I Am Not Religious: Why Does That Change Your Opinion Of Me?

I am not religious. This is not a fad statement to illicit attention, and it’s not an admonishment with a caveat that will lead to me confessing that I am “secretly religious.” It is just plain facts. I am not religious. Does that change your opinion of me, and if it does, why? Does it make me lesser than others? Does it make me a bad mother, a lousy wife, or a bad friend? Does it take away from my life’s journey, my highs and lows, my joys and sorrows?

Does it change the core of my DNA? It does not change my drive to help and be of service. It does not change how I feel my heart dance when the sun shines on my face. It does not change the respect I have for the beauty of this earth and the nature that surrounds me. The fact that I am not religious does not make me blind to the miracle of life. Yes, I did use the word miracle, but I don’t equate certain words to certain religious beliefs. However, I love manipulating language to properly portray the beauty and uniqueness of all we perceive.

I will give you a view into my spiritual life in this post. I am not doing this because I am trying to explain how I indulge my spirituality, to defend it, or to convince you to see things my way. It’s more of an ode to others like me who may feel the same and are all too familiar with being the lonely oasis in the desert, surrounded by perfect believers. Those who know what it feels like to be secretly (and sometimes not-so-secretly) judged for their lack of religion. Once you have kids, it’s even worse because now you are running the risk of damning two souls. One innocent and one yours, of course. 😊

Jeanne Retief from FIGGI: I am not religious - Does that change your opinion of me?This post is for those who are whispered about and labeled but never outright asked about their views. Wouldn’t offense be eliminated and assumptions be less painful if people just asked? Just ask me. What do you believe? Are you religious? And be prepared for the answer. People don’t ask because they are afraid the answer may not align with their beliefs, and then somehow, they will need to effectively love you less or try to pray you better. I say this because this has happened to me on many occasions. I smile, try to stay respectful, and applaud them for their journey.
It does not give me sleepless nights because I am not offended by what others believe and how they practice that belief. I have only one requirement from people I let into my life: Are you a good person? My main concerns for my little family are: Are we happy? Are we healthy? Are we, or do we actively try to be, good people who leave a good effect on the world?

The best thing about spirituality and being able to explore this is the fact that it can be whatever calls to your soul. This may look and feel different to all of us, and some of us don’t need it at all and are happy to go through life spirituality unattached. More power to you, in my view. Who am I to tell you how to believe? What to believe? If you even need to believe? Nope. I l choose to leave judgment to the fools.

I was fortunate to have grown up with many different religious influences. Later in life, I would learn that it all leads to the same place (in my view, anyway 😊). Still, even these different approaches helped me uniquely understand religion and spirituality. It is one of the things I am most grateful for in life. My influences ranged from orthodox Christian to a more relaxed Methodist vibe, to spiritual curiosity and complete non-belief.

Since I can remember, I was always incredibly fascinated by religion, why it meant so much to people, how it was translated into the world and the history behind it. I always questioned it, and the more I asked, the more questions I had. I spent hours researching different religions, committing to learning each one’s intricacies, prophecies, rules, and practices. It fascinated me to no end. It still does. I would be the picture next to the words “spiritually curious.” Jeanne, at your service 😊. Add to this that I am blessed to travel a lot, and I was able to experience different religions up close and personal, at the love for the curious was sealed.

This background gave me a unique view of the world and how a spiritual connection coincides with this life we live and the place we find ourselves in. I’ve had many experiences in life, a lot more than I care for at my age, but this also taught me to see things from a different perspective and to question it. The atheist abuser that runs from church like it’s a fire chasing him. Yet, he does not believe, so why be so scared, I wonder? The devout churchgoer cheats on his wife and overindulges more than he should. The Muslim peacefully practicing her beliefs secretly for fear of being judged and roped into an extremist category. Yet she spends all her free time and money, which she does not have, feeding others and helping where she can. The devoted Christian whose life is truly enriched by her belief and who lives this belief without judging others. The fast-talking spiritualist offers the weird and wonderful while cheating people out of their hard-earned money when they need healing support the most. Or the Buddhist who asks no questions but welcomes me to his sacred space openly answers my questions and offers me a seat at his table. I can go on, but you get the just of it.

I will always have the most tremendous respect for every person’s spiritual journey. I will always celebrate it with the light of curiosity, and I will never be into denying others the salvation they seek. However, it would be nice to have the same respect. So, here is how I see things. Just note that I am not trying to offend, anger, or recruit someone to “my side.” These are just the facts as they ring true in my story.

I choose not to entangle myself in religious dogma and what it preaches. I cannot know what did or did not happen, what historians got right or wrong, and which miracles did or did not occur. However, I understand and have absolute faith in love and kindness. In the end, love really is all there is to me. Love breeds everything good that flows from it: Hope, kindness, empathy, compassion, and so much more. So I choose to align myself with believing in love, first and foremost.

I do not call upon a particular deity or choose to commit myself to only one. The universe speaks to us in many ways and forms. My soul guides me and tells me what I need to know in every phase and stage of my life. It doesn’t matter if I call upon God, Gaia, the Universe, Spirit, or any of the other thousand names. They all lead to the same end for me: Do your best to be a good human, above all, always be guided by love, and be unbendingly grateful for every small thing.

There is no need to wonder, assume, or otherwise pass judgment prematurely. I admit you may not like my answers but does that change the soul of who I am? How I choose to practice spirituality and find my purpose on this path does not change my passion for this life.

I find solace in my sacred place adorned with trinkets that speak to my soul and help me feel grounded in peace. These can be candles with a relaxing aroma, a picture of my family, a comfortable meditation cushion, or guidance cards that inspire me when I need them most.
Above all else, I genuinely believe in the power of my intuition. I think a version of me has been here before, done this before, knows the hurts and the joys, and has endless wisdom about my journey. I believe this higher self (as I call it) guides me through difficult times if only I choose to tune into my soul and listen with open curiosity.

I believe that the path I choose to follow actively reminds and calls me not to judge others for what enriches their soul or how they choose to practice these rituals. I believe love for each other reigns supreme and always will.
I don’t know what happens hereafter, and it’s really none of my concern. Life is now. Experience is now. Enlightenment is now. Soul speaks to me daily, and I am currently walking, breathing, and living my journey. I am grateful for this and remind myself to be thankful every day.
I have missteps and make mistakes like many of us, but I don’t believe in brimstone, Smythe, and judgment. I think I learn from this, and I am guided to a better place if I am willing to follow the path my guides show me. I believe in the power of every living, breathing thing. I welcome their wisdom from the smallest seed to the tallest mountain and from the baby lamb to the ferocious tiger.

I am happy to share my story and version if only asked. There is no need to wonder, assume, or otherwise pass judgment prematurely. I admit you may not like my answers but does that change the soul of who I am? How I choose to practice spirituality and find my purpose on this path does not change my passion for this life. My compassion for a friend going through a bad time. My awe of my little girl and her open curiosity about all things. My unexplainable love for my husband, that does not see spirituality like I do.
I just want to focus on being a good human, spreading love, owning my mistakes, and working to improve myself. This is the message I teach my daughter, and I believe it to be the most important message I can gift her.

As we enter this Season of beauty, love, and light I wish you all the best my FIGGI Goddess. May you find your soul’s purpose, seek your joy, and embrace your path.

Love and Light

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