pre-s: I’ve worked on this one for about five months. It’s hard to push ‘publish’ when I know this is an evolving experience, but it’s time to release it and move on to the next piece.
I’m sharing it now, with the caveat that I may need to edit in future – but in the meantime I hope it gives useful information about how I’m navigating the spirituality space.
Is This the Deep End?
When you read my writing, or hear my client stories, I wouldn’t blame you if you were like ‘whoa, this is some very near-(or completely off) the-deep-end stuff.’
If me from 5 years ago had a conversation with me from now about my work, she would think the same thing.
Not mention the absolute grey so many spiritual people swim in.
You’d think spiritual = humanistic, altruistic, committed to justice & helping people, right?
But we’ve all seen the spiritual to Q-Anon pipeline, the spirituality to white supremacy and cultural appropriation pipeline, and spirituality to cult / high control group pipeline.
I’d say caution & discretion is strongly recommended.
Given all that, how did I go from ‘you do you, but that’s not my jam’ to ‘well, we just cleared out an experience from a past life that’s a factor in your shoulder pain.’
It turns out my journey isn’t unusual – a lot of people who are now in the spiritual space were nowhere near it for a long time.
So here’s an abbreviated history of my journey – and what I do and don’t accept/believe when it comes to ‘spirituality’.
In the Beginning...
Minus a few ‘unusual’ experiences in childhood, I grew up fundamentalist Christian.
The idea of our soul choosing to come here, or there being other dimensions or past lives wasn’t even vaguely possible.
As a complementary therapist, it wasn’t unusual to meet people who had past life memories or other spiritual beliefs, I didn’t think it was real, but it’s outside the realm of ‘proveable or disproveable’ and I was happy to leave others to their beliefs.
It just wasn’t for me.
Then I started having my own experiences.
In 2020 I had my first memory of a past life come to me while doing a meditation.
I had a deep knowing that this was me, hundreds of years ago. This was my house; this was my role in my community; this is what happened.
It felt so familiar, so real.
Since that first ‘memory’, I’ve had more and more experiences like this.
More and more memories from previous lives, more channeling and receiving messages from – who knows what? – I could only go off my gut instinct and intuition.
Because of that unknow-ability factor, I held it all very lightly.
At the same time, some very – unfamiliar? – things were coming up in my client sessions.
Over video, I could feel where there were different energies being held in clients’ bodies.
I saw the images in my mind of what they saw, we could collaborate together based on what their bodies were showing me.
It wasn’t just energy or experiences of this lifetime.
It was past lives.
It was other dimensions.
It was entities and curses that had been with them across centuries.
And it was tapping into THESE things, specifically (as led by their body), that solved the problems they were going through.
Solved their pain.
Decreased the symptoms of their chronic illness significantly.
Got rid of their anxiety.
Gave them more energy and clarity around their next steps.
I would work on clients’ bodies over video, and they could feel what I was doing – when I hadn’t told them what I was working on or where I was working.
Plus, there's some not great spiritual stuff...
As my work was leading me in this direction, I also, you know, had eyes.
I saw the many ways in which spiritual leaders (and spiritual people) were spouting everything from borderline harmless toxic positivity to straight-up harmful conspiracy theories and anti-trans / anti-science / racist sh*t.
The spiritual bypassing, spiritual hierarchy, gaslighting and victim-blaming was not an anomaly in spiritual places.
Logically, this doesn’t make sense to me – but seeing it happen I knew if I was going down the spiritual path, I wanted to shore up my practices and awareness to avoid ending up there.
That’s why part of my continuing education included READY! trauma, grief & loss sensitivity certification and Sowing Post-Capitalist Seeds, a course that looks at the indoctrination from capitalism and colonialism (chronicologically in that order).
With READY!, I studied with Lisa Kuzman (a social worker and leadership coach) to understand how to safely hold space for those who have experience grief, loss and trauma, including looking at the trauma marginalised groups experience on a regular basis. It also helped me learn to identify where a client may benefit a recommendation to see another type of practitioner instead of/ in addition to working with me.
With Sowing Post Capitalist Seeds, I learned from Anuradha Kowtha (educator and business liberation strategist) and Moriah Helms the origins of capitalism, the possibilities for other systems and how we can start changing the systems one ‘seed’ at a time.
