Religion is My Vehicle

This weekend, someone irritated me. Pretty straightforward sentence, amiright? We all irritate each other, this I know. This I know. I prolly bugged some people with my repetition of “this I know.” and prolly bugged some more by using the word, “prolly” and prolly bugged some more with my sudden devil-may-care attitude about punctuation.
You get my drift.

But really, this weekend, someone BUGGED me. I couldn’t get over it! And then I hated myself for being irritated at someone else, for not only being uncharitable but also? The fact that one person can get to me SO MUCH proves that I’m somehow emotionally immature.
I feel shame for feeling irritated. And shame always has PERFECTIONISM riding on it’s back, and there I was… chopping green onions in my kitchen in a warped emotional spin cycle of irritation, shame, perfection, irritation, shame, perfection….

Those poor green onions caught the brunt, I tell ya.

The next day, I was talking with my counselor over the phone. At the end of my session, I brought my Spin Cycle up… and then I said these revealing words, “It’s just that this woman reminds me SO MUCH of who I was 7 years ago and I just have absolutely no compassion for the way I used to be. I look back on the way I lived and the choices I made and all I can think is, ‘What a royal screw-up.’…. … … Oh my gosh.”
Right there.
Right there was the realization, the heavy moment where I understood just how much acceptance and compassion I DON’T HAVE for My Past Self.
And you know what she said in reply?
“Okay, Alicia. I’ve got another client right now, so let’s schedule our next session…”

It felt like a hug, guys. Ha!

I hung up the phone and blinked for awhile.

I accept myself now. I LOVE myself now. I feel good about the future before me. But you know where I keep getting stuck? In the past, and all I can hear is that wise line from The Lion King that goes, “You’ve got to put your past behind you” because right now, my jittery behind is just IN THE PAST. There’s so many resentments I hold that I don’t know how to let go of, and the truth is that MOST of the resentments I hold are toward myself, My Past Self.

My Past Self blogged a lot more, right? Because she needed it. She needed the validation. She did Jillian Michael’s shred stuff. She baked on Tuesdays and cleaned on Mondays and Wednesdays were for laundry and she wore her tiny pants and curled her hair and kneaded bread dough wearing homemade aprons and pulled freshly baked bread out of a clean oven using her homemade hot pads.
I freaking HATE that girl!

She was so caught up in it all -working to earn love, her own love and love from everyone else, including God.

In those days, I really thought I was living a life with God at the helm, but I wasn’t. I was at the helm, pretending to be God. I was like those 3 year old toddlers who slip on their mother’s high heels and slips and feel very much Matron of the Home about it all. The wise saying, “There is only one God, and it is not me” comes to mind.  I went to church every Sunday and I paid tithes and offerings. I signed up for service projects and prayed when I should.

Spirituality was my vehicle in my Religious world… Spirituality carted me around through My Religious Life.

Seven therapy-filled, tear-filled, and support-group filled years later, I just have to say:

I don’t wear my tiny pants anymore. I don’t bake like that anymore. My house looks like it is undergoing renovations, and it really isn’t. I promise. I don’t blog as much.

Something huge happened inside of me… a seed cracked open and grew -it sounds simple, but lemme tell you: simple things aren’t always EASY THINGS or PAIN-FREE things. The seed growing in me now is spiritual. In the last seven years, I have found God. The biggest thing I’ve learned about Him is that I know close to nothing about Him. I thought I did! I thought I did!! But I was incredibly wrong.
Religion isn’t where I live.
Spirituality isn’t my vehicle.


Religion is my vehicle as I road-trip through this spiritual life. And guess what? I still pay my tithes and I still go to church, but I do it for different reasons now. I really thought I was doing it for the right reasons before, but I wasn’t.

Is God in the center of my life now? Ah, sometimes. I’ve learned now that God is in the center SOMETIMES. But each day, something takes over… something scoots God over and I find I’ve teetered off course.
That text.
That phone call.
That bill.
That person.

I find my center being taken up with something circumstantial, and I have to re-center and say, “Woah, God. My mind is spinning on this. I’m obsessing. Please, just… here.”
And I hand it over. God has this huge capacity for holding stuff. I don’t know where He puts it all.
Christ handles it, so I’m told.

In the past, I just thought because I DID ALL THE RELIGIOUS STUFF that God was naturally at the center of my life.  But now I see that putting God in the center is a daily exercise that requires grace.

