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Soul Centered Stories

by May 30, 2023


Soul Centered Stories
Soul Centered Stories with Lacey Johnson
So I grew up in a nonreligious, nonspiritual household. My parents always made it a really big deal that I make my own choices when it came to spirituality and my faith. I tried going to church as a kid, didn’t really vibe with it at all. I was always open minded to it, but it never really clicked for me.

I don’t know, I always felt like there was something guiding me internally and I never knew what to call it. The church always made reference to God or Jesus or the vision of the spirit and all that stuff, and I just never found the right language for what I was feeling.

It wasn’t until I got older and I really started experiencing music that I felt that voice, that feeling, that guidance even stronger because it is when I play music, being my truest self that I’m not distracted…not thinking about what I have for breakfast, not thinking about what people think of me… because I don’t. Playing music I truly experience being present.

As I’ve listened to all these beautiful talks at Soul Center over the years, it’s given me even more insight into my music. It’s given me more inspiration with writing, with playing. If you see me perform at all, I’m not ever trying to be something. I’m always just enveloped in the feeling and enjoying the experience and it’s a journey every single day.

I believe that you have to have a higher level of consciousness to be a musician, to breathe it, to live it. It’s not an easy life, as spirituality is never an easy journey in general. It’s always about finding where you are now and going where that divinity, that spirituality is telling you to go and something really beautiful can come of that.
Tags: Lacey Johnson, Soul Center OC, Soul Centered Stories; Spiritual Journey, Spiritual Journey, Spirituality

Soul Centered Story by Rev. Keith Horwitz
It was through crisis that I was brought to spirituality. Growing up I had an absence of all things spiritual, which led to a lot of pain and debilitation in my physical and emotional life. The upside of being brought up in a family where we had no religion or spiritual teaching is that I didn’t have any damage from religion, but I was also cursed with not having the structure or an introduction to spirit or God. And so it came a little bit later in life, but when it came, it came with a fury of goodness, which lifted me out of my pain and suffering.

It was through a Dark Night of the Soul that I was brought to my knees as I felt so separate from joy, from goodness, from wellness, from people and from God. It all culminated in the late ’90s early ‘2000s with severe depression, panic attacks and anxiety. My anxiety was starting to move from my emotional body into my physical body, and I started having high blood pressure and other ailments. At that height of discomfort, when I was faced with getting on pharmaceutical drugs that Divine serendipity flipped me over to a more natural, holistic and spiritual approach. It was actually through several dark nights, which were pretty bad, that I realized the importance of a spiritual community, it was my spiritual community that was able to support me. I probably wouldn’t actually be here if it hadn’t been for the grace, the light and the love of other people supporting me through that, which is one of the best gifts of a spiritual community. It helps us through those things.

It was back then that it was exceedingly painful that I really didn’t want to go out or even be with other people. I’ll be candid. I was considering leaving the world. I didn’t want to be here. And it was through a very mystical experience and through spiritual community that lifted that from me and brought me to where I am today, which is 180 degrees different from what it was.

We’re not to do this alone. It’s about fellowship and community. The whole reason two or more gather is because you’re not to do it alone. Two or more come together to expand in spirituality. That’s what spiritual community is, and that’s what we’re here to do, to grow, expand and through grace and Truth. To see and experience the goodness and beauty of God that is everywhere and in everyone.

Soul Centered Stories with Jason D. Mitchell
My Spiritual Journey by Jason Mitchell, ALSP

“When I was a kid, I grew up in my grandfather’s church who was an Apostolic Bishop. After my parents divorced I would be raised mostly by my dad who didn’t go to church much but when I was with my mom she would take us to church regularly, so I always had some sort of religion and ideas of God.As I think about my life, in terms of spirituality, there have been places where I was really clear about what I thought I knew. And then there were places where I was completely adrift, and sometimes didn’t know it. Then I would wake up on the journey and say, there’s something missing that I want to apply my energy to.Later in life, following a divorce I became miserable because when I got married I was expecting everything to be forever and it was such a huge life shift. I really began to reflect a lot about my choices and why I did things.Eventually, I would leave that spiritual teaching of Christianity and not be doing anything. It was when I met someone who brought me to the loving and open community of Agape International Spiritual Center, in Los Angeles, that I saw with my eyes the potential of the world. I saw a world where every single race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and identity was present. I heard a teaching that embraced everybody exactly as they were, and it was just amazing. From then on, I had an idea of life beyond what I initially knew. And even over the almost 15 years that I’ve been a part of Agape when I found myself adrift, these teachings have always called me back and specifically because I was a part of the spiritual community.Being a part of this specific teaching has let me know that qualities like joy, peace, and freedom are not something I have to go somewhere else to get. They’re not something that I have to find outside of myself. No matter what is going on outside of me, outside of my circumstances and situations, I still have access to joy in the midst of the most devastating experiences. I can be at a funeral. I can be at someone’s bedside as they are sick or transition. I can be uncertain about my financial situation and still have my joy, still have my peace, still have love because those things are not conditional qualities.

As I have been with Soul Center for the last four years I have been so grateful to see a community in Orange County that is a beautiful extension of what Agape has brought forth as a spiritual community and into the lives of so many.”