By ARIELLA SIEGEL
I’ve always been interested in spirituality, but it wasn’t until my life came crashing down about 6 years ago that I really threw myself into it full force. I had been stuck in an unhappy relationship, angry at the world, cut off from myself, and had decided there was no God, and most certainly no benevolent God who cared about me. When I decided to leave the relationship and change my life situation, I also opened myself up more to feeling and to finding things outside of myself that could help guide me in my choices and attitude.During my time of spiritual exploration, I got my hands on anything and everything I could in order to expand my mind and worldview. I did some of the most “woo woo” things I would have never considered even months previously: crystals, energy work, plant medicine, meditation workshops, buddhist breathing techniques, yoga retreats, Native American shaman healings, certifications and group gatherings and drum circles and mindfulness training. I spent a long time exploring what gave my life meaning, trying to find ways of organizing my life via various spiritual approaches.One of the approaches I encountered was positive thinking. Things like The Secret and the Law of Attraction had me wishing away the bad things in my life and focusing only on the positive. But I realized that this is really only a way of escaping my life, of not being authentic. Sometimes things in life suck, people are jerks and circumstances are less than ideal and the truly "spiritual" thing is to acknowledge that without getting stuck in it.I now subscribe to the school of practical spirituality, meaning I take what works for me and leave the rest, regardless of the framework. I don’t regret anything I’ve done, as it’s all brought me to the place I am now, one of acceptance (usually!), awareness and open-mindedness. I primarily feel positive about my life. But I also feel better when I actually acknowledge how I am feeling, rather than trying to wish it away with positive thoughts. My hope is that we can all be authentic with ourselves and where we are in life, always striving to improve and also to accept where we are at any given moment.
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