Wednesday, March 26, 2008

spirituality and fun

"[Christianity] was the religion in which divinity was revealed by scars on the flesh." -Sara miles

For a good part of my life I felt wounded, struggling with depression and low self image. Often my art reflected this pain, imagery of cuts, wounds, a pierced and bleeding heart. While these metaphorical wounds were painful, yet I think I also held them as badges of my spirituality. A twisted token of the atonement where I felt Christ's pain and was closer to Him because of it. Spirituality, in my mind was associated with solemnity, sacrifice, seriousness... And suffering. And I was very very spiritual.

But now I am conflicted. I do not feel so wounded any more. I no longer feel cut up and bleeding inside. In fact, I feel rather... frisky? Lighthearted and enjoying life. A sense of levity. I quite surprised myself the other day, when I went shopping for a bathing suit (hadn't bought one in seven years, it was about time!) and found that the one I liked the most was a brilliant turquoise bikini. (!!!) I am having a hard time reconciling this with my 'spiritual' sensitivities (not to mention my feminist sensitivities. I remember reading The Beauty Myth and thinking that I should dress in somber grays from head to foot. But that was my misinterpretation, not Naomi Wolf's intent.) Well, I bought that flashy bathing suit... but also bought a more conservative, modest, muted one too. Just in case? Because perhaps I'd feel more 'spiritual' in olive green and with more of my tummy covered? (Or maybe I'm just worried that when it comes to actually wearing that tiny blue thing in public I will find I am really not that frisky. I guess I'll find out in a month or so.) (Don't get me wrong, the other suit I bought is attractive and flattering... but the difference in "personality" between the two is huge.)
Anyways, It got me thinking.

They say sweet is the peace the gospel brings, and men are that they might have joy, but just what does that mean?

I am reminded of that story about the person who went to see the prophet Joseph Smith and found him rough-housing with some kids and was shocked and offended that a 'prophet of god' would behave like that. (Or something along those lines... can anyone give me a reference for this story? I am too lazy right now to try to find it right now.)

I no longer feel so serious, somber, or wounded... and sometimes it makes me wonder if I am no longer spiritual.

Is spirituality compatible with levity? I'm trying to find out.

(P.S. yes... this also means that yet another source of my artistic inspiration has dissipated... still trying to work through that artists block.)


Lessie said...

You know G, one of the steps on my journey away from the church involved the Soweto Gospel Choir ( It was a semester or two before I graduated and my hubby and I went to one of their concerts at BYU-I. I had a hard time not sobbing because I realized that we Mormons were missing out on a lot. They had to be one of the most joyous groups I had ever encountered. Their excitement about Christianity was incredible. They were obviously deeply spiritual people, but their spirituality had lead them to an overwhelming joy.

Have fun, be lively, be joyful, light, and be spiritual. It's totally possible and totally okay.

becca said...

i remember the day when i was able to disconnect spirituality from god. the thought of the two things being separate had never even come close to being a thought in my head. once i was able to disconnect them, i felt lighter and more free than i ever had before. for me, it was a revelation.