Going to #Church | Just Melissa


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Just go to butcher box dot com slash do the thing or enter Promo Code do the thing at checkout. That's butcher box dot com slash. Do the thing or Promo Code do the thing at checkout Hi. My name is Melissa urban and your listening to do the thing a podcast where we explore. What's been missing every time you've tried to make a change Enj and make it stick? Today is a little different than my other episodes soad's. It all started with a story something I haven't done here yet. I came home today. After a ten mile hike in the pouring rain which is normally something I would call church but not today no today's like was more like a temper tantrum with God as the patient parent and me as the stubborn child when I got home shivering and sore and soaked straight through. I wanted to tell you more about today's journey I thought about an Instagram Post but twenty two hundred characters d'ors would not have done it justice so after a very long hot shower I sat down to record no notes no reduce much like on Instagram I never use these stories to tell you what to do. I'm always just talking to myself here to preface the tail. I'm answering one of the most common questions I get on instagram. Why do you call hiking in the mountains church? I'll give you the back story how one fateful hike changed everything in terms of my relationship with God Dodd and what I say to those who suggest my version of church isn't as valid as the brick and mortar I will say this. I use the word God a lot in this episode code but if you don't believe in God or don't have a relationship with him or her. Please don't let that put you off. I spent a lot of years resisting assisting God and not listening to anything that started with or included the words God or Jesus. I'm betting I missed a ton of good messages because I wasn't flexible enough to apply hi it in a way that worked for me as I say in the episode whether you believe in God the Universe Mother Nature or simply trust in yourself in the idea yeah that your subconscious or gut will steer you in the right direction. There's a message here for you. The theme of today's podcast apparently is rain. I spent all morning hiking in it and as I went to record the first section of the podcast later this afternoon it began to thunder and rain again. I left it in as I mentioned in the episode. My God is not subtle and I read the message. He's trying to send me through the rain today loud and clear. Maybe you will too now onto the episode so I'm going to answer a question that I get pretty often on instagram. Whenever ever I post a photo or a story of me hiking usually in the Utah Mountains but could be anywhere I always call going into the mountains and going on on Hikes Church and get a lot of questions from people asking why I refer to it as church in what that means to me so I want to set up the story? I'm about to tell you with just an explanation of why call the mountains church. I grew up Catholic. I did all of the CCD classes is an first communion and confession all the way up through. Maybe when I was sixteen I left the church after my parents could kind of no longer force me to go because as I had a driver's license and a job and for other reasons that we don't need to go into in this particular podcast I became pretty resistant resistant to the idea of organized religion. I railed against the idea which Catholocism kind of imparted upon me that I was was unqualified to have my own relationship with God that the only way I could have a relationship with God is through an intermediary an old white straight men who was in the Catholic Church who shared God's word with me and only through this intermediary. Would I be able to receive it now all add here that this was just my my story about Catholicism given the way I was raised a few experiences I had between the ages of sixteen and twenty or twenty one one involving the church. This might not be your interpretation of Catholicism or your experience going to the church that you go to so. I'm certainly not saying that my story is as the definition. I'm just sharing my view of the church based on what I experienced an observed from a very young age so what was interpreted by me league given this context was that the only relationship that I could have with God was one developed and cultivated through the church. I did not like that. I I didn't like the idea and because I was at this point about to enter into my drug addiction. I had other stuff going on thinking about God just just kind of took a back seat so I left the church had no relationship with God I wouldn't have considered myself to have any spiritual practice whatsoever even when I was in Rehab and had to go to. Na meetings meetings or a a meetings and talk about this idea of a higher power it still never really like resonated or clicked with me because I had yet to do much work. Exploring my relationship relationship with God. It wasn't Intel maybe two thousand five two thousand six that I started to think a little bit more more about what this idea of God might look like for me. I had been in recovery for five or six years but I felt like I don't know something was missing