Secular Meditation

I meditate with mala meads daily — sometimes several times a day if I feel I need it. It obviously has no spiritual meaning for me, but it has been incredible in relieving my anxiety and improving my focus. Surprisingly, it has also become an influential part of my creative process as an artist and writer. Being more focused really lets me organize my thoughts hone in on my better ideas. 

I started using mala meads last summer to cope with anxiety surrounding a traumatic situation and they became a part of my daily routine. I wear them around my wrist every day. 

I’m not going to lie, when the going gets tough at work, I hide in the bathroom for about ten minutes and meditate with my mala meads. They very well could be why I still have my job. 

I think it’s very interesting as an atheist to take something steeped in spirituality and find a very secular use for it. My mala beads are right up there with my phone — I feel naked if they’re not on me. 

Just Curious…

Does anyone else meditate?

Do you have anything important in your life that started out as religious? How did you make it meaningful in a secular way?

My Mental Illness Recovery is Rock Solid Thanks to Atheism

Being an atheist is an integral part of my recovery from schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness I’ve dealt with for most of my life. Some of my most troublesome symptoms were frequent auditory and visual hallucinations which have been treated with antipsychotic medication since my early twenties. 

Explaining My Hallucinations

My hallucinations were frightening and before receiving treatment, I thought that maybe they had a spiritual explanation. However, taking medication cleared my speculation. When I was able to practice skepticism, I felt grounded and stable. It’s empowering. This has been absolutely crucial to my life since I have a history of losing touch with reality. Religion will throw all sorts of explanations at you, but it is comforting to rely on common sense. 

Being Open to Treatment

I accept my diagnosis and recognize my hallucinations as symptoms of my mental illness. I am in awe of the power of medications and I never miss a dose. I know I need them. Science and modern medicine are life-changing and I’m very grateful. Treatment makes sense to me and I am very willing to comply. This is often very difficult for people with diagnoses similar to mine.

It is really easy for me to make these fundamental realizations as an atheist. There are many recovery and treatment programs that incorporate spirituality, but if others experience symptoms like mine, I think that would be confusing as hell.

Keep God Far From My Recovery

I don’t need god for an explanation, purpose, or meaningful life. I know what I need to do to stay well and it certainly doesn’t involve religion. These statements are not only powerful but also come as a relief as a person living with a mental illness.

5 Things This American Atheist is Thankful For

1. Spending Time in Europe as a Teenager

At sixteen years old I became an exchange student and spent a year in Denmark. That was over 20 years ago and it still affects my life to this day. My exchange year dramatically shaped my values and how I view politics, social issues, and religion. It was the first time I had met anyone that was openly atheist. Back home in Northwest Ohio, I was surrounded by conservative Christians, but in Denmark, conservative Christians were a small minority. I felt inner turmoil questioning spirituality back home, but meeting other atheists calmed my fears. It’s okay. There are other people like me.

2. Other Atheists – Even Though We’re Sometimes Few and Far Between

So after moving around a bit in my early twenties, I came back home to Northwest Ohio where I now live with my husband and daughter. My family has lived here for several generations and I have no plans on leaving. However, living here as an atheist can feel isolating, so when I meet someone I can connect with, it feels really special.

3. Online Communities and Social Media

I share the hell out of atheist memes on Facebook. Sometimes social media feels like the only safe place for me to really express how I feel. It’s also a way to feel less isolated. Online communities provide a safe haven for learning from like-minded people.

4. The Constitution or At Least Fighting for It

My husband and I get pretty involved in politics. Separation of church and state is a key issue for me. I love that the US is a technically a secular nation – now if it could just be enforced.

5. Feeling Grounded in Common Sense

I love being an atheist. Everything makes sense and is backed up with evidence. I don’t live with guilt or shame and I make my own decisions. Common sense conquers, empathy rules, and love wins.

An Atheist’s Views on Society

As an atheist, how do you feel about people and society in general? Are you optimistic, pessimistic, somewhere in between? Do you trust people? How does atheism affect your views? 

