Final part 4 of 4.
And finally, continuing this blog entry, the third reason for my quest for the west was a spiritual one. This part will drift significantly from the topic of moving out west to explore my more spiritual side of my life. It will not be the entire and last thing I write on this subject as it is too complex and layered to summarize within a few paragraphs.
I have pursued many religious paths in my life but not actually committed to any of them, to explain better let’s look at how I was raised. In my years growing up I associated our family with the Anglican faith however my parents never made me go to church. I recall that for several years, until my early teens, we did attend Christmas Eve Mass but it was never mandatory for me to go. They believed that I should be allowed to explore my own beliefs and to make my own choices when it comes to religion.
When I was a young teenager I labeled myself as “agnostic” believing in a higher power but not any one specifically. I had a lot of experiences treading along the line between darkness and light and I had, though I have not used it much in years, the ability to sense or read emotions in others. Those of you who are fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation will recall the character Deanna Troi. She was an empath with one human and one empathic parent, so a half breed if you will. I can’t claim the same upbringing but I do know that my abilities in the realm of empathy were quite strong but unstable.
In my late teens at the end of high school I met up with other friends who were exploring the Christian faith. I will write more about my experiences another time but one of them was too bent on “if you are on the fence you are on Satan’s side” and that was just too much for me. I don’t believe that God forces people to believe in him and the “you’re either in or you are out” attitude is not free will – our most precious gift from our creator. I used my free will and went out, way out, and leaned towards agnosticism and even close to atheism at one point, pushing me is not the way to get me to go along with an idea.
When I moved to Brampton I tried to go to mass one Christmas but I found church after church after church CLOSED on Christmas Eve. I didn’t even think that churches closed. These were Christian churches, ones that believed that Jesus Christ lived and died and that Christmas was a time to celebrate their god. I finally arrived, on foot, at one on the east side of the city, but got there just as the program was ending. I was offered a ride but instead I walked all the way home, about three or so kilometres. It gave me a lot of time to think and reconsider exploring the Christian faith any further. It was the last time I pursued attending church for Christmas Eve. I realized that you did not have to attend church and sit in a building to find a connection to God unfortunately my emotional state was still quite chaotic and this new knowledge would not benefit me for another decade at least.
I had always had a certain connection with nature, animals, and the world around me without having to label it as one religion or another. I would talk to animals, many times in front of other people, and a few times with witnesses that the animals “appeared” to understand me. I remember standing outside of a hospital in Columbus, Ohio with someone and we saw a couple deer come out of the trees near the street. We were standing about a hundred feet away and, while the parking lot was full of cars, there was no one else nearby. I was concerned they would be struck by a vehicle that might come into the lot so I raised my hand up to my waist level and said softly “go back it isn’t safe here” and the two deer, standing looking at me, turned and bounded back into the trees. Now, one could say they just reacted to seeing motion and I would accept that if I hadn’t had probably a dozen other examples since. Yes, I have another example. I was standing outside of my work with another co-worker. A raven flew overhead and I waved up at it. My co-worker kind of looked at me jokingly until the bird circled over the building and came back for a second pass over and changed its flight path. He believed me after that I could communicate with animals particularly birds.
It was around 1999 or so that I was introduced to neo-paganism and it felt very familiar to me. While the idea of paying homage to gods and goddesses was not overly appealing to me it did seem to explain a lot of the other experiences I was having from talking to animals, my empathic abilities in the past, and the visualization and transference of energy between plant, animal and humans. My first “soulfriend” introduced me to the belief structure and it became a part of my own spiritualism and still is today. I have two “soulfriends” and one “soulbrother” by the way, in case you were wondering, people for whom I have or have had a very close spiritual connection with almost like we knew each other in previous lives.
Since that time, I’ve learned, though not enough I see, to follow my “gut instinct” when it comes to where I should be in the world, literally and spiritually.
And now, where am I? I have evolved past neo-paganism to believe in something called Pantheism. I have found that most Christians have no clue what Pantheism is so I will explain it in the simplest forms. First, Pantheists are not atheists because we believe in a higher power than ourselves. Second, Pantheists do not believe in Hell, Hell is just a place in the Christian world. Third, Pantheists believe that we are Gods, not in the sense of Gods and Goddesses but that our very being is a part of the bigger picture. We are at one with everything around us, as I say, “we believe that everything is connected and a part of the spirit from paperclips to planets”. We see energy in everything around us and some believe that with practise we can manipulate that energy.
When I traveled out west I had a single goal in mind. Yes, you can say it was to find work and move here but that’s not a spiritual goal so much as a necessity. Financially I could have remained in Ontario for a few more months but it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do and that is where the spiritual side comes in. The single goal I had in mind was to reach the Pacific Ocean. To complete life long “bucket list” item to “see the ocean” and to feel the energy associated with it. I will go into detail more in another entry, but for now I will say that I completed that goal and in that sense, I don’t have a reason to remain here. That being said there are many layers to that comment and it’s not the final decision or final answer to everything. The goal was to reach the ocean. The ocean is in British Columbia. I have been to British Columbia several times and I think that the goal to reach the ocean stemmed from two things.
When I was working up north I took a vacation in Vancouver, BC, I was very close to the ocean but never actually went there so in that regard it felt like I had to go back to finish what I started. And second, I had heard about the ocean so much growing up that I just wanted to see it. I would have settled for the Atlantic Ocean but then you factor in the mountains and opportunities at the time and the Pacific became my goal. And I did.
There’s a lot more I want to write on the spiritual side of my life, so I think I will end off this blog with what I have written so far. I believe that a blog, like a journal, is a mixture of questions and answers. When you read it and you look into another person’s life, their struggles, their achievements, but most of all their questions. I don’t wrap my entries up in pretty little paragraphs meant to be mini-novels. I write like a journal entry, what blogs were once based upon, and from that you walk away with answers to some things and new questions to others.
The ending remarks for this story would be that I have achieved my goal in coming out west and I’m now preparing for the next adventure wherever that might be.
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