I’m a bit of a spiritual/religious traveler. I love spirituality in all of its forms. I have deep respect for people that live their faith, no matter what that faith may be. Growing up, I was raised Christian without any sort of a structure or specific faith. As a pre-teen, I found a church, was saved and really enjoyed reading my children’s Bible. It was a great experience but I found myself yearning for the inclusion of women. I wanted Moses to be a woman. I wanted to know that women were just as important in the stories of my faith as were men.
Then, I found myself exploring nature-based religions.
I identified as Wiccan for half a decade and then the more general term – pagan.
I explored so many cultures. That was a journey within itself. I was in love with Greek Gods and Goddesses for a great many years and read everything I could get my hands on. I explored the Norse and Celtic pantheons. Eventually, I dug into my roots and connected with African Gods and Goddesses. It was such a beautiful and spiritual journey for me. I have no knowledge of one side of my family and very little of the other. It made me feel grounded and a part of something. It gave me the feeling of belonging that I had been missing for a large part of my life.
Five years ago, I went through another spiritual journey.
I was going through a crisis of self and trying to discover ways to heal myself on a deep spiritual level. This led me to Buddhism and Sikhism and Eastern philosophies. I was this big jumble of spiritual paths that just made my heart and soul happy.
When I discovered Bhakti Yoga I found another path that resonated with me. Bhakti yoga is a spiritual path or spiritual practice focused on the cultivation of love and devotion toward God. That devotion is solely motivated by the sincere, loving desire to please God, rather than the hope of divine reward or the fear of divine punishment. It pulls teachings from Hinduism and Sikhism but what I love about it is that Bhakti is Universal. I can believe in the Christian God and Mother Earth and Aphrodite and Oya, and all of these facets of God which have been such a big part of my growth as a person.
God has many faces.
I think God is this big ball of genderless, formless, beautiful, loving energy. In order to relate to the different peoples of the world throughout history, God has revealed different forms to different people. It doesn’t care how or what people believe – it’s all part of the same thing. Essentially, my God has multiple personalities and all of them are valid – I just get to pick the ones I most connect with.
What I love about Bhakti is that my focus is how I can serve God and the Universe, but it also allows me to be myself. One way to practice Bhakti and honor my spiritual path is to meditate through song. A bhajan is a devotional song that you sing or chant to bring you closer to the Divine.
One of my favorite things to do on my days off is to take a walk right before the sun rises as I listen to devotional music (Hanuman Chalisa by David Newman is a current favorite!). It is my favorite spiritual practice and the way that it fills me with peace and calm is something that I am very grateful for. It is quickly becoming my favorite kind of self care. I made a playlist of some of my favorite songs and I invite you to listen to them if you’re on a break or taking a drive or going for a walk.