Finding your Inner Badass and Becoming a Spiritual Rule-breaker

Showing his "lighter" side!I’m going to tell you a very embarrassing story. It was Halloween and I was 24, and in my first year of my Master’s program to become a therapist. I had decided to throw a party and had invited a dozen or so people from my M.A. program over to my house for some drinks before heading out to some parties in town. I remember I had dressed up in some random clothes I had in the back of my closet and I looked like a Saloon girl from the Wild West. I remember feeling embarrassed that I was dressed in a sexy low-cut shirt and bustier.

As my friends started coming over, I opened some bottles of wine. In part to mask my own feelings of shame about my attire, I had a couple glasses of wine. Before I knew it, I was tipsy. Very tipsy. And instead of feeling better about my sexy Halloween costume, I felt worse. To add more fuel to the fire of my inner shame storm, I began to feel embarrassed about the fact that I was now also a bit drunk.

In my intoxicated state, I began loudly telling anyone who would listen “Please don’t judge me, I know I’m a bit drunk and dressed like this. Don’t judge me because I’m a therapist. I know I’m supposed to be spiritual. I’m a therapist, I shouldn’t be doing this. Don’t judge me.” My sweet young 24-year-old self was terrified of looking anything less than perfect. I thought that if I was studying to be a therapist, I had to be a beacon of morality and prudence at all times. I thought that I should always be wise, compassionate, serious, and able to show up for others in need at all times. I thought I should basically emulate Jesus (seriously, I really did). At the age of 24, I had a very strict code of conduct for myself that prohibited me from dressing sexy, drinking too much, acting silly, being too loud, saying what was on my mind, or being rambunctious in any way. This code of conduct put a damper on the part of me that was young, wild, and wanted to explore the world and my emerging self.

I was stuck in my identity as a “spiritual person.” With this identity came rules in my head about what it meant to be spiritual. Some of these rules were: “Spiritual people do not drink. Spiritual people do not act sexy. Spiritual people do not have fun. Spiritual people do not flirt. Spiritual people should not want sex. Spiritual people should not care about dating. Spiritual people should not eat meat. Spiritual people should be modest and humble at all times. Spiritual people should dress conservatively. Spiritual people should meditate an hour every single day. Spiritual people should be meek and mild. Spiritual people should wear purple.” The list goes on and on.

Which is why, on Halloween night when I was 24, I spent the majority of the night walking around in my bar maid’s outfit, telling people how sorry I was that I was a therapist who was a bit drunk and asking them not to judge me.

I still feel a bit embarrassed sharing this story, but I do it because looking back, I can see how clearly my rules of what it means to be spiritual kept me in a prison. I have since broken out of that prison and can see that I had rules that kept me in a dualistic mindset. I thought that certain behaviors were designated spiritual, and certain behaviors were not. I know now that God can be in every moment of any action. You cannot take spirituality out of life.

Many of us have taken vows of poverty and chastity in past lives. Most of us at some point lived lifetimes where we were in religious groups that had very strict rules about what and wasn’t ok to be spiritual. We have all at some point denied ourselves money, sex, food, alcohol, and physical comfort in an effort to find enlightenment and get to God.

However, it is time for an update. We now live in a time of evolution where we are realizing we don’t have to give up life to be spiritual. Life is spiritual. The two cannot be separated. You can have a drink, make love, eat a steak, and still be as worthy as the monk meditating on the mountain top. There is nothing you have to do to get to God. God lives inside of you. What all of our spiritual studies across lifetimes have taught us is that God lives in you, as you. You cannot be separated.

So enjoy your life. If you have a drink, enjoy every little sip of it. If you wear an outfit that you feel sexy and attractive in, enjoy the feeling of being in your own body and skin. If you flirt with a stranger, feel the pulse of God running through the moment. If you have sex, feel the loving of God in your heart pouring out through your body. Enjoy every little morsel of Earth’s goodness.

Break your own spiritual rules. You’ll find that all God ever wanted for you was to know complete and total freedom.

Do you have any of the following beliefs that need to be cleared up? Repeat the belief and take a deep breath. (Quick note: I use the word “God” because it resonates with me. If you prefer a different word such as “Universe, Higher Self, All that Is, Soul,” please use that instead).