thing. I had relationships at the time that prompted me to revisit this idea of not necessarily God but the universe this is sort of all encompassing energy that sort of guides and steers all of us that connects all of us and through that exploration. I kind kind of redeveloped a relationship. I wouldn't call it. God at that point. I was really freaked out by the idea of talking about God but I would talk about the universe I would talk about the Energy Regina or the current kind of pulling me. You're pushing me or dragging me into something at times and that was really where my exploration began I tried we tried going to church here. In Salt Lake City one side been to church like the physical building a few times with my sister and her husband in San Diego Oh they are Christian and very devout and I enjoyed the experience inasmuch as I always think it's wonderful to hear people talk about their faith but it didn't really connect with me Eh despite the fact that they were non denominational Christian churches and they were very progressive like there were rock bands and powerpoint presentations which I also thought was is really weird growing up Catholic and then seeing like a Saturday night live skit played on a giant screen at Church. I just thought that was bizarre but but regardless there was something about like the uniformity of the worship that again maybe it was just the Catholic shackles. They still really league bothered me. I just couldn't quite get into the church seen fast forward to two thousand fourteen. So there's a long span in here where I was kind of poking around with the idea yeah of God and spirituality maybe toying with the idea of church Christianity. I tried reading the Bible it never released stock resonated with me but in two thousand fourteen my the Sun was one and my ex-husband deny were already separated. That was a very difficult time in my life. I felt like I had completely. We lost myself to this endless litany of compromises that two people make when you're trying to save a relationship that was ultimately gently unsalvageable. There is a day here in Utah where I miraculously had an afternoon free. I think maybe his dad was watching the baby and I decided to go out for a hike. We moved to Utah specifically for the mountains but I hadn't really been super involved in the hiking seen here. I'd gone out once or twice but wasn't wasn't an avid hiker at the time I decided to do this trail up in Little Cottonwood Canyon where you go out to secret lake. It's called and it's only about the mile it's a short really kid friendly trail but that's the one I picked and then from secretly I could see a peak and I looked up and I saw little trail kind of heading up towards this peak peak above the league and I thought I feel good. I should go a little bit farther so I took the trailer and it's this trail that that kind of comes up and over onto a rich line and when and you get onto this rich line you can see over into the other canyon and it is so drop dead gorgeous it took my breath away. I had never seen view like this in my whole life and in that moment for the first time in the middle of this incredibly stressful and difficult situation the charter in my head stopped stopped I experienced sense of peace this silence this calm this presence what could only be in my mind God and that in that moment is where I christen the mountains church I communicated on that hike for the very first first time with God and I feel like I had created the space to listen and what it brought me was this sense of clarity and peace and comfort that that was so strong. I couldn't ignore it so that's where church was born in that moment on that hike during that really difficult time I he went on to hike my little butt off after that I you couldn't drag me out of the mountains hiked as much as I could as often as I could. I started planning all of my vacations around hiking hiking and every time I would go out into the mountains. I would notice that for the first half hour or so of my hike. We're having a thunderstorm here. I think it's actually we kind of Nice for the first half hour or so of my hike my head would not stop chattering and like at this point in my life. My head was not saying very nice things to me so it would just be the constant just voice negative voice that I wasn't doing enough. I wasn't good enough. It wasn't worthy enough but after about a half an hour her it would calm and it would still and I would feel at peace I would feel grounded. I would feel connected it would open up a channel for me to really think about now my life and my stressors and how I could handle and process them better it would provide me with the open kind of bandwidth just to think about other things in my right life and not be so hyper focused on this divorce and business split and the situation that I was kind of stuck in that time and when I got to my destination whether it'd be a lake or a mountain top I really felt like I was closer to God up there. Then I was on the ground there was something about being out out in nature with the leaves and the Green and the air and the sunshine sounds I would never hike with music or listening to podcasts. I almost always hiked by myself. I still do