I’m grateful for these teachers as I feel it helped me get clear on my values and ethical boundaries and expanded my awareness on how to move forward mindfully in this somewhat amorphous space.
Where I'm at Now
At this point, I know there’s SOMETHING to the spirituality stuff.
I’ve heard enough things from clients, had enough experiences of my own, and seen enough results to know that this isn’t just some sort of made up nonsense.
I’m also aware that many, many indigenous groups from around the world felt a strong connection to spirituality in various forms, and I’m not about to dismiss those systems or beliefs.
That said, I still hold it all very, very lightly.
I recognise that we’re tapping into something that we just don’t have the language or concepts for. I accept the language we use because at the moment it’s the framework we have – and I expect to evolve as we learn more.
While objective measurement would be nice, spirituality is inherently difficult to quantify and traditional scientific methods of external, objective repetition and observation aren’t available to us.
I’m sure in future we’ll gain more information and better understanding of these experiences – and it may lead to ‘taking back’ or adjusting some of the ways we see it now.
(See my piece ‘Miasma, the Bubonic Plague and Spirituality’ for more on this).
What 'Spirituality' Does & Doesn't Mean to Me
Because spirituality is such a broad term, I thought in addition to the list of things I don’t agree with, it might be helpful to define what it means to me.
To me, spirituality means that we recognise there is something more than the purely physical existence we’re living.
That there are energies and entities and possibly beings that we can connect with that aren’t physical in the sense that we can all see and touch them.
This is borne out by my experience and what I consider to be corroborating experiences of people who I have worked with as clients and/or people I consider friends and peers.
I do not believe that spirituality is a get out of jail free card to ignore what’s happening to our world, what’s happening to people in it, or an excuse to ‘check out’ of the ‘3D’ because you now have ‘5D consciousness.’
Spirituality lends another dimension to life that is very personal, and therefore very subjective. As such, it must be tempered with clear ethics and boundaries to ensure we aren’t creating harm in any spiritual practices with which we engage.
It also means we should respect the spiritual traditions of others, including the fact that certain spiritual practices are closed practices, and be mindful and avoid appropriation wherever possible.
What I Don't Believe In
While I’ve very much gone down the rabbit hole of possibility when it comes to spirituality, dimensions, past lives, and various energies that we interact with, I do have certain ‘lines in the sand’.
Here’s the list of things I’m firmly NOT allowing in my ‘spirituality’:
- Spiritual bypassing
- Toxic productivity
- ‘High vibe’ spirituality – aka that any ‘negative’ or ‘low-vibe’ emotion is bad and we need to be high vibe or higher frequency all the time
- Any version of manifesting that doesn’t recognise the very real systemic inequities that create barriers for marginalised groups of people
- Any implication that a person has ‘chosen’ their own abuse or bad circumstance because they decided to come into the body/life they have
- The idea that ‘everything happens the way it’s supposed to’, specifically for things like oppression, abuse, and exploitation (more about this in ‘Choose Your Beliefs’ piece – coming soon)
- Spiritual hierarchy (aka if someone has more/different ‘gifts’ or ‘powers’ than you, they are superior to you and vice versa)
As far as beliefs like ‘choosing the life you have’ or ‘everything happens the way it’s supposed to’ I have other pieces coming on that, which I’ll link here once they’re done.
So there you have it.
A brief history of why I’ve gone from spiritual skeptic to spiritual practitioner, and how I’m choosing to navigate spirituality.
It’s okay to believe in something but not exactly be able to define it because it’s still so unknown.
It doesn’t make sense to me to dismiss my own experiences, those of people I know and trust, AND hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of people belonging to other cultures and traditions before colonialism who had spiritual beliefs, just because you can’t measure, observe and define them within the confines of physical materialism.
Believing that humans are the pinnacle of advancement in the entire universe feels arrogant. It’s probable that there are other life forms and beings in the millions of star systems in our universe. Given that a branch of physics is convinced a multiverse exists – who knows what there is not only in our universe, but in others? (See also this piece in National Geographic)
So, it’s something.
And I look forward to sharing more with you as I investigate and explore further.