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The D word

I never thought that I would ever come to a point in my marriage that I would seriously consider divorce as an option. I had heard before that marriage would be a challenge at the best of times, I never expected that it would be easy. I also never expected that it would be as difficult as it is.

I never thought that I would go through phases where I would lose my sense of self, or identity. Where I would somehow become mom, photographer, wife, but would completely forget who Kendra was before all of that. I never thought I would reach a point in my life where I couldn’t remember the dreams I had once laid out for myself, where I would forget the purpose I gave myself for being here.

And yet, last year, after being legally separated for a just over a year, unbeknownst to many of our friends and family, Brad and I were faced with having to come to a very grim decision. Either decide to fight for our marriage, or go through with our divorce.

It has taken me months and months to come to a decision that has felt like my own. With so many influences such as what our friends and family thought, to the future of our daughter I really had a hard time tuning in to how I felt about the situation. How I felt about that god-awful “D word” – divorce. It terrified us so much that we stayed in limbo for a very long time.

I wasn’t until after a very late night talk with a friend at Foundation Workshop earlier this year that I was presented with a perspective that really put things in perspective for me. My friend said something along the lines of: “Divorce will only change your path for a short period of time, but it won’t change your destination. In the end you will get old. Tia will marry, have babies, you will end up in an elderly-home, and eventually you will die. If you work things out, the same. Tia will marry, have babies, you’ll be a grandma in a home, and eventually you will die. And even if you stay together until Tia is grown and then divorce the destination will remain the same. If you stay together it will be very hard. You will have to make a choice every day to be kind, compassionate, loving and trusting, even when you feel none of it. If you divorce, you will have to learn to be alone again. Neither will be an easy path, or a pleasant path. Living in limbo is killing you though, all you have to do is make a decision for where you want your life to go right now.” I mulled over those words for weeks, haunted by them. For the first time I became inherently aware of my own fear of failure. I decided to seek out personal counseling.

I had seen counselors in the past for many reason – but to be honest, I had never been just for myself. It was very interesting to go each week and just vent to a living sounding board. Someone who would listen, and point out contradictions in the things I said without ever passing judgement on me. Someone who could offer up advice if I asked for it, offer a little motivation, break problems that felt like mountains back into molehills, or just hear me out without interrupting me.

Prior to Foundation, I had been discussing art and the subject of my seemingly imminent divorce with another friend, and she asked me if I had ever photographed Brad, and once I started thinking about it, with the exception of stand-ins for light tests and whatnot or the odd family portrait, I hadn’t. I hadn’t ever taken a portrait of Brad, or documented him any way. I did, however, feel a great deal of resistance towards doing so.

I do believe that resistance is a sign we should do something. As Steven Pressfield says “The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference“. Meaning, if we really don’t care to do something we usually feel apathetic towards it. If we feel compelled or repelled by something, either way we are feeling something very strong, which means it’s of importance to us, and should be further explored.

In marriage you don’t go suddenly from being attracted to repelling your partner (with the exception of an unexpected interruption such as an infidelity, or violence). The attraction generally slowly fades until there is nothing. From there, resentment can build, and build until you slowly begin to repel.

So when I started seeing my counselor in March of this year I explained to her that I was pretty sure I was about to go through a divorce, now that we were at the repelling stage, but wasn’t really sure what I wanted, and that I was a photographer who had never photographed her husband in an intimate setting, but felt a lot of resistance towards the idea of it. Of course, she agreed that I should photograph Brad, as it might lead to some insight about how I really felt about our pending divorce.

The thing about photographing people well, is that you have to really SEE them. Over the course of our marriage we had somehow stopped really seeing one another. We had become business partners, parents, homeowners, but somehow stopped being humans who had agreed to be life long companions. We stopped being humans who made mistakes, humans who felt, humans who needed to feel loved and appreciated, and somewhere along we way, we became expectations of what we thought our marriage was supposed to be. I felt shame for not seeing Brad more, as I went though the process of photographing him.

It wasn’t immediately apparent to me. It wasn’t until I was editing some pictures I had taken of Brad that I realized I had failed to notice so much about him. When had his hair gotten so grey along the temples? When had these creases formed around his eyes? When had this young love of mine matured in a sophisticated looking man? Nearly a decade has passed since we’ve been together now. My, how our world has changed.

We used to joyride when we first met. Throw fruit off his 25th story apartment balcony into the highway below for shits and giggles. We used to eat at the beach, makeout in public places, get drunk on a Tuesday, and go dancing after work. We went out with friends. We did the things we wanted, and the things we loved. We traveled and saw the world together. We used to be young and reckless. We used to dream together.

