"I have been ignoring my spiritual self all my adult life, and suffering terribly as a consequence."
"I have been ignoring my spiritual self all my adult life, and suffering terribly as a consequence." Anonymous
Religion left the room some years ago in many of our schools, which possibly moved some of society even further away from being in touch with a side of ourselves that requires emotional nourishing. Though let me make it quite clear, this is not a post on religion per se, but rather on how we relate to the world and how we nourish that side of ourselves which is largely unseen. Some may call it our heart, others the soul, yet others bring no particular description at all, choosing to be accepting of the unknown, or the unseen as it unfolds.
My teaching is the undoing of the colonisation of what our worlds have 'force' onto us, taking us back to nature, finding our way back to our innate selves, as we peel off the layers of indoctrintation, to find our true sense, in a way that only we can personally resonate with, leaving opinions and judgements from others behind. Working with intrinsic talent patterns I’m quite aware that we are each utterly unique and, when we consider the four domains, we are taught the 34 talent patterns fall across these domains like a scatter plot so we can have some idea of how we gravitate towards some things, and move away from others and, with that, gain knowledge of our most dominate way of relating to the world.
This could be leading through thinking, doing, feeling, or influencing. My colleague Rob Fenlon likes to refer to these as the head, the hands, the heart, and the mouth when explaining to groups and I add to that by asking "is your language, when communicating with others, firstly by how you think, how you feel, what you do, or in how you influence?". In my Coaching I work with intrinsic wiring to enable a process where individuals can find themselves by going back to their natural wiring, their innate nature, and the core of their being. I want to allow individuals to recognise oftentimes we have not been able to be ourselves, or think for ourselves, due to the many linear systems, be this governments, education, and other institutions, that have inadvertently and perhaps, unintentionally, suppressing the beauty within each of us, as we have had to, whether we have realised this or not, conform to what other’s want us to be.
This suppression of our inner selves may manifests in a kind of suppression, what other might like to call depression, because we each have an innate desire to be our beautiful selves, yet may have put ourselves on hold in order to fit in. Searching for my own inner selve, I finished my Masters in Futures in December, matching my own intrinsic nature to my learning, as part of my own ‘becoming’ – in effect singing my own song back to myself to remind me of who I truly am. There was a pivotal moment where I felt this consciousness rising up, and I realised there was an anger welling up inside of myself, as I began to recognise and understand the years & years of suppression & judgement I had endured, simply for not conforming. I was a natural Systems Thinker in a linear world. I had to admit to myself that I've developed a very negative opinion over the years of who I am and I knew this had to change.
In many respects this had many opposites to a letter I read recently by an anonymous medical professional, a doctor, who all their lives had tried to conform. Yet there were many similarities between us, in that we were both not true to our inner selves. As a 60 year old medical professional they had come to a rude awakening: that they had been ignoring their spiritual self all their adult life, and suffering terribly as a consequence. Their vulnerability was in expressing what they referred to as “an even ruder shock”, realising upon finally discovering their spiritual self, exactly what they had been missing. A true gift in disguise.
I’m married to a linear thinker who has had life good, and easy life, in the sense that he fits in well with our worldly linear systems. He hasn’t like me, tried to stand out and go against the status quo. Sadly, he judged me for years in my effort to “not fit in, or you’ll never stand out” way of being, to the point that I began to think there was something horribly wrong with me, such was his lack of acceptance of what I discovered were my Strengths and innate wiring - my natural value. Yet we’ve both realised, he too is on a journey similar to the Doctor's and mine, because the truth is, we are all suffering with cognitive dissonance in some manner, all affected in some way by the worldly systems that suppress the individual, in its effort to make everyone conform.
What I came to realise, like the doctor, was after nurturing my intrinsic nature through my academic learning, something was still missing. My faith as a young adult was a choice, having been raised with a Catholic Mother and an Atheist Father, yet during Covid I moved further & further away from the church. This came as a result of witnessing so many of the old linear systems collapsing around me, and I found myself losing faith in the process. As the doctor pointed out “I don’t consider having a ‘belief’ as being enough, because as I see it, it requires no ACTIVE work, no real effort to enrich one’s spirit".
"So, who and what exactly are you deep inside? What is your place in the universe? Where do you belong? And how do you discover it?” anonymous
Ultimately, as we all know, spirituality is personal, a journey, and I feel that is part of what the doctor was trying to say. With their permission I have included the rest of the Doctor’s letter:
“Because I am medically trained, I have to a large extent pooh-poohed the alternative healing methodologies, all of which lean on spirituality, even more so as a church going believer. Yes, there is a definite irony there. So what was the catalyst to dig deeper into myself? Essentially the realisation that I was deeply unfulfilled and unhappy, not because of external factors but because of internal ones. Despite a diagnosis of depression, and treatment on antidepressants for years, I remained as miserable as I had ever been.
