Spirituality and Real Life are not mutually exclusive. You can intertwine the two to enrich your day-to-day life, and expand your consciousness.
I talked about mindfully following the breath in this post. The breath is the foundation. When life gets in the way – and it will – just come back to the breath. Maybe you’re wondering though, “how can breathing make me more spiritual?”
We are spiritual beings. We carry within the spark of Divine Creativity. But we also gotta pay the bills and get to work on time.
This division between so-called real life and spiritual life is a harsh one. Endless memes and jokes are made about those who follow a spiritual path. Usually making the spiritual person look flaky, or crazy. I might say that this is by design, but that’s for another blog post.
However, you’re here, so I’m going to guess you’re looking for some insight into things you’ve been experiencing.
You’re not crazy.
That’s right. The world is going through some serious shit right now, and it looks like it just might tear itself apart. I might say that this too, is by design. That is also for another blog post.
Right now, you just want some tools to help you navigate between the outer world’s needs and distractions, and the inner world’s messages and insights. Because I’ll bet that inner world is getting a whole lot more insistent. That’s why you’re here. Maybe you’ve seen and heard things all your life, maybe this is just the beginning for you.
Have you read some of those memes and blog posts and wondered if you were that flaky? You don’t feel like you’re any of those negative stereotypes. You manage your real life – bills, kids, school, job, but you see, or sense, or know, things at the most random times.
You dream, and then it comes true. You can tell when someone’s lying. You feel everyone else’s emotions exquisitely. You wish you had better control, or you wish you could turn it off. When you read about how people ‘manifest’ this, or ‘intuit’ that, do you wonder, how? Do you think they’re special? Do you think they have some uber-cool gift, and that sort of power is beyond you?
That is bullshit.
You are a Divine Spark. You carry part of Spirit within you, and you are a powerful, creative spiritual being.
I get it. It’s hard to keep that in mind when you have a bajillion other distractions. That ‘real life’ means you need to put food on the table, and a roof over your head, and get the kids to school on time. Instagram, selfies, that all-important status update.
But, I’m guessing, if you’re reading this, that you are looking for something.
So, I’m going to tell you a secret.
You will never, ever find it Out There. It is within you. It always has been. You just don’t want to believe it, because you find it so hard to believe in yourself. Because you’ve been told over and over and over again that you are worthless, that you are nothing, that you are just a sack of meat on a speck of dust spinning through an uncaring Universe.
That too, is bullshit.
Don’t take my word for it. Discover it for yourself. There’s the path, but you have to walk it. The bad news, there ain’t no shortcuts. Anyone who says different is likely trying to sell you something.
The good news. You are in control. You decide how far, how fast, and how much. Start slow. Walk away if you need to, and come back when you’re ready. I’m not the first to say this, but this is true:
It doesn’t matter if you trip and fall, it matters that you get back up.
How do I know? I’ve been that person. I have walked away from practicing. I’ve been forced away by life events, I’ve been too tired, too depressed, too lazy, too into Game of Thrones to want to go sit, and breathe, and meditate. I felt pretty guilty about it too, and not very spiritual.
Until I figured out, I do not have to spend 60 minutes morning and evening in silent, cross-legged contemplation. I mean, that’s nice, but really? Do you have time for that? Hell no. Grab that time when you can, and make it work for you. Do not wait for some magic, spa-like moment to grab your Zen and get spiritual.
You Are Spirit. You just need to look inward and find that spark. Practice in the in-between spaces and times, when you have just a few seconds to take a mindful breath or two. Why? Because Spirit is timeless, and Spirit is always listening. Spirit does not care if you only connect for a breath or two; only that you connect.
We get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that it’s easy to let spirituality slip to the side, if you even consider it for half a moment. Most people say they don’t have time to exercise, let alone the luxury of contemplating their own consciousness and place in the Universe.
Think you don’t have time to meditate? Think that spirituality is only something done on Sunday? Think again. You are a Divine Being in your own right. You carry within you a spark of Divine Creativity. You need to own that shit.
You can talk to Spirit at any time, in any place. The trick is, can you hear the answer? You can, I promise you. All it takes is a true desire and a willingness to open your heart to the answer. Want to know the best part? Spirit is infinitely patient. You do this work at your pace.
