The path of change, the road to reinvention and the journey of transformation is not always a clear one. While there can be smooth, downhill runs, there can also be storms clouding the way forward, treacherous cliff hanging, windy roads that threaten your resolve and uphill climbs that question your commitment.
I have found that while my highway through life started as a single track, other lanes have joined it—the education lane turning to the fast lane of my corporate career, moving across as the slower lane when my relationship, subsequent marriage and family lane started to take precedence. For a while, my voyage was switching lanes, maneuvering between hazards and road blocks until I took my eye off the ball. Family life lines became blurred between the conflict of my new young family and my original family and a rapidly degenerating mother. It was in those moments of distraction that a juggernaut blind-sided me and the lanes ahead were obliterated, and the roads I had traveled were no longer a true reflection of reality.
As I lay in the wreckage of my life, I looked to the stars and asked the unanswerable questions: Where now? Who do I believe? What and who do I believe in? What is my purpose now? What do I do? Where shall I go? What is my path? What on earth is my first step?
My Spiritual Path
And as I asked that final question, the dust began to settle and I could see the opening of a lane that had always been there, that I had dipped in and out of and knew I could use in an emergency. Some people call it faith or religion, but I prefer to call it my spiritual path. And in the days when the guts of my life were exposed, this smaller, less used lane nurtured my vulnerability. While the other lanes of my life were cordoned off, I had the time and space to become curious about answering those bigger questions. Who am I, who do I trust and who or what do I believe in? What is my purpose here and what is the point of my life, of this experience and how does that play out in the bigger picture?
I let my curiosity lead me. I started by picking up some previous books I had read. A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson had been well thumbed once before, but now so much more relevant. My intrigue led me to back to Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tollé and forward on to Gabrielle Bernstein, Brené Brown and Pema Chodron. I found myself introducing practices of daily gratitude, living mindfully, journaling and finding my own way to meditate. A combination that over time and with patience led me to connect with my inner voice and the murmurings of my heart became louder. I began to trust myself again, follow my intuitive flow and the lanes and highways in the distance came in to focus.
I realised there is no right or wrong answer to spirituality or to any of the questions in my mind. Spirituality, or faith, is a bespoke existence and a way of life or living that brings a sense of calm, comfort and meaning; and that feeling is unique to each individual, so therefore, is the source.
My curiosity and interest continued outside of the library, and I became fascinated with the ideas of energy forces inside and outside of the body that influence or add meaning to experiences. I found great solace and comfort with a wonderful Reiki Master and regular practice to realign my energy forcefields. However, rather unexpectedly and rather fascinating was the way she found that images would be passed from me to her during the session.
I found deciphering the symbolism of these images enlightening as well as comforting signposts as I would tie them to my emotional well-being and journey at the time. I wrote frequently about these very spiritual healing times in my daily blog, thealisandwiches.com (extracts below). Elephants and eagles would feature regularly, signifying strength and also vision, but it was the way she saw objects that represented thoughts I had kept locked away in secret: the upturned Eiffel Tower and the elephant carrying a large diamond in particular.
Through Reiki, my intrigue piqued around the role of each Chakra – the idea of conscious, vital energy and life force moving through your body at particular energetic intersections – the 7 Chakras. Over 3 months, I learnt to understand each Chakra of mine and in turn, how to heal them, how to understand when they were blocked or too fast flowing. In multiple cultures, these energies are seen as your psychic command and control centre; when you work with them you can bring every aspect of your life in to equilibrium. In committing to the Chakra practices, my experience was life changing. The confidence in understanding myself prolific and the journey along my highway stepped up a gear.
Once my mind had been opened, connection with my inner spirit solidified and faith in myself and my intuition augmented. My vulnerability felt less raw or exposed, and I was able to show a more real and authentic version of me as I traveled forward. My courage enabled me to slow down and look in my rear view mirror and rather than see devastation and a life lost, I recognised strength, resilience, empowerment and a real and tangible opportunity for change.
Most recently, my curiosity led me to have an Ayurvedic Reading. The phrase ‘it is written in the stars’ springs to mind as Vedic Astrology looks at the date, time and place you were born and uses that information as a tool to provide deep insights into life and circumstance. An Ayurvedic Reading supports self-realisation and self-acceptance. The alignment of the stars and architypes can show patterns, possibilities and probabilities – and help determine a pathway forward.
After 90 minutes that felt like moments, I have never felt more certain about my destination and the lanes my highway needed. No longer is spirituality the emergency lane, but it is the way. Career, purpose, family, friends and all the other lanes I used to weave in and out of are now the passengers along for the ride!
Spirituality is no longer just for the so-called hippies of the 70s, it is for the brave, the professionals and highly recommended for the lost souls, the uncertain and anyone lacking in confidence or direction. If you find yourself wondering or asking yourself that question ‘what is my next step?’ then here are my top 5 suggested first steps:
1. Answer the exam question: What is my belief?
In myself, in my purpose, my faith and understanding of why I, or anyone else, is here. Remember there is no right or wrong answer here, just start to connect with your inner feelings…
2. Follow your curiosity.
Start where you are, pick up a book or watch a you-tube clip, find a course and see where that leads.
3. Be open minded.
Whatever you stumble across is meant for you to discover. Enjoy the experience, take what you learn and reflect on whether it feels right or wrong for you.
4. Move forward with confidence.
Whether it be gratitude journaling, daily meditation in the bath, nature bathing, dream catchers above your bed or crystals in your bra, move forward with a faith and a connection that feels right for you, brings you a sense of calm and security. Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable isn’t meant for you; let it go and move on to the next idea.
5. Be an eternal student.
The answers we ask ourselves can never be truly answered fully, for we evolve, we change, the world changes around us. Progress and growth are one of the cornerstones of confidence, self-belief and satisfaction, and this is a wonderful topic to be eternally curious about.
Pema Chodron says that “the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
I took my Chakra healing course at the Acorn Wellness Retreat in North Yorkshire.
My Ayurvedic reading was done by the talented and wonderful Michael Geary.
My Reiki insights and translations can be read here:
The Elephant, The Eagle, and the Eiffel Tower