girl seeker: 5 ways i found god

do you believe in god?

are you a spiritual person?

to be honest, i care more about the second question than the first one. because, when we answer yes to the second one, somewhere within us there is an answer that is “yes” to the first one. mind you, what i call god is not the typical idea of god. no, no western white-bearded old man in the clouds for me. i use the word “god” because eric weiner, in the book man seeks god, uses that word. however, in my life, that word has morphed into a peaceful, light, divine, unknowingly known idea of love. not that god is only an idea. but, my human brain just cannot fathom something so spiritual. so, i choose to not even really use a word right now. instead, i see the love + peace in the midst of every person and creature and place on earth and focus on that, though i have no problems with the word “god”. it is the foundational word that i have used to describe a divine being. basically, i see god as love made manifest. i suppose this is rather jewish of me… unable to put into words something so… and there are not even any words that i can utter to describe anything around this divine spirit that swirls around and within us.

so, i suppose i believe in “god”. yes. i believe. but, my belief is tied directly to my spirituality. i live with no list of right and wrong doctrines. instead, my belief is mystical, mysterious, and yet completely known. and god is not a person, or a goal, but simply is.

ok. back to the book.

it was so interesting to read about someone who was actively going on an academic, news-reporter kind of journey to find god. this was no pilgrimage like you think of when you read paulo coelho’s the alchemist where a young boy seeks god by seeking his personal legend. no, as i said, this is a reporter on a mission to “find” god. and it felt to me it felt like he was searching for the god that would win over all other gods. that he would find the one, true, right religion that had it all together. and then he could come a believer and live and die and go to heaven. ( i am simplifying a little).

of course it didn’t happen like that. of course seeking god is not something to do academically and with an itinerary. and, in my humble opinion, we will never find the one, true, right god that is correct and puts all of the other gods to shame. this, i am sure, makes conservative christians, or even regular christians, shiver in their sunday best. and the reason i say this is, because, there is only one energy, one love, one deep peace, one god (if you wish), and all of us seekers are simply seeking the same thing. the same god, if you will.

but, more deeply, what i mean, of course, is that god is not something or someone to be “caught”. god just is. god, for me, is the indescribable energy that courses through us all, that makes us all seek to make something meaningful of our lives, that inspires us to do crazy things and follow our dreams, that makes our heart beat fast when we see a sunset or play an instrument or teach a child or talk with a stranger or create a work of art.

ok. enough of all of that. let’s get to the 5 ways i “found” god while reading this book:

1. the search is lifelong


ultimately, we cannot seek god like a hide-and-seek game, because god is not ours to then find + own. this is not a competition. it is a beautiful, life-long journey.

what we can do, is discover god. we can discover and explore and live out our spirituality. and all that means is to seek to listen to our souls, to look in the eyes of another and see that we are not all that different, and to encounter the feelings of awe and majesty in nature. all of life, every single second, if we are simply aware, is infused with spirituality, with god, if you may. it’s just whether we want to be aware of it or not.. however, it is not chasing god, but experiencing god, growing closer + closer as days and years pass.

and, each day, each month, each year that passes is just another opportunity to become more and more the person we were created to be. this journey has twists, turns, mountains, valleys, cliffs, caverns, fields, oceans. if we are seeking god, if we are seeking to be grounded + connected to our true selves, then we will have a foundation that helps us learn to trust life, knowing that time will teach us. and that it is possible to become more and more illuminated, enlightened, and more whole as we continue the journey of learning to listen to our souls and to let that light within us shine.

and lord knows, this is something that i know will take a lifetime for me to come closer to understanding.