that's like my most prized so low time and I use that time specifically to connect with Mother Nature Nature and the universe and God for a really long time the mountains were the only place I was able to get my head to stop chattering and to be able to connect with God God so I hiked a lot. I felt like I needed. I crave that feeling of connectedness and faith and support that got so I spent a lot of time in the mountains but with practice the more time I spent in nature communicating to God the more I was able to bring that connection back home with me and I would have of moments when I was home just during a quiet moment at night I would have moments when I was with my son or I would purposely create moments where I would just be still and I guess you'd call it pray. I never really called it praying. I always just call it talking to God but with the experience I had in the mountains I was then able to bring thing that into every area of my life and because of that now I feel like I talked to God all the time we are super tight because of what I've learned in the the mountains as church he is or she is depending on how I choose to refer just always there with me. That is why I called the mountains inspire church because that's where I learned to talk to God and to receive him back much like you might worship in four walls is with your community. I think you can worship anywhere. I think that you can talk to God and he is super psyched to receive you absolutely anywhere you want to make that connection and of being in a particular place facilitates that connection for you whether it's the mountains or the beach or going for a run or playing with your kids whatever that looks like I think the important thing is that you're out there talking and creating space to receive and whether you think it's God or the universe whether you think it's some universal energy that connects us all whether you're a complete atheist I I still think this applies to you because in the silence and in the green spaces in in the sunshine and the Open Air Without out the distraction you're more able to connect to yourself and even if that's what you believe and even if you believe in yourself in your intuition and your gut in in your ability to listen closely to your subconscious and the signals your body and your mind or sending you to lead you in the right direction. I think nature is the perfect vic place to facilitate that kind of conversation also names get pushback from people who say that me calling the Mountains Churches Somehow blasphemous Thomas or somehow takes away from their church which might be this giant marble stained glass within ordained priest and a set schedule. I could not disagree more again. I go back to this idea that I think we should all be so pleased when anybody is connecting to God and God I'm guaranteeing is super duper site whenever anyone wants to connect with him him or her or whatever you WanNa refer to them as so you know I guess I would say that your fear or brings -iety around my definition of church doesn't really say anything about me and I would invite you to ask yourself. Why the idea of someone worshiping in a way that's it's just a little different than yours is threatening to you? I get so much out of my time at Church and I'm not the only one you are now is sending me your photos of your time in church and sometimes it looks like a park. Sometimes it looks like the beach or a lake or a mountain win or a Yoga Mat and I'm always thrilled to hear you embracing the concept and the idea. I didn't have a relationship with God for such such a long time because it was stuck inside my head that I wasn't qualified to define my own relationship with God and to create it exactly the way I wanted to make make it look the way that I wanted to. I wish someone had told me a long time ago. He Melissa you can make this look any way you want. You can talk to God anywhere air anytime anyhow you can listen anywhere anytime anyhow you can worship anywhere anytime anyhow. I wish someone had told me that it took me a lot of years to discover read but maybe by sharing what my idea of church is with you and all of the various ways that you could approach it based on exactly what you choose choose to believe and what you WanNa get out of the relationship with whatever you WANNA call it might be the thing that you've been missing in helping you explore your own version genre of spirituality or connectedness whether it's with God or the universe or mother nature or your fellow humans or just with yourself self skill share is an online learning community with thousands of Amazing Mason classes unlock passion side-hustle or new professional skill with thousands of courses covering dozens of creative and entrepreneurial skills. You you can take a creative writing class with roxane gay learn how to launch a podcast with Neil Patel or improve your social media skills with Gary v himself. There are also fitness classes like a six part yoga for beginners course skill share makes it easy for you to explore new interests deepen your skills and continue your personal growth efforts verts all in one place join the millions of students already learning on skill share today with a special offer just for