I am not one of many talents, but the gift of sniffing out the bullshit has got to be one of them. It isn’t one that I particularly like to tap into outside of my work hours, perhaps that’s why I surround myself with some pretty straight shooters. If I was to pay attention to it in every circumstance whereby a waft of B.S. tickled my nose hairs, I’d probably not have one soul left to have a mindless champagne fueled brunch with. Because let’s face it, Sunday Brunch holds no place for Existential or Nihilist Theory debates. Sundays in my world are for hangover sex and bed picnics sponsored by Skip the Dishes, and 3 hour long naps. These are the things that heals my soul in a lot of ways, and I’m not afraid to say it. Healing of the soul does not always require a profound sense of awakening, often the first steps need to begin with being real with ourselves. You may have read my menu for healing as face value, but for me it’s so much deeper. The hangover I spoke of was merely a side effect for the gut wrenching laughter my soul needed while spending time with the people I love. The nourishment I put in my body was my way of saying to myself, eat that burger, you busted your ass all week and I feel good in my skin. The nakedness, sex, and naps I enjoy so much blesses my skin with the touch it needs to soothe and prepare to waken itself for the week ahead. All of this feeds my soul without needing to culturally appropriate a tattoo out of it. And if I had to, I’d tattoo my wrist in bold hard English Acronym “S.T.D. 4 Life.”-Wouldn’t that be conversation starter!
When People Tell Me Their Spiritual, I ask for Specifics-Because Demons are Spiritual AF too.
But I feel like I have a bone to pick as I have come to believe that being authentic and open about our realities and what we do to connect with our spiritual selves feels more like a trending hashtag. I would consider myself relatively intellectual but struggle to follow for the most part what is trying to be communicated in the messages or images they are portraying of themselves. Many would suggest that to find healing, spirituality, and connectedness to mother earth requires $3500.00 deposit & a ticket to Bali. The ability to boast carefully poised images taken during sacred water ceremonies that seem to be reserved for the privileged while preaching a sense of inclusivity and love for mankind. I’m guessing this love gets lost with all the other airline baggage that gets checked in, never surfacing again.
Appropriating spirituality and religious practices however is not a new thing. I mean before Cartier Love bracelets or Yeezys, there was a time you couldn’t open an Us Weekly without seeing one covetable accessory: a red string Kabbalah bracelet. The religion was the celebrity spiritual moment du jour during the 2000s, and everyone from Madonna to Ashton Kutcher to Lindsay Lohan dabbled in the mystical religion. But in the decade since its heyday, the spiritual movement has all but faded from the forefront of popular culture, suffering major blows along the way.
And like most luxury fashion trends, a lot of what happens in the name of spirituality has been built on a foundation of rareness, specialness, or gifts. To flaunt it is to beckon the masses in showing them that you are above many who cannot always attain such a rare place in the societal spotlight. However there are ways around this, one can purchase an AAA+ replica bag and carry the same level of perceived stature. The only way you could really tell one from the other is if you spent the time, looking over it thoroughly, observing its fine craftsmanship, and its delicate stitching. And to do so, they’d have to let you in…like really let you in there. Same goes for the spiritual mind- it has to be open to be vulnerable to critique, feedback and exploration. I feel like this all truly gives the wrong message for those that are trusting in those to help in guiding their own journey to feel connected and a part of a much larger and beautiful world.
Even if we talk in the language that everybody has the capacity to open to their intuition, we still are privileged in this idea that some people have it more naturally and innately than others. So we’re still creating the idea that there are some people who are more entitled to have access to our intuitive intelligence and applied intuition than others. The reason we’ve got that kind of culture in spirituality is that there is a power differential. If someone who you think has more power than you, you are more likely to go and invest your time in them.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”–Dalai Lama
Similar to the guru culture, these social circle climbers, influencers, superficial spiritualists have harvested the same self-serving tactics. That being the idea that we have to go and sit at the foot of someone who holds more of the God-consciousness, more of that infinite special magic inside of them than we do. That somehow, we will be infected or impregnated with that energy. The guru culture is coming to an end globally because it is a problem. It’s an abuse of power and those systems of power are coming down. There are a number of high-profile white spiritual leaders who are being brought in to question their integrity and authenticity. The whole system is being questioned and we’re talking about political systems and economic systems. Anywhere there has been the subjugation of power, where someone’s power has been based on taking power from somewhere else.
You don’t have to be in the wellness industry to point these bigger than life trending #inspo conformists out. How about a social worker like myself whereby I’m often on a quest to be viewed as a leader, as someone that has their shit together, or is just so damn spiritual that no darkness is likely to touch our sides.
