I've been debating today if I should make a New Year's resolution or not. Having spent the past year cleaning up my fitness & diet, I don't really have any big changes to make there. Well, except for losing the 3 pounds I put on over Christmas. I am thinking more along the lines of how I spend my time. I have some bad time wasting habits - especially in the winter when I can spend an evening in front of the TV watching 'junk' while sporadically surfing the net at the same time. I wish I could spend the time reading some quality material and having the discipline to meditate regularly. I know both of these would be very good for me. There is also some action I know I should be taking in terms of my spiritual life and also finding some new companionship related to this area. I believe this would reinforce and deepen my involvement in this side of life that has become so important to me. Lastly, I have to understand the priority travel has in my life and to take a trip to a destination that is on my list.
I've been drawn to my spiritual side the past while. Actually, for the past few years. It is something I have resisted, I think due to a negative association I've had with 'church' since childhood. I was raised in a strict Baptist home and my parents went to a Missionary Baptist church - yes, in the heart of urban Canada the church was a missionary church from the main congregation located in Texas. It has always seemed odd to me that a North American missionary church would send resources to Canada ... however, this is not the point of this post so I will leave that aside. Now I really did like the pastor of the church - he was a good man and very likable but I never felt any kinship to the teachings of the Baptist church - especially such a fundamentalist church such as I was forced to attend. I rebelled as soon as I was able and thought that was the end of it for me. But I now feel drawn to spirituality. So my exploration has begun. I think this started several years ago and I noticed it particularly during my visits to London. The churches in London are amazing. Not just the well known and spectacular churches such at Westminster Abbey or St Paul but the small churches in the City of London. In the very small business core (the proper 'City of London') there are something like 50 churches - many designed by Christopher Wren. During one trip I think I went to 30 or more of these churches. Sometimes to just sit and take in the lovely, peaceful atmosphere and others to attend either a concert or service. I've wondered if this is why I feel such a strong draw to London - for the churches. Had my family not left England a few hundred years ago, I would have been raised Anglican which is the denomination of the London Churches I visit. I have gone to several church services in Toronto over the Christmas season. It feels right to me to be in church. I don't know how far into the doctrine I feel like going at present but I feel drawn to the atmosphere. So far each time I've gone, I have gone to a different church - I do think once I find one where I feel at home that I might start regular attendance. I haven't completely sorted through what I am looking for in the experience or even if it is traditional church that I am looking for - it could be a Buddhist temple or Yoga Ashram will be my choice. I feel I'm on the right track in starting the exploration though.
While at my mother's for Christmas I read this weeks edition of The Economist from cover to cover .. including an article on Angels. I remember a few years ago 'angels' were very much in style. There were special stores selling angel items and it seemed angels were a part of pop culture. You don't seem to hear as much about them now.
The article in The Economist really got me thinking. A woman described that a force compelled her to change lanes while driving. The lane change happened just in time to allow her to miss colliding with a car parked in the lane.She was absolutely convinced it was an angel who guided her lane change.
I had an immediate flash of recognition. Last May while vacationing in southern Italy I went on a solitary hike. The trail followed the sea and wound through trees and rocks. At times the trail was right on the edge of the sea with a steep drop off to rocks and sea below. At one point I rather carelessly took some chances where there was not much path to step on. Suddenly, looking down to the water something compelled me to stop. There was really nothing for my feet to grip and I realized I would fall if I kept following the path. Given how fast I was walking and how little I was thinking, I felt it was something other than myself that caused me to leave the path and return to the safer path away from the sea.
After reading the angel article and particularly the woman's story of the lane change, I wondered .... could it have been an angel? I think it was. Furthermore, I really like the idea that it was an angel. I haven't had many of these types of experiences in my life and it is comforting.