I found Tara Wagner (pronounced TAR-uh, like STAR-uh, without the S, obviously) through her amazing and insightful blog, The Organic Sister. Tara is a life coach and the creator of the Digging Deep process and the Organic Tribe. Her website, her message, and her life is about personal, inter-personal, and spiritual growth. I asked her if she would be willing to have an interview for my blog(s) and she said YES! I’m thrilled to give you her story, and I encourage you to check out her site for further inspiration.
Joni: Tell me your story. How did you get here, what is your religious background? How did you come to the relationship with God that you have today?
Tara: I was raised in the Christian church and followed along, because it’s what I knew and therefore believed by default. But it was somewhere in my early 20’s that the overwhelm descended, and the frustration. I couldn’t feel or sense or hear “God” when I was surrounded by the noise and the music and the words of someone else, telling me what God was saying.
That’s when I heard the very clear direction that it was time to leave the church. “You can’t connect with Spirit here.” It was a hard decision, wrapped with fear and guilt…after all, I had heard my whole life that not going to church was a “slippery slope”. But I couldn’t deny that it was Spirit asking me to leave.
I began a long road of seeking other churches, then seeking church outside of a building, then simply seeking. Not in the have-to-find-somethng way I thought “seeking” meant. But in the way I discovered it meant for me: learning to see and hear and sense that thing that is a part of me and so much greater than me. It took many years before I let go of the label of “Christian” (I had to take steps away, from Christian to Christian Universalist to Unitarian to finally just nothing, just a sense of connection with the Divine, with the Universe, with that Still Small Voice.)
Although I knew it for a long time, it took me years to release the fear that God was vengeful or angry or jealous. It took me years to sense a presence that was truly unconditional love, not judging, not punishing, not keeping score, but simply wrapping itself around me when I allow it to, guiding and allowing me to experience, and offering wisdom where it’s needed. And always reminding me that this is the dream, this is the “hell” that we’ve come to believe is “reality”, and this is what I’ve come to learn. Life.
My beliefs are eclectic now. I don’t have a name for it. I just have a feeling. Certain things or philosophies or practices or texts give me that sense of Connection, and certain things don’t.
Joni: What do you love about being where you are?
I love that I actually experience ALL of Life. That Life has become my spiritual work, what I’m here for. Before it was just something you suffer through, a waiting ground before you pass on. Now everything is a spiritual practice, everything holds shreds of Wisdom for me to notice or learn. Everything has meaning.
Joni: Is there anything you don’t love?
I don’t love trying to explain it to family or other Christians. 😉 There is a lot of fear that I totally understand – I’ve been in that fearful place – but I can’t take them on that journey from fear to love. It took me years of prayer and meditation and conversation to step into a relationship with Life and Love and Light. It’s not something that can be explained, especially if a person doesn’t want to experience it. So my practice there is just to love and accept. It’s a hard practice. 😉
Joni: Do you feel God has a purpose for you? If so, what is it?
Yes. To live. To experience. To learn. To come back to what I’ve known all along. And to do the work I get to do while I’m here. Mamahood. Partnership. Supporting others. Accepting myself. Ultimately, it all boils down to learning how to love.
Joni: What are the perceptions you think people (on the outside) have of you?
Hmm, I have no idea. Maybe that I’m a “new age woo-woo hippie” or something like that. I don’t spend much time there because getting my head into someone else’s head is dangerous business for me. I’m better when I just release the need to know what others think and focus on where I am and what I’m practicing in that moment.
Joni: What one word describes the feeling your relationship with God gives you?
Big. Or maybe Mysterious. I used to think a religion needed to give you all the answers. Now I understand that it’s much too big for my small body to comprehend, much too mysterious to fathom. I’ve come to peace with knowing that some things are unknown.
Joni: If you had a voice to tell the whole world something about the God you know, what would you say?
I don’t think I’d say anything. It goes back to that dangerous business of me being in others heads…or in this case, in their business or their process or their experience of Life and Love and Source. There are parts of me that wish everyone could experience Love without the fear-based beliefs. But ultimately, I believe that it’s okay. That everything is as it should be. That the only thing I get to do is practice my practice and share when I get to and love throughout all of it, releasing any idea that I can change or fix or heal another person (or that they even need changing or fixing or healing!).
Tara’s website, The Organic Sister, has many helpful resources and support for women in all stages of the journey!