my listeners get two months of skill share for free at skill share dot com slash do that thing that's right. Skill share is offering you two months of unlimited access to thousands of classes for free to sign up. Go to skill share dot com slash. Do the thing that skill share dot com slash do the thing to start your two months now for the the second part of this episode today. I'm going to do something a little bit different. I'm GonNa tell you a story coming like I would on instagram but without the character limitations my ego just got back from a ten and a half mile hike you could call it church may be but it felt more like me being in a fight fight with the universe and spoiler. I lost because that's what happens. Every time I fight with the universe back in June I was really are you struggling with. I guess life in general I was feeling really overwhelmed with work stuff with post concussion stuff relationships my physical fitness. There's no area of my life that didn't feel unsettled and topsy turvy after a weekend at revitalize the retreat with mind body green particularly a conversation I had with my friend Kelsey Patel. I was talking to her about how I was feeling really overwhelmed and I had these stressful things things coming up and I didn't know how I was going to balance or hindle it all and she looked at me and she said have you tried giving it up to God and I immediately really thought Oh of course because no I hadn't and I know from past experience that but when I wrestle with God or the universe or my intuition or my gut whatever force you feel like is leading you towards your highest self and towards growth whenever I fight with that force I experienced a lot of pain things phil harder than they should. They feel L. More chaotic than they should. I feel more powerless than I should. This is an experience. I've had many times so I feel like I should have recognized it so during our conversation when I thought about why I was kind of continuing to Russell for control with the universe and she sent me some ricky while we were talking and I came home recommitted to giving this up to God and what I mean by that is just sometimes I feel like there are things in my life that are so big and unknown and scary or anxiety provoking or just so complicated or difficult that I don't know how to handle it by myself and I have a lot of faith in God and the universe and Mother Nature which I will use interchangeably to steer me towards what is in my best interest so over the course of the first few meditation sessions I had when I got back home. I made a conscious deliberate pitch to God and said I'm feeling really overwhelmed. I need help with this. I am going to release this to you to my spirit. Guides to the universe helped me remove my ego out of the way and act in a way that serves my highest self and after I did that I felt an enormous norma sense of peace and relief that lasted for about a month. Everything just felt easier. My schedule hadn't changed the issues unchanged like nothing was was different except that I felt like I had some backup in how I was choosing to handle this and that made a huge difference I felt so much more centered and grounded did and capable and empowered and apiece but like with many commitments if you don't continue to revisit them and recommit to them mm-hmm and remind yourself of why you made the promise in the first place they can start to kind of trail off an recently. I've felt like that giving it up to God has trailed off. I tend to want to just wrestle control back from the universe as much as possible despite knowing that in the past that only only leads to pain and suffering. I still try to do it from time to time and I've really been feeling like that lately and last night in particular I just had a really difficult tonight where I felt like something had to give and so I decided this morning that I would wake up very early and go to church. I would go to my mountains by myself and I would hike because that's where I feel the most centered and grounded. That's where the chatter in my head stops. That's where I feel like I can connect to Mother Nature and the the universe the easiest and I thought this is a great opportunity for me to center myself and comeback but look this morning. I got a text as I was prepping the morning from brandin saying hey it's Kinda raining. Does that change your plans and I thought well I can handle. You know a little bit of rain. I looked at the weather. It looked like it was in the valley at at least going to stop raining by about eight. Am and it was only about six thirty so I thought no I'll be fine. I'll go. I'll be fine so I get started on the site which is a ten and a half mile hike. It's it's not raining until I get maybe a mile in and then it starts raining pretty hard and I thought okay. I've got my not my shell shell but I've got my like windbreaker. Kershaw may water resistant windbreaker on this. Is You know it's like a long trail but it's supposed to stop reading pretty early. I'll just keep going so I kept going Abou. I would say two miles in it started to pour like downpour and I thought this is kind of a sign. I should turn around and go back because because I'm not going to enjoy the psych and