Listen, I want to tell you something.
Building a spirituality that fits is not that hard.
Stepping away from the the tribe of your youth, that’s hard. Leaving the place that no longer fits — the church, or the temple, or the meditation group — that is tremendously hard. Your family is there, and your friends. Your education might be rooted there, and possibly your career. Your beliefs live there (or they used to), and the creed was your compass. It’s hard to change your relationship with those big, established things in your life. It’s a psychic stretch.
Not the good yoga kind of stretch. The “it gets worse before it gets better” physical therapy kind of stretch.
But once you get out, and shake off the cobwebs, and catch your breath a little…well, then you can look around. Then you can rebuild.
This leaving and rebuilding makes me think of my youngest. She is a collector. She especially likes to collect “tiny things,” which over time coat the floor of her room like so many seashells after the tide has left the shore. Eventually, she has to clean her room.
When her once-cozy room becomes dis-functional, I tell her she must be a curator.
A curator chooses the best pieces from amongst many good things. She deliberately shapes the story she is telling by editing. Some things go in storage. Others are placed in the spotlight. Some pieces she sets aside willingly. Others are tucked away with a melancholy reluctance. A few pieces she keeps in the collection simply because of the memories they hold. Others she features very prominently, because they are so central to her tale.
When I ask my daughter to curate the things she has collected, she resists. Having all her most familiar things around her helps her feel safe. What if she gets rid of something and she needs it tomorrow? What if she misses this thing or that when it is gone? But eventually the things she’s gathered around her begin to lose their purpose. She cannot play with them if they are lost in the shuffle. She cannot use them if they are broken. If she is to enjoy her passion for collecting, the collection itself must be thinned.
Eventually she gives in and clears out the items that are no longer serving her. Some are put in a keepsake box. Some are passed on to someone else who can use them better. And some are released forever.
And then? Well, then she has space.
Space to kneel before her dollhouse and rearrange the way they live. Space to erect a glorious building out of the Legos that were rescued from the clutter. Space to spread out the long roll of drawing paper and create a new world.
These things come to her without strain, without effort, because she made space.
If you make space, new things will come to you. Things that work. Things you enjoy. Things that fill your life not with clutter and discord, but with beauty and openness and color and joy.
What if you made space? What would you create if you let go of the religious practices that were no longer serving you? What if you curated your faith?
Jump. It’s not as wide as you think.