Unitarian/Buddhist feeling isolated and lonely - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 07-19-2010, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I started attending our local Unitarian church here in the midwest about three years ago and consider myself a Unitarian with Buddhist beliefs. I have a 5 year old dd, a 2 year old dd and dd #3 due in October. While I love going to church, I haven't made many connections there, partly because I'm a bit shy/reserved and partly because with little ones, being pregnant and working part-time I'm a bit overwhelmed.

However, it seems like once it became obvious that I wasn't a Christian, previous friends who used to come over for play dates always seemed to have an excuse not to come. My two dd go to preschool part-time, so they have plenty of contact with friends. I'm the one feeling overwhelmed and lonely. How do you make new friends and connections when you don't fit into the mainstream?

Being pregnant and hormonal, plus lonely (especially this month with my husband working out of town) I find myself in tears often most days. I just wish I had someone to talk to who shared similar beliefs.
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#2 of 15 Old 07-20-2010, 08:41 AM
 
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I don't want you to feel alone here. I know that it is hard to meet people.

I will be praying for you. I pray that you can find a good friend!!!
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#3 of 15 Old 07-20-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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does your unitarian church have a parent's group? Or a women's group?

I recently joined a large UU church (largest in the world, actually). The children's programming is amazing, and I know that the part of the program is to help parents of children form a community so that parents know and are comfortable communicating with the families of their children's friends. We even have a play group for the graduating class of 2026 so that we can start to get to know each other now. Anyway, it has been somewhat difficult for me to make these connections b/c while I joined the church, DH didn't and sometimes I go to his church which makes continuity hard. But one thing I have told myself is that I'm just going to step outside my normal comfort zone and meet people. I even went to a women's retreat only 5 weeks after I had started visiting... Didn't know ANYONE, but made lots of good connections in a well supported and safe environment. I'm still very much in the friendship building stage of things and don't know very many people very well... but I'm just trying to be as involved and helpful as I can.

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#4 of 15 Old 07-20-2010, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a parent's open circle that I was part of for a year, but they meet in the evening which makes it difficult for a parent of two young children and a baby on the way. I am trying to be more active: I make a point to talk to people every Sunday and am the preschool representative for the RGL committee. Ours is a small church and has an older population. I just wish I could find a way to build more actual friendships rather than acquaintances through church.

It's hard working part-time in the mornings. Most SAHM's plan their playdates for the mornings. Afternoons and evenings are often hectic for me since I have to make dinner, pack lunches for preschool, etc. I know I need to make more time for myself emotionally and spiritually, for making friends, for exercising and doing yoga etc., but I don't know how to balance my time to make that happen
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#5 of 15 Old 07-21-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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there used to be a buddhist thread here in the forum, maybe they'll have some ideas? i think a lot of us have been substituting on-line relationships for in person ones, and while there's a difference, having online relationships with people i connect with has been more satisfying to me than in person ones with those i dont... if that makes sense. is there an mdc playgroup in your area? i met some awesome people that way. including one who shared my beliefs (of course she moved away, lol, but for a few years it was awesome!).

sending you hugs, and hopes of some connections!
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#6 of 15 Old 07-24-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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Try to enlarge the pool of people you're meeting. Look into LLL meetings. Or at least find a leader who may have information about more "liberal" playgroups or such things. Look into actually taking a yoga class. Some are more spiritually focused than others, and I recommend prenatal yoga to everyone anyway! But I mostly want to say, you're not alone. I know it feels that way, but there are a lot of us odd fish floating around!

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#7 of 15 Old 07-25-2010, 01:39 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you're feeling that way. I'm another Buddhist Mama, who does not as of yet have a "Buddhist Community" but so spiritually fulfilled and growing in the Buddhist philosophy. I do eventually want to garner an in-person Buddhist community for myself and my daughter.

I am also finding that it is perhaps difficult to find a community that specifically has Buddhist programs geared for children.

I am just speaking up here as an online source of support and shoulder to lean on.

What part of the country are you in?

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#8 of 15 Old 07-25-2010, 09:30 AM
 
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I'm UU with an interest in Buddhism. I recently made friends with another mom who is Buddhist. It's wonderful having someone to share that aspect of my life with.

