Redefining Spirituality


Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by the common “spiritual” lifestyle. You know — the culture that that says don’t get angry, preaches positive thinking only, spiritual bypasses pain in themselves, others, and societal wounds?

That culture has always made me feel less-than. When I first realized I had this inner craving for spirituality, I went there and felt discouraged. I remember a time when a spiritual teacher told me that my temper was causing the California wildfires and I needed to stop feeling anger to save the planet. I felt bad every time I had a negative thought or felt any emotion that wasn’t calm or happy. I am never going to fit into that, feel like that fed me, nor do I really want to. The fact is I can be a hot ass mess, and I am not bashing myself. I am a wild, primal, meat-eating, booty shakin’, emotion embracing priestess.

Life is chaotic, it is hysterical, it is raw, authentic, and deep. I can’t say I’ve ever had a spiritual experience while trying to attempt this aggressive optimism, but I’ve definitely had one when I was holding back Dani’s hair at the bar freshman year. Hear me out — this really is one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.

Dani was a class act. She was heavily inspired by the Real Housewives, (she loved her reality television), and based a lot of her conversations, mannerisms, and general lifestyle off of those. Dani had her pick of men, she was the life of the party, and she knew it. She gave an excellent performance as a happy, popular, good-time gal with no worries in the world.

Well, one night, Dani drank too much Tito’s and Redbull. That’s when it happened — I saw her. In her drunken, sloppy state, I saw a glimpse of her reality, dare I say her soul. She was hurting, she was sad, and she physically couldn’t put on her performance. She held my hand and cried and curled into a little ball, and opened up to me about the very real pain she was dealing with in her life. That moment of pure vulnerability and release was when I realized what an honor it was to bear witness to such a spiritual moment. Then she threw up on me. A flood of half-digested Titos and chips covered my Jeffrey Campbell’s and fishnets following a horrible retching sound (college was an interesting time for fashion and fun).  I didn’t care though. That moment brought us closer and I saw the depth in her shining brown eyes, and felt the true beauty of her presence. It was healing for her to be seen, and an honor for me to see her. After that, the performances got less dramatic, and real friendship and authenticity began to blossom.

My point is, sometimes the most profound, spiritual, healing moments are a mess. Most of the time, we all are a mess. That is what connects us. No one is above it. You will find yourself metaphorically covered in vomit, (or literally, I mean whatever works for you), and hopefully you will embrace this perspective and laugh a little. It is in these seemingly mundane moments where the magic lies. And it is in the darkness, your own or others when you enter the place of possibility. This is the unknown.

Whether it is engaging with another person and not knowing how it will end up, getting dumped or fired, not knowing where to go, or looking at all the shit inside yourself and what you’ve done and what you’re capable of — it thrusts you deep into the dark. This darkness is not to be feared, it is power. It is the womb space, it is a place where creation happens. It is the place of rebirth and total transformation to your primal powerful self. Go into it wide eyed and full of wonder. Get every ounce of juju and emotion from any situation you are in — that is spirituality.  

Your emotions are your power. For thousands of years we have accepted the teaching that emotions should be suppressed. That they make you weak. Well, I say we put that to rest. Emotions are badass, and when handled with care they can supercharge you. Like any superpower they come with great responsibility. But don’t run from them, don’t check out, don’t be afraid. Live.

Life is happening, it is short, it is fleeting, and one day you’re going to die. Who knows when. When that time comes, you’re going to look back and realize this is all perfect. Even the shit. We’re all trying our best, our best sometimes is awful, but here we are, in this together. And so, we live it. Don’t run. Feel. Live.