I grew up in a religious household. My dad is a now retired Methodist minister and although I wouldn’t say religion was shoved down my throat, it was definitely expected that the weekends we were with him (my parents are divorced) we would go to church.
I have a memory of my brothers being better about being a PK than I was. I mean, true, we all walked in late (after the service had officially started), with wet hair and probably wrinkled clothes because we waited until the last minute to shower and get ready for church. The church was right across the street, so it only made sense to leave the house right as church was starting, right?
I, however, took everything a step further and filled out fake prayer requests based on whatever my favorite movie was at the time. I pretended to be SO into church (clearly mocking it all), that a friend and I would sit in the front row with notepads taking notes. When we had moments in Sunday School to share our favorite music, my friend and I were bringing in White Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and probably Korn. Looking back, I was given a lot of grace and understanding during all of it.
I was required to go through confirmation, but I wasn’t required to get confirmed. I’ll never forget the conversation I had with my dad one morning over a McDonald’s breakfast (our Wednesday morning tradition) when I decided to break the news to him that I was not getting confirmed.
“Why is that?”
“Because I don’t believe in God.”
“I think you’re confused.”
I can’t guarantee that’s EXACTLY how it went, but that’s my memory of that conversation. He’s continued my entire life telling me he sees me as spiritual, although not religious. To me, it was all the same so I pushed it all away.
Over the years, spirituality and religion started to enter my life a little at a time. I was able to go to church with others and feel a weird sense of comfort. I knew how to “play the part”. A few years ago, I was married to a man who wanted nothing to do with religion or spirituality. At the time, it was perfect since I had no desire for that either. As I began coaching, though, I started noticing how many others were on SOME kind of spiritual path but I continued to push it away.
Years later, after a divorce and into a new relationship, trying to continue to get my business off the ground I received a tarot reading from a friend (funny that I would be TOTALLY open to tarot, huh??) She shared with me that my next journey and path needed to be a spiritual one. “Nothing else in your life will change if you don’t go down that path.” So…I started with what I knew…church.
I went to a Unitarian church and I started to meditate. I had heard amazing things about Gabrielle Bernstein so I started there and eventually read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I invested in Gabby’s Spirit Junkie Masterclass and was starting to meditate more regularly, but I found that I was still mostly just going through the motions.
I’ve heard that the Universe will continue to give you the same lesson, stronger each time, until you learn it. It is your choice whether you will learn through joy or pain. Over the last few months, I have been working on creating my own happiness, but I continued to slip back into victim mentality. I continued to blame my partner for things I wasn’t happy with in my own life. Each argument got stronger and stronger until it got to the point where my mind was literally saying, “Stop. Don’t say that” and my mouth was spewing out untrue beliefs. What happened? The Universe knocked me to my knees, forcing me to surrender.
Without going into details of my relationship and what’s currently going on, let’s just say that there is no other option but TO change and grow. When your entire life flips upside down and you hurt someone you love deeply because you allowed your ego to take over, it becomes a very humbling experience to take a look at yourself in the mirror and see what you need to change.
I dove in deep to spirituality. I started listening to Marianne Williamson lectures all day every day. I started meditating MULTIPLE times a day. I started doing daily A Course in Miracles lessons and journaling. I prayed. I prayed to be forgiven. I prayed for mercy and grace. I prayed to see this situation differently. I prayed to be seen for who I am at my core and not for the negative bullshit that continued to come out. More than anything, I realized how codependent I had become. I removed myself from the situation for days, and just like any other addict goes through detox, I let myself feel it all. I felt the excruciating pain in my heart. I let the tears flow. I dropped to my knees on the floor. I felt the fear of everything slipping away. I had never truly sat with fear before and as much as I wanted to numb it with alcohol, I let the nausea come and felt parts of my body tingle and go numb.
What I learned, though, about feeling my feelings is that feelings transform. First they’re scary and you think you might die. But if you sit with them for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, you start to feel them transform. On the other side is joy, peace, and intense gratitude.
The most freeing part of this journey, though, is the support I have felt through diving in deep to my spirituality. I have been able to pinpoint when my ego is speaking and trying to freak me out, and when I’m truly coming from a place of love. In the moments of pain and tears streaming down my face, I acknowledge my willingness to see things differently. I ask for God/Universe/Spirit to take my pain from me and transform it. A miracle is not magic; it is simply a shift in perception. In the last 1 1/2 weeks, I have received multiple miracles and for the first time I have truly been able to release the outcome. I know the Universe has my back and I genuinely believe I am being guided and unconditionally loved and supported.
It never made sense to me when I was growing up, hearing that your primary relationship should be with God. Now, knowing that God = love, it makes total sense. Having a primary relationship with love and the Universe makes me feel so much less alone and THAT has given me the confidence and support to genuinely be in charge of my own happiness.