“The spiritual path is simply the journey of living our lives. Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don’t know it.” ~Marianne Williamson
I remember it as if it happened yesterday. I woke up in the middle of the night with the worst tightening of my chest that I had ever experienced. My heart was racing uncontrollably, my hands were clammy and cold, and nothing I did brought relief.
I prayed. I chanted. I tapped. I prayed and then prayed some more.
I thought I was going to die. I started to immediately regret all of the things I hadn’t said, all of the things I hadn’t done, and all the ways I’d failed to truly enjoy my life.
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally fell asleep just to wake up in another panic because my entire body was wired from head to toe. To make matters worse, I needed to be in court bright and early (more on that later).
I remember walking into my cardiologist’s office in a panic. He insisted nothing was wrong and that I should consider quitting my job.
“Quit my job?” I laughed out loud several times.
His face was stoic. He was not joking. Sh** just got real.
After wearing a heart monitor for thirty days because I needed to get to the bottom of these debilitating episodes, thankfully, I learned that my heart was functioning just fine. But, the symptoms were a message about a much bigger problem.
I needed a makeover. I needed a blank canvas.
Up until that moment, I had lived my life checking items off a list—a list society tells us we need to tackle if we want to be happy and successful, both extremely subjective words.
The list looks something like this:
- Get the degree. Check.
- Buy the expensive property. Check.
- Be a “good” person. Translation: overextend yourself and be everything to everyone. Check.
- Dive into a soul-sucking career for the sake of prestige and money. Check.
- Play it safe. Check.
Well, I had pretty much checked off the whole list. Yet, I could not shake off this deep desire to find something that felt missing. I felt empty, sad, and angry most days, yet I covered it up with a smile and fake gratitude.
I’d lost my connection. I’d lost myself. I had no idea who I was. I did not know what to believe in.
It was like I was waking up from a deep sleep. My soul was craving meaning, depth, and connection. I needed to release all of the beliefs that had kept me hostage to fear and zombie-like comfort.
My day job as a lawyer was adding a layer of stress to my life that I could not shake off. I knew that this was not the path my soul intended, yet I needed the money, so it was not time to leave just yet. And to make things more confusing, I was good at it. My brain would trick me into thinking I needed to stay in that career.
While I managed my responsibilities during the day, most nights I consume more spiritual material than most do in a lifetime. I was in search mode. Although I learned many beautiful philosophies and teachings, this consumption of information was not the answer I was seeking.
I sought coaches, attended seminars, and read almost every book under the sun, yet the feeling of connection eluded me.
Why? Because I was trying to soothe myself from the mental plane and I forgot to feel my way through the process. I did not know how to connect to my body, and I certainly was not in touch with my right brain—the center of intuition and creativity.
From that point onward, I committed myself to soul work. The road was long and windy. There were rivers of tears along the way.
During this time, I discovered things I’d kept hidden from myself and got to know myself in new ways. I was peeling back layers that slowly revealed my true self.
One of my biggest revelations during my journey is that, although I was living like an extrovert, my essence is one of an introvert. I discovered that I am highly sensitive and empathetic. It was difficult for me to accept this because I associated introversion with shyness, weakness, and weirdness, but the more I felt into this truth about myself, the more I started to love the real me.
My introversion taught me about the beauty of downtime. It helped me feel into my body and learn all the things she needed at any given time to feel relaxed and nourished.
I realized I’d been living too fast, checking off lists, too busy “being productive” and making sure that I was pleasing everyone. But, I rarely checked in with myself to process my feelings, or to feel into what I really needed. I learned that I had abandoned my needs most of my life in the name of acceptance.
Much of this process involves facing what we have denied to ourselves for so long. It is painful, but extremely powerful. The gold at the end of the rainbow: I feel more inspired, refreshed, and connected. That is the theme of my life.
So, what are some of the lessons that you can expect when you say yes to soul work?
Embrace your feelings—even the dark ones.
You can’t be happy all the time. It’s not possible, so please do not try. Do not chase happiness.
This beautiful universe is all about duality. How could you possibly love the light without experiencing the dark?
You can’t. Because you would not have a reference point.
And, what is the fastest path to the light?
They are the gateway to your soul.
I’m not referring to your everyday emotions, which can feel like a rollercoaster at times. I’m talking about deep reflection. I am talking about the feelings that are trying to deliver messages to you all day long.
The good. The bad. The ugly.
An amazing mentor taught me one of the most powerful processes for releasing negative emotions.
It just requires breathing and focus on the feeling. Once you feel the energy of an emotion, it shifts and moves as you breathe into it. There are so many insights that come to the surface when you remove the initial layer and make room for the expression of the pain.
Once the veil of pain is removed, you reach a higher perspective, where you see any situation from a higher plane and not just with your limited human eyes.
What am I constantly thinking about that’s bringing me down?
What do I long to release but haven’t been able to?
Then ask your feelings:
What are you here to teach me and breathe?
Feel the feeling; breathe into it. Feel it shift and move inside of you.
Listen. And then write whatever insights you receive. Do not judge yourself at any point. These are your feelings and they are real to you.
When I asked these questions, I had to admit to myself that I was continually expecting people to behave and feel like me, and when that did not happen, I felt disappointed. This way of processing the world was bringing me down, so I reevaluated my relationships.
