Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Believe in Something.....


Something I've been thinking about for Wellness Wednesday is what the key components are for really being well. Not just healthy, but well.

I am a person of strong beliefs. Some might even say opinionated. Both are true. :)

But I remember back to a time when I was blown about by the wind, taking in belief systems like the latest fashion trend, always trying to root myself in something whether it fit or not. My world felt like shifting sand, always subject to the "weather" of the moment.

During my life time, I've been involved in everything from conservative Christianity to atheism and most points in between. None of those things fed my soul but I wanted an identity. I wanted a community. I wanted to belong.... so I'd rather adeptly adopt whatever surrounded me.

That wasn't healthy of course and certainly didn't make me well. In fact, it made me feel hollow.

There's a certain tearing-down process that takes place as we discover our own core beliefs and begin to live them. That becomes a foundation from which we make our choices. For me, that took place in Tucson where I'd arrived after a particularly difficult experience on the east coast. I remember looking at the brick wall in front of me in the little cottage I'd just rented, knowing that my life could not remain the same. I found a mentor and began exploring.

Most of the foundational beliefs we discover are rooted in some system that was established before us, rooted either in culture or ethnicity. None of us are islands and there's very little truly original thought. As we go along, we begin to pick them apart, examine them, turn them over in our palms like a stone, eliminating the things that don't make sense and find truth in the rest. Sometimes something so strongly grabs us as truth that we can't avoid it. That is what happened with me in Thailand.

As we begin to live it fully, it adds color and clarity to our personal tapestry. Mundane things take on a richness. We have more to give others because we're standing on solid ground.

It's not easy and it takes a lot of courage, particularly when our choices are different than the majority who surround us but I honestly believe we can not be well without it. There is a lot of truth to the title of an old country song which says, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."

What do you believe?

~*

34 comments:

Mariposa said...

Reading this...gives me an unexplainable feeling...and I ask myself, am I living that life you used to have...

Now I have to really find that time with myself...to reflect on all this!

Thanks!

jen said...

you know, it's funny. what I believe changes all the time. not the core perhaps, but given new information and different circumstances my beliefs evolve.

and then there are the core ones, that i believe in loving my child and doing all i can to make her life as precious as possible.

Thailand Musings said...

Wow so many things...

I believe in love and chance and possibilities...

I believe we all have the power to change ourselves and our lives...

I believe we can influence, but not change others...

I believe life is way too short to waste opportunities...

I believe everyone should get a second chance...

I believe that in spite of our differences we are all very similar...

I believe you should never judge a book by it's cover...

And so many other things big and small...

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

There's no question I have core beliefs. In fact, I share many of yours. ;-)

I still wish I had a belief "system" that worked for me. I'm still searching spiritually.

wheelsonthebus said...

I believe people are good.

I believe in the feel of my three-year-old's arms around my neck.

I believe in his brother's bear hugs.

I believe in the ocean and snow and sunshine.

PeterAtLarge said...

You make a great point. It's the stripping away process that brings you to the core beliefs. With age, I've gradually learned to discard much of what I have been "taught" or have inherited. The dross. But what's left is worth finding: that's the ore.

MsLittlePea said...

Oh this has me thinking a lot as you're always able to do Chani!! I've had a lot of religion forced down my throat from the day I was born so it's really hard for me to get past my negative feelings regarding the establishment of it all regarding belief systems. Once I got old enough to think for myself and question all that I had been told and the hypocrisy of it all, it was very hard for me and scary even. Because even then I asked myself,"what if I'M the wrong one and all this questioning and doubting leads ME the wrong way?" I sometimes felt resentful, like I'd been brainwashed even though I knew my parents thought their religion was best for me and that it would lead me to happiness. But looking back I don't think it was the best for me because it all felt so punitive and a means to teach a child shame and self guilt. I no longer wanted to be a part of that.
So my beliefs are always changing as I "pick them apart, examine them, turn them over" as you say because it's an ongoing process for me. Just a few but and very general but: I believe in growing even though change is hard for me. I believe compassion and kindness are qualities I want. Taking care of myself and loved ones and recognizing the two must be balanced is also important to me. Do what makes you happy but do NOT harm, and that includes yourself. I believe in confronting feelings, not running from them, otherwise they sit inside your heart and rot. I believe it's important to accept the fact that I don't know it all and try not to judge.

niobe said...

I'm not sure that I really believe in anything.

Say It said...

I believe having natural elements like trees and water around me, time in every day just for me, and plenty of laughter are what ground me. I know that other people sick emotions take a toll on me physically, so I avoid crazy/related people.

As for beliefs, I only really know what I don't believe. And I'm very comfortable in existing with out it.

jessamyn said...

i believe in the beauty of these words.
i resonate here today. thank you for your visit and for leaving behind your thoughts and warmth!
i read something lately from "the whole self" that has been staying with me. She said something to the effect that if we don't go within...then we end up going without.
i believe that...and wherever we end up being taken when we go within is all a part of the journey towards our truth.
thank you for these wonderful thoughts.

SUEB0B said...

I believe that God wants us to be happy and gave us a world in which it is entirely possible to be happy - but we have to take care of each other and ourselves and our world. No outside force will rescue us. The work is ours, should we choose to do it.

I believe in prayer as a general energetic force, not as a way to convince some being to change things.

I believe that we are all meant to express our deepest truths and that our life's work is to do that.