In this state, I find I still exercise, but not with Jillian Michaels. She went the way of the burn pile. I couldn’t handle being yelled at. Seven years ago I could! Seven years ago, I hated my fat just as much as Jillian did! But now?
Gosh, stop the yelling.

I have found myself getting my heart rate up for the health of my brain, and I take a short walk every morning with my arthritic pup. We breathe in the morning together, and the farm road we walk on is currently housing horses which is lucky because it is monsoon season and really, NOTHING smells as satisfyingly earthy and wholesome as a freshly washed horse.
Even if they want to eat your hair.

In short: I exercise because I LOVE and ACCEPT myself now. I stretch out in yoga, drink freshly-juiced green juices, eat protein and fruit because it feels so incredible! The more I settle into this new, spiritually-based way of living, the more it feels like I’m coming home. It’s the craziest feeling! As the competition and hustle falls by the wayside, I feel exactly like I’m coming home. In the words of the irresistible Tom Hanks as he reads the lines written by the irresistible Nora Ephron in the irresistible classic Sleepless in Seattle, “It was like coming home, only to no home I’d ever known.”
Plato puts it:
The era of self-punishment and earning my own love has ended. It’s through: fork-stuck DONE.

How do I bridge this? How do I send the acceptance and love I feel for myself and others NOW to the past?
It is my new mission, my new adventure.

I’m sure I’ll figure it out on my morning walks with Bronco and God.

Here’s a few pictures I’ve snapped to remind me of the changes going on in my life right now:

My go-to lunch these days!  Salads made with lots of colors and some chicken and some EVOO and some of my latest favorite: coconut balsamic vinegar. I refuse to eat leaves without my coconut balsamic vinegar.  I found it in Utah and LUCKILY just found a store in Flagstaff, AZ that sells the exact same stuff.  Praises, folks.  So many praises.

breakfastSundayGet a load of these babies!  Loving WHERE I am and practicing gratitude for it has been a big part of what I’m building here.  Reminds me of the quote, “The prize is the process.”  Loving where I am isn’t just an emotional practice where I practice acceptance for the fact that I’m not ready to forgive or apologize or whatever… it’s about just walking outside and loving it!  I live next to a Navajo Rez and this is me: loving it!  A friend gifted these to me and they don’t really leave my feet at all ever.



This is the view on my morning walk.  I know we need a house.  We are growing out of this space.  Three kids in one room.  I KNOW.  But can I leave this space? I DON’T KNOW.


Morning include meditation in the grass.  Sometimes guided, sometimes silent, sometimes both.  Usually both.



Late-night snack cravings can usually be satisfied with my roasted dandelion root herbal tea.  I can’t get enough of it A

ND the bags keep saying smart stuff.



After work, I make time for yoga.  I love going outside and guiding myself through a session while this goes on next to me.  I don’t love it when the sprinkler nails me… but Trent does.


I’m finding that hiking is something I really LOVE!  I live in the high desert, and there isn’t too much hiking around here, but we just found a great almost 3-mile (kid friendly) hike in Flagstaff.  We’ve gone twice now, and I feel so at home in that forest dirt.  Lovely!



Those of you who know me know that I’ve been struggling with health stuff like crazy.  For over two years, I’ve been battling stomach stuff.  I can’t believe it has been that long.  I’ve been in and out of docs, and nothings seems wrong.  So the ball is in my court, and I’m not very athletic… so I want to pass it.  But God says, “No.”

My routine is really important, and I have to be diligent.  God is teaching me something here.  Patience?  Acceptance?  I don’t know.

I drink clay in the morning and take glucosamine (am I spelling that right?) with my breakfast (for my inflammation).  I drink my milk kefir every morning. I make sure my breakfast is nourishing.  Each morning, I meditate.  I pray and I really try to read or listen to scriptures.  After work, I do my yoga.  I eat a nourishing lunch with greeeeeeeens.  I eat a good dinner.  I pray and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Probiotics are really important to what I’m doing here.  So I’m making my own sauerkraut.


Sometimes I sorta pinch myself.  When did this become my life?  Meditation, yoga, fermented food?  And how come it all feels like second nature?  It is surreal. homemadekraut


I’m looking to build my herbal tea collection and hiking destinations, so pass any suggestions along!

Speak Your Mind