When people are in energy work, it is often assumed they have a certain set of beliefs and ways of seeing the world. I honestly don’t really fit a lot of those expectations. What do I believe? I guess the best phrase to sum that up for me is: I don’t know, and I’m fine with that.
I was Mormon for 40 years, born into the church, the first child of enthusiastic converts who the church helped give hope, structure and meaning to their lives. The thing is, when you are born into fundamentalism, no one ever asks what you believe unless it is to see if you are doing the program right, nor do they ask if this is working for you or not, because you are taught if it’s not working, the problem is you. When I had doubts I put them away and figured I had those doubts because I was flawed and needed to try harder, or just trust that God knows what is real and I don’t. I worked hard at self-obliteration so I could be a good Mormon, and I was largely successful at the self-obliteration part.
Just before my 41st birthday, I saw an article in the New York Times about the church considering excommunication (the Mormon term at the time for shunning and spiritual death penalty) for two prominent members for publically supporting women’s voices inside of patriarchy, and for loving and supporting LGBTQI people exactly as they are, both things I care very much about. I had a flash hit me like a bolt of lightning that the institution I had covenanted my life to was a dysfunctional organization on the higher up levels, and wasn’t just abusing those two individuals, it was sending a message that it didn’t want me either. My whole world fell apart in that instant. It wasn’t because of the article, it was because I suddenly saw the truth inside of myself. I saw all the dysfunctions I had lived with, participated in, agreed with, and even committed as a result of my membership in that church. It was a soul devastation, and spirit shattering experience on every level. To me, it felt the same as the sudden death of a loved one—completely obliterative of the old life inside of myself and out.
One of the first things that took a hit was my beliefs. I went from believing it all to being unable to see what I didn’t want to see, untruths and fabrications and spiritual bypassing everywhere. I began to lose my ability to believe in God and in Jesus as a half god half man, and everything else. I tried to keep believing in some of it and some of the beliefs took longer to vanish, but they did. I told people back then that “my believes were broken,” because that’s how it felt. I didn’t know how to live without beliefs, and I tried to figure out if the church wasn’t true what was? I told that to my oldest, and very wise adult child, and they said, “Well, that’s the question isn’t it?” I couldn’t accept that at the time because I couldn’t comprehend it. Now I think it pretty much sums up life and I’m grateful that they gave me the gift of that phrase.
I spent the next two years deprogramming and dismantling and learning and unlearning, and studying and exploring. I felt confused because I was unable to accept the spirituality of my former faith because it started to seem so outlandish to me, but what started the healing process for me was doing energy work for myself, and that was just as strange as the stuff my former faith wanted me to believe. It was hard for me to figure out how to think of it all.
Eventually, I had to come to the conclusion that I am probably what I would call a mystical agnostic. I believe in a higher power, but I don’t think it’s anything different or separate from you or me or that rock or that tree or the couch I’m sitting on right now. I think everything is god. I don’t worship anything because I think we are all the same thing. I don’t know what I believe about a lot of things that people in my line of work often believe in. I believe in some of it, like life after death and spirits, but I’m perfectly fine if I’m wrong, and even if I believe in it, I don’t totally understand it, and I think much of it we just can’t understand. Other things I just don’t really give a lot of thought to like aliens or angels. The thing is, I have found that not only are my believes still broken, I largely just don’t have a need for answers or beliefs anymore. In fact, I sometimes bristle against them when someone tries to convince me of their answers or beliefs, even if they line up with my own. I think what I like the best, the ultimate spiritual luxury is to say, “I don’t know,” and mean it. Why does it feel so good for me to say and feel “I don’t know?” Well, I don’t know.
To me healing work is about using the tools I have, even if they happen to be mystical or spiritual or energetic in nature, to help myself and you live the best life here and now. For me personally, that is what I value most, doing the energy work to help you process traumas so you can savor the delicious taste of your dinner, enjoy being in love with your partner, create your art, understand yourself better, be good to your children, love your neighbors, and walk around this planet with more ease and comfort with yourself. Some people use religion for that, some people use therapy for that, some people use art for that, some people use tradition and ritual for that, some use energy work for that. Most of us, myself included, use a combination of a lot of different things for that. Whatever works for each person best in a healthy functional way is best even if it’s different than your way or my way. For me what I do isn’t a belief system. It is a set of tools. I’m just good at working with that kind of thing, and that’s all there is to it.
I know how to do it well because I am naturally a mystical kind of person, and because I have had a lot of training and experience, not because I am so righteous or have found the truth and the magic bullet for all people. It’s not for all people. It’s for me. It’s for the people I work with, but there are billions of people on this planet, so billions of ways to see the world and the universe and our place in it. Whatever is best for a person to believe as long as it isn’t done in a dysfunctional way is best for them. It is a tool that works for me. I’m just this kind of person, so I do this kind of work. That’s pretty much it.
So for my 49 years and counting of being a spiritual person inside and outside of religion, inside of energy work, as an artist, and all the family roles I’ve ha
d in this life, and all the places I’ve lived, and everything I’ve experienced—and it is a lot, what I do I believe? I don’t know, and I’m fine with that. Now I’m going to put the computer down, take a walk and enjoy the sunset. That is what I believe.