here i go again

by vanessagobes

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While the title of this journal entry may induce memories of a classic hair band song (cue Whitesnake circa 1987), this post does not serve as an introduction to a blog about Aqua Net and David Coverdale.  No, in fact, it’s Day #1 of a fresh new story:  Bringing up Buddhas, or at least trying to bring up Buddhas, after all this family is very much a transition in progress.

So here is the oh-so-awkward first entry.  The getting-to-know you page.  I’d really prefer just to jump right into the fun stuff, but it’s important to set the tone of the blog and declare my intentions.  Yes, everything must be done with intention.  Let’s do it…

The pages of this blog will document the real-time spiritual evolution of a my family as we transition from Christianity to Buddhism.  We are a family of 7:  My husband, who is not sure he is down with this whole thing but thinks Buddha rocks; my step-daughter, who is away at college and doesn’t have to deal with any of this; my almost 8 year old girl, who can already quote me the Four Noble Truths and is excited to get this party started; my 6 year old baby girl, who loves Jesus and is more interested in Littlest Pet Shops than meditating on a pillow; my 3 1/2 year old son, who talks as fast as he scooters and could use a little Zen in his life; and my dog, Rufus, who well… is… a dog.

Since I am the ring leader of this group of misfits, I will share my own simple history with religion.  I have not been a Buddhist for very long.  Like most New Englanders, I was born into a Christian family and raised as such.  In my early 30s I became a curious seeker, studying metaphysics, new age philosophy and chakras… numerology, meditation and Reiki…  crystals, past life therapy and psychic energy.  In January of 2011, I began to overshare my exciting spirity discoveries via my blog Everything Old is New (Age) Again.  I suppose it was only time until I began the transition to Buddhism.

Even though I was more of a Christmas-and-Easter type of Christian, separating myself from the church wasn’t easy.  There were expectations and traditions and belief systems associated with Christianity that provided me with security and community.  I had to weigh the belief system into which I was born against the belief system through which *I* was discovered.  I had to consider the fact that my little white suburban children would not grow up with Youth Group, with Sunday School, with Lent or with a God called “Him”.  I had to trust that there are many ways to reach salvation, that hell does not await heretics, that heaven is home to all – even the baddies.  Even Hitler?   Yes, even that rat bastard Hitler.  (Oh, I should mention I like to swear.)

But there were other reasons, the last of which happened several years ago one Sunday in church.  My pastor said something like, “We Protestants have labeled ourselves as Liberal Christians who don’t really believe all of the stories in The Bible.  But that is just plain wrong.  We do believe.  We are Christians b/c we believe Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary.  We believe He turned water into wine.  We believe He moved the rock.  We believe that He is the path to salvation and that this is our one sacred life!”

It was in that moment that I knew I did not belong.  (Read my other blog and you’ll understand why.)  I then stumbled through the church’s heavy oak doors, tripped over Virgin Mary’s pregnant belly (or was that my own?) and slid straight down the enormous, static mountain of “thou shalt nots”.

I remember thinking, What now?  How will my kids know God?  Who am I if I can’t be a Christian?  How will I decorate my home in December?  

Well, years of new age study have provided me with a good sense of who I am spiritually.  And after much consideration and examination, I realize clearly and confidently that, though I do love Jesus, I am certainly not a Christian.  I thought maybe I’d just remain a spiritual-not-religious type for the rest of my life, but as I read more about Buddhism, I connected more deeply with the teachings of the Buddha.  And finally I surrendered to what my heart was telling me was right.  Declaring to myself and to others that I am a Buddhist helps me feel lighter, more honest, more myself.  And I am grateful.

Buddhism is more a philosophy than a religion.  It’s a way of life.  Buddhism is a practice.  And thanks to modern monks and teachers, Buddhism has evolved through the years in order to relate to modern practitioners and provide its community with philosophy and psychology that can enhance life and pacify the earth.

As much as I have read and learned about Buddhism, there is still soooooooo much to know.  I walk into my future with a “Beginner’s Mind”, a mind that does not yet have an impression.  And I’m excited to overshare everything I learn along the way.

Bits of Christianity will remain in my family’s spiritual development, of course.  And I will continue to melt over gospel music and sing Oh Holy Night! proudly and loudly on Jesus’ birthday.  You can’t take the church out of the girl, after all.  Plus, as I mentioned my daughter SG has always had a special affinity for Jesus and I’ll continue to nurture that relationship and encourage her to follow her heart, wherever it leads her.  We’ll just figure it all out as we go along.  East meets west, yo.  I imagine this transition will be very slow and full of blunder.  So please bear with me.

Okay, it’s clear intention-setting time.  Through this blog I hope

  1. to connect with other moms and dads who are also bringing up Buddhas.
  2. to refine a reasonable Buddhist practice for my children.
  3. to shed light on Buddhism for others who are Bu-curious.
  4. to learn from you, so pretty please post comments as much as you can.
  5. that you (yes, you) will “like” and “share” this blog with others to help connect a community of peace-seeking parents.
  6. to publish a book and/or create a regular new age-y broadcast that will help folks build mindfulness in New England.  I love love love New England and want to help rid this part of the country of its karmic baggage.  (Salem Witch Trials much?)  With your help and support I know I can do that.

I imagine that many (most) of you are my family, friends and neighbors, which means you are scanning these words from computers, tablets and smart phones around the globe.  I am totally and completely in love with your friendships and kinships and mate-ships.  And I am grateful for the lifetime of support you’ve given me.  I am incredibly blessed to have family and friends like you.  Yes, you.  I couldn’t do this alone.  I receive your support with enormous love and return it to you infinitely with sincerity and depth.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  If you would like to get blog updates or find an additional way to connect with like-minded people, please “like” my Facebook page “Everything Old is New Age Again” by clicking the link below.  Or just “like” it b/c you like me.  🙂  Peace!