Saturday, June 23, 2012

Soul

One of my most embarrassing moments was when I was at a stop light in my car with the windows rolled down, singing along to the song below, when an extremely good looking guy rolled up next to me. I remember panicking and trying to figure out how quickly I could change the station to something a little more up to date, hardcore, cool or alternative..just anything less out of style and cheesy. But whatever. We all have our guilty pleasures, right? 



I'm sort of avoiding the topic, because I'm not sure what to say about the soul. Though I mention soul/spirit, faith and spirituality quite a lot in my manuscript, I remain agnostic, not convinced that there is anything beyond this world once we die, which is probably partly why I'm so terrified of death. In terms of a soul, I think of it more as an essence or inner self more than something entirely separate from the human body. Some consider it the mind, and others suggest it's something more along the lines of a spirit, an entity that can ascend to the divine once free from the physical body.

It's hard to deny that there is a force greater than ourselves, but this force doesn't necessarily have to be a deity. Nature can be explained in a similar way. It is a force, and it is beyond our control. I have many friends who believe in God, some who believe in past lives and a few who talk about Jesus, but most people I know are either atheists or agnostics. When it comes to beliefs, I like to let people believe what they like and keep a healthy dose of scepticism for myself. I've seen and experienced some wild things including having premonition dreams, and while I can't explain how I can dream about something only to have it play out the next day, I think science either will or at least has the potential to explain these types of experiences. Maybe we have defined time in a way that isn't quite accurate. Who knows for sure, but I'm not ready to discount or fully accept God as the answer to everything unexplained.

Approximately 3% of the people in the world are classified as atheists, and closer to 15% consider themselves non-religious. There are some people who insist that in order to overcome addiction, one has to accept God and admit that we are powerless. This poses a problem for those of us who fall into the 15% - us non-believers. Sure, there's some kind of statement about how God can be anything from a flower pot to a deity, but the idea is that we either turn our power over to this God or allow whatever we choose as god to help us overcome the addiction. It WORKS....for some people. However, there are people who don't do AA, don't believe in God and don't follow any 12-steps and still get well. I'm one of them, though my drug (if one can call food or a lack of food a drug) of choice wasn't alcohol. Still, my brother and many others I know did overcome alcohol and drugs without changing their religious beliefs. That's not to say someone struggling shouldn't give AA a try or even give it many, many tries. In my experience, I had to go down several different avenues, try too many remedies and exhaust my own patience and finances in order to get well. But EVERYONE is DIFFERENT. THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT PATH THROUGH RECOVERY; there are millions. This is the main concept of my manuscript if I had to pick just one theme. Unfortunately, people like scripts, pills and easy fixes, especially in this country. They want to do A, B and C and be done with it, forgetting that it's all about learning and the process.

When I mention that I took a leap of faith in order to get healthy, what I mean is that I jumped into the unknown. I took a step without knowing where I was heading. All I knew was that I wanted out of my misery, and part of getting out had to include eating differently and gaining weight. I could have followed a plan, gotten more support or gone about it by attending support groups, but it was that first step that was the most important. That step signified a declaration to myself that no matter what, no matter how bad it got, I wouldn't resort to starving myself any longer. That one step wasn't about trust in God, the universe or a program, it was me telling myself that I was going to commit to getting well, period.

I really don't want to offend anyone here. I understand that it's more likely that an alcoholic will recover when attending AA meetings. Again, they work. I don't discount that. I know someone who has been sober for probably 30 years now and wouldn't be had it not been for AA. All I'm saying is that recovery is different for everyone. We have to pick and choose what works for us. I have mentioned many times that I had a terrible therapist who told me that I would either stay sick or get well and hate my body. I'm here to say that what he said was bullshit. I'm also here to tell the people who insisted I had to find God in order to get well that there's no need to change my religious beliefs in order to do that. I always wonder why some people feel like it's essential for others to believe the same thing they do. It's confusing to me, mostly because I don't try to persuade anyone to not believe in God if they do.

I got a little off topic, but I'm pressed for time today. This will have to do. That's the beauty and the drawback of this one post a day challenge. Time is limited, so the post may deviate greatly from the original plan.

Now, if you will excuse me, it's time to feed my soul with a little chocolate.

This is so weird, but I always type sould when I'm trying to type soul. I wonder what that means! 

5 comments:

  1. You've really done well with this blog a day thing. Just read a bunch of your last posts, some interesting stuff there. -M

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  2. The fact that about 29 in every 30 people believe in an invisible wise guy in the sky is only one reason I crack up whenever I read some human's description of Homo sapiens as an intelligent species. Compared to what? Crackhead crocodiles?

    It's one thing to question the broad notion of a creative intelligence -- I have no idea what set this whole circus in motion. But anyone who embraces the Bible, or any sectarian text, as a literal historical account needs to see a neurologist or sue his or her parents for felony indoctrination. If you can claim with a straight face that the world is 5,000 years old, that people used to routinely live to be 500, and that a wooden boat 500 feet long survived a storm that dropped 30,000 feet of water in 40 days while carrying two of every animal on Earth, ask a friend to yank the rusty railroad spike out of your temple immediately.

    What is especially strange on the surface is that theism is actually more prevalent in places where it would seem especially difficult to embrace the idea of a deity, at least a benevolent one. If I lived in a part of the planet where half of the population doesn't get enough to eat, infant mortality is in the stratosphere, warlords routinely slaughter people by the hundreds, and HIV and cholera and malaria are routine aspects of day-to-day life, I'd be skeptical that some higher power gave a rip about me. Yet it's equally understandable that those who suffer most would cling to the idea of being rescued by some essentially magical force -- it's not happening today, but it WILL happen SOMETIME. We see this in the U.S., where states in the obesity and mouth-breather belts have far higher rates of theism and religious participation than those in the rest of the country.

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  3. Thank you so much, Meggan. I can't wait to be done, so I can catch up with everyone else's blogging! :)

    Kemibe, I can see how certain aspects of religion have their place. I don't judge anyone for not questioning what they were taught growing up or for accepting something that helps them through life. I had a Mormon friend who knew my dad was an atheist. She told me that if she got to the end of her life and found out that her religion was all a big lie, she wouldn't care as it helped her be a better person and feel more comfort while alive. I can see how and why some people embrace it. Religion in general has often been used to try to explain the world. Unfortunately, people take parts of the Bible too literally, and there are some who attempt to use religion as a way to control people. Unfortunately too, religion in the world has probably caused more bloodshed than good moments. I guess nobody will really know what happens when we die until it happens. I can't help but think of South Park right now, but I don't remember which was the right religion to pick!

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    Replies
    1. Go for Jediism - the latest census results showed it's on the increase in Australia. Back a winner.

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