Creating a personal spirituality...
a Seeker's Toolkit
If you're looking for a religion class, this isn't it. I don't work for a church, or in one; I used to... a long time ago.
I had to leave and find my own path.
Before that, a college research project took me to places outside my religion's comfort zone. That assignment changed my life, my spiritual openness, and led me to create this Seeker's Toolkit.
It was the most powerful and freeing work I'd ever put together. And the tools stayed with me; I used the for everything that took me outside my comfort zone--to feel safe, find solid ground, gain clarity, and find my way.
This is a course for one who's doing their own independent soul searching, because they're going through a religion or spiritual unrest; a faith / religion / beliefs foundations shake-up. And solid ground and clarity and peace of mind--for yourself--would be welcome relief.
Whatever religion we grow up in, it influences how we see the world, and it's a starting place.
For most, a time comes when we question things we've been taught growing up.
I grew up Catholic
When you can’t go forward and you can’t go backward, and you can’t stay where you are without killing off something vital inside, you’re on the edge of creation.
Sue Monk Kidd
Catholic around the edges.
In The Catholic Myth, author Andrew Greeley writes that many may disagree with and disregard their Church's teachings; and still see it as their heritage, that no one, not even a pope, gets to take away from them. ...
Like family in a way... We may not agree, or get along, with a family member; and we will still consider them family--and very likely defend them against any outsider trying to disparage them. It's all part of that origins mix of influencers into who we are.
Growing up Catholic brings a born independent streak in us, of thinking for oneself, to make personal spiritual, life decisions--especially in areas that affect our own bodies, especially as women; and in matters of moral justice and fairness--the right thing to do and freedom--are instinctive.
Greeley also notes our incredible Catholic Imagination: Heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo; angels and saints, archangels, principalities and powers, Mother Mary, the Magdalene, and mystics; the Mass and sacraments and the smell of incense.
We memorized and absorbed a Catholic culture that stayed with us and shaped us. It's a reference point we share in the world, regardless of where we are or who we are now.
These are interwoven, nuanced, parts of us: both our independent, intelligent minds with opinions, and a Catholic culture of spiritual imagination and experiences.
Awakening: It's no big deal... Until it IS...
We go to Mass, sing songs, stand and kneel with everyone else, respond automatically, not paying much attention...and then something gets our attention, things that don't feel right to us, to say or do or believe.
First we ignore it; then try to make it work; defecting in place is how one author termed it. We can't unknow what we know, though. You tried rationalizing it, working around it, and then a last straw tips the scales.
Mine was 1996, an epiphany on Epiphany (feast of the Holy Family), a final last-straw moment of knowing I had to go;
I had to find a more-including place where women were allowed to be leaders. (Your last-straw thing may be different; it will be a line-in-the-sand issue for you, though.)
It wasn't for me to change an institution...
I, though, had already changed beyond what they could see, hear, or perceive...or spiritually satisfy.
Change is a natural process.
A seed grows and breaks ground; an egg hatches and shells break open; Life intends our expanding, growing, and wings ...
We come equipped to do this.
I awakened to a need of feminine voices, women leaders; women-spiritual experiences, words, rituals, wisdom ceremonies, and songs, of girls' and women's soul and spirit, sacred life experiences, transitions...
Soul sistering ...
I was there 1996... a mid-life turning point ...
I wish I could tell you this is the perfect course for you.
I can't; you know your heart, and you need to decide that. It's so very personal, our individual spirituality.
I can tell you, though, this was the perfect course for me to create and offer.
From that college paper in 1987 through now in 2020, what I've included here for you is what made the most difference--to me, certainly--and also to other students I've shared it with.
This a freedom and own-your-soul, life, kind of course... one that dances with the Divine.
And in my experience, this Divine has a sense of humor; isn't required to follow anyone's church rules; and doesn't give up on us.
My life, like yours, has perfect catalysts and precise timing. I want to reassure you--and encourage you to test it, research whatever and wherever you need to--I did.
We're not in this alone; we're loved now, already; and we can't get it wrong.
Explore; and enroll.
When you're not fitting in, feeling good about, where you once did, and need to find spiritual on your own terms, this is a lifeline. So am I.
Anne Wondra, WonderSpirit Soul Sistering
Keep it Simple and Sensible (K.I.S.S.)
- You can complicate it if you want; research whatever you're drawn to. I did.
Make it E.A.S.Y. (Energizes And Satisfies You)
- I like easy; for me, a personal spirituality has to energize, make sense, and feed my Soul...that's how I approach this subject and course. Is life always easy? No. We all get our share of growing pains and experiences to learn from.
Set yourself up for Success (Happiness, Joy, Love, Freedom).
- These lessons are tools. How you use them and what you create is in your hands. I've provided those that have mattered for me and still use.
He stayed and advanced in parish work; Life had other plans for me.
Long friendships, though, share multi-layered perspectives and insights, glimpses through each other's experiences over time, appreciating roles we played, and holding such friendship with highest regard, respect, honor.
In shorter words, we know each other's perspective, and respectfully appreciate that they're different on some things.
Seeing our old retreat booklet, thinking, Wouldn't it be fun if we offer it again? Could be fun. I said it out loud...
As long as it's not heresy, he says.
