....

When I first started this blog I made a point of writing fairly often. As time went on my posts were more sporadic because I felt I needed to be "deep" and "inspiring" every time I sat down to write. As I have grown as a human and as a writer I realize that there is no need to put off writing until I am in the grasp of some huge idea. Every small idea opens doors and windows. I was also guilty of creating separate blogs to address different areas of my life: one for food, one for camp Mommy, and one for "deep thoughts," a la Jack Handy, just not as funny. Completely unnecessary. Everything I do, eat, wear and think are part of me. There is no need to separate all of it out into neat little categories. I can't do that in my brain, so what makes me think I can do it on paper - well, virtual paper at least. On Facebook I have started posting my gratitude journal. I usually do it for 30 days but this time I decided to do it for 35. From the first day I began posting my gratitudes until September 16th - Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year. I began remembering why I love the fall so much. New school year means new beginnings, fresh paper and pens and pencils. Books yet to be explored. Thoughts yet to be written. What comes with the fall is the Autumnal Equinox and the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). I love these holidays and indeed these traditions because they follow a lunar calendar. A lunar cycle is how my body naturally works. It is my life circadian rhythm, if you will. Since I am a traveler actively working to make sense of my earthly experience, I have studied many different traditions looking for a home. None of them fit me fully, but I am able to take bits and pieces from different traditions, belief systems and even religions, to make my own spiritual ontology. Recently, I listened to an interview of Krista Tippett interviewing Kate Baestrup, the author of "Here If You Need Me." Here is the synopsis of the book, because it does a much better job of expressing the truth of the book than I can: "Ten years ago, Kate Braestrup and her husband Drew were enjoying the life they shared together. They had four young children, and Drew, a Maine state trooper, would soon begin training to become a minister as well. Then early one morning Drew left for work and everything changed. On the very roads that he protected every day, an oncoming driver lost control, and Kate lost her husband. Stunned and grieving, Kate decided to continue her husband's dream and became a minister herself. And in that capacity she found a most unusual mission: serving as the minister on search and rescue missions in the Maine woods, giving comfort to people whose loved ones are missing, and to the wardens who sometimes have to deal with awful outcomes. Whether she is with the parents of a 6-year-old girl who had wandered into the woods, with wardens as they search for a snowmobile rider trapped under the ice, or assisting a man whose sister left an infant seat and a suicide note in her car by the side of the road, Braestrup provides solace, understanding, and spiritual guidance when it's needed most. HERE IF YOU NEED ME is the story of Kate Braestrup's remarkable journey from grief to faith to happiness. It is dramatic, funny, deeply moving, and simply unforgettable, an uplifting account about finding God through helping others, and the tale of the small miracles that occur every day when life and love are restored." This book changed my entire perception of my "calling," (Thank you Kim Collins for hipping me to this book.) What do I mean by "calling?" When I was ready to apply for college I had a decision to make, and it was one I didn't share with other people. I was deciding between going to college or going to seminary. I felt very sure that my work on earth was to minister to people and help them soothe their souls. There was just one problem with this idea -I wasn't sure, any longer, if I could embrace any one religion. This is where Kate's book comes it. She writes that she is religious but not spiritual, giving the common phrase: I am not religious, I am spiritual, a quick turn on its head. I disagreed. I am spiritual and I am a pracitioner of many religions and none at all. So this is what made the decision to go to seminary, at the age of 19, very difficult for me. I still held onto the idea of a personal G-d but not a personal religion. So I had to walk that path and find out what I could, in fact, do to minister to people's souls. I became a Religious Studies major. I sang. I entered theatre and practiced creating sacred space. I studied Judaism and loved the prescribed behavior of the Orthodox. I entered Witchcraft and found solace in making my own reality and magic(k) through writing and casting my own spells, in taking control of my happiness and my "luck." I walked a short path into Ifa, the tradition of Yorubaland where I have been repeatedly told, when I was in a consultation with an Ifa priest, that my destiny was to be initiated into the religion (seriously I have been told this three times) and that choice still scares me because it would require that I settle in one place on one tradition. But during all of this my desire to minister never left me. I knew my job: to make people's lives filled with love and serenity. And to fulfill the prophecy of my loving astrologer: "To teach people the meaning of life," yea, I would have to figure out what that was first. And what does all of this have to do with words, new beginnings, Kate Baestrup, death and a spritual calling? Let me tell you: I recenty made the decision to attend seminary to become an interfaith minister and to receive ordination. I also made the decision to work as either a hospice or hospital chaplain. My desire to have people experience love and serenity in their life is as strong as my calling to help them achieve love and serenity in their active dying. I have never been afraid of death or the dead - and this was long before I had cancer. I have always found death strangely calming because it was the only thing I knew for sure. So these thoughts and my desire to live a holistic and not a fragemented life, led me to place everything about me into one blog and this is it. Three days ago I started a gratitude journal and I will share that here. I am in the middle of a rigorous job search and I will post that here. I am still working to live the healthiest life I can and I will post that here. I working at placing love and trust at the forefront of my daily practice, and I will post that here. And I am about to embark on a wonderful, joy-filled part of my life as a seminary student and I will most definitely post that here. So, walk with me. Find you own inspiration, love and serenity and let's have a conversation. There is so much to share in this life - in my life - and I want to know what is going on in your life. I want to hear your heartbeat. So bring your life, loves, triumphs and even your disappointments here or keep them to yourself if you wish just allow yourself to live every moment fully. That is my wish for all of you. To be in love with yourself and with your life. It is going to be quite a trip. In peace, Keisha

2 comments:

Amy Elaine said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I think this next leg is going to be awesome.

Minkgirl said...

A beautiful post. I love and respond to the call for integration. You will be a kick ass minister.