Celebrating a Sister

Today we our celebrating one of our sisters.

Kristen is Ang’s sister and last week was a big one for her!

Kristen

She was accepted to not one, but two, extremely competitive grad school programs. One of the schools only accepted 33 students, the other only accepted 8.

Kristen received the news on the same day. It was an exciting and overwhelming day.

We are so proud of her hard work that made her such a strong candidate! We love seeing our sisters advance in their education and careers and fulfilling their life’s purpose.

Congratulations, Kristen! We are proud of you!

Spiritual Sidebar: Kristin B

Kristin B is an infectious ball of light and love. She is one of Ang’s fellow yoga teachers and a overall lover of life. We definitely wanted to know her spiritual secrets! You can also follow her blog Sorta Enlightened for more inspiration!

KB

Hello! I’m Kristin Booth. Wife, dog-mama, yoga teacher, sandwich-lover, lover of travel and pretty things.

I grew up in a small town in Southern California and was introduced to ‘church’ at a very young age. My father, mother, sister, and I went to The United Methodist Church in my hometown every Sunday and were highly involved in activities and happenings going on there. It was not uncommon for us to be at the facility two to three times a week for various events and my parents could often be found cleaning up after spaghetti dinners and other gatherings late into the night.

The United Methodists are a denomination of the Christian church with the belief that Jesus is the son of God and through his death on the cross we receive the grace of God, should we accept it. This belief, and others, was taught to me through Sunday school, youth group, summer camp, and Bible Studies. I memorized scripture and was an acolyte- bringing the lit candles to the church altar during Sunday service. I met some of my best friends in my church home and credit them with keeping me out of trouble during most of my high school years and well into college. ‘Spirituality’ wasn’t a factor during this time- ‘religion’ was and I accepted all of it at face-value.

During my college years I didn’t go to church. I wasn’t used to not being in ‘my church’ and felt uncomfortable exploring other options on my own. There was the occasional venturing out, but nothing felt right. I felt guilty for not being involved in a church and felt ashamed that it wasn’t a priority for me to find a new church home.

It was during this time that I traveled out of the country for the first time, started practicing yoga on a regular basis, and started to develop my own opinions about who I am and who I want to be. It was on my yoga mat and in the outdoors that I started to feel more spiritually connected than ever before. I came to realize that my connection with the Devine did not have to be facilitated in a religious service- it can be anywhere- and that my relationship with the Holy Trinity, the Devine, is an actual relationship.

As most relationships go, they need to be cultivated and nurtured. Relationships go through highs and lows, they experience distance and extreme closeness and connection. My spiritual life right now consists of having a small space in my home that serves as a retreat where I can go to pray, practice breath work, and be. In addition, I have been become a student of the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda and A Course in Miracles. Both have given me fresh ideas and principles and have been building blocks to the foundation that my early church upbringing gave me.

It has been a long time since I have been in a traditional church service. In the meantime, I have been blessed by a Buddhist monk, skipped work to go hear the Dali Lama speak, prayed in the Sistine Chapel, seen heaven over the Alps, and experienced the greatest peace riding an elephant in a forest in Thailand. I feel like my spiritual practice is…practice. It’s sometimes easy and sometimes complicated. It takes effort, but sometimes is effortless. My practice is not pretty, but I cannot help but whisper a prayer of thanks when I’m surrounded by beauty.

KB1

My greatest recommendation is to soul-search to discover your own connection on your own terms. If you spend all of your time in a church only surrounded by people who agree with you and never allow you to question your own beliefs, you miss out on the world outside its walls and challenges that will help you grow. This big universe was created for YOU- to enjoy, to explore, to love, and to cherish. Enlightenment is not a destination, it’s a journey. There’s so much joy in the journey!

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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!

Music Monday: The Shawl Version

Spring Break is ending for me this Monday as Ed is starting his vacation.

We were talking this weekend about the need we both have to cast off some bad habits.  I have found myself back in a negative pattern of coping with stress; turning to food and too many margaritas to deal with upsetting emotions and feeling overwhelmed.

I know this is physically and emotionally taking it’s toll. It’s time for me to wrap myself up in my protective shawl and spin like Stevie. It’s time to re-focus and get back to my positive coping mechanisms; asking for help when I need it, meditating morning & night, yoga, running, writing, hot tea, green juice and essential oils.

shawl Ed & I have talked about the freedom that comes from spinning in this shawl. We love pretending like we are our hero Stevie and finding that simultaneous protection and freedom that the shawl brings.

SONY DSC Landslide is definitely a classical favorite. To me, it is about that realization that it is time to re-focus and make some changes. It’s time to seek out something new, because what you were doing is not working anymore.

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the season of my life?

No matter which season of life we are in, we have our shawl and we have each other.

Gather under the imaginary shawl with us today, sisters, if you need it for you Monday and your week.

Spiritual Sidebar: Marcella

Marcella is one of our sisters. She is actually Ang’s younger sister by birth and best friend by choice. Marcella and Ang are only 20 months apart and have shared most of their experiences together. Marcella has always been there to provide comic relief to Ang when she needs it or exchange eye rolls when life gets annoying. She is a photographer and you can follow her instagram @marcellamartinezphotography.

1.  Tell us about yourself.

Hiiiiii! I’m Marcella and I’m 29 years old.

I’m Angelina’s younger sister.

Mar 1 mar 2

I’m the introverted, unorganized middle sister, a photographer, art seeker and food enthusiast. I prefer summer over winter and Lady Gaga and Daria Morgendorffer are my spirit animals….I also think I’m hilarious.

2. What do you believe spirituality is?

I think that spirituality is connection. A connection with you and others, with yourself and greater forces around us, and a connection with yourself! It’s weird to say a connection to yourself, but it takes a lot to really stop and listen to your heart. We so often ignore that voice in us, even though it’s probably leading us to what is best.

