Happy late summer 2013 to you! How has your summer gone? I know mine has flown by. Today felt like Thursday and I had to keep reminding myself it's already Friday!
For those of you who follow my exploits, I've been kinda 'outwardly' quiet lately. But don't let that fool you. Me and my fantastic team are in the process of cooking up some really great stuff for single and coupled lesbians, to be announced this fall. For example, stay tuned for the re-launch of my very popular radio show
this fall. We're in the process of revamping the show. I'm now working with a producer who is going to bring Lesbian Love Talk to even greater quality and heights!
If you aren't yet a subscriber, it's free so, get on the list now to stay in the loop.
And, here's what else you can do to help us create great shows in the future: Email me and ask me the really important questions you have about being single, dating and your relationship. You know: the ones you fear asking, the ones that keep you up at night, the ones that stress you out or that you can't seem to resolve. Or, tell me what topics you want us to cover. Lesbian Love Talk is YOUR show so, tell me what you want!
Today, let's talk about you and your spiritual health. Spirituality is an important part of you, whether you actually believe in a God or not. As a mental health professional, I've always looked at one's spiritual self as part of (not separate from) one's emotional health. For example, whether or not there is a God or hereafter, those who have faith in 'something greater than themselves' tend, according to studies, to enjoy better mental health here and now, on earth.
Now the conflict for many of us non-straights has been the fact that we haven't always been welcomed by mainstream religion. In fact, many of us have been ignored or outright ridiculed, so we've stayed away. For example, I was raised Catholic and, believe you and me, in the 1970's and 1980's when I was growing up, no one was talking openly about sexual orientation. If they were it was only in a negative sense.
I am not a scholar of the church obviously, in fact I won't waste my time looking it up, but I'm sure if you checked the history books the pope at that time was probably saying, if anything at all, that gays were disordered or sinful. To protect my own self esteem (I think a normal and healthy reaction) I stopped attending church and religious education after my confirmation, in high school. It seems I even knew, back then as a young pup, that it would be hypocritical for me to attend a church where I couldn't be my whole, authentic self.
I recommend it might be a good idea for you to do some 'soul searching' into your spiritual self if you haven't already done so. What irrational beliefs are you still carrying around? What negative memories do you have? Has spiritual violence been visited upon you, by society and even yourself, because of negative beliefs and practices you've seen and/or experienced?
Perhaps, for example, you need to unearth, mourn, let go of and replace negative beliefs you've buried, that may be still unconsciously affecting you today. I know, sounds kind of deep, eh? Well, let me give you a real life example. Over the years I've counseled or coached dozens of lesbian couples. More than once I've met a couple who has been together for decades, but they still aren't 'out' to family because they fear a religiously-minded relative's reaction to this truth. You can imagine how this state of affairs has affected their relationship, such as how much less support they've been able to enjoy.
Or, how about the lesbian who still feels guilty when she makes love to her wife, because she carries around spiritual beliefs she learned in childhood that says gay sex is bad, whether or not it is within the context of a loving, committed relationship? You think this isn't having some sort of negative effect on her and her partner!?!
The good news is that most of us now have a choice to let go of this baggage and open our hearts to an accepting and loving spirituality (and community) if we so chose it. Once we can get it that these old, untrue beliefs and events are in the past, we can live now with greater truth, honesty and freedom. Ah....out with you depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, etc.
Speaking of which, I don't know about you but I've always been drawn to the big questions of life such as 'why am I here?' and 'what happens when we die?' And, as someone with lots of (some say too much) education, I believe evolution and creationism can both be true. Why not? Yes, science is very important, but that doesn't mean it explains all there is. On the other side of the coin, looking at some of the 'wing nut' beliefs passed around on the religious and political right today, you can see the dangers of ignoring science too often/too much.
So, in the service of giving you hope about 'a life hereafter' if you doubt it, 'unleashing the possibility of re-uniting with the church of your childhood' or 'feeling safe about allowing religion into your life again' I would like to share with you two stories that may resonate for you:
1) The Quiet Gay Right's Revolution in America's Churches. This online piece in the Atlantic examines how far we've come in such a short period of time when it comes to mainstream's church's acceptance of LGBT's. In this article you will be reminded that, just in the past couple of weeks the new pope (for the first time ever) made a 'neutral', non-judgmental statement about gays and lesbians. No, it wasn't a sign he is going to open his arms to us anytime soon, but hey, most change - even revolutionary change - often starts small.
2) Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife - This very popular and intriguing new book, by Eben Alexander, is literally changing lives. I've been a curious onlooker of the NDE or Near Death Experience and reincarnation movements for years. I get it that these experiences could be 'delusions' or false, however, I am taken by the possibility that certain unusual experiences by others (as well as their belief in the truth of them) show that there is truth to them.
In Proof of Heaven, Dr. Alexander catches a rare brain illness that almost killed him, leaving him in a coma for several weeks. While in a coma, Alexander goes through an 'other worldly' experience and lives to tell us about it. I've read the excerpts and I just got the audio version the other day and plan to start listening this weekend while on the road.
I would recommend reading both of the above pieces and reflect upon your reactions.
See you soon!
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