Queer Shift


“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” ~ Whitman, 1855.

Success in life has a lot to do with feeling and being whole, contributing your verse, leaving some self-selected legacy.

Now and then I go to the Salt Lake Center for Spiritual Living with my long-time friend Lyle Larson. He tempts me to go more often, but I don’t, and I should, because every time I attend I’m renewed with how important and connected the whole self is to the spiritual self.

I tend to do my best to attach spiritual practices and elements to my life, such as music, visual/performing/literary arts, nature, poetry, children and animals, reading and writing, even meditation; however, I don’t do it as often as I should. Kind of like going with Lyle on Sunday mornings when he bribes me with mimosas before the service, and typically that’s the clincher to the deal, so we go to “church” a tad buzzed and that helps me walk in the door. I never regret doing so.

Last Sunday a tremendous time was spent on how we attract spirituality into our daily lives, a salient topic I guess, since it is a Center for Spiritual Living. Beyond that, there was music that dealt with change, and an amazing vocalist, Charles Holt, was visiting from Los Angeles,and he sang his own rendition of a favorite of mine, “Everything Must Change,” which was originally recorded by its writer Bernard Ighner for the 1974 Quincy Jones album Body Heat.

I was a college Freshman in 1974, and ever since that time this song has resonated with me very deeply. I’ve followed it from Quincy to Oleta Adams to Betty Buckley, and most recently, Nina Simone. I was into something wholly spiritual as Charles Holt shared his superb interpretation, voice, soul and lyrics, backed by a talented in-house group of musicians.

“Everything must change
Nothing stays the same.
Everyone will change 
No one stays the same. 
The young become the old 
And mysteries do unfold. 
‘Cause that’s the way of time 
Nothing and no one goes unchanged.”

And the lyrics to this song ring true. Change is a constant. A principle. Timeless, applying to everyone, is objective. Then why do so many of we queer folk become frozen in the process of releasing a religion, and embracing spirituality in it’s place? To get to the vitally important business of contributing a verse in this life? Getting to the whole? Religion and spirituality are two very separate and different things.

In considering ways, methods, paths to spirituality & wholeness, Rumi said it wonderfully:

“If you are considering different roads, the variety is immense and the difference infinite; if you consider the goal, however, they are all harmony and are one.”

Spirituality doesn’t come by accident, at least most of the time. Sometimes an amazing spiritual experience will spontaneously collide with your life. Those are gifted moments and should be treasured and should be deemed of great fortune.

Spirituality comes from consistent hard work in pursuit of having more of it in your life. It comes from a desire that drives you, day and night, renews, enlivens and revives you. It also comes from constantly and diligently employing some key habits that position you to be a regular recipient.

The following are some habits that have worked for me. May I humbly suggest you ponder and possibly even apply.

1. Have a Plan and Practice

A plan that nurtures, develops and maintains spirituality in your life. Keep your mind in the realm. Your soul should be tightly bound to the beauty and abundance spirituality provides in your life. Set spiritual goals, just like you do other elements in life where you wish to succeed.

Reserve time and don’t deviate from achieving the goals. The more you focus on a constant spirituality in your life, moment to moment, hourly, daily, weekly, the more likely you are to find it and receive the personal benefits of it.

2. Choose Spirituality that Fits You

Concentrate on what you like, whether it be meditation, physical exertion, like a hike and then find solitude within nature, music and perceiving your world, go with what you like. Understand and utilize your ability to be spiritual, without shame, fear, guilt, or self judgement as to whether you are doing it right or correctly. Carve out time for the rejuvenation of your spiritual best self.

3. Keep it Simple

This pays off when it comes to spiritual dividends. It’s important for you to have success if it’s simple, enjoyable and something you look forward to doing.

I suggest a spiritual space in your home. Go to that place to practice and find what is spiritual to you. Take a diversion into splendid nature; for there the soul cannot help but be spiritually awakened. Use all your senses, leave none untapped.

4. Frame Your Experiences

It’s essential to surround yourself with wise, truth-telling, spiritually abundant people who strive and try to inspire, just like you. Perhaps you may share similar dreams and philosophies of what matters most in life.

5. Ponder the Meaning

At the end of the day reflect on the spiritual events of the day. Mull them over, sit with them — sifting through — to find the gold. Take some time to reflect on everything you’ve learned. You’ll be surprised how often a moment of quiet reflection will turn up the gem.

6. Go with Your Gut

I truly believe in trusting your own instincts. Intuition should never be underestimated. If gay people were to do this thing only, then a satisfying life of authenticity would be so much more attainable and sustainable. I never make a huge or big decision in life until I have examined it using my head, heart and gut.

Ultimately, what is best for me and my whole life presents itself. Your gut feeling (which lives in very close proximity to your soul,) isn’t an empty sense; it’s based on all of the experiential knowledge you have gathered throughout your years.

It’s your sixth sense. Trust it.

Spiritual moments are often short-lived, but the journey lasts forever. Make your journey count, without regret.

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