Spirituality – The Paradoxical Ugly Pain And Pleasure Of Finding Yourself
I am spiritual! What does it mean when we actually say, ‘I am spiritual?’ Some class being a spiritual person as being loving and kind to the self, to others and caring about the planet’s inhabitants. Some see spirituality as a way of becoming at ‘one’ with the Universe and closer to the Divine. Whichever way we think about it; once we start to go through metanoia the changes we experience can be both breath-taking and a living hell.
Everything is so much better when someone loves you but why rely on someone else to validate you? Shouldn’t you love yourself? We should indeed, yet this is one of the hardest things for some of us to do but quintessential on our quest for spirituality. After all, how can you be a loving being if you can’t love yourself? Kind of hypocritical isn’t it?
Too often we talk about spirituality like it is some beautiful, amazing experience; like we’ve been enlightened and found peace when in reality it is anything but beautiful. It can be ugly, raw and painful for some as they face their ‘demons’ trying to make sense of what has happened to them in life, why they ended up like they are, where they are and who they are with. Spiritual awakenings often happen when we are at our most vulnerable; when our defenses are down and perhaps when the universe feels it is time for us to learn ‘an important lesson?’ Some experience depression and mental health issues whilst others seem to just ‘be’ at ease with themselves, no longer stressing over the small stuff which used to rile them.
We all have lessons to learn in life and the biggest and often the hardest is learning to love yourself. I have had many an argument with those in the helping professions where they have told their clients that in order to overcome their past difficulties and be happier, have better, improved relationships, be more confident and at peace etc. that they need to just love themselves but some people just never do this. For some the most they might do is to accept themselves.
Scientists have discovered that emotions which have not been fully processed can manifest into physical symptoms. If we don’t release our emotions regularly they become stuck in the cells of our body and we become ill. Healing always begins with a combination of emotional, spiritual and physical exercise; mind, body and soul. We need to talk and then talk some more; get those hurtful emotions out of our body. Acknowledge what we want to say or should have said; justify them. We feel what we feel, and there is no shame in that. By talking we can often diffuse the negative energy that accompanies it so the intensity dissipates. Talking about a painful experience until we are ‘all talked out’ can be one of the most powerful aids to recovery as long as somewhere in all this talk we shift from victim to victor and take action. The only person you hurt when you don’t release and take that step forwards is yourself. Physical, emotional and spiritual wellness comes from honouring and respecting all parts of you, knowing you deserve to be happy and at peace.
Everyone who experiences a spiritual awakening knows afterwards that there is much more to life than our everyday eye sees. And once you see you can not ‘un-see.’ The way you see the world around you will never be the same again. You’ll suddenly become more aware and ‘knowing’ of things. You might feel it more than be able to explain it. You might perhaps notice it through the foods and products you consume and put into your body and become more interested in saving and protecting your environment. You may even feel more sensitive to everything that happens around you and compassionate about your fellow non-human beings, becoming vegetarian or vegan. Spiritual awakening is different for each individual and a very personal journey but at the centre of its existence is the desire to love, love of self and all the planet’s inhabitants.
An ugly truth about your path to spiritual awakening is that you will inevitably lose friends and maybe even family as your awareness and vibration grow and you start to honour yourself more but the upside is that you will make new friends along the way. And don’t they say, ‘Friends are the family we choose for ourselves!’
As you start to create your new clan and align with your spiritual vibration you might notice that you want to be of service to others. We all have a light to share, our magic to sprinkle and our mark to leave on the planet. When we help others in doing so we inevitably help ourselves. I have long thought that the best jobs are the ones in which we serve each other. Anything else seems meaningless because we are ‘one’ and all the same and at the same time uniquely different. Are you sharing your magic? We help ourselves when we help others you know!
So how do you begin to become more spiritual? That is entirely up to you. You create your own spiritual path. I have for many years been an advocate of the power of crystals. Not only are they beautiful to look at but they have healing energies; each crystal having a different use and representation in our wellbeing. Invest in some crystals and discover the positive effects for yourself. I never worry about which crystals mean what, I simply go into the shop and allow myself to ‘feel’ what I am attracted to. Your body always seems to gravitate towards what you need and so choosing the right crystal(s) should be easy for you. Did you know your body is a loving vessel which tries to communicate with you and let you know what you need. The trick is to silence the chatter of the mind and listen to your body.
Another thing you can do is take up exercise (I can’t empathise enough the positive effects and essential need for exercise in your life. Not only does it keep your body mobile and flexible it also releases stress, improves your concentration and boosts your mood. It doesn’t need to be strenuous. Try some yoga, pilates or even some mindfulness activities. Pay attention to what you eat. Healthy food is your body’s medicine. Let me say that again just so you take it in, healthy food is your body’s medicine and when you realise the impact of this you will start to be more conscious of what you consume and ingest. Subsequently you will start to feel better about yourself. Keeping a diary or emotions journal is a good therapy for self-healing on your journey for enlightenment and spirituality. It is a cathartic practice of getting thoughts and negative feelings out of your body as it can be very healing to write things which perhaps you can’t say.
Let the healing begin. Sometimes you can put another person’s happiness and wellbeing before your own because you love them so deeply. Sometimes you forget about your own happiness to the point you become unwell and feel depleted. It is crazy to do this but it is exactly what some of us do. We put our partners first and when they sadly put themselves first too we have no chance! Believe me, letting go of something or someone may seem hard, but holding on is sometimes even harder, crazy in fact! What lesson do we have to learn here? Does it have something to do with us becoming what we can overcome? And if we are to become who we are afraid to be, because underneath this fear, lies our true identity we need to realise that we are a beautiful being of the infinite universe capable of anything we put our mind to and the greatest realisation is that infinity will always be enough. The only things which stand in our way of this amazing life we desire are the pathetic, self-doubting excuses we tell ourselves as to why we can’t achieve something. The sky is not the limit. There is no limit. Our lack of self-belief and spiritual awareness is. So, let go and just trust the Universe. Let go of the fear you feel and just trust that all will be taken care of. Go forth on your own unique, spiritual journey and be open to what the Universe offers to teach you and what you may discover about yourself and the world. You are an amazing being on your spiritual journey and whatever the paradoxical, ugly pain and pleasure of finding yourself entails, you can and will handle it! So go ahead and sprinkle your sparkle everywhere you go!
Suze Somerville is a Wellbeing Advisor and Mentor. She is the Author of ‘Crazy Love, Crazy Life’ available on Amazon and Lulu.com and Life Coach helping people globally through her Facebook pages and forums on Spirituality and Self-Development.