Category Archives: Spirituality

Life of Pi, I mean — Ki

What a difference a year makes. Where were you one year ago today? With what issues were you struggling? Which path in life scared you the most? What questions laid heavily upon your heart?

Religion was my answer, back then. Had you asked naive Ki these questions a year ago, my busy mind ticked: Why does religion scare me? Who is ‘God?’ and Why don’t I know God? I was confused about religion, scared by it, desperate for a connection with it – or so I thought, back then. I voiced my doubts concerning Christianity, hollered my inquiries regarding Judaism, and quietly hid my fascination with Buddhism. I laugh now because religion was not the issue at all! Religion was the symptom, not the root of the questions in my heart.

I blogged last December about uncomfortable feelings surrounding Christianity and ‘God’ in the post A New Year. A New Religion? (I know some of you remember!! I think I fluffed a few feathers). As I’ve said many times before on this blog, I was one lost, confused, desperate woman –pulling at the fray of ANYTHING that would prevent me from drowning in doubt, insecurity, and fear. I assumed religion was the missing piece of the puzzle. Yes, religion would save me from the negative feelings that flourished in my mind!!! I thought if I asked enough questions of each religion and fervently searched for a deeper connection that I would undeniably feel the presence of ‘God.’ I can assure you, life is never so simple.

There was a hole in my story, back then. I can truthfully say there still IS a hole in my story. The difference now is that I am fully aware that religion is the LEAST of my worries! The obstacle is not in finding ‘God;’ the challenge is in finding my true self.

I ask of myself this year – With what issues do I struggle? Which path in life scares me the most? I can assure you, religion is not my answer this year. I am not actually looking for God. I am not looking for a religion that fits me perfectly. I realize that searching for fulfillment in a religion leaves me feeling frustrated and defeated. Although diving head first into Jewish religion courses has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life, I am finding each day that a desire to know ‘God’ is easily translated into: A desire to know myself.  

Hahaha funny side note: I named this website after a novel that unbeknownst to me at the time of naming, is in fact about a spiritual, introspective quest. I mean, come on guys!! The answers have been in me all along! I just thought “LifeofKi” was catchy, and I kinda thought I might get a few accidental ‘hits’ from those searching for Life of Pi …. I had no clue that “LifeofKi” was literally THE MOST PERFECT name for what was about to unfold in my life. Thank you, Life of Pi!! Or should I say, thank you subconscious, true Ki?!

Okay back to seriousness………..

What am I afraid of the most? Honestly?

Knowing myself. Forgiving myself. Accepting myself. Loving myself.

Which road desperately needs fresh pavement and immense TLC?

The path to creating a healthier sense of self.

There is no need to look for a God (or energy, as I see it) because it is already inside of my heart. I thought I was waiting for God when in truth, I was waiting for acceptance. Acceptance from myself. I am beginning to acknowledge that I have neglected the one person who cries out for attention, love, and acceptance. I have let go of my mental self, my physical self, my spiritual self. Where I once saw a ‘yearning for a connection with God,’ I now see I need the one person who is keeping me from me.

I miss Ki, the free spirit. I miss Ki, the playful lover. I miss Ki, the confident woman with aspirations and dreams, big dreams.

I left my true self on the side of the road years ago. I gave my ego permission to reign over every ounce of my body, allowing for the rest of Ki to feed on the false perceptions of who I needed to be, ought to be, would never be. Readers, this is THE most frustrating dead end to find yourself. But wait!! Need a silver lining?? Well, you’re in luck.

When you find yourself in this destitute place, you will soon realize you were never lost to begin with. It isn’t about finding yourself. The key is in cultivating a true sense of who you are and who you are destined to be. You, like me, will get there. I promise you. Although religion has helped to calm my busy mind (and open my world to culture, compassion, and love) the only TRUTH is in getting to know myself. Readers, give yourself permission to let go of whatever it is holding you back. If YOU are what is holding you back, then smile. A beautiful ride awaits you. This is the toughest job in the world. Tougher than parenthood; tougher than tackling issues with others; tougher than giving birth! I say truthfully that cultivating a healthy relationship with myself has been the toughest challenge in my life thus far – and some of you know the hell I have seen in my short 23 years.

