Living In Four Temples

The Temple of the SpiritTemple of the Spirit

So now I was healthy and productive in both mind and body. It was time to put on my big boy pants and get out in the world. No more hiding from relationships, friendships, family drama, well I still don’t like to get involved in the drama. The shared friends from my marriage were all gone and how could I blame them? After all I did avoid knowing them for years, and as far as they knew I was forced to eventually make their acquaintance. I do miss some of them even now, but there’s no going back, only forward. I had forced myself to go out and meet people and I got lucky with a few ‘right place at the right time’ situations that resulted in good friendships that I know will last. I also had a few old friends find their way back into my life. With their return came more friends, and friends of friends. People I would never have met if not for the changes I had made in my life. People I didn’t even know a year ago are so big a part of my life now that it’s hard to remember who I was before I knew them. My work life changed as well. I always shied away from developing friendships at work. I justified it by saying that people can’t separate work and social. They will take advantage and work problems will ensue. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now, I’m not saying that I’m every employee’s best friend. I am still the manager so some will always resent me, blame me for their problems, or just dislike me in general, and that’s perfectly fine. But I have cultivated some relationships that I had kept at a distance for a long time. Two of my management team are like sisters to me. Helpful, caring, and annoying like any blood relative. They have made it clear that they would do anything for me, and I hope they know that I would do the same for them! Linda Cann Pearson wrote in a 2011 article on this very subject;

“Friendship provides a sense of belonging, of feeling connected to other people, to the community and to the outside world, all important ingredients for good mental health. People typically feel more confident and self-assured when they are socially connected to others. They tend to live happier and more successful lives, both personally and professionally.”

I couldn’t agree more and my experience proves this out very well. There is nothing better for the human spirit than the acceptance and friendship of other good people. I hope you all know who you are and just how important you are to me.

 

Temple of the SoulThe Temple of the Soul

I grew up a Catholic and my mother made sure that I experienced enough of the faith that by the time I was a teenager I could make the right decision on how to continue my relationship with God. I did not make the decision she had hoped. I stopped going to church and lived the life of a young adult. I made mistakes, bad decisions, committed sins in the eyes of the God I never doubted, but still chose to ignore. For twenty plus years I stayed away from the Church of my upbringing. I felt no connection to it. I was further convinced that my decision was right as the Catholic Church chose to conceal wrong-doing on the part of some of its priests. Unlike many, I do not blame the Church for the human failings of its people. Those men made their choices, knowing full well the ramifications. I blame the Church for choosing to hide the facts to save face in the eyes of humanity. Because of these decisions I can never call myself a Catholic again, but I do thank them for a lesson well learned. Only God is perfect. I need to have a direct relationship with him, not one mediated by weak and fallible humans. About five years ago I was invited to a Church that was like nothing I had ever seen before. They sang loud and proud about their beliefs. They seem to actually care about helping people and about bringing the lost back to God. They taught me that I didn’t need to be sitting in Church to pray to my God, that he was always listening. I started going there regularly about a year ago and I have never felt closer to God. Now please don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying that to be a whole person you need to believe in my God. I want you to because my God is good and he wants only the best for his children, but that choice has to be yours, like it was for me. What I am saying is that you should have some spiritual belief. Ask yourself a question. What will happen to my soul when I die? If your answer is that it just ends with you, then you are truly (but not hopelessly) lost. How can your life be anything but bleak if you’re just going through the motions until your inevitable end. According to an article I read in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry the long-held majority opinion of the psychiatric industry is that religion and spirituality have nothing whatsoever to do with mental health. But, there are scientific findings that have disputed this long-held stance. Gene H. Brody, stated in his Journal of Marriage and the Family, that parents who were more involved in church activities were more likely to have harmonious marital relationships and better parenting skills. That in turn enhanced children’s competence, self-regulation, psychosocial adjustment and school performance. Nancy Coover Andreason, who was awarded a National Medal of Science for, “her pivotal contributions to the social and behavioral sciences, through the integrative study of mind, brain, and behavior, by joining behavioral science with the technologies of neuroscience and neuro-imaging in order to understand mental processes such as memory and creativity, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia,”  editorialized on the subject. She postulated that, “our civilization’s ‘loss of soul’ may cause psychiatric symptoms such as depression, obsessions, addictions, and violence.” She further suggested that, “it is the responsibility of psychiatrists to remind the medical fraternity the necessity of putting back the soul in medical ethics and the fact that spirituality is of vital importance for the mental health of people.”

However you decide to live is completely up to you. The Four Temples that I live in and nurture, mind, body, spirit, and soul, work for me but may not be right for you. I do however encourage you to take the time to create some order in your life, no matter what that looks like for you. I know that after years of feeling lost, alone and hopeless I now feel renewed, strong and confident. My health is better, my relationships are better, and my life is better. Who could ask for anything more than that?

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The Beginning
About John Kowalski

John is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He is currently a retail manager in a company who shall remain nameless. He is the father of three awesome children, despite his parenting. He is fallable, imperfect and will tell you all about it, if someone doesn't beat him to it. He loves writing, with a passion, and uses it as both self-therapy and to help others.

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