2. the goal of religion (good religion) is transformation


there is a lot of religion out there. good religion + bad religion. and all good religion has its problems. and all bad religion has its redeeming qualities. but, for me, the goal of religion is transformation. it is a religion that is focused on the here + now, both the suffering + the beauty. it is not a religion that is focused solely on another world.

the transformation that occurs is first and foremost within. it is a journey towards peace and wholeness. to knowing who we are, loving who we are, and sharing who we are with the world. it is a transformation of becoming our best selves – of following the footsteps of jesus, buddha, mohammad, abraham, julian of norwich, celtic pagans, monks, nuns, rosa parks, your favorite teacher, anyone who lives an authentic life, etc.

as we work on learning to live from our soul, we also work for the world. all good religion teaches us to go inward, but to also go out into the world. not to condemn it or to escape it, but to engage the world, to love the world, and to bring peace and justice to every single nook and cranny. and i believe that we can actually do that. i believe that good religion inspires us to use our unique gifts and talents to bring about change. good religion never ever works from fear, but love. and good religion never excludes, but includes. walls are not built up, but torn down. differences are not scorned, but celebrated.

good religion seeks to transform each individual person for the good of the world. it is a beautiful balance of inward divinity and an outpouring of love.

do you want to find god? look to the parts of religions that teach transformation. there, you will get a glimpse of the divine.

3. to truly live is to experience


there is much to be said for wanting to learn about something. to read + research + write. but there is much more to say about getting out there and living life. i am most definitely a book lover, a researcher, and i love to learn new things about something. what is very, very important for me to do, though, is to remember to put down my journal and close my computer, and experience things too.

the author of the book admits that he is an observer and not a jumper-inner. he loves to be in the back of the room, watching, waiting, seeing all that is going on. his curiosity is inspiring. however, he is the first one to admit that, on this journey, he wants to leave his comfort zone and actually do the things that he has read about. not that that was an easy feat for him.

when it comes to spirituality, and life in general, our journey becomes so much more rich when we engage in activity instead of just engaging our brains. of course it means so much more to actually meditate than to simply read about meditating.

what this means is that we have got to get out of our comfort zones. not easy. very scary. but, the reward in the end is so sweet. and who knows, when it comes to our spirituality, maybe, just maybe, we will encounter god, or have a high, inspiring, mind-blowing, spiritual moment if we open ourselves up to the mysteries of the world?! but, we’ve first gotta put down our books, shake off our inhibitions + fears, and close our computers.

4. we are all on the same mountain


i had a professor in graduate school who explained his ideas about god and all of the religions of the world through the image of a mountain. and that idea has stuck with me for years. in fact, i believe that i had officially adopted it as my own.

you see, he thinks of god, the spiritual energy, a divine being, as being at the top of a mountain. but, the most important part of this concept is the next part. he envisions all of the religions of the world as different paths, different trails all leading to the summit.

this is a beautiful, amazing way of thinking about it, i believe. firstly, because it presumes that the god that christians talk about is the same god that muslims + jews speak of. but, it even assumes that the divine being at the top of the mountain includes the buddha, enlightenment, mother nature, or any other divine being that exists. it basically levels the playing field, saying that we are all searching for the same thing: love, wholeness, peace, light, truth. and whatever we call it, the divine is found at the top of this mountain. and how beautiful is that? the idea that we are all seeking the same thing.

secondly, this image of the mountain gives us room to understand all of the different ways that we, according to where we were born, or what we choose to believe, or our traditions, go about seeking the “god” that is at the summit of the mountain. the idea that we all take different paths, that the worlds religions are all different paths leading to the same being, is so equalizing. for me, it does not pit one religion against another, but it, instead, honors all of the different ways that we humans choose to define religion + spirituality. it is a picture of how we can live in harmony, with different belief systems and religious traditions, but also with the understanding that ultimately we are all on our own journeys seeking the same thing.

man seeks god, simply reiterates this belief/image that i have. when we study or experience other religions, we discover that we are not really all that different. and that, my friends, is the answer to how we create a world of justice + peace. we focus on our similarities and respect our differences.

