Be prepared - this is a long one!
I have been getting questions about what I believe and who I am as the Spirituality editor here at BellaOnline. So I thought I�d just take up a little space here and tell y�all about who I am, where I�m coming from, and where I plan to head with the site.
First off, my name is Michelle Taylor, I�m in my late 30s (quickly approaching my 40s), married and have 3 kids. This is actually my second marriage, and my 2 older children are from my first marriage (a 17 year old son and an 11 year old daughter) and I have a 6 yr old (hyperactive tornado) son with my current husband.
My oldest son has Asperger�s Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism, which has made life very interesting at times.
I myself fight Clinical Depression and borderline Bi-Polar. What this means is that my �manic� days tend more towards the irritable instead of overly happy and energetic, and my down days tend to be extremely depressed. There was one point in my life where I did consider suicide. Thanks to the love of my husband and his unwavering support, and a short stay in a local hospital, I was able to work through this bleak period in my life.
One of my goals in life now is to share my experience of this with others so that they may not feel alone or hopeless during such a time in their life. I have said, Hell is suffering in solitude with no hope. With the billions of people in this world, no one should ever feel alone or like they are the only one to go through something. There should always be someone there to reach out to others. And hope should always shine a light. It may only be a pinpoint in the darkness, but if we can open our eyes to find even that pinpoint, then we can follow the light to a brighter place. Sometimes we just need another person to help guide us there.
As far as religion goes, I am Christian. I was raised in the Southern Baptist church, and most of my beliefs still tend towards that thinking. I fully believe in the Trinity and Jesus as the Messiah and God as the creator of all.
However, ever since joining BellaOnline back in 2005 (back then I was the asthma and Classical Music editor) I have been exposed to women of many faiths. Also, I have had the great privilege of becoming friends with some couples that we regularly go out to dinner with that come from all different religious beliefs: Jewish, Catholic, Atheist (ok � that�s the opposite of religion, but you get my point). Knowing and learning from all these wonderful people has given me a great respect for different religions and philosophies.
I am incredibly drawn to the teachings of Buddhism and have recently become enamored with Taoism. Both of these philosophies just make sense
and there is a peace about them that I find refreshing. I feel there are aspects of both that can be incorporated even with the Christian religion. Quite honestly, I have met Buddhists that act more Christ-like than many self-professed Christians.
The New Age movement and the love of nature that many of the Pagan religions also calls to me. I believe God gave us this Earth to care for, and there is peace, beauty, and life in nature that we have been ignoring the past century in favor of �Progress�.
My purpose for the Spirituality site is to introduce new concepts (and some old ones that may have been forgotten), different religions and philosophies, and ways to strengthen our souls.
In one thread someone asked what I felt the difference between the spirit and the soul was. My answer is this; the soul is what lies inside of us that makes us unique individuals. It is the part of us that gives us our conscience, our �heart�, our sense of self. The spirit is that part of our soul that connects with other people. The part that connects a mother with her child, that lets a person feel empathy for another when they hurt, that connects us to the human race.
I hope to teach (and to learn) how to strengthen both the soul and the spirit. In helping others, we often find that we help ourselves the most. Love is the one thing in the world that you get back more of when you give it away. And hope is my favorite word ever. When you have hope, anything is possible.
Finally, the following has become my motto:
I have learned above all to be thankful for the good and the bad. It is hard to be thankful for the bad - but that is the part that truly defines who we are.
I look forward to getting to know everyone who visits the Spirituality site. May we embark on this journey of learning together, and teach each other along the way.