The spiritual journey is a journey from the head to the heart.
This isn’t big news to most. And it wasn’t news to me when I set to take a Spiritual Journey throughout the East last year. Though I guess my mind thought it’d just be a fun and exciting adventure…
My heart had other plans.
“You’re going to travel the East and teach what you learn to the West,” a psychic told me in April 2014.
I then spent 6 months in Bali followed by 5 months traveling through Thailand, Nepal and India attending countless retreats and workshops, meeting with local healers, gurus, monks and lamas while studying Eastern spirituality.
In the midst of all my experiences it became clear that my journey had nothing to do with anyone else.
My journey was about my own transformation. Believing it was about anything else was my mind’s clever & fear based strategy to keep me at a slight distance from being vulnerable.
The first major blow to my mind happened while staying at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery for 3 weeks. The retreat, “Uprooting Difficult Emotions,” felt like one long trigger, harpooning huge holes into my ego & leaving me feeling incredibly disturbed.
My spiritual ego deflated.
I arrived a self-cherishing seeker desperately wanting to know how to better handle anger & left not sure what I believed anymore. I lost all ambition. My mind’s grip on my identity had been shaken leaving me feeling empty. The only sense of self I strongly felt was shame around how arrogant I had been.
I was disoriented and a bit lost.
Cathartic courses in India provided the final nails in my dark night’s coffin. The catharsis helped to crack the dam of my denial, flooding my consciousness with a tsunami of old fear, rage, grief and shame.
Really?! Another dark night of the soul?
My return to Bali was followed by a several month long intense & unexpected emotional integration process. I’ve shed oceans of tears. In the process, I took firm hold of a newfound radical acceptance of myself & allowed everything that surfaced the compassionate space it needed to be released.
It’s been the most tender and self-loving time of my life.
I’ve befriended my inner child. I’ve started making peace with my shadow. I’ve grown fond of the richness in the feeling of grief. Feeling is the path to healing and it’s been a tremendously healing experience.
I now refuse to abandon myself – everything I feel is allowed.
When we are young we learn to disregard our feelings & needs, to repress our pain & to act in a way that we think will get us love while hiding the parts of ourselves that we feel are unlovable. But abandoning ourselves to win love doesn’t work. We have to start with loving & accepting ourselves.
Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi
The spiritual journey is a breakdown of our mental constructs & everything that’s not us. It is a returning to our natural state – a returning to love and living with an open heart. From that space, loving ourselves and others flows naturally.
The spiritual journey is a healing of the heart.
And now it is dawn. I’m hatching out of my cocoon and feel like opening up. My heart feels stronger than ever after this dark period of healing.
I’m ready to spread my new wings.
I am enjoying having my creative juices flowing after this period of retreat. I have so much more to say. I’m excited to create, to blog and to coach again. Stay tuned.
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