Religion & Beliefs Thread views: 1243
Lmblackman
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01/11/05 02:55 PM


Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #86988
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Hi all. I was brought up in the Catholic faith. I went to a Catholic grammar school and all-girls Catholic high school. I am not ashamed of my upbringing...in fact, I do believe that children should have a religious/spiritual background. They should be taught about God and Jesus, and read about and understand and live the lessons in the bible.

But, all my life I questioned my faith based on the teachings/rules of Catholicism. My belief in God was fear based. I don't want to raise my children that way. But, I'm also not sure what I want to do in that Catholicism has me turned-off from organized religion. I believe in God, I believe in angels, I believe in souls, I believe in an afterlife, and I believe in reincarnation. I try to live my life spiritually. I try to raise my children this way as well...but just as children must go to school to learn reading, writing and arithmetic...so should they have some religious training. But, I don't know what is right to do. I have looked into a Unitarian Church that I really believe is the right path for me and my children.

My biggest problem is that it upsets my mother. And I know that it is irrational for me to make my decision solely on trying not to upset a family member. But, she was raised Catholic, and she raised my brother and I Catholic, and she thinks I'm hypocritical because I got married in the Catholic church and had my children baptised Catholic.

I'm basically making this post to see if there are any others out there who have experienced these same issues and how did you deal with the people who could not understand or respect your decisions? I love my mother, and upsetting her is the last thing I want to do. I guess that Catholic guilt still comes back to haunt me every once in a while! LOL!

Love ~ Lisa

Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone is born with the same amount of film!


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Daje
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01/11/05 03:40 PM


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Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #86993 / Re: Lmblackman #86988
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Hi Lisa,
are you sure it will upset your mother...have you talked about it with her or do you just THINK it will upset her?
Acutally if you think that the Unitarian Church is the right thing for your kids and you all feel good there, you should tell that your mom and go and do what YOU think is right. Try to explain it to her and if she doesn't understand tell her that you respect her view point but you wish her to respect yours, too. Don't discuss and be firm. Your mother will only get hurt if she clings to her belief as the only "right" one and it is her problem and her learning to learn tolerance. If she truely loves you then she should learn to also respect your view point. After all it is your life and your responsibility to make that choice for your kids. All else is a control issue she has to learn to deal with herself...MHO.

Namaste,
Stefanie


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Kconstant63
Member
01/11/05 03:53 PM


Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #86994 / Re: Lmblackman #86988
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I have the biggest affinity for those who I would call 'reformed Catholics' ... perhaps because so much mystery and sacredness and respect remains in them and because of their strength obtained in 'overcoming' their upbringing!

I was baptized Catholic... as my parents eloped, my grandparents having refused to allow his conversion to Catholicism in order that they marry 'properly'... my parents heard nothing from her parents until my siblings were born... then we became somewhat back in good graces as it was agreed we would all be baptized Catholic...

Perhaps understandably, my parents would have little else to do with the Church and we were all allowed to attend whatever Church felt most comfortable to us and thus without an ounce of Swedish blood in me, I was confirmed a Swedish Lutheran ... when I married a Greek Orthodox, I did not want issues of dogma or slight differences in creed to undermine my new family and I became annointed in the Orthodox faith...

In the meantime, I was also highly influenced by evangelical churches thus I really have had a hodge-podge of Christian Denominational experiences

Both "In" and "Out" of each denomination gives a different perspective on things... I felt the sting of disapproval from my grandparents and the obviously numerous uncles, aunts and cousins... it is with irony that my godparents, my aunt and uncle, too extend disapproval at times although, they should have been more concerned in influencing my religious upbringing! With their son, my cousin, a priest, it often leaves me with more of a smile than anything else...

It is also with some irony that my father became one of my grandparents most beloved sons-in-law...

But when my cousin officiated at my grandmother's funeral mass, I could indeed feel the daggers as I 'dared' to take Holy Communion within a Catholic Church... !

