I went to church yesterday. I haven't been to church for a regular Sunday service in years, more years than I can count on one hand, in fact. But I need to meet new people and begin to build a community of like-minded folks in this new home town of mine, and since I'm not a bar person, and my body isn't up to working out at the gym or stretching out in a yoga class, I thought attending church might be a good place to start.
So on Saturday I did a web search for Unity Church in Nashville and got the address and the times for the services. I chose Unity because I used to attend Unity in Pittsburgh and generally liked the service. I decided I'd go to the 11 am service so I didn't have to get up so early, and also because I didn't know where I was going and didn't want to have to leave home at daybreak just to give myself enough time to find my way. But by the time I fell asleep Saturday night, I'd changed my mind. I just had too much to do, too many boxes to unpack, too much stuff to sort through. I decided I'd go next week instead.
Deep down I knew I was using the unpacking as an excuse because I was dreading walking into a new place where I knew no one. But since everything in my new home really is still in chaos and it's an effort just to find clean clothes each morning, it did seem like a viable excuse.
However, I woke up extra early and the first thought I had was that I needed to go to church. I pushed it aside and tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't. So I got up. I usually read while I eat breakfast, but I don't have a table and chairs yet, and it's a little challenging to balance a book, a breakfast plate and a cup of coffee on the arm of a camp chair, so I decided to turn on the television while I ate my breakfast. Not much on that interested me at 8 am, but I did notice that Joel Osteen was on (if you're not familiar with Joel, you can check him out here: www.joelosteen.com ), and so I clicked the remote to that channel to see what he was talking about. Within five minutes, I was in tears, because the message he was sharing was exactly the message I needed to hear.
He was talking about the importance of maintaining our connection to Spirit, and that when we do that, everything else falls into place much more easily. He wasn't saying anything I didn't know and believe, and usually practice, but in the crazy, hectic weeks prior to me landing permanently in Nashville, I'd been more concerned with what I had to do to make the move happen, than I was with my connection to Spirit. And to tell you the truth, that neglect was evident in the things that were happening and the way that I was feeling. I truly needed that reminder.
After listening to Joel, I decided that I'd go to church after all, because I was feeling disconnected and wasn't sure I could remedy that feeling on my own. I wasn't really sure that attending church was going to remedy it either, but since it was the first thought I had when I woke up, I figured maybe there was a reason it was my first thought. I have to tell you, I was supposed to be there! The minister's message echoed Joel's, and the music, along with the message and the openness and friendliness of the congregation, did much to lift my spirits and renew my faith, as well as to remind me once again of what I need to focus on first each day.
It's been so easy to let my spiritual practice take a back seat to all the million and one details that needed my attention in order to make this move happen. So often I'd think about sitting quiet and connecting, and another thought would pop up about something that needed to be done, and fearful that I'd forget, I'd move on to that, telling myself I'd sit with Spirit later. But often, that time, that very important time, never happened.
But what did happen, because of my neglect, was that all the little things that didn't go the way I thought they would, that normally I would be able to take in stride without a hitch, began to get to me. It was harder and harder to stay positive, and I found myself getting more and more caught up in fearful thoughts and negative self-talk. Rather than being excited about the new possibilities of life in Nashville, I was focused on what I didn't have, what I'd left behind. Those thoughts drained my energy and left me feeling isolated, alone, and depressed. My physical body also suffered from all that negative energy, and the aches and pains that I normally hardly notice, became almost insurmountable barriers to physical movement. Much as I hate to admit it, I was a mess as I sat in my camp chair watching Joel Osteen.
I'm always amazed at how easy it is to forget how important that consistent daily time in silent connection to the Divine really is to the rest of my existence. This isn't the first time it's happened, and unfortunately, it probably won't be the last, because I am human and it's so easy to get caught up in my thoughts and in the daily rush of life around me. But I hope it will be a long, long time before I let it happen again because I still have a lot of boxes to unpack, new people to meet, and a new life to build, and I need and want all the help the Universe has to offer to make those things happen in the best possible way!