How to Successfully Connect with Your Spirit Guides

A quick and effective guide to help you open up and allow your spirit guides to communicate with you.

Building a Relationship with your Guides

Building a relationship with your guides can take years; that was my own experience. Where some may speak to a guide or guides clearly from a young age, I spent years trying to connect with mine. I learned about spirit guides as a kid, reading books by psychic mediums. I wanted to know my own guide, but I was also a little afraid. 

Fear of the unknown can be a big obstacle to building a connection with our guides. 

Intuition was always my guiding light, and this was the connection to my higher self and my spirit guidance, but I didn’t differentiate between my higher self and my spirit guidance until I began to actively connect and communicate with them. 

Connect to your spirit guides

During meditation, I would ask for my spirit guide’s name, but I wouldn’t receive anything. Sometimes I would just fall asleep! I even tried guided meditations meant to lead you to your spirit guides. None of them ever worked. 

I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to connect with them, and along with feeling it was a weird thing to do, I think I also doubted, at least on some level, that I could communicate with my guides, even though I had a solid belief that they were there.  

That was, until one afternoon, while sitting in meditation, I was prompted by my intuition (guides) to lay down on my bed. I walked up the stairs, lay down in the bed, and was guided, in my mind, to walk a lovely path toward a beautiful garden. There I was met by beautiful beings that offered me the names of my guides.

What I came to more fully understand in the days following that meditation, was that I was always in tune with my guides. I had a relationship with them already. Knowing their names and working with them as I would another living, breathing person, wasn’t necessary until I was actually given their names. The lesson in not receiving the information about them when I asked was this:

I needed to learn to trust that they were there, even though I couldn’t see them and they weren’t tangible to me.

If you have tried to connect to your guides and you feel you have failed, realize, you don’t need to know their names to work with them. You already work with them, they are always with you, and when you listen to your intuition, you are connecting to them, even if you don’t feel like you are. Spirit guidance is very often subtle. So subtle, we often don’t recognize it for what it is: constant loving support and guidance.

Spirit Guidance is always loving.

When We Least Expect It

The other morning I was meditating, and I was struggling! My mind was going every which way, and the dog was whining and running around tapping his little nails all over the hardwood floor. Just then, as I was trying to settle my mind, my dad came through. My dad passed away in 2003, and I’ve had very few connections with him over the years, but when I do connect with him it is always a powerful and healing experience. 

I was telling my daughter recently that I rarely connect with him, and I wonder why. Then, just days later, I see him, and feel him. He hugged me and I felt a rush of loving feelings. I cried and sat, trying to hold onto the moment and to try and dive deeper into the connection.

Trying to concentrate so that I could hold onto the moment, I lost all focus when the dog created so much commotion, it brought me right out of the experience. Whether it was meant to be a short hug, or a longer conversation, I can’t know. Focus is important, and I tried holding on to receive the full message, but maybe he just stopped by to hug me because he knew I needed it. I called him, and he answered. 

We can try to force these experiences, but it doesn’t work. Our guides and loved ones come to us in their sweet divine timing. Sometimes that is in the moment we request it, and other times it’s at another, unexpected time. Our job is to be open, be patient, and trust that the experiences that are meant for us will come when we are ready for them. Often, this is when we least expect it.

Loving Guidance

Spirit guidance is always loving. If you feel you are receiving guidance that you aren’t enough, that you need to do more, do better, that you’re failing; this is ego. Spirit guidance is always loving. While it’s true, there are always things we feel we need to improve, spirit guides us to these changes lovingly, and accepts us fully as we are. 

Ten Tips for Connecting with Spirit Guides

Have an open mind. The most important tool we have in our spiritual toolkit is an open mind. Once we are able to open ourselves up to the possibility that we aren’t walking alone on this earth, that we are spiritual beings with a soul, that we are deeply loved by an infinite Universe, God, or Source – whatever your preference – that spiritual world opens up for us. We are loved! The more we can open up to this idea, the easier it will be to receive communication from our guides. 

Meditation. Meditate in whatever you have found that centers you, that works for you. Meditation can include anything that relaxes the mind and calms the ego; from traditional meditation which regards sitting in silence, to walking, running, hiking, taking a long shower or a bath; whatever activity brings you calm and some sense of inner peace. 

*You do not have to clear your thoughts. Though meditation can help you to have a calm mind, some of the thoughts you push away could very well be messages from spirit. If they are loving, guiding, and make you feel good; write them down. Explore them.

Prayer. I learned to pray as a child in religious environments that didn’t align with my personal, innate beliefs. For this reason, it became hard for me to pray, and I felt disconnected because of this. Eventually I took a class. Really! I took a prayer class that taught different kinds of prayers, and this opened me up once again to a Universe that not only heard my prayer, but held me and provided for me in ways I didn’t understand before. 

Learning to pray in a way that aligned with my personal understanding of the Universe, brought me closer to my own inner guidance and to my guides. 

Journaling. I began to journal after meditation, and soon found that I could use automatic-writing to communicate with my spirit guides. I didn’t intend to do it. I just sat down one day and realized that’s what was happening. Journaling in the morning after you wake, or at night before bed, and consistently, can be a powerful way to connect to your higher guidance, whether you are practicing automatic writing or not.

Oracle Cards and Tarot Cards. Tarot cards crossed my path at a young age, and I always found their guidance rather on-point. I still use tarot and oracle to confirm or solidify guidance I receive from my guides. 

Other methods of divination. There are a number of other tools that can be used for divination, and you can use anything at all to gain insight and guidance. Some other methods of divination include divining rods, pendulums, scrying, and reading tea leaves or coffee grounds.

Signs and symbols. Maybe you’re familiar with Angel numbers: 11:11, 333, 555, 777, 999… These, when we recognize them, are powerful indicators that we are on the right track, and opening up to our spirit guidance. Other powerful signs can be feathers, butterflies, birds, sparkles of light or orbs, or anything that you see over and over again, whether a word, a phrase, or a symbol. After my dad passed away, hearts were a big sign for me. I saw them everywhere, in everything. It felt like a hug from the universe. 

During several different trips to a local bookstore, every time I went, a book would fly off a shelf nearby and land at my feet. It wasn’t a coincidence, the store wasn’t haunted; it was a sign. 

Any sign or symbol can be a sign from your guides. Anything that repeats, that’s consistent, that comes up at a particular time while you’re having a particular thought or feeling, anything and everything that grabs your attention can be considered a sign. If you keep track of them, you will find over time that your guidance is consistent.

Synchronicities. A synchronicity is an event or series of events that connect in a meaningful way. For instance, if you are thinking of someone you haven’t seen in a while, and they suddenly, out of the blue, send you a text message. Seeing repeated numbers, angel numbers, is also a form of synchronicity. The more you recognize the synchronicities in your life, the more of them you experience.

Discovering and developing the Clairs. How we receive guidance can vary from person to person. Some of us are more able to hear guidance, clairaudience, and others just know information, seemingly out of nowhere, claircognizance. Our ability to discern our intuition relies on The Clairs, and which of our senses are the strongest. Some of us have natural access to all of them to some degree, while others naturally have one or two of them. We all have access to these senses; everyone can develop them. 

Media messages. One of my favorite ways to receive guidance is through music. I’ve also received messages from music, books, the internet, and even a commercial or two. When we remain open to signs, synchronicities, and messages; we find them all around us. 

After someone I loved dearly passed away, I went for a hike to grieve. I took my headphones, which I never do when I’m hiking. Every song that streamed felt like a message, and the songs began to weave together to make a sort of mental tapestry for me. I created a playlist of these songs and it deeply helped me heal from the loss, and to feel more connected to the loved one who had passed. 

Our loved ones help us grieve; they remain with us to comfort us and try to tell us that they still exist; they are always with us. 

Anything that spirit can use to communicate with us, they will use, and whatever we personally enjoy most is going to work the best because your guides are here FOR you, so they will follow your lead and use anything you’ll pay attention to to offer messages of guidance and love.

A Quick Practice to Connect with your Guides:

Connecting with Spirit Guides

Getting to Know the Different Kinds of Spirit Guides

There are many different kinds of spirit guides; getting to know them, and what they have to teach us helps us to live our lives to our fullest potential. 

The first lesson I learned about spirit guides is that they don’t think names are important and the type of guide isn’t always important for us to know immediately, if at all. Often they will refer to themselves as “We” and leave it at that. Some will allow you to choose a name for them, and others will give you a name. This is a part of the process that varies from individual to individual based upon the relationship and the knowledge and lessons involved in that relationship.

Spirit Guides

Everyone has spirit guides. Everyone. Building a relationship with your guides can take years; that was my own experience. Where some may speak to a guide or guides clearly from a young age, I spent years trying to connect with mine. I learned about spirit guides at a young age, reading books by psychic mediums. I wanted to know my own guide, but I was afraid. 

Fear of the unknown is the number one obstacle to building a connection with our guides.

I finally began to connect once I moved past the fear and other obstacles, which I share here Connecting to Your Spirit Guides. I spent time meditating, notebook at my side, ready to jot down any bit of information I could gather. I did finally gather their names, and connected with them deeply, and then the most wild thing happened…

They left. 

Connecting with my guides as deeply as I finally was able to, it was as if I had learned an important skill, and for that had then leveled up, and was being offered a new path. Some time passed before I realized I was receiving information from a new source, and I wasn’t immediately informed that my guides had changed. I knew something had changed, that I had done something important. I was shown a celebration, but I didn’t understand until much later what had actually taken place.

Your Guides Can Change

It’s like a changing of the guard; we are never left, and never left alone. We may have the same guides for the entirety of our lives, or some may leave while others stay, or some may leave and new guides come in. As we experience life, learn and grow, as we awaken; our needs may change, and with those changes sometimes comes a shift in our guidance.

