If not Religion, then what?

If not Religion, then what?

So many of my clients and friends are disconnecting from mainstream religion, feeling it is no longer living out its original intention. Since one in every five people in the United States say they are not religious, then what are they?

When the conversation turns to: “So, what faith are you?”  the answer “spiritual but not religious” is becoming a common phrase, describing what we want.

What do we really want?

At mid-life, I experienced something different than a midlife crisis. I had reached a pinnacle in my career, my marriage was fulfilling, and my health was excellent; yet I was still striving for more-lucrative material payouts for my investments, stronger emotional bonds in relationships, and more challenging workout goals. I was climbing a ladder aimed at more of everything.  The more steps I took upward, the more rungs appeared above me.  I experienced a mid-life craving that seemed insatiable.

As an observer by nature, I witnessed my coaching clients in the same vortex pulled back again and again to do more, love better, or work harder.  We all desperately want to know what the steps are to get to peace, happiness and fulfilment but we have climbed to such high altitudes we can only gasp for air and push ourselves onward and upward to the next step.

The New Science of Self

Socrates’ suggestion thousands of years ago was simple:  Know thyself.  Now that science is telling us we are the universe, might we not need to know who we really are?

Just like I didn’t realize I needed an i-phone, I didn’t know I was missing a relationship with myself.  I just felt I was missing something. I didn’t have the words at the time, but now I know I was seeking the truth about who I was. It always comes back to something as trite and yet as basic as: getting to know ourselves better.  We may not know it yet, but we are longing for a more intimate relationship with ourselves, even though there isn’t anyone of authority out there telling us this is the basic aspect of a fulfilling life.

We need to know ourselves just like we need to eat and sleep. “Spiritual” goals had never been mentioned at church, school, home or even at lunch with my women friends, so I never thought to go inside to fulfill myself. I never considered that as an option.

If not now, then when?

Religion met this need for us for a while in our evolution.  Only the kings and a few philosophers had the time to consider the invisible world of thoughts, much less feelings.  The Industrial Age gave us more leisure time to do something other than just meet our basic needs. Instead of religion and learning to worship an outside god, now we need the stability of an inner world we can turn to for the answers to the outer world challenges and downfalls. We long for an inner authority we can depend on when the outside world betrays us. In the Aquarian Age, we can replace that male creator we have been told will save us with an inner knowing that will always lead us to the golden crown of our own truth.

If not you, then who?

The invisible world of thoughts and feelings is now my focus for achieving success.

To become so aware in every second of each day of my own truth and to ground myself in gratitude for life itself rather than the grueling work of material success is now my objective.  Life is now a joyful picnic with such tasty morsels as self- knowledge, self- acceptance and self- love. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy material benefits as much as anyone nor do I think we can push those aside while we build inner strength and self- awareness.  But for us privileged with more than enough money, our responsibility is to know ourselves so soundly that we offer a profound gift to our world.  I enjoy my material success in a more heartfelt way knowing myself better and better each day. To know myself in such a deep way that my outer actions and words are in alignment with my inner truth, is now the object of my search.

I once heard Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite spiritual masters, say:  We must take 100% responsibility for what shows up in our lives.

May I introduce you to the New Science of Self?

If not you, then who?



Inspired by this quote:

‘At the root of our secular age is the fatal error that has led us to regard organized religion and the spiritual truth that man embodies as one and the same thing. This has caused millions to deny the reality of the latter because they have rejected the former. The impulse to know ourselves – which, after all, is a key component of spiritual seeking – is as deeply imprinted within us as our instincts for survival, sex and power.’ – Arianna Huffington


  1. Pamela Harman Daugavietis on March 1, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I love this for its fundamental truth and elegant simplicity about what makes one’s life truly fulfilling and purposeful in today’s somewhat chaotic world. My mother, who died in 1993, always said, “Be your own best friend,” which is an old fashioned way to say what Julie has articulated so well above to a more modern audience. At age 75, the first third of my life was all about “conformity,” the second third — “survival,” and the last third is all about “paradox,” where I can see that my most difficult challenges have been my greatest gifts, teaching me to “come home to myself.” Thank you for writing the, Julie, for you express what I and many others, I’m sure, are learning from the school of life itself. The rest of my life then is giving back to share what I’ve learned with others who may benefit from all I’ve learned, much of it the hard way. Our world is hungry for kindness and caring. The last years of life could well be The Golden Years after all, a very different perspective than our “youth obsessed culture” has promoted for too long.

  2. Nicole Smith Woodard on March 1, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Thank you for putting in to words – the midlife craving! I’m there. Working through it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Priscilla Hungerford on March 1, 2018 at 10:23 am

    This article is beyond fabulous !!!! Itput into words my journey….brought me such peace this morning…you’ve such a light in our world ….keep shining and putting your beautiful perspective and experiences out here


  4. Jayne Gardner on March 1, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    ThIs is Dr. Jayne Gardner-just to be clear—I wrote this post– Julie is my admin who posted it for me.

  5. Diane, aka "Uma" on March 1, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    But for us privileged with more than enough money, our responsibility is to know ourselves so soundly that we offer a profound gift to our world
    Beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes.

  6. Sabrina on March 7, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    While I agree with the premise of this idea it feels hollow in that it appears to leave to the individual to figure it out.
    One of the positive things (or at least often is the case) that people who gather together on a regular basis tend to form support groups and able teachers who have in depth training to help others bridge the gap between issues of life and a satisfying life. Some of those happen in religious or church communities. But I’m not advocating churches or religion. I’m suggesting communities where support is available.
    I happen to be a member of CSL (Centers for Spiritual Living) where at least my Center is so very much about supporting and loving people and provides a rich spiritual environment without a religious feel, dogma, fear, judgment or bias. It is totally inclusive meaning we include any and everyone regardless. It is based on much of what Jayne Gardner wrote.

Leave a Comment