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that I have to be perfect to get to God.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that if I make a mistake, God won’t welcome me back.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that having fun is a waste of time and not spiritual.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing I have to be strict with myself to get to God.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that sex is bad, shameful, or impure.

 

You’ve Been Set Up to Succeed – Just Keep Going

The tiny elm seed
The tiny elm seed

We are designed much like the little elm seed. We come down here with everything we need already inside of us. We have “divine seed packets” deep embedded inside of us with all that we will ever need to grow into our full self. Encoded in our divine seed packets are the tools, people, awarenesses, and events we will need to fulfill our particular soul mission.

Every single thing we need for our growth, evolution, success, and fulfillment was set up before we were even born.

If we only knew this, we would worry a lot less. So much of our time is spent worrying about if we will have what we need – will we have enough money, the right relationships, great opportunities, a place to live, etc.? If we knew the truth, which is that whatever we needed would find us at the exact minute we needed it, we would worry less.

It may not seem like all our needs are being met if we are sick, or lonely, or struggling to find work. However, part of what is encoded in that divine seed packet is what we need to learn. Those times that are challenging are our greatest teachers. They are set up to help us strengthen, deepen, and reach for a greater love and trust in ourselves. They are all part of our own divine seed packet.

In that seed packet, we also have the gifts we will need to get through life. The events, openings, opportunities, and people we need to fulfill our unique destinies are already set up.

What you need, will come. It may take longer than our basic selves would like, but it does come. Your job is to keep moving through your life making sure you have food, water, fun, and maybe some sunlight. Your task is to just keep walking, one foot in front of the other, and allow everything you need to fall into place.

Your job is to just keep going, and to allow what you need to find you.

You’ve been set up to succeed. Embedded deep inside of you truly is everything you will ever need. The events, opportunities, and people you need to do what you are here to do will come. Everything you need will be taken care of. Just keep walking.

 

When Everything Fails You, Follow the Loving

There are times in life when we all feel a little (or a lot) lost. The loss of a relationship, or job, a loved one, or our health can all leave us feeling disoriented and alone. In times like these, our self-esteem may take a beating. We may feel broken down, disheartened, and unsure which direction to turn.

If you find yourself feeling lost, confused, and unsure which path to take next in your life, it’s ok. There is a very simple answer. Choose the path that is the most loving. Follow the people, places, and experiences that bring the most loving into your life.

When we are in a place ofLet Yourself Be CArried BY love.-2 feeling hurt and in pain, what we need most is to be loved – to be nurtured, cared for, and held by people and places that are safe.

During hard times, turn away from what doesn’t love you and towards that which does. If a friendship is ending, grieve the loss, feel the love, and let yourself be held by the people in your life who are currently able to offer their loving. If a relationship is ending, let the love remain, and turn towards the loving offered by friends, family, mentors, and teachers. If a job is ending, search for the job where you are wanted, appreciated, and valued. If your health is waning, allow yourself to be nurtured and taken care of by those close to you. If you feel all alone with no one to turn to, allow yourself to be loved by you. There is always loving available, even if its your own.

It is natural to grieve loss, we are meant to grieve that which we once had and have no longer. And when it is time to make decisions about what is next, point your energy in the direction of the most loving. Ask yourself, “With whom do I feel the most loved and cared about?” Nurture that relationship and allow yourself to be nurtured by it. “Where do I feel the most safety and love? Where does my heart expand?” Give yourself time there. “What activities bring me the most joy and connect me into my loving?” Participate in those activities.

We don’t have to constantly focus on the loving that we don’t have. We can focus on all the people and places that do love us. Loving is bountiful. It can never be truly taken away or destroyed. And, when faced with one of those times when you feel broken down and alone, orient yourself to the rays of sunshine in your life, and let them love you and warm you up. Let yourself be loved. And remember that no matter what, you are always there to love you, and always will be. You always have yourself. Give yourself the loving, nurturing, and care that your heart longs for. There is always loving available, always.

Life doesn’t have to be full of suffering and pain. Allow in the loving that is all around you and wants to make its way into your heart. You don’t have to do this alone. You have people and places around you longing to love you. You have you, longing to love you. Let it in.

Let yourself be carried by love.