5. truth is what works


over + over again, eric weiner quoted william james [“truth is what works”] as he journeyed and explored and processed all that he learned on his search for god. and the more i thought about this, the more i seemed to agree with this statement.

as much as i’d love for there to be one, final, for sure Truth; one way that, once i figure it out, i am set. but, i realize that it is not really like that. life is way more gray than black + white. and, life is very subjective. maybe the only truth is what we experience.

and, if the goal is to become more authentically ourselves so that we can make a difference in the world… if the goal is transformation, then maybe what works for me may not work for you. maybe the one real truth is that you + i have to carve out our own path on the mountain. of course, we can follow some well-worn paths of christianity, hinduism, judaism, taoism, etc. but, maybe, our path crosses many of these paths. maybe we start off at the bottom of the mountain on one path, and then cross-over to another one. maybe we take one that has not been traveled on much. or maybe, we explore an unknown path or make our own.

the goal is always the same, though. growth. transformation. change. wholeness. and the destination, the summit of the mountain, maybe that’s not even what matters in the end. what matters is every single step along the way. maybe, just maybe, the truth is that we have been given  an opportunity to travel through this life, to climb this mountain, and what matter most is not which path we choose to take to the top, but how open + aware we are all along the way. and, perhaps, the purpose is the journey. who we meet, what we experience, the views we see, the fellow hikers that we pass, the companions that we make, the folks that we help along the way. and the ways that every little step, and every little turn we make changes us, and inspires us to become more and more the best version of ourselves that we can be.

well, there ya go. my girl seeker journey is over. thanks for reading + hanging with me over the past 2 months. it’s been a very enlightening journey for me. a chance to discover and ponder where i am in my own spiritual journey. and now, it is time to continue onwards. so, do you have any tips on another book i can read? is there anything that you’d like to read with me? we can discuss it through the blog. please, leave me your thoughts, tips, ideas. i’m ready to start another journey!


onwards + upwards! xoxo

all photos from an amazing website where you can find + use photos for free –> here

me mountains

mountain girl

mountain girl

there is no place on earth like the mountains of north carolina.  i will always yearn for the beauty + power of these great, ancient hills. and i will always carry their mystery + magic with me. they are a part of me.


onwards + upwards! xoxo



off to the nation’s capital!

it’s time for a little road trip! and we’re headed to Washington, D.C.!! (actually, we are already here now… i didn’t have time to squeeze in a post this morning before leaving). we took off early with lina’s parents, drove through the north carolina and virginia mountains, and arrived here just in time for dinner. we will be here for about 4 days before they head back to sweden. it’s been a long time since i’ve been to dc, and i was really young the last time i spent some real time here, so my excitement level is tiptop! i cannot wait to revisit all of the historical and the touristy spots all over the city, wander in georgetown, visit arlington cemetery, eat yummy food, and take tons of photos!

so, friends, that’s all from me this sunday evening. time to find a great restaurant and start our little holiday! here’s to wishing you a beautiful week ahead. i’ll be in touch + share a photo or two!

onwards + upwards! xoxo


breathtaking views

if you have ever been up high on a mountain, then you know the power that you feel when you stand on the top, peering down at everything below. and, if you are like me, then it takes your breath away every single time. it’s an indescribable feeling of empowerment + humility, awe + wonderment. for me, it is always a spiritual experience – whether i have hiked up the mountain on my own two feet or driven a car around winding roads.

up there, closer to the clouds, with the great big open sky all around me, looking down on the beauty below, i feel that i can breathe more deeply than anywhere else in the world – even the ocean + the desert (though they are a close second and third). it feels holy. sacred. a special place where gods and goddesses and jesus and buddha and oracles hang out. so, when i climb a mountain and stand up there, i feel as if i am close to being in the presence of holiness. perhaps, i even brush up against holiness myself.

and, even though i am way up there, i do not feel disconnected from everything and everyone that is down below. in fact, i feel as if the perspective makes me closer + more connected. you see, when i am way up high, when i can breathe, i see + understand things as they really are. it’s like going inward and meditating. the ego is stripped away. fear, anxiety, and the desire for control fall away… because up on the mountain i remember what is important + what is real. up on the mountain, as i breathe in the air and touch the sky, i remember that love + peace + humility reign. i remember that we are not all little people running around, disconnected from each other, unable to relate to each other, selfish + greedy – even though we act like that.

up there in the fresh air, surrounded by trees, and standing in the sun, i am certain that, even though we get it wrong so often, we are one. one human race. and, once again, i believe in hope. i remember that, even though it doesn’t seem like it, this world exists to be a place of love + peace, and we all have a part in co-creating that world together.

so, filled with inspiration and a vision of how it is supposed to be, i climb back down the mountain to enter everyday life. because of the top of the mountain, i am prepared to go back into the valley. besides, i can always climb a mountain again.

“Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all , and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.  And I saw that it was holy.” – Black Elk

light + love xx

go + sing to the mountain

first of all, let me say a great big THANK YOU to everyone who has taken part in the questions + answers post from the other day (find the post here)! it has been a thrill to read your answers and see what questions you’ve come up with. don’t you just love community?!

ok. now on to today’s post… i have been excitedly waiting since the beginning of november to share this with you.

as you know, or don’t know, maybe, i am a big music lover. while i wouldn’t consider myself a musician or a singer, i can play + i can sing – somewhat. hehe. in any case, music is and always has been a huge part of my daily life – and an extra little liz-fact: i am a genius when it comes to lyrics. true story. if you play it, i can sing it. hehe.

anyway, music touches me so very deeply, expressing things otherwise difficult to say or even process. the lyrics + instruments of a song lift + ground my soul all at the same time. i’m sure you know what i mean.

when i ran across the song that i have attached below, i loved how it sounded, but i didn’t really pay it too much attention. and then, one day, in the end of my meditation time in the morning, I came across the song again. as it began to play, i was carried away in my mind. i was deep in the midst of a magical forest, with a cracking bonfire, and bright stars above me. in my meditation, i danced around that fire, and i celebrated the powerful moments that i have had late at night, all alone – just me + the mountains.

sunset camp pinnacle wedding

here’s one of the powerful moments that i remembered: about 20-25 years ago i went camping with my family. i decided to wander away from our campsite  quite late in the evening to get some time alone. to just soak in the night. i vividly remember stopping at one point, under the trees where there was a clearing, in a space where i could see the dark sky up above me. only, it wasn’t dark. it was sparkling + twinkling with millions of stars. and, in that moment, i experienced a deep connection with the universe – with all that is and was and will be – like i had never experienced before. i was so small, and yet so important. i was so alone, and yet completely connected. connected even to you, who i do not know, or you, who i did not yet know, and you, who i have known for years.

on that mountain that night my soul sang. there were no words. there was only the music of my heartbeat and the beep breathing of the natural world all around me.

and so, when i heard this song below a couple of weeks ago, i was immediately transported back to that moment in my teenage years. and i felt those feelings, again. not in exactly in the same way, of course, but with the same emotions. all that my soul wanted to do was to sing to the mountain, again + again. and, i realized, that who i was back then – and those moments that touched me so deeply, are some of the same things that still touch me so deeply today. and with that realization, i knew that i had a found a true, authentic part of my soul – an unchanging, unwavering piece of me

i leave you, now, with this song… so excited to share it with you. i didn’t attach a youtube video on purpose. i want you to just listen. listen + be. let your mind flow. just feel whatever comes. and celebrate that you, too, are an integral part of this great, vast, magical, beautiful, mysterious universe.

wishing you magical, starry nights of soul-filling light + love. xx

| the lyrics |

Let the fires burn tonight
Let the jugs of wine get drunk
Let the truth be known tonight
Don’t go let yourself hide

Go and sing to the mountain
Go and sing to the moon
Go and sing to just about everything
Cuz everything is you

Listen to the rhythm
Of your heart play like a drum
Listen to the night call
Singing songs from all around

Go and sing to the mountain
Go and sing to the moon
Go and sing to just about everything
Cuz everything is you

And let your voice go
Let it pierce through your soul
And let your voice go
Let it pierce through your soul

meditation mondays: embrace your tree-hugging nature

i woke up on my own this morning. before any alarm. and before the coffee pot, which i filled + set last night, started puttering and spitting and brewing my morning pot of coffee. i woke feeling energized, even though the rain was falling down hard outside. usually, i just want to creep under the covers + stay there when it’s dark, chilly, drippy weather like this. but, not today.

i awoke inspired. ready to get moving + to make things happen. i waited until the coffee was done (let’s be realistic, folks), filled my mug, lit some candles, and parked myself on the floor. totally ready to start this week with a bit of meditation.