Now we mostly wear sweatpants and try to make spare time to get the dishes done before they attract fruit flies.

How could we have ignored this transformation? How had it become somehow easier to exchange lonely and tired knowing looks, than to address them? Ignorance is bliss, I guess, until it’s not.

I think the toughest thing about marriage is that you are always kind of alone in it. Your friends and family will always try to give you advice. They will shame you. They will tell you that you are making the wrong decision, no matter what decision you make. They will be full of opinions for things they know nothing about, because they aren’t in the marriage day-to-day, trudging through the shit with you. They only witness the highest highs and lowest lows. Even within the marriage you can only be responsible for yourself. You are responsible for your feelings and your actions. You have to give up the fear of failure based on what your partner’s responses are to your actions. To put that in clearer, more personal terms: I had to make a choice to act in a more loving and compassionate way towards Brad, for myself – without expecting my actions to be reciprocated, and without letting my fear of rejection and failure keep me from acting at all.

At the end of the day you are responsible for how you feel, what your thoughts, words, and actions are surrounding your marriage. When I was finished editing my first set of images of Brad, I was pretty surprised by my thoughts about the images. He was suddenly handsome again. His smile made me smile. His eyes looked kind and bright. I suddenly felt a little attracted again. He looked a little worn down and tired in some ways too, I thought, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit empathetic towards him. My thoughts have slowly become the way I feel, and loving and compassionate actions are beginning to come easier to me now.

I’m not saying that I started photographing my husband and suddenly saved my marriage, because that’s not the case. What I am saying is that I started photographing my husband and it forced me to notice how much I was missing him in my life, and was the catalyst for change.

Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Changing my thought patterns around my marriage has not been easy, but it has been worthwhile, and I wouldn’t have been able to explore my thoughts without first, the encouragement of my friends, and secondly without being brave enough to try.

Often times our fears stand in the way of self discovery. We are so afraid to discover what we might find inside of ourselves that we avoid self-exploration completely. Discovering that I wasn’t seeing my husband was a painful self-discovery to make, but making it has also given me a chance to explore why, to make a change, and to heal my broken heart.

So I end on this piece of advice, for those who find themselves in a place in their marriage that feels like purgatory and they feel like their lives are out of their control:
Let go of your fears. Choose what will make you happy right now. You can’t control other people’s actions or reactions. You can’t change other people, and you can’t change the destination point of your life. Eventually you too, will get old and die, it’s going to happen, there is no stopping it, so you might as well make sure that the things you do while you’re here are things you’ll have no regrets about. If acting with love, compassion, and kindness feels too far out of reach for you right now, just know that actions begin with words, which begin with thoughts. Thoughts are within your control, and thoughts can be changed.

my husband001
my husband002
my husband003

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August 12, 2014 - 5:23 AM

Darren - “Now we mostly wear sweatpants and try to make spare time to get the dishes done before they attract fruit flies.”
Well said.

What The Bhagavad Gita Is Teaching Me

These lines from the Bhagavad Gita get me every time:

Krishna: “I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in the atmosphere and ability in man.”

I am Vishnu. I am the radiant sun among the luminaries; I am the controller of wind; I am the moon among the stars. (10.21)

I am the Vedas. I am the celestial rulers. I am the mind among the senses; I am the consciousness in living be­ings. (10.22)

I am the origin of all beings, O Arjuna. There is nothing, ani­mate or inanimate, that can exist without Me. (10.39)

There is no end of My divine manifestations, O Arjuna. This is only a brief description by Me of the extent of My divine manifestations. (10.40)

Whatever is endowed with glory, brilliance, and power—know that to be a manifestation of a very small fraction of My splendor. (10.41)

This is where Arjuna has a spiritual awakening and suddenly sees god in everything. every rock, tree, plant, animal, human, every cell, every atom, every nano-particle in the universe. He discovers that god is not a being but a driving force of energy behind all things.

