It struck me the other day that spiritual beliefs are like bras—not the kind that you find on the Cape Flats in South Africa, but the kind women wear for support.
Bear with me a moment or two while I explain my theory.
In my considerable experience in this area, there are essentially two main kinds of bras: serious ones and comfortable/sexy ones (I put these last two in the same category for our purposes here).
As any fairly substantially-breasted woman could tell you, serious bras often have so many hooks that it’s amazing you can’t catch a fish with them. And woe betide the woman who buys a serious bra a size too small—these bras have corset-like properties which can literally take your breath away. On the upside, they provide excellent shape and support, no matter what the circumstances.
Comfortable/sexy bras are usually made of soft cotton or lace, and by definition are easier to wear. They’re really good for either lounging in or putting on display, depending on the type and/or circumstances. You wouldn’t want to run in them though. In fact you wouldn’t even want to drive on an uneven dirt road at any kind of speed (C-cups and above know what I’m talking about here).
So let’s see how this relates to spiritual beliefs.
When we have a fairly hardcore belief system, whether it’s traditionally religious or not, we need to handle it with care. If there are too many hooks and catches (read rules and regulations) keeping us neatly in our place, or flexibility or breathing space isn’t an option, we may end up feeling quite rebellious.
In times of trouble though, these kinds of strong beliefs give us something solid to cling to for support, something to shape ourselves by, a set of principles to adhere to when nothing else seems to make sense.
On the other hand, if we have a belief system (or lack thereof) that allows us to swing free, a kind of soft option, that may work well when things are going smoothly. Sadly though, it doesn’t really support us when our life journey takes us over a few bumps in the road.
We all need some kind of support system when the going gets tough.
As with bras, the best kind of spiritual beliefs are custom-made to fit us. Finding the right one may involve spending a fair amount of time and energy trying on different styles to see what suits us, or at least comes close. We might then need to adjust the basic design, nipping and tucking here or adding a bit from somewhere else there.
The style we end up choosing may or may not be the same style that suited our mothers, or that suits our friends. Once we find what works for us though, we can use that base as a strong foundation and then add whatever lace and ribbons we want over it, to make it sexy and keep our attention.
Now that my theory is hopefully making a bit more sense, you may want to take some time to think about and experiment with your own spiritual (and other) beliefs:
>> Do you still believe the same things you did as a child?
>> Where did those beliefs come from?
>> How have your beliefs changed, if at all?
>> Where do your current beliefs support you well?
>> Where do they feel too restricting or no longer serve you?
>> How might you adjust them?
>> Do you need to find out more about other belief systems, and perhaps try something completely different (even if it’s just for a while), to see how it works for you?
As you go about this process, I wish you the courage to make whatever changes are necessary to find the right balance of support and flexibility, with a dash of sexy added to keep things interesting!
Author: Alexandra Lawrence
Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Bec / Flickr