Spiritual Sidebar-Maria

Ang met Maria at reiki training. Ang was inspired by Maria’s energy and commitment to healing. Maria’s life has not always been easy, but she has not let the negativity of outside circumstances eat away her soul. Her commitment to her spiritual journey is admirable and she shares her thoughts with us today.

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1. Tell us about yourself. My chronological number is forty-three, my mind, spirit and soul are ageless. I am a mass of energy made up of love, resilience, with a side of chicken. I am  a free spirit, lover of words, music, dancing and all things different. I am passionately curious. A natural born teacher, a solver of problems, a perfectionist, a SURVIVOR, a warrior. I am genuine. I am me and I am learning to love me.

2. What do you believe spirituality is? I believe spirituality is a force that lives deep inside of us. It is in the songs of the birds, the warmth of the sun and the light of the moon. It is all around us. I believe that when we self-care and self-love we nourish our spirituality and grow in it’s abundance completely flourishing! I believe spirituality is the fruit of our heart and must go through the harvest season in order to continue growing, rooting ourselves deeper and finding our true north.

painting by Maria

painting by Maria

3. Did you attend church? Did you identify with a specific religion? How was it presented to you? How did you relate to it? I had a very strict Catholic upbringing, in a very traditional home. Friday nights echoes of the rosary could be heard through our neighborhood. Padre  Nuestro, Ave Maria, Ave Maria, Gloria…Saturday was catechism and Sunday morning was service. Our religious release time slips were always signed. At Christmas, family, friends and neighbors would gather and recreate Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus’ pilgrimage for a total of 9 days. I loved it. Religion was always present in my life, it gave me a sense of belonging, of community that I loved and related to.

4. Tell us about a significant moment that caused a shift in your spiritual development. From the ages of 5-13 I was sexually abused. I clearly remember sitting in my hurt almost negotiating with God. I could accept the path and asked that in return one day know, feel and live in true love. A feeling so powerful, yet comforting, passed through me. That moment, I knew with no doubt he truly existed and thus my curiosity was born and my free spirit took over. In that moment, I was five, but my mind, spirit and soul were ageless.

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 5. Did your spiritual views change as you entered adolescence? As life went on, my voice was hushed by the same people who I loved and believed were there to protect me. My wings were clipped and my spirit defeated. That is when I begin to question, “why, dear Lord, why?” I fell into a deep depression, but still prayed and continued with my confirmation classes. I still believed and questioned. Because I did, I was told to live life by the cross, the most important part of life is that you have a relationship with God above and treat those around you with love and respect. I still questioned, but still confirmed myself as a Catholic.

6. Has your relationship with spirituality shifted as you entered adulthood? Spirituality and I have a love/hate relationship. I broken up and made up with it many times. After years of therapy, I was finally able to let go of the hurt, anger and grieve properly. I let go of all the pain. I am now building and growing new relationships with new friends, my family and my most cherished one of all, my mama. Today I am fully committed to my spirituality and have no plans of every breaking up again. Ever. I am blessed.

Maria 1 7. What is your spiritual life like today? It is one of abundance. I flourish in the lessons, the knowledge and strength. I continue honoring myself and doing the work. I walk with grace and see life through the eyes of my heart. Today, I am blessed.

8. Are there any books, movies, etc. on spirituality that have had a significant impact? I am a little stuck on this one. I have read many books, some I have read all the way through, some I start and go back to, as needed, some I have yet to open. The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz’s True Happiness, Pema Chodron’s Feeling Good, David Burns’ She Walks in Beauty, Poems selected by Caroline Kenney, Oprah’s What I Know for Sure, Victor E. Frankl’s Man Search for Meaning and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings are just a few. I believe one needs to find what works best for them, whether it be through painting, music, creating, journaling, going to park, beach, etc. Whatever brings your soul joy and comfort.

spiritual sidebar We are interested in hearing about your spiritual journey! If you would like to be featured on Spiritual Sidebar, please email us at spiritualbahana@gmail.com or comment here!

Figure It Out Friday: Elizabeth Gilbert

On Memorial Day, I spent the day with Elizabeth Gilbert and Rob Bell.  As a contributor to Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It, I was invited, along with another guest, to their workshop on creativity.  Angelina was unable to go since we were originally invited to her Carlsbad event which was changed at the last minute.

It was a day of journalling, discussion and creativity.

What I Figured Out

Elizabeth Gilbert is truly and authentic person.

Pictures from the event…enjoy!!

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Ed

Book Giveaway-Signed Copy of “Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It”

Hi everyone!! Spiritual Bahana is giving away a free autographed copy of Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It signed by yours truly, Eduardo Martinez.

