Spiritual Genes

You know how God is described as big and omnipotent? I find it interesting people want to be big and omnipotent too. It makes me wonder if there are spiritual genes. Genes passed to us from whatever created us, God or whatever you choose to call it. I’m even okay if you call it stuff or atoms or whatever.

I wonder if there isn’t something that gets passed to each and every one of us which is spiritual in nature. Things for which we will never find a physical gene, if you get my drift. I mean, there are very few people who don’t want to do something more, be something more. Yet, we are so physically limited and have such limited time to do or be all we dream of doing or being.

What’s interesting about this concept of spiritual genes, spiritual concepts that seem to feel good inside for all of us, is every person who encounters them and begins to employ them in their life just wants to experience them more. They rarely involve money or fame or prestige — it’s a different feeling and it feels very, very good.

It’s not about power either. Leaders of countries or major corporations seldom appear to be, historically anyway, super happy figures. Even in the present, those who would subscribe to the idea that they can do what no other can do, they can accomplish what no other can accomplish, seem to miss out on a certain peace and serenity. Of course, leaders of any country or major corporation have a lot on their mind and some of it is big and heavy stuff.

As a former, on-the-ground, walking-the-beat, pound-the-pavement activist, the more successful I was the more challenging it became to stay focused; centered on the good. There were jealousies, those who generally just look to bring other people down and greater and greater demands from those with very real needs. I can’t even imagine what is is like to lead a country. My little world got so big very quickly.

I walked away from it all at one point – it got to be too much. People I loved and cared about were upset with my success, and that was very painful for me. Today I have some healthier boundaries, but such things are still painful. What I know today is it is painful for them as well.

I’m not co-dependent, I probably lean a bit the toward the other extreme. Lots of folks face codependency issues every day. Less than positive feelings, tension, concerns and such are painful feelings and can be overwhelming. It is more comfortable to acquiesce to other’s needs and demands than disappoint them, easier to change ourselves than love ourselves as we are. The reality is meeting everyone’s needs and demands is impossible. I must pick and choose while staying true to myself and whatever moral compass I believe guides this universe.

In my case, I like to ask for guidance. I’m just not always too smart in this regard, so I try to think of what might be the right thing to do. I pray, I meditate (and you are free to define these as you so choose, as it works best for you — no need to assume or try to mimic how it works for me). But after these quiet periods, I often seek out other human beings to discuss it with, usually three different folks, with differing views.

As a side note, most of us experienced pain during and after the election. Either we were demonized for our positions or demonizing someone else for theirs. None of this feels good and none of this emotionally imbued rhetoric reflects our spiritual side; none of it is true to our spiritual genes.

We don’t really want to hate each other, or be afraid of each other. When we are so verbal in our dislike it is usually a sign of how afraid we are. Faith has no position in this viewpoint, and, technically, it is a sign we have lost faith in humanity. I ask folks to consider this because if we don’t have faith in humanity, why need it continue? When we lose faith in each other it can lead to a very dark place indeed. We would do better to reach out and listen. We can share too. But we can only really listen when we set our assumptions aside and believe we are speaking to another human being, doing the best they can to get through today. We don’t have to agree with them, we don’t have to change our belief system — but we can accomplish nothing until we can both speak and listen from our hearts.

Disagreement is only an indication of darkness or evil if we rely upon acceptance or agreement from another to define our value. I am here to let you know you are valuable just as you are — even if we have never spoken, I know this is true about you.  How? Well, it turned out to be true about me. It didn’t seem like it for many years, but it turned out if I could have only known this I’d have avoided so much pain and concern. Even on my worst day, I was of value, I offered a lesson, I made a contribution of some sort.

Today, by some grace, people no longer look at me and think, ‘but for the Grace of God go I.’ People seem to like being around me more. The only real difference I am aware of is that I truly believe I have some purpose, some value to contribute to society, even if I am not sure what it is from moment to moment. Regardless of what anyone else might say or think, inside I know I am worth loving and lovable, I can give and receive, I and listen and be heard, I can take action and rejuvenate — just like everyone else. I may not always express or even believe this ‘perfectly’, but I believe it enough today to feel much better about who I am and what I have to offer. So I say to you, again, you have value and something to contribute and nothing you believe or say can change that — it is the way of the universe. Things of no value are tossed. Since you are still here, you are making an impact, contributing to change and so on. It’s like basic math, true no matter what.

