Religion Series

Religion and Healing: Final Thoughts

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Religion and Healing: Final Thoughts

It is odd that, in this most religious of seasons…Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule…that I feel surprisingly detached from this subject matter. Perhaps it’s the cost of what I’ve done to make this time of the year palatable, even enjoyable, for me. Precisely because there is no ritual, no expectation, no lesson I’m replaying, I can determine what I wish to cull from the spirit of the season. For me, it is about the light, sometimes caught and reflected in shiny things, less about the food than about lifting my head from the plate to the warmth of my friend’s and family’s eyes.  Even...

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The Case For…How Christianity Serves Healing

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The Case For…How Christianity Serves Healing

My cousin Jan is an amazing person. She’s weathered several rough patches with grace and dignity; despite her very hectic schedule, she agreed to share with me and you how her Christian faith has served her healing. What strikes me is the place communication has in her practice, both prayer, and in guidance through the text: I have been thinking a lot about healing throughout my life. It’s not like I’ve had some miraculous kind of healing at any one time, although there have been several times that I’ve been in quite a bit of pain, and I have asked Kevin (husband) to...

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The Case For… How Buddhism Serves Healing

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The Case For… How Buddhism Serves Healing

For many of my clients with significant childhood trauma, hypervigilance dominates their everyday experience. This is a state of constant arousal, as all senses are trained on potential threat and in a very real sense, defined by it. As they scan their environment, they often fail to see that which is pleasant or neutral, for example the number of people who smiled at them or who passed by without expression, but will break into a sweat if they encounter an angry or unhappy face…eventually, coming to believe that the world is made up of hostile people. Frequent contributor Nancy Weaver...

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The Saving Grace of…Religion?!

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The Saving Grace of…Religion?!

Why do I believe that religion can be an important vehicle for healing? Because I truly believe it saved my life. It was the 60’s, and hedonism was in, not just for my parents, but for most families in our tony Western Massachusetts cul-de-sac. Supervising the children, what’s that? Building character, so repressive! Consistency, pure lack of imagination. As the daughter of a psychotherapist (yes, that’s my dad, circa the age of Groovy), I was left to wander, in the belief at the time that that was actually good for us children. But children have a natural craving for guidance and...

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Ruining A Good Thing, Part 2: Can Our Story Be Changed, And Religion Serve Our Spirituality?

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Ruining A Good Thing, Part 2: Can Our Story Be Changed, And Religion Serve Our Spirituality?

Ritual does not equal religion, but it is like the hint of color in the leaf presaging fall. All that is required is the loss of safety, the contraction into fear, and the organization that follows. At some point in my pretty story, the people lost spiritual touch with the land, and ignored the signs of depleted soil that would, could, no longer sustain. The population, instead, continued to expand, enthralled to a kind of benign arrogance, until at a critical moment, they recognized both the need for drastic change, and the need to rectify the error of their ways. Ok, I know I’m going wild...

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Ruining a Good Thing: One Story of How Spirituality Becomes Religion

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Ruining a Good Thing: One Story of How Spirituality Becomes Religion

Ruins. All that remains of a culture that lasted continuously for over 700 years at Mesa Verde. Like a skeleton, its bones and articulations telling a rich story, from a nomadic people tired of wandering, to a frightened and fighting society starved into leaving for kinder territory in Arizona and New Mexico. When I was a kid, I loved ruins, ate up archeology, and in some ways, even now, am as much a cultural anthropologist as therapist. I am a social worker, and one of our credos is person-in-environment. Visiting Mesa Verde with a dear old friend a few weeks ago, my inner anthropologist was...

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