Mar 3

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’ve basically have been going to church since birth. We were raised Christian and I attended Christian schools K-9!

Based on my personal experience, Christianity’s foundation is loving one another. That just seemed fairly simple to me. It wasn’t asking for an extravagant lifestyle, or harsh criticism, it was keeping life simple.

4. Tell us about a significant moment that caused a shift in your spiritual development?

Angelina has previously written about her great “spiritual spin out”, and I too have had that experience.

I call it “When My World Flipped…Literally”.

In April 2011, I had a major car accident. Long story short, I ended up UPSIDE down in the freeway embankment.

Mar 4

I crawled out with only bruises.

 This was just the start of my world flipping.

A week after this month my grandma died.

A few months after that my sister gets in a car accident.

A few months after that our dad was murdered.

A few months after that our aunt was in a coma and hospitalized for a month.

This is now referred to as The Dark Days.

The Dark Days were heavy and scary and depressing and lonely. I constantly felt like I couldn’t take it anymore; hope was nearly lost.

I had to stop questioning everything and realize I couldn’t be in control. I had to (and still do) remind myself of the day my world flipped and know that I’m being watched over. It also made me extremely grateful for everything.

 5. Did your spiritual views change as you entered adolescence?

There would be times in church were I just really felt like they were using scare tactics to get you to listen…and it worked. I understand that they were so passionate about their message that they would do anything to get your intention, but I didn’t like being scared into this.

Sometimes it seemed like religion was impossible. It was just a list of what you couldn’t do and condemnation when you failed, but then I learned about love. Once I started reading more about God’s love, and how we are just supposed to love each other and ourselves, that’s when I feel I had a better grasp on spirituality. Spirituality connects everyone, even different religions. All religions, people, cultures have one common thing, Love.

6. Has your relationship with spirituality shifted as you entered adulthood?

I think it has gotten a little more practical. I use to do everything with church. Nothing wrong with that, but it was beginning to feel like a chore. I had to break away from some of those things so that church became something I wanted to do, not something I had to do. I appreciate it more.

7. What is your spiritual life like today?

I think I’m trying to be more sensitive, kinder, and intuitive.

I try to listen more to my spirit and trust that it’s leading me in the right direction.

8. Are there any books, movies, etc. on spirituality that have had a significant impact?

I was first introduced to Rob Bell in my early 20s. His book have really simplified Christianity for me. Two of his books really struck a chord with me, I constantly go back to them for reference. When he’s not writing books he’s spending time with Oprah, haha.

His first book “Velvet Elvis” is one that you should really read if you want a break down of Christianity…especially if you question it. Questions are good, admitting we aren’t perfect or worn out is good. This book goes into learning to be ourselves because that’s how God created us. He makes it very relatable.

Mar 5

The next book that I HIGHLY recommend is “Drops Like Stars”.

Mar 6

I recommend this more than the first book. This book is about suffering. This book is about what do we do when we feel like we have completely lost everything. This book is for everyone.

I attended Rob Bell’s book tour for this and it was amazing. The way he pointed out how we all suffer and it’s in that suffering where we have to reshape our thinking. It’s in our suffering that we rely most on others. There’s a line in the book that says “suffering unites”, and I felt so connected to everyone in the room, and that’s what spirituality is all about…a connection with you and others.

 

 

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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!

Music Monday: The Support Version

As Ed & I begin to open ourselves up more and more on this blog and to one another, we have found that others have begin opening up more to us.

We are finding that most people in our lives are dealing with one thing or another and have begin to share those difficult parts of the lives with us. It is eye opening to see that all is not always what it seems with people. We have reflected how we ourselves have put on that mask at times pretending that everything was OK, when the truth would have been surprising.

I had a particularly challenging week. This month marks three years since my father was shot and killed and it is looking like the murder case is finally making it to trial.

Although I will be happy to have this behind me, the process is still difficult. It brings back the trauma and brings about new challenges to deal with.

I have tried to deal with this differently than I have in the past. I am not putting on a strong front and pretending that I am OK. I have reached out to others and asked for support. I have been pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of love that has been sent to me and my family.

Ed has been Chili to my Left-Eye this week (we take turns being the one who burns down houses). He has been supportive, kind and loving, constantly checking in with how I am doing.

tlc And, sometimes, even when you are in a courtroom awaiting the inevitable and wondering how one person could effect the life of your family so profoundly, you remember, at least you have your friends.

Music Monday: The Love Edition

I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. I tend to think of it as another obligatory holiday, that induces guilt fueled consumption.

However, LOVE I can stand behind. Love is such a universal force and language. Love breaks down barriers. Love softens the hard edges. Love is the one thing that always makes sense to me.

If there is anything I try to practice religiously, it is love. I am not always successful. However, I try to let me actions be motivated by love. Love for my job, love for my family, love for myself. When I can take the obligation out of tasks and put love behind it, I find so much more joy.

If I were to proclaim a religion, it would be LOVE

What’s New at Spiritual Bahana

Hi Friends!

We would like to officially unveil our new design! We are so excited and pleased with the cleaner look and super fun feel. We truly hope our readers love it and are open to any feedback.

We also want to let you know where to find us on social media. We hope you follow up on  Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. We would love to connect more with our readers and hear your thoughts!

Check out our new About section which we hope gives you a nice introduction and overview of what our site is about and what you can expect here. The pictures in our About section where taken by Ang’s sister, Marcella (check out her site here or follow her on Instagram).

We have some field trips planned in the future that we hope to share with you and some guest blog posts in the works. We are excited about what’s coming and hope you check back frequently to connect.

In love & sisterhood,

Ang & Ed