Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Feeling a wee bit adrift....

I'm pretty confused.
I'm not religious or spiritual any more. I used to be SO MUCH.
BIG reasons why I'm not now. Won't go into that here! (Although I did explain it, here...)
But anyway.... it isn't that I miss it, it's just strange, having to learn to be something different to what I was.

When your faith drops out of your life it takes a few years for the dust to settle. And now that it has, I find myself not knowing what my "moral compass" is. What is my "philosophy of life"- and do I even need one?

In my past I would turn to my religion. I would think of the Bible or some saint. Like St Therese of Liseaux. She wrote about her "Little Way" which was basically "purity of intention". She was in an enclosed convent so couldn't do much for her companions in a big way. But in her "little way" she said that if she put lots of love and meaning into the little things she COULD do, that would make them worth as much as something big.

-Basically doing your best and putting others first.
Though I've been warned, usually by well meaning therapists that this can be taken too far.
When I was nine years old I remember my teacher at school telling us,
"Always put the donkey last. YOU are the donkey."
-And I applied it even to the smallest thing.
Perhaps this was partly why I was unable to stand up to bullies.

I find myself slipping into it quite naturally even now.
I make two cups of tea, one for me and one for a guest. I spoil one of them by pouring too much milk into the cup. So I have that one, and give the better one to the guest. Even though I cannot
stand milky tea. Nothing is said, nothing is noticed. It's natural, internal. So some things hang over from one life to the next, from the religious to the secular.

But when I was a Christian, and especially when I was a Catholic, if, every now and then, I felt like I needed a spring clean on the inside, I would go to God, or even to "Confession", get the "slate wiped clean" and, essentially, *start over*. It was a way of drawing a line and starting again, with good intentions to be better, etc. etc. The mental relief was outstanding. A huge weight would disappear from my shoulders and I'd carry on, refreshed. I truly think it's how the human race got by without psycotherapy for so long =)

Well I currently feel like a tumble dryer that needs its lint filter cleaning out. And I no longer know how to do it, because I don't have those outlets any more. How do I draw a line and carry on refreshed, if I don't have anything to draw the line with any more?

I have a friend who also used to be a Church-goer and regular pray-er. She's stopped going along lately. Says she can't seem to believe in it any more. I worry for her. She is giving up more than she realises. I hope she isn't doing it lightly. I have no regrets about my decision, but when it comes to advice on others' beliefs I can't give any, except to say that life with faith is a little more straightforward than life without it, not because it gives all the answers, but because it just has fewer questions.

sorry to go heavy on you all... I HAVE been crafting.... I'll lighten up next time with some photo's of what I've been working on!


Feronia said...

Helena, I hear exactly what you're saying. Although I have never been particularly religious - or, at least, involved in organised religion - I have been going through some pretty big things over the last 18 months or so which have led me to question what I believe in, how I see myself and really, what I'm all about. For a fair bit of that time I have felt myself to be a bit rudderless, a bit in free fall. Lately though, I have started to see even that feeling as a good thing, because this path I've lately been on has opened me up to looking at things outside of where I had normally looked. This isn't to say that the free-fall-y feeling isn't often around the corner, but now I find I am starting on the whole to look at it all with a slightly more positive (and wider) eye.
Hugs :)

Chrissy said...

Hi Helena, an interesting post. Made me laugh about the tea, I think we all do a little of that.
I used to be religious but I found I cannot go along with the organised stuff.
I guess I am spiritual though in a way..that would be difficult to put into words for sure, lol
After my bruv died, I reckon I went through the darkest winter of my life which I really could not overcome. But, when I got out the other side, I found emersing myself in nature could stop that free falling feeling.
I have to be careful here because lots of people could be reading and it is that time of year that can badly affect anyone who is prone to depression. I don't want to seem like a champion for any one thing because I don't think there are any "fit all" answers.
But for me, walking through the leaves, sitting and watching the birds, crawling around looking at mushies cleanses my head!
I guess it comes down to finding what will do it for you...

Angel and Kirby said...

Helena, Even those in an organized religion experience that free fall feeling. I was raised in that type of religion but have stopped attending. I still have that inner faith and belief but is does not stop the free fall. I have to find external stimulation to help. I an usually a loaner but find friends and companions help me the most.

Ginger Jasper said...

I can relate to what you are saying. Except when I was a child I have never gone to church regularly, but do always pull on god when things dont go well, It is some kind of comfort I think.. I look forward to seeing your crafting. luv Carol and GJ x

Julie said...

I think St Therese had it right whether you are religious or not but certainly you /one shouldn't tkae this to extremes as that's not beneficial. I think too that Chrissie has it right. And friends are important too.

