When we think of spirituality, many images come to mind—open fields, rolling waves, light and airy meditation rooms.
Often, they are Instagram-worthy: everything looks shiny and aspirational, and we post them with wild abandon.
And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to inspire people.
But here’s what I know to be true: spiritual growth can be ugly. It can hurt like hell. And at times, it can feel like we’re moving backwards.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “feeling is healing.” And it’s true. In fact, a good friend of mine shared a maxim about our emotions a while back and it punched me right in the gut in the best possible way. Here’s what my wise friend shared:
“The good thing about sobriety is you get your feelings back. The bad thing about sobriety is you get your feelings back.”
We don’t have to be in recovery to understand this, as the same sentiment applies to spirituality and personal growth, too. (And heck, aren’t we all in recovery from something?)
As an empathic woman, I feel deeply. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you also have this gift. It can be an incredible asset. But it has a flip side—when old feelings resurface, they knock us on our backs.
I experienced this recently when some of my old hurts came back. They blindsided me. I could have pushed through them, but I listened. I allowed myself to fall. To cry. To feel. Intuitively, I knew I had pushed some hurts deep down and now they were bubbling to the surface like a previously dormant volcano.
I gave myself permission to lie in bed, rest and let the tears fall. At the time, it felt awful. Ugly. It hurt so much that it seemed like I was physically injured. But after two days of sitting in this feeling, I realized it was no longer my home.
And I chose to rise up.
That sounds terribly romantic, doesn’t it?
Here’s what it actually looked like: Setting my alarm and waking up early. Working out. Showering and dressing in clothes that made me feel good. Styling my hair and putting on makeup. Smiling when I didn’t feel like it, and listening to music that lifted my mood and raised my vibration.
It wasn’t easy—at all. It took a Herculean effort to change my mood. It would have been so much easier to stay in bed and wallow in it. There is a fine line between giving ourselves permission to feel old hurts and heal them versus allowing ourselves to fester. Because that feeling was almost like a security blanket—warm, fuzzy and familiar. Upon closer inspection, that metaphorical blanket was disgusting—old, dirty and overused. I chose to throw it out, to get up and change how I was responding.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Because after that setback, I’m pleased to report that my life and business have grown exponentially. Life looks virtually unrecognizable, and I feel new. Transformed. Upgraded.
Often, a breakdown leads to a breakthrough.
And sometimes, spiritual growth isn’t all sunflowers and cornfields. Sometimes, it’s doing the ugly cry in bed on a Wednesday afternoon.
Feeling is healing, my friends. Feel it. Heal what hurts. And when we’ve healed, we have to make that decision to get out of bed and show the world who we have become.
Author: Cheryl Muir
Image: Tareck Raffoul
Apprentice Editor: Natalia Lusinski; Editor: Nicole Cameron