I used to be really optimistic. Religion spreads hate, shame, and guilt and I would pride myself on seeing the good in people. I thought maybe this was a trait that many atheists share.

A recent traumatic experience has left me questioning my views and I’m really sad that I will probably never return to my optimistic self. 

Considering atheists are few and far between where I live, I think it’s really important to keep my head up and stay positive. I don’t want people to see me as cynical and negative, and although I’m not always open about my atheism, I still don’t want to feed any misconceptions or stereotypes. 

I know there are so many factors that play into a person’s views on people and society. Can atheism be one of them?


My little girl is a superhero.

I know you’re not supposed to want one sex over the other when you’re pregnant. You’re just supposed to say you want a healthy baby and leave it at that. 

But I really wanted a girl. I was so excited when I found out we were having a daughter.

There’s just something about little girls. They’re tiny humans beaming with boundless potential. I’m positive girls will change the world — the underdogs that will save us all. How can you not want to be a part of that?

My little girl is a superhero. She is the future. 

Religion has oppressed women for centuries. Could you imagine where our society would be if women could have been free? 

While I’m so happy to have a daughter, maybe it’s a little sad that I measure girls’ potential by the many first yet to come for women. Why are there still so many firsts?

My daughter is bright and curious, and despite where we are today, I believe girls will be the trailblazers tomorrow.


Lead Like a Girl

Giggles, hair bows, and limitless potential –
the future comes home swaddled in pink.
My daughter can save her world.
Call the shots with compassion.
Curious little girls grow up
to be women who lead the way.

Pop (Soda) Sucks — Kicking Bad Habits

This isn’t related to atheism, but I am digging around for ways to hold myself accountable as I kick a bad habit. Time to share and put it out there!

For all of you criticizing fat Americans drinking pop (Midwest for soda), just know that that shit is addictive.

I grew up drinking pop. I can remember drinking Pepsi in glass bottles as a preschooler. There were many days where I drank nothing but pop. I didn’t even know it was bad for you until I was older.

In March 2017, my doctor convinced me to give it up. I stepped out of his office and stopped drinking pop cold turkey. It lasted a surprising two and a half years, but during that entire time, I was craving pop. It got a little easier as time passed even though the cravings persisted. 

In the fall of 2019, I gave in. I wanted a Cherry Coke. (That was always my favorite.) I had convinced myself that I was strong and could drink a pop every once in a while, but once I drank that Cherry Coke, it was over. I have been drinking pop in large quantities every day since then and my weight gain is becoming noticeable. 

Here I sit, Valentine’s Day 2020, once again deciding to go cold turkey. I ran out of pop at home earlier today. My husband and I just returned from the grocery store without buying any more. I was nearly in tears on the car ride home.

I feel ridiculous — it’s pop. It’s marketed to be so innocent and fun and joyful. What’s even more ridiculous is that I’ve been here before. 

So here it is — Valentine’s 2020 — and I’m giving it another go.

Anyone else here addicted to pop? Anyone have any tips for kicking bad habits?

5 Situations In Which I’m Glad to Be Godless

I feel confident and grounded as an atheist. I wouldn’t have it any other way. While I would never want to be Christian, I do recognize that my life would be easier if I was. However, there are definitely some sticky situations where I am just glad to be godless. 


Let’s start with the most obvious — Sunday morning.

Getting up early? Nope. Putting on “church clothes”? Nope. Facing a sea of fake smiles and judgment from fellow parishioners? Big fat nope.

I gave birth to the only three-year-old in the world that sleeps until 10 am. I’m going to enjoy that.

Church doesn’t sound even remotely fun and I don’t know why anyone would put themselves through that.

Helping Others With the Intent to Actually Help Others

Another situation that makes me glad to be godless is when choosing to help others. I’m not motivated by rewards in the afterlife.

I love Toledo. This is my home and I don’t want to be anywhere else right now, but Toledo is a struggling Rust Belt city dealing with high crime and poverty rates.

I work in a helping field — mental health. I have also put in a lot of time as a volunteer. I help others not to score points to get into heaven but to make my home a better place for everyone. I don’t need god’s word to tell me to do good things. I help out because I’m human and it’s the right thing to do.