Our Many Selves

Highest Self

Your highest self is the spirit version of you. A portion of your spirit intertwined with the body during gestation, and integrated with the mind and body. Our highest self is who we are, also known as our Soul, or The Observer; though it is so much more than an observer.

Our highest self is loving, non-judgemental, and infinitely intelligent; containing the entire scope of our lived life experiences and the infinite knowledge of the universe. We are our higher selves in human form, and the more in tune we are with them, the more sacred and rewarding our life experiences are. 

I’ve only seen my own higher self once, she came to me during a time when I was meditating daily and actively seeking positivity in my life. Her visitation was a confirmation that I was on the right path. She brought me gifts of confidence and immense love. I have, since then developed my relationship with her, ummm… myself. She is me and I am her.

There is no separation between yourself and your higher self. You are your higher self.

Future Self

In this incarnation or in another, more knowledgeable versions of ourselves can come forward and assist us with our difficulties and help to relay needed information or support. If you have ever done an Inner Child meditation, and in your mind gone back to your childhood self to comfort the younger version of yourself, this is what you are doing; you are visiting the younger version of yourself to offer love, comfort, or knowledge.  

This is no small practice. Though it is generally rather easy, and seems as if it may be insignificant, it is incredibly powerful and can be life-changing.

Past Self

Our younger selves can come forward to assist us but more often than our younger selves, versions of ourselves from past lives can come forward to bring us information that is important to our current life’s path. This is similar to a past life regression except that during this experience, the past incarnation of ourselves speaks to us; gives us information they have learned, potentially the hard way, and they want to help us make a better choice in this life than we have in the past. This isn’t to prevent the lesson, but to further solidify it for us. 

When this occurs, we may not understand immediately that this is a version of our own spirit. When this occurred for me, I thought it was a spirit that had come forward, and didn’t realize it was a version of myself until later, when my guides explained it to me.

Spirit Guides

You have one primary guide, though you may have others that are consistently present; one is assigned as your primary guide. Your spirit guide is a spirit being who has lived many lives, many of which have given them specific life experiences that align with your life experiences, lessons, gifts, and purpose in the current life they guide you through. In each incarnation we have different spirit guides with a specific set of skills to help us along our particular journey.

Though they are, in a way, assigned to us, they choose us and we choose them. No soul is ever made to work with a soul they do not feel aligned with. 

Spirit guides are pleased to be sought after. They love to have our attention and love us unconditionally. They’ve been in the tough spots we find ourselves in, have similar personalities to ours, they have suffered through similar lessons, and they have experienced life to its absolute fullest in both difficulty and ecstatic beauty and joy. Their entire purpose is to lovingly guide us through life.

Spirit Ancestors

Our ancestors, past loved ones whether we know them in this current life or not, and our spirit family can all participate in our lives; offering their wisdom, especially how it relates to our familial purpose and healing of karmic patterns. 

I was introduced to this concept early in my spiritual awakening, and became aware that my grandfather from this life, who has passed, was a constant presence as an elder and mentor in many of my past lives. Much of the family we are close to in our present lives are our spirit family, as are some of our friends, lovers, and even some acquaintances. 

Ancestors are by far the most powerful guides in our lives when healing familial trauma and trauma in general. Healing these wounds brings healing to familial lines through generations, and can serve to release energetic blocks to love, understanding, commitment, financial abundance, and health; depending on the karmic circumstances.

Spirit Animals

We all have spirit animals and even past pets that visit or remain with us. Spirit animals are the animal embodiment of traits that serve us in our lifetimes. These can remain with us throughout our lives, or visit us just when we need them, depending on their purpose and how it aligns with our own purpose.

If you’re going through a time of great transformation, a deer may cross your path, or a snake, or you may have an animal you feel connected to for some reason that feels unknown to you, these are spirit animals.

Though they can be fierce, like the tiger, for instance, they contain the purest of energies. Recognizing, connecting with, and embodying the traits of this animal may help to ease your path, and bring a deeper understanding of yourself and your purpose in life. 


There are a large number of different kinds of angels. Angels are celestial beings with the highest of purposes, directly related to helping humanity. There are so many different kinds of angels, that entire books could, and have been, written about them. 

Many people experience angel visitation throughout their lives, whether they are aware of them or not. Angels may come into our lives when we need them for a specific purpose, or can be dedicated guides throughout our lives depending on our particular life’s purpose. 

Angels love to be called for guidance and assistance. To call upon the angels requires only that we ask. No specific name must be mentioned. The Universe, in its infinite knowledge, aligns your needs with the appropriate celestial being to assist you. 

Other Beings

Other beings exist as guides such as deities or Ascended Masters. I’ve also seen other types of guides spoken about that I don’t personally align with. This doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Whether they do or not, they are not, at least at this time, within my scope of understanding or need to understand. 

Some others have been presented to me by my guides, but I don’t work with them directly.

Connecting with spirit guides, in whatever form, brings great healing to our lives. Their purpose is to help us, to guide us to our best selves through very important lessons. and gifts, and with more love than we can fathom.  

Channeled Message

When I asked my own guides what the most important information I could share about spirit guides is, they said this:

You are never alone. We are always with you, whether you feel us, see us, see the signs, or don’t. You are always worthy of us, and we always love you absolutely unconditionally. We know who you are, where you are, why you are, and at all times. Whenever you feel alone, call on us, and know that we are always with you. 

You are never alone.

Connecting with our spirit guides is the beginning of a beautiful relationship that opens us up to a new understanding of our lives, our paths, and our purpose. 

Do you connect with any of these guides? I hope that if you don’t, you will try to, and that it transforms your life in beautiful ways.

Powerful Spiritual Tools to Help You Overcome the Dark Night of the Soul

The dark night of the soul can be difficult, intense, and even painful. Finding our way through with some sense of ease and peace can be a challenge. Maintaining a spiritual practice can bring depth of understanding, patience, and purpose to your dark night experience.

The Dark Night of the Soul

The dark night of the soul can be as ominous an experience as it sounds. When our minds are dark, it’s tough; but when our soul feels dark, it can be unbearably painful. The good news is our souls are never hopeless or helpless, and we truly have everything we need to succeed in life, if we can manage to tap into our higher selves.


How to Know if You Are in the Dark Night of the Soul

Navigating the Dark Night of the Soul

Daily Routine

I lost all sense of my daily routine when I entered the Dark Night of the Soul. Nothing was the same, and when everything shifted, so did my daily routine. This was particularly difficult for me; my brain doesn’t function well without a routine, and a change in routine was, at that time, brutal for me.

Building a new routine that worked for me was a struggle; it’s truly, at least in part, why the Dark Night of the Soul is so difficult. I felt lost to my purpose. Deciding what to spend my time doing felt chaotic and impossible. I was trying to move away from the corporate world and had somehow found the opportunity to build a new life for myself. I had no idea what that looked like, or what I even wanted it to look like.

My normal inspiration and enthusiasm about life and new projects, work and creating, were not only depleted; they were just gone.

Try to build a daily routine when you have no idea what direction you are headed. I felt like a squirrel standing in the road, facing an oncoming car. I had to choose a direction or I felt I would be smooshed. I was just standing there, in the road, facing the headlights, in absolute horror of what might happen next. So, I did the only thing I knew I could do.

I drank a glass of water and I made a list.

The Basics

  • Wake the same time each day.
  • Make the bed. 
  • Minimal (at least) self care: brush teeth, wash face, moisturize, etc. 
  • Feed the dog, take him outside. 
  • Drink water.
  • Make coffee.
  • I scheduled meals so that I would not only remember to eat, but not snack all day, and remain on some sort of schedule. 
  • Drink some more water. 
  • Every day I scheduled some sort of activity; a walk in the woods, taking the dog to the park, calling my sister, trying to write or sketch, doing the food shopping, or getting some form of exercise. 
  • Nights were the same as the morning, but in reverse; wash face, brush teeth, get into bed and sleep at a decent hour. At least, when I could sleep.

My daily routine was interrupted all of the time. I worked through illnesses and an injury that for months made physical activity difficult. It wasn’t until I renewed my spiritual practice that I began to make sense of the absolute need for rest, or anything else for that matter.

Finding My Way Back to a Spiritual Practice

When I ignored my spiritual practice after wading into the depths of the dark night of the soul, my journey became confusing, and painful. I lost all sense of purpose. Having a daily routine and a spiritual practice gave me back a sense of purpose, which also served to bring me hope. 

Hope is a shining beacon and easier to find during the dark night if we maintain a routine and spiritual practice.

Seeing a transpersonal therapist who was also an ayurvedic coach helped me find my way back to my spiritual practice. Her recommendations for what were basically homework assignments were simple things that helped me find my way back to some sense of purpose. 

I still had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I at least found a way to bring purpose in my daily life. These are some of the things she suggested, and others I was intuitively guided to during my Dark Night experience that brought me back to life, however slowly. 

Spiritual Tools

Please note: these are tools that I used to find my way and suggestions to help you build your own regular practice. This is not a How To guide for yoga or meditation. Learning the origin, the purpose, and the usefulness of these tools should be part of your experience. Without doing so, you may risk misuse, misunderstanding, and misappropriation. Each tool used in your practice should be sacred to you.

  • Yoga 

I had read The Yoga Sutras years before. I purchased a thrifted copy and began reading every night before bed. I pulled out my dusty yoga mat and committed to just 10 minutes of gentle yoga each night before bed.

  • Abhyanga 

Abhyanga is the ayurvedic practice of self-massage. Self-massage is soothing and relieves stress; it calms the nervous system, and it’s very grounding. All of these attributes helped bring me back into my body, which helped me to feel more balanced and brought a sense of empowerment I had been missing.  

  • Nature 

Walking in nature is grounding and healing. Whether or not you believe the earth is a sentient being, there is no doubt that it provides cleansing and healing energy. Walking in nature, putting our feet in the dirt, or a stream, or the ocean all provide a sense of groundedness and wellbeing. 

