I started playing the piano when I was about 7 and decided I’d learned enough by the time I was 14. Silly me. By 17 my mom was dying of cancer. I was a fairly clueless teenager, and her illness and her feelings about it were kept pretty private, which simply made it easier for me to remain clueless. I didn’t know how to be supportive, nor did I know how to get in touch with my own feelings about the whole thing. I didn’t even know how to say “I love you.” But one thing I could do was play the piano. At one point I asked her what her favorite song was. You guessed it: My Way. So, I went out and bought the sheet music and played it over and over for my mom before she died, and then I sang it at her funeral.
To this day, there are things about my mother that I don’t understand. Things she did or didn’t do. Things she said or didn’t say. I doubt whether she was as fulfilled in life as she could have been. And yet I take some solace in the thought that at the end, through that song, almost in a cry of defiance, she said, “I did it my way, maybe not in a way that makes sense to you, but my way nonetheless, and I’m at peace with that.”
Spirituality works the same way… or at least it should. There are probably a gazillion different ways to know, understand and connect to God. Yet many religions would have us believe that there is only one “right” way. German philospher Friedrich Nietzche asserted, “As for the right way, the correct way and the only way, it does not exist.” The only caveat to that, I believe, is that a true spiritual path cannot lead to any action that would be harmful to oneself, to another or to creation.
As a spiritual leader, I do not claim to have all the answers, only answers that make sense to me at this point in my life. I do not claim to have the right way or the only way, only to have a way that makes sense to me, but that is constantly changing and evolving. I refuse to be held back any longer by what other people think I should believe, so if what I say makes sense to you, then great, incorporate it into your spirituality. If what I say doesn’t make sense, then do it your way (just please don’t hurt me or anyone else in the process). The goal is not to be “right” or find the “right way”. The goal is to find the way that works for you to connect with the divine (in whatever way you understand it).
Let me share the last stanza (I change the male language to female language in my head):
For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Shalom ~ Kaye