The Evolution of Compassion – How to Stop Trying to Save the World

“Strong boundaries are essential to loving and generosity.” – Brené Brown

 I’ve been thinking quite a bit about boundaries and compassion lately. As a watery empathic Pisces, boundaries have been something I’ve struggled with my whole life. It is easier to feel other people’s pain and merge with it than it is to separate myself and figure out my own needs and wants. Compassion has been easy, boundaries have not been. Thankfully, my professional and personal life have forced me into continuously working on my boundaries. What I have come to understand, is that boundaries are an essential aspect of compassion, generosity, and loving.

I see now that compassion is always evolving. Many spiritual traditions say that service and compassion are the highest virtues. I don’t quite agree. I have found that serving from inspiration is very different than serving from a place of self-sacrifice or a belief that we have to give ourselves up to get to God.

IMG_3138Right now, I think how we do compassion is evolving. As humans, I think we are here to move from self-centeredness to compassion and then to what I call, “compassionate wisdom.” With compassionate wisdom, we are able to really know and feel that everyone is ok just as they are and that there is a higher loving moving through all people and the universe at large. With compassionate wisdom, we begin to see that we aren’t responsible for making the planet ok. We move from needing to save people, take on their burdens, and over-sympathize to realizing that everything is ok, exactly as it is. We may still be inspired to serve, but we do so in a way that feels aligned and energizing, instead of depleting and forced.

Below, is my take on how compassion has evolved in each of us through our soul’s history.

Stage 1: The Young Soul

We come into the world being totally self-centered, young souls, here to explore and taste and learn. In the process, we end up being a bit self-centered. We don’t really know what compassion is. We are still learning about love and what it feels like. Our thoughts and actions are primarily based on our own needs and wants. We jump without thinking. We’re impulsive and ready to experience anything. Through time, and many lifetimes, we start to learn that our actions have an effect on the world around us. We see that our choices have consequences. We start to see that some of our impulsive actions bring pain and suffering to other people. This is when we start to move into the second state.

Stage 2: Waking up to Compassion

As we move into the next stage of evolution, we start to develop this thing called “compassion.” We start noticing how other people feel. We’ve been through enough experiences at this point to know what pain and suffering feel like and that other people must also experience pain. We move from being totally self-centered, to developing compassion for other people and beings. At this point in the journey, compassion meditations, and actively seeking how to learn how to have compassion for others is paramount. We develop our “compassion” muscle and move away from self-centeredness towards seeing we are all connected. For the first time, we begin to see the “other.”

Stage 3: Waking Up to Self-Compassion

In the third stage of evolution, we move from having compassion for other people and beings, to compassion for ourselves. We start to see that we deserve the compassion that we are giving other people. This begins to wake up self-love.

Stage 4: Developing Compassionate Wisdom

In the fourth stage of compassion, we move into compassion coupled with wisdom. We start to realize that yes, we can have compassion for other beings and ourselves but that we also need the important values of discernment and boundaries to go along with that compassion. Old souls have a tendency to get stuck in Stage 2 of compassion. They can see exactly why other people are acting like they are acting, and accept their poor behavior. They may choose relationships in which they unconsciously want to save another, because they can see and have compassion for that person’s wounds and struggles. The task of Stage 4, is to simultaneously have compassion for another individual, while loving yourself so much, that you hold boundaries. It is about loving another, but loving yourself and your right to life, love, and happiness more than you love anyone or anything else.

Stage 4 is about letting go of saving people and fully entering into your own space of self-love. In this stage, we can see other people’s struggles, wounding, and gifts. We offer our loving and service to them when we feel called to, but we stop sacrificing our own needs and well-being to help them along their path. We stop trying to save people and save the world. This is the task of the Old Soul: Loving yourself so much, that you are ready to release yourself from the role of “savior.” This is the highest state of compassion on the planet so far. In this stage, we develop a compassion so deep, that we let people have their struggles and stop trying to save them. We see that sometimes, people need their struggles and it is not in their best interest to have us go in and save the day.

Compassion becomes so total, that we love and accept all things exactly as they are, knowing that each one of us is completely and totally worthy and lovable exactly as we are now. This is compassionate wisdom.

Questions to Develop Compassionate Wisdom

Can you trust that the planet is ok, exactly as it is?

Can you trust that a higher loving is guiding us through everything?

Can you trust that even when things look dark, that sometimes the darkness is what delivers us into the light?

Can you trust other people to the wisdom of their soul?

Can you let go of saving the planet and drop into your loving instead?