Learning to integrate these experiences in my life took years. It’s still something I work on. My experience of God came out of left field and made little sense in the life I was living. As I came closer to accepting it as real, I also had to balance it with the very unrelated life I was living in the day-to-day world.
I see my experiences with God as one thread, and my life as another. They were very far apart, and they’ve slowly come together, twirling around each other, and, hopefully, eventually, becoming one thread. It’s a mental process as much as it’s been a spiritual one. Writing about my experiences helps enormously.
For a long time I thought that I needed be “more spiritual” and in touch with God. I eventually realized that I did not have to do fancy rituals or light certain candles, though I do have home practices that help me stay centered in the reality of God’s love. I also thought I had to be a perfect person, because I had felt God’s love for me and it had changed my life. I eventually realized that I did not have to be a perfect person. In God’s eyes, I already was and am perfect (so are you!).
Ultimately, the best way for me to integrate my experiences with God is by honoring God’s reality – which had consisted of Love, amazing, beautiful, heart-opening Love – and acting lovingly towards myself and other people.
I integrate my experience when I am kind to the stranger, when I care for my daughter, when I work with children, when I forgive others who’ve hurt me, and when I remember to stay centered in my heart. And mostly, when I remember that I am a beautiful part of God’s beautiful creation – and so is everyone else. It’s not always easy, but I practice it every day, and I try not to give up.
Merry Christmas to anyone who is celebrating. Wishing you true peace, joy, and love, today and always.