Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Spiritual Stretch – A New Blog

By Laine Morgan

Nothing feels better to my physical body than a really long, slow stretch.  I can feel a wave of energy move through the muscles, followed by a softening and relaxing.  I am no expert of the physiology of stretching, I only know it just feels so good!
I have been keeping a personal journal since 1985 and lately I have been reading those journals, looking for insights and patterns, evidence of my growth.  In doing so, I can see that for the past 14 years, I have also been stretching spiritually.  As I have stretched spiritually, I have also experienced those waves of energy, softening and relaxing my heart and soul – very similar to the physical sensation of the stretch.

My intention for this blog is to capture some of those spiritual stretches to share with you.  I am deeply aware that my journey is not special, that I have been learning universal lessons, exploring circumstances and situations that are familiar to others.  By writing about them, I know that I will grow even more and my hope is that you will be encouraged and uplifted on your own spiritual journey.
Recently I became aware that I have always been influenced by God and religion, starting even before I was born.  To give you some history, my parents lived near Salt Lake City, Utah for many months surrounding my birth, and since they were not Mormon, I can only imagine the conversations about God and religion that were washing over me prenatally and throughout my infancy.   My very first relocation, before I was even 2, was motivated by religious beliefs and when I look back over my life, several more major moves and life decisions were also spurred on for reasons related to God.

Early in my childhood, I adored Sunday school and would go to any church with any friend who invited me.  I sang “Jesus Loves Me” with all my heart!  It wasn’t until I was 8 that my own family began to attend church ourselves, and just like he did everything else, my father flung us headlong into the entire experience.  His own upbringing was in “fire and brimstone” Pentecostal churches, so he took us to worship the familiar, judgmental, angry God of his youth.  I often joke that “Even God was mean in my house.”  I fled that religion when I moved away for college at age 18 – the first moment I was free to do so.  I tiptoed around my Baptist affiliated college, trying very hard not to step into the quicksand of religion during those 4 years.  I wasn’t entirely successful, but I did learn about another faith there.  Once I got to be fully into adulthood, religion and God moved firmly into the shadows of my life where I left them for many, many years.  Those spiritual muscles stiffened and hardened into cynicism and doubt.
I didn’t learn the difference between Spirituality and Religion until I was 37 years old, but once I had that new perspective, I realized that I had a lot of stretching to do.  So many of my beliefs about myself, about God and about a vast number of words and concepts were steeped in fundamental Christian religiosity.   I needed to excavate each of them, dust the shame off of them, remove the fear from them, shine the bright light of love on them, and allow them to stretch.  These are the things I will share in this blog.

Come along on this journey with me!  Together, we will have some regular nice, long spiritual stretches.