Having Guilt-free Sex Before Marriage

Honestly, this one comes as a relief. I don’t have to live up to unnatural expectations.

I always thought the no sex before marriage thing was a bad idea. I would want to know as much as I could about a person before marrying them and that includes our physical connection. 

I also would never marry someone without living with them first. That just seems like common sense to me.

Also, I see nothing wrong with casual sex. 

Or masturbation. 

Or not getting married at all. 

Do what you need to do.

Santa vs. Jesus

I shit you not — I know families back home that don’t do Santa Claus with their kids because they are afraid that when the kids question the existence of Santa, they will also question the existence of Jesus. That really says something about Jesus, doesn’t it?

Once my daughter gets past the Santa stage, I will never confuse her by pretending other fairytales are true. 

Who’s Writing the Rules?

I decide what I feel is right and wrong — not god or anyone else.

When it comes to social issues, I let empathy and common sense make up my mind. I don’t need help from an outdated religious text. I would hate to have my church decide for me.

I also think it’s interesting when the rules change. For example, some churches now accept gay members when they didn’t in the past. If rules like that can change, why are they there in the first place?


While I know my life would be easier as a Christian, some of these situations seem pretty awkward and foreign to me. Being an atheist in the Midwest is difficult but I believe that standing strong in my beliefs today will make life easier for my daughter’s daughter.

How about you — what situations make you glad to be godless?

The Militant Atheist

There’s this stereotype in America of the “militant atheist”. It really sheds a negative light on us. (As if the public opinion of us wasn’t low enough already.) What people don’t realize is that we’re militant because we want to be left alone. Quit trying to convert us all the time. Atheists are typically peaceful yet we tend to be surrounded by people that are mean and arrogant. (Speaking as a Midwesterner anyway.)

It’s very isolating to be an atheist in Toledo, but now with this blog, I have the ability to interact with atheists from around the world. It’s hard to put into words the amount of relief and reassurance that gives me.

I hope with time writing about atheism will give me a chance to sort things out in my head and find a way to make life easier for atheists right here in my own city. I want Toledo to be a welcoming place for everyone.

I am beyond grateful for Freethought Blogs and the opportunity it has given me. I hope to stick around for a while.

Giving Toledo Some Love

I love living in Toledo. I love city life. Sure, it’s not New York or LA, but it’s urban enough that my daughter gets to grow up in a community way more liberal and diverse than where I’m from. That’s really important to me.

However, my rural childhood home is still very near. Toledo feels like a whole different world, but since they put in a new highway several years back, my hometown is a mere 40 minutes away. 

I used to come to Toledo as a child to go shopping or see a movie. People back home saw Toledo as a very dangerous place. Now that I call Toledo home, I see it very differently.

Toledo is a struggling Rust Belt city with high poverty and crime. I’m not going to sugar coat that. But Toledo is the only place I’ve lived where I know my neighbors’ names. My daughter plays with the girl next door. We talk. We look out for each other. Pride and sense of community are very strong here. I love that.

During the week, I work for a local nonprofit that helps the homeless, and I’m very proud to be a part of that mission. Toledo is my home, and I want to make it a better place for all of us.

True, it is very difficult to be an atheist here, but I don’t want to leave. This is my city, too, and I hope somehow I will find a way to create understanding.

I felt compelled to write this post because Toledo is a lovely place to live and people just don’t give it the credit it deserves. Yes, the weather is a little rough and we probably do eat to stay warm, but I love Toledo. If people saw the city the way I do, they would love it, too.

A Poem About Why I Vote

A New War

My fingertips are tattered
from the artillery of a new war.
Secrets don’t exist;
tomorrow is a gamble.

A celebration laid to rest
in the confines of my brain.
I’ll jump on the bandwagon of desperation
because it takes a village to dig out of this hole. 

No options in my fragile reality —
barely exist or die in the machine.
One fading chance for a stable future;
I jump headfirst into a shot at equality.

Let exhaustion fire the first bullet —
one last push for us all.
In a cold world made for just a few,
the masses will rise.