When the weather was terrible or I was feeling unmotivated, I would go outside and put my feet in the grass or dirt. 

  • Sound 

The energetic vibrations of sound can not only be soothing but also healing. I was once in a yoga class that had a focus on sound healing. At the end of the class the instructor walked slowly around the room with a large hand-drum. As she walked by me, she struck the drum. I felt the vibrations, and suddenly the pain I was experiencing in my back immediately subsided. 

I eventually invested in some good headphones, but prior to that I just used the speaker on my phone and sometimes earbuds to stream soothing music or binaural beats. There is a great deal of free music available on YouTube. Often sleep music and meditation music will steam for hours without commercial interruption.

  • Sleep 

I found, during the Dark Night, that sleep is very much a spiritual practice. Sleep is regenerating, it allows the subconscious to work out some of the issues we may be struggling with, and it’s healing for the body, and for the mind. Sometimes I struggled to sleep, and when this happened I would rely on another practice to relax and try to rest. 

  • Breathwork 

Breath-work always intimidated me until I eventually realized it was something I had always done without realizing. Breath-work is an accessible and free tool to calm the nervous system, calm the mind, connect with spirit, bring clarity, and contribute to overall well being. I used several methods, from breath retention, box breathing, and alternate nostril breathing, to more complex guided breathwork. 

  • Meditation

 Meditation was a practice that I came back to slowly after intense mystical experiences occurred early in my awakening journey. I was more uncomfortable with meditation than any other practice. When I finally found my way back to it, I was cautious and slow. It wasn’t until I relaxed and opened up to the experience of it that I was able to fully commit to a regular meditation practice again. 

I started slowly and I used a free app to use guided meditations. This felt safe and allowed me to slowly find my way back to a regular meditation practice. Eventually I was meditating twice a day and for an hour each session. Finding my way back to meditation was the single most effective and healing practice I have used to navigate the Dark Night of the Soul. 

Even just a few minutes of quiet focus can help you settle deep into yourself, and find your way to your inner guidance. Here is a one minute meditation to help you get started:

One Minute Meditation

  • Journaling 

As a daily practice, journaling brought clarity and connection with my higher self and my spirit guidance. I began to journal each morning and sometimes also at night. Wherever I had confusion and frustration, writing everything out and then revisiting the journals later gave me a clear view of my progress, helped to bring meaning to my experiences, and brought immense clarity. 

  • Prayer 

I am not a religious person. I have studied different religions and I have attended services of many different types of religious organizations, but I never found an intense connection to any particular religion, only to the knowing that there was something bigger than myself. I never needed to know what that was. I have been and often still am offended by the vicious and violent actions perpetrated in the name of religion. It just isn’t for me. 

Prayer wasn’t something I did often. It was an important stepping stone to help me understand what I was feeling and what I needed. I found that when I learned how to talk with the Universe, I felt more empowered. Rather than asking for help, I was having a conversation about how things were going and what I thought that all meant. 

And, I sometimes asked for help.

I was just having a conversation with infinite intelligence. With infinite love. And that was who and what I prayed to.

Keeping Commitments

Keeping the smallest commitment to myself helped me to build trust in myself, whether it was waking up at the same time every day, practicing 5 minutes of yoga, or going for a walk; and I began to trust myself and to know that I would, eventually, find my way back to the light.

Most of these tools require no purchase of any kind. You can, if you have the means and the desire, go out and spend thousands of dollars on supplies, books, and retreats, but none of that is necessary to complete this journey successfully.

A daily routine and a daily spiritual practice brought peace back into my life. I was still confused, lacking stability, and overall had no idea where I was going in any aspect of my life. I had a deep knowing that something important was happening, that I was healing things I couldn’t even grasp, and as I relaxed into it, embraced the darkness of the unknown. I began to slowly see that I was transforming. 

How to Navigating the Dark Night of the Soul

A quick guide to help you recognize, manage, and recover from the seemingly treacherous Dark Night of the Soul.

The Dark Night of the Soul is a time of deep reflection, trauma processing, karmic shifting, and intense healing. Understanding what it is, and how to navigate it can ease the pain of transformation.

You can learn more here: What is the Dark Night of the Soul?

The Dark Night of the Soul cannot be avoided and it cannot be rushed, but there are things that can help ease the process. 

The Dark Night of the Soul is a sort of lull following an initial storm created by any number of life altering experiences, and offers us the seclusion and solitude we need to process the changes, the triggers those changes have ignited, and gifts us an opportunity to deeply cleanse and heal ourselves so that we can go on to live more purposeful lives.

A starry forrest. The dark silhouette of a woman.

Resisting the Darkness

When we resist the Dark Night of the Soul and the changes it brings upon us, resent the time alone, when we receive the experience at its depths as if it is a punishment rather than the opposite, an opportunity for transformation; we lengthen the process and it becomes more painful. 

When I experienced the Dark Night of the Soul, I didn’t know that’s what was happening. I was confused and I was angry. I had done so many brave things to transform my life, and in my mind I wasn’t being lifted up, but instead, I was being punished. There wasn’t a solid bit of ground for me to stand upon, and I was bewildered. 

In my disgruntled confusion, I ignored my spiritual practices and I tried to be “normal”. I tried to stick to a routine; I started a business that just wouldn’t get off the ground no matter how hard I tried, and no matter what action I took, nothing inspired me anymore. I couldn’t seem to find motivation to do any of the things that usually inspire me. I had spent years creating what I thought I needed to free myself and begin a new life, but I just couldn’t seem to launch myself back into the goodness I knew life could be.

Embracing the Darkness

I felt lost and I felt alone. To make matters worse, I was exhausted all of the time, and much of the time I was in physical pain and had continual bouts of what seemed like a nasty cold that I just couldn’t get over. 

I was embarrassed that I seemed so defective as a person all of a sudden. I’d gone from a single mom who had nothing to achieving my dreams of finishing school and having a stable career, and a life I loved. I’d had a heart and mind filled with ambitions, and suddenly I faced an absolute inability to understand what I wanted out of life. I felt crazy, but I couldn’t pinpoint why. I certainly had depressive moments, but I wasn’t depressed.

I couldn’t explain it. 

I knew, deeply, that this was a spiritual experience, but I had no idea what was actually happening. 

When I finally found a transpersonal therapist, I was able to gain some insight as to what I may be experiencing, and I began to embrace the journey. From that point on, everything shifted. Life didn’t get easier, but just knowing that something important was happening, even if I didn’t understand it, helped me recommit to the experience. The process became easier.

I began to view the experience with curiosity, and that helped me let go of some of the fear.

Embracing the Dark Night of the Soul is the most powerful way to “speed up” the process. Though there is no rushing your healing, but resisting will delay the journey. 

Important note: If you feel physically or mentally unwell to the point that you feel you or someone else could be harmed, please seek medical attention. During my experience I saw both a therapist and a medical doctor to make certain I was healthy.

How to Cope

There are a number of things that helped me through this time, some more tangible than others. I found these the hard way, and usually stumbled onto something useful when I was at my wits end with my journey. 

  • Accept and embrace the journey. 

When I was able to let my guard down and accept what was happening, open my arms to it, my path got easier. Surrender is as easy, and as difficult, as allowing changes to happen within us, around us, and with the trust that all is well even when we are faced with difficulties. 

To accept and embrace the path, to commit and recommit to it, takes courage.

  • Trust yourself. 

You know what is best for you. When you get very quiet and honest with yourself, you will realize that you know the way.

  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable and get weird with it. 

The Dark Night of the Soul is uncomfortable. There is no nice way to put it; it’s just uncomfortable. Some weird things happened to me during this time; intuitively healing deep trauma, reliving memories I had completely buried, physical expressions of deep, uncomfortable emotions, crying and grieving, embodiment, spontaneous past life regressions, intense meditations, visions, and dreams. 

The Dark Night can be a wild ride when we relax into it. Give yourself permission to embrace the weirdness of it. 

  • Rest. A lot. 

We downplay how much rest we need and generally don’t get enough. A lot of us feel guilty when we rest; our culture has taught us to go go go all of the time. The Dark Night of the Soul is a healing journey that requires a lot of stillness and rest. 

There is so much more going on when we are still than we realize. Stillness and quiet help us connect to our higher selves more deeply, deliberately. Much of our guidance isn’t shouted at us from beyond, but rather arrives as a quiet, subtle, and deep knowing. Stillness invites answers to questions and guidance that we otherwise ignore or drown out with the hussle of our daily lives. Taking time to be still and quiet brings us to the guidance that is always there for us. 

  • Limit drugs and alcohol. 

I know, this is my least favorite one too. I love a beautiful cocktail, a smooth reposado, a deep, dark red glass of wine (or 3), but drugs and alcohol stir up the ego, and interfere with clarity. 

Anything we have used in the past to soothe ourselves can be viewed as a potential obstacle to clarity and growth. Leaving bad habits behind, or indulging in them less frequently will invite deeper transformation.

If there is one thing that is really important throughout this journey, it’s clarity.

  • Give up perfection. 

The ego needs you to follow rules, to strictly adhere to instructions, and to seek perfection. Go easy on yourself and do your best without judgment. Higher guidance does not need you to be anything other than you already are. 

Accepting yourself as you are without judgement is an important step in the process.

You are worthy, just as you are.

  • Cultivate a spiritual practice. 

When I was ignoring my spiritual practice, my life was painful. No joke. I ignored my spiritual practice because, honestly, I was afraid. I was afraid that things would get harder and I’d be less and less able to cope. My fear brought a delay that became painful both physically and mentally. 

I had to move forward. I slowly found my way back to daily spiritual practice.

Having a spiritual practice and using spiritual tools is a key to success in finding peace within the Dark Night of the Soul. 