The Covid19 pandemic was a catalyst for a deeper look into myself. I started the ‘Waking up’ app course on meditation during the hard lockdown. I read Michael Pollan’s book on ‘How to change your mind’, and more recently, I learnt about breath work. I am opening myself to the other healing techniques that target the spirit more than the physical body. To cut a long story short I have found myself in the past couple of weeks to be more connected with the universe and with a stronger sense of purpose than I have ever been, and a level of happiness and contentment that I have never known has come as a result. All this without compromising my beliefs. If anything they have been strengthened.
So, why am I posting this? I’m a healer in the process of being healed, and I want to point others like me in the same direction. This post is then a clarion call to those of you who, as I did, are battling with simply belonging in this world, or with a lost sense of purpose. Your body may be perfectly healthy, but if your spirit is not well or is neglected, you will not feel well. It’s as simple a thing as that. And I encourage you to open that door to your spiritual self and to nurture it. It’s really not difficult to do.
Where would I start if I had to again? I think I would see a ‘life coach’ who also works in the meditation/yoga/breath work/reiki/perhaps plant medicine realms. There are unfortunately issues with legality over the latter, so tread carefully there. To those of you from strict religious backgrounds or communities who would feel uncomfortable getting into alternatives that might be frowned upon, I suggest looking towards a deeper spirituality within the accepted confines of your beliefs. And perhaps at least pay some heed to those leaders within your own belief systems who might be breaking down those boundaries. They are there to be found. (Christians check out Roger Wolsey as a good example). If you have not consciously expressed to yourself what a magnificent gift it is simply to be alive in the past couple of weeks, your spirit is probably damaged and may need repair. Mine certainly did, and I’m very glad to have found it again. You really do owe it to yourself to do this. I trust we’ll see recommendations in the comments as to how to go about this critical journey. Please do it. Doctor’s orders”.
What are your thoughts? Are we missing out? Should we nurture our Spiritual side or our emotional intelligent side, if you will, as well as intrinsic nature, and if so, what words might you personally hold onto to describe this sense for yourself? If you ignore this sense, is there an innate suffering that comes as a result? If so, what might be calling you to a change in your life to address any suffering you are trying to deal with?
Ana, our Spanish and English speaking coach has been working with the heart for a number of years, holding an emotional, non judgemental, space uniquely for you over a 90 minute session where your heart can be nourished. You'll find her details here.
Sam McDonald has been married for 30 yeas and has four children. They are a Strength-based family, using the CliftonStrengths® to enhance marriage & family life. Their home is in Hampton Court, UK and the FalseBay Coast, Cape, SA. She is a Futurist and Chief Visionary Officer for WITH-HUMANITY, a change-maker with a dream to disrupt our current meritocracy by "Unlocking the IntrinsicIdentity © of all Individuals in service of greater human engagement" creating an all inclusive universal value metric and social system.
She is a Normative Visionary, Systems Thinker, Disruptor, Change-Maker & Activist. Graduating Cum Laude with an MPhil in Futures Studies from the University of Stellenbosch, after failing matric, she believes matching one's intrinsic wiring to how we learn yields exponential results, leap-frogging our current education system. She influences thinking in order to create futures-led enquiry & change towards a future we all want to be part of - linking strategic leadership and management with futures thinking. Her use of Interdependent Rules of Engagement© and the CliftonStrength® Assessment, as well as various Foresight Methodologies, are tools of choice to influence mindset change, and help people understand each other's unique world views, which are coloured by what she terms our Strengths Language.
She moved to South Africa in 1983 from Nottingham, UK and has lived in both dysfunction and functional environments. These she views as her "cross to bear is your gift to share" - serving as a bridge in understanding how to create function out of chaos.
She and her fellow Coaches, work with motivated clients using the CliftonStrength® Assessment as a power tool for:
Strength Based Interviewing & Recruitment
Assisting motivated individuals to fall in love with their careers and find the work they were born to do.
Working with high achievers to discover their value and purpose
Working with Start-ups to gain momentum, motivation & self-awareness of the Entrepreneur
Assisting Students to gain a greater self-awareness, expediting their career path, building confidence and self-esteem.
Working with individuals to re-engage in their work environments & leveraging their strengths
Working with marriage relationships to help you love again and understand the toxicity, reduce negative experiences, create understanding and, in turn, assist with long-term strategies for lasting transformation
Finding your true Purpose, Passion and Value in Life
Falling in love with your life and work again
She teaches the 'Interdependent Rules of Engagement© & Vulnerability' to focus on living 'Interdependence' as the key to healthier environments - choosing this as 'rules of engagement' over 'Dependence', 'Co-Dependence' & 'Independence'.