As a child I was placed into a religion that my mother adhered to. I did not have a choice.

This was a religion without any love, with a carrot held out that “if one was good, one would be rewarded by going to Heaven when one died”, but don't look for any favours during one’s life. Certainly one’s body was a burden one had to bear while on Earth!

As I grew older I found that I felt more in touch with God when I was with nature, and this is something I still feel. For me it is necessary to hold a certain stillness within myself so that I am aware of how I am within myself at all times; to be connected to God for me is to feel at one with nature, to be in harmony with myself and for my body to be relaxed and not tense and hard.

When I achieve this within myself I can feel my essence and really feel a connection to my own soul. This connection is for me all that I need to be at one with myself and with God.

To live in harmony with myself means I endeavour to bring this to everything I do. This is an ongoing practice in my life and one I work on daily. It means that when I am in harmony with myself, everything else falls into place without any effort. Life flows for me – this means that my life is without effort. It simply IS and this means that I am relaxed and at ease and this in turn affects those around me. They then feel more relaxed and open themselves. Not through anything I say or do, simply by the energy I reflect to them.

Living in this way I know that I can make a difference in this world. I know that I can be of service to humanity without doing anything other than living in this way. I do not need to say anything or preach at all; the way I live and am in my essence is enough to inspire others. I have found that others do respond to what they feel from me and this is enough in itself. Every day is filled with miracles… if one but looks around and observes.

The core of my life, or the meaning I have now in life and live for, is to encourage others to feel this sense of wellbeing, of freedom, harmony and love, in their lives also. It has helped me so much and given me such joy in my life that I simply would like others to also have this experience. But I realise that this must be by their own choice and not by my wishing it for them.

At 82 years of age it is such a joy to have this sense of wellbeing and stillness. Most elderly people suffer from anxiety of one sort or another and this blights their lives.

I didn’t always live this way; religion used to be for me a set of rules imposed on me by others who thought they knew better than I did what was meant by one’s connection to God. Even at an early age I felt this was wrong and the more I saw of organised religion, the more strongly I felt about this.

I used to shun religion because I did not feel it was right that other people – be it ministers, priests or any other person – should tell anyone what their relation to God is. I have always felt it was a personal relationship.

Nowadays I know that this is a personal relationship and one that I, and only I, can forge for myself. I know that this is my responsibility and it is for me to forge a strong relationship with my own soul and thus with God.

I have learned that I can live deeply religiously through just being me… I do not need any Church, temple or special place to live religiously because within my own body I am living every day in connection with God.

Religion to me is actually everything because religion is simply my re-connection to who I truly am – my return to my full connection to God and the Universe.

I live each day in joy and with a sense of wonder at the world around us. I also absolutely know from my own experience that there is much, much more than this world that we see with our eyes. The unseen energetic world around us is full of magic and we can be a part of this too if we but open ourselves to that possibility.

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  • By Rowena Parkes

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd