As a practicing christian, a hard worker in church related programs such as Sunday school, women's bible study groups, food and clothes for the needy, and regular attendance at Sunday services, I felt guilt and shame. Why? I have no idea, but I could not do enough to free myself from these deep feelings of inadequacy.
I find the teachings of Buddha liberating, even as I do not believe the mythical stories. Participating with Native American women from Alaska to Mexico gave me some insights that feel empowering. Listening to Bahai and Quaker practitioners added different dimensions.
My comfort comes from understanding that life is an expression of nature in an evolved condition, it can be explained by processes of nature, simple and complex, and I exist. Nothing more seems important. I don't have to achieve anything in particular except to discover and reveal the attributes that came to me through the evolutionary process over time, and with nature taking its course.
The Native women taught me a little ritual that I use to this day.
Turn to the east and call forth those parts of my life's beginnings. A new life, a new day, a new job, a new problem, a new solution. All these express my power to be.
Turn to the south and call forth those parts of my life that involve action. Making a bed, planting a garden, visiting a sick friend, taking care of a dying father. All these express my power to do.
Turn to the west and call forth those parts of my life that involve community. Caring for my family, helping a neighbor, supporting a candidate, speaking out when I agree or disagree with my nation's actions. All these express my power to belong.
Turn to the north and call forth those parts of my life that involve reasoning. Solving problems of every day life, exploring for better options, experimenting with new ideas. All these express my power to think.
Turn to the center and call forth those parts of my life that involves a sense a wonder. Seeing myself connected to the Earth through the natural force of nature and participating in the incredible realization that I am part of this magnificent universe. All these express my power to transcend.
Call forth the energy of east and west: I + You = We.
Call forth the energy of south and north: doing + thinking = praxis