Word-split HER-esy. I knew it would be interesting, because we were now both well-seasoned people ... and I knew some of mine would be HER-saying...that might be outside some edges of official church sayings.
...that is also the balancing beauty of it, and this Creating a personal spirituality course: I add what official places and those working in them, can't. Different does not mean wrong.
Most of us know official teachings... We had good teachers.
This is my part to add.
I grew up Catholic with a spiritual calling. In early days, I was a parish volunteer; later I entered ministry professionally, taking the same college coursework as those studying for the priesthood. I was a religious studies graduate and served as director of youth ministry at a large suburban parish in the Midwest. I was single in my 30s, and had witnessed changes of the 60s and 70s; especially Vatican II, and the women's and civil rights movements... Having just spent ten years in the legal world, prior, justice, equality, and fairness got my attention, a lot.
In college courses and in church, and in life, I had gifted teachers. Some were Lutheran friends who asked a lot of questions that I needed good answers to--for myself as much as them.
Universal laws and truths that applied to all, regardless of religion, color of eyes or skin, location in the world. Answers to my Lutheran friends' questions had to uplift all of us.
Vatican II changes and the social, cultural, civil rights revolutions of the 60s and 70s--and the music of The Beatles and the birth of rock n' roll...Those, too, were my spiritual influences.
In college I heard of Women's Studies; science and research that the brain and operating systems of men and women are very different; our bodies, too. (I knew this long before science confirmed it...)
Things start rumbling and rocking loose....
June 25, 1989 I’ve never done this before in my life—writing in a notebook—in church—during a homily… But it’s driving me crazy. He’s totally missing the point of those readings! How could he ignore it?!...
Woman spiritual and perspective...
an old story and outdated attitudes about one gender's less-than status and roles was no longer acceptable, tolerable, reasonable, fair, or just--anywhere--and most especially not in church;
and in light of a changing world, research, coursework, and life experience and awareness, I had to follow where Spirit led.
Who do you think you are to disagree with your church? God?... the Bible?
And that is Lesson 1 in this course.
I had to answer that; you do, too.
When our worldview and life expands, we break the edges of our religion... of relationships, sometimes, too.
That doesn't mean somebody is 'bad' or 'wrong.'
Nature's way is to grow, to crack open that egg, and hatch into fresh air. to be birthed into life...
We can't unknow what we know; or ignore how our perception has expanded, anymore than a chick can return to its egg once it's cracked open.
Maturity implies that we have lived enough of life to own the choices we've made; that our hearts have been broken and healed; that we know ourselves well, and that we are ready to embark on this next stage of life--a stage of wisdom and power, of giving back, reinvesting, and restoring.
Twenty-some years have passed; I'm now well-seasoned (experienced, educated, in my wisdom years); grown; know who I am; have nothing to prove;
And it's time...
If you're looking for a traditional religion class, this isn't it.
If you stay, leave, go back, or not, it's entirely up to you.
What does your spirit and soul need? What do you need?
Freedom's important to a human Soul.
Wherever you are in your spiritual travels is where Spirit has led you. I'm a teacher when you are ready. I offer a safe place, soul sistering, and support; a place to start.
I am here to be me, a spark of divine Light, a spirit of love, laughter, joy, positive energy and Soul; Soul sistering.
Feed your soul; evolve, expand, and grow, spiritually, personally, creatively. Be happy, healthy, inspired.
One more thing.
- My intention … to energize, empower, and uplift all of us, as spiritual life travelers; to inspire and support our evolving life and creative endeavors; to grow our whole selves; to encourage meaningful, powerful, pragmatic conversations.
- Be kind, respectful.
- Catholic Around the Edges (CATE) was a 4 a.m. inspiration. I’m a cat mom and Catherine was my confirmation name; I took those as signs.
- Whether you’re a regular practicing Catholic or one who can’t go there anymore, this course is about personal spirituality, living today.
- All of this is my work; I’m not representing any institutions. (I share lots of favorite resources, though, and credit sources.)
Thank you for diving in (divine … dive in) to this soul sistering, spirit-dancing playground.
Anne Wondra – WonderSpirit
I met Anne at a time in my life when I was experiencing what I've learned to call a 'spiritual awakening.' This may sound like a whole lot of fun, but to me, it was downright scary!
Anne was able to continually calm my fears, and guide me on my personal journey in a personalized, loving dedicated way that I would not have thought possible. She didn't guide me based upon some regurgitated spiritual coaching process or workbook. She guided me through true Spirit with incredible compassion, intuition, and a pure and gentle knowing that to this day makes me feel safe and protected enough to continue my spiritual exploration and expansion. To me, Anne is simply -- "The Wondra."— Heather Blessington, Anne Wondra Feminine Spiritual Coaching Student 2016
Table of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have access to the course?
Forever! Once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the course material for as long as you need. So devour it all in one weekend or take things slow. It's your choice!
What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?
Well, I would be sad. But if you're really unhappy with the course, just email me within 10 days to get a full refund.
What if I didn't grow up Catholic?
Not a problem. These are personal spiritual-quest lessons, common across people and time. What's here, for me, had to apply to all and uplift the human spirit.
Is this course only for women?
It's for those who are drawn to it. My work was creating it. I'm very comfortable being a sister to brothers.
I still have a question, how can I contact you?
I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.