Stepping Stones on the Spiritual Road

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right
Am I on the right spiritual road or not?
Who knows?
Who cares?
Somewhere along the road, the tradition that I was brought up in lost its relevance. 
It may come as a great surprise to some that know me, that at 13 I wanted to emulate a great aunt and don the habit. At 16 I was reading the Golden Bough, encouraged by teacher at school who seemed to understand my search for meaning. At 21 I was debating the finer points of Gospel with the door to door “God Botherers”, inviting them in for lengthy discussions. Having read the King James Bible from cover to cover a couple of times is a definite advantage. Reading the Koran, parts of the Bhagavad Gita and study of the various branches of Buddhism across Asia at University didn’t make for comfortable conversations in the suburban mother’s club or my previous friendship circle.
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs
Over the years, the roads to organized religion and spirituality diverged. The exploration of spirituality beckoned and the first stepping stone along the road was Reiki. Before I really knew what it was, a colleague at a Catholic school put her hands on my shoulders one afternoon. My blood felt like it had turned to lemonade – tiny, sparkling bubbles of furious energy rising to the top of my head and beyond. It was a defining moment and the next few years were spent in practical applications of Reiki.  Apprenticed to an old style teacher, I progressed and grew through the different levels. A long suppressed intuition began to emerge, but not without growing pains. Dreams became more vivid and the messages within them sometimes quite challenging. A more tangible reminder of the pain was falling down the garden stairs and snapping a ligament which stopped me from taking classes with an artist, who had been recommended by my teacher. I found out just recently that he is very involved in a cult called “The Family”. Quite literally stopped from going down that particular path!

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.
So here I am, stuck in the middle. Still looking at organized religion on one side and spirituality on the other.

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,

I have friends of many faiths who seem able to accept their religion without question and I yearn for this simplicity. I have faith, I feel it, but it’s not tangible.
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
Continuing along the stepping stones, one step at a time. Exploring Christianity further and taking Confirmation lessons. Berated by the local Vicar for having pagan books and idols in my house. He suggests that the books on Buddhism, Islam and Judaism are to go. He is horrified that I have entered pagan temples and have Buddhist and Hindu art on my walls. Intuitively I step away and the next stepping stone is labelled Steiner education. This one resonates with me, but only for a while. How wonderful it is to see the education of the child as a whole person, nurtured and all the creative gifts brought out. Four years of evening classes that stimulates the mind and heals my own inner child. Then one evening, one of the instructors, a young man, tells the class he is a Nazi. My heart freezes.

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,

Later, another lecture on how civilizations and societies grow to their peak and then fall. I see that there are people clinging just as rigidly to the principles of this education system and in denial about some aspects of modern life.  I know it is time to move on, take another step along the road.
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

The next stepping stone awaits.
An interest has grown out of the Steiner studies and I explore the world of Homeopathy. 

The search for an individual remedy to match the overall symptoms of the patient is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The remedies are tested on humans to produce the symptoms of illness. The modern medical profession deride the philosophy and bray about “evidence based research”, forgetting that in Hahnemann’s time they used bloodletting to cure fevers and poisoned their syphilitic patients with Mercury. Hahnemann’s theories about hygiene proved to be correct and are now adopted as sensible practice.
Three great friendships formed along this pathway and sadly only one survives. The first friend to go was one I went into practice with. He took his own life with homeopathics and I stopped seeing clients.  The second friend died just recently and luckily the friendship with the third is still strong, but there was a moment when I thought it might be me checking out of this life earlier this year.
Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please…. Please…..
Moving in and out of formal education forms the next series of stepping stones. Suffice to say that my sojourn in the education system is pretty much over. At least I gave it my best shot! 
Having a child that was diagnosed as ADHD puts a whole different perspective into being both a teacher and a parent. My teaching seemed to gravitate towards this group of students who were square pegs in round holes. 
Fortunate to assess and work with students and adults labelled with learning difficulties for 18 months gave me a new skill set to take back into school. 
At first it felt like I was home. 
Teaching was enjoyable, but the staff politics poisonous.
Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
The next stepping stone was a re-exploration of Christianity. I ended up teaching religious education as well as Japanese. Even though the school espoused Christian values, behind the scenes there was very little honesty, love or charity. One of the risks of living in a house perched on the side of a steep hill is lots of stairs. Another trip down the stairs and another ligament, however I ignored this as a sign to change direction and continued on.  I was promoted and asked to re-write the curriculum and did so, but the toll on my emotional and physical health as a result of the intense bullying in the department was too much. The day before school was to resume, I resigned and never went back.
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck again on the spiritual road, another stepping stone presented itself to make the way forward easier. A friend had started up a Hypnotherapy college, would I be interested in coming along for an introductory course?
Why not? I was in the process of putting myself back together and came to the conclusion that this may just uncover the causes of my dilemma with spirituality and religion. In the meantime, I had been offered a position in an Islamic school, which I declined mostly because of my feminist views about the headscarf.  The Hypnotherapy course was over too soon and I discovered that my fellow students also held similar spiritual beliefs. I stayed on and did the Diploma and am finding that the more I work with my own subconscious, the more comfortable I am becoming with my spirituality. Another prod from my Reiki teacher to encourage me to become ordained in her Independent Christian tradition. I nearly did it. Just at the last minute, I bailed out. Couldn’t do it. The faith is there, the belief in something is there, but it’s not strong enough to bind me to that tradition.
A brief stint of eighteen months at a small government primary school gave me a positive experience to finish my teaching career with. Smooth stepping stones to pave the way to a different life. Another stepping stone was training in Past Life Regressions and my own regressions have been a shining light as to why I haven’t embraced organised religion.  Yet another stepping stone along this richly paved road has been my Coaching studies. What a plethora of intellect, talent and people open to change! Some amazing people with strong faith in their various religions.  I have a touch of envy, as it seems to be so easy for them to accept. Friends with some, observers of others, and the gifts so readily given have helped me to learn so much more about myself on this stage of the journey. I wonder if I can give back equally. I am grateful for all that has been given so generously.
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you.
Yes, I’m still searching.
Not so stuck, because I know there is faith and it’s within.
Lyrics by Stealers Wheel.