Today as we turn the page of my abecedarium to the letter N, I’m musing about a word I just learned:
Nothingarian – a person of no belief, creed, or particular sect
Although I like the sound of it, as in it rolls off my tongue with delight – I’m not a nothingarian. But in considering it, my mind wandered to two books I’ve recently read. As an aside, I think it’s relevant to say, I consider myself to be quite spiritual (after all I do talk to angels!), but I’m not religious. So it’s rather interesting the two books I’m about to discuss are religious in nature.
One of my intended summer reading projects was Honey and Ink by Sibyl Dana Reynolds. It’s a tale about a group of faith-based women who form a community in Medieval France. The narrator is the group’s scribe, who was taught her skill in secret by a monk. The bulk of the tale involves the hardships of this group, the sisters of Belle Coeur, who are navigating a time that was exceedingly dangerous for women healers and visionaries and non-conformists.
I don’t really know why, but I was somehow expecting something different. I had in my mind this was going to be as wonderful as I found The Secret Live of Bees by Susan Monk Kidd. I was expecting more of a spiritual tale, but found it to be more of a religious one. To be clear, I didn’t dislike it because it was religious – I had just misunderstood the premise.
The second book was Relig-ish: Soulful Living in a Spiritual-but-not-Religious World by Rachelle Mee-Chapman. I’ve been a fan of Rachelle’s for some time – a former minister, she’s very much a values-driven person working hard to create community for those looking for right-fit spiritual practices. She ran a Kickstarter campaign last year to fund her writing, and the published book arrived this week.
It’s a lovely little guidebook, full of encouragement and ideas defining what it means to be relig-ish and how to find practices that support your values. And while I’m not really her target audience, I did enjoy the book. It’s filled with personal stories and interesting exercises. She considers five things to be part of the relig-ish toolkit – one needs to speak dialog; embrace mystery; get curious; abandon beliefs; identify values. I can get behind all those things.
A core piece of all her work is identifying one’s values, and I, too, think that is incredibly important. Keeping your values as foundational in all that you do is so helpful. I think it’s important also to periodically re-evaluate your values – they can change, just as we do.
She also has a section inviting people to write their own creed. I found it an interesting exercise. Just as I found writing a manifesto in April a fun thing, and one I want to continue to explore, writing a creed feels like another thing I’ll be playing with.
Rachelle starts her book with one of my favorite quotes from Ram Dass – “We are all just walking each other home.”
I believe that with all my heart, and so of course I incorporated it in my creed.
I believe we are all just walking each other home. Not solely in the sense of walking through this life and out of it into the next – although I certainly believe that. But walking each other home in the sense of walking with each other to where we live in our hearts– to witness each other as we unfold our beliefs, share our curiosities, shed our tears, and celebrate our joys. We aren’t just here on Earth until we’re somewhere else – this life is not something to rush through. We are here to savor, to create, to share, to delight. And mostly to share the kindness of walking together, so none of us ever need feel alone.
There you have it, my proof that I’m not a nothingarian, because indeed, apparently, I do have a creed. What about you? What N thing is showing up for you? Have you read any books lately not in your normal genre? Ever written a manifesto or a creed? Know what your values are? Do tell – you know I love to hear.