Spiritual tools to help you create a spiritual practice.

Spiritual awakening is a long journey, and the Dark Night of the Soul is part of the awakening journey. When you’re led head-first into the Dark Night of the Soul, life gets weird. 

And difficult. 

There is no easy way out, but there can be ease in the process if we can embrace the experience, and commit ourselves to learning as much as we can about ourselves. If we honor the journey with commitment, with radical self-acceptance and compassion, remember that the journey is working for us and not against us, then we can find some peace and hope along the way. 

How to Know if You are in The Dark Night of the Soul

What the Dark Night of the Soul is, the signs that lead up to it, and how to navigate its sometimes treacherous waters to find the light in the darkness.

When I was experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul, I wasn’t sure that’s what was happening. I didn’t know anything about it, and although I felt entirely upside down, I still had flashes of absolute clarity, and I had trust that the light would shine on my life again. It wasn’t until I became completely exhausted by the constant illness, mental and emotional processing, nightmares, and ego battles that I began to research it. 

I spent much of my awakening experience avoiding research. I made this choice deliberately as a means to understand from a spiritual perspective what was taking place, and to define the experience for myself, by my own senses, intuition, and inner-guidance; to verify the experiences were all coming from my higher self and not from my unconscious mind. My inner guidance told me that this was a phase of my personal development, an awakening that would lead me to walk through the world differently.

I understood it to be a deep healing. 

 I chose to journal my experiences and to share them with a trusted person as a means to understand from a deeply personal perspective what was happening rather than read a lot of books, and do a lot of research. This is not the path for everyone. We are all different and we have different needs. What is happening to you is happening for you, and it is your experience to define and manage.

What is the Dark Night of the Soul?

The Dark Night of the Soul is a series of events that strip away the meaning we have given to our lives, and reveals to us our truest selves. Something greater than a midlife crisis, and deeper than depression, which takes us down a rocky and revealing path that often feels devastating while we are navigating it; the experience shines light through the haze in which we have been living. Though it can take time to see this with absolute clarity, and the process of stripping these ideals away can feel dark and depressing. 

During this experience we shed parts of our lives and parts of ourselves that are holding us back, though we may not realize in the moment what is happening; at least, I didn’t. Not with any real clarity.

What are the Catalysts of the Dark Night of the Soul?

The Dark Night of the Soul experience can be brought on by a number of catalysts. For me these were many and varied, including the loss of loved ones who passed away, ending friendships, and walking away from a career I’d spent years building, among other things. I was taking action in my own life to make changes, but I didn’t know where I was headed.

The actions I was taking seemed to be an invitation to the Universe to step in and reveal just what needed to shift for me to move forward to build my best possible life. Any and all of these things can be considered catalysts for the Dark Night of the Soul.

Really, anything that shakes our lives up and invites us to see where we can heal to live a bigger and better version of ourselves can introduce the Dark Night of the Soul.

If you’ve experienced one of these, some of these, or some other life-altering circumstance, you may then also experience the Dark Night of the Soul, and eventually a shift in consciousness. I experienced several of them. By the time I fully submerged into the depths of the Dark Night of the Soul, I had been wading through its shallows for a few years as the people and things I relied on for security slipped away from me.

The dark shadow of a woman against the backdrop of a starry night sky signifying the dark night of the soul.
The Dark Night of the Soul

Catalysts of the Dark Night of the Soul:

  • The end of important relationships, separation, or divorce.

The end of an important romantic relationship in my own life sent me deep and consistently into my previously on-again, off-again meditation practice, which gave me the inner stillness I needed to transform my life; though it was a long process, and many other significant experiences followed that initial step.

I also set boundaries with people that then fell away, and walked away from longtime friendships. I didn’t connect the dots at the time, but I was preparing for a big shift, and was being led into the Dark Night. 

  • The death of a loved one, or loved ones. 

Very important people in my life passed away within a short time of one another.  

  • A change of job or career.

After months and months of worry over a variety of issues that eventually began to interrupt my sleep, I finally left a much sought-after position in my field with a large media company. When I left that job for a new job, I unknowingly walked right into the same situation but magnified. I quit immediately, even though doing so was a hardship. Something in me knew that my life needed to change and my career path was part of that change. I chose, through nervous knots and anxiety, to bet on myself. 

  • A move to a new home, state, or town. 

Once I’d given up so much of my solid ground, it didn’t seem like I had anything to lose to relocate and completely start over. I moved to a different state and started my life over, and plummeted into the depths of the Dark Night of the Soul. 

  •  A shift in your current reality so dramatic it cannot be ignored. 

When I was making career changes, I was in an uncertain space and had given up my financial security. Just as I was grappling with what I had experienced, the choices I had made; the world was shut down by COVID. This increased existing societal tensions, and brought to a head many issues such as racial injustice, classism, and sexism. So many of us accepted the invitation to change during this time; leaving unfulfilling jobs and relationships. I’m not the only person who could sense this was going to be a dramatic, life-altering situation. For many, it has been. 

  • Near Death Experience, injury, sobriety, traumatic experience or other life altering circumstances. 

Any circumstance that forces us to see the uncomfortableness within which we have chosen to live can be a catalyst for change and an invitation into the Dark Night of the Soul.

When we are spinning through swift and drastic change, whether of our own choosing or not, there isn’t often a depth of clarity to understand that the destruction is bringing us to a better version of ourselves. Even if we deeply know that adversity fosters change, we can still find ourselves reeling, lost in the uncertainty and chaos of change. 

I knew something big was coming for months leading up to the changes that brought me to my own Dark Night of the Soul. If you’re one who pays attention to signs, you’ll see them too, they’re there for you. We always have guidance during these times, but we often tend to turn away from it. I shut down several times during my own experience, pulled back, and cocooned. I always came back, and I never lost my faith in something bigger than myself, whatever it may be.  

This may or may not be how it is for you, and know this: whatever your experience is, it isn’t wrong. Though it may feel like everything has gone wrong, things are actually going very right for you.

In my own experience I can determine several harbingers of change that came as a sort of siren song. And by that I mean the beautiful call into the darkness that seems dangerous and scary, but is, in hindsight, a beautiful journey of transformation.

The Harbingers of Change:

  • Feeling that there is a greater purpose for you. 

I spent years commuting to and from my corporate job. Often on my way home I would cry because I knew there was something that was off, but I didn’t know what it was. This, I thought, was all that I had worked for. I was climbing to the next rung of the ladder, but something was missing. I just didn’t know what it was. I knew I was worth more, somehow, but I had no idea how to find the missing piece. 

  • Seeing messages and signs. 

Most of my life I’ve practiced divination in some form or other; tarot, oracle, pendulum, regarding synchronicities and signs as gifts, even asking my own body and seeking answers through kinesthetics. As I felt signs throughout my day and in my dreams revealing something was coming, I relied more and more on oracle cards and received a constant and disconcerting message: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. 

Ugh. Well, that didn’t sound fun.

The most jarring message was a song that continually repeated. A song from an artist I was familiar with but not a song I’d heard, which is odd because it contains my first name; Jessica. I would be driving, in a store, at home; no matter where I was I would frequently, and disconcertingly, hear this song.

Jessica… wake up,” Regina Spektor would sing. 

I was far from comfortable and I knew something was coming.

  • Unexplained mystical experiences. 

Throughout the year that preceded my Dark Night experience, I realized many mystical signs during meditation and upon waking; mandalas, animals, symbols of all sorts, swirling colors, and often faces that would float in and out of my inner vision. I felt crazy, but I knew on a spiritual level something spectacular was happening for me. I did not realize at the time that it would catapult me into a complete and, though transformative, difficult couple of years of my life. 

When I did finally look up the Dark Night of the Soul, I could clearly see what I was dealing with, and the one piece of information that brought me the most comfort was that it would end.

This part will end, know that, and hang in there. 

And it will end, but you may think it’s over, and then think it’s over, and think it’s over as you slowly progress into your new life, only to find that you regress back into it. The experience cannot be rushed, but if we embrace it, and accept that it is the very set of aligned circumstances we need to transform our lives, it will be a much smoother process. 

There were many signs preceding my own Dark Night of the Soul, but at the time I had no idea what a Dark Night of the Soul was, and I had absolutely no idea what was about to occur in my life.

Understanding the signs can help to embrace the process. 

Signs You May be Walking Through the Dark Night of the Soul:

  • A sense of being far away from or questioning long-time spiritual beliefs. This is a spiritual experience.
  • A marked sense of aloneness and desolation. 
  • A deep sense of being stuck and not being able to find meaning and purpose. 
  • The things that were important seem not to be of interest anymore. 
  • A new interest in something completely unfamiliar or a renewed interest in something that has been buried. 
  • Deepened self-inquiry. 
  • An inability to decide what is wanted out of life. 
  • A sense that there is something more, but a confounding inability to grasp what that something is. 
  • Physical discomfort or unexplained illnesses. 
  • A seeming disappearance of signs and messages. Spiritual radio silence. 
  • An increased and often intense ego battle is introduced in which there is confusion as to whether something good is happening or something bad is happening. 
  • An intense lack of security, or solid ground. The discomfort of NOT knowing.
  • The feeling that your whole life has shifted or been destroyed.

If you feel physically or mentally unwell to the point that you feel you or someone else could be harmed, please seek medical attention. During my experience I saw both a therapist and a medical doctor to make certain I was healthy.

The Dark Night of the Soul experience is different for each person, but contains a series of similar structures and lessons. Because we are each so amazingly and incredibly different, what we learn and how we change is completely our own, but we can help each other out with the similarities that shine through our individual yet collective experiences.

The Dark Night of the Soul, to me, was the death of an old version of myself, and a preparation for renewal.

The most important lesson the Dark Night has taught me is that there is a deep need to find rest and reflection in our daily lives; without it we struggle to find our inner truth and purpose. Embracing the Dark Night of the Soul is the key to transformation and actualizing our truest selves. 