Okay, took a major detour there to let you know I love and value you (hugs). Now back to my three people with differing views. I was asked to canvass once in an area where the vast majority of people had opinions far different from mine. All expenses were paid and being a poor college student I went despite concerns of my peers for my safety; my life.

Friends suggested I remove certain bumper stickers, dress differently, do something different with my hair and overall try to fit in, lest my life be at risk. Frankly, these friends had me on edge when I arrived at my canvassing destination.

Once there, I went to work. The people I was sent to speak to, fellow citizens with differing views, were, by all accounts, very kind. Many invited me in to chat, to hear my position and then took time to explain theirs. It was a very ‘human’ experience, a very ‘spiritual’ one too.

I was one amongst many and gained a respect not only for my fellow humans who were demonized by so many in my circle, but also glad to be treated as a fellow human amongst them. They certainly had no reason to welcome or listen to me — I was not from their community, but they did so anyway. So far from the stereotype I could have easily bought into, a stereotype handed freely to me from others I also respected.

It taught me differing opinions is not the same as being evil. Differing opinions doesn’t mean we can’t talk. It doesn’t mean we can’t find some similarities on which we can agree, even if we don’t agree on everything.

Few humans agree with each other on everything — I know this is true. Even when we are presented a picture of a group of people who who appear to agree with each other, they often do not. It is a game of mirrors and mazes.

Consider the Duggars. A TV family of great faith who presented itself as highly functional with little or no dissension amongst them. We know today there were differences of opinion and even dysfunction. Sadly, for the Duggars, they were placed in a position where many said, “See, we told you so…” in some reference to one aspect or another of their belief system. The reality is they are human, and they have differences and some experience dysfunction. We might better be asking how we can assist than pointing the finger of ‘I told you so’ their direction. I’m not suggesting they would take such help, but from a spiritual perspective, it seems a healthier option for ourselves and them.

It is true, there are some folks who worry me more than others – no question. When people start purporting solutions of violence or such, it’s a concern. I have a different belief system and it doesn’t impinge on anyone’s right to live as they choose, would not terminate their life, etc. Some of the most spiritual acts I have ever witnessed offered forgiveness over the execution of justice as one human sees fit to pass upon another.

There are times, of course, we must ensure the safety of the larger society from those who would engage in violent acts against some or all of it. These are difficult decisions too.

But forgiveness seems to be one of those spiritual genes we all have. If we can achieve, act and engage in forgiveness, there is a healing which seems to wash over us. It’s not easy to let go of things sometimes, to forgive, but it has been, for me, always a journey worth taking. The freedom I feel when I let the actions of a person go seem to free me to be more; to continue my journey – grant me passage to contribute to life in new and uplifting ways.

Being of service is another spiritual gene. To give without concern of what we receive in return is an amazing feeling. People who engage in random acts of kindness know what I’m talking about. I felt it first at a young age. My grandmother shared about May day. The first day of May where children would gather flowers and leave them on the doorsteps of unsuspecting neighbors. They would knock on the door and run and hide. The person who answered would find a gift of Spring, a bouquet, without a message, without strings or expectations — just a beautiful gift.

Of course, my first practice of this as a child left me feeling giddy inside each time I spied on someone opening the door and finding their flowers. One woman scared me as she shouted out, in my direction, “Thank you so much! These are beautiful!” I thought she had seen me and the jig was up. But she just closed the door, and I snuck away sure my cover was still in tact.

There are so many positive spiritual genes we all possess. Yet, sometimes life gets so hectic, so demanding, I simply forget to practice them. My spiritual fitness suffers, my tolerance suffers, my faith that everything will work out suffers, my body tires, my pain heightens. I am always glad when something clicks and asks me, “Have you gotten out of yourself today, P.Christine? If not, why not take a moment to do so? Have you felt gratitude for the gifts in your life? Have you encircled someone with love? Said a prayer for anyone? Did you manage to do something for which you received nor expected any credit?”

Then I think to myself, “Well, that is a lot to do in just one day!” (smiles)

But the spiritual genes inside me just laugh and remind me there are no demands, no requirements of how much I do, it just feels good, feels right, to do these things. So why not do one? And I think, “Yes, that would feel good!”

