this is what Spirituality looks like for this Millennial
I grew up Christian and left the faith during my time in college.
I spent much of my 20s believing in not much of anything beyond science and humanism.
And then I spent some time abroad, free of societal, familial, and friend expectations, which allowed me to begin to build a new sense of self.
I got into yoga and began to get in touch with my body and to nurture a sense of peace of mind.
A couple of years later, I found myself in the recovery realm, which necessitated me confronting something “greater than myself.” I knew clearly at that time that this force would/could not be labeled “God,” because I had too much baggage around that word. I spent that year nurturing something with no clear idea of what that was and what role it played in my life exactly.
And then I discovered the Divine Feminine (DF), which was genuinely earth-shattering for me. I had spent my life trying to fit into a “man’s world,” while also trying to be a feminist. Needless to say, it was a very confusing experience.
Discovering the DF within myself was yet another big step on this healing & liberation journey I’ve been on. (I want to clarify that the DF lives in all of us, no matter your gender or if you’re non-binary — it is not simply something for women or femmes).
And so, now that we’ve laid that foundation, I want to break down what spirituality looks like for me these days:
- First off, it’s not spiritually bypassing. Spirituality has become a tool for me to continue to show up to spaces where pain, tragedy, and centuries of oppression have been enacted on groups of people. And most importantly, it’s teaching me to check my white ego, so I can refrain from further harming communities of color and remain open to learning and deprogramming white supremacy within myself.
- Spirituality is first and foremost a personal experience that I extend outward as often as I can. But I also recognize that sometimes the most spiritual thing is to simply exist fully in this material world. To hold space for someone venting; to simply say, “I’m sorry, that sucks”; to stop trying to fix or guide. Taking care of myself spiritually (along with physically, mentally, and emotionally) makes me much more equipped to hold this space.
- Cats/Animals/Nature — I’m grouping all of these together because I’m lazy and they all go hand-in-hand anyway. I live with cats, and they remind me to not take myself so seriously and that it’s okay to be a self-sufficient & independent asshole at times (I’m using asshole endearingly here). It’s also a walk in the park, existing amongst trees, pausing to listen to the birds chirping, filling my lungs with fresh air (IDK how “fresh” air is these days, but you know what I mean).
- Checking in with my “spiritual” apps —Instagram has become an incredible resource for me to explore and connect with like-minded people. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it’s been a big factor in my healing journey. It’s connected me with people and ideas that I might never have encountered otherwise. Moon Calendar & Moonly keep me in the loop with what’s going on with the moon. Insight Timer provides me access to guided meditations when I need grounding. Flo & MyFlo help me keep track of my period, so I know how to better honor that part of myself. Co-Star gives me insight into astrological workings, which is also just a lot of fun (I don’t currently take astrology too seriously cause I don’t know much about it, but I love seeing what resonates).
- Cards: tarot & oracle — I discovered the tarot around the time I started nurturing the DF, and it was another big opener for me to healing. After the death of George Floyd and the reckoning with racism this past summer, I no longer felt comfortable with my all-white cis deck, so I opted for Lisa Sterle’s Modern Witch Tarot deck instead. It’s fantastic. Also worth noting there’s many other decks out there crafted by and for people of color. I’ve also started really digging oracle & affirmation decks, because I don’t always want to do the labor of decoding a message. This Love & Magic deck by Adrienne Vita is my most recent purchase, but I encourage you to go with whatever resonates with you. Trust your intuition! Ah, a perfect segue to my next point ;)
- Becoming embodied: trusting my body, my intuition & my knowing. In this patriarchal society, I grew up seeing my emotions as something to be handled, managed, and kept at bay so as to maintain productivity and not make anyone uncomfortable. I am working to unlearn this inclination, to welcome my emotions, to feel them deeply & purely, to let them move through my body. And I’m learning to trust myself, my deepest and truest self. And it’s been fucking amazing. Hard, heartbreaking, but incredible. It’s also helping me show up better for social justice, because I’m getting away from intellectualizing the pain of my BIPOC relatives and learning to feel it instead (along with the joy & celebration!)
- Therapy — I nurtured a relationship with my now ex-therapist *soft sob* (for logistical reasons) for three years, and that relationship, space, and practice has been transformative. Not much more to say here other than please offer yourself that gift if you can. I know money can be tricky, but there are lots of options to make it work — reach out if you want more insight on this.
- Poetry — I’ve read some disparaging feedback on “Instagram poetry” (poetry popular on IG, which tends to be shorter and simpler), about how it’s not “real” poetry or something like that. Well, as someone who’s rarely read or understood poetry, this form has opened me up to a newfound appreciation. nayyirah waheed is the most prolific poet I know, but there are lots more out there if you simply go searching.
- Music may have been my first spiritual practice in life without my even realizing it at the time. It was one of the first mediums that gave me permission to feel deeply and fully and in-turn, taught me how. The current artists I’ve been vibing on my healing path are: SZA, Ariana Grande, Solange, Jhené Aiko, Summer Walker, Raveena, Sabrina Claudio & Kali Uchis.
- Note: I can’t mention the spiritual experience of music without addressing how invaluable Black women have been to my healing journey. So I need to be intentional about recognizing and holding myself accountable to my commitment and responsibility to fight against the white supremacist patriarchal system that exerts violence against them.
- In saying this, I want to shout-out my current favorite Black woman-led organization, the Loveland Foundation, established by Rachel Cargle (who’s a spiritual force in and of herself), which provides therapy for Black women and girls.
Alright, I’m sure there’s more, but I’m tapped for now. Please feel free to share what’s been meaningful for you on this healing, spiritual path.
I’m all about sharing any and every resource I have, because my hope is that my personal healing and liberation will extend outwards, touching as many lives as it can.
Love y’all ❤ ❤ ❤
Do you like my words? If so, here are some more!
Update (3/25/21): I opened my Love & Magic deck and ugh, def getting some spiritual bypassing vibes. Didn’t realize it’s based on the “Law of Attraction,” but oh well. We live and learn, right? That’s what I’m telling myself at least.. in the meantime, I may be a littleee salty.
Second Update (3/26/21): Another layer of nuance — I’m learning how to hold space for “spiritual truths” as affirmations without in-turn denying physical realities. I was getting stressed about work last night and pulled a card with the message: I have all the time in the world. Although this is not true on the material plane, repeating it to myself brought me very real relief even if my rational self knew it wasn’t true. Here’s to holding space for both our material & spiritual selves even when they’re seemingly contradictory. A friendly reminder to myself that things don’t have to always make sense, that maybe it’s even better if they don’t ❤