Some of these you will have heard before because they’ve been the themes of other blogs. But even if you know these concepts, have humility (be open) when reading them because you may hear things on a deeper level, or you may be reminded of something you had forgotten.
The top 5 misconceptions about spiritual (personal) growth:
1: It’s all rainbows and unicorns.
There’s a large misconception that if you’re truly spiritual, you have to be positive all the time, you can’t think a negative thought or you’ll create it, and everything is love and light. That’s simply not true.
You’ve read my other blogs, you know you have to deal with your shadow, your ego, your negative patterns and beliefs. You can’t just “poof” them away with fairy dust. While that would be wonderful, you have to take responsibility for, and work through, your dark to truly be more of your light. You can’t just ignore your dark or pretend it doesn’t exist- like a little kid scrunching their eyes shut and covering their ears saying, “La la la, I can’t see you, I can’t hear you.” The point is to call it out and actively bring it to the light.
You’re going to hit days when you’re in pity or rage or judgment. That’s OK, it’s part of the process here on this planet. The goal is to work through those emotions and get yourself back to a centered, grounded, and empowered place. You cannot be positive when you’re furious inside. You have to be honest with your emotions, and yourself, and work through what’s infuriating you. (see previous blog on the ladder of emotions)
So while rainbows and unicorns are fabulous, it’s not what growth is all about.
2: If you’re spiritual, you will be/must be perfect.
Being human is messy, as noted above. You can be super conscious, super present, and still have a day where you’re an absolute mess. You will still have heartache, you will still have traumas. Why? Because you’re human! It doesn’t mean that you’re not spiritual enough, it means that you are spiritual being having a human experience and the human experience goes from the lightest light to the darkest dark. From love and joy, to pain and loneliness. Perfection is a concept of the negative ego, stop trying to attain it and let yourself be the full range of you. With responsibility!
You don’t have to dive bomb into fear that you aren’t doing it “right.”
The negative ego will tell you that you’ll be “fixed,” and nothing bad will happen to you when you’re on a spiritual path. And if it does, you did something wrong, such as your thoughts weren’t pure enough, your chakras weren’t cleaned enough, you didn’t meditate enough- etc etc. These are lies, pure and simple.
You’re worthy, even when you aren’t doing it “right.”
3: Everyone in the spiritual growth community is conscious and doing their work.
I still get surprised by this one every so often; stunned by spiritual "leaders" who spout platitudes and can’t recognize when they’re melting down in their own negative ego.
Everyone is learning lessons the way they need, but it doesn’t mean they’re doing the work necessary to grow. (See previous blog here)
Own your power and trust your instincts. Not everyone has integrity.
“Be careful not to wear your spiritualism as a badge to decorate your ego.” -Author unknown.
There are no better thans. Beware anyone who says otherwise.
4: You’ll be healthy all the time.
I hear this one a lot: “If they’re so spiritual, why’d they get sick?” Or, “How come they can’t cure themselves?” Hello- remember? Human, not God. Being spiritual doesn’t equal perfect health. There may be pain and illness, and that could be part of one’s transformation or the way they’ll best learn and grow. Do not judge them, or yourself, for any illness. You’re not perfect (see number 2). Bodies are dense and yes, they get sick.
5: You work through something once and then you’re done.
There is no end date; this is a lifelong pursuit. You will always be learning and growing because that’s what you came here for! Yes it’d be nice to hit a core issue and think that’s it, you’re forever whole/healed/transformed, but there’s always more.
Before you get discouraged, think of it this way: The Universe is always expanding which means you are too. When I say there’s always more, how about looking at that more as more positive growth versus dealing with more self-pity etc. How about more love you could let into your life, more joy, more creativity? Why not let the more be something fabulous? It doesn’t mean you won’t need to ever deal with i.e. self-pity again, it means you focus on what you want to create once you’ve done your work and released the blockages etc.
Spirituality is having a personal relationship between you and the Universe/God/Goddess/Source. It’s not needing to like tarot cards, crystals, or wear only white. You don’t have to do yoga or do juice cleanses. You don’t have to use certain ways of speaking. You can love all these things or none of them, and it doesn’t change the core of what spirituality is. No one can be more spiritual than another person, that’s simply the negative ego speaking.