For more about how to cope and recover from the Dark Night of the Soul:

How to Navigate and Recover from the Dark Night of the Soul.

Spiritual Awakening: How to Avoid Setbacks and Find Support.

Spiritual Awakening: How to Avoid Setbacks and Find Support

If you are experiencing a spiritual awakening or a spiritual emergency, this advice will help to prevent you from derailing your journey of transformation. Finding the right help during this time is imperative to prevent setbacks.

What is a spiritual awakening?

A spiritual awakening is an awakening to your higher consciousness that shifts your life, sometimes drastically, and invites you into a new, more spiritual way of living. This process can take place over years or can erupt spontaneously, with varying degrees of severity. To learn more about my personal experience, see my previous post Breaking Down the Hidden Dangers of Spiritual Awakening.

A spiritual emergency occurs when an awakening experience contains symptoms that create a crisis. Living in the Western world, the types of mystical and spiritual experiences that have occurred all over the globe and for millennia, can be disturbing and cause experiencers to question reality, all they have been taught, and essentially everything about their lives. When experiencing a spiritual emergency, having a loving support system to allow them to experience the awakening symptoms safely and without judgment can bring healing and transformation.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

During my own awakening I experienced a spiritual emergency. I recovered with the support of my family. Once I regained equilibrium, I knew that I needed an expert to assist me. Other than my family, I relied on few different practitioners for assistance. I had good experiences, bad experiences, and one pretty ugly experience with a provider who was potentially dangerous in their practices.

Experiencing a spiritual awakening when you are not already immersed with a teacher of any kind can be very confusing and distressing. There are a number of resources that can help. I used everything I could find to help, including a therapist, a yoga therapist, and reached out to several yoga teachers. My experience has been that a rare few could understand what I was going through, though often they would not outwardly say so. This is when we must rely on our power of discernment.

We have tools to determine what we need. During spiritual awakening, and often after, intuition is heightened. We tend to know when someone isn’t being truthful, synchronicities will happen that are revealing, and sometimes even bigger signs appear. The trick is we have to listen to our inner guidance and trust ourselves.

Finding the right support can be a daunting task, wading through resources to find authentic practitioners as well as what is a good fit for our own situation. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the good until after I’d experienced the bad, and the ugly situations that sent me on a continued search. But, even those bad experiences teach us, and potentially provide resources that can be helpful. Those things that serve us, if we pay attention, can help us hold out until we find the support we need.

After an alarming spontaneous awakening that brought my ego up swinging, my whole life upended. I quickly and unexpectedly moved across several states, and my life was by most measures, in shambles. I had my small family and my pets, but all else had fallen away and I had not one other piece of solid ground to stand on. I had given up my career, my home, my friends; in an odd and unintended process, my whole life changed. Unbeknownst to me, I was about to take a giant step into the dark night of the soul.

I was far from understanding that was going to happen because I was still grappling with the spontaneous awakening and the events that unfolded during what was an intense two weeks following the initial sort of spiritual explosion.

The Bad

I was in a new house, in an unknown neighborhood, in an unknown city, still not unpacked; I searched the internet for a therapist, a yoga teacher, anyone who might understand and offer support. I reached out to a couple of yoga instructors, emailing a short description of what was happening to me, and asking specific questions. The responses I received back were less than welcoming and it was clear the instructors were not knowledgable about what was happening to me, through me.

I was perplexed by the lack of knowledge and understanding I received. Beyond that, it seemed that these instructors were uncomfortable with the topic altogether, when I thought they would be the experts. I was stuck between feeling what was transpiring was beautiful, a gift, and thinking that instead, maybe there was something wrong with me.

Feeling Lost

When I struggled to find assistance through yoga, which I had practiced sporadically throughout my life, I put my search on the back burner, deciding that the teacher that was meant for me would come to me. That was how The Universe worked, right? When we are struggling, we let go, and then the thing that we need comes to us? I’d heard enough Abraham Hicks to believe that was what I needed to do. Stop searching, trust, and receive.

But NOTHING HAPPENED! At least that’s how it felt. I was just there with all of my feelings, confusion, and mystical experiences, and I was honestly worried that I may be crazy. I became more anxious and more confused as the days went on, and I knew that I was beginning to gain clarity on some of the things I had experienced but I didn’t trust that I held the knowledge I needed to figure it all out.

Then, one night while on Instagram, I came across a yoga therapist at a new yoga studio near my home. The studio was inclusive, their mission was progressive, and this was a yoga therapist, something I didn’t even know existed. I thought I’d found my support system. So I emailed and we began communicating. I was relieved to know she had experienced an awakening herself. I scheduled a phone consultation appointment.

The Ugly

Mistake 1

During the consultation appointment, I completely trauma-dumped some of my experiences and she sat listening. I felt foolish and more than a little bonkers. I accepted service and I was offered two payment plans; pay by session or take a discount and pay all at once. Pay attention because this is where I made my first mistake: I was reacting to the relief of being offered support by someone who claimed to be knowledgable about awakening experiences, without taking a step back to evaluate and listen to my inner guidance, I paid in-full for several weeks of yoga therapy. There was to be an appointment in-person each week, and a check-in call once a week.

Mistake 2

At her request, I completed a deep-dive assessment, offering personal information about my family, my childhood, my religion, my diet, my sexuality, my sex life; a more thorough intake than you would complete for an actual therapist. She continually explained to me that she was not licensed as a therapist by choice, and only because there were situations, such as working with suicidal clients, where the regulations were too strict. I ate it up like pure sugar. I was just relieved to find help.

Mistake 3 (Ugh, I know and we aren’t even finished yet.)

When she offered her background and education, I looked the school up like the responsible person I am. The thing was, when I went to the website, I could see the school seemed legitimate, but when I clicked on one of the links to their additional school in India, it went to some gambling website in a completely different country. I assumed this was just an old website they had stopped maintaining, and didn’t ask about it. At this point I noticed the red flags, but I explained them away while also feeling uncertain about the services I had paid for.

Feeling uncomfortable about everything at that moment, I almost cancelled the services when she then contacted me to say my payment hadn’t gone through, and that it had been flagged as fraudulent. I paid through PayPal, which was legitimate and connected to an account with ample funds that I had maintained for several years. I contacted my bank and they warned me that this was not a situation I should continue with. I assumed (again with the assuming) that this was a mistake, and that things would iron themselves out.

Mistake 4 (If we’re all still counting.)

The problem, I didn’t realize until much later, wasn’t that I had been flagged as fraudulent. She had reversed the deposit of funds because they would take too long to process. She then cancelled the payment and requested I instead pay another way. I understood what she had done and how this had transpired only later, when I realized she had accidentally sent me the receipt of cancellation in an email, which had nothing to do with my account being flagged. By then, I had already paid her and felt like I had to continue forward.

The number of times my inner guidance led me away from this person is astounding, and it’s embarrassing that I didn’t follow it. I’m humiliated to share this with you, but I really wish someone had told me all of this.

I finally called it off.

My concerns were building, but I couldn’t get a scheduled appointment with her to discuss them. Every appointment we had was rescheduled by her. When I finally called it off, I was only four weeks into therapy, and the weekly sessions were not happening. There was an excuse each week. Some of them were long and personal, including details about her friend being abused, things that were triggering and uncomfortable for me. I felt like I was her therapist, roles reversed.

The one session I actually had at the studio, she told me the space was haunted, that it had bad vibes from previously being a church, and that it had also been broken into, describing damage to deity statues. My eyes were open to the clear indication she didn’t want to use the space. The information she continually provided was manipulative and I couldn’t figure out why she seemed to want to scare me away from the studio. She continually asked if we could do the sessions in my home, which she would then charge more for. It seemed she did everything she could to sabotage the “therapy” I had paid for.

From there, our conversations became strained and abusive. She lied, twisted my personal details, made me sound insane, and gaslighted me. I finally ended the relationship, after receiving only two sessions. A refund was denied to me even though she broke our agreement several times. My only recourse was to send the information to my attorneys.

I didn’t. I chose not to. I decided to let it go. She clearly wasn’t well, and shouldn’t have been teaching yoga of any kind, or practicing therapy in any form. What I decided was that taking money for services that hadn’t been provided isn’t ethical; it isn’t moral, and it’s illegal, but money is energy. When someone takes money from you, it comes back eventually. I knew that if I let it go, settled my heart, and moved on, the money would find its way back. I decided I would give her no more of my peace.

Clearly I was desperate to be understood and to understand what was happening to me. I was in a deep transformational phase, and I was grasping for help. I was at the end of my rope, and I was taken advantage of. I knew I was sane. I knew I was experiencing something special, something transformational, mystical, and I wanted to understand it. I was deflated. And I was humiliated.

Finally, the Good.

After a great deal of searching, I found a transpersonal therapist. A transpersonal therapist is a therapist that integrates spiritual beliefs into their therapy practice. I knew I wasn’t mentally ill. I knew that although I had trauma in my past, I had actively healed a lot of it throughout my life, and that I was experiencing something that was spiritual in nature. I needed validation and I needed guidance. I needed to feel inspired by what was happening to me rather than afraid of it.

The transpersonal therapist was able to help me, and quickly. From the first session she gave me practical and useful practices to help me regain my equilibrium and to empower me to understand and then to integrate the experiences I was having. She ruled out several mental illnesses, and her final opinion was that I was experiencing something mystical. In just a few sessions she was able to help me realize that I was in charge of my awakening, and I was able to begin my spiritual practices again.

How to find safe and supportive help during your spiritual awakening.