Let me show you that you can be in the midst of a hellish downfall and come out of it stronger than ever. Yes, as I said I have demons, but don’t we all? We all bleed the same; some of us just have a few more scars than others. And trust me: your scars are beautiful, just like YOU.

 

Begin with this:

Look in the mirror and say to yourself every day –

I am beautiful.

I am doing a great job.

I love you.

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Your life begins with you.

Your love begins with you.

Take the first step.

 

Cheers, Readers.

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***Photo courtesy of Courtney Venable Photography***

 

Related:

Love Yourself

 

In a Sea of Unknowns

I’m honored to have a second opportunity with The Easier Softer Way! It is an amazingly inspirational site with thoughts on healing, meditation, spirituality, Buddhism, recovery, and much more. It provides profound insight for those in need. I wrote a post on the power of positive self-talk and introspection called In a Sea of Unknowns. Check it out if you have a moment!

Cheers, readers!

Every new day is beautiful, you know.
Each newly passing cloud is a reminder that all things are temporary; this too shall pass – whatever it may be.
New life drinks in the warmth of the sun as it rises.
It is always there, you know. The sun, that is.
Even though you may not see it, it is always sustaining life, your life…

For the original piece in its entirety — The Easier Softer Way

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Related:

Gratitude — (Post for The Easier Softer Way)

 

 

 

Gratitude

I recently seized an opportunity to write for an inspirational website called The Easier Softer Way.  Writing for a new audience gave me a chance to distance myself a bit from LifeofKi and challenge myself as a writer to speak in a new voice. I hope to have opportunities such as this one in the future to branch out — reaching new eyes and ears. For now, I’d like to share the intimate ‘original piece’ I wrote in honor of my dear friend’s late father.

“It happened again today – when I learned that my childhood best friend’s father is dying. I am, once again, intimate with fear; death; dying. I think I pushed it away when my Grandpa passed.  Could be any day now – his death. What to say when all we do is wait for him to die? Words fail me in this moment. Words fail me today.”

With eyes blinded by tears and hearts stricken with grief, we mourn the loss of my dear friend’s father. His soul left his body but a few weeks ago. As she drowns in his memories, my friend feels lost and alone. I cannot begin to comprehend her grief; the enormity of the loss; the depth of the void she now feels. Words fail me yet again. So I offer to her the most beautiful healer of all, Mother Nature….  for the ‘original piece’ in its entirety —  The Easier Softer Way

 

Related:

In a Sea of Unknowns — (Post for The Easier Softer Way)

 

 

 

 

 

Energy

It has been 16 months since May.

Memory of you hides in the dusty shadows of my mind.

I can’t recall the taste of your aura

Nor the smell of your presence. 

 

My mind is so foggy since our eyes last met.

But my senses are open –

Ready for you again.

 

Remind me of your brilliance.

Consume all of my senses.

Steal each thought from my mind if you must.

Swallow me up,

Promise to embrace me once more.

 

The sandy grit of your presence – I see you from afar.

Like a thief

You steal my breath.

My demons walk with me as I approach your coy ‘Hello.’

Thank God you see me the way you do; strange as you are to me.

 

Here we are. Together again.

You wear a different color, unknown to me.

Perhaps my senses have weakened.

Surely my memory has not failed me.

Or has it?

 

Your embrace – it crashes into me.

I stumble, but you stabilize me, as always.

Words fail me each time the sun sprinkles her rays on our skin as one.

You nurse my soul, mending the crippled corners.

 

The wind is stronger now.

My senses are clearer now.

Your kiss is cool and forceful.

 

Eternal passion flows in you, out of you, into me.

I feel your energy piercing my skin,

Hot as the sand beneath my feet.

 

I see your persistence.

I can taste this love.

 

Beautiful Ocean of mine,

You never fail to cleanse me.

Awake, yet again.

 

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–Original Poem–

Burn

Sometimes we see a light.

It is so bright, so brilliant, so lovely that we become entranced by it.

Blinded by it.

It holds us so closely.

We become lost within it.

Wading in its newness.

Showering in the fresh aromas that it brings.

The first sight of it takes us – picks us up, shakes us – as if to say, I am here. Look at me.