Catholic guilt is indeed 'potent' and heavily influenced my unwillingness to divorce in order to leave an abusive first marriage... so even with my fringe involvement with Catholicism, I had much to confront in giving myself 'permission' to be ME!

Sometimes it is helpful for me to ponder why I chose this particular 'life' circumstances! Why did I wish to flavor this lifetime with this mixture, or in your case, your neck-deep experience of Catholicism...

My sense is that somehow we all play a part in bringing the separate to the Whole...

At home now, my husband is ridiculing of my spiritual beliefs, but I am becoming more respectful of the unique flavor of his particular lifetime and more respectful of my own as well... the ridicule becomes less painful as I am quietly learning to express my beliefs without being defensive, without trying to 'correct', without becoming judgmental and without taking his reflection of the world personally... in learning more about my 'Self', there is more peace and there is a quiet change too occurring within him...

I liken it to just letting my little candle shine, with its unique flavor, its unique flame and pondering what wonderful lessons my husband's ridicule has been giving me in being truer to myself... perhaps that too is your mother's gift to you? Fear of upsetting or hurting ones we love is difficult to overcome and there I like the sentiment expressed in a paraphrase from Wayne Dyer 'we can never get sick enough to heal another; poor enough to make another rich; dark enough to enlighten'.... Perhaps we take away wonderful opportunities for those around us to grow and learn their lessons in being anything other than who we really are?!

Blessings,
Constant Light


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Kconstant63
Member
01/11/05 04:03 PM


Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #86995 / Re: Lmblackman #86988
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I also wanted to mentioned something about Catholic 'guilt'...

It was interesting to recently discover some information on guilt and shame... on a scale of 0-1000 in terms of 'consciousness', those two things rank some of the lowest, at 30 and 20 respectively... we help no one, including ourselves, in indulging in these emotions... we just lower the overall consciousness of us all that smidgeon less... supposedly 'real' solutions to problems do not even begin until we at least reach a level of 350! And love itself is only at 500! But hey, everytime we can raise the consciousness of a situation around us, we 'bump up' the overall just that little bit too!

Indulging in 'guilt' might therefore be correctly considered 'selfish'... and unhelpful to anyone! Puts looking at our own self-judgments and releasing them in a different light for me!

Try loving yourself and your choices and loving your mom and hers, even if her choice is to get upset,... perhaps that will help! If not right away, then perhaps when her love for you and your children works its way into a new understanding for her...

Blessings,
Constant Light

P.S. Enlightenment and Christ Consciousness was at 1000! Puts things in a different perspective for me... let me know if it 'speaks' to you at all!


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Lmblackman
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01/11/05 09:31 PM


Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #87015 / Re: Kconstant63 #86995
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It speaks to me! Thank you so much. Reading about all the religious journeys that you have been on, as well as the guilt you felt about leaving an abusive spouse describes a lot of what I have seen and heard from many others that I am close to.

We must follow our own paths, and choose what we believe is right, and learn from choices that may not have been right...but we thought so at the time!

In reply to Stefanie, yes it did upset my mother. I thought if I explained to her that by my decision to try attending a Unitarian Church, that her grandchildren would still be learning and practicing a faith. I thought that would make her feel better. But she called me a hypocrit because I got married in a Catholic Church and promised the pastor that I would raise my children Catholic. Then she cried and told me that she can't talk to me right now because I was upsetting her. This coming from a woman who has divorced my father and remarried twice since then. Divorce is a no-no in the the Catholic Church! So, she doesn't go anymore...and if she does go, she doesn't dare receive communion!

I guess my mother must learn from this as well. She had a lot of control over me in my youth and I've been trying to break from that control for a long time. I love my mother, but life is not always black or white. And in 34 years, you think she would know by now that I have always lived my life in between!

Thanks for your replies! It helps me to see that it's not all bad...and that I am truly not a heathen (like my husband who is not religious and who has never been baptised...this according to my mother, LOL)!