Arjuna: “O Lord of the universe, I see You everywhere with infinite forms, with many arms, stomachs, faces, and eyes. O Universal Form, I see neither your beginning nor the middle nor the end. (11.16)

You are the primal God, the most ancient Person. You are the ultimate resort of the entire universe. You are the knower, the object of knowledge, and the Supreme Abode. O Lord of the infinite form, You pervade the entire universe. (11.38)

You are the fire, the wind, the water god, the moon god, the Creator, as well as the father of the Creator, and the controller of death. Salutations to You a thousand times, and again and again salutations to You. (11.39)

My salutations to You from front and from behind. O Lord, my obeisance to You from all sides. You are infinite valor and boundless might. You pervade everything, and, therefore, You are everywhere and in everything. (11.40)

Considering You merely as a friend and not knowing Your greatness, I have inadvertently addressed You as O Krishna, O Yadava, and O friend merely out of affection or carelessness. (11.41)

In whatever way I may have insulted You in jokes while playing, resting in bed, sitting, or at meals; when alone or in front of others, O Krishna, the immeasurable One, I implore You for forgiveness. (11.42)”

ViratswarupVishnualsunendlicherGottderallesumfasst

It affects me so, because suddenly, as I am driving up Lougheed Highway I see it too. I have to pull my car over I am so overwhelmed.
Suddenly I see it too; in every rock, leaf, face that whizzed by me in a car, the fraser river flowing beside me, every breath I inhaled. I feel God in it all. I shake. I cry. I can barely breathe in the moment.

Those fearsome looking Hindu gods with multiple arms and faces are suddenly beautiful and understood and my Christian based fears of worshiping statues or deities or multiple Gods dissipates. Knowledge, compassion & understanding begins to wash away my own fears and doubt, and I see for the first time that my god is everyone’s god, and everyone’s god is my own because there has never been a moment the universe has existed without god. I am overwhelmed by every cruel word I’ve ever spoken, every ignorant action, every time I have denied god’s existence. I am suddenly aware of everything I’ve put into my body, I am aware of every intuition I have ignored. Of every friend I’ve abandoned in a time of need, of every mistake I’ve ever made, of every time I chided my little sister, or got snappish with my mother, or was short tempered with Brad, and the guilt is overwhelming. God existed in it all. It feels like I have slapped god in the face. How shameful. How could I be so ungrateful to a universe that has offered me so much, and has asked nothing in return of me. I feel desperately troubled. I too fall into despair.

I have spent MONTHS, pouring over these scriptures. I have read them almost daily. In fact I have read the Bhagavad Gita so many times now I barely even need a written copy to relate it.

I have been thinking heavily about what this means, and why God would insist that Arjuna fight in a war, despite him urging Arjuna to be gentle with all living things since all things were god. What god would insist that we destroy any part of god? The teachings are so contradictory that they baffle my mind. I want to curl up and die because I just don’t understand, so I have begun to replace Arjuna with Kendra throughout the scriptures, and see if they apply directly to my life.

“Do not become a coward, O Kendra, because it does not befit you. Shake off this trivial weakness of your heart and get up for the battle, O Kendra. (2.03)

I am at war too, and though my war is not as tangible as the war depicted in the book it is no less real. If I’m being honest, I think that those who can only see that the Bhagavad Gita advocates war and violence (which is the most literal way you could take this very abstract teaching) are wildly blinded by ignorance, because the story of the war, is only one particular situation and example, meant to translate timeless ideas to time bound people in a completely different century. My war is really no different than the one Arjuna faces. I am at war to do the right thing.

Which for me, is to consume less, and to preserve the earth & all beings on it. It is to be accountable and responsible for my actions (though the fruit of my actions is to be left to god) to be kind and good to myself and others, to see god in everything, to create, to see and enjoy beauty, to release ego and fear.

All of which seems next to impossible in a world marked by war, anger, desire, jealously and hatred. I mean, I turn on the news and I am overwhelmed. I cry at every death, I am so deeply affected by the turmoil. The world’s pain has become my own.

I am trapped in a world driven by oil, and energy consumption that I cannot escape. At every turn I am forced to face the choices of my forefathers. The cruel and disgusting legacy I’ve been left, and have ignorantly helped to create. And now, with this new found consciousness have to wage war against my own people by renouncing my own drive to consume with them. My own friends and family. I have to make changes in my own life that will likely displease them, (for example, there is a really good chance I’m done with Christmas over-consumption/gift giving, or eating meat, or contributing to this insane Global trade that is causing suffering in impoverished countries, or supporting politicians with hidden agendas. The water in my fridge has crystals in it, it’s the only water I have for visitors. Each day I am setting time aside for meditation.) In the depths of my soul I know these things are right for me. I can’t deny them anymore, as difficult as they will be to manifest in my life, I now feel it’s my only choice.

