Tristy Taylor [tristy]
What is your specialty? How do you help people find harmony?
I am an Interfaith Minister. When I use the word "Interfaith" I truly mean it, in the sense that I serve and companion ALL people, regardless of faith or path in life. I include atheists, those working the 12-steps, gardeners, nature lovers and more as a "faith." I am not affiliated with any religious tradition, as I find that we all have our own, unique, spiritual paths and we all deserve to have a spiritual companion on that path.
I help people find harmony by companioning them and being a witness to them on their journey. I reflect, share ideas, celebrate triumphs, mourn losses and provide a safe container for all of life's experiences. It is so amazing to have someone in your life who can walk the path with you...and I know this from experience, as I have my own spiritual companion whom I work with!
Can you provide a link to a web site or blog where we can learn more about you?
You can learn more about me at http://www.trismegista.com or by reading my blog at http://www.createwithspirit.com.
What were the circumstances that led you to choose the professional path you have chosen?
I have always felt a call to ministry, but could not find a fit in any of the major faith traditions. My spirituality is quite eclectic, including making art, singing and weight lifting. I was lucky to find a wonderful seminary program that honored the Interfaith path and was ordained at The Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Interfaith Ministries (referred affectionately as ChI - http://chaplaincyinstitute.org/) in January 2005.
What is happiness, and the main obstacle to reaching it?
Happiness is relative and always changing. Our very own selves are the only obstacles to feeling happy. I have a friend who is currently homeless and sleeping outside when it is warm and in her car and friends' couches when it is cold. I was so worried about her, but every time I checked in with her, she would tell me how happy she was to be sleeping outside and being one with nature. That this sudden homelessness has been a gift to her. She found happiness in what most people would find a truly miserable situation. Happiness is truly in our perspectives. And, it is an emotion (like all emotions) that cannot be forced. We must all do spiritual and healing work on ourselves and our lives to find a connection to that place of happiness.
Do we think too much? Why is it so difficult to feel here and now?
I can only speak for myself...sometimes I definitely think too much. However, thinking helps me orient myself to the world and what I am doing in it.
I think it is difficult to stay present, especially in this day and age, because we live in a culture that is always pushing us to achieve, do more, make plans, have dreams, and be the best person we can be. I think we should strive for greatness, but it is important to remember that sometimes that path requires us to slow down and be in the moment.
How do you deal with discouragement, despair, a sense of setback, etc.?
Again, I can only speak for myself...I find things to do that make me happy, like spending time with my husband, or drawing in my journal or watching a funny movie.
In the bigger picture, I remember that I am held by a greater spirit (which is my belief). That everything happens for a reason and that my path is good, even when it has setbacks. I recently lost an ectopic pregnancy that put me in the hospital with emergency surgery. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life and I felt incredible despair. I let myself mourn the loss, be sad, be angry at God and then I looked for the gifts. One huge gift was the amazing care my husband provided for me. He took care of me in heroic ways as I recovered from my emergency surgery. That was a huge gift to discover that our love could go even deeper than I imagined.
Are meditation and prayer cultural variants of the same thing?
Meditation and prayer are definitely different animals but they are of the same species. Both allow a contemplative space to center and reach out to the Divine. Again, all people are different on their spiritual paths and everyone has a slightly unique way of meditating or praying. All are perfect.
Is faith necessary for spirituality to work?
Spirituality doesn't "work" or "not work." It just is. And faith is a relative term as well. I believe everyone has a spiritual path and everyone has beliefs or "faiths." Atheists believe that there is no God and to me, that is as valid a faith as any major religious tradition. Faith and spirituality are often linked but each does not need the other to be.
Is it necessary to have a teacher to find the way?
Each individual must find their own way. There is no teacher that has THE WAY for anyone else. All any good teacher can do is mentor and share wisdom. It is up to the student to have life experiences and decide for themselves what their path is. That being said, I think it is incredibly beneficial to have teachers and communities to explore spirituality and ideas in. But always ask questions and keep returning to your own core truth, even if it is different from your teacher's.
How do you distinguish between spirituality and religion?
I see religion as organized - almost like corporations. There is a concrete hierarchy, rules, dogma and sacred texts. Spirituality is more fluid and open. Spirituality is a feeling and an experience of the Divine, whatever that may look like. Religion is the container that spirituality can live in, but does not necessarily need.
Do you believe in the law of attraction: that we attract what we think about?
I do believe in the power of thoughts and actions. We most definitely get what we put out in the world. It is very valuable to stay present and conscious of all our thoughts and actions, whenever possible.
How does one maintain body-mind harmony?
Again, everyone has their own path, so I can only speak for myself. I find that making art and weight lifting are two ways that I find harmony between my body and my mind. Both take me out of my Thinking Head and into a more natural, intuitive place. The weight lifting keeps my body healthy and strong, while keeping my mind active as I am always finessing my technique. Making art keeps my soul present when I am thinking and feeling through a piece of art that I am creating. Gardening also helps my mind and body find harmony.
In what ways has your spiritual practice affected your creativity?
My creativity and my spiritual practice are completely connected. I feel a Divine presence when I am making art, by myself or with others. The more I feel held by God the more free and creative I can be in my art and in my life.
Petaluma, CA USA