Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mystery of the Hippie Girl

I think I finally figured it out today what it is about me that has inspired NUMEROUS people in the last decade of my life to refer to me as a "hippie girl" when I am so clearly and obviously NOT a hippie. First I thought they sniffed out my parents' past on me somehow, like there is a hippie gene, and it just shines off you like radioactive light. Then I thought maybe I might smell like patchouli oil, or that I might be wearing more tie-dye than I was aware of...but that wasn't it.

Today thanks to a stimulating post by Joy who wonders what it is that makes Californians so wacky with their new-age-ness, the answer to the hippie question hit me. I am not religious. Not as in "reformed" or "defected"...but as in I never got a lick of religion growing up, nor did I ever seek to convert to any religion. In the ancestry of my father's blood we are Jewish, but I am not recognized as such by any Jews unless I wanted to convert. My mother's side up until her grandparents were Protestant. Whatever that means.

As I said in comment to Joy's post, being raised without religion forces you to construct your own spritiuality in some fashion, which of course then leads to "alternatives" to the big ones. If you're not some version of Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Hindu/Shinto/etc... what are you?

Since I've grown up in the virtual Grand Central Station of alternative spiritual beliefs, it can seem to others who have grown up under the influence of easy to recognize religions that I am some sort of heathen child who grew up worshipping pot plants and Jimi Hendrix and who menstruates under the full moon in a dense forest. Admittedly, my parents did dabble in everything from Reiki energy to Psychic readings, and I too have had my share of testing the cosmic waters, but I really don't think I'm that far out there.

I think that there is a fear among those who have religion that many of these alternatives don't provide morals/values/structure, especially where children are concerned, but I really believe it's up to the individual. As my friend Stephanie points out at her insightful blog, children are inherently spiritual and don't necessarily need to be taught it, so much as encouraged to be true to what they feel/sense.

Religious structures just don't make sense to me because, except for what I've taken it upon myself to read, and people's personal stories, I am simply not familiar with them from personal experience. I haven't felt called to them. This does not mean I think them all inherently wrong or bad, nor do I think I am a bad person. It's about schema, here. Honestly, I'm even far less judgmental about organized religion than I was once. And my biases has always been equal opportunity. There is just as much in sects of Buddhism and various new age alternatives (Wicca, paganism, shamanism) that I find questionable or odd as in the big religions.

What I'm drawn to is the simple idea that you do indeed reap what you sow, but not as if there is a god keeping a cosmic scorecard. I do not believe in heaven or hell. I believe in god as I find it in art and creativity and writing and reading and music and meditation in gardening, but not as described in any holy texts I have read.

And for some reason whenever I get the "you hippie girl" line, I also feel immediately defensive. I think that's because I feel as if I have to stand up for those people who don't take to religion, but who are also still very spiritually connected and believe in a lot more than hedonism or selfish personal gain.

We are not all out to get rich quick by generating the "Tibetan Love Hug." (If you missed that prior post, I'm sorry, it was funny).



At 7:44 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh, aren't you sweet!

I think teaching spirituality is sort of like teaching sexuality. We already are.

But of course no money there.

I never thought of you as a hippie, btw. Funny others do. I think they just lack vocabulary. ;p

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Stephanie, Oh, what a great statement: "We already are." Yes, this is true. By example we teach far more than we do in actual "lessons"...

Maybe one must meet me in person to get that quick hippie buzz I apparently give off. It must be subtle, like a pheremone :)


At 9:34 AM, Blogger J said...

I could do some serious riffing on why I think people think your a hippie, but I'd like to stay on your x-mas card list ;)

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Oh come on J, don't wimp out on me now! Besides, hummus and tofu do not a hippie make.


At 4:12 PM, Blogger L-ementary said...

It would never have occurred to me to call you a hippie. You are a young, married woman who hangs out with members of other generations and is self-motivated enough to have two books on the way. To me, that sounds almost conservative! :)

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Leona, thank you. I think ;) Not sure I like wearing the "conservative" mantle any better.

But if the true hippie spirit was to be anti-establishment, then I guess you're right that I don't qualify.


At 7:22 AM, Blogger Maryanne Stahl said...

>>grew up worshipping pot plants and Jimi Hendrix and who menstruates under the full moon in a dense forest.

Sounds OK to me.


But I know what you mean about labels. The one I hate is "flaky." As in, if one shows interest in any so-called alternative anything, she's flaky.

Anyway,to use yet another label :-0, you're COOL BEANS, BABY.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Maryanne, thanks :) Did we have the 'cool beans' discussion? I use that phrase too but don't have the slightest clue where I picked it up from!

As for labels, I don't like 'em. But in truth Jimi rocked, menstruating is natural and full moons ARE pretty spectacular :)


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