Spirituality has become a bit of a tricky and convoluted subject.
Like any way of living, the pursuit of consciousness and enlightenment seems to have adopted norms and stereotypes that allow it to fit into a sense of “conformity.”
Classifying subjects into a box of tangible ideals isn’t a bad thing, per se. We sort, label, and organize concepts so we can understand them on a material or mental level. If an idea is too general, we tend to get uncomfortable–our logical minds cannot conceive of anything that isn’t black-or-white.
Spirituality is no different. From my perspective, living in tune with our higher selves, or in flow with our inner spirit, has taken on a bit of predictable persona. This has led to a laundry list of associated attributes like positive thinking, yoga, veganism, flowy garments, and meditation.
The thing is, I don’t really fit into any of these spiritual personae—I love steak, a good glass of wine, the occasional cigarette, and above all, I adore my ruby red lipstick.
Whether it’s 11 a.m. or 9 p.m., red lips are my go-to accessory to induce a feeling of juicy sexiness.
At the same time, I am intensely spiritual. Since childhood, I knew and sensed a world within myself that aligned with the unseen. I feel it when I write. I connect to my spirit, and out of me flows worlds that never existed until I created them. I know that I am (we all are) connected to something much greater than my body and sometimes, just looking at the roots of a huge, gorgeous almond tree will make me smile with gratitude for the unknowable and all-providing.
I could go on and on about what spirituality means to me and how I experience it, but it’s unnecessary.
If you feel, sense, and know to the very core of your being that there is more to you than the materialization of your physical body, that within the fabric of your being you are on this earth to do more than simply pay bills and recreate the status quo, if you’ve had experiences that align your entire sense of self with a feeling of connection and love—then you know that spirit and spirituality are not only real, but that they cannot be boxed or defined like the product description of a microwave.
Like the spectrum of colors of the rainbow, seen and unseen, we are all unique and quite frankly, thank goodness for that. While I can appreciate our need to understand and classify things and people, it is exhausting editing, deleting, and shifting who we are to fit a predictable portrayal.
Why do we do this? Is it so others feel more comfortable, or so that we feel more comfortable?
Time and time again, I have tried my hand at yoga. I gave veganism a solid go, only to hungrily order the largest steak I could a month later. For a time, I even let go of my love of getting glammed up for a night on the town, because, “What does spirituality have to do with an external image?”
What I learned from all of these attempts of pious soul-searching is that they aren’t me. What favor am I doing myself if I am not being true to my inner essence of expression? Essentially, all I did by ditching my personal preferences for a one-size-fits-all version of spirituality is move further away from my own understanding of spirit.
Finally, when I decided to whole-heartedly embrace my ruby red lips at any time of the day, life started flowing for me again. What I realized was, for me, spirituality has nothing to do with forcing ideals upon myself, but it does have everything to do with allowing my unique expression of self come to life.
Red lipstick is a true love of mine, and it resonates with me, both inside and out.
Whatever your version of red lips is (whether it’s essential oils, sage, long flowing mermaid hair, or an oversized flannel shirt), rock your preferences and do it with pride—there’s only one you, and the world certainly doesn’t need another copycat.
It needs a full-bodied and well-rounded, spiritual badass.
Author: Tess Bercan
Image: Rajdeep Kataki / Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell