There is, as they say, a lot going on in the world when it comes to spirituality.
There’s the influx of popularized holistic healing methods like acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbs, supplements, and plant foods.
There’s social media, exploding with Lulu Lemon-clad yogis in handstands and splits, discount codes for hemp products, and wise words from Reiki practitioners.
Horoscopes, astro-cartography readings, and human design chart generators.
Crystals and marijuana and ayahuasca.
Having grown up in what some may call a “hippy-dippy” household with a yoga-teaching mother, the smell of incense constantly clinging to our clothes, I have always been naturally inclined to all things holistic and wellness. But my question, which I imagine is not unique to me, is this: Where the hell do I start?
I have tried or at least considered nearly all of the options listed above. I consistently practice yoga and meditation, I journal regularly and connect with my angels and spirit guides. I eat a vegetarian diet, I see an acupuncturist, I take a probiotic and a chlorella-based supplement, and I pay attention to what’s going on in the stars. I breathe when my monkey mind needs a break.
But does any of this make me “spiritual”?
Naturally, self-doubt loves to creep in and tell me that I’m not living a real spiritual life if I’m not pouring CBD oil into my tea and charging my crystals under the full moon. (Literally not a single ounce of shade to ANYONE who does these things – they just happen to fall into the category of “things I haven’t tried but have seen people do on social media and thus I feel I’m supposed to do in order to qualify as spiritual.") I have a glass of wine with dinner and wonder if by drinking alcohol I’m taking myself eighteen steps backwards in terms of my energetic and vibrational work.
The truth is, spirituality – or the concept of it – has become like most other things in our fast-paced, achievement-based society: Something to conquer. Something to be the best at. A tool we use to prove our worth to the outside world.
Somewhere recently in my journey, I found myself stressed out and upset with myself for simply not being good enough at being “spiritual." But then, to steal a term from Queen Oprah, I had an “aha moment."
I returned to a message that has often been presented to me in my meditations. Whether it comes from my Higher Self, my team of spirit guides, or my deepest intuition, I do not know, but the message comes through loud, clear, and often: Have fun. Enjoy life. Life is joy! Joy is what you are here for. Joy is who you are.
Joy. What is joy?
Joy is a contentment so deep that it bubbles over in the form of love and unadulterated zest for life. Joy is TRUST. Joy is A LACK OF RESISTANCE.
And there it was – the key. Joy is a lack of resistance.
If joy is who I am and my purpose in this world, I can’t be resistant to my circumstances and simultaneously live the truest, most authentic expression of who I am.
This ironic humor is so sweetly typical of the Universe. “Spirituality” – or what society has taught me that “spirituality” is “supposed” to look like – was creating resistance. I was attaching an expectation, an outcome, a “should” to it all. Gobsmacked by the pure simplicity of it all, I learned a fundamental lesson. Spirituality looks different on every single person.
To be truly spiritual, we must step into and live in the vision of our best selves, whatever that looks like for us as individuals. (And – I reiterate – it looks different on every person!) We must stop complaining about all the things we wish we were and instead start to emit the energetic signature of those things. In other words, we need to accept what we are rather than resist it.
I wanted more joy, which essentially meant that I had to stop feeling like shit about myself every time I compared my spirituality to that of another. So I stopped comparing and I considered all of the things in my life that bring me authentic, true joy. And, to be honest, some of those things were not - for lack of a better term - spiritually kosher.
I love wine. I love chocolate cake. I love to sleep in. Sometimes simply doing nothing productive is my greatest medicine. I don’t care that much for crystals. Sometimes I skip my morning meditations. My transcendent joy doesn’t always come from energetic healing and acupuncture sessions. Sometimes my meditation cushion is the seat of a bike in SoulCycle, loud and rowdy and chaotic. Sometimes my church is reading fiction on the couch with a coffee that includes a dairy creamer.
My spirituality is dancing with my music students.
My spirituality is teaching them new songs and watching them laugh as they make mistakes.
My spirituality is complimenting someone as they walk by in a hurry.
My spirituality is not conformist. It’s the complete and utter opposite.
There are as many spiritualities as there are people on this earth. If yours doesn’t look like someone else’s, that probably means you’re doing it right. Each of our souls has a unique and irreplaceable energetic signature. Think snowflakes - but energy and vibration rather than physical pattern. No one shares your exact combination of gifts, loves, and joys. Hiding your authentic version of spiritual living from the world is like hiding a light away in a dark room that so desperately needs it.
Not a single soul on earth can shine in the exact way that you do. So get off Instagram, stop comparing, and say hi to your sweet self.
What brings you joy, authentic and raw and pure? What can you do in this very moment that will bring your unique joy to the surface? Do that now. THAT is your spirituality.