For as long as I can remember 3 things have set my heart on fire: dance, writing, and spirituality.
I was pushed to achieve in dance class and writing contests, but my father squashed my spiritual quest right quick. Despite his skepticism, I sought religion like it was my life's purpose.
We know things so early, don't we?
The following timeline shows my spiritual journey. It also honors the religions and paths that make who I am today.
Growing up in New York, I was called Changowitz. I did all my high holy holidays at my friends' houses. I bought candles, recited "Baruch atah, Adonai, Eloheinu...", and tried to celebrate Shabbat on my own. It often ended early when my Chinese granny carried the pork in for dinner.
What I vibed with about Judaism was the culture - Jews and Chinese have a long connection back East (Coast, not the ye olde Orient). Yiddish and Mandarin are both old languages encoded with an innate humor and love of double entendre. There's a salt of the earth quality to both our peoples, and let's be real - it's impossible to grow up around NYC without going through a shiksa phase.
I jumped on Taoist listserves to ask for clarity. "It's an older person's religion," advised one member, sounding just as mystical as the philosophy itself.
He was right though...
I didn't relate to the masculine God until 2015 when I did healing work on God the Father, but I'd always embraced the divine feminine and its traditions.
I've explored everything from wicca, the goddesses (I particularly embody Aphrodite and Kali), to the balance of feminine and masculine through my relationship coaching work.
Well I wasn't old yet but I did come upon a concept that finally hit home: the pendulum swing.
For every direction it swings, there is a return of equal strength to the other side: It's straight physics. And the cool part is - it will always return to center for a moment before the downswing turns up, and vice versa.
Equilibrium, then, is not a static goal to strive for, but a moment that will inevitably arrive, again and again, as both we and nature continuously adjust.
In other words: all things shall pass.
Although I'd always been interested in Buddhism, the peak of my practice came right before and during graduate school for Counseling Psychology.
I threw myself into Buddhism as a counter to dating an evangelical Christian, then ended up at a grad school steeped in a westernized culture of Buddhism, Hindusim, Humanism, and Yoga.
I see tremendous similarity between the teachings of Buddha and of Christ, and it's comforting as I learn about Christ to see familiar concepts showing up in the Bible. It tells me God is truly universal.
2008 started off promisingly: I started the original 52 Faces and moved back to the town where my church was. But I ended up leaving church after the Prop 8 controversy.
I also got into a significant relationship with a non-spiritual man and I spent these years focusing on my career and social life. Towards the latter years, my soul felt very empty.
My spirituality went into a renaissance during these three years. I became an accomplished oracle card reader and intuitive healer, trained as a shaman and astrologer, and took workshops on everything from Tibetan singing bowls to chakra clearing.
This time gave me the second-greatest leap in healing in my life so far, and allowed me to help others heal as well.
I tested as UU on the fun and surprisingly accurate Belief-O-Matic quiz way back in 1997 but I didn't explore it until over a decade later because, frankly, I didn't understand it. "What exactly do we believe?"
Everything it seemed, and as a life coach, that was cool with me - I still hate judgmental dogma and exclusion. I still believe in a world where spiritual practices are destigmatized.
Even though the UU churches I visited never felt like a fit, I still believe in unity over division when it comes to God.