  • Do your research. Answer the Who, what, when, where, and why for the provider. Make certain you are comfortable with their certifications, philosophy, and ask a lot of questions. Anyone worth their salt will not mind offering their qualifications.
  • Pay attention to red flags. It can be easy to ignore the red flags when we feel confused and our lives have slipped topsy-turvy. It’s important to write down anything that is concerning you and ask about it, get whatever it is out in the open.
  • Trust the signs and your inner guidance. You can see from my bad experiences, I knew something wasn’t right. In the ugly experience, I saw the signs, but I put them away. This was costly for me, and I hope that you can avoid it by paying attention to the signs. Never ignore your inner guidance, especially when finding support for your healing journey.
  • Use your most powerful tool; discernment. You know what’s best for you. You know you and you know what you need, even if during your awakening you may sometimes feel confused or maybe even crazy.
  • Never pre-pay. You likely won’t get your money back. Anyone who is taking advantage of your situation isn’t likely going to be more considerate where the money is involved.
  • Pay attention to boundaries. If the support you are considering seems to cross boundaries, makes you feel uncomfortable, or blames you, you may be in the wrong company. From my own experience, the yoga therapist I was working with couldn’t make our first appointment because she lost her keys. Which she then blamed on my powerful energies. Yep.
  • Consistency is key. If it’s difficult to get a consistent and regular appointment, if the provider doesn’t seem to have themselves together, this is a clue that they may not possess the ability to be a support for you.

I received all the guidance I needed during my journey to find support. Some I listened to, and some I didn’t. Ignoring my inner guidance derailed me, but it taught me an important lesson in self-trust. No derailing of our journey is particularly useless; we always get where we need to go eventually. I could have saved myself some money, and a good chunk of time as well as some humiliation, but at the end, I was proud of how I handled myself.

I chose peace for myself, and I learned quickly that even though I’d come to a place in my life that was confusing and nothing like the life I had planned and created for myself, with all it’s predictability, and all it’s stability, I had something much greater, trust in myself.

The Beautiful

Finally, with the help of a transpersonal therapist, I was able to trust myself. I had been flailing for a year before I found some sense of stability and that stability was within me the entire time. Once I began to trust myself, I was able to move forward and better connect with my higher guidance. You are the expert; you contain infinite knowledge; you just have to trust yourself and trust the healing process. Essentially, that is what spiritual awakening is; it’s a healing journey. A beautiful though often difficult journey that will shower gifts along the path if we are brave enough to fully commit to it.

The Witch Curious

Why Letting Go is Terrible Advice

An Honest Guide to Help You Truly Heal Your Past

Stop taking the bad advice to “just let go already!” and actually move on from the past. One of the biggest challenges of personal growth is letting go the pain of the past. We hold onto people, places, events; and often struggle to let go.

Isn’t it terrible what we do to ourselves?

I stopped taking the bad advice to “just let go already!” and actually moved on from the past. If the beginning of a new year finds you reflecting on how to overcome obstacles in your life, and realizing that you’ve been working for years to let go of the same painful events, it’s time we talk about how to truly let go. 

Whether it’s other people or yourself telling you to let go, you’ve done the work, right? The cord-cutting, the releasing meditations, writing a letter to the person or people who have harmed you – whether you’ve sent it or not. All of this, and still there is this lingering issue. That’s me, or at least it has been. It was me until I learned the secret to truly moving on.The thing that bothers me most about these kinds of personal realizations is that they come to me when I’m not trying to do anything at all, and they are so subtle and so deeply true. Nothing can make us feel like we have wasted our time as much as spending months, or even years, trying to do something and then realizing we are actually working against ourselves.

This is what I’ve discovered about letting go, and how the very idea of trying to let go is just plain horrible advice.

Letting Go
Why is trying to let go bad advice? 

We can initially purge immediate feelings in a number of ways; writing, meditation, visualizing, vocalizing; that’s all very useful. But when feelings linger, and they will sometimes because that’s how we work, we release things over time as we grow into a deeper, richer understanding of our own experiences and our lives; they burrow into our being and they wail from time to time. Tell me you’ve been there too, driving in your car, when suddenly a song comes on that sparks a memory of loss, and it feels like an actual punch to the guts. Maybe for a minute you hold your breath you’re so affected by the experience.  But when the feelings return and we are shocked, we head back into release mode rather than reflection mode, and that is where we make a mistake. We focus on trying to get rid of a feeling rather than trying to understand what the feeling means. 

This is when it is more beneficial to focus our energies on the feelings, the why, and do practices that take us inward or are more general, rather than to the place of continually trying to consciously release the past. When focusing instead on the healing, we are able to evolve and we let go without even realizing we have done so. 

5 Practices to Help You Heal The Past
  • Talk about it. The best friends know that when a hurt is very deep, it can take a long time and a lot of talking to heal. It’s not immediate and it’s often cyclical. My sister is the person in my life who understands that even if I should be over something, it doesn’t mean I am. I can beat the hell out of a topic, and she always gives me grace. She lets me go on and on, and offers a gentle, loving perspective. If you don’t have someone who understands you or the situation in this way, talk to a therapist, a support group, a Facebook group, or tell your story to the internet. I love it when I see someone on TikTok purging a problem. They’re healing. I assure you, someone somewhere has had a similar situation, tie them up, and they will listen. Sometimes we just need to let it all out. And then let it all out again a couple of months later. 
  • If these are issues from your childhood, get a fresh journal and set about some deliberate inner child work. There are a huge number of methods to get into the little one that stays within us; it doesn’t matter how old we are, we can still heal childhood wounds. If you haven’t seen my post on inner child work, you can see it here: Healing Your Inner Child
  • Take responsibility for your part in a bad event or situation. Even when we are the ones who are wronged, there are often things we could have done to improve our situation; whether we stayed too long in an abusive situation, reacted to a bad situation when we could have stepped back and handled things differently, or if we are blaming someone else for something we had a part in; dealing with these feelings can bring a new and healing perspective. Taking responsibility for our part does not condone any abuse we have suffered at the hands of another; but it is useful to understand what our best self would have done in that situation. We are survivors, not victims. When we take a hard look at the situation, we can gain some of our power back. 
  • It’s ok to be angry. Feel anger when it comes up, and deal with it in a healthy way. Physicality is very helpful when processing anger. During a disempowering point in my life I became very angry. I ran so often and so far I could have been training for a marathon, but I was healing some very deep anger. Take a dance class, a kickboxing class, a spin class. Can’t afford too? Don’t worry, I couldn’t have either at that time in my life, that’s why I ran so much, and in bad shoes at that. No matter. Youtube solves that. There are some great dance, and workout videos. Even better, you can do it in your living room; let it all out. Scream, yell, get into it, and just let it all go. 
  • Do some shadow work. Here I am again with the suggestion of a clean journal set aside just for a specific purpose. The cheapo composition books work well for this as well. Shadow work helps us dig deep and understand how harm from the past lingers, and how it impacts our behavior. When the shadow is driving, we are not thriving. Pay attention to your triggers and write about them, why do you feel the way you do, and how do you express how you are feeling? For a solid and useful practice to identify the shadow self see my post: Discover the Secrets of the Shadow Self
Some Better Advice
  • You are the only person who truly knows how you feel. Trust yourself and your own guidance.  
  • Don’t force it. Healing will come with deeper understanding over time. Rushing the process is a disservice to growth. 
  • It’s ok if it’s taking what may seem like too long to let go. Visit the pain from time to time; just don’t unpack and live there. For instance, if someone you dearly love has died, it’s ok to decide to be sad on their birthday. 
  • It’s your journey, do what feels most healing to you. 
  • Go easy on yourself. There isn’t a set timeline for healing. Whether it’s childhood trauma, loss of an important relationship, job loss, or any other issue that is lingering; the pain of it is an invitation to grow and to heal

All in all, we are here on this life journey to grow and to learn, to truly and deeply experience life. Sometimes it may feel like too much, but the pain of loss eventually balances out, and we do move on. If you feel stuck in the mud and like letting go has been a futile struggle, don’t let go. Just say, I’m not going to let go, I’m going to experience every bit of this until I decide what it means to teach me. Focus on healing, focus on moving through life anyway. Eventually it will get easier. You’ll move forward. You may even look back one day and realize you’ve truly let go without even trying to. 

Breaking Down the Hidden Dangers of the Spiritual Awakening Process

What I wish I knew about spiritual awakening, how to recognize spiritual red flags, and helpful tips for easing past them.

You’ve found your way to this article, and maybe what drew you is a part of you that knows spiritual awakening is not all rainbows and states of bliss, or maybe it’s just general curiosity. Whatever the reason, the truth of it is this: 

Spiritual awakening can be a destructive and difficult process. 

I began to catch on to this idea well before I experienced a spontaneous awakening. There was a gradual awakening process that flowed over years of painful and traumatic experiences leading up to an intense spontaneous spiritual awakening. Oh, how I wish someone had told me what happens when we speed up the process. I did this by accident. I wasn’t trying to awaken. I had done a little Kundalini yoga sporadically throughout the years, but never as an attempt to achieve an awakening. I was seeking. What? I don’t know. I just knew there was something bigger than me and the life I was perpetually creating for myself and I wanted to know what it was. I wanted to know what it was that kept my hope alive when I didn’t have enough money, or when my partner left me, or when I experienced the deaths of several of my loved ones in a short span of time. How did I keep going? How did I still have the capacity for joy; how did I still believe I had purpose, even when I had no idea what it was? 

There was something bigger, some large unanswered question, and I wanted to know The Answer. 

Hidden Dangers of Spiritual Awakening

I’m amused now that I thought I could ever find The Answer because awakening is just a slow roll to a knowingness that awakens new questions. The more we learn, the more questions there are to ask. It’s a beautiful, infinite journey of growth.  