they're you know being super wet on a ten mile trail and the temperature also was like twenty degrees chillier than it was when I was in the valley so I was slightly under prepared which is not like me but I had shorts on. I only have this late windbreaker at one more layer in my bag but I didn't wanNA pull it out. Oh 'cause I didn't want it to get what I thought I should turn around and go back and this is where I started to like fight with the universe I thought to myself no I said I was going to hike and I'm going to hike and like this is where my intention of going to church which involves self love and compassion for the Self and grace and a willingness to not just talk to the universe but allow space to listen. This is where all of that went out the door. I I was like nope. I said I was going to hike so I'M GONNA hike so I keep going. It starts raining harder and harder like two three miles in it's super muddy. The trail is really rocky so it's wet. I'm not happy I'm soaking wet. I'm starting to get really cold. My fingers are like I tried to pull my phone out to take a picture one point because it was pretty though it was raining and my fingers were not cooperating. They were so cold and frozen that like I couldn't get my phone to work so I thought okay but I kept kept going now. I had not seen anybody on this trail except for one person who I happen to know so on the way up my friend from from the gym passed me. I was like Oh my gosh. Hey she's like someone that we talk about going hiking together often and she was like hey. I just thought I'd come out for the sake. I almost texted you last night and I I was like yeah. I was GONNA do a different hike but it's raining so I picked this one. She was liking faster than me so she can kept going about a mile and a half from the lake so this is like three and a half miles into this hike I see her coming back towards me and it was like too soon for her to have gone to the lake and come all the way back side is what's going you know. Are you done and she goes yeah. She's she's like I'm freezing cold. It's pouring rain. There's a lot of water rushing up there like it. Just feels like I should turn around and go back. This was another side. The only person I had seen on the trail happened to be someone I know and happened to be someone who is turning around hiking. I could have hiked back with her and had a really nice pleasant journey back but now now I'm in a fight with the universe so it's pouring rain. I'm soaking wet. I'm unprepared. I get an invitation to hike back down the trail with someone I know in Lake greatly but did I turn turnaround nope instead. I kept going hand to God not more than like thirty seconds. After I left her to go up the trail I hear a giant boom boom of thunder and a crack of lightning. My God is not subtle. He is like as East Coast as they come very very direct so I get this thunder and lightning and I'm thinking to myself. You should really turn around. This is no longer a like I can toughen the conditions. This is a safety issue. You should not be on a mountain in a thunderstorm slick not a good place to be but now this feels personal lake. I am in a pissing acing contest with God right now and I am not going to back down. It's it felt like one of those moments where God was like really. Do you want to be in control in this moment. I and I should have just taken the out and said cool. I hear you loud and clear a Menelik. Check myself and go back down this hill and take this lesson for what it it is which is a gift and recommit to giving this up to you to letting go of control to restoring my faith and seeing this as is like a really powerful example of how connecting with the universe serves me in every area of my life. That's what I should have done. Did I do that. No I kept going. I have another mile and a half to go. It gets really steep and then it gets wide open you kinda come around the corner and you're on this ridge line over this giant bowl which is gorgeous but it gets really windy so I'm in this really thin windbreaker that normally blocks wind pretty well all but it's now soaked through my under layer is totally soaked. My shorts are totally so my shoes are muddy and soaked and now I have this giant blast of cold air coming right through me eighty. I am shivering at this point but I I only have like another. Maybe half mile ago and I'm GONNA fight with the universe so let's keep going so I check on. I get around and then you end up. I can see the lake but you have to go down quite a bit to get to the lake so I get down to the lake unlike okay okay. I'm here except I can't enjoy any of it. It started raining again so now it's pouring at this lake. It's still windy. I am breezing cold and as soon as I stop moving moving I can't feel like my hands. My legs are bright red shivering uncontrollably and as I start I'm like okay well. I'm here all at least go down and take a picture as I start walking down towards the lake. I realized that it is a field of mud so everywhere I step if I'm not on older. I am sinking my shoes into who like mud. I am no longer having fun except again. I'm in a fight with God still like now. I don't know whether I wanNA laugh for cry. I more wanted to cry because mostly