Love ~ Lisa

Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone is born with the same amount of film!

Edited by Lmblackman on 01/11/05 09:34 PM.




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Kconstant63
Member
01/12/05 09:06 AM


Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #87040 / Re: Lmblackman #87015
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What I sensed in reading your reply was 'love'... perhaps your mum's lack of acceptance, use of the term 'hypocritical' has much to do with her own 'self-image' & lack of acceptance...

Funnily, the Greek Orthodox Church is VERY similar to the Catholic faith, BUT they are allowed to divorce twice & marry 3 times! Priests are allowed to marry, if they do so prior to ordination, but bishops & archbishops cannot.

My 'litmus' test was how close to the ideals of Christ did a person, Church, dogma fit... I met many Godly people who were not of any Christian background, many who were of various denominations, & many 'Christians' who were so far from the love of Christ that it was hard to recognize them as Christian...

I like the Greek meaning for the word 'sin' & this becomes important within Catholic & Orthodox faiths because of the sense that there are 'mortal sins' from which there is no 'salvation'. The original Greek meaning of 'sin' is to 'miss the mark' as in archery... it is not about damnation & fire & brimstone or perpetual purgatory, but about not quite hitting the target right.

And how many of us are good in archery? Whether we miss the center by a millimeter or a mile, we have still 'missed the mark' & how can we become 'better' at hitting the target... by practice, by patience, by not beating ourselves up about the 'miss', by not beating others up about their misses...

I just finished a number of books about the Early Church & how beliefs in reincarnation, etc. were very common place then... especially interesting to discover that the notion of 'original sin' did not come into play until the 4th (or was it 6th?) century... & then only to explain away some very poignant questions that could no longer be answered when the idea of reincarnation was 'voted off' the scene in 325 A.D. at the Nicene Synod. And who 'voted off' these concepts? Men, bishops, with human frailties & egos & power issues...

I guess my view of the use of the concept of 'sin' within the Church has led many to believe they are beyond salvation, they remain rooted in the lower levels of consciousness of shame and guilt & to my eyes, some of the worst deviations develop out of these levels... the abundance of sexual deviation, drug/substance abuse, violence, etc... being continually chastised for missing the 'mark', we stop even trying to hit it, but sling our arrows at anything that moves, perhaps in rebellion, perhaps in self-loathing, perhaps in ... ?

The 'love' I first spoke about here? LOVE your mum, refuse to 'see' her 'sin' & certainly refuse to chastise her for it... realize that when she lashes out (in words) about your 'hypocricy' or your 'heathen' husband, she is telling you the reflection of herself, her paradigm, her view of the world, her lack of self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-love...

Her feelings of 'upset' are maybe the niggles from her own soul to say 'hey', 'time to look into this'... just like our 'upsets' can bring similar opportunities for enlightenment, revelation, illumination...

Like I believe about you & me, I believe at her depths, she too is fully a divine creature, who has forgotten herSelf, that is all... her background, yours, her words, yours cannot 'harm' that divinity within us... there is nothing to 'fight against', only an opportunity to shine our light from within... & amazingly, wonderfully, the Universe knows, our 'souls' know, what experiences are perfect at any given moment to allow for those healing events...

With my husband, I am in the 'dog house' so often, I should change my name to 'Rover' but over the past 3 months as these insights have entered my life, these events that would have left me defensive, 'fighting', now I perceive as opportunities of inner healing & there is much that is being healed... the 'pain' dissipates & amazing 'peace' reigns far more often than before!

Blessings,
Constant Light


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Kconstant63
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01/12/05 09:25 AM


Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #87042 / Re: Lmblackman #87015
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I wanted to add another thing that has helped me...

I came across the works by Caroline Myss, who is a medical clairvoyant, who defines our energetic 'data banks', normally referred to as chakras... the first 'data bank' is our 'root', it is where all of the familial, societal, cultural backdrop of our lives exists... she speaks about illness steming from 'losing energy' in one or more of the 7 chakras through fear, lack of forgiveness, pulling energy to the past perceived wrongs... just about anything that might cause us to let energy leave in fear or shame or judgment... health can be restored by allowing only love and light to leave those areas... living more in the present, trusting, loving and accepting...