Obviously, the more diligently you work at any spiritual practice, the swifter and more dramatic your result will be. But – this is your journey. Take whatever time you need.
First, Naming. I use Spirit and Divine – I like the way they feel, and the positive emotions that come with them. You use whatever personal Name that you are comfortable with.
Next, Practice. To establish a personal connection to Spirit is not difficult. It only takes seconds, but it does take practice. No one ever got good at anything after one or two tries. So, practice, practice often. You’ll find it has all sorts of unexpected benefits – lowering blood pressure and stress hormones to name just two physical benefits. The spiritual payoff is immeasurable, and the joy of discovering those rewards is kinda the point.
Places to practice. Any place and time you have a few moments where you can pause, and take a few deep breaths. Closing your eyes, and twisting your legs into a lotus are not required. Need some ideas?
Doing the dishes.
Waiting to pick the kids up from school.
Waiting in line – anywhere.
In the shower.
Walking the dog.
Sitting at a red light.
Get creative. Let yourself play. Feel a little silly. Let all those negative thoughts, like “This can’t work!” wash through you. Don’t try and suppress them, just let them pass and keep practicing. You’ll find after time, your ego realizes it’s not silly, and stops sending them.
Does Spirit listen? All the time. Does Spirit answer? Yes. Practicing is how you learn to be able to hear that reply.
All You Gotta Do Is Breathe
So, what’s the first step? Easy, just breathe. Do it now.
How’d that feel? Was it fast, or slow? Where did the breath go in your body? Your upper chest? Your belly? Could you have taken in more air? Did it feel like a sip or a gulp?
Meditative practice starts with following the breath because it is a direct linkage to your subconscious brain. Unless you turn your attention to it, your autonomic nervous system works diligently night and day, pumping your blood, digesting your food, and working your lungs. By following your breath and consciously regulating it, you are sending signals back to the brain that are then passed on to the rest of the body.
And this is important because?
The autonomic nervous system controls ‘fight or flight’. It interprets everything you see and hear based on whether it’s a threat, or not, and then yells, “Battle Time!” or “Run Away!” causing your heart and lungs to work harder and faster, plus a whole bunch of other biologic reactions. Millions of years of evolution have made it a highly efficient survival system. It is not however, adapted for our modern world. The noises and stresses of normal urban life cause us to live in a state of near-constant readiness for battle or escape. The effects of this are clearly reflected in the near-epidemic levels of diseases such as high blood pressure.
Control the breath, and the message you’re sending to your brain is “We’re chill. No saber tooth tiger is about it eat us.” Your brain then tells your heart, organs and muscles to kick back and enjoy some downtime.
The more often you do this, the better it is for your body, and this has been supported through research.
How to Breathe.
It is literally our first action on the planet. You probably think you’re pretty good at it, since you’ve been breathing all your life. Think back to that In and Out breath earlier. Now, you’re going to do it again. This time, though, you’re going to do it mindfully.
Close your eyes.
Empty your lungs by pulling your belly towards your spine and letting it push the air out. Don’t force it, just exert a gentle pull.
Pause, count to three.
Inhale by pushing your belly outward. Imagine the air rushing down and filling your belly as it pushes out. Only after your belly is full, allow the air to fill the upper part of your chest.
I like to do a slow count of eight – count to four and fill the belly, count to eight and fill the chest.
Then, hold the breath. Feel it circulate through your body. Visualize it as swirls of energy, or streaming through the blood. Watch it flow and fill you.
Release the breath. Again, pull your belly toward your spine, and exhale slowly, with control. Empty your lungs completely.
Hold briefly with your lungs empty. Pay attention to how your body feels without the breath in it. Visualize the breath leaving your body. You might want to imagine it taking away things like stress, or pain, or worry.
Then repeat the cycle.
I like to use a count of eight for each portion of the cycle:
But use whatever count works best for you at that moment. If you’re sitting at a red light, maybe it’ll be a three-count for two breath cycles. If you’re in the shower, try an eight-count for ten cycles.
What matters is that you do it. A lot. In the bathroom for a few minutes? Seriously. Brushing your teeth? Waiting to order your chai latte or caramel macchiato? Take some breaths.
Here’s the catch. Come on! You knew there’d be one.
