I’m going to be honest; I’ve been trying to write this piece for weeks now.
Well, that’s a lie. When I say “trying” what I really mean is avoiding it at all costs, procrastinating and binge watching The Inbetweeners. (best. show. ever.)
Hmmm maybe it’s more accurate to say I’ve been resisting what I need to write, rather than trying. Apparently being vulnerable is harrrrrrrrd…. *reaches for blanket to hide under*
In fact, there is a quote from Paddington (yes, the bear) where he is describing Judy Brown, the teenage daughter from the family that takes him in, that really hits home;
“Judy suffers from a serious condition called embarrassment.” — Paddington Bear
Judy, I feel you.
So here’s the deal. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about spirituality and what it means to me. Starting a business on healing crystals was a step in the right direction, but I think it’s time I got reallllll honest about why spirituality makes me squirm…
Why am I so resistant to it?
What is it specifically about spirituality that makes me cringe?
What the hell does ‘being spiritual’ even mean?
After some pondering, I realized that it’s not spirituality itself I have a problem with, it’s the ambiguity around its definition that gives me the heeby jeebies.
Like happiness and successful, spiritual has become a bit of a fad, watered-down, catch-all that honestly leaves a lot of people (myself included) pretty uncomfortable.
This inconsistency with how the words spiritual and spirituality are used left me with a lot of negative beliefs about it. I created this idea that all spiritual people were either super woo-woo and passively leaving everything up the The Universe, or they followed some strict doctrine of rules and rituals that felt exclusive and elitist.
Not to mention, none of this gelled with my ambitious, type A, checklist loving, professional lifestyle. Being zen was almost a conflict of interest! I wasn’t convinced that mixing or balancing the two was possible.
To be fair, I know these are two extremes and not an accurate representation of what spiritual means to a lot of folks, but I found it really hard to identify with something that I hadn’t tried to define for myself. What can I say, resistance is a bitch.
How could I be comfortable with spirituality if I wasn’t clear on what it meant to me?
So, today I’m taking back the word spiritual and sharing what it means to me. And yes, I’m sweating bullets with nerves.
What if people think I’m weird? I mean, tons of people think this stuff is weird. What if my friends think I’m on the verge of running away to a mystical cult? OMG what if my Bumble date reads this and cancels because he thinks I’m a zenned out hippie nutjob? Dammmmmmmit.
Ahhh judgement, rejection, and humiliation, you ol’ faithful, terrifying chestnuts.
TAKE. A. HIKE.
Well, now that’s been dealt with, let’s move along shall we…
Initially I started by writing a simple, palatable list of what I think spirituality is, but that felt too… regimented?
But hey, perhaps that underlines one of my core beliefs about spirituality; it is the opposite of regimented. Unregimented? Yep, that’s a word.
It’s deeply personal, individual, inclusive and oftentimes unconventional.
Ahhh ambiguity, you gem (or crystal? good pun).
I also think spirituality is about choice.
In my case, that means consciously choosing to live from a place of love, joy, compassion, curiosity and understanding. Not always easy, but that’s why they call it a practice.
It’s about acknowledging, respecting and observing the unknown forces that keep everything – plants, animals, insects, oceans and skies – working in harmony. Yep, there is something bigger than “us” at play.
In other words, being spiritual means having a fascination at the interdependence of all things.
Naming the interconnectedness (the universe, spirit etc) isn’t too important. The real magic lies in accepting the enormity of the unknown, without reducing it to a digestible, known quantity.
One thing is for sure – being spiritual is a constant evolution.
It takes time, introspection, curiosity and an effort to let go of having answers for everything. Ahhh letting go – maybe that’s why it took me so long to write this? #recoveringcontrolfreakperfectionist
If I had to get super clear on it, I guess being spiritual comes down to absolute self-love and self-respect. I believe that everything is connected, so by cultivating deep-seated love and respect for yourself, you are in fact loving and respecting all.
Yep, things just got deep. Excuse me while I sit in my discomfort. Where’s that blanket gone??
There’s a saying that relates to this that goes along the lines of “whatever you give your attention to is what you create” soooo ahhh you might as well give some attention to love, respect and a bit of fun, right?
I know first hand that living from a place of unconditional self-love and respect is waaaaay easier said than done, but working towards it and exploring how to get there is part of the living-like-a-zen-boss adventure.
So here I am, coming out of the spiritual closet. And I’m really, really happy about it. Ridiculously uncomfortable and wanting to hide, but happy.
Apparently, people aren’t kidding around when the say that being authentic and honest feels good.
The thing is, to actually be authentic, you’ve gotta know your truth in the first place.
For me that meant taking the time to define a silly, overused word – spiritual – and accept that it’s the backbone of how I live my life.
Also, it helps to realize that by being honest about my spiritual practices, I’m not suddenly a different person – I still love hiking, I tell bad (great) jokes, drink wine, watch tons of Disney and know my way around the Bergdorf’s shoe salon.
Interestingly, the only real change in ‘coming out’ is that I feel like a 50 ton weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The game is up and I’m being truly honest with myself. Yep, I finally arrived at the next stop on my self-love-and-respect-train. Toot toooooot.
I’m sure we’re all at different stages of our feel-the-love-and-connection journeys. Some of us are just curious and getting started, others are super confident about where they stand and what they believe.