Not all spiritual endeavors turn out as I expect. Sometimes I give what is not desired. My intention was good, I did my best, but I missed the mark. I try, now, to give the gift of listening to understand better. I think sometimes we get tripped up trying to do something spiritual which misses the mark and then we are twice shy. But if we listen to what is being said, look at the results of our effort, we have guidance for next time. Regardless, our effort is of value — it has taken me quite of bit of practice to get as mediocre as I am at service today (giggles). Folks seem to appreciate, at a minimum, my effort.

The best example I can provide is I used to pray that people receive the things I wanted for myself. At the time I wanted a red, classic Mustang, a boat, more vacation and to travel whenever I wanted without ever running out of cash. So I would pray others could have these things too. Nothing wrong with that prayer (smiles), and it did no harm that I can see. But its substance explains a bit why some of my gifts to others missed the mark. Not everyone wants these things.

Today my prayers are more ethereal. Even if someone asks me to prayer for something more specific, I usually pray for others to have peace and serenity, to maintain their faith, to hope they can get through whatever challenges they face and that they can love themselves and others. It’s a simple prayer and I’m hopeful no one would significantly object if they came to have all those things/feelings.

Since, in my world, having expectations often leads to disappointment, I try to ensure any prayer I say need not set an expectation for anyone else either. I try not to demand much from God, since God is large and in charge and omnipotent, and I only see what I see in my small world.

I have no idea about all the inter-workings of the universe or how they interact or what should happen with them. I’m just me. I see my house everyday, sometimes I run little errands and see those parts of the universe, but overall I see such a minute part of it on any given day. In my whole lifespan, I will only see it is minutia.

I can’t be in charge of it, I don’t see the whole picture. So I trust whatever does see the whole picture to do what needs to be done, and even to help me figure out what to do in my little speck of the universe today.

It helps keep me from being overwhelmed. I say “I try”, because I’m human. I don’t achieve this everyday. I’m not ‘fear’ free. I can get worked up about things. But, with some time, I have gotten better at letting things I can’t change go, knowing something will happen, even if I don’t like what happens, and then something else will happen after that, and so on.

Change is continuous, and I will like some of it and I will not like some of it. I try to stay in that place, and when I’m not there, I try to figure out how to get back – in my own time, in my own way. And it does take me time – it’s not the snap of a finger and I’m back to serene or feeling gratitude or a sense of assuredness that things will work out.

I’m not perfect, but I do learn, I do make progress, I get better at doing these things. I’ve had a difficult several months recently, basement flooding with sewage, house in disarray, new roof required but no one interested in replacing it, financial fears and people in my home without the best of intentions for me.

I have also had angels come through during this period. It was hard for me to stay focused on them, hard for me to remember their gifts or respite and hope. But I am seeing it more clearly now.

This is what I am talking about. I’m not always in a good space, who is? No need to punish myself for failure — perfect people are so, well, not to judge, but difficult for me to be around — I just can never measure up to them. I like being a human that fails amongst other humans that fail. I get them; they seem to get me. I’m not angel material, at least not yet. I’ll keep practicing though. No one is born a National Basketball League pro player, but some are both guided toward and practice enough to achieve such a status.

So I keep practicing as best I can and asking for guidance.

I just want to do my best to be the best me I can. An odd statement, since I can never be less than the best me at any moment. If I could do better, I would. But knowing when I am missing the mark, today, does more to motivate me to find my way to a better place, even when at the same time my brain wants to tell me to fight or flee. I have no doubt there are spiritual genes in me, driving me to overcome, to continue the journey to keep striving to be more.

I still wonder if everyone has them. Do you feel them too? Let me know your experience – this topic interests me.

Regardless, I am pleased to finally be coming out the other side of these difficult past several months. God sent me three angels today, three good and kind and compassionate people to help me and engage me, let me help them too. Angels know I need to give back too – that’s how you know you have them nearby. They pick you up when you have nothing to give, and value your talents when you are able to give. It would be easier to recognize them in difficult times if they didn’t hide their wings from view – but, alas, I don’t control that either.

Peace to you all, thanks for following me on my journeys. Peace.

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