I believe in the healing power of nature (for me), touch, creativity and kindness.

susangreene said...

yes the journey to our true spiritual selves is so fascinating. I know mine is not over but I do know that just one religion is not the answer for me. I want a mesh of several religions..is it possible who knows but I have stop looking for the perfect religion. At the moment I am reading Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh. I love them both.

Bhavana said...

hey! thanks for your comment on my blog ... very true. I like this post :D

I tried out so many different belief systems etc. in my time. I just ended following my own beliefs and when I found Hinduism i went 'hey i don't have to change anything! this fits perfectly'

It's great when things like that happen, makes life so much the richer, no?
:D

flutter said...

I believe that I know enough to know that I don't know nearly enough.

Krissie said...

I've never heard of that saying but its quite true! off to write it down!

Journey Through Life said...

I love your strong beliefs and opinions. I love that you can clearly express and voice yourself and that you really think about these issues.
Keep it coming!
Annie
xxx

Journey Through Life said...

I love your strong beliefs and opinions. I love that you can clearly express and voice yourself and that you really think about these issues.
Keep it coming!
Annie
xxx

the psycho therapist said...

Good morning, Chani.

I resonate to the words of both "thailand musings" and "niobe". Two things occupying the exact same space at the exact same time. No dissonace for me.

For me, belief is different from knowing. I tend not to not "believe".

I know love Is.

I know I must treat others as I want to be treated because a voice in my head, not my own, told me so when I was five. It said this was all I ever needed to remember in this lifetime. It also told me not to "believe" what was called "the bible" because it was not the truth.
(At that point in my life, I had no idea what a bible looked like or what was inside. Nor had I experienced a voice. When it spoke there was a simple, ineffable knowing of its veracity. No belief or disbelief, no doubt or questioning, just Isness.

So hard to convey is this last one that I've rarely attempted over the decades. Thought I'd take it out for a walk today. It's nice out--cool, crisp, clear. Perfect weather...or so I think.

(hee hee)

Sober Briquette said...

I believe in the unfolding of the dhamma.

I believe in keeping a sharp eye out for pearls of wisdom.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of "clutter" in my life and many of the pearls i've already gathered get misplaced from time to time.

Julie Pippert said...

I've noticed that Boomers were more hmmmm transient? transitory? experimental? in belief systems.

My generation---oft insulted as we are---has been called everything from slacker to rigid and conservative.

I prefer rooted in self.

So I guess I believe--among other things---that we will always learn from those who come before us, even if unconsciously, even if rebelliously. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I believe in the basic goodness of living things because otherwise, there would be no point in our existence.

I think we are here to experience the connectedness of each of us, and to live in ways that support all life on this planet.

And right now, this minute, I believe in hot coffee and a homemade blueberry muffin.

blooming desertpea said...

Yes, it is difficult to be an odd ball but it's still better than to be a drop in a stream or a cloud moving in the wind.

I believe in kindness and respect and that we are all here for a purpose - the one thing we need to find out ourselves

hele said...

I believe in green living things and courage

Angela said...

I believe in the goodness of my own heart and the hearts of most other human beings.

I believe in sunshine, fresh air, healthy food and exercise.

I believe in friendship.

Maithri said...

I love this place. I agree with all that you have written here...

The 'tearing down' process is so crucial to an integral life...

To tear down those beliefs that have been handed to us, and in their stead create a creed which is drawn from lifes threshing floor...

I believe in love.

I believe in softness and sensuality

In the courage to be ones self at all expense.

I believe in the God that lives in the spaces between the lips of the lovers... in the eyes of the hated, in the heart of the forgotten...

I believe in the power of 'ordinary' women and men to call fire from the sky... and set the world aflame.

Sending you my love, Maithri

Fredrik said...

Found your comment on another blog and wanted to comment to YOU instead... Hope you don't mind.

I like your writing!

Yes thailandchani, it is strange that companies like McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut don't get kicked out of Thailand. The thais seem pretty keen on keeping Thailand to themselves in all other areas - so why not start with things that really aren't that good for you?

Mary said...

Opinionated with strong beliefs. That's you! And it's OK because

"You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."

Be well.

Girl on the Run... said...

What a great post! Where do you find a mentor??? Sign me up... I know exactly what you mean in relation to the country song. There has to be menaing in life but it is not as if you can run out and buy it... So what do you do? What do I believe in??/ I will have to post about that over the weekend! Thanks for the idea. M

Christine said...

i wish i really knew what i believe. i hope someday i figure it all out.
Running on empty

slouching mom said...

i believe that change is possible. i believe that people can be evil. i believe that most people are not evil.

i believe that children are wiser than adults.

Mel said...

I believe in friendship, family (blood related or not), true love (even if it's hard to find), I believe in the healing powers of nature (especially for the soul), I believe in angels (in the form of a friend, a wise piece of advice, a kind word, a beautiful landscape, the laugh of a child, the letter of a far away loved one... etc)

canwekickthebarhere said...

I know I am late to this, but I love your clarity of thought in this post.

For me, I have a few basics, other than that, I am open to suggestions -

I acknowledge that there is a power far greater than me in this universe.

I believe people should accept responsibility for their actions, and what follows from our actions.

I believe there is strength we can draw from the natural world in many ways.

Anonymous said...

I believe that those with the most confidence in their beliefs are the most likely to be wrong about them.

Bertrand Russell once wrote that "the trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

maria said...

Like Mark Twain said it so well

“In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing”
-Mark Twain, Autobiography

Marie