October 27th, 2014
Don’t Tell Me What To Do: A Guide To Being Spiritual
I had a conversation recently that really pissed me off. I’d like to share it with you, not just to rant or anything, but because what I realized as a result of that conversation could be helpful to YOU, too.
But before I jump into that, a quick story:
Back in high school I was confused. I mean, who isn’t confused at age 16?
But seriously, the reason I was confused was because I didn’t fit in anywhere — but not in the way you are probably thinking.
I was in the “popular” crowd. I was a cheerleader. I dated the running back. I had tons of friends. I seemed like I was fitting in just fine.
But yet, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I didn’t know how to reconcile the different aspects of myself.
The fact that I loved cheer, but also loved blasting Fugazi one day, and Snoop Dogg the next, out the windows of my 4-door Honda Accord as I drove out of the school parking lot.
Or that I was highly intelligent, jonesing for existential literature, writing dark poetry about death and dying, and also the one first up on the keg-stand at any party, smoking like a chimney and playing with my tongue ring.
And even throughout all these years after high school, I’ve always felt multifaceted.
Not just being or liking ONE thing. And getting a lot of attitude about that.
As though a person who is a popular cheerleader can’t also be smart, edgy, and dynamic. That people won’t accept me and I’m somehow not “ok” if I don’t fit into an understandable box that they are comfortable with.
And so I’ve spent a lot of time just being a chameleon, and fitting into whatever particular group I happen to be hanging out with at the time.
Surfers? Sure…I like the beach. Goths? Yeah, I can dig me some Doc Marten’s. Punks? Hell yeah I like The Descendents. Jocks? Yeah I know a thing or two about football. Musicians? Yep…I’ve been in a touring band.
And because I can fit in anywhere, many times over the years I’ve felt like I actually fit in nowhere. That I could like whatever the group I was with liked, but not to the FULL extent.
Like I could talk surfing but when it came down to it, I didn’t actually want to get in the water.
And somehow because of this, I felt less than. Not good enough. Like since there were so many things that interested me, that I actually didn’t have A “thing.”
There was no box to fit myself into, so I stopped looking for my own box and stuffed myself into whatever boxes were already out there.
Well, surprise! Life hasn’t changed a whole lot since high school. People still want to tell us how to be. What is acceptable and what isn’t.
And lately, as I grow and explore in a new phase of my spiritual practice, I am right back in high school, not seeming to fit in.
I don’t meditate the way I’m “supposed to.” I don’t do all the things good yogis do. But yet, I feel closer to god and more myself than I ever have. And I love it.
And remember at the beginning of this post, I mentioned I’d gotten pissed off about something recently?
Well, not long ago I got into a conversation online that got me thinking. A LOT. About spirituality.
Basically, the point of the discussion was that to call yourself a spiritual person, you shouldn’t then like or want material things like expensive shoes or nice cars. In other words, how can you be spiritual and like stuff like that?
And it hit me in my heart. Because I had already been thinking those thoughts. Like:
“If I truly am spiritual, should I give all my messages away for free and not desire to make money?”
“If I truly am spiritual should I not eat meat?”
“If I truly am spiritual does that mean I can’t drink whiskey sometimes?”
And so when this conversation happened, it was like the devil on my shoulder speaking to the exact fears I was already having…which was...I’m not spiritual enough. I’m not doing it right. That other people know more than me how to do it.
And after I left the conversation, I had all kinds of thoughts and feelings. And ultimately I adore SO MUCH that this conversation happened because I was able then to really decide how I felt about it all.
And here’s the thing…I think blindly following the rules is a bunch of bullshit. (Tweet This!)
Doing things just because someone told you you “should,” without actually questioning whether or not you believe in that is the least spiritual thing on the planet.
To me…spirituality is individual to each person. It’s about love. It’s about being the fully expressed version of yourself. It’s about YOUR OWN relationship to god/divine/universe. And that relationship is formed by you. Just like how your partnership/marriage/relationship isn’t going to look like the next person’s, neither is your spirituality.
And that’s ok.
And it’s non-judgment, to the best of your ability. That means not judging other people’s spirituality and not judging your own.
I’m not saying to turn your back on what your teachers tell you, but I am saying, go inside and see if it resonates with you. Explore for yourself. Pay attention more to what feels good and right to you than to what everyone else is telling you to do.
