The Beginning Of My Spiritual Journey
Ten months ago I embarked on a new journey, a Spiritual one (yes, capital letter and all). I didn’t know where this would lead me; I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing that I knew at that time was that I needed to do something differently. I was not feeling happy or fulfilled; something was missing.
For those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you a little bit about me. The abridged version, if you will. I am a 39-year-old woman, born and raised in Mexico City, living in Los Angeles, married, with three children: a boy (11) and two girls (8 and 5). I have food, I have clothes, a severe case of too many shoes (if that’s even possible), I have a beautiful home, both of my parents healthy, I have extended family that loves me, I have (lots) of friends. What was I missing then? Why did I still feel an emptiness inside of me?
The first time that I heard about the Spiritual Psychology program and The University of Santa Monica was about five years ago when I just moved to Los Angeles. “Yeah, it sounds amazing, but not for me.” I thought it was a combination of Kumbaya-Granola-Cult-y kind of program. Plus, it involved committing one whole weekend a month, my ultimate excuse that didn’t feel like an excuse. It wasn’t until I witnessed one of my best friend’s transformation that I started to get curious about it. Every time I talked to my friend Gaby and she talked about her experience at USM or just talked, period, I could sense something different about her. The interesting thing is that her essence didn’t change at all, she was still the same warm-hearted and good-vibed friend that she had always been, but there was this glow about her. This brightness. This clarity. This joy. I want that, I thought. But a part of me was still finding resistance. The certificate started in October and oh no, I forgot the deadline. Oh well, I guess it wasn’t for me after all. Little did I know that it was indeed for me. I received an email announcing that there would be a make-up class which will take place in November for all of those who were interested in taking the 10-month program. Shoot. What’s my excuse now? Reluctantly, I filled out the application and a few days later I got a call: “Congratulations, you’ve been accepted into the Soul-Centered Living I program”.
I have a Barbie complex. Please don’t laugh and don’t get me wrong. I don’t dye my hair platinum, nor I dress in bright colored short skirts. I don’t I want to look like a Barbie doll, and I certainly don’t look like one; but I’ve always wished that I could be everything: Barbie Doctor, Barbie Writer, Barbie Chef, Barbie Dancer, Barbie Actress, Barbie Fashion Designer, Barbie Stylist, Barbie Mommy. Those who know me know that I’ve tried. I’ve been in Fashion School, I’ve done a course in Make-up artistry, I hold a Certificate in Translation, I’ve studied International Affairs, Communication Science, English Literature, Jack Grapes’ Method Writing class (which I highly recommend, by the way). You name it. I’ve probably been to every School of Continuing Education website in the past 15 years, my mouth watering about what I will do next. So I guess the first thought that Diego, my husband, and everybody whom I told that I was planning on doing a Certificate in Spiritual Psychology was: “Oh, no, not again!”. And, quite honestly, a voice in my head (whom I fired earlier today) told me the same thing. Not. Again.
So here I was, doing a make-up weekend (this meant going to school from Wednesday to Sunday) of this Soul Centered Living “thing.” I entered a big room with approximately 100 persons (Friday night the rest of the class joined us, about another hundred): young, old, middle-aged, men and women from all races and from all over the world. A man that traveled 25 hours from Africa to be there. Wow. How I dared to complain about traffic coming from the Palisades to Santa Monica (for those of you not familiar with Los Angeles areas, it is a fifteen-minute drive). Oops. From the very first day, I could sense that this was a different environment from what I’ve been used to. I could feel a different energy. I could feel an energy. At that moment, I made two commitments with myself: one, that I would finish the program in its entirety; and two, that I would give my best, I would let it all out. In my new vocabulary: I would be vulnerable.
And, oh boy, if I was. I was very vulnerable. From that very first weekend and from then on, I didn’t hold back. I didn’t leave anything behind. I worked on issues that I didn’t even know I had. I worked and healed issues that I didn’t even know that were issues. I healed issues that had (notice the past tense, here) accompanied me almost my whole life. I healed myself through other people’s healing. I (re)discovered the strength of heart that I have. I learned to identify my triggers, to acknowledge them, and to let them go (work in progress). I learned (and, again, I am still learning) the real meaning of the word “ACCEPTANCE.” I found out that growth is a process, not an event. I found out that one cannot run out of tears in service for one’s healing. I learned the power of forgiveness and that to forgive or ask for forgiveness to others you have to forgive yourself first. The best thing of it all, I found my voice. Oh no, wait! I guess the other best thing I found was the people taking this journey with me. As I said before, people of all ages and upbringings, people that I seem not have anything in common with in the outside world, but that those differences dissolve when you recognize them in you. I realized that we come to this world for one thing: to learn and to grow. Well, I guess for two things, then. And all the problems, the triggers, the struggles, the upsets are here to teach us something. I am pretty sure that I haven’t found Nirvana, and I do not think that I am Enlightened either, but I certainly feel more open, more centered. Happier.
Of course, I found a lot of resistance and judgments along this ten-month journey. I found myself justifying my decision with friends that did not understand why I had enrolled the program. I found myself rolling my eyes when someone in class said something that I judged as corny or pretentious, or when someone raised his/her hand one too many times to share. For instance, I find (yes, present tense, find) myself hesitating to write this blog for fear of sounding “cult-y”. But now I understand that all of these judgments and resistances were (are) part of the journey, and I’m glad I cleared them up. And, yes, one weekend a month represents lots of sacrifices. It was hard for my family, for my children, for my husband (thank you, hon). I missed barbecues, school functions, birthday parties, soccer games, dinner parties, Mother’s Day, you name it! I missed many, many events, but you know what? It was worth it because everything that I’ve gained has impacted directly in my family and in every relationship in which I am involved (including the relationship with myself).
Oh, and I (finally) made peace with my “Barbie complex” and realized that if I like (so) many things, it only means that I am a creative person. Most importantly, I realized that, up until now, I wasn’t looking for a profession or a career, I was looking for a purpose. That is the main reason why I started this blog. Because I wanted to share -what I believe- is a gift, the gift of using words to express myself; to tell stories. I wanted to share with you through my writing my life, my thoughts, my struggles, my likes, my passions, my stories.
Lastly, I also learned that a Spiritual person could actually like Chanel and Isabel Marant because being Spiritual has nothing to do with that (so I will keep on sharing about those things, too). For me, to be Spiritual is to recognize that Love resides in every person (yes, in every person on this planet), but first, to recognize that Love in yourself.
I am grateful for you that are reading this right now because believe it or not, somehow, you’ve been part of this journey. Thank you.