I have had 'root' issues too! pains in my legs, feet affected by this area... If a certain amount of Divine Energy is given us each day and if we 'waste' in various areas, to the past, to worries, to lack of forgiveness, etc. then eventually, we will start drawing the 'energy' we need from the divine energy present right in our own cells of our bodies! and illnesses result...

I allowed Divine Energy to be wasted in these areas each day, either by not being myself or by fighting the perceived 'control' on me by my background or loved ones or ...

So often 'overcoming' these things has seemed to have been about 'giving myself permission', permission to love and respect myself, permission to respect what I believe, permission to express my beliefs (though if we are still novices in this area, we should be aware that we might allow our energies to be drained by 'hooking' into someone else's ridicule...)...

I have gained a sense of 'respect' for my background, my first 'root', and I look for signs now in my health (I am older than you so these show up quicker for me now )... and I perceive my background more as my 'starting' point... the flavoring for this lifetime and now it is time for me to really work this recipe to suit my individual needs and tastes... sort of like starting with a lot of thyme and realizing that I like more 'cumin' in my life... so a hint of thyme remains but, perhaps the cumin in me is enjoyed even more! The background of others begins to hold as little emotional garbage for me as if someone liking oregano, or sage, or rosemary, or cayenne pepper... would...

Getting rid of judgement has been made easier by looking it at these in these terms, including 'judging' myself... so what if I like 'cumin' and you like 'sage'... and I will also realize that sometimes 'sage' tastes really good and perhaps a relative or friend or... might like to taste my cumin that I so enjoy...

Once we stop defending our particular 'spice', and just enjoy it, sometimes others stop defending theirs or 'attacking' ours...

And think about the amazing recipes that can be made by adding a pinch here or a dash there... how each of our spices can produce something even better!?!

Just a few thoughts... they help me but might not you, but thought I'd share them anyway...

Much warmth,
Karen

Blessings,
Constant Light


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Lmblackman
Member
01/12/05 10:21 AM


Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #87047 / Re: Kconstant63 #87042
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Karen,

I love your references to herbs/spices, LOL! I do understand what you are saying. And funny about the chakras and your health...yesterday, due to this stress, I spent the evening in pain. I got achy all over! My ribs, hips, back, shoulders, legs, and feet were sore! And I've been getting some throbbing in my female organs for the last couple of days, and it's not that time of the month for me. I knew it was completely due to the emotions and feelings of guilt I was experiencing yesterday.

And I get winter blues something awful. Since this winter started, I can't seem to get motivated and I'm so tired all the time! Chakra cleansing sounds like a really good thing, but I'm not practiced enough to do it myself. And I've been having some really strange dreams!

I do and will love my mother as I am aware of her past issues...she is an only child and my grandparents were very controlling and manipulative. They still try it with me and my brother! I just listen and do my own thing...it's just been harder to do with my mother over the years.

I thank you for your stories, assistance and kindness! I felt much better after your first reply!

Love ~ Lisa

Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone is born with the same amount of film!


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Kconstant63
Member
01/12/05 10:27 AM


Re: Questioning my upbringing...
Post: #87049 / Re: Lmblackman #87047
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Isn't the Universe just wonderful?!

My 'answers' to various questions or expanded 'lesson plans' usually come in sets of three (from 3 different perspectives) so let me know if you receive any similar messages/expansions on this subject in the not too distant future; I'd be curious to see if it works the same for others...

I'm off now to get my audiotape of "The Power of Now"... my third reminder came yesterday, but I wanted to see if I felt called to respond to any of the SB posts first...

Glad I did... hope to share recipes with you again soon !

Much warmth and light,
Karen

Blessings,
Constant Light


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