As I mentioned in my last post, my Spirituality Book is my latest notebook acquisition. Before I go into the details of the book, let me give you some background information as to how this book came to be.
I don’t preach to anyone about anything. It’s just not my nature. I especially don’t preach (or even talk much about) politics or religion. I believe that everyone has a right to believe what they believe based on what they are taught, what is important to them, and their life experiences. I also believe that everyone has a right to those beliefs without having to defend their position just to prove someone else wrong or prove themselves right. Believing something isn’t about being right; it’s about how you live your life. I don’t discuss politics with others simply because I have a right to believe what I believe without having to hear from others why I’m wrong, because there will always be someone who feels that I’m wrong based on one thing or other. Others are entitled to their opinions, and I’m entitled to mine.
This philosophy holds true with religion also. I believe that religion is a deeply personal issue, that you have every right to believe what you believe, and to tap into that belief any way you feel helps you. Religion is not black and white; I don’t feel it’s an all-or-nothing thing, that if we follow a certain religion that we have to follow it to the letter. Times change, society changes, people change. And those changes will most probably shape how we follow the basic principles of anything.
I was raised Methodist. I will be honest—I don’t know what that means as far as how it differs from other Christian religions. I know there are certain things that are frowned upon by devout followers, but I don’t really frown upon anything in life as far as whether or not it makes someone a good person or a bad person. I am of the belief that as long as you are a good person at heart, are willing to help others in need, and try your very best, that’s all that matters in life. I also believe that the bad things that happen in life are (for the most part) very random, and it’s how we handle the bad times that shows our strength and faith.
Of course, these are just my thoughts and whatever you believe is fine with me. Just please don’t try and force your ideas on me. That is where I stand.
With all of this said, I am starting on a new spiritual journey.
Back when I was dealing with my anxiety (and in many ways, I still deal with it, will always deal with it), one of the things I came to realize was that I had lost my faith—not so much my faith that God exists, but my faith in that good things will happen and that if bad things do happen, that I’d be able to deal with them. My biggest fear in life is having my quality of life taken from me, of becoming gravely ill to the point where I can no longer do things for myself, help myself, think for myself. Having watched my father go through this very thing, watching his life being taken from him piece by piece, well, it changed how I viewed the world. I came to think that anything can happen to anybody at any time. While others may think That won’t happen to me, I started to think Why wouldn’t it happen to me. Basically, I was in a state of just waiting for something bad to happen.
But I learned that positive thinking can change everything. Even if something bad does happen, I can deal with it through faith and love and strength, though it wouldn’t be easy by any means.
After my father died, I stopped going to church. Not so much because I no longer believed in God or because I blamed Him. Nothing like that. I just didn’t want to talk about any of it with anyone. I dealt with it in a very personal way. Over time, it just became easier not to go. And honestly, Sunday became my only day to be able to just stay home and not leave the house.
Then, a few months ago, I started struggling with the anxiety again. I figured maybe it was time to tap into something bigger than myself. I decided to go back to church. I started going to a new church where there were more people, closer to my own age, and more activities.
Having found a church that was warm and welcoming and peaceful right off the bat, I feel was a blessing and a sign. The first sermon I heard was how anxiety destroys our body and mind and how that’s not what God intends for us. How could I not join this church, seeing as this is the very reason I started going again?
Thus, my Spirituality Book was born.
I laugh to myself because I can really turn anything into a project. But honestly, what I’ve come up with helps me to process my thoughts on my journey (especially since I’m not the smartest when it comes to religion) and how I can incorporate the messages I hear and learn into my daily life.
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
For this “project” I am using a “Raydori” (a Midori-style notebook made by Ray Blake) that was gifted to me by a friend and Philofaxy member.
This notebook is absolutely beautiful (well done, Ray!). The leather is gorgeous and feels divine—I can’t stop petting it.
When it was sent to me, it included a quadrille notebook, which I didn’t think I’d use at first. But I have grown to love it since it allows me to be super organized with my writing, which you can see below. I ordered three more—three are in my Raydori and I have one on standby for when I need to replace a full one in the future.
The Raydori also came with two pockets—one in the front and one in the back (see below for the back).
As of right now, I just have a small stack of Post-its and the business card that came with my Midori order from Goulet Pens. I absolutely love their branding and logo.
The first notebook is for my Gratitude list.
Each morning, I write down 5 things that I’m thankful for.
I usually find inspiration for my list from activities and experiences from the day before. (You can see how organized the grid paper allows me to be when writing—I can line up each day’s list by starting in the third grid from the edge of the page.)
The second notebook is for Lessons.
Basically, I use this to jot down ideas and thoughts based on that week’s church service and sermon.
I pull out ideas that strike a chord with me, jot them down, and will also write down any scriptures that correspond to these thoughts. You can also see that I put down additional research to do or things to look into. (Here, the sermon was one of 5 that correspond to the Daniel Plan, a way of living that incorporates healthy eating, exercising, spirituality, and friendship, among other things.)
The final notebook is for notes and projects.
Currently, I have nothing in here. But I will be officially joining the new church in the near future, so I’m sure I will have some things to put here soon.
Lastly, in the back pocket I keep a bookmark and another card, both from the Goulet Pen Company.
I don’t know that I will always keep these here, but for now, that’s what I’ve got.
I’m sure this notebook will evolve and change slightly over the course of my using it. For now, I enjoy this setup, enjoy using it every day, and enjoy reflecting on my Sundays each week. It allows me to look at my life in a way I wasn’t before, to (in part) take anxiety in stride, and learn from all of it, which is one of my goals for 2014. In this way, I am making myself accountable for working on this one piece, which is something I’ve been trying to do for a few years now.
I will post updates as the need arises.