so far, this november, we have explored a little bit of the native american belief of going on a personal quest to discover one’s purpose in life + the native american focus on families, especially women + ancestors. this week, we extend the circle even more. we move from our self, to our families, to the entire earth.

we all know that native americans deeply respect and care for the earth. honestly, it’s one of the reasons that i admire the native american culture so much. as a group of people (and i aware that i am generalizing right now), they are grounded + connected, believing that there is spirit within everything. it comes from a belief that the earth is sacred – and, if the earth is sacred, then every single thing in it is also sacred. holy. magical. beautiful. everything is equally worthy. the trees, the birds, the waters, the flowers, all animals… and the entire human race.

it is a belief in the unity and harmony of all things.

this is something that speaks so deeply to my soul. this is something that i learned from my christian upbringing and experiences, and then, as i explored other religions and faiths, i discovered is the foundation of many of them as well.

which begs me to ask one question: if so many of us have these thoughts deep within our belief systems, why don’t we live like that? why don’t we, not only respect nature, but each other as well? why is it so hard to see the pure, equal worth of each other?

well, as i let those thoughts roll around in my head this week, and as i ponder the beauty + the importance of the earth + everything that is a part of it, i return again and again to the native american way of life to inspire me. i let the natives’ love for all things natural teach me how to live a life that is more wild, organic, holding regard for each and every little thing that lives + moves. this week, may i learn to be even more aware of my surroundings – giving thanks to the universe and the divine spirit that connects each and every one of us to each other.

native nove nature

happy monday, dear sisters + brothers.

sending you boundless love + light. xx

the love of thousands

remember how i said on monday that i was focusing on the value + emphasis that native americans put on families? well, i truly have been thinking about family a lot this week – it’s amazing how the universe seems to flow, connecting + bringing forth the exact things that you need, when you need them. in other words, timing often seem serendipitous as life unfolds moment by moment. well, this week i’ve been pondering the ups + downs of family. the sizes of family. the definition of family. belonging, history, land, and much more…

personally, i have a fairly small family. two parents. one sibling. three cousins. two aunts. two uncles. and my amazing wife. of course, i have her family – which is huuuuuge. but, right now, i am talking about my closest blood relations. it’s a small clan. and while we may be close, we are quite spread out. my parents + brother are nearby, however. in any case, i have never had this really big, loud, crazy family. however, my family is loud + crazy + unique (in a good way). it’s just that there are not that many of us. which, could be seen as a negative (and sometimes i wish for a big family).

however, when i think back to all of the grants (my mother’s maiden name) and reynolds who have gone before me… when i trace my roots all the way back to scotland + england in the 1600s, i realize that my family is quite large. i have a great number of people who are with me, if not physically present, then spiritually or emotionally. and that, is extremely inspiring.

lake junaluska

the other day, i went to visit my parents for the afternoon. just to hang out – and to help my dad with some computer things. but, before i arrived at their house, i took the long way through their “neighborhood” in order to pass by some places that hold special meaning to me.

you see, my granddad, who died when i was 11, was a minister/pastor. he had a house up here in these mountains where we would vacation during the summers and holidays. i never lived up here during my childhood, but i have so many memories of this place. summers at the pool. feeding the ducks. walking on the lake when it was frozen in the winter. weekends in the fall. thanksgivings + christmases. i remember sitting with my grandparents on their front porch, chatting with the people as they walked by. playing cards with my grandmother. watching the fireworks over the lake on the 4th of july.

and, later in life, when i was in college and my grandparents were long gone, i remember coming “home” to this place for holidays since my parents and my brother moved here. at one point, in my previous marriage, i lived in a house here for a short time, calling it home. and then, after meeting lina, i brought her here – to share with here the beauty + magic of this place. we got engaged at this lake on christmas eve 6 years ago.

all of this to say, i do not call this home. but, it is engrained in my history. this place is a member of my family. it reminds me of who i have been + from where i have come. it has imprinted its beauty on my soul.

