Spirituality requires courage, especially when the Spirits step back…
Spiritual awakenings tend to be intense. Some describe it as being ripped open. For me, it was like lightening out of a clear sky; shocking and transformational.
I was brought into the spiritual community at Anishnawbe Health Toronto about a year later and things accelerated dramatically. My dreams came fast & furious, and the Spirits made sure that I knew exactly what was expected of me. I followed their advice. Reluctantly at first, and then willingly as I began to trust the direction. Nothing was subtle.
The Elders told me it was because, since I was so thick (my words), the Spirits had to be obvious with me or I would simply explain it all away.
And then, after four years of dreaming, seasonal fasts, bi-weekly sweats, shaking tents and teachings, things suddenly fell silent.
Well, it wasn’t really all that sudden…
My Spirituality had given me the courage to start my own marketing business and, as it grew, I had to step back from frequent ceremony and many of the activities in which my son and I had previously participated.
But even though I had stepped away from ceremony, I didn’t feel I was stepping away from the Spirits. But I certainly felt they had stepped away from me, and I was hurt. Why had they dragged me down this path only to step back the moment I got busy? Didn’t they support me? I felt abandoned.
The Spirits Want Us To Live Our Lives
I went to see one of the traditional healers at AHT who, to my distress, confirmed that the Spirits had indeed stepped back.
“But why?” I asked. “What did I do to upset them?”
The healer shook his head. “Nothing,” he replied. “You are busy right now, and they give you space. Living your life is a form of healing too. They want you to heal by living your life.”
This was not the answer I was expecting. It was so simple. Almost trite. I saw another healer later that year who confirmed it. “Go live your life, stop worrying,” he told me.
Go live my life… Oy ve. For four years, I had defined myself through the intense Spiritual experiences I was having. They made me feel special. The outside validation from the good folks at AHT bolstered me.
But now I was forced to question that identity, and to pin my self-esteem on something much more challenging: My own sense of self and internal validation. In other words: Live my life on my own terms.
And so I did. I grew my business, I raised my son, I hired staff, I travelled, I paid my taxes. All the usual stuff, and a funny thing began to happen. Bit by bit, the dreams returned. The Spirits returned, only now it was different, because I was different.
I began to understand that spirituality is not about the profound and dramatic experiences that we have at the beginning that serve to wake us up, bolster our belief, or in my case, disallow me from arguing my experiences away with prosaic explanations.
Nor was it about my simply feeling special because I had been brought in and allowed to participate in a special community.
Practicing spirituality is about building on-going sustainable relationships with the Spirits in our daily lives. It is gentle, and it is deep.
The Spirits Step Back So We Can Consolidate Our Energy And Grow
Since then, the Spirits have stepped back from me many times, and I’ve come to recognize those times as a consolidation of energetic power.
The retreat is always after a time of intense spiritual experience. The quiet time gives me a chance to process what I’ve learned mentally and emotionally, and for my energetic body to change so that I can hold more power.
I have come to appreciate these times of quiet as a welcome break because I trust that the Spirits haven’t gone away, they are merely giving me much-needed space to do things in my own time, and for that, I’m profoundly grateful.
Each time I return to the work, the experience is quieter and deeper. The trust more solidified, my relationships more attuned. If I am working with clients, the healing is more profound and the messages more crisp.
And over time, this forward-backward dance has stabilized as I learn how to manage my spiritual relationships on my own terms. The Spirits don’t have to always seek me out, because now I go to them. They don’t need to prove anything to me, because I have finally learnt to trust them.
Of course I still get that pang of worry when I try to shamanic journey and can’t, or when I close my eyes and…nothing happens. But I remind myself that it is a sign that I have things to process and a life to live in the real world.
Living is healing. It’s why we are here, and it’s something to be honoured.