Ever since my journey of transformation and awakening began, I’ve become completely fascinated by life because everything is so different now. I connect to people on a completely different level and even the way I perceive the people and things around me are so vastly different from before.
The more I walk into the fullness of life and live out my truest self, the more I am mesmerized by beauty; the brighter and more vibrant colors are; the less attached to outcomes and expectations I am; and the more I am influenced by energy. I realize more and more the power of now and the beauty of expression…and release. So much strength is required to walk into the fullness of who you are and it leaves one feeling vulnerable and opened. Somehow, however, within this thin spiritual space the thrill of life becomes alluring and contagious. Last weekend, July 11th-13th was Trans Faith Weekend and I experienced firsthand just how exciting, humbling, and awe-inspiring it is to be in such a space surrounded by powerful and dynamic people. Gathering to share stories, dialogue about the role of God and faith in one’s life, and words of wisdom as folks discerned how to let go of once-limiting beliefs about God, the church, and the possibilities for life.
It was an honor to be the pastor in residence over the weekend. Friday evening we began with a “Getting to Know You” exercise and the evening concluded with breaking up into smaller groups and rotating around questions specific to gender transition and self-awareness. Saturday’s workshops included Life Mapping, Recording Personal Narrative, and Beginning a Framework for Understanding Gender. Each evening concluded with fellowship, and the weekend concluded with worship service and Communion hosted by Liberation United Church of Christ in Seattle, Washington where I had the privilege of delivering the message. Friday and Saturday events, hosted at Seattle University, were transgender only, and Sunday worship was open to all members of the community and surrounding area.
For me, and many folks there, a lot of “firsts” were experienced this weekend. It was my first time being completely surrounded by transgender people with such a wide spectrum of personal and spiritual beliefs. Diverse cultural backgrounds, differing transition stages, and an array of ages and personal experiences culminated into a deeply enriched, transformative, and inspiring weekend. One person shared how they cancelled family travel plans to attend the weekend’s events. People drove long distances, flew from other states, and some opted for sleeping on the floor in order to attend.
Of course everyone who had anything to do with the planning envision next year’s to be longer, or bigger, or better, or different…but the spiritual awareness and connectedness experienced was palpable and made this event a tremendous success. Those of us who have experienced personal transformation have gained personal power and now know what it means to be whole and free. Brokenness is no longer our primary state of being, dreaming is now possible, and although the impetus of our transformation was biological, the lasting impact is wholly spiritual.
This Trans Faith Weekend was about beautiful spirits coming together and dreaming the collective dream of freedom where peace becomes possible and everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Together, we cultivated a space where love and welcome were synonymous, there was no outsider, and we intentionally opened ourselves to the presence and Spirit of God. I am excited by all of the seeds that were planted; I am excited by the folks who were connected to new community; and I am excited for the possibility of life that exists now that more people know we are ALL free to be exactly who and how God created us to be: LOVED, POWERFUL, FREE, and SURROUNDED BY AFFIRMING COMMUNITY!