I had an A-HA moment on the weekend (and I don’t mean I listened to the eighties band!). I went along to the Marianne Williamson workshop in Brisbane for the day and it was like coming home. There is nothing I love more than a highly intellectual person discussing comparative religion and spirituality as it relates to our modern world. She was insightful, refreshing, brilliant, thought provoking, and full of wisdom and compassion. Marianne is one of my early heroes. I read her first book, A Return To Love – Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, when it first came out in 1992. I was 21 and struggling with a lot of emotional turmoil. Her book, and many, many others at that time, shined a light on a spiritual pathway that came to shape my life.
For me, spirituality is very different from religious dogma. I have no place in my life for much of religion and although I have spent many years studying different sacred texts and the interpretation of messages within them – I abhor what modern religion has become (as a generalisation). I have read some great writers and been influenced in many positive ways from a myriad of different spiritual teachers. My faith in something greater than myself was not in a God who sits on a throne and judges, rewards and punishes, but encompasses a much broader understanding of the divine and universal energy – for want of better words – that we are all a part of. Love is the foundation of my spirituality and is one of the core principles of healing the wounds of the individual and of the world.
For a long period of time deep faith and spirituality was a part of who I was. It was like having a permanent connection to loving guidance, having a sense of being grounded and part of this earth, but also a part of the greater unknown. Life was a mystery that I was enchanted by. It didn’t mean that I didn’t have problems and at times chaos in my life, but my centre didn’t waver. It wasn’t public, I didn’t speak about it, but there was an internal strength that was my foundation. I looked to spirit for answers, I studied, I prayed, I immersed myself in philosophy and aimed to understand the greater truths to life.
And then it all fell apart. I was involved in a destructive relationship that stripped absolutely everything from me – I was laid bare and left with shattered pieces of myself to slowly and carefully try to put back together. It has taken years and an enormous amount of effort, but I’ve never felt like I’ve had a full and complete recovery from that trauma. I say to people “I feel like when I put myself back together the pieces just didn’t fit anymore. I feel like I’ve been put together all wrong. I’ve lost a part of myself and I don’t think I’ll ever get it back”. I’ve been floundering in life, without an anchor even though I have so much good – a loving family, an incredibly supportive, patient, kind and devoted husband, amazing friends, a career I love – even with so much good in my life, something has been missing.
And on the weekend at the Marianne Williamson seminar, it hit me like a ton of bricks what it was. My spirituality. My connection. My faith. My practices. My prayer. My devotion to philosophy and daily reading of the sacred. My centre. My balance. My love.
No wonder I have been lost and not able to find out where I fit in the new life I have created. I do have a part missing, a very big part that I turned away from when my life was shattered. I gave up on my spiritual practices – I felt that if they had led me into a situation that nearly took my life, then they must have been wrong. That all that I had learned and the connection and guidance I had felt, was worthless. I turned my back on spirituality as surely as I turned my back on myself. I lost faith in my ability to navigate my way through life, and lost faith that there was anything divine about this world. And that is sad. Even though I still had the intellectual knowledge and understanding of spiritual philosophy, I lost my connection to it. I didn’t feel it anymore and I haven’t for years now.
But on the weekend Marianne reminded me of just how powerful it was to have a spiritual life. To practice the core principles of sacred philosophies every single day. And she is right. She struck a chord within me that has woken me up to the magnitude of what I walked away from. When I was the most broken, was when I most needed to have faith. Yet I gave it up and in giving it up have never fully been able to heal – physically, emotionally and definitely not spiritually. Now I believe that unless I do fully re-embrace the teachings and philosophies that were such a major part of my life for so long, I am not going to heal. Even just writing that is like a a sigh of relief, the universe is breathing through me and exhaling the beliefs that turned me away from my faith in the divine path.
From this day, my life is changing. No more turning my back on spirit. My library is full of hundreds of philosophical and spiritual books just waiting to be re-read to help me find my way back to the connection that I know is patiently waiting for me. I feel it already, and instead of feeling adrift in life, I think I’ve finally got a glimpse of the shore, and I know where I am headed.
Thank you for allowing me to share this turning point in my life with you.