It is November, and I’ve just about hit the halfway point of my planned journey. But, like most things in life, it isn’t turning out like I expected. For instance, I’ve hardly read any of the books that were on my original list, nor have I developed that meditation practice I keep talking about. And rather than finding a spiritual path that makes me feel at home and welcome, I continue to feel out of place no matter where I turn.
Take, for example, mommy blogs. I’m a stay-at-home mommy of a kindergartener, and it is important to me to spend time teaching my son, even though we don’t homeschool. We also like to do seasonal crafts and other cool things like that, and mommy blogs are a great source for ideas. But, for some reason, it seems like the vast majority of mommy blogs are run by fiercely Christian women. Many of them aren’t exceptionally vocal about their beliefs, but there is definitely a subtle undercurrent that an outsider can’t miss.
I also feel like an outsider when I’m indulging in my more “esoteric” hobbies, like Tarot. So many people in that Tarot community are die-hard Pagans, and their beliefs also come through very strongly on their websites and through their forum posts.
Clearly, there isn’t anything wrong with people being vocal about their spiritual beliefs. I actually find it really fascinating to see how, say, being a Christian can be working into math lessons. But, at the same time, it can also be isolating for those of us who don’t share those spiritual beliefs. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud when I’m interacting with the women on the mommy blogs. There seems to be an assumption that if you are posting you must be Christian too. And, I’m pretty uncomfortable with that.
Of course, this is my problem. There is no real segregation on the Internet. We can mix with whomever we’d like, and share as much or as little about our lives as we’d like. And, in actuality, I’ve found a lot of the people whom I interact with to be very accepting. Even though I am an “outsider”, I’ve been given the chance to review Christian-based parenting books and webinars, all of which I’ve actually taken a lot away from.
This outsider/insider feeling is helping my spiritual journey in some unexpected ways. First, I’m learning to live with the uncomfortable feeling it causes in me, which is a tremendous feat for someone who hates to be uncomfortable. I’m also learning that a lot of the boundaries between insider and outsider are just drawn inside our own heads, and that people are much more accepting than we generally think. At the start of this project, I felt a bit odd about wanting to read the Koran, the Bible, the Lotus Sutra, etc. because these aren’t books of my faith, but now I more clearly realize that the outsider label I was taking on when reading these is something I am applying to myself, and that the insiders of these faiths want people to read their holy books and to interact with them with regards to their religion. All it took was some welcoming ladies from mommy blogs and Jesus-centric math worksheets to make me realize this.
Next month: I finally begin my regular meditation practice… or do I?