But it’s not as bad as it sounds; in fact, it often starts with the best of intentions, but the rubber really hits the road when the public perception of our good self is compromised.
There has been a few things I’ve learned along the way that have kept me rooted in the ‘Real Me” within this journey.
You don’t have to be woo woo to be spiritual.– The number of people in my life that think that charging their crystals and practicing affirmations will suffice when it comes to transcending tricky situations is endemic.
And hey, having a focused intention is everything, right? But consistent action is what gets results.
And whether that action is framed with feathers and incantations or weekly gym sessions doesn’t really matter. Some of the most profoundly spiritual people I know have never done a day of yoga in their life and they wouldn’t even know what a cacao ceremony entails, much less have a clue what Ayahuasca even means.
Their spirituality lies in their capacity to be deeply authentic and accountable
Spiritual people forgive and forget
They most certainly do. Know what else they do? They heal the messiness that comes up along the way. After all, doesn’t a lotus flower bloom from dirty murky waters only to emerge for brief periods of time each year?
Forgiveness is a process. It’s a journey. For big pains and betrayals, forgiving a particular trigger doesn’t just happen once, it happens each time that trigger ignites a fresh spark of pain.
I mean be honest, how many times have you had a fight with your partner about the same thing over and over? Isn’t it amazing how certain actions will resurface bitterly even after many years have passed?
It’s another layer that needs forgiving, because ultimately, to forgive someone is to heal a part of yourself, and in order to heal deeply, we give our spirit an opportunity to transform each time we release ourselves from a painful encounter.
In order for our nervous system to be able to do this in a way that doesn’t overload or overwhelm us, we need to be able to do this in meaningful increments that are based on our real truth – not on what people expect us to be like.
But don’t spiritual people share their journeys so openly?
Dear God. No.
Needy people that require external validation and constant attention do this.
I know this myself as I un-follow or unsubscribe from those who I feel share too much of their personal lives and unfiltered thoughts.
Knowing what someone had for breakfast, reading about a parking fine or documenting their toddler’s first potty experience makes me want to smack them.
Incessant ranting doesn’t really inspire me to learn about spirituality as I’m no longer at the stage in my life where I want to feel as though I’ve been called to the principal’s office where I need to make myself accountable for my behaviour. Goodness knows that happened enough in high school.
People with a deep connection to their spirit have a way of inspiring us to be spiritual through their grace, their lightheartedness and through the sharing of their lessons once they’ve moved through a tricky transition.
They talk about the tragedy when it’s less raw and when the lessons have had time to be processed and embodied.
What about the old ‘fake it til you make it’?
It’s an excellent piece of advice. I did it for years, and when it comes to taking on opportunities where I’m doing something new for the first time, it’s a practice I apply to this day.
And between you and me, I have done this during particularly thorny rites of passage in my personal life when I’ve externally projected that I was more ok about something while I was internally processing a lot of pain.
After all, I don’t know about you, but for a sensitive empathetic soul like me, the first time I do anything new, it almost always takes a lot more physical, emotional and mental energy than when I’m in my flow.
And the more sensitive I’ve become over the years, the more I have realised that new things are actually big things that really affect my spirit, and I need to accommodate for this when it comes to my time management and work flow.
For the less tangible elements of our life that cannot be seen but can certainly be felt, we fake it til we make it with things such as the art of patience, or we take responsibility for the role we played in the situation that rendered us hurt or upset.
Being honest about heavy experiences doesn’t make you un-spiritual.
One of my yoga teachers would often say that getting to enlightenment is easy, it’s staying there that’s tricky, after all isn’t there a Ram Dass quote that’s now prolific on Instagram that suggests if you think you’re enlightened, you should try spending a week with your family?
Some of my peers have shared how difficult it has been for them to talk about personal pain that was not only raw and traumatizing, but also bought up deep seated feelings of shame.
A few of my friends have experienced some prolific incidents such as having their spouse of many years leave them for another partner, having their child battle serious drug addiction, or having to declare themselves bankrupt.
But I have to say; I learned so much from the few that moved through these difficult times with honesty, grace and humility instead of a superficial sense of spirituality.
To this day, I admire the integrity of their actions, not only because of how much I was able to learn about the world through the lens of their life experiences, but more so because by being authentic, it’s given me permission to do the same in my own lifecycles.
It’s like a light has illuminated and paved the way for me to move forward with my own truth, and while my own path may veer in a different direction further down the track, it’s reassuring to know that I didn’t have to move forward in complete darkness.
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