The thing about seeking a spiritual connection—once you find it, there’s no going back.
Most of us spend our lives with glimpses into our true selves and potential; others spend years seeking the fulfillment of living in connection. Personally, I came into it (sustainably) during my two years at a spiritual development program called Inner Visions Institute, then during my five years apprenticing with Ayahuasca (sacred plant medicine) shamans in Peruvian Amazon.
I knew who I was, how I related to the Universe and why I was on Earth. Seven years with a structure to stand on, allowing me to constantly feel my spirit, and welcoming the challenge to continue releasing more negative aspects of my mind and ego. Then the bottom dropped out.
It happened gradually, but the natural stressors of a new relationship, being a new mom, facing my financial realities and turning my lifestyle on its head took all my focus and energy. Little by little, I felt myself disconnecting from my true self and Spirit. I was so hormonal and overwhelmed; I simply couldn’t keep it up. I became weak, as my soul cried out for the attention I couldn’t muster up the strength to provide. I began projecting my lack of satisfaction on other things and people (my partner, lack of funds to go to Peru, etc.)
It wasn’t physical plant medicine I was craving, it was the spiritual connectedness.
The other day I got a visual of the energy of the body. Almost across the board, in all religions and spiritual practices, people tend to describe a good spiritual life as “fulfillment.” I saw this energetically. When we are unfulfilled, it’s like our being is grey and hollow (this isn’t to say that atheists, for example, do not feel fulfillment – they likely just use a different perspective and terminology, as anything that opens the heart and shares is the same thing.)
In that gray, thinned out space, we tend to search, often urgently, for something that will bring it to us (Peru, or Inner Visions, a new job, graduate school). Those things may succeed in doing so, but they are not always practical and what is present for us at the moment. They are the vehicles, not the destination.
When we tap in directly into Spirit, it’s like a shot of magic and color that blows our energy up like a balloon, leaving us happy and satisfied, and much more prepared and willing to take on the natural challenges of life. When we are searching (for me anyway), our egos take over and we run on autopilot, doing whatever we can do to find the next temporary “fix.”
When we are standing on a spiritual structure that feeds us daily, we don’t have to worry about making sure we are connected, it’s built into our lifestyle. When it’s not, we are on our own, with nothing but time and space, often already weakened by our slow feeling of disintegration.
I saw my teacher Iyanla Vanzant speak the other day about the year 2014. She emphasized over and over,
“We must have a spiritual practice this year. We must. It is a disgrace to go into Spirit, come out changed, yet choose to remain the same person.”
This hit me very hard, as I had slowly suppressed more and more shame that I was not living in integrity with who I am. Eventually, this began to cause doubt that I even was once that person, or still am at core. It’s a strange feeling to know fully the universal system as I see it, as well as my connection to it, yet feel a looming wall of doubt disconnecting me from its experience.
I’ve heard it said that all deep spiritual paths experiences crisis of faith (often multiple times) as a segue to the next level. This one is especially hard, since it feels like I’m going it alone. But that’s the thing—while part of this path we must walk alone, other parts we must walk in community with people, and of course, with Spirit.
Now it is just me and God, and it’s up to me to decide how I want to proceed.
My world has been so stretched out with life altering perspective, that applying to a very “normal” lifestyle was much harder than I anticipated. Yet, I knew all along it was a major part of my purpose. To go to Peru, take what I’ve learned and apply it to everyday life and people.
Bringing it back is hard, and I am very humbled by the experience. I am so grateful for a partner who can put up with my process, as I can imagine it would be extremely hard on him too (especially while I project and purge accelerated emotional and energetic release all over him).
We can’t go back.
We can’t unlearn what have learned; we can’t un-know what we know. But if we don’t keep up with it, slowly but surely our Truth will eat us alive. It is a life commitment; one I’m glad I made, but one I also didn’t realize would be so much work on so many levels.
Facing my biggest fears of all (fear of a mundane life/fear of not being able to fulfill my purpose) is where I am, and nothing shy of strength, faith, trust and patience will get me through it. And I will get through it – there’s really no other choice. The only real option is forward. I’m in it now, and there’s no going back.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Editorial Assistant: Jennifer Moore/ Editor: Renee Picard