I realized that I had resentment because I felt like I was a giver in most of my relationships. Why? Because over-giving stems from not checking in and slowing down. I stopped being only a giver. I learned how to receive. I started to express my feelings and most importantly, I started to feel into my needs and say yes to them.
At first, it felt selfish, but then it became necessary. The more I connected with myself and learned about my true needs, the more available I was for deeper and more authentic connections with the world.
Let your inner wisdom be your guide. It knows how to best navigate your life.
We listen to opinions all day long, unconsciously and consciously. People with good intentions want to tell us how we should do things, or how we should feel, think, and act.
While I personally believe that the universe delivers messages through others sometimes, the ultimate filter of your life must be your inner wisdom, that piece of unconditional love that guides you.
This guidance is available to all of us.
What am I refusing to see?
What am I ignoring?
What am I hiding from myself?
You may not get answers at first, but you will start to build a connection to your inner world.
Our brains will always have a conditioned response to these questions, but when we breathe and feel into the answers, a new message may emerge for you. A new perspective may be shown to you.
One of the biggest revelations for me when I asked these questions is that my true nature is one of a healer and someone who wants to help others heal and get in touch with their hearts. Although my entire life has been all about getting things done and building a career, my true nature is all about feeling and flowing. A very different energy than the one I was creating in my day-to-day life.
There is no better place than here, than now.
Being present is one of the most challenging tasks we can undertake, but if we want to transform, we need to learn to master the present. Otherwise, we are forever chasing the next thing.
I am currently living a reality where I wish I was doing what I love full time, but apparently, I still have lessons to learn from my current day job. I stay present by being a light warrior all day, even in the courtroom. I shine my light everywhere, and I allow it to lead me.
Although I am transitioning, it has been very challenging to stay present and bring my light to my day job, because the truth is that I want to be there, but I am here for now. But if I can be present here, I can be present anywhere. Because being present means that you are connected to your body.
To stay present, every so often during the day ask yourself these questions (courtesy of Tosha Silver):
Where am I?
What am I doing right this minute?
Where has my mind taken me?
And most importantly, am I breathing fully?
Love your rest.
This is huge. It’s essential to your health. Say no as often as possible in the name of rest!
If my body does not feel like doing something, I honor that now instead of forcing myself to do things out of obligation or pressure. If I am tired and overwhelmed, I no longer have a problem retreating and declining to attend any events, including family commitments.
At one point, I thought I needed to be everything to everyone. This led to my mini breakdown. While I still have certain obligations because that’s just life, I check in way more often now to feel into whether something is a yes or no.
This takes some practice, so please be patient with yourself and do not expect everyone to understand your journey. It’s okay, we all have our own path. This is about what feels right to you.
My new mantra is rest. refresh. repeat.
The words that come out of your mouth when you’re angry or resentful are not the deep truth.
Mental truth is reactive and layered with stories from past experiences. Mental truth is often wrapped in deep pain and insecurities.
Your soul truth is the deeper truth that’s born from self-awareness and personal insight.
For example, your mental truth may cause you to react to your partner by shouting at them or shutting down when they fail to come home at the time you expected. Your mental truth may make a million assumptions like, “They do not love me or they aren’t there for me ever or they are cheating on me.”
If you can get to your soul truth, however, you may recognize that your feelings stem from past experiences and your assumptions lie in your own insecurities.
Your soul truth may ask you to voice your concerns or speak to your partner instead of defaulting to anger or blame. Your truth may ask you to forgive yourself for any past experiences that hurt you.
Your truth will always ask you to take responsibility for how you feel, and it will always encourage you to speak from your heart and inquire from the source if you are prone to making assumptions. Your truth will also warn you if something is off and will invite you to see things for what they are.
Breathe and ask silently, put your hand on your heart and ask:
What is my message about this situation?
How can I see this differently?
What is this moment trying to teach me?
What is my inner truth showing me?
Your truth will feel profound and anchored in love and wisdom.
Creativity is the language of your soul.
When I started to color and draw portraits from YouTube tutorials, I entered the magical world of the right brain. This is where the magic lives.
Our left brains work hard to analyze and provide logic. Sometimes, this part of our brain can go into a loop because the logical part in us does not take into account our heart’s wisdom, nor does it take our feelings into consideration.
The right brain is more intuitive and abstract. The right brain is creative. It’s a place where we feel and interpret events through our gut, colors, and senses.
For example, if I were to express anger through my left brain, I would use words like “volatile,” “pissed off,” or “explosive.” If I were to describe anger using my right brain, I might say it looks like the color red and it feels tight in my chest.
And if I ask my right brain what anger is here to teach me, most of the time, it will feel like the message is that I am not being honest with someone or myself (of course there are a million other reasons why one can feel anger).
The right brain offers more depth. Being in my right brain has taught me to feel my body and the sensations and feelings, since these are messages and nudges from our inner wisdom.
So it is important in order to reach equanimity, to find your creativity and call it forth. You will feel more connected and more centered. Find activities that do not require thinking so you can start to feel the difference.
As you embark on your own path, which begins with willingness and the realization that something is missing, you will undoubtedly say goodbye to who you thought you were and you will fall in love with the gift that you are.
You may feel depleted some days, but for the most part you will experience a reorganization of your life and energy. You will feel like a child learning to see the world with new eyes. You will feel a deeper feeling of peace and happiness than you ever could have found by working through society’s list. This is soul work. Are you ready for it?