Let's get acquainted! Like 0 Twitter Andrea S Follow Oct. 11, 2016, 4:38 p.m. in Religion Views: 756 Like us on facebook Hello! You are welcome here. Let me share a little about myself and why this blog was created. My name is Andrea. I see myself as funny (there are terrible puns ahead, you’ve been warned), passionate about many things, creative, and a problem solver. I’m also a lifelong learner – perpetually teacher, student, or both. All of these attributes and an interest in writing led me here. But why this particular ‘here’? I make no claim to being a mindfulness expert or religious scholar or therapist. I believe in enlightenment through the sacred and the secular. I believe – wholeheartedly – that we humans can take solace in meaningful quietude and in supporting others, whatever form that takes. Science says it’s good for us, too! More on that later. I was raised in a conservative Christian household, but in my 20s I made a conscious choice to ‘unbelieve’ the tenets I grew up with. My parents had both come upon a particular brand of Christianity through search and careful consideration. I, on the other hand, had been born into the regular practice of their faith, and so acquired my own. But I wanted to choose for myself, the way they had. I started to pull away during my last years of college and first years of independence. I wanted to ask why and why not, and to hear what other spiritually contented people had to say. You may have met a person who quietly glows with certainty and/or faith, goodwill to others, and irreproachable character. The path I’d been taking didn’t lead me to be that glowing individual. So I wonder now, is there another path, and if so, what does it look like? I’m not here to preach or exalt one system over another. I’d simply like to invite you to join me in exploring ideas, experiencing the heart and mind as a whole, and uplifting and encouraging each other. We all touch many lives a day – let’s find some light and shed it around us. To find light assumes several things. It assumes first that we are not already surrounded by light, that we have experienced an absence of opposite of it, or maybe that we have lost it at some point. Absence of light is darkness. Sometimes the dark is beautiful – when it’s warm, when it’s shared with love, when it’s chosen. Sometimes, though, darkness is uninvited and unwanted. It is then we search for light to push it out of reach and out of mind. The process of finding can indicate the result of a search or perhaps stumbling upon by chance. “A find,” said of a purchase or of a partner, for example, can mean something precious or desired to be held onto. And so we seek light as something worthy. By ‘shedding light’ I mean two things. First I imagine scattering our inner radiance like leaves from a tree. We drop little bits of light along our way to illuminate the ways of others, and often because we simply can’t contain all the light of the infinite; it must be shared. Remember that ethereal glow we see in some? That’s my goal. I’m writing to help keep myself on a well-lit path. And whether I achieve it through service to others, love, my career, spirituality, religion, or giving, I want people to be able to find the light I leave behind. The second idea of shedding light is the more common metaphor of turning on a lamp to better see beauty, a concept, a text we wish to learn, or an idea that may be of benefit to someone else. Come with me, we’ll shed light on as much wisdom as we have time for. Sometimes I’ll draw from sacred texts, sometimes from secular, other times from modern gurus or even people who I know to be deliberately mindful. Today’s thought is just my own. I drafted this post on vacation at the beach, and really it was the seed of this entire blog. I was in the water, bobbing up and down with the ocean waves, and I asked my husband, “Do you think it’s silly to be so entertained by floating in the water, or is it silly not to be?” Unintended Hamlet reference aside, it seemed a valid question. “Think of the expanse, the sheer bigness of all this water. I can’t even fathom the volume I can see, and it goes all the way to Europe and Africa! And it’s so powerful – waves and hurricanes and the like. But here at this shore it’s gentle enough to play, to float. Wouldn’t it bring joy to whatever higher power is out there to know we were taking so much pleasure in this earth?!” My husband agreed (to a far calmer degree) and I swam and smiled at the infinite, and I could swear it smiled back. Today I’d love you to tell us about the time you felt most connected to something greater than yourself. For me, it was when I was in elementary school. It was the middle of the night and a strong storm had come up suddenly. I remember blue lightning flashing almost constantly and thunder roaring on its heels. Going back to sleep wasn’t an option. I got out of bed, thinking I’d head over to my parents’ room where things were always safer, but lost my nerve halfway across my floor. I stood there, body stiff and muscles shaking, certain we were all about to be struck by lightning, or worse. So I started to pray for peace. Looking back. I wonder that I didn’t ask the storm to pass or my parents to come rescue me. All I wanted was not to be afraid anymore. One or two minutes passed and I felt a soft warmth in my chest. My body relaxed, my muscles returned to a calm and ready state, and my mind cleared. I slept soundly the rest of the night. You are invited to reply to any post with a question or comment! As always, remember to let your light shine as you craft your response. 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