Clear back in July I wrote a post entitled Clarity, wherein I expressed some of the things that have been stirring in my soul and how I'd like to begin writing more about them. I guess I have had a lot of fear to overcome because not much has poured out since then. You see, it's easy for me to write about physical health, real food, self-love, even my experiences with depression. It's not as easy to write about spirituality.
When I say spirituality, I do not mean religion. Spirituality surely does exist within religion, but spirituality and religion are not one in the same. This is a new truth I have discovered and one that has brought me so much peace, clarity, and self-acceptance.
What I mean when I say "spirituality" is this - striving to live life connected to my highest self, connected to the source of all love. For many, this knowledge happens within religion. For others it doesn't.
For myself personally, connecting to my spiritual self has been a process that has happened outside of the walls of religion. The journey of self-discovery has been beautiful and yet brutally painful. But through this process, I have discovered my own unique spiritual language.
I believe we all have a spiritual language. You know what it is because when you find something that resonates with you spiritually, you FEEL it...deep inside. For many years I felt broken spiritually because I confused spirituality with religion. Within religion, I battled feelings of shame (never being enough at my core). That shame told me I wasn't religious enough. I wasn't perfect enough. I wasn't worthy enough. I wasn't doing enough or what I WAS doing wasn't enough. Never ever enough. Endless checklists. Exhaustion. Therefore, I concluded that I wasn't spiritual.
Rediscovering my spirituality has been deeply healing for me and has blessed me with the ability to journey in this life from a place of self-love and self-acceptance. Understanding that I am ALREADY spiritual (!!) and that being spiritual is not the same as being religious has been freeing to me. Coming to know that spirituality is not a check-list but that it is something so much deeper, something that cannot be explained or put into words (by me, at least) has been life-altering.
Again, this isn't to say that some people do not discover this deep, inherent spirituality within religion, for the teachings are definitely there - and many, many people do find this spirituality there. It's just that I didn't find it there in a way that spoke deeply to me or resonated with me. I don't really know what my future looks like or if it even includes religion in it. That is a scary thing to type and it has been something that I have felt an immense amount of shame about. So much depression and self-hatred surrounding that. But I have found through this process that I need to be honest and authentic.
Authenticity comes easily for me in most areas of my life, but not spiritually. I have always wanted so badly to fit in, so I have done all that I needed to do in order to fit in and be perfect and be safe. I have battled feelings of failure if I shared my true feelings. Feelings of weakness. Unworthiness (meaning not worthy of love). Being inauthentic does not make me happy though, so part of loving myself and accepting myself completely, includes sharing with others where I am at (at the time that has been appropriate for each relationship). Authenticity is vulnerable. But connection comes through vulnerability. So here is me, strapping on my courageous boots and speaking MY truth. Thank you Brene Brown for teaching me so much about shedding shame and living a wholehearted life!
There are some ways that I personally connect to my deepest spiritual self and they look different than what I confused in my head as being highly religious. I feel highly spiritual when I am in solitude. When I am pondering deeply. When I am meditating. When I am living life from a place of pure love. When I am laughing or connecting deeply with another human being. When I am walking in nature.
I felt like a failure when I did x-y-and-z in a religious context and felt blank. "There must be something wrong with me. I must not be trying hard enough. If I just changed who I am, then I'd feel the way 'everyone' else does." I felt like I had to earn love. From my parents. From God. I had an inherent defect. In all reality, I have been perfect all along! God made me perfectly. My deep thinking is exactly how I am made to be! My intuitive nature...perfect for me. My thoughtfulness. My sensitivity. My open mind. All exactly the way God intended me to be.
Letting go of the "shoulds" and embracing the true ME has skyrocketed my personal healing journey of self-love...whereas before I felt stuck and like I could never fully love and accept myself because I wasn't spiritual enough, coming to recognize the way I DO SPIRITUALITY and loving that instead of shaming that, has changed my world. I am a truth seeker. I am always motivated to do the right thing. I am deeply thoughtful. And I live a life of integrity. Living a life of integrity to me means aligning always with what I feel deep down. I now, for the first time in my life, feel truly aligned with my WHOLE self and it feels so good.
I recently saw this quote on Brene Brown's Facebook page and it put into words what I have not been able to say. She said:
For the first time in my life, I do not know what my religious future looks like. That was, at first, incredibly scary and painful. Ohhhhh so painful. But as I have learned in many other areas, letting go of the need for control is truly important. As I have let go of the need to control and to see each step in front of the other, I have found peace.* To me, this is the essence of faith. I have found freedom in learning to deal with uncertainty.
And what I've found is that uncertainty can be beautiful.
*However this is all a PRACTICE. When I lose sight of my highest self and I start needing to control, and to see everything clearly at all times, the pain and the fear come right back. Aligning with who I truly am puts me right back on the fast track to inner peace.
(I want to clarify that I take (or am always trying to) full responsibility for all of the feelings and beliefs I have formed over my life. For me, my big trigger is religion. For you it could be parents, siblings, God, etc. I am not saying anything is inherently wrong with religion nor do I wish to go further into any of my triggers surrounding religion. I also do not blame religion for the way I interpreted the teachings. It is just simply for me, one area of my life that has served as a large trigger for discovering and loving myself, whether that is to happen within or without.)
The following are some of the key resources that have helped me tremendously on my path of self-love and self-acceptance:
1. Aura Personalities - This book - bar none - has helped me to come to understand my innate gifts and the magnificent potential that I hold. It helped me see my spiritual gifts. (Disclaimer: I am a certified Aura Personalities consultant and can help you with that journey of self-love but you can also get the book and read it which will be incredibly helpful. If you feel drawn to it, definitely check it out. I could honestly care LESS whether or not you do a consultation with me, I share this because it was such a life-changing resource for me!)
2. The Child Whisperer - I got this book for my children but it helped me more than anything! It was incredibly healing for my inner child and helped validate so many things about myself that I thought were flaws. LOVE this information.
3. You Can Heal Your Life - This book has been so helpful in guiding me on how to change my inner script to a more positive one. It gave me power to make change.
4. Soul Integrity Mentorship - Taught by Staci Sadler, author or Aura Personalities, this mentorship was 15 weeks and taught me sooooo many life-changing principles like finding my own personal pace, letting go of victimhood and co-dependency, and living life in alignment.
5. A Blog About Love Choose Happiness Retreat - The way Mara and Danny taught things solidified so much of my own learning and really boosted me to the next level of self-acceptance. Highly, highly recommended!