Remember, spiritual growth doesn’t mean everything is always easy for you; it means as you do your work, you’ll be able to create much more ease and elegance in your life. And when it’s hard, you’ll be able to recognize why and work through the issues. It doesn’t mean you’ll never get stuck again, it simply means you'll be able to figure a way out.
As August is winding down, I want you to notice how much permission you give yourself.
You are allowed to:
Sleep in late.
Stay up late.
Read all day.
Have zero agenda for the day and just see how it unfolds.
Say no, when you usually say yes.
Say yes, when you usually say no.
Not be productive.
Release your to-dos and just stare at the flowers/ocean/trees.
For some of you, that list will trigger resistance. Your inner critic will not like those ideas. It prefers you to be in control. I know that when things externally feel out of control, you want to control what you can even more. But it’s safe to stop trying to control yourself/everything and allow yourself to be.
Control can be overt, or it can be subtle: the to-dos, the order of them, what you allow yourself to have. You’re not here to reach some intangible goal of being the best through suffering or righteous limitation. You’re here to participate in, and savor life. To have fun. To find freedom and joy in your physicality. To engage your senses.
You’re here for ease, not struggle.
No matter how serious it might seem in the world, that’s when you need to give yourself permission even more for the things you deny yourself: that bowl of ice cream, that glass of wine, cancelling your day for self-care, savoring a juicy piece of fruit or a pastry, lingering in bed after you wake up.
Now obviously, there’s a difference between over-indulgence and what I’m talking about. I’m talking to those of you who control yourselves so thoroughly that you don’t even realize how narrow your definition of what’s acceptable has become. Those who feel “good” when they restrict themselves. Those who’s inner critic is brutal and always beating them up to accomplish/do/achieve/deny.
To those of you, I encourage you to say, “Not today, thank you.”
Many people tend to drive themselves- I know I can. And yet, part of the spiritual lesson right now is to pause. Yes there’s global work to be done, yes the world needs your attention and light, but if you aren’t giving yourself permission to take the time to pause, to be, to disengage and care for yourself, you’ll burn out.
Pause doesn’t mean you don’t care, quite the opposite: you care about what’s happening and you recognize that you’ll be more effective when replenished.
Stop placing limits on yourself and give yourself permission to do the things that would augment your life: hug a tree, walk barefoot in the grass, listen to really good music, color, savor the feel of the sun on your face or a cool breeze on a hot day, bask in the smell of freshly baked bread or fresh brewed coffee- engage all your senses. Give yourself permission to experience life.
I want to remind you of something: you and only you, are the authority in your life. Do not give your power to anyone; you know what’s truly best for you.
You may find teachers who are brilliant, but do not give your power to them. Yes, you want to learn and grow; however, don’t ever put a teacher on a pedestal thinking that they have all of your answers. They don’t. They can assist you in uncovering your answers and bettering yourself, yet the key is still inside of you.
This also holds especially true with teachers who are doing “spiritual” work. Make sure they’re doing their own personal growth work. The ego can be quite seductive, thus my quotes around spiritual, as I know “spiritual” teachers mired in their dark shadow and ego mind.
Own your crown chakra, own your seniority in your space.
I talk a lot about you becoming empowered and part of that is becoming self-sufficient: to make choices based on what you need and what your gut says versus what others tell you is best.
Truth is subjective. Anyone who says they are speaking the absolute truth and that their way is the only way - run, run away.
There is not a one size fits all when it comes to anything. I have a pet peeve with certain teachers in the holistic health industry who say everyone needs to follow the same protocols. That’s simply not true. We’re not all the same. What may work wonderfully for me might do zero for, or negatively impact, you.
Don’t let the idea mess with you that you’re somehow failing if you don’t do what others tell you to do "perfectly." Know the difference between something pushing you past your comfort zone but being good for you, versus it really not being a good fit or whining wanting the easy way out. Big difference.
In your quest to discover what’s best for you, you can seek out the answers and trust yourself.
That’s the rub isn’t it? How to trust yourself. Trust comes from getting quiet and listening to the wise voice within. The one your gut knows is the true you. Not the loud one screaming in your head; the one you need to connect to deep down in your center. Sink into that instinctual place in your 3rd chakra, your stomach area, and see how certain questions make you feel. Get out of your head and into your body.
It may be subtle at first and you’ll need to learn to interpret the clues and messages you receive, yet open to trusting the answers you find. I’m sure you’ve heard, and have even said, “I knew it! I should’ve trusted my gut.” No one ever said, “Damn, why’d I trust my gut?!” Think about that.
