39. Find Something To Believe In

Everyone needs something to believe in.  And, I don’t necessarily mean religion.  Oprah would say it’s the belief in something greater than yourself.  Many Native Americans would say it’s belief in The Great Spirit.   Stephen Hawking found his answers through science and in the cosmos.  People who find themselves living with any serious illness, often find the need to search for answers in how to get through it.  The answers may be different for everyone,  but faith in something bigger than yourself can help you find whatever those answers are for you.

I went to the Methodist church growing up.  It was a wonderful church,  but as I got older,  I wasn’t sure if it was quite the right fit for me.  Years later, my husband and daughters,  and I started attending our local Quaker church,  which felt like a better fit for me.  Then, one day my mother and I were in a book store, and I came across a little book called, Heal Thyself.   I read that book, and loved it.   I then found out that there were many more books by,  White Eagle Publishing    Searching bookstores and eBay, I read as many as I could find.   I discovered that this publishing company was a part of The Church of the White Eagle Lodge , which began in England.  And the rest, as they say, is history.   I had found the perfect fit for me.  I know,  the name sounds a bit, “woo-woo”,  but really it’s just a Spiritualist Church. 

Belief, be it in Christianity, Buddhism, the Wiccan faith,  or whatever fits for you, is a way to help make sense of whatever you are going through,  and the world in general.  Whereas in the past, people were limited to whatever belief was practiced in the town that they lived in, now we have the internet,  and access to beliefs all over the world.  You can go to  websites like Beliefnet,  where believe it or not, you can take a quiz which tells you which religion or belief system most closely matches up with what you believe in.  Don’t laugh!  I took the quiz, and their match ups were spot on.  It’s a great site to explore every belief out there.  When my girls were younger,  for years,  because of my illness, we didn’t make it to church as often as I would have liked.  Then there were many years when we didn’t go at all.   But I still wanted them to be aware of all the different beliefs there were, and wanted them to discover what would be a good match for them.  So,  I used to assign to them projects on some Sundays in loo of attending church.  They would have to pick a religion or belief and research it on the internet, using a few trusted sites,  like Beliefnet,  and write a few paragraphs on it (it seemed like a good idea at the time).  They usually spent less time on their project than they would’ve spent at church, just cutting and pasting instead of writing (they didn’t think it was as much fun as I thought it was… Shocking,  I know!), but I think maybe it helped us all learn a little something.  

Oprah did a seven part TV series on different theologies from all over the world,  simply called, Belief.   It is very interesting.   We may use different words to describe our faith,  but the meaning behind those words, often have a lot in common.  Beliefs can overlap and just because you may be a Christian,  doesn’t mean that you won’t also find yourself following the beliefs of the Buddhist faith,  for example.   Whatever you have found to believe in in your life,  it should bring you peace and joy.  Take some time to explore different faiths.  Even if you are perfectly happy with yours.  You might be surprised with what you learn, and find a new understanding of the people who you share this big blue marble with.

 

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32. Find Inspiration

I think I have mentioned before,  that I went to see a psychic not long after I was diagnosed with ALS.  I hadn’t planned to,  it was just a spur of the moment thing.  In my visit with the psychic, she told me she thought maybe I’d go back to school, because she saw me with lots of books.  Well, she definitely got the book part right, the school part, no thanks!  Not long after my diagnosis, I started searching for answers.  I wasn’t sure what I was looking for,  but the doctors didn’t seem to have any answers,  so I started searching for myself.  So, I started reading,  and reading,  and reading.   Everything from novels, to inspirational biographies, to books filled with spiritual wisdom, and everything in between.  Although I have definitely slowed down the pace, I’m still not done.  The more I read, the more I find that I want to read.  It all started with a little book called,  Heal Thyself,  by White Eagle.   That book led to more books by the same author,  which led to books by and about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… but,  that’s a whole other blog post!  

I also discovered Oprah!  She had just started doing weekly shows with guests that were somehow inspiring.  She was a wealth of inspiration and information.  With nearly every guest came another list of books I wanted to read, and many of those guests had websites, where I found more inspiration.  Now that Oprah has her OWN network, I find inspiration through many of her programs,  but especially on Super Soul Sunday,  and Master Class.  Of  course there is an unlimited amount of inspiration on the internet.  Through people like Jason Becker, an amazing musician who is living with ALS, and is still creating music.  Or, my friend Sarah Ezekiel, an artist who creates all her pieces with a computer eyegaze program, because she is living with ALS.  Or,  my friend Father Sophronios from Greece.   He is a Monk who is living through faith and inspires others with his writings about his experiences in living with ALS. 

Inspiration is all around us. Inspiration to survive any hardship,  to lose weight,  to go through a divorce,  to survive losing a loved one,  to live a better life.  There is inspiration for absolutely any situation you are going through.  Find what inspires you and gives you hope.  Once you find it,  share it with others.  Be the light for someone else’s path,  and you will find the light on your own path is even brighter.