A GEN Xer Tells It Like It Is : Spiritual Growth
Generation X is the moniker applied to those born after the Baby Boomers and preceding the Millennials. This series features the musings of a proud member of this generation.
Part One: A Search for Spiritual Growth
For thousands of years, humans have had that desire to connect with something or someone bigger than ourselves. To receive answers to questions beyond our own scope of knowledge or for guidance on issues that are weighing on the heart and mind. For some, they shout about their personal beliefs from the rooftops. For others, devotion is private and shared with no one.
My own relationship with religion and spirituality sent me on a journey which has taken me away from where I started. Like anyone who has been raised with religion, I dutifully followed the teachings valued by members of my family. I would attend services on important holidays and events. I tried to follow the guidelines of that faith as much as I could because that’s what I felt was the correct thing to do. Having been taught to think independently by my parents, naturally, as I grew up and learned more about the world, I began questioning my spiritual beliefs; everything that I was ever taught. One particular instance really jarred my belief system at a young age, and to this day I consider it one of the catalysts to me starting that journey. I remember sitting in a church youth group when the priest began discussing marriage and he stated something that instantly took me
College permitted me even more of a look into other ideas, yet I clung to the religion I was raised in. I still felt that it was important enough for me to maintain. Not long after college, I went on a trip to New Orleans, a city rooted in both mysticism and tradition. One of my traveling companions was exploring her own spirituality, which included some curiosity about Louisiana Voodoo. From the little that I knew about it, I felt a bit put off and I didn’t feel comfortable engaging in activities with that lean. I know now that I was guilty of exactly what I had complained about before: passing judgment over something I wasn’t entirely educated about.
A few years later, I came to the realization that I didn’t feel a heartfelt connection to the religion I was raised in. During those formative adult years, there came a time where I would sit in church services and not feel anything but boredom. My mind would continuously wander, and I found myself dawdling, staring at the opulent décor until it was time to head over to coffee hour. I felt like I was simply going through the motions. I was just a body in the pew, sitting and standing when necessary, waiting (
Fast forward to my early thirties. After a series of particularly difficult events, I finally made that conscious decision to find my place in the spiritual world. The first step was an important one: to educate
Regardless of what spiritual path you follow, the journey is yours to make. No one can make it for you.
Mine ultimately led me to my personal spiritual practice, and I find it rewarding that my independent thinking brought me there, as well as the support I’ve gotten along the way. It brought me to a place of serenity, confidence, peace, and harmony. I feel no doubt that it was the right choice for me, even if some don’t quite understand it. I am still perfectly comfortable attending special rites and events of various faiths (including my former one) as an observer or guest, usually weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Just because that isn’t my personal path, that doesn’t mean I will stay away.
If there’s anything that I learned in my many years of life, it’s to never be afraid to question what I feel I need to question. How else do you learn and grow if you don’t question what’s in front of you? Whether you’re 25 or 75, the drive to become a well-rounded individual never ends, and shouldn’t. It’s a continuous cycle that persists for as long as life itself. What kind of voyage is that without twists and turns?
BIO: Katy Kostakis’ loquacious nature and