The following paragraph is from one of my favorite books.
“…spiritual growth is learning to make your life work in every area, from your relationships to your career, as you put your spiritual light into everything you do, bring awareness and love to all your activities, and turn every experience into an opportunity for growth, you are being your higher self.”
Years ago I hadn’t learned how much action, the steps, that growth takes. I didn’t know that it takes work, awareness, looking at me and my patterns, habits, and experiences. Instead, when I initially started opening to new ideas I was mostly just a sponge, watching others, and studying to be more like them.
I thought I only had to soak up information from reading, attending classes/workshops, and listening to spiritual leaders and then I’d have awesome mystical experiences that would knock my socks off, and result in a deeper experience of life and myself.
But no. That’s not how it works.
And yet I persisted in looking anywhere but at myself. I watched the “spiritual” people who not so much walk but seemed to float into rooms. You know the ones that speak as if they’re right out of a Kripalu course catalog? My focus was on them not me. I assumed these beautiful ethereal individuals must have deeply meaningful lives and feelings of well-being and I wanted that because, back then, I so didn’t have that.
As I watched these seemingly awesome people I wondered, what was in their drinking water? Where did they learn to speak the flowery way they did? Their yoga poses were perfection, and their outward appearances exuded the epitome of calm, peace, and hipness. Frankly, they annoyed the s_ _t out of me.
At some point, I tired of it all. The yoga studios and their spiritual growth workshops, the best selling books, the advice and philosophy from various leaders throughout the world. It was all well-intended but no longer attractive to me.
It was time to grow from my own experiences. As a trusted individual pointed out to me, “…the big learning you came here for”.
Sometimes I still need reminders to stand in my own power. Just last year I had an awkward meeting that served as a friendly reminder to stop comparing! It involved a new acquaintance who thought we’d have a lot to talk about.
How was it that after that meeting, I went home to have lunch with my husband and started to cry into my salad? My confused husband gently asking how can you meet someone for an hour and come home crying? That made me laugh and now I was laughing+crying+eating.
What had bugged me about that encounter was the more she shared her amazing dramatic mystical experiences, the more I started to feel un-terrific, uninteresting, un-special, and fell right back into comparison mode.
I realized that after she shared all her numerous incredibly incredible fantastic mystical experiences, she had shared details about her life. And I got it. Her actual everyday life didn’t match her amazing stories at all.
She would have benefited more from compassion rather than envy. I would have benefited from seeing the connection more clearly rather than making it about who I thought I wasn’t.
Do you ever bring yourself or anyone else up short, based on a lot of nothing? Perhaps it’s about the size of one’s office, or the title they have, or recognition they’ve received, or vacation they’re taking. Comparing ourselves to others, it’s not great right? All day long we have opportunities to compare but those are the same opportunities to see non-comparatively and stay in our own power.
Cool stories or not, what matters the most to me is how I experience my life, and how good it feels. That’s the “more” to my story because that’s what’s more important to me.