Several years ago, I didn't really feel spiritual. In fact, I hadn't felt spiritual most of my life. Part of me didn't want to...cause it just seemed a little weird & questionable. It seemed spiritual people were either "new agey" or they were religious fanatics who seemed to blindly believe in things.
But, many people around me acted like they knew something of value. I didn't get it. How is it that they could know something, but those same concepts weren't really doing anything for me? I realized I was WAITING for "spirituality" to come to me. And when it came to religion, I was WAITING for some undeniable, overwhelming feeling that there was some "truth" in whatever religion or concept I was thinking about at the time.
This led to years of me thinking, "I just don't feel anything. I don't know what I believe. I'm just going to do the best I can until something comes to me."
In high school, apparently I had fooled everyone because they chose me out of hundreds to be one of the keynote speakers at seminary graduation. (Mormon kids usually take a religion class as part of their curriculum.) I was 18 years old. And I finally had the guts to say no. I just couldn't fake it anymore.
I stopped going to church at all after that... for about 5 years. I dated someone during that time and lived a life that couldn't have been further from being spiritually empowered. After that, I moved to New York and actually decided to give the Mormon church a try again, so I showed my face at the chapel at Lincoln Center. They have a congregation there made up of smiling & attractive single professionals, bankers, lawyers, designers, musicians, Broadway performers, and ballet dancers. Part of me still had a desire to "feel" something spiritual. But mostly, I was going just to check out this scene & meet people, as I didn't know anyone in this big city.
I started barely attending church here and there. But I still felt unconvicted about my beliefs & so the motivation was slim (church for 3 hours? Serving other people regularly? mmm....no thanks). Regardless, I began associating with some Mormons and soon became engaged to one, thinking that this would surely take me on a positive path. We got married & attended church in Brooklyn regularly. During all that time, I felt some glimpses of spirituality. But, it was mostly hit or miss. I certainly wasn't deliberately applying any of it or handing my heart over to anything, cause I was always waiting and wallowing back & forth with the same question from my youth: "Is this a true church?" "Does this stuff matter?" ugh. What anguish I felt for so long (since about age 12-13), wondering if any of this was "true" and waiting for an "answer" (ha).
It wasn't until I was faced with infertility & years of feeling hurt in my marriage that I felt desperate enough to really seek some healing, self-worth, and more meaning in my life.
But, at that point in my life, I didn't seek it in the Mormon church. No thank you. That hadn't worked for me. I had not yet received any real or lasting peace from it. I was done hoping that it could do anything for me, besides provide a great network of great people. I was ready to find something that really worked.
About that time, I started seeing an infertility acupuncturist, Angela Le, in Manhattan. It turns out that her greatest goal was to not only help women get pregnant, but to help them TRANSFORM their lives & learn to live with abundance and happiness, with or without the baby. She says when people are experiencing their darkest moments (divorce, cancer, infertility, death of loved one, etc.), they are the most vulnerable & therefore the most motivated to seek relief. And so she has dedicated her life to reaching these downtrodden, infertile women before they embark on the most influential job they will ever have: motherhood. She feels if she can change a mother, she can change the world.
Each week, I met with Angela for acupuncture. And before each session, we would talk and she would share every bit of wisdom with me that she could about life/love/peace/happiness/inner strength/reactions/choices/etc. As Angela was teaching me all of this amazing wisdom and as I was reading other books on spirituality, which she recommended (Eckart Tolle, etc.), it all just made so much sense to me! For the first time in my life, in that very, very dark & desperate time...
I was seeing glimpses of TRUTH.
I was seeing how all of it actually could apply to my life and how I could heal and be happy if I started to apply this. And....it turns out..... that the whole time I kept sitting there thinking....
"HOLY CRAP - everything she is teaching me is stuff I already know from growing up in the Mormon Church!!!"
I had been hearing the same stuff (& more) my whole life, but had been brain dead to it until then and had never internalized the power of it.
And here is the real kicker....Even though Angela was teaching these universal truths in a way that many people could understand (regardless of their background) one day she said to me, "You realize, the person who taught people how to react in the best way was Jesus Christ. He was on a cross, yet in that moment had forgiveness and love and peace in His heart." I was dying. Did she just say Jesus Christ??? Until then, he really didn't mean anything to me. But suddenly I started to connect the dots about what it really means to have spiritual power....it means to have LOVE. Love for others, even those that offend me. Love for myself, as a daughter of God who is capable of improvement & overcoming my trials, even if nothing is going my way. And love for God, the source of all strength.
With Angela's support each week, I started to embrace & apply some spiritual truths for the first time in my entire life. It rocked my world. It was the most empowering thing I've ever done.
And I finally realized that I didn't have to wait for spirituality to fall in my lap. I could choose it.
I hope you guys don't think I'm a nutcase for telling you all of this. haha. Even if you do, I guess it's ok. I just have to share this anyway. My life shifted permanently when I made these realizations & started making changes! The way I experienced my life & my trials changed SO dramatically that I couldn't believe it! It was kinda sad to me that I lived so long without that empowerment. And so I just have to let this rip and share away with all of you. Cause if I can change my life completely at age 30, I know that you can, too.
This week I'll have a very specific list of things you can do to cultivate spirituality....no matter what religion you associate with. Hoping that it can help some of you on your own paths.
Wanting the very best for you all.
(That picture, above, was taken in Central Park just after this last winter, which was the worst winter I had experienced here in New York in 12 years. The photo captured the very beginning of Spring when the blossoms were ready to burst. It reminds of the life that was bursting inside me when I was learning truth for the first time.)