 Imagine my shock in discovering there wasn’t an end to the process. Awakening for me, as I looked back and realized this had been an ongoing process throughout my life, had been gradual, then intense, and then gradual again. Cycles with many themes and lessons that brought clarity. There is no finality of awakening in this human life, and there is no certificate at the end of difficult events, though each cycle that is completed truly does feel like a graduation. There is a slow dawning of truth that then opens up new questions. There are intense realizations, destruction of ideations, social and spiritual constructs; the frustration of not knowing, a burning of the fields and an embrace of new growth, new ideas, new paths before us, and a deep desire to share our experiences to help others. And so it continues, the path of the seeker, the student, the teacher.

My Awakening

And what happened to me? Or Through me? Or really, for me? When I say I had an awakening experience, what did I actually experience? I’ll share a couple of the thousands of things that occurred in my own intense and spontaneous spiritual explosion that followed years of loss, trauma, and healing. Some events were lovely, some were awful, and there were things that happened through me that I would never have believed could happen, but we will stay a bit on the lighter side for now. All of this was a shock to me, completely unknown and unstudied. I had no idea what was happening. 

I would slowly wake, each morning, seeing faces float in and out of my mind’s eye, and foggy colors when I meditated as well as symbols. I communicated more clearly with my loved ones who had passed than I ever had before. I saw things in the physical world more vividly, colors were brighter and more vibrant. I thought that I looked younger, my eyes clearer, that I was shorter. I thought I was growing shorter and then taller, when in actuality I remained the same height. I went through an intense purge, became very ill for several days, during this time of purging and illness, I processed through past life situations, healing issues with past loved ones pertaining to situations that had occurred while they were still living. I experienced excruciating physical and emotional pain.

Every insecurity I had was pulled out of me and laid before me as if I needed to perfect myself. That was what the goal was, right? Perfection? No. Not at all, but clearly somewhere within, I thought so. My own ego was monstrous during this time. I was my worst self. I felt as if I were naked and all of my worst traits were displayed on my skin in bright and legible sharpie, and I was my worst and harshest critic. I frightened my family and I constantly emotionally pummeled myself exhaustively and for days. 

Thankfully, I had the support of my sister and my daughter, who brought me down to earth and reminded me who I was while also honoring the experience as something mystical and important. They were my sort of awakening doulas, helping usher me into a new phase of my life. I later sought a transpersonal therapist to unpack some of these experiences, and turned to books and guided journals. There was a lot to unpack, in just two weeks, I felt like I had undergone years of intense therapy. I hung up the meditation for some time, out of fear, and it was months before I would have the courage to step back into my daily spiritual practices. 

I’m amused now that I thought I could ever find The Answer because awakening is just a slow roll to a knowingness that awakens new questions. The more we learn, the more questions there are to ask. It’s a beautiful, infinite journey of growth.  

The following are hidden dangers to be aware of in the spiritual awakening process and some helpful tips to keep in mind or put to use. We cannot avoid the pain of growth and knowledge, but we can avoid some of the traps that lead to a longer and more painful process. This is in no way an exhaustive list. These all relate to the number one obstacle in our understanding of who we truly are, where we come from, and what our purpose is: the ego. We are the cause of our own suffering. We are the cause of our healing. And we are all, every single one of us, in this together.

Red Flags

When any of these arise you need to check yourself. Giving in to any of these will pose the danger of delaying your process and creating unnecessary pain:

  • You think you are a perfect ENLIGHTENED being. There are many enlightenment rabbit holes. I assure you, if you feel you are fully enlightened, you have fallen down and learned much about one rabbit hole of the infinite number of rabbit holes we can fall into. We do not reach a fully enlightened state within a human body. The systems we are given are specifically designed to prevent this. Our Mind and Body are the veil, they keep us from remembering All, and our purpose here is to be limited and to seek. 
  • You think you are an angel, a demon, a deity, an alien, a god, and you are here to free, save, or destroy the human race. 
  • You think you are going to be wealthy, famous, young, fit, perfect, and all overnight. Any or all of these may be in the plan for you, but they won’t come without some sort of effort. Transformation is not just handed to us; we struggle with imperfections and have desires for a reason, and that reason is growth. 
  • You think you know the right way to true enlightenment and everyone else is wrong. 
  • You think you are possessed. 
  • You think you are dying. 
  • You think you have to follow a certain path, person, or organization, to find peace. 
  • You think you have to save the world or end the world. 
  • You feel fear. Fear is a sign you aren’t connected to the clarity of the process.

Great Big List of Tips to Ease the Process

  • When any red flag comes up, ask yourself what it relates to. I processed through so much in just two week’s time. It took months afterward to untangle the experiences to determine what they were teaching me. Some of my personal boogie men were vanity, insecurity, and personal power. 
  • Be humble. No true leader leads to empower themselves, but to empower others. The most impactful leaders serve others. 
  • The truth is usually subtle and not at all grandiose, but rather a quiet knowing.
  • What is true for you may not be true for others; and what is true for others may not be true for you. This does not make anyone wrong. 
  • Nothing is urgent. Spirit does not work in urgency. If no one is bleeding, there is no need to rush. 
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Understand there will be painful growth; loss, shifting of personal lives and beliefs; deep realizations and understandings; processing of trauma from this life and maybe from past lives, breaking old habits only to find there are others that then need to be broken. Any number of painful experiences can occur. Creating a new relationship with pain can ease the process.  
  • Realize you aren’t going to figure it all out and find out how to be ok with that. 
  • Get Curious. If you haven’t read about my shift in understanding of from frustration to curiosity you can read it here:
  • Continue your spiritual practices, and if they are too intense focus on grounding, salt baths, reading, walking, swimming, and other calm and less intense practices. 
  • Be discerning about the experts you listen to and more discerning about the experts you give your money to. Many of those who claim to be experts are grifters in disguise. I discovered this the hard way, and it cost me thousands of dollars. 
  • Trust your intuition, but first, learn to decipher what that is. See my previous post on deciphering intuition from ego here:
  • Have and rely on at least one person who knows and trusts you deeply and who you know and trust deeply. 
  • Seek a trusted professional. 
  • You are your own guru. I spent so many years seeking a guru, an expert, when all along I had access to infinite knowledge, I just had to understand how to access it. 
  • You do not have to travel to another country or go on a pilgrimage to experience an awakening. 
  • You are the light and you are the darkness. All that you experience is YOU.
  • If you are ever in a space where you feel you may harm yourself or someone else, reach out to emergency services immediately. 

If you have had some of these experiences or experienced something I haven’t touched on here, I would love to hear about it. Please make a comment below or send me an email. We are seekers, we are students and we are teachers. We are not enlightened beings to be placed on pedestals and worshiped, but rather beings seeking enlightenment, and sharing to help all of those on similar paths. Our purpose is to learn, and grow, and teach what we learn in whatever capacity is natural to us.

Awakening continues on and on, and though it isn’t always destructive and painful, it can be, but it balances out once we begin to flow with the process. There are patterns and cycles, and they are different for each one of us. Respecting ourselves, our own process, and the processes of others is paramount, as is not calling other people out when we think they have it all wrong. There are many levels of truth; what is true to us now is more solid and accurate than what may have been true to us in the past, and as we grow and learn what is true for us will change with new knowledge and understanding. We are all on our own path, not one more valid than another. 

Enjoy the mystery with curiosity and know you are complete. Be mindful of the potential dangers, but don’t dwell in fear on them. You are empowered. You are a sovereign being. Step into your full potential. 

The Empowering and Beautiful Practice of Healing Your Inner Child

I would roll my eyes any time I heard the term, “Heal your Inner Child,” when I began my healing journey in my 20’s. I couldn’t see past myself into the potential that I was more than my mind. What I didn’t realize, and wouldn’t for years, is that inner child healing is an unavoidable practice of spiritual awakening. 

We are more than our minds. 

Much more. We are complex beings, body, mind and spirit, and we contain an inner child that remains with us for the duration of our lives. Even though I thought it was silly, and I couldn’t really completely buy into it, I still tried an Inner Child meditation. I had at that point been practicing meditation for some time as a means to ease anxiety and help with a medical issue. The meditation part wasn’t hard for me, but picturing myself as a child and then interacting with her was pretty difficult. Still, I persisted and completed the meditation. And then became distracted by other things and didn’t do it again for a long time. 

I was reminded again of the Inner Child meditation sometime a decade later, and tried it again. It was easier this time, and I was able to imagine holding small me, and consoling her over no specific issue. I didn’t feel anything miraculous had taken place, but I was pleased with my progress. The process stepped back into my life again a few years later. I had never made it a regular practice, and still wasn’t really sure why it was helpful. 

And then…my therapist blew my mind with an unannounced winding back of my personal clock to my childhood with one question: What is the first memory you have of feeling unsafe?

Healing your inner child, inner child, personal development, self discovery, healing trauma, The Witch Curious

She walked me backwards through my life, and to the first memory I had of feeling unsafe. I was surprised during the calm, almost hypnosis of wending through my memories that one of my first memories of feeling unsafe was with the person I had in my life felt the most safe with, my grandmother. You have to understand, my grandmother was loving, calm, and took life on with humor and unmatched grace. Even still, on one singular occasion she happened to lose her cool with me, and I recalled this in the therapy session. I was three years old, my parents had just dropped me off at grandma’s, and I was not happy.

 I felt abandoned.

During this regression, I remembered how sad and abandoned I felt that long ago day in Los Angeles. I have always been incredibly sensitive. So sensitive that big emotions would almost seem to want to swallow me whole. So, little me threw a gigantic tantrum. I wailed and cried and just didn’t stop. My grandmother, beside herself, sat me in a chair in the dining room to invite me to calm down and stop crying. This was an excellent tactic, or would have been, if it had worked. It didn’t. I sat in the chair and just continued to carry on with all the impressive snotty-faced anguish of a sensitive three year old.

At some point, grandma had enough, and she spanked me. As a sensitive child, I felt this as violence. I didn’t understand what was happening, and I felt all of her frustrations as her hand met my denim-covered bottom, as if each swat brought her frustrations into me and further complicated the fear and alone-ness I was already feeling. 