Find your own mountain to stand on. Find your own outfit to wear. Do your own prayers. Come back to the things that resonate so strongly in your heart and bones that you giggle with delight when you’re experiencing them, and leave the rest behind.
No one gets to tell you who you are and no one gets to tell you how to be. (Tweet this)
YOU get to decide.
And if that doesn’t look like what everyone else is doing, then so be it. That’s ok. You’re no less lovable, spiritual or wonderful because of it.
And to me…THAT’S Wildheart.
Being who you are. Being connected. Being aware. Being truthful. Loving and accepting yourself for exactly who you are. Seeking. Exploring.
For me…my exploration has led me to so many forms of “spirituality” I never knew existed.
My motorcycle teaches me presence, because not being in the moment is literally a matter of life or death. It connects me to my surroundings. It makes my heart smile. It’s FUN.
Dancing is where I get to express my heart. Where I don’t think about anything else other than being exactly where I am. It’s communication with my partner. With spirit. It’s movement and love embodied. It’s freedom.
Meditating in my bed, laying down, right after I wake up is where so much of my messages and inspiration come from. Kundalini is where my soul feels connected to source, and I feel free from my old pain and wounds.
That’s my spirituality. The dualities of my fully expressed personality. My own relationship to the divine. Learning to truly love myself and others. Practicing non-judgement and noticing when I don’t.
What I don’t love about the spiritual community is when I feel like there is judgement. Or rules.
When one human is telling another human how their own personal relationship with god/spirit/divine should be…that’s like saying someone else knows better than me what I should do with my body. Or how I should decorate my house. Or whether or not I should get married and have kids.
It’s another version of judgement. Control. And someone else telling me what to do with my life and how to be. It’s the same idea as saying, “In order to be a professional business person you should wear a suit,” or “Don’t write on your blog about crying on the floor over some dude.”
But in my world, it’s my decision and my life. And my business. So I get to do it however I want to do it. As long as what I’m doing aligns with my values and greater purpose, I’m good.
As long as I’m feeling good about my own relationship with my own spirit, then I’m good. And I don’t actually need someone else telling me how to talk to my god. That’s personal. Just like how it’s personal what I do in my business or whether or not I sit or lie down during meditation.
And to me…this is what I love about the Wildheart Revolution private community/coaching/lifestyle tribe. It’s a Revolution of self-acceptance, love, worthiness and deciding for yourself how the fuck you want to go through life.
It’s the place where YOU get to decide. How to be, who you are, what to feel, what to believe in. You get to explore those things, because maybe you’re not sure. Maybe you believe what everyone is saying is best for you, but maybe you don’t. This is place to be to find that out and then go LIVE IT in the real world.
Enrollment has been closed for the past four months but I have a special surprise coming TOMORROW for this freedom-loving, truth-seeking tribe of peaceful #Wildheart rebels.
So if that’s you, then be sure to put your name and email in the box below to be the first to find out about this sweet treat (I’ve been creating it for the past few months and can’t WAIT to share it with you!).
And if this post resonated with you, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
What does spirituality look like to you? Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in or were being judged for your version of spirituality? How did you handle that? Please share your thoughts and experiences below.
Not gonna tell you what to do,
P.S. Don’t forget, if you want even more freedom and permission to choose what you want in life, get on the insider list for an exciting gift coming your way TOMORROW. Just enter your name and email in the box below and you’ll be notified as soon as it’s released.
Hey Sally totally love this post. To me spirituality is loving myself and taking care of myself even on the days Im being hard on myself. Its also about respecting myself and others. I love to journal, meditate and do yoga but if someone else prefers to do something else then they have to follow their own heart. I think in whatever context you are looking at this whether it be diet, where you live, salary, how you exercise etc there can be a lot of self-righteous people who feel they have to give you a running commentary on how you could do something better or that you are doing it wrong i.e. “not their way”. My motto is as long as you aren’t harming anyone and you have love in your heart – rock on baby ;o)
I ADORE your definition of your spirituality. YES. So good.
Sally, I love watching (and reading about) all of your explorations and adventures! And I’m with you 100% from beginning to end on this one… Good stuff. xoxo
Hey Hannah! Oh girl thank you so so much for saying this and I love having you here. So glad it resonated with you!
“That’s my spirituality. The dualities of my fully expressed personality. My own relationship to the divine. Learning to truly love myself and others. Practicing non-judgement and noticing when I don’t.”