For those of you who don’t know, last summer I entered an essay writing contest by the acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert.  Liz Gilbert is a New York Times best selling author who’s inspired millions of women and men to look at their lives and change them for the better.  Since its release in 2006, over 10 million copies have been sold and it established her as a world famous writer.  Eat Pray Love sold over 10 million copies ever since its first release in 2006.  Her story of self discovery was also made into a movie directed by Ryan Murphy, the creator of American Horror Story and most recently The People Vs. Oj Simpson.

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It is a collection of essays written by fans from around the world who were inspired to go on their own spiritual quest after reading the book.  Although I didn’t travel around the world to find myself, I believe you’ll find my simple story of hard work and determination just as inspiring.

The book and author were also featured on Good Morning America:

You have mutliple chances to win! You can enter by:

  1. Leaving a blog comment lettings us know what you thought of Eat Pray Love.
  2. Following Spiritual Bahana on WordPress (click “follow” on the sidebar—>).
  3. Follow @spiritualbahana on Instagram.

You can chose one or all options for multiple entries. The contest begins today and will run through midnight on Sunday, 5/15. The winner will be announced on Monday, 5/16.

Please click on the link below to log your entries. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Create Your Own Religion Wednesday

Over the weekend, I gathered together with other Spiritual Bahanas to learn about the sacredness of art and the Chakras.  It was another great opportunity to practice my own religion. As I sat and listened to others as they shared their own personal journeys, I was reminded of how we all process life differently but yet are all one.  It was a peaceful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Maria, our host, put together a fun filled event.  After Angelina taught us about the Chakras we ate and then painted.  Maria brought out her own creations to inspire us before we hit the canvas.  I took plenty of pictures.

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Her art gave me an opportunity to experience pure joy.  I ADORE her paintings and allowed myself to sit and experience the feeling for a while.

Hope you enjoy looking at them as much I did.

Peace,

Ed

Field Trip: Spirit and the Art of Heart

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” Frida Kahlo

For a while now, Spiritual Bahana and I have been discussing coping mechanisms; the how and why people cope with this one life we all have been given. In the day–to–day, we’ve discovered that a creative outlet is necessary in order to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday stress; otherwise life can become too much and unhealthy habits can take the place of the creative spark. So when the opportunity came up to visit an annul art show held in Downtown L.A, we figured it would be a great way to see how God – the ultimate coping mechanism – can be found in art. We didn’t go with a certain focus or looking for any artist in particular, we thought we’d go, check it out and then discuss our personal experience afterward.

As I was walked through the galleries, I found myself not so much paying attention to the art – the original reason why we were there – but the sacred spaces created within.  I’ve always found it interesting that when entering into a gallery, it’s often very similar to walking into a sanctuary – the first thing visitors do is observe silence. There were many nooks outside the galleries that held sacred quiet as well.  Here is a pictorial of what we found:

Sacred spaces: Where the artists meditated.

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Creative spaces: Where the artists created.

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Community Space: Where the people gathered.

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As I move forward on the path of expanding my world view of God, I’m finding that the Creator is everywhere beyond what my own eyes and mind can judge; co-creativity first manifests itself deep down where the Spirit dwells, within the sacred spaces and places of the heart.

Ed

Ed & I attended The Brewery Art Walk a few weeks ago. We have talked about the need for a creative outlet and how that relates to spirituality. We went with an open mind and curious to see how art and spirituality intersected.

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Although we did find plenty of examples at the Art Walk of creativity expressing the soul’s inner-workings, there was something that happened after the show that stuck with us more than anything.

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We were pretty hungry after walking around and looking at art all day, so we stopped at Umami Burger, before heading home. We were shoveling food into our faces, barely breathing at our table outside, when a man approached us and began singing.

He was probably homeless, with a rough appearance, but he had a beautiful voice. He sang an original song that was hard not to enjoy. At the end, he asked for money and told us, “I don’t even have any teeth, but am doing the best I can.” We clapped, Ed gave him money and he moved on.

After all, aren’t we all just doing the best we can? Ed said something that stuck with me about our singing friend. He said, “sometimes it is better to break out into song, than into tears.” He didn’t have all his teeth, a home or means, but he still had his voice and used it to make the best of his situation.

I sometimes get caught up in complaining about things or focusing on the negative. I definitely believe tears are healthy and necessary. But, after you have cried and done what you can to change a situation, then what? Keep crying? Or maybe, make a song out of it?

This concept has helped me out quite a bit in the past few weeks. Instead of getting wrapped up in work stress and complaining away, can I make the best of situation and sing it away?

I went to this Art Walk hoping to find out something about how creativity and spirituality combine, I did see instances of that, however, God had something else for me to see. Often times, we have our own plans about a situation, but I believe that the real lessons we need to learn will present themselves accordingly.

Have you ever had a spiritual lesson, when you did not expect it? Tell us about it.

In love and sisterhood,

~Ang