Now.

 

We often forget what the light really is.

What is it?

Abstract: We cannot touch it, cannot taste it, cannot smell it.

It is right in front of us.

And yet, it is never to be reached. Never to be caught.

Never can we grasp it. Never can we hold on to it.

Never can we say, look at this – THIS is tangible. THIS is in my hands, now.

 

Our minds scorn our bodies —

After all, they cannot grasp the depth of the light.

The mind, too tired to wait for the body to understand this light,

Takes over.

It is this moment that we – all consumed by the pull of the light – hear the mind.

Her chatter, so loud. Her words, so cunning. Her sentences, so verbose.

But wait, what is that? What is that whisper?

The words are too loud. The whispers, too soft.

The mind:

It wins.

 

The Mind… she says… “The pull of what we can’t give up takes hold.”

 

So we let the light slip.

We let it go.

Because we cannot have it, we set it free.

We forget its importance. We lose sight….

Of it.

And the light moves on….

 

To curious eyes, to curious minds.

The light is seen again.

The light lives on.

 

 

….in those who choose to listen to the whispers …

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Stay curious, always.

See the light, now.

Let it burn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

–Original Poem–

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration: Lyrics from —

Jay Brannan’s “Say It’s Possible”

Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”

 

Awake

Leave your ego here. Yes, right here at the end of this sentence.

Good, you are in the present moment.

Take these words in – as objectively as possible.

As a great friend once said, “Let your mind focus, and in that focus — set it free.”

 

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What if there is no Heaven? No Hell? What if they are not actually ‘places’ at all?

What if God is with us, here, now, instead of waiting for us at the pearly white gates of Heaven? What if ‘He’ is stabilizing us, just as the ground stabilizes each stride? What if He speaks to us, just as the wind brushes a cheek? What if ‘He’ is not really a ‘He,’ but rather an ‘It’? What if God is actually the Universe?

I can’t say for sure that there are destinations called Heaven and Hell — I like to imagine ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’ are elements within us; they make up our being. ‘Heaven’ is the soul within each of us. ‘Hell’ is the mind. In essence, I imagine humans as reflections of the universe. Not reflections of God per say – although I still believe in higher thinking, higher powers. Yet, where some people say ‘God’ is the highest thinker, I say the ‘universe’ is the highest thinker. Therefore, we as humans are very capable of achieving high(er) thinking. ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’ within us, however, often intervene and may even hold us back from pursuit of a freeing knowledge – one that is content, peaceful, removed from care and concern.

The Universe is very beautiful, very stubborn, very dangerous at times. So are humans. Very beautiful, very stubborn, very dangerous. The Universe is impermanent — always changing — and I believe humans are no different. We change every day. We grow older; our features fade; we grow weak; we die. Our minds are no different from our bodies. Our minds evolve — just as the old Oak tree grows and strengthens its roots, we cannot forget that it was once a tiny seedling. So, if the Universe and humans are mirror images of impermanence, then how could we ever believe in any fixed, finite places called Heaven and Hell?

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Where is your ego now? Has it returned? What is it saying? Have I challenged your beliefs? Perhaps. I hope I have not angered or offended anyone. Never an intention of mine. These thoughts, they come and they go. Some flourish in my mind, others are never to be seen again. Hopefully your eyes are a bit wider, mind turning a bit quicker, heart beating a bit faster. These are all lovely signs. Signs that you are alive. Just remember, no human knows the answer to Heaven and Hell. Be tolerant of other viewpoints, even if you do not agree. Stand firm in your views. Hold tight to what you know now. After all, the only thing we know for sure – is what the universe offers NOW.

God is Love — For the Skeptic

 It’s 6:30AM – Sunday morning. Time to run. I try to remember why the hell I set my alarm in the first place, but I get up anyway. Still confused by my early morning motivation, I get dressed, make a quick snack for a protein boost, and jump in the car.

Who am I?? I am NOT a morning person, I am NOT a runner, and yet one of the voices in my head is cheering me on, “Just get to the park! You’re already in the car, might as well get the workout in and be done with it.” – this voice clearly needs more therapy.

