One thing I didn't learn very well growing up: how to actually live out your faith. Sure, I learned the basics, such as The Golden Rule, which is a large part of my life even today. But obviously, people of any spirituality - or none at all - hold The Golden Rule and similar concepts as key components of their moral codes concerning how to treat others. What I never learned was how to express my spirituality in a way unique to my personality and my understanding of the Divine. My family was very active in the church. Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings, youth group, church Christmas/Easter plays, that kind of public spirituality. But at home, the most spiritual we got was praying before meals, and reading the traditionally read Scripture passages on Christmas Eve. Aside from these practices, and from occasional periods of "family Bible time" here and there, the only other time they would show any practice of spirituality at the home would be during times of conflict. During these times, they would typically whip out their KJV Bible and read some kind of passage that they could basically twist into some rendition of "I'm a good parent, you're a bad son, God's going to punish you for your disobedience".
This seems to have carried into my adult life. Even though I have a chosen spiritual path far different from that of my parents, one that encourages and allows for personal exploration (and indeed, emphasizes personal experiences as an important facet), I struggle with ways to keep my spiritual practices fresh and consistent. My Celtic Daily Prayer prayerbook helps, and around this time of year I tend to become more consistent due to my practices related to the winter holidays (Advent, Christmas, Yule, last year I even experimented a little with Hannukah just to get a feel for it, and a recent UU-specific invention called "Chalica"), I still am at times lost as to how to live out my spiritual beliefs in day-to-day life. I'm working on becoming more aware of everything around me, the more spiritual nature of life. But I still feel like I need more structure to improve my self-discipline.
Therefore, something I may gradually incorporate after the holidays, will be the First Degree Curriculum laid out within the AODA. As I've previously mentioned, I am planning on delving more in-depth into that organization once I get out of grad school and get my career goals more settled. In the meantime, though, maybe if I start to incorporate elements of their practices into my life now, then by the time I get to that point, I will be already have become more self-disciplined in my lifestyle. I really do need to work on self-discipline.
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