I absolutely love this, Sally! It’s the aspects of really embracing ourselves and in turn, allowing others to embrace their true selves as well that allows us to be fully spiritual.
The non-judgement (of ourselves or others) is the most important piece to it all. Meeting ourselves and others right where we are, with love, and noticing where we get tripped up or set free.
Gets the gears turning!
Thank you so much Licia!! I love what you added about embracing ourselves and allowing others to do the same. YES. I find that the most “spiritual” people I know don’t have a specific yoga practice or dress a certain way, but rather they go through life in a loving and accepting manner. So beautiful. Thank you for your comment here
Great post Sally
and as a wise woman once said “we need to stop shoulding all over ourselves” and definitely don’t let anyone else “should” on you x
Hey Rhoda! HAHAHAH! I mean…I don’t much enjoy being “should” on, so that is GREAT advice. Thanks for the giggles.
I hear you!! This totally just happened to me recently. I felt completely violated, that the person crossed a boundary and it was not ok. I know they thought they had my best interest at heart and were very misinformed. The beautiful thing is that I realized how far I’ve come in my journey and what a beautiful, precious spiritual life I have. Worth protecting and valuing. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Sally <3
I felt the same exact way!! And then I actually really appreciated the interaction because it made me sink even further to what I DO believe. So it was a gift. But still I was all like “OH NO YOU DIDN’T JUST SHOULD ALL OVER MY PRACTICE!” hahaha
Thank you so much for your comment.
I just had the same kind of feeling on something. QUICK back story: my marriage went from pretty crappy to amazing, overnight. And then stuck. I haven’t seen a good friend in awhile, and I sent her a link to the article explaining what I did.
She basically told me that I had either been lying to her before, or was lying to myself now. But it’s neither. I was taken aback, like CRAP, YOU get to decide that it’s not possible for my marriage to be a delicious pleasure? Or that I’m a liar because I used to genuinely think it sucked?
It was weird.
But I guess I can understand. A lot of people have REALLY deep-set beliefs about everything under the sun, and that’s OK. But sometimes it just feels good to let there be a new belief. One that serves a different kind of life. Where you can be spiritual and drink whiskey. Hate your marriage then fix it. For realz. Be spiritual and drive a Mercedes. (Or a super-cool fancy-pants motorcycle. Whatever.)
It’s all good. The great thing is that we get to choose what matters to us. NO ONE BUT EACH OF US, INDIVIDUALLY.
Ride on, drink on, love on!
Eva…omg I love you girl. This post was AWESOME and it totally struck a chord with something I realized was bubbling underneath that I didn’t realize I was there.
I learned a long time ago to not talk about my relationship stuff. Because I didn’t want it to be held against me later. Like if I said “ehhh…nah he’s not the one” and then four years later we’re still together, I worried that I would be judged forever by the people I told that to like “she said he wasn’t the one so what the hell is she still doing with him?!”
I love that you brought that into this. That you get to have new beliefs and change the story whenever you want to. “Hate your marriage then fix it. Be spiritual and drive a mercedes”. YES. One thing I love about Kundalini yoga is the desire to treat yourself like royalty. That’s why they wear white. It’s in the choosing for ourselves that makes it stick and hell…if I get to choose for myself and it keeps me meditating the way I like, then HELL YEAH.
Awesome addition to the conversation. Thank you!
Hi Sally, resonated so much – great blog. Yes especially the chameleon – but that’s the joy in being an Empath. I now honour it and accept it as a gift. Love to you, Sally. If it feels right, then it is right – and so it is……<3
Well, my first thought is to quote Andrew DICE Clay, where he said, “Nobody tells me what to do, not even me!”
For me, I’m just, “What-ever” (with accompanying Alicia Silverstone hand gestures). I work in professional wrestling. I’ve heard it ALL, and it’s really hard these days for anything to really get me excited.
People are gonna believe what they’re gonna believe, and some people are gonna be arseholes. That’s just the way it is. Fortunately, we’re all free to believe or not. It’s as simple as that. It goes back to something I said (to you, Sally) a long time ago, when I said how boring it would be if everyone was a carbon copy of you.
Every so often, you NEED someone to challenge your system of beliefs, just so you can grow as a person, to see things from a different perspective and open yourself to a different way of thinking.
As we say in the Marines, “Embrace the suck”.