Several years ago, I was given a gift for my birthday. It was a CD collection titled “This I Believe.” It was a collection of stories taken from the NPR radio series by the same name. The stories were from people from all walks of life – some famous, some not so famous, older, younger, etc.. The individuals talked about their personal beliefs – and often, why they had come to have these beliefs. Sometimes these beliefs stemmed from the influence of a parent or grand-parent, or mentor, or friend. Sometimes, they came through personal experience – the ups and downs of life. It was a fascinating collection of stories – and was a joy to listen to on road trips.
Having recently turned 49, and facing a new milestone birthday in about 11 months, I’ve been giving a lot of thought, airtime and therapy time to better understanding my beliefs. I’ve learned about CBT (cognitive behavorial therapy) – a tool a friend of mine discovered through his own early recovery during a month-long in-patient program he checked himself into for his own mental health. I’ve realized how much my unconscious (and sometimes conscious) thoughts stem from deep-seated beliefs – and how those thoughts can drive my feelings. I used to think, quite honestly, that this “cause and effect” relationship was bullshit. I had probably been burned enough in my past about the role of feelings – or shall I say, never really came to understand what I believe about the role of feelings. Instead, I took what my “pastoral leaders” in a Christian cult said during my college years as “gospel.” Well, that fucked me up for a long time! More recently, I spent time in a 12 step program, where feelings and their role in addiction was drilled into me for years. And, I’ll admit that they were probably closer to what I now have come to believe – but even there, I couldn’t fully embrace their way of thinking. And, in my black and white mind, it was all or nothing – they were right, or they were wrong.
So, my world is little more grey these days.
And my world is a little less clear these days.
And my beliefs are a little more in flux these days.
And all of these statements are ok with me these days. I’m ok with not knowing – or believing I know or understand – it will. Just writing that stands out as both arrogant, ignorant, and unrealistic.
What I believe is what I believe – and it seems to make more sense to figure that out for myself, rather than take someone else’s doctrine as “gospel.”
What I believe may also change – as I learn more information, have new experiences, interact with other world views – and that seems to make more sense, than accepting some static, infallible set of beliefs. Has my 49 years on this earth not shown that life is about change – that change is healthy – and that growth comes through experience, uncertainty and struggle. It also comes through the loving support of others, and the insight and experience of others. But ultimately, I have one person to answer to – one image in the mirror looking back at me. And for that understanding, I’m grateful.
So this is me reengaging with my blog, as I take pen to paper and tell more of my story.
This I believe…
Stay tuned for more!