Music blaring in my headphones, I begin. Still sleepy and beyond confused by my spontaneous courage to brave the chilly spring morning, I wonder a few thousand more times – what am I doing?

I chase the pavement and glance to my right as beautifully decorated flowers catch my eye. Double take, and something says, “stop.”

 And then this:

 I kid you not. Not only did flowers, butterflies, painted stones, and a beautiful quote greet me, but the Bible made an appearance as well.flowers tree Friends closest to me, this is your cue to chuckle. As many of my readers know, I am on a journey to find a faith in God, a faith in humanity, a faith in myself. Friends might laugh now because I have gravitated toward Judaism, and yet it is the Bible who says a coy “Good Morning” during today’s run.

Had it been the Torah – tucked away under tired leaves, awaiting my arrival – I might have had a heart attack, (with excitement, of course) but I was not disappointed whatsoever as I glanced and met eyes with the Bible.

Honestly, Torah or Bible is a non-issue. I know this is a miracle. I am laughing now because I am such a skeptic, such a realist (okay, pessimist), that I’m not sure I’ve ever believed in miracles, ever.

But today, if for this day only – I will not analyze, will not wonder, will not ask. Today I was meant to see this message from God.
I asked, “What am I doing?” And He answered.

 

“Happiness lives in the hearts that Love,” says the mystically placed quote. The two stones read, “Forever” and “Love.”

I snap a photo of the gift, trot away, look to the sky, and start laughing. I smile through the entire run.

But the story doesn’t end there. I stop to stretch and catch my breathe, I look up at the tree I’ve picked to use as my leaning post, and find four glittery butterflies hanging from the branches.

butterfly tree up-close

By this point, I feel like I’m in a freaking fairy tale movie. What is all of this?? What are the odds that the ONE Sunday morning I pick to prove myself insane and run at dawn, I happen upon all of these signs?

Distracted by my questions yet again, let me refocus the point of this blog post. I promised myself that today only, I will not analyze. I will accept it as is.

Coming from a person of constant thinking, constant wonder, constant pursuit of the unknown, please take this as an honest confession:
For the first time in my life, I believe.

I believe in something greater, something far more intelligent than myself and all other beings on this Earth. Of what religion it does not matter to me at this point, but I believe God spoke. Call me crazy, that’s fair. But for some people like me, it takes tangible ‘things’ to convince the stubborn.
With a restored faith, belief, whatever you want to call it, I will never forget this day.

 

 

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

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Which life do you choose?
Happy Sunday, readers.

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More religious curiosity here!

Dear Writers

To all you self-proclaimed, published, or whatever you call yourself – writers, I just wanted to share my latest keepsake: 
Here she is!
A fresh, untouched, blank canvas onto which I will spew my thoughts and nonsense and keep until I die. Dramatic? Okay, yes but all giddy nonsense aside – I am so excited! I feel like a little girl again, ready to jot my naive fragments onto paper in hopes that no one (and yet everyone) will read my thoughts. Does anyone else know this feeling when writing?? Such excitement and confidence with every declarative statement and yet utter panic knowing anyone’s greedy hands can open your world in a page-turn’s second?? Phew!
 
I saw her a week ago… yes, my journal (or book?) is a she. I felt like Lucas when he first witnessed his 12in. Christmas tree all decorated and lit up. He looked at me without hesitation and said, “It’s beautiful.” (Don’t forget, he’s two. As a parent, I melted inside when he said that) I immediately felt the same thought when I saw her. I use ‘felt’ in regards to the connection because my heart started beating, and I knew she was the one who will tell my next story.
 
As my readers already know, I’ve begun somewhat of a spiritual journey. I turned to the library for help and came across a book called Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends – written with such beautiful empathy by Anita Diamant. Aside from its obvious religious content, the book offers great advice to anyone at a turning point – to journal one’s new journey. I sat up in my bed and thought, Wow, why didn’t I think of that?? Of course I have notebooks full of poems, stories, thoughts… but to buy a book for one purpose – strictly to satisfy my spiritual, “religious” self? So many questions I have. So many thoughts running through my head all the time. Why not keep tabs on all of these thoughts during this time of self exploration? Thus, I found her.

