My Journey From Religion To Modern-Day Spirituality
I was baptized Catholic and raised with the teachings of the Bible. My mother always told me, "God doesn't like evil." She would always preach the bible and call out to God in her trying times. I can hear her voice now. My father is a born Muslim, but I have never read the Quran. When I say a born Muslim, I mean yes, my father is Indian and was born into an Islamic family. My last name is not Ali by chance, nor did my father convert to Islam, and no I am not related to Muhammad Ali.
There is a mixture of religions among my family; some are Christian, Episcopalian, Hindu, Catholic, Baptist, and whatever other denominations exist. I am fortunate to have grown up in a multi-religious family with total acceptance of other religious practices. That is Trinidad for you––we are the only country in the world that celebrates ethnic and religious differences in unity.
I am effing proud.
Before I discuss my present-day spiritual practices, let me step back and discuss my journey in Catholicism. My mother had my brother and I baptized at 12-years-old in Trinidad at the Catholic church across the street from my grandmother's house. We were baptized at a later age because my mother wanted us to have an understanding of both religions and a choice in the matter.
At the time, I told my parents I choose to be Catholic because I didn't want to cover my body from head to toe nor give up the experience of drinking alcohol when I become of age. That was my extent of knowledge regarding the Islamic faith. I know, I know, what does a 12-year-old know about these things? Not a gawd damn thing.
When we returned to the the United States, my mother, brother, and I would attend a Saturday evening Catholic service as my father worked the night shift. There was a time my dad converted to Christianity, I think it was when he married my mother way back in 1981. My mother also enrolled my brother and me in Catechism classes during my freshman year of high school. I didn't like going to these classes, at the time it was more of a social gathering to me in trying to fit in. I still didn't understand the repetitious kneeling to pray either.
Yes, Catholic girls are indeed bad and a little fast (not me––I swear). I completed four of the seven sacraments; Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, and Reconciliation and Penance. Shortly after graduating from high school, I stopped attending the Catholic church. I think my brother and I had no interest in going because we were dropped off and forced to go by my mother. We were more concerned with house parties and kickbacks.
As I entered my mid-twenties, I began attending a non-denominational church with my uncle and aunt the first time I lived in Florida. It was our Sunday ritual, the sermons were easier to understand, the message received, and it gave me comfort to do something together with my family. I was also lost moving to a new state. I didn't know anyone and was unsure what direction my life was going to take.
Eventually, we all stop going to church.
Life happened, my uncle and aunt began to care for their grandchildren on a full-time basis. My time was consumed by a full-time job, part-time graduate school, and my newfound love for health and fitness. Throughout that time, I always prayed to God and I always knew the good in my life was only because of my faith in Him.
I believed in one universal God with no separation of religions. It was all the same to me; the same lessons, the same discipline, and the same words translated a million times over. Phrases like "my God", and "our God" truly bothered me. It's the same God.
As I entered my early thirties, I attended a non-denominational church upon returning to California for a total of one time. I just didn't like being there. It seemed like one big show, a free concert, with colored stage lights, and drop-down projection screens. It was too extravagant for me. I continued with my nightly prayers at home, but then trauma hit. When trauma hits, it hits oh so differently. I knew I needed a different type of prayer and healing as my life began to spiral. I decided to undergo Reiki. Reiki resonated with me more than any religion.
To understand my energy, chakras, and my soul was what I needed to learn to become high vibrational and step into my power and light.
I have done both in-person and distance Reiki four times. Each time it revealed things I had to work on within myself or be conscious of.
I started to work with sage and crystals. I would sage myself, my car, and my room. I started carrying crystals every single time I traveled and kept them under my pillow at night, setting an intention for each one. I have purchased oracle cards to learn more about my divine feminine energy too.
More recently, I have had readings from a medium and a psychic. Again, revealing things to me I needed to be aware of, heal, or work on.
Fast forward to this current moment.
As of yesterday, I underwent a past life regression (stay tuned for part two of this article). A past life regression is a form of hypnosis. Let me tell you, I most definitely had a past life and a happy one too. It also reveals your soul lessons and helps you understand yourself a little better.
I still believe in God. I still believe in prayer. I still believe in faith. I still go to church if I am asked to go. But, I also believe in the universe, synchronicities, spirit animals (mine is a horse), and spirit guides too.
Featured image by Shutterstock.
Camille is a lover of all things skin, curls, music, justice, and wanderlust; oceans and islands are her thing. Her words inspire and her power is her voice. A California native with Trinidadian roots, she has penned personal essays, interviews, and lifestyle pieces for POPSUGAR, FEMI magazine, and SelfishBabe. Camille is currently creating a life she loves through words, self-love, fitness, travel, and empowerment. You can follow her on Instagram @cam_just_living or @written_by_cam.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images