Growing up, I never understood the word, spiritual, nor what it meant to BE spiritual. The word never entered my realm, nor vocabulary. I knew about religion, and what it meant to go to church each week, and I knew about God. But religion didn’t mean a whole lot to me, other than noticing that some families went to church, and some didn’t. I was sent to bible school one year, and learned why people celebrated Christmas and Easter. I enjoyed visiting gorgeous, old churches while living in Europe and enjoyed hearing church choirs sing. I guess you could say I was “being spiritual” enjoying those beautiful voices, but at the time I had no clue about spirituality.
Later in my 20’s and 30’s, I did start to formulate some opinions about religious people, and I found it difficult to align myself with many of these people. I knew too many people who claimed to be “faithful Christians” and believers of God, yet whose behavior outside the church was nothing like what I had learned about how Jesus behaved and acted.
So, for a while I claimed myself to be an agnostic. Agnostic, because I knew deep inside that there was something more, yet I didn’t really know what to call it. I thought, that in order to believe in God, I had to join a church and be seen attending service each week. Not being able to explain that “something more”, left me uncomfortable around some of my best girlfriends who were also new mothers and talked about their family visits to church each week. Somehow, I felt shameful that I wasn’t taking my own young children to church. Organized religion was not the answer for me. Yet, I could not quite articulate was WAS the answer.
So here I was, considering myself agnostic, because I couldn’t feel comfortable aligning myself with religion. Yet as time went on, I knew there was more to life than just a bunch of humans running around trying to adapt and survive. I would think about one’s personality, for example, and what would happen to our personalities when we pass on. Did it just decompose in the ground as our bodies would? A personality is not a physical thing, so how could it? Then what WAS it exactly? How about our thoughts? Dreams? Feelings?
It wasn’t until two important things started happening in my life that helped me shift my understanding and thoughts, and eventually I discovered the word spirituality and understood exactly what it meant… at least what it meant to me that is!
The first enlightenment was discovering and experiencing energy healing work. It was transformational! I learned that our bodies give off energy. Our bodies give off magnetic fields. Heck, even a rock has energy that can be measured. I was lucky enough to have a primary care medical doctor who also uses alternative treatments. Through her, I experienced and witnessed amazing healings and diagnoses that were from measuring, moving or delivering ENERGY.
I also discovered Reiki from my sister-in-law (see Empowering Steps) and experienced receiving and sending energy myself, right through my own hands! And the list goes on. The more curious I became, the more examples and modalities came into my world; modalities that were not used nor understood by conventional medicine.
The second discovery happened as I embarked on the world of entrepreneurship, wanting to run a successful business. I wanted to learn from others who had paved the way, so I sought out mentorship and guidance. I ate up any book or program or course I could get my hands on. I noticed something very interesting. All these successful business owners would always talk about mindset and a higher power and you guessed it… spirituality! I started to notice that most successful people believed in something greater than themselves. And they wanted to know their soul’s life purpose and how to serve others. They would teach selfcare and about meditation and yoga. Here were these books on starting a business and achieving success, and they would always talk about spirituality and self growth.
At that point in my life, I knew there was so much more to this life than I had realized. I finally could talk about “God”, and say “I love you” or “bless you” to someone when they sneezed without feeling guilt that I was using those words and yet not a member of any church. I lost the discomfort I had when using those words. They became normal to me over time.
A pivitol moment was when the Higher Guidance Life Coach Certification program fell into my lap. Through Jean Slatter’s teachings and ongoing mastermind/support group, I’ve learned how to talk to my own higher self, my soul self. The part of me that chose to come here, that planned for a purpose and path for this lifetime.
I now know that we all are a fragment of God, here to experience human life form. We are here to create and to experience. I realize that making decisions based on my thoughts and my mind’s desires is the wrong approach. It leads down rabbit holes and endless circles. Following guidance from our soul self keeps us on our life path, and life’s challenges become much easier! Some people call this listening to your intuition, or “following your heart”. It’s all the same. The course taught me how to tap into this guidance with simple, easy-to-use tools. Not everyone can hear, see or feel our intuition talking to us. Or maybe we can, but it’s not super clear nor specific. These tools allow me to get real specific answers on ANYTHING.
I finally have an understanding of spirituality, at least what it means to me , which came to me as a big relief. It also began to transform my life. To me, spirituality is going within ourselves… connecting with our inner self, which IS our spirit. Spirituality is realizing there is something greater outside ourselves that everyone is part of. You may choose to call that God, or you may call it Universe, The Great One, Spirit, Source, Universal Energy, Greater Self, Inner Wisdom, or anything else. I like to call it Inner Wisdom. I believe, being spiritual is making an effort each day to connect to others, to connect to that inner wisdom, and to connect to Source.
I am a different person than I was 20 years ago, even five years ago. Maybe not a different person, but more aware, more conscious, and more connected. That connectedness brings so much more joy and purpose to my life. I finally feel like I know myself on a deeper level, on any level for that matter! I know what I like and what makes my heart sing. I know what I don’t like. I know that I have a purpose for being here in this lifetime, as hard as it can seem sometimes.
If you resonate with anything I’ve talked about, ask yourself, what is your greater purpose for being here on Earth. Do you feel joy in your everyday life? Do you question any rules or restrictions that have been put upon you for how to live your life, or how you may or may not connect with God, or what you should or shouldn’t do in life.
If you live your life with a lot of “shoulds”, then you are probably not living the life you dream of. Let’s not live our lives with “shoulds”, rather let’s live a life full of “coulds”. As I already mentioned, I personally believe that we are ALL God. We all have a part of God within us. We are all divine beings and we all have sovereignty – the power within us to choose how we react to any situations. We choose life. Life does not happen TO us.
I am still on my journey, and always will be, but I have sense of peace and knowing and understanding that I lacked before. I understand that wellness involves the entire picture, not just the physical body and the emotional body. It involves the mind and especially, and it involves spirit.
Donna Abreu is the author of the blog, www.SimplyLivingWellness.com which offers practical information, tools and tips on maintaining a simplistic and holistic lifestyle. Her article will be featured in a book that is coming soon by Empowering STEPS.