How have I grown and developed spiritually?
Now there’s a question. Over this past month I have been examining the idea of spiritual growth for The Pagan Experience, what is it and how do we know when it happens?
What can I look at in my own life now that tells me I have grown and developed as a spiritual person? And how have I navigated the minefields and chaos that all too often precede a time of growth?
It is no coincidence that so many Deities who bring about spiritual growth are also associated with great upheaval and utter chaos. Sometimes the only way we can get out of a spiritual rut we’ve found ourselves in is by having our world turned inside out and upside down.
Over the past week or so I have been paying attention to the different ways other people define spiritual growth, and spiritual “enlightenment“.
- Spiritual people don’t worry about money.
- Spiritual people have no ego.
- Spiritual people are never angry.
- Spiritual people……
If I actually believed that these statements had any truth, no one, including me, would ever be deemed worthy of any kind of spiritual growth or development.
As I have said previously, we can only really know where we are now by looking at where we were.
5 years ago
I was severely depressed and frequently had urges to take as much money as I could out of the bank, buy a train ticket and just disappear. I wanted to escape in other words.
While I put on a happy front, I was very unhappy in my marriage and often felt frustrated and belittled, and not listened to.
My focus and self-worth depended upon someone else’s approval, approval that was often lacking or came with conditions.
3 years ago
The bottom fell out of my life. Because of circumstances otuside of my control I was in a situation where I had lost everything that identified me as me. I was living in our family home with no one for company except my dog. I had told my husband to move out several months earlier, my youngers children had been taken from me, and my eldest son wasn’t speaking to me.
I could no longer drive safely. I often felt suicidal. I could not leave home unless someone took me, couldn’t ride on public transport without panicking.
I was having anxiety and panic attacks several times a day and even went so far as to shut the front of house curtains and left them shut for about 6 months because I jumped every time someone walked by on the pavement.
I could not think about the future or even anything beyond getting through the current day.
I was at my absolute lowest, worse even than I had been immediately after my youngest son’s birth when I developed PTSD and post-natal depression. My every waking moment however was focused on doing what I had to do to get my children back home.
2 years ago
I had my children home again. My eldest son was speaking to me again. I had filed for divorce and after many delays (on the ex’s part) that was becoming finalised.
Our family home was lost as I could not make the mortgage payments and my son’s and I became homeless. Thankfully, we qualified for housing through the council, and we were able to be placed in temporary accommodations.
I was able to look towards the future again, had started therapy, and panic and anxiety attacks were minimised through medication.
After years of denial, I was able to finally recognise that the marriage I told others was fine and perfect in every way really wasn’t. I had been subjected to 15 years of gaslighting, manipulations, and emotional and mental abuses.
I had been considering doing work as a Soul Midwife and signed up for a distance learning course on Soul Midwifery.
I’m not the person I was 5 years ago, or 3 years ago or even 2 years ago.
I have a strong sense of purpose, and have even gone so far as to start a new healing
practice where I can work with and serve other women who are wanting to make positive choices and positive changes in their lives.
My children and I are still in temporary accommodations, and we are very grateful for it – we have a small self-contained flat which is our haven. They are both thriving as am I. One day our more permanent home will be there for us, but for now we are safe.
Best of all for me, I can now recognise when someone is trying to manipulate me, and I am able to stand up for myself and say – I love myself too much to tolerate that. Perhaps even better, I am not projecting an energy to abusers that tells them they can easily manipulate me.
I am in discussion with my GP about decreasing the medications I am taking for depression and anxiety – we both agree that it will be better to wait until we have longer hours of daylight. I will be ending my therapy sessions within a few weeks – my therapist and I are both agreed that I no longer need her.
Today I am truly happy and I am feeling positive about the future. Yes, I have worries – money worries, worries about the boys, and the rest. But these worries are not overwhelming and they do not leave me unable to function or with an urge to escape.
I still sometimes get angry, and am still practicing safe and appropriate ways of expressing that anger.
My ego is the strongest it has ever been in my life, and with that comes a better ability to recognise what my boundaries and limits are in life. I am better able to identify my emotional, mental, and physical needs, and take the steps necessary to meet those needs.
While the past 5 years of my life have been difficult, I can now look back and recognise that if not for that massive shake up and chaotic upheaval that I went through I would have still been dreadfully unhappy and fighting urges to escape from an abusive marriage (while at the same time not being able to recognise that it was abusive because I was not subjected to physical abuse).
While I would not want to ever go through any of that again, and I do sometimes wish that I and my children hadn’t had to go through it, I am also thankful for these events has it has led to me being where I am today.
And that, I think is perhaps the best kind of spiritual growth of all.