I grew up in a quasi-religious family.
With a kind of Catholic-Atheist-Pagan blend to my spirituality.
I was baptized, went to a Catholic school, and dipped my toes in church-going here and there. Mostly to appease my grandparents when in Lithuania. But they always took us for dessert afterwards, so nothing was lost!
The other side of my family? I would consider them atheists. They prayed to the church of Science and Math. Logic. Reason.
And underneath it all, we had deep historical roots of paganism. As the last country in Europe to adopt Christianity, Lithuania has been able to maintain a strong grip on its pre-Christian connection to nature. With gods and goddesses associated with natural elements and mythical creatures like the Queen of Serpents sprinkled into my childhood stories and our modern-day folklore.
I share all this because—as I’m sure you can imagine—I have never been able to subscribe to the notion that I can only connect to God when I’m inside a church. I have never been able to subscribe to the notion that only a priest can open the portals of my communication with God. Or the notion that God is sitting on a cloud with a checklist to see how many times I’ve attended a sermon.
Religion has always felt like a “middle man” between me and my spirituality. Others might say it’s their gateway, but for me? Nature is my gateway. And I am a part of that nature. Which means I have no need for a middle man.
And maybe it’s my independent streak, but I fight hard against giving away my power to middle men in most areas of my life.
Even with simple things, like coffee. To me, saying “I can’t function without my morning coffee” feels like giving away the power to my energy source. I don’t want my day ruined because I couldn’t get a cup of coffee.
Same with breakfast. During my travels is when I noticed how much a dependency on breakfast can restrict my days. How having to make elaborate plans to find food before jetting off on an adventure was adding hassle to the day. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I’ve practiced intermittent fasting for almost a decade now. To reduce dependencies in my day.
But little food examples aside…
And big religious examples aside…
Where else do we insert a “middle man” into our lives?
I had a lovely conversation on LinkedIn this week, prompted by a question about how I write this weekly newsletter. Do I focus on content or analytics?
My answer was that I never look at analytics. I never poll for topic ideas. And it made me think: have metrics become the “middle man” between us and our inner wisdom and creativity? Why is it more common to jump into SEO research before writing an article than it is to check within ourselves for what we actually want to write (and thus, ponder) about?
The only metric I follow for this newsletter is how original my topics are. How strong my content blinders are, how deeply I explore my thoughts, and how far I push away mainstream topics.
I’m not building a graveyard for regurgitated self-help idioms.
I’m building fertile ground for us to grow our unique lives from.
And that’s the beauty of doing things without a “middle man” in the way. We can trust ourselves. Build what we want to build. Live how we choose to live.
Sometimes we need a little reminder that we don’t have to dive into everyone else’s world. We don’t have to worry about what everyone else is worried about. We don’t have to solve problems that everyone else is solving. We don’t have to think about topics that others are thinking about.
We don’t have to join in on the overwhelm of others.
We can choose to release the middle man that is telling us what to think and how to live.
And when we release it?
We don’t fall into the depths of oblivion.
We fall into the depths of nature’s expansive wisdom.