I do not speak much about spirituality because I believe everyone’s spiritual journey is not only different, but it is their own and should not be judged. For most of my life, I struggled with my spirituality, and for various reasons, I lost my faith and my way. I grew up in a Christian household; in our family, every baby is christened, and, although we did not go to church every Sunday, we did go more often than just Christmas and Easter. Even back then, I did not feel fully committed. I went because it was expected. I participated and sang (I feel bad for anyone subjected to that experience) in church because it’s just what you’re supposed to do, right? That’s how I felt until college. I was out on my own, thinking for myself on a deeper level, and decided I wasn’t sure if God existed, so I identified as agnostic. Not quite atheist, but leaning that way. I couldn’t tell my family; I was sort of in a spiritual/religious closet. Actually, as I write this, I realize they still have no idea.

After recent personal events, I decided to try to explore a bit more. I felt like I was missing something and decided to turn inward. I felt that I still had faith, but I wasn’t sure where to put it, so I explored different religions with an open mind. I started with what I knew and what was familiar to me and researched the rest. I looked at Buddhism, Christianity, Yoruba, Santeria, and Hinduism to start. I made sure to get my information from reputable sources—especially when it came to Yoruba and Santeria. There is a misconception that it is all witchcraft and voodoo, but as with anything, there is always more to it, and there are always people that will take a good thing and make it “bad.”

I have always been tolerant of others’ beliefs and religions and thought that folks should practice what they are called to practice. I do not believe any one religion is right or wrong, but I think extremism may lead people to be judgmental. Religion and spirituality aren’t necessarily about the people that practice (of course, we want to come together with a like-minded community) but are more about the principles and practices within. I think the way you interpret those principles is yours; it’s personal, and it should be healing, not harmful to yourself or anyone else.

During my exploration, I realized some of it resonated with me, and some of it did not. It was then that I decided that I would just be “spiritual.” What does that mean exactly? To me, it means I will take a little bit from each and leave the rest. I’m still exploring other religions because there are a lot of different beliefs and practices out there, but at the moment, I am content. I am excited about where I am, what I have found, and the practices I have put in place. I feel a little more connected to the world and less like an outsider looking in. I finally feel like I am living and not just existing.

It doesn’t matter what religion you practice or even if you practice a religion at all. To me, at the end of the day, just be open-minded, tolerant, and a kind human being. It’s the best gift you can give anyone, and it’s free! You never know what one small act of kindness can mean to a person or their day. I end this blog post with light and love, and I hope some small part resonates with you.