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.