When I was a small girl I found wonder in the little things around me. I spent hours staring at flowers. I cried once when I saw a tree bleeding sap where it had been cut. I genuinely believed in fairies and would interact with them in my fantastical games. I often marvelled at the beauty of nature and pondered if there was some magic beyond what I could touch, feel and see.
With a difficult home-environment — a step-father who took his frustrations out on me with malicious words, and a mother who had lost herself somewhere along the way — I escaped into my fantasy world as much as I could.
As I became a teenager I found it harder and harder to translate my enchanted ideas into the world. My connection to nature and wonder started to fade until I was left with a cold, hard reality that saved little room for magical thinking. I became withdrawn, self-conscious and embarrassed by my inability to make sense of the world.
At 19, after travelling around Europe for 2 years feeling exceptionally disillusioned by life and the human race, I decided to study psychology: the science of human behaviour. I was seeking something… Some deeper understanding to life. I didn’t know what the questions were that I wanted to ask. I just knew that I had them.
In my final year of university, I started asking myself a very important question: Does God, or some kind of God-like energy or entity, exist, for me, as I know and experience life and the world? I hoped for a dramatic thunderous clash in the sky and an outpouring of proof that this wasn’t some weird thing religions had made up, but nothing happened.
I felt disconnected from the wonder, the oneness, and enchantment that had once filled me as a child. I set it aside as childish sentiments that one outgrows. Perhaps, being an adult really is a greyscale of mundanity and responsibilities, I mused. Maybe this is all there is… I questioned my motivation to do the things I was doing. Why was a getting a degree? Did I actually want to be a psychotherapist? What was the point of all this? I kept seeking. Looking for answers to questions that I didn’t know how to form.
A few months before my 23rd birthday, I woke up one morning and heard a bird sing outside my window. As I lay there and listened, an overwhelming sense of joy and belonging washed over me. I felt I heard a bird sing for the very first time in my life, and it was the most beautiful thing.
Lying in my bed, I noticed other things: sensations in my body that were new to me. I felt like I could feel every single cell in my body — alive and dancing — vibrating in tune with every living thing outside my window. A sense of well-being permeated my body and for the first time that I could remember, I felt what it is like to be fully present in the moment. This, a thought passed through me, is what God is. Connection to everything.
I finally understood the question I had been looking for. What is the deeper meaning to life? And felt the answer. It’s not something that you understand. It’s something that you feel. And it’s everywhere, inside and outside, of you.
Since then my life has, in one way or another, been devoted to maintaining and intensifying my connection and relationship to source energy, God, the Universe. Name it as you feel.
There are particular practices that help me, and that I teach, to delve more deeply into your spiritual journey.
Look within for the answers.
I still catch myself sometimes, looking for the answers outside of myself, that can only be answered by my own soul and the connection I have with something greater than the physical version of myself. My greatest dissatisfaction comes from the habit of trying to fill myself up from the outside. Seeking fulfilment — from social media interactions and likes, from food, from drugs, from sex or love, from society’s ideas of success — never works. It is when I come back to myself, to stillness and look within myself for answers, that everything starts to make sense again. What that looks like is literally turning my attention inwards and listening. I will tune out the world around me and check in with myself. What am I feeling right now?
Breathe in, breathe out, and feel everything.
The fastest way that I know to reconnect to my soul and get out of my mental entanglement with the world outside is to breath. Breathing, when done with absolute presence, feels like fucking ecstasy. It’s not about making yourself breathe in a particular way, but rather, being an avid observer of your breath. The moment you watch and feel yourself breathe you reconnect and can start to really feel. Being able to feel yourself, your own energy, and every cell in your body offers you moment-to-moment wisdom on what is your own personal truth right now. What that looks like is whenever I’m doing something, anything, even writing this to your right now, I check in with my breath. Am I holding it? How does it feel to breathe? What else can I feel?
Give every moment your whole presence.
Our minds like to entertain us with a broken-record of chatter. Like a 2-year-old that wants your attention every single second of every day, we have to teach it to take a timeout, by recognizing that your mind is, in fact, not the centre of the universe. You are not your thoughts. Your mind is not the result of who you are. Rather it is a collection of information that it has gathered and is spouting back at you without restraint. When we stop giving our thoughts attention we disconnect from that frenzy and are able to sink into the wholeness of each moment. What that looks like is paying attention to every sensation, every moment, every breath, that is happening right now. I love how time and space expands and everything drops away when I give what I am doing right now my whole presence. This is not about thinking or doing: it’s about being.
Live in alignment with your truth and from your heart.
Grounding it all down into the physical, tangible, right-here-and-now world is the most potent practice of all. When I am connected to myself, when I listen and pay attention, and I am present with every moment, I am always receiving a stream of very subtle, soft awareness guiding me towards the next step. When I trust this spiritual counsel and act on it, always with total presence, my life flows and I am connected to the enchanting magic of life at all times. When I fall out of alignment and step forward out of fear my path becomes more difficult and I waver and begin to doubt myself.
To live in alignment with my truth and from my heart, I keep coming back to myself and my connection with the ethereal, the energy that permeates everything and can be felt but not seen. The fastest way that I know how to keep coming back to this link between me and the Universe and keep diving into that spiritual relationship that I have cultivated is through journaling. I journal whenever I need more tangible answers: things that I can see and understand through my mind beyond how I feel. I teach much of my journaling practices in my 30-day journaling course. You can check it out here.