 

Note inside the journal

Although I love blogging and sharing with the world my struggles and triumphs as a person and mother, the power of the pen is my first love.

Happy writing!

Cheers,
Kiley

A New Year. A New, Religion?

It is an odd feeling, Christmas. Not odd as in, unfamiliar. Odd as in, why the hell do we hang red and gold ornaments on a perfectly dead tree? As I sit here and marvel at my beautifully decorated tree – or shall I say anxiously decorated, stress-fully decorated… tree – I wonder what is it about Christmas that I love so much? An entire month I dedicate my life to obsessing about what I’m going to buy for each family member, with which side of the family we will spend on Christmas day, and most importantly, IF we can have four Christmases…and make it out alive. We aren’t even religious for God’s sake!
 
So what is it then? Why am I quick to finish gobbling down my Thanksgiving dinner only to begin climbing into the attic to see which decorations have lasted another year? Why do I insist on buying and wrapping presents at the end of November only to stress about Lucas touching, pulling, and prodding around under the tree for 25 days?? Why do I fight the crowds at – yes, really – Walmart??? Need I say more? My anxiety level is escalating as I type this. So why?
 
Although every family has its quirks, don’t we all feel more comfortable with family? Being with loved ones – the people who have seen you at your worst and loved you through those rough times – is supposed to be comforting, right? I wonder sometimes why family and friends aren’t enough to help me feel all warm inside during this holiday season. Again, what is it?
 
As I anticipate Christmas, I sometimes feel that my efforts to decorate, wrap, and bake will bring the Christmas spirit. As an adult, I am now starting to realize that “doing” for others is not going to bring the fuzzy feeling I used to get when I anxiously awaited Santa’s arrival. I have to laugh as I type this because Christmas is about Jesus’ birth… but what the hell do I tell Lucas? That mommy believes that Jesus is our Savior? Or shall I be bluntly honest and say I have no idea what I really believe in…
 
Is it odd that I celebrate a holiday that is centered on a faith I do not posses? It is so easy to get into the “Christmas spirit” along with all of the other shoppers at Macy’s this year, but not so much when it comes to the “CHRISTmas spirit.”
 
I have noticed as Lucas gets older and exponentially smarter each year that I am more hesitant to explain who God and baby Jesus are as I read his children’s’ books about the first Christmas. Why do these words, or characters, or biblical figures make me uncomfortable?
 
I believe there is a God. How could there not be? But everything else… is so foreign to me. The Bible makes me uncomfortable. The questions I have in regards to faith in Christianity make me uncomfortable. Overly religious people who remind me to say my prayers, count my blessings, and thank GOD make me uncomfortable.
 
So this time of year has come – as it always does. And I always yearn for the comfort that Christmas used to bring as a child. However, what I am really looking for is the comfort of faith… that I have yet to find. I envy those who find solace in religion and comfort in others who share a similar mindset. What a beautiful thing it is to say a prayer at night to a God you actually BELIEVE in. How wonderful it must FEEL to say a prayer and have FAITH that it will be answered… and yet, oddly comforted if it is not answered.
 
Perhaps this year my ‘prayers’ will be answered. I am no longer going to sit back and hope that God will find me. I will find Him. Thus, my search begins. First stop, Judaism. Haha very funny, you might think. Starting with Judaism while you are blogging about Christmas? Weird. In all seriousness, Judaism has always sparked an interest in me. So yes, getting into the Christmas spirit has led me to Judaism. After all, Jesus was Jewish… correct?
 
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Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. This year will be different. I just know it.
 

Just a thought

“Every new day is beautiful, you know.
Each newly passing cloud is a reminder that all things are temporary; this too shall pass – whatever it may be.
New life drinks in the warmth of the sun as it rises.
It is always there, you know. The sun, that is.
Even though you may not see it, it is always sustaining life, your life.

Maybe that is why people have faith that Jesus is our Savior.
Maybe He is the sun.
Not the Son, but the sun.
Maybe it was lost in translation somewhere.
It would make more sense if He were the sun.
I would believe if that were the case.
Reassured He is there, sustaining my life, our lives.
Although not always visible, but inevitably present to guide my day, advise me to rest, and wake me again tomorrow.”

 

Original poem