I knew that I had another five miles to just get back to my car so I get to the lake I snap like two quick pictures pictures with my frozen claw hands and I start the hike back up again back up to the ridge line and I stopped to take one more picture and I look at my phone and my battery's completed. I don't know how in the span of like forty minutes my battery went from fine to completely dead but my phone is dead. There's nothing else I can do and I thought while played God well played no photos for instagram okay now just WanNa get back down to the bottom of the mountain. This is not restorative. This is not church. This is not me talking to God. This is like me pitching the biggest temper Tantrum I can find ignoring every signal that the universe is sending me to justly stop and surrender and like give up control troll in this moment and say that there are some things that are just bigger than me but do I know so. I hate down the mountain as fast as I can at this point because I'm so cold I pass a co like one or two people on the way up. I one guy at one point. He looked at me and he was like are you okay and I was like I'm very cold so hike down the mountain as fast as they can. My legs are so cold at this point that I and it's a very rocky trail that I'm like tripping and stumbling at one point I twisted my ankle. I've have lost all sense of surefootedness. I think at this point because I'm a little bit scared and a little bit panicked and like definitely on the verge of tears and also colder than I've ever been in my life life so I hiked down the trail. I'm the kind of fork where I know. There's less than a mile to go and it starts to hail. It was lake just one last little I duNno I consent. I can hear the universe chuckling at this point like okay. You got back to your car but how's that working for you Melissa. How did this work for you and that's how I feel through the whole entire course of this hike? It wasn't a vengeful God. It wasn't a heady heady God. It was like a very parental question to me every step of the way houses working out for you. Melissa and I I gotTa tell you by the time I got to my car I open the car I could barely get my backpack off because my hands were sewn and I just burst into tears and then I crank the heat and shivered forty five minutes until I got home and got into a shower and that is literally where I'm talking to are you from right now is just fresh out of the shower finally no longer shivering wanting to get the story down before I forgot the details but more important before I forgot forgot how it made me feel. I've been to church once since I moved to Salt Lake City ten years ago a physical church with a building a pastor but I will never forget the sermon that that pastor gave that day. I think it's called a sermon. Even if you're not Catholic right it was a nondenominational church during the sermon the pastor said we feel like we are moving away from God. We are pushing God away. We are rejecting him. We're not listening to him. We don't WanNa hear what God has to say. We WanNa like handle it ourselves and we feel like we're moving further and further away but anytime you are ready to turn around and reconnect with God you will find he always right there and that stayed with me because whether you're talking about God or are Your Spirit guides or the universe or mother nature or you're just talking about yourself. I think we all feel like there is something in us this that guides us to make the right decision to live in our integrity to move forward into growth and there will be times times where we push that away. I don't WanNa do it. I don't WanNa hear it. I'm not ready for it but the more we push that away that intuition Shannon that gut sense that sensation that like the universe is moving us towards something for our highest south more we push that away the more painful it becomes uh-huh it provokes this sense of real physical tangible anxiety or unease or discomfort but still we feel like we want to remain in control. We feel like we're not ready for that message. We feel like we can handle things all by ourselves and yet eventually I find there comes a breaking point a moment where I think to myself. This is untenable and I need to go back to my faith because my faith is what holds me up. It is what guides me in it is what serves me and I find it so incredibly comforting to think that in that moment oh mint when I am ready all I have to do is turn. Thanks for joining me today on do the thing you can continue the conversation with me at Melissa Underscore Hartwig Hertwig on instagram and visit whole thirty dot com slash podcast for today's show notes and bonus content. If you have a question for Deer Melissa or a topic idea for the show show leave me a voicemail at three two one two zero nine one four eight zero. Do the thing is part of the project. A family of podcast has brought together by Gretchen Rubin all about how to make your life better check out the other onward project podcasts happier with Gretchen Rubin side-hustle school and Happier Happier in Hollywood finally before you leave please subscribe leave a review and invite your friends to do thing see you next week

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