At the time I remembered this, my grandma could not have a conversation with me about it due to a significant illness. If we had the conversation, she would have, I know, been open to it and would have apologized. I wasn’t upset with her; it was one instance over a lifetime of perfect grandma behavior. I didn’t need to forgive her; she had always cared for me, and with such sensitivity, that I didn’t feel I had anything to forgive. Even still, that moment had an impact on my life, and finding that memory helped me understand myself on a deeper level. Just imagining talking about this with my grandma and connecting to her love is, in itself, empowering.

I walked through the memory, mentally, with my therapist and I changed it. Grown me walked into the dining room, scooped little me up, brushed her hair out of her tear-soaked face, hugged her close, and said, “You are safe and I love you.”

This brings me to tears even now because the memory and the healing of it was so powerful for me, and it still makes me feel so loved. Truly loving ourselves requires that we love our child selves too. You see, I didn’t enter therapy to heal my inner child. I went because I needed a mental health check-in after breaking up with a person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and I wanted to explore that relationship. And I did, but then was brought to the choices I had made and how my unhealed parts participated in my love life. 

People who would never intentionally harm us can absolutely contribute to our future mental health in some way by simply acting poorly in one instant that impacts us until we heal the trauma of it. We inflict trauma on people without intending to or without even knowing we have done so. This is why this work is so important. Trauma has many layers and levels, some minor like a one-time spanking and more significant trauma of abuse patterns or narcissistic parenting. We all have childhood trauma.

If you are feeling inspired to embrace your inner child, here are seven methods to help you heal your inner child and create a more empowered and satisfying life. 


Do I sound like a broken record? Yeah. I will always put therapy at the beginning of the list when it comes to healing and personal development. Retrieving and healing a memory from one spanking is something I did with a therapist, but could have done by myself without negatively impacting my mental health. I was in a solid mental space. I had no animosity toward my grandmother, and it was one incident. If there is trauma in your childhood that supersedes your feeling of safety in walking through it alone, please seek a trained professional to help you process and heal. I have plenty of that, too. I’ve been there, and seeking a professional can make the process so much more palatable.

A trained professional will be able to more adeptly help you identify what  experiences may impact your current life, and will be able to help you process them in a way that helps you feel safe as well as offer tools for coping when processing trauma if it leaves you feeling open and raw.  

Inner Child Meditation

This is, in my mind, the most beautiful of the practices. The love I felt for my little self when I walked through my memories was an experience that now feels so real to me, as if I am actually going back in time to heal the entire situation as I am healing myself. The love I have for myself increases exponentially after using this practice. This may take some time to get the hang of, so don’t give up on it if you struggle to connect immediately. 

To practice the Inner Child meditation, make yourself comfortable, and begin a meditation as you normally would. Imagine yourself as you are now, and then slowly walk yourself backwards through your lifetime. See yourself as you were a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, and then regress through to find events in your life that have made you feel unsafe. When I practice these types of visualizations, I will often speak out loud about what I am experiencing. I find this to be helpful in processing and remembering the experience. 

Massage Therapy

During a particularly difficult spiritual awakening, I was referred to a massage therapist that practices lymphatic drainage, and Reiki as well as other modalities. One particularly intense session, as I lay on the table, tears began streaming down both sides of my face. I was unaware what I was releasing, but in my mind I could hear a small child frantically crying over and over, “I’m not bad!” 

The small child repeated the phrase in urgency and panic, in my mind. After a few minutes it dawned on me that I was hearing myself as a small child. It was my tiny scared voice I was hearing. I have no idea to this day what memory I was releasing. Obviously some early punishment of some type where I was made to feel like I was bad. I recalled the inner child work I’d previously done, and I imagined picking up little me, calming her, loving her, and telling her she was safe, while we cried together.

Body work is miraculous because unhealed emotions and trauma remain in our bodies. 

Dress like your inner child

Inner child work doesn’t have to be stressful. Do the thing younger you would have loved; but the silly socks, roll your pant legs up; wear the colorful shoes, color your hair or pierce your nose, wear the fraggle rock or the sky dancers t-shirt. Any action that brings out the child in you through healthy expression. 


Invite your childhood joy and innocence back with play. Go for a nature walk, play in the river, dance around your living room, build a blanket fort, finger paint, play with your children or children you are close with at a playground and actually play, swing at your local park; buy the video game you wanted when you were a kid and didn’t have, or the toy, join a fun-fitness class that focuses on playfulness as much as fitness. 

Make a day of it! Have cake for breakfast, paint pottery or go roller skating; have the lunch 7 year old you would have wanted, sit under a tree and read a book, have waffles for dinner, stay up extra late and watch your favorite childhood movies. It’s your play day, do what your inner child would be excited about. 

One snowy night, when neither of my children were home, I got home from work and had to shovel the drive. When I entered the backyard, as I was finishing up, the dog got the zoomies. I stayed outside in the dark, throwing snowballs for the dog to chase and making a snowman. I’m certain this made 7 year old me so very happy. Play can be very healing, especially if as children we carried a lot of responsibility or were particularly serious

Favorite Childhood Media

Watch a television show you loved when you were a kid or listen to a song you loved. Explore how it makes you feel now and why it makes you feel that way. This is an excellent practice to repeat over time and journal about. 

Talk to Your Inner Child

Ask your inner child questions as journal prompts and then answer them, either immediately or after meditation. 

Say I Love You as a Practice

Place your favorite picture of little you on the bathroom mirror and regularly tell them (you) that you love them (yourself). 

Healing our inner child is some of the most healing and impactful work we can do, clearing blockages, easing pain, making sense of patterns, empowering us, transforming our lives. This kind of work sends a vibrant thread of healing that stretches through the fabric of time, healing our lives. This healing thread goes beyond the thread of our own lives; healing ripples into the lives of others in our lives.  

It’s the closest thing to time travel. 

How To Befriend Your Ego With One Simple Question.

Have you ever been super judgy about something and then later realize, “Hey, wait. I actually do that too?”

Damnit. My ego hates when that happens.

Judgment clouds our inner compass. Our truest highest selves don’t judge, they don’t have to because they are knowing, and if we listen to our intuition rather than relying on judgment, we can surrender to trust in our highest selves. When we judge, the comfort of being right or better than the thing we are judging is sharply flipped to reveal our own truth. Our inner self gently nudges us from within and then we judge ourselves for judging. When we judge others or ourselves, we are entertaining a distraction from the opportunity to truly understand our own behaviors. Plain and simple, this is a denial response that delays our own growth and healing. 

Befriending the ego with one simple question. Witch Curious

When we find ourselves judging, this is an ego signal, and one that is very healing if instead of judging we were curious. Everything around us is a mirror of what is going on inside of us. The things that irritate us, turn us around, fill us with anxiety or butterflies, are all opportunities to address what is going on within us. 

When we befriend the ego and see it instead as a guide to help us along our healing journey, our work becomes much easier. 

A while ago I was driving my car, exiting the freeway. I stopped at a stop sign before turning right off of the freeway. A pedestrian was crossing. Not wanting to run them over, the natural thing to do is to remain stopped. The driver behind me could not see the pedestrian, so they honked their horn aggressively at me. I continued to wait for the pedestrian to cross, and took a slight bit of delight in knowing that the pedestrian would enter the view of the driver who would then see they were wrong to honk their horn at me, which is also ego, right? Just deciding someone is wrong, that’s all ego.  

And I have been that driver, the horn honking, I have important things to do, why don’t you drive better, driver. I’ve been that guy, so I know how it feels to honk your horn at someone and then slowly realize the person in front of you isn’t distracted, but the absolute opposite. I don’t honk my horn anymore unless I’m in potential danger. I don’t know about you, but nothing teaches me a lesson as well as embarrassment, really. 

This journey through judgment began, for me, years before impatient drivers (myself included). One dark and early morning, I was running with my partner at the time when suddenly, he tripped and cursed loudly. I stopped, looked back, and could see he was standing over a large tree branch that had been cut down and was laying on the sidewalk. He continued on, cursing the ignorance of the homeowners who left a branch to obstruct the sidewalk. I stood, feet planted, staring, wondering if it concerned him that he was going to wake the neighborhood with his rant.

As we began to run again, I quietly pointed out that we didn’t know who left the branch on the sidewalk; we didn’t know the owners of that house; and that for all we knew they could be ill or elderly, or for some reason unable to move the branch themselves. He considered it for a moment and conceded there could be something he didn’t know.

From these situations and several others, I came to a simple practice over time. Whenever anything annoys me, I ask myself one simple question: Could I be wrong?

Could I be wrong? 

Have you ever struggled with something and then when the solution comes to you, it’s so…simple? There is always something we don’t know. The guy honking behind me could be on day three of no sleep because his spouse is in the hospital; the person who cut me off in traffic may truly just not have seen me there, or how about that one time I got ghosted only to find the guy’s kid was in the hospital? Life is tough sometimes, and if we assume that people mean as well as we do, realize maybe there is something we don’t know, it’s much easier to reign in the judgment and realign with our higher self and purpose.

Judgment is our ego-self acting out, trying to protect us. If the Dalai Lama is right, and love is the absence of judgment, then it makes sense that if we can quell the judgment, bring it down just a little bit, then we will be that much closer to our truest selves. Our truest selves don’t judge, our truest selves only love. 

Could I be wrong? COULD I be wrong? The answer is almost always a resounding, “yes.”

My ego, my friend. I’m definitely not perfect, I still have moments where I find myself being judgy. The funny thing about that is accepting the imperfection is how we befriend the ego. Only the ego needles at our imperfections. Our highest selves love our imperfections. Accept your imperfections and when your inner voice is being decidedly judgmental, ask yourself…Could I be wrong?