For each breath, think only about the breath. Nothing else. Focus entirely on that air moving in, through, and out of your body. Any thought that pops up, just let go of. And they will pop up.
“What should I make for dinner?”
“What did he mean by that text?”
“Should I binge Stranger Things or Oroville?”
Just let them go, and bring your focus back to your breath.
And practice. Did I mention how important it is to practice this? Do it when it feels weird, or clunky, or awkward. No one is looking at you funny. Just do it. You will get past that clunky, awkward stage.
Practice until it becomes second nature for you to mindfully breathe multiple times a day. Even if it’s just for one breath.
Pay attention to how you feel before, and after. Are your shoulders a little looser? Your belly less tense? What physical changes do you notice, but also, what mental changes do you notice? What effects do you notice the longer you practice?
Mindfulness, attention to breath, and attention to your responses will help you learn focus and concentration on your inner workings and energetic shifts. Messages from Spirit can come through loud and clear, like a bullhorn. More often though, they’re subtle. Learning to discern what is “you” from what is Spirit will be that much easier if you are already familiar with the ebbs and flows of your own energetic systems.
It just doesn’t work. I recently had this confirmed for me with stunning clarity while I was traveling in Rome. I was attacked by a very powerful male spirit while touring the summer home of the Pope. It was one of the most disturbing and powerful psychic attacks I’ve ever experienced.
Then, I got to talk about it on Coast to Coast AM. On October 27th, I called in for open lines. Dave Schrader was hosting, and said he wanted to hear “Your scariest paranormal experiences.” I got lucky, and got right through. Big thanks to Dave and the Coast to Coast team for taking my call!
I was hesitant at first, and a little nervous. Sure, it’s one thing to type away, and hit post on my blog. Quite another to have my voice instantly projected around the world. The enormity of it hit me, and I felt like I was stumbling, reaching for how to describe what I’d gone through. Then my Guides whispered in my ear, and I knew what I had to say.
It’s all about Love. Love really will overcome all, heal all, even if at times it doesn’t seem possible. It’s often a nasty, painful process, and holding onto Love is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. When you come out the other side though, you’ll see how far you’ve come, and how much you’ve grown.
We have the free will to accept it, or not. But Love is always the answer. Everyone needs to hear this right now. The time right now is crucial. This is why my Guides nudged me to get up and call when I heard Dave say the phone lines were open. Why I got through without any trouble. The world needs to hear, in as many voices, and languages, and ways possible, that Love is the answer.
The challenge is accepting that truth. It’s easy to say, “Love is the answer, Love wins” when the sun is shining, and life is rosy. Holding on to Love though, in your darkest moments, will be your biggest challenge. You may find though, that it’s also your greatest strength.
I’ve had some astral fights. Actual battles. Throwing energy bolts, shaping weapons and dueling it out. There’s definitely an empowering sense of accomplishment to it. You’ve just vanquished evil! Or have you?
In my experience, anything I’ve fought has come back at me again, at some point in time. I haven’t defeated anything. I’ve even had my battle energies absorbed, and make the being I’m confronting stronger. That’s generally not helpful.
But evil cannot stand before Love. When I switched my strategy to loving anything that came at me, I was far more successful. Instead of being drained and vulnerable after meeting up with some nasty astral being, I was filled with gentle, energizing warmth. And the “bad guy?” Gone, not a problem anymore.
I had always wondered though; just how effective would Love be against some really Big Baddie? I don’t run into much more than very angry dead people in Seattle. I do encounter nasty critters sometimes while out travelling astrally, but that’s rare. I tend to stick to the lighter astral planes, avoiding the darker, lower levels. I know there’s bigger baddies out there than I’ve run across, and so the question has crossed my mind more than once.
I was answered on my recent trip to Rome. Absolutely, unequivocally.
Castel Gandolfo is perched on the lip of dormant volcano. Until Pope Francis, the tiny hilltop community has been home to the Pope during the sweltering summer months. Pope Francis though has declined it’s use, and recently opened the palace and extensive gardens up for tours.