Stop seeing yourself as broken and thinking that someone outside of you can “fix” you. You heal yourself. Other people simply clear the way and give you guidance and support. Ultimately, you know what's best.
Be your own authority in what you most need and what path is right for you, even if others disagree. When you own your truth and you trust yourself, you’ll be remarkably empowered and unstoppable.
Anxiety has been surfacing more for me lately and so I decided to have a talk with it. Turns out it’s telling me I’m not doing it “right,” and that there’s not enough time.
Hmmmm... perfection and lack- hello old friends; I know them well. They crop up every so often.
However, perfection doesn’t play out for me in typical ways. I’m pretty messy emotionally; I’m fine with anger, rage, sadness- the full spectrum. I can be real with what I feel. My home can be cluttered in areas; I don’t need it to be perfect. I have no problem showing up places without makeup and being comfortable - YET, if there’s an event where I know I’ll be photographed, my hair has to be just so. I judge myself mercilessly. Same with when I was acting and auditioning: there was a fine line as to when I felt acceptable and when I felt ugly. Yes- strong word because it’s true.
It also plays out in subtle ways of not doing enough or as if I need to acquire more and more information to do it “perfectly”- whatever that “it” may be. And because it can be subtle for me, I don’t always catch that that’s what’s going on.
I’ve recently started challenging these core beliefs, not that I haven’t worked on them thoroughly before, yet clearly there’s something going on during this time of intense astrological energies and Covid lockdown, as my friends and many of you, are finding deep, deep issues coming back up to finally be cleared out back to their core.
The thing about perfection is that it's such a static energy, it stalls you and completely blocks your creativity. If you’re trying to do it “perfectly,” you may never create at all. You certainly won’t take risks for fear of what will happen if you fall short. You may always feel small and not voice the truth of who you are. It is a huge hindrance to freedom.
For some of you, perfection plays out in being afraid of what others will think. The perfection becomes a terror of embarrassment or humiliation, therefore you need to look and act perfectly to be acceptable. You may even impose those high standards on your loved ones, expecting them to act and behave perfectly as well (this is called control).
Perfection is exhausting, it definitely drains you because you can’t be real. You may not feel safe if you appear less than perfect.
As for not enough, this is a sure-fire way to know your negative ego is involved as it loves to whisper that lie to you. If you always feel that you’re not enough or that there's not enough, again you’ll hide, you won’t pursue your dreams, you’ll defer to others, and if the lack is extra strong in regard to objects, you’ll become stingy because that lack mentality will make you want to hold on to everything (hording toilet paper anyone?).
For me, not enough time is how my negative ego likes to stress me out. So then I get anxious and don’t use the time I do have wisely. Vicious cycle, right? When I can catch it, it’s a totally different story. I use time wisely and definitely have extra of it.
How many of you have held yourselves back thinking you’re not enough to pursue this or attain that? I can pretty much guarantee that even hugely successful people have felt that way. The key is, they didn’t let it stop them. They moved forward despite that feeling.
Ask yourself how perfect you need to be, to be enough.*
These issues don’t play out constantly, they can be insidious and come up when you least expect them. Which is why awareness is key. The awareness to say, “Not this time!”
Sometimes easy, sometimes not.
This is when you need more tools for your spiritual tool belt.
As soon as you realize it, you can change it. Some things that help are:
Bottom line- take your power back from these faulty ideas of perfection and not being good enough. You in PRESENT time have the power. Not the past, not the future. You. Here. Now.
Which reminds me of a great and simple technique my dear friend Holly Higgins uses whenever she can tell she’s out of present time and stuck in an issue:
You ask yourself, “Where am I?”
And you answer, “Here.”
Then you ask yourself, “What time is it?”
And you answer, “Now.”
Seemingly simple but boy does it work.
I know I’m not the only one who’s had perfection and enoughness surface lately, so instead of fighting them and trying to ignore them, talk to them, give them voice, and then turn them over to your Higher Self to be healed and released. And if all else fails, then simply be with what is; that you’re feeling massive perfection and not good enough.
It’s time to show up powerfully and with your voice and your uniqueness. And if I didn’t write perfectly enough about perfection, that’s OK, I’m human ;)
* Nick Ortner posed this question in a guided tapping meditation.
Me, just sharing ways to make you the best you can be!