I can identify with your comparison to a tumble dryer's lint trap. Maybe you have to give yourself permission to draw a line under things you need to leave behind and look to the future.

Anonymous said...


It's hard I know, but please stop being hard on yourself.

There are many out there who seem to hold fast to their religion but they actually know very little about what they do, believe, or tell what's right from wrong.

I guess you got to have some faith in your good-nature, and give your conscience a good pat. Like it or not, it's exclusively yours; to help bring joy to others and yourself, not to ruin you.

One forsakes the medicine that doesn't work and dispose it for good. It's fine if your previous religion doesn't work for you, try putting it behind. It's tiring thinking one needs to empty what's bad within. Before you know it, you may be emptying yourself.

I'm actually envious of people who try to discover life at an elevated view, or prolonged search, and finally found an answer to their lifetime question. I hope you do find the true revelation one day and with that, great release and joy. Just keep your heart opened all the time.

Hugs, for I know you've been good.

Anonymous said...

As a reader of your blogs, I am going to be very brave (Bob will understand) and venture my opinion. I always see very clearly what you believe in: deep caring and concern for the living creatures of this earth. Most especially for the vulnerable who are helpless and at the mercy of human cruelty. I know you believe that cruelty is as wrong as wrong can be; and you react accordingly when you come across ugly injustice, and thoughtless, hateful, horrendous behavior. I know that you are a steward of thoughtful kindness, caring, generosity, compassion, and those qualities demonstrate light in the midst of the darkness we see so often in our society. Anyone who has truthfully faced human society and the unspeakable darkness it often exhibits and the pain inflicted, will sometimes know the feelings of hopelessness and the seemingly unbearable pain of being lost that are bound to appear. As you care for the plants and animals in your environment, I hope you will be able to see the bond you have with them as an example of what you do believe in. DBH

Lynda (Granny K) said...

I wish I could put my thoughts into words, but I know a man who can.....

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. Dalai Lama

Love and hugs, Lynda

Lorianna said...

Mmm, Helena, we appear to be in that same drifting boat...
I can't stand dogma and being told how to behave and how to feel. I have a huge bleeding heart though, like you. I am the one who would walk through a snowstorm to save a cold meowing kitty and then silently put up with my husband yelling at me for doing it. (and also consider putting him out in the snow for a bit)
I think I may not be as nice as you... ;)
You are, to me, an absolutely evolved, amazing, thinking, feeling, loving person.
In confession, one is seeking forgiveness for whatever is weighing on their mind. But, why do we feel so burdened with only being human? Really, all we can do is be our best and try to be better when we lapse and act not so nicely.
My husband basically admitted that he tries to believe in a creator just to "cover his butt" in case their is an after life. That's not a good and comforting reason to believe, but that's how he was raised. Believe because you HAVE TO out of fear? Yuck! Not for me.
I agree losing faith in a higher power is a bit lonely at times. I want to believe, but I don't want to believe in a judgemental man keeping a tally. So, that leaves me still questioning.
You are quite brave to admit that you don't believe. I think most people will understand and not give you a hard time about it.
Perhaps just believing in a Greater Good is enough. Sometimes there is no Good to be found and we have to wait for it to come out of hiding. Sometimes with people like you the greater Good is inside, your mind, thoughts, feelings, morals.
Some days we see the lighthouse and sometimes there's nothing but fog...
You know what? I like you so much!
Oh, I don't care for milk in my tea , so no worries there. And I would always give you the cup without the chip and the bigger slice of cake. :)
Sending Lots Of Hugs,
Lorianna, who is up too late and should try to sleep before dawn.

Helena said...

)))thank you so much, everyone(((

Dragonstar said...

I used to be a totally committed Christian, so much so that I was training to be a Lay Preacher. One day I realised that I was beginning to believe things that my religion dissapproved. I went through nearly two years of hell when I realised that I couln't believe any more in something that had been so important to me. What if I was wrong? Would I go to Hell?
That was a very bad time, but a long time ago, and I came through it. Without the dogma I'm now free to make up my mind about the things that matter to me.
I still consider myself to be deeply spiritual, but in a wider way. If you need confession, talk to a tree, or the clouds, or the fresh wind. They all listen, and not one of them is judgemental.
Oops. End of lecture!

Helena said...

THanks, Dragonstar :) and I like the idea of pouring it all out to a tree. A nice big oak, I think. I'll keep my eyes peeled for one ;)

Shirley said...

Ditto, Helena. Perhaps life is just to do the best you can by yourself and others. That seems to really make the atheist not seem so stark.