The journey continues-beyond these pages and these signposts.
The word that frequently comes to my mind is courage. Anyone can live
by a formula. It's much harder to leave the straight and narrow. Yet
many of us have found that we must leave. The imperative from deep within
is too strong. Life beckons and to dishonor the call would be spiritual
So again I congratulate you for embarking. There are more
areas of growth to explore. This book has been a primer, stressing the
foundation principles of self-love and trust. As you learn to take care
yourself, I invite you to continue exploring in the following areas:
- Rebuild a social support network. Be creative with finding new
individuals and groups that share values and interests. Spend time
with people that can be supportive to you and encourage you to be
who you are.
- Redefine your spirituality, if you care to have a spiritual interest
in your life. Let your beliefs be chosen instead of inherited or indoctrinated.
Allow yourself to consider a wide range of ideas and develop the practices
that work best for you. If you remain a church-goer, find a group
that respects your right to feel and think for yourself.
- Honor the urge to express yourself. Being creative is your right;
you are not just a creation. Consider the healing influence and life-giving
power of art, music, writing, and dance. Discover how you can let
your feelings out in a way that brings you pleasure and personal growth.
Let it be a part of your life and not subject to external approval.
Find out how creative living can take you beyond coping into thriving.
- Carefully assess all of the relationships in your life to see how
your religion has affected them. Take responsibility for peace-making,
conflict resolution, or deepening of connections. When necessary,
let go, and let others have their domain of responsibility.
- Continue the process of self-examination and growth, going beyond
the issues of religious damage. As you heal your wounds and move on
with your life, take the opportunity to learn from all the insights
that might arise. Address the needs within you that helped to make
your religion problematic.
- Take responsibility for your children. Before sending them off for
religious training, think about how you yourself might impart the
values and sensibilities that you want them to have. With the information
they get, trust them to make their own way, and develop their own
- Remember humor! Don't try to make life make sense. You can enjoy
the moments when everything comes together and also learn to laugh
when it all seems to be a riddle.
I have come to believe that our most basic human task is to take responsibility
for ourselves in a deep sense. There are many ways in which we fight
and resist the job. Losing ourselves in a safe religion is one way.
And there are many other methods for avoiding the naked challenge of
being human. Yet the rewards are immense when we move beyond our need
The gardener nurtures and protects the plant and then stands back to allow
the explosion of flowering color. You owe it to yourself to blossom, to permit
your child full uninhibited growth.. Just remember that taking care of a precious
child can be pure delight. And who knows better than a child how to let the