Artwork: “Flourish” by Timothy Jozef
Don’t let anyone else tell you what you need on your journey. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you “should” do. Don’t let people “should” on you and, most importantly, don’t “should” on yourself. These spiritual journeys come in all forms. Sometimes, what other people claim as the necessities of evolution are totally spot on. At other times, the Universe is so hell-bent on this co-created conspiracy to help you be a better you, that the experiences and choices that lead to evolution, that lead to forward movement are not the conventional ones, are shocking even. And I am grateful for that.
Salvation looks all kinds of ways. On my Facebook page, several years ago, I created a photo album: “This is what salvation looks like”. It was a very difficult time in my life–one of the MOST difficult–and everyday, several times each day, I needed to be reminded that there was a reason why I was there in that moment, why I was here on this planet. I needed something to hold onto. And every day, the Universe gave me something to hold on to. I haven’t kept up with the practice of documenting those moments in that same way. And, of course, there were many moments that were better left undocumented. But still, every day–and more and more now that I can sit with myself, in myself, in my power–I have moments where I think, “this is what salvation looks like.”
Sometimes, salvation means sitting in formal house of worship, listening, praying traditional prayers, and crying. Sometimes, salvation is a poem, a piece of jewelry, live music with people you love, or the perfect cocktail. Sometimes, it is a bowl of soup, a song, turquoise water, or a punching bag. At one point, painting my bedroom bright red was salvific. That red paint drew in everything I could have asked it to. And then, it took it all away. So getting rid of that paint was equally salvific. Those days of salvation? They were hard times. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel that way again. I hope I’ll never feel that way again. And yet, at the same time, I feel a sense of nostalgia for those moments when I was struggling so hard that the tiniest thing could literally feel like god reaching through the bullshit of the world, of my life, and giving me a hug.
People move through recovery in so many forms–sobriety, self-care, therapy, 12 step meetings, meditation retreats, creative practice. Recovery isn’t about recovering FROM something. Recovery is a process of discovery. It is a process of relearning, of remembering who we are. Of being honest with oneself about what one can and cannot handle. About what one needs in life. It means breaking old patterns and forming new ones. And that is what brings me to this moment.
Recently, salvation has mostly looked like me owning my own shit, organizing my life, getting up early, doing all those stupid little things that make a difference in the end–save time, make money. But sometimes, salvation is lying in bed late on a random Thursday morning and having your ass grabbed a little bit tighter every time you attempt to move. Thank all the deities for smart phones, for the ability to work in bed–not that I suggest or advise working in bed. I like to keep work at work or at least in a work space as much as possible. But I also don’t advise being overly dogmatic about anything. Sometimes, salvation is doing the thing you advise against just to ensure that your heart is open and your mind is still as agile as it was many years ago–hopefully more–so that, once again, you can allow yourself to be saved in an infinite number of ways.