It was while wandering through this light, airy building, filled with paintings of past Popes, and some really spectacular antiques and paintings, that I was confronted by an angry male spirit. My Guides tell me it was a past Pope, but I was not given a name. He certainly considered himself of primary importance in the church. Swelling with righteous indignation he swirled around me, arrogant and commanding. “You don’t belong here. This is a holy place. You defile it! Witch! Evil!” And there was more, in increasingly rude and vile terms. Heat too; I was swamped in it. Yes, it was late summer, but we were above the hotter temperatures of Rome itself. The rooms were pleasantly cool, until sudden, thick heat swaddled me. Dark tentacles of negative energy wrapped around my auric field, probing, seeking to pierce through my shields to attach to my physical body.
A headache started to throb. I pulled out my selenite disc, holding the protective crystal to my solar plexus. The pressure of his hatred eased, pushed back by the cleansing crystal, but the headache continued to grow. He poked and tested at my shields as I walked, “Begone! Leave my home! I will not tolerate such foulness polluting my chambers!”
So we traded, back and forth. I would push him away, or he would back off, judging how next to strike. The full pressure of his aggression eased when I got out of the palace but the headache continued to grow. He followed me – sometimes closely, sometimes distantly – as we continued on our tours. Always there though, reaching with his tentacles of black energy, probing, testing.
Our last stop was the Catacombs. They don’t even know how many are buried there, and it was used by ancient Christians because it gave them a relatively safe space to gather that was outside the official city limits.
I heard the screaming before I got off the bus. I’d already told my husband I couldn’t go in. I wasn’t up for it. He wasn’t either, although for non-paranormal reasons, and we called for a car to take us back to the hotel.
Ordinarily I would ground and use the Earth’s energy to augment my shields and energies, but this path was closed, horribly so. The ground, even outside the Catacombs was saturated with death, grounding just tapped into the energy of all those souls.
Not helpful. All I could do was focus on holding my shields and expanding my heart chakra field so that it encompassed all of me. My Guides gave me their love and support, helping keep the physical symptoms at tolerable levels. The angry Pope’s malice was lost in the overwhelming energies of the Catacombs.
Finally, the driver arrived, and the heavily tainted energy receded as we sped away. The pressure against my shields eased, as did the headache and the nausea. By the time we reached the hotel, I was feeling much better. Enough to go out shopping around Rome with my husband through the late afternoon and evening.
All was fine until night fell. The headache and nausea crept back, and I started to feel dizzy as well. I realized that the angry male spirit, who I thought I’d shaken off, still lingered. It might have just been that it was night, but his energy levels were stronger, and he was relentless. Heavy black limbs struck again and again, wrapping around my shields and squeezing while trying to worm in toward my body. I was in an astral fight, struggling to look and act normal for my husband as we wandered the streets of Rome.
At times, I was able to override the physical sensations when I was able to hold my energies and shields at full capacity. But it was draining, holding my shields in that manner. Returning to the hotel, I lost sight of the angry Pope again in the general psychic noisiness of the old building. Exhausted, I immediately fell asleep. Only to bolt awake around 1:30 am. Crushing fear and anxiety had my thoughts racing and my heart pounding. Gradually it slowed, even as the consuming fear grew.
He wanted to kill me, he said so, over and over. He was the source of the fear. He was proud of the anguish he inflicted, grinning as he drove harsh waves of negative energy at me. The level of his power, and the depth of his anger – which to his thinking was fully justified – only confirmed what my Guides had already told me.
Away from the death-soaked grounds of the Catacombs however, I was able to ground, drawing the loving, healing energy of Mother Gaia up into my physical form. It washed through me, soothing, and energizing. I reached for my Guides, and was bathed in their loving support. I took it all in, and the darkness and fear fled from my being, shrinking from Love.
I offered Reiki to the Pope. I offered the Bridge of Light to help him cross over, and be healed of his hate and anger. I showed him the path. I filled the room with the loving energies from my heart chakra, from Mother Gaia, and my many astral allies. He hissed at me, and vanished completely. The nausea and dizziness from his attacks dissipated like mist in the sun. I was whole, and my heart filled with bliss, banishing any lingering shadows. “He’s truly gone this time.” My Guides whispered with absolute assurance. I slept peacefully then for the first time since leaving home.
You might never be in an astral fight, but at some point in your life, you are going to face Love and Fear. Probably more than once. Each time you choose Love, you heal yourself. Maybe just a little, maybe a whole lot at once, but the healing is real. Let yourself feel it.