lake junaluska cross

growing up, when i traveled here for the summer, or a weekend, or a holiday with my family, we always arrived at the lake and took the “long way” in… as i did the other day. we crossed over a rickety wooden bridge and then ascended a big hill, arriving at the base of this cross, which looks out over the lake (see the first photo in this post – that is the view from beside this cross). my dad always made me + my brother get out, no matter the weather or the time of year or time of day. and here, standing at the base of this cross, we had our picture taken. there are photos of me with my brother, some with my dad, some with my mom, and some with my grandparents. it’s a tradition that lasted year after year. and one i will always cherish. even to this day…

me cross lake junaluska

on this day, i took a picture of myself, as i was alone up there at the cross. but, i did not feel alone. i felt the company of my family – of all of the people who have come + gone in my life, blood-related or not. i felt inspired, blessed, lucky, and at peace. feelings that always creep up in me and settle in my soul whenever i stand or sit right here. so many memories. so many feelings. so much to be thankful for, as i look back over the past 40 years + wonder what the next 40 years will bring.

trees road

trees sunset mountains

as tempting as it has always been to simply stay right here, wrapped up in the safety + the memories of this place, i know that the story continues. we cannot stay in the same places, doing the same things. we can carry on traditions + revisit + remember, but time marches on. change always happens. so, it’s up to me to welcome that change + see the road ahead as another great adventure, or to stay stuck where i am, or worse yet, only yearning for the past (which i most certainly do not do. hehe.)

come what may, we cannot stay in the same place, repeating the same story. we may not know what lies ahead, but with confidence we can be sure that, as long as we stay true to our selves, the universe will continue to guide us as our lives unfold, moment by moment.

it’s up to me to continue my story. to not forget about the stories of the past + simply move on, but to continue to write the story of my ancestors. for wherever i go, whatever i do, they always remain with me.

lake junaluska

walking i am listening to a deeper way. suddenly all of my ancestors are behind me. be still, they say. watch and listen. you are the result of the love of thousands.

– linda hogan, chickasaw indian.

me cross lake junaluska

peace + light as you travel your road. xx

the mountains are calling… and i must go.

i can hardly believe that it is the last day of october. we are officially unofficially entering the holiday season sprint now: halloween, thanksgiving (for us in the states), christmas/hanukkah, and new year’s. and i am super duper excited. but, before we launch head first into all of the frenzy, i’d like to celebrate the month that has just been – october. this glorious, height of the autumn season in the states.

this month, i have been enthralled by the words of a certain naturalist – john muir. his quotes pop up everywhere when you google “trees” or “mountains”. so, he’s always been a familiar go-to person when i need a good nature quote. but, this month he’s taken a bit of a larger role in my life…

when i was camping with my family a few weeks ago, i stumbled upon a book that he had written about a long walk he made from indiana to the gulf of mexico, crossing through the north carolina mountains. now, as a lover of these foot-travel journal/memoir type books, i just had to pick up this one and read about his experiences.

john muir was a botanist and a total lover of all things natural. for him, it was his way of seeing and celebrating his faith. he remarks over and over again at the wonder of creation and how nature inspires us, showing us who the divine one truly is – beautiful, diverse, loving, simple, organic, real, living. his writing (and this journal about his walk south) is simple, neat, and straightforward. but, it is oh so inspiring. he chronicles his days as he wanders through mountains, fields, and swamps, encountering new plants and foliage, and all different sorts of people. his meetings with the people of the south just after the civil war have been fascinating.

but what is really inspiring is how he soaks in every single little thing, paying attention to the smallest details, appreciating the beauty that is surrounding him. in the midst of all of his detailed writing of this plant or that plant and his record-keeping, you find nuggets of wisdom and inspiration.

so, in honor of the amazing october we have had here in north carolina, and inspired by john muir’s love for nature, here are a few photos i took throughout the month. it has been magical, dreamy, gorgeous, and oh so much fun!

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”
(John Muir)

mountains north carolina parkway-mountains sunset-mountains

asheville downtown

wow. i have had the pleasure of being immersed in a lot of nature this month. i had no idea until i gathered all of these photos together. and, geez…. the north carolina mountains are so gorgeous. so very grateful to call them one of my homes.

by the way, friends, happy halloween!!

light + love. xx