I feel these words were spoken to me directly, when I consider abandoning my new found spirituality:

People will talk about your disgrace for a long time. To the honorable, dishonor is worse than death. (2.34)

The great warriors will think that you have retreated from the battle out of fear. Those who have greatly esteemed you will lose respect for you. (2.35)

Your enemies will speak many unmentionable words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful to you than this? (2.36)

You will go to heaven if killed in the line of duty, or you will enjoy the kingdom on the earth if victorious. Therefore, get up with a determination to fight, O Kendra. (2.37)

So I guess I’m now I’m officially declaring war on my ego. I am officially declaring war on my fear. I am officially declaring war on out-of-control-desire. I am officially declaring war on all the parts of myself that do not lead me toward my true path and final goal.

Still, one thing has confused me. Why would such a great god create all of this chaos? Surely that’s the working of the devil? But I’m beginning to draw this conclusion.  There is no “god” or “devil” in the traditional sense at least. No “good” or “evil”. Just consciousness and unconsciousness. “God” is impartial to it all.  God is non-partisan. God is the driving energy force in the creation and endurance of life, and in death too, but god’s energy runs much deeper than most of us can fathom. God exists on the tiniest level of existence and therefore the largest, God is infinite, and not restricted by time, and has no physical body. God, or spirit literally is unmanifest. Everything that is dead, living, or yet to be living. It’s hard to even wrap your mind around the infiniteness of it. The three gunas are simply part of god, but are not god itself, and god itself is not restricted to them, as we are in these mortal bodies.

Whatever one offers to Me with devotion; a leaf; a flower; a fruit; a cup of water; I will accept, if offered with a pure heart
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform — do that, O Kendra, as an offering to Me. 
In this way you will be freed from bondage to work and its auspicious and inauspicious results. With your mind fixed on Me in this principle of renunciation, you will be liberated and come to Me.  I am the same to all beings. I favor none, and reject none, but those who worship me live within me, and I within them. 
Even the heartless criminal, if he loves me with all his heart, will certainly grow into sainthood on this path. Quickly that man becomes pure, his heart finds eternal peace. Kendra, No one who truly loves me will ever be lost. All those who love and trust me, even those born into the lowest of situations: prostitutes, beggars, slaves, will attain the ultimate goal. How much easier than for ordinary people or for those with pure hearts. In this sad vanishing world turn to me, and find freedom. Concentrate your mind on me, fill your heart with my presence, love me, worship me, and you shall attain peace at last. (9.22-9.34)

I know that going forward with this consciousness the choices I make now will greatly affect my future, and the future of the world I leave behind. The thing about consciousness is once you become truly aware of something is much more difficult to deny it’s existence. I will undoubtedly falter, but will learn at every mistake and press forward on my path towards spirit. For me I have no idea where the path even goes. I just know how it begins. It begins with self, and it requires much meditation and self-reflection, which I am now making time for in my life, for the first time. I take a lot of comfort in this last line:

No effort in this vast perishing world is lost or wasted; a fragment of sacred duty saves you from great undoing. (2.40)

Suddenly I feel very excited about the future.

 In my next post I’ll discuss how all of this is directly affecting my art.

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Reflections | Weddings

What a beautiful life!

On the way to yesterday’s wedding ceremony I admittedly broke down and cried, after watching her get ready, overwhelmed thinking about how it must be fate that Katie & Andrew had met.

Out of a universe formed out an exploding star, these two souls made from stardust, (literally, made from atoms that came from the stars, which over billions of years evolved into intelligent life capable of love and compassion) found each other, again. Not just on this planet, or even galaxy. But within this ever expanding universe.

The thought just blew my mind. How could it just be chance? How could it not be destiny written in the stars? Our purpose in life? To love. It’s undeniable.

On the surface weddings can seem superficial, expensive cakes and shoes, opulent bouquets and jewelry, lavish food and drinks, music and dresses and suits and all of the other excess. To some they are just an unnecessary waste of money. But when I really stop to think of it – is there anything more worth celebrating than love?

In a world of suffering, is there a better reason to bring people together than to celebrate love? Seeing these two surrounded by love in every facet of their lives was incredible. Friends snuggling their babies on the lawn, parents reconnecting with old friends, relatives meeting new relatives and laughing together over pie and coffee, new friendships forming in the photobooth.

It was just awe inspiring. I am so grateful to have been a witness to it all.

It is without doubt fate, that I have come to photograph weddings, if nothing else, just be regularly reminded that all you need is love.

kendra coupland wedding photography

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The Fear of “God”

“I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.”

“There is a divine plan of goodness for my work.”

“My dreams come from God and God has the  power to accomplish them.”

