Two of the trickiest topics to discuss are politics and religion. I’m giving myself a pass this month because what’s resonating within feels deeper than what the general term religion evokes for me. For the past 35 years, up until the last 12 months, I had pretty much abandoned any form of organized religion. Raised Catholic until age 9, at which time my parents drifted into the Evangelical Christian realm, I’d never experienced what I now understand to be a “spiritual connection” to something greater that lies within.
Sure, I went to weddings, funerals, christenings and the rare occasional church holiday celebration, but never for anything deeper than the event that brought me to a house of worship. I witnessed others being deeply moved by the messages shared and briefly wondered where their depth of connection came from. Still, I didn’t inquire within for many years as to what I might be missing.
Thankfully, I’ve now found a spiritual community that feels like home. It’s a place that welcomes all, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class or any other societal classification.
I write this letter on the heels of the Thanksgiving gathering held a few days before the traditional holiday. Instead of presenting a lecture, the reverend offered up his own story of thanks before passing a microphone to the person seated next to him. He invited each one there to speak a few words of thanks for goodness experienced in both their outer and inner worlds.
My head started swirling with thoughts about all I am grateful for… until I hit the pause button, recognizing that I didn’t want to miss a single word being shared by others. I yearned to feel and experience their gratitude with them in that moment. Before long, tears of joy welled up as I realized that one of the greatest gifts given and received through this newfound sense of connection was that I had unwittingly and gradually learned to experience tears of joy.
Reflecting further upon this pivotal experience, I realized that it was one small example of how deeply connected we are as part of the Natural Awakenings community and how grateful I am for each and every person touched through these pages. Our advertisers give much of themselves through their tireless work. Readers keep the circle going with their desire to learn more about the topics shared. Our printers, designers and editorial team make it all come together each month. All of the distributors and distribution points network us physically. You, each one of you, is why this magazine is blessing our wider community.
I speak for the entire team at Natural Awakenings Boston when I say, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the role you play. We celebrate you all.
Have a safe and joy-filled holiday season.
Maisie Raftery, Publisher