One thing that I was thinking of doing with my local UU church is to start a new group for Buddhists and Earth Based Spirituality. I would also put up flyers in local cafe's and libraries about the group. Getting the word out is key because there aren't many (if at all) people in my church who share my spirituality.

Good luck!

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#9 of 15 Old 07-25-2010, 09:11 PM
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i do agree with the idea of creating what you want if it doesn't already exist.

i started a thread about creating child-friendly sanghas (communities in buddhism), and i'm in this process myself.

i noted that most buddhist activities are actually not at all family friendly. so, as i wrote in that thread, i'm looking to create that for my son and myself. (my husband can take or leave).

anyway, i'm throwing ideas around in that thread too, if anyone is interested.

also, is there any way to "flip" your work schedule to afternoons? by working in the afternoons, i'm able to do more activities with other moms/kids.
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#10 of 15 Old 08-05-2010, 10:03 AM
 
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I don't have time to write all that I want to write...but I wanted to let you know that you are not alone...I am a Theistic UU Nuddhist with an Atheist Buddhist DH. Will write more later...
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#11 of 15 Old 08-16-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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It can be so hard to find friends when you are outside of mainstream...even before having children and becoming crunchy, I used to be left out of things because I wasn't the "right" type of Christian...I was raised Roman Catholic and only recently figured out what my spiritual beliefs really truly are...So hugs to you from someone who knows...sadly this has led me to not necessarily hide, but not be open about my beliefs with most people. Since I am a theistic UU with Buddhist leanings, I don't mind taking part in some Christian discussions...but I do dislike how I feel that I need to hide my full belief system to be included...Thankfully now I have found some friends who I share many things in common, including similar but not the same spiritual beliefs. As for where to find them...I found them by joining the local natural parenting and babywearing group...but in my area of most of the group are very Christian so I keep my spirituality private...except to those who I have found have similar beliefs...interestingly enough I found these friends within the group by seeking out other natural parents who also try to do unconditional parenting...So maybe try to find some unconditional parents in your area? Some areas I know have UP groups...Maybe there is one near you? Or as others have suggested...maybe start a group in the afternoons/evenings for other moms like yourself...I know I am always looking for mommy friends to do things with in the afternoons/evenings/weekends because my husband is often working, but that is when most families are having family time. As for how to find the time, sounds like you already know...one has to just make the time...Like right now I should be cleaning the house...but this feels more like taking care of myself than that does...and the house can always wait, but life will not...YKWIM?
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#12 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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Hello, I share the experience of holding buddhism and unitarian beliefs and feeling isolated/not in the mainstream but trying where I can to find support. I am thankful for your posts. Right now my beliefs are supported mainly through reading and everyday mindfulness, and making art when I can. My sotry is that I have one two year old son and am working full time. I related to the thoughts in this thread and hope we can perhaps find an online sangha in these posts. Hope that isn't too forward. I didn't read all of the posts, but felt the flavor. I want to reach out and have more to say...
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#13 of 15 Old 08-19-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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I'm UU Pagan, and we recently moved to a new area where there is only one small UU church. When we first had difficulties, we checked out some of the other liberal Christian denominations in the area:

United Church of Christ (jokingly referred to as Unitarians Considering Christ)
Disciples of Christ (too overtly Christian for us)
*some* of the Baptist churches are liberal
some of the Quaker churches accept Pagans and by extension are likely to accept Buddhists.

We looked around at what our community had to offer for about 6-8 months, and then ultimately returned to our UU church. When we returned, it had shifted slightly, was more accepting of our small child. It takes time to fit in. It took me three years and an active Young Adult Group before I was comfortable joining my previous UU church.

Oh, and don't forget the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship, the online / by mail church.

We're here online. Hang in there.

Unitarian Universalist Pagan
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#14 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 01:19 AM
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liberal quakers definitely will; christo-centric ones will also (these are the "middle ground" ones), but "traditional" quakers are christians, and whiel they are accepting of all other beliefs, the worship is specifically christian. these meetings tend to be "programmed" as opposed to "unprogrammed" as well.

i prefer unprogrammed quaker meetings. our meeting was christo-centric, which was no problem with buddhist, anthroposophical, or any other religious or spiritual beliefs.
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#15 of 15 Old 09-19-2010, 05:18 PM
 
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OP, has any of this helped you out? How are you doing/feeling?

Unitarian Universalist Pagan
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