These are some of the affirmations I am facing this week as I work through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. The Artist’s Way is a self-led workbook for those seeking a path to creativity through spirituality. Now, I have always considered myself to be a pretty spiritual woman. I haven’t ever really subscribed to a God, or a religion, but I have always believed that there was an energy in the universe that existed beyond me. Actually, I don’t just believe it. In the depths of my soul I know this to be true. It is probably the only thing I am completely sure about.

That all being said, I have struggled with these affirmations.

I almost feel as if the words “God” or “Creator” or “religion” no longer resonate with me. They are words attached to hate for me. How many wars have been fought in the name of “God?” How many deaths have been the cause of those fighting for “religious beliefs.” It’s not something that I want to be a part of – any God or religion that brings with it immense suffering.

Deep down I know this suffering is man-made. Deep down I know that the creative (and I’m not talking about artistically creative, so much as the building blocks of the universe, though they are one in the same) energy that I believe to be “God” doesn’t cause suffering. Ignorance does. Still, these words “God” and “Creator” don’t sit well with me.

After listening to some readings from Eknath Easwaran on the Upanishads today, I was flabbergasted by the idea that the hydrogen that exists within my body are atoms that came directly from exploding stars, and all at once I felt so connected to the universe. I rushed to Facebook excited to share this new-found discovery with my friends and family only to pause, seeing that I had typed out “talk about being connected to God”. Immediately I feared what people would think of me. Would they assume I was a born-again Christian? If so, why did I feel such shame? Would they assume that the changes I have been through were some midlife crisis where I suddenly “found God” and was saved? If so, why did I feel such shame? Why did I feel the need to have to explain myself to people who hadn’t even asked?

So I find myself on a hunt for a new word to describe this energy I feel, acknowledge, love, and enjoy. Ashamed, I type out the word “universe” hoping that then, someone will understand this infinite vast energy I feel connected to. It’s the only thing I can think of nearly as vast and infinite as ‘God’, and even then I have no doubts in my mind that ‘God’ is vaster and more infinite. I fear being misunderstood so much. I fear being made to feel invalid, or alone in this thing that moves me so much. In this thing that is of such great importance to me.

In the past year or so I have absolutely undergone some sort of spiritual awakening. There is no doubting that. I sort of feel as if I have been inside of an egg, like a tiny chick, pecking and scratching at the membrane. Then I made a small crack through, and all of that infinite universal energy came pouring in. I can’t close the crack now, I can’t turn it off. Every day the crack gets bigger and more light comes in whether I want it to or not. Every day I am forced to face myself. My voice, my truth, my reason for existence is there in front of me everywhere I go.

I once described it to a friend as if I was going through the hallways of myself opening up doors and seeing what was behind each of them. I had done this all my life. Every time I faced a challenge I’d look within, open a door and find a solution.  I was going through some major life changes, in my marriage and creative work. I don’t normally pray, or meditate, but this one day I did. I did because Steven Pressfield had said to give it a try in The War of Art – as he had invoked the muses by reciting the prayer at the  opening of Homer’s “Odyssey“.  I took a deep breathe, said a prayer and went into my photographic work, in a trance-like state. As I worked silently at the computer, I went into myself searching for answers.

Just like any other day I opened up a door, but instead of a one lined vague answer about what I was searching for (which was what I usually got), was a crazy psychedelic outpouring of information. It was a sensory overload. Sounds, smells, visuals, tastes I cannot even explain. Like every sound in the universe all went off at once, like I saw the face of every living creature in the universe at once, like I could smell and taste and breathe and move about “God.” It was just a split second that this happened, but it was honestly the most frightening thing that has ever happened to me. I literally walked around the house, shaking and talking to myself, convinced I had lost my mind. Or that I was having a panic attack, or maybe an acid flashback from the one time I tried acid as a teen. Maybe this was bi-polar and I was suddenly manic. I called my best friend, and I’m sure in that moment I convinced him too, that I had lost my mind. I called Brad and told him he better take me to the hospital, I had snapped.  What I didn’t know, at the time, but I know for sure looking back on it, was that I was having an epiphany. A moment of revelation, where everything I had prayed for came to me at once, or perhaps, I came to realize that it had been there all along. It was like some cosmic being punched me straight in the fucking third eye.

Months later when I read the Bhagavad Gita, I suddenly felt such compassion for Arjuna when Krishna revealed his true infinite self to him. I knew exactly how that felt. How overwhelming it was, how it nearly caused me to faint.

