There are many things that have contributed to my soul “arriving.”
By arriving, I don’t mean it appeared out of nowhere. It’s been there all along. It just finally showed its glowing face.
Firstly, and what I want to talk about the most, observation without judgement has been exceptionally powerful in bringing my spirit to the surface.
In 2015 and lots of 2016, I spent most of my mind-time releasing myself from “negative” and “positive” associations to my emotions and reactions. This means that when I felt sad, I trained myself to understand that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just is.
This allowed me to fully open up to them and feel them as they are, raw, without judgement or pushing them away. It was time consuming, difficult, and I often fell back and leaped forward and fell back again into a pattern of negativity, judgement, and contempt.
Back then, I was really good at avoiding the NOW. So I had my eyes forward to a time when my melancholy would dissipate, or when my anger would settle, or my jealousy would creep its way back into nonchalance.
When I made the decision to look at how I felt, and what I did and said without judgement (although that part is still taking some time), I could see my emotions for what they really were – not good, not bad, simply a reflection of how I felt physically and mentally (not to be confused with how I felt soulfully – more on that in a minute).
By seeing my emotions and accepting them as is, I felt the stress of resistance easing off of me, passing by gently, and I discovered a way to be happy amidst all the hustle and bustle of my mind.
Whether it be money, power, fame, love… We are taught how much greener the grass is on the other side by the palm of social media, our parents saying “I wish I could” (all in good heart), and the innate human response to want things – more! More! More!
This type of want, although it is a tool to use for growth and manifesting the life we feel should be ours, is often excessive. Mine was.
I was never happy with where I was. On the map, for example. After a year of college and dropping out after realizing I couldn’t afford it, I moved back to Vermont and jumped into work.
Overwork, sleep deprivation, stress, and depression ensued. It was like my mind wouldn’t shut up.
“There are so many more opportunities elsewhere.”
“I can’t believe you left school.”
“You still don’t have abs, what’s up with that?”
“You don’t have a future here. You’re going to grow old and never make anything of yourself.”
The words of my own self-critic were crippling. I felt entirely useless, and as that progressed, I worked harder to be better. this didn’t work, of course, because the stress and overwork consumed me so much that I had no time to be still or rest.
This sent my mind on hyperdrive, which sent me into a whirlwind of overwork, which sent my mind on hyperdrive… It really was a vicious cycle of resisting what is.
And then I would settle down and procrastinate, taking too much time to rest, never accomplish anything. I judged myself super hard for this, every time. And so my mind went back on hyperdrive…
This went on for months as I was reeling from low self esteem after leaving college. It seemed I had forgotten everything I taught myself about feelings, and listening to my body, and quieting my mind to simply observe.
In my soul (my heart of hearts, if you will), I always carried poise and gentleness towards myself. My judgements of myself (such as those quoted above) is what clouded that poise and kindness. It never really disappeared, it was blanketed by low self esteem, judgement, and resistance to the now.
The first step to my 2018 Spiritual Awakening was realizing that I was so dreadfully unhappy that it was ruining my relationships, my work, and my rest. My life looked dull, and everything in it. This is something I had never felt before.
The relationship with my boyfriend was falling apart. I would cry in the work bathroom, miserable. I blamed everyone and everything except myself.
I realized it was in my hands, and my hands only, to change my life and turn it around. Instead of sulking on how much time I’d wasted, I made small life changes at first and tapped into my emotions, seeing them without judgement as I had before.
I turned back to meditating, dove into daily yoga, and practiced self care by brushing my teeth again every night (no matter what), drinking herbal teas, brewing kombucha, and giving my time and attention to others while making space for myself. There are many other things I do now to help myself, but I won’t list them all here.
I know there are many people out there who think they should be farther than they are right now. Or elsewhere, or in different company.
I know there are many in the world suffering from depression, anxiety, general sadness and self judgment, and maybe even perhaps dread of life.
Perhaps one of those people is you.
I’m here to tell you with no fear that everything is going to be okay. Maybe meditation and yoga and tea and kombucha won’t fix things for you like it did for me, but everyone has something that helps them, and…
It will never hurt you to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a whirl… So let your mind be silent.
Start with 3 minutes a day in a quiet place. Then 5. Then 10. The goal is not to rid yourself of thoughts, the goal is to understand that you are not your thoughts. To understand that you can watch them from the sidelines.
Mindfulness can be practiced all throughout the day, by feeling the ridges on the outside of your favorite warm mug, or by making eye contact with your pet and kissing them on the nose, feeling the cold wetness of it.
Perhaps you can feel the soles of your feet on the ground as you walk, or the way the breeze caresses you while you do. Feel the weight of your self on the ground, or maybe the hair on your head.
This will thrust you almost immediately into the present moment, allowing you to clear your mind and also be freed of the pain of resisting.
If I can help the life, or even the day, of one person… This post has done me well.
And if not, I have helped myself, which helps the world.
What we need to learn is that when we help others, we help ourselves, and when we help ourselves, we help others.
Together we can change the world.
Photo by David Calderón on Unsplash
Photo by David Calderón on Unsplash