Although I pretty much feel like a Florida cracker since I've been in Florida most of my life, I hail from cold country, Rochester, New York. I first attended the Unity Church of St. Petersburg in about 1993. What brought me there was a desperate search for answers. Who was I and what was I doing here? I certainly didn't believe that we came to this planet to suffer and struggle. There had to be more to it.
As my friend who referred me to Unity once told me back then, I was only just scratching the surface of my spiritual journey. Oh how right he was. I was so intrigued that there was a religion out there that after attending service on Sunday,left you feeling inspired and positive about yourself and your life. I wanted to know more.
I began attending workshops and classes. Eventually I even went to New Thought conferences. Over the years I attended three new thought conferences, including one in Safety Harbor, one in San Antonio, Texas and lastly, Phoenix Arizona. I have also attended a couple of the "I Can Do It " conferences in Tampa; many of the teachers there were Unity Church ministers or members. I have read dozens of spiritual books and usually have two or more going at once. I found that Unity was a satisfying religion that continued to challenge me. The principles are basically simple, yet not particularly easy to live by. Taking responsibility for one's thoughts and circumstances is not necessary an easy thing to do, especially when things are going so hot. But through my studies, I have come to realize there is no other way for me. The beauty of that, though, is that we also have the power to improve our lives and create our own magnificence! I liked that idea. So when things got sticky as they often do in life, I was always drawn back to the Unity teachings. They just make sense.
When I am not taking classes or reading spiritual materials, I am either singing,dancing or writing. Being a Pisces, I'm going in many different directions. It's always been hard for me to settle on one thing, because I just want to do it all. So when I am not working, I am practicing singing songs for church and church choir, singing karaoke at an assisted living facility, practicing dance routines for the Second Time Arounders Marching Band and/or Glitter Sisters, writing poems for my next Poetry meeting or taking photos for my line of cards. Okay, it is a little bit much, but as I said, I want to "do it all". There are so many wonderful things in life to get involved in. Why just settle for one or two?
But in all I do, I take with me my spirituality. I do try to convey to others that life is a wonderful and awesome ride, meant to be celebrated not just tolerated. I start out nearly every day with my own self-designed prayer practice. I began reading the Daily Word many years ago first thing in the morning. A very good friend of mine initially sent me a subscription to DW way before I ever went to a Unity Church. In gratitude, I now pay for her yearly subscription. I like to allow a half hour to an hour and a half for that very special time of my day that gets me grounded and helps me stay centered and strong. I still read the Daily Word every day, but I've also included reading other daily subscriptions such as Daily Inspiration for Better Living, Science of Mind, and daily readings from the book, "God Calling". I spend a few minutes writing in my gratitude journal, doing EFT, and reading a few daily messages online (which I read on my phone). Then I go into meditation anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. This, indeed, helps me to start my day out on the right foot and gives me peace of mind. If I wake up with something on my mind, by the time I'm done with my "quiet time", I have worked through or worked out whatever the issue was.
A personal experience I will share that was very difficult, was going through my last divorce. I really thought this marriage would last forever. However...it did not and splitting up was such a dark and difficult experience. I remember going to the grocery store and actually crying through the aisles, but managing to keep the tears inside so no one would see. It was so painful. I decided not to share my feelings with my friends until I had processed them myself, which was the best thing I ever did. I spent hours at the park praying, listening to positive tapes and writing out my feelings. By the time I told my friends, some of which were quite perturbed that I hadn't "shared my misery", I was much stronger and able to deal with my emotions, rather than staying stuck in misery.
In answering what I am most grateful for, I would have to say for being on the spiritual path and having spiritual tools to use in dealing with life's ups and downs. I am grateful I have a partner, Dave, who is also on the spiritual path as well. We spend a lot of time talking and growing together. I am also very grateful for my wonderful church family, my biological family and my friends.