Arjuna says this of his cosmic vision of Krishna in his infinite form: “You are behind me and in front of me; I bow to you on every side. A thousand times I bow. Your power is immeasurable. You prevade everything; you are everything. If ever I called you friend, or companion, carelessly; whatever I may have said while we were playing, or resting alone or in company, sitting together or eating, if it was disrespectful – forgive me, O Lord. I did not know the greatness of your nature, unchanging and imperishable.”

Now I get that this sounds vague and fantastical. I’m sure to some, Arjuna’s cosmic vision of Krishna’s million divine forms, with his millions of arms, eyes, teeth, celestial garments and weapons, blazing more brilliant than 10,000 suns, multitudes of gods and demi gods pouring out of his billion mouths which are crushing and eating the flesh of the warriors he is battling seems equally overwhelming. Like some sort of scary fantasy, or an acid flashback, or suddenly becoming manic. But I know the vision exactly. It was my own.

I wish that I had some other way of explaining it. I do believe that there are something things in life that we just can’t explain though. Somethings we just have to feel, and feel for ourselves. When you feel it though, you cannot deny it’s existence. So I cannot deny my own awakening.  I can’t close the door. (Believe me, I have tried.) I can’t become ignorant to the things I know to be true. I know this energy, to be true. When you see God in everything there is no looking away.

Recently I have been told (on two occasions) that this is just a phase I’m going through. Each of the people who have said this to me are slightly older than me – perhaps a decade at most, claiming they too had a phase of spirituality, but that in time, it faded. I was made to feel my awakening was just a personal crisis.

I felt so outraged! To be made to feel that I am somehow less. That my vision, or experience was somehow less – because they had “been there, done that” before. That they had gone there, read every bible or scripture, and found nothing. That somehow I was only capable of having a personal crisis, and that I was not worthy of having a prayer answered. That I was not actually receiving confirmation of a belief I have carried with me straight from the womb. Not something my parents forced on me, or brought me up to believe, but something I knew within my core, but had not yet fully acknowledged.

How infuriating to have my experience, my beliefs, my religion, albeit not a shared religion, belittled. To have these people to tell me to not read too much into the Bhagavad Gita, lest I “take it too seriously”, since clearly I am not an intelligent, conscious being capable of separating my personal life experiences from the scriptures, and it would be insane to imagine that I would be able to absorb anything positive from studying the scriptures on my own.

Instantly I am taken back to my sixth grade classroom, in a group of 11 year old mean-girls, who I joined in mocking a girl for being a “bible thumper”. I am overcome with great, great shame. Suddenly I understand why one would die for their religion. How one could become fanatical. How God’s name came to be smeared in anger, hate, and blood. A lack of compassion – which every single ancient scripture teaches us to be the path to enlightenment, is to blame.

It’s then I feel peace with it all. How overwhelmingly frustrating must that feel? That disconnect from the universe? That not knowing for sure? How infuriating it must be to rack the library, scripture after scripture, bible after bible, looking for some answer but never finding it, because it doesn’t exist in a book. To never stop and realize that the answer we seek does exist, and it exists within US! That energy exists in each of us, but to live a life, searching for it and never tapping into it must be purgatory. To be forcefully ignorant to it would feel like poison.  I am overcome with compassion for those who’ve yet to find their light and reason.

I believe we tap into it in different ways. It’s sort of like feeling around in the dark, you go by intuition – it’s the only way to find it. Some of us, obsessed with health and vitality – run, without reason, we cant explain the gut feeling part of it all, the reason you do it – it just feels good. It just feels right. You just feel better eating well and living well. Hindus might consider this a type of worship in itself – and possibly even sattvic worship.

Some of us go to school forever, ever expanding our minds with new information, trying to understand the world around us.  Some meditate, some do yoga. Some worship one God, or many Gods. Some of us devote our lives to church. Some of us make art, what better way to get to know the creator than to create ourselves (even if this isn’t our initial intention.) How we search and find God in various places – and why should we not if God exists within everything – even if we don’t acknowledge God’s presence.

It’s here in this moment that I suddenly feel compassion for myself, and less shame about using the word God. I don’t have all of the answers. I don’t know what God is. I just know it’s an energy, joy, and love I sense and feel in everything. I feel no shame in that. While those particular affirmations may be something I need to meditate on for awhile until they feel comfortable I will find ones in the meantime that make me feel secure in my beliefs.

“Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.”

“I am willing to let God create through me.”

“I am willing to experience my creative energy.”

“My creativity always leads me to truth and love.”

I feel less heavy when I use the word God in those affirmations, and I can’t wait to see where this all leads.

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