IT’S A DIRTY LITTLE six-letter word, the desire for which halted my early spiritual development with fixation and compulsivity. It seemed everyone had succumb to the trend. Everyone except me, it seemed, had a mentor.
With more fervor than the munchies in search of Doritos, I was Plato in search of my Socrates, until finally one day, my frustration turned to determination.
I realized the world had throngs of self-made successes: Steve Jobs, for one, didn’t have a mentor, and he became one of the greatest examples of ingenuity and authenticity in our time. Better to build a spiritual practice from discarded parts in my garage, I thought, than to have it fed to me with a gilded spoon. The Richie Rich approach to spirituality seems to spur even less character than Tom Hanks’ co-star in Cast Away [hint: it was a volleyball!].
So with my father’s sing-songy epithet echoing in my psyche, if I don’t do it…it won’t get done!, I set out to forge my own path on the road to spiritual enlightenment. I was my own Thelma and Louise, and Lewis and Clark, and Moses, and Columbus all rolled into one. Blazing my own trail wasn’t always easy and often it was darn lonely, but I picked up insights along the way that will help you rev up your spiritual journey:
- Out With the Old — A spiritual journey often begins by assessing your supplies for the trek ahead and purging that which will not serve you. Limiting relationships, excess baggage, lofty expectations, and weighty self-loathing will have to be tossed overboard. You won’t want it where you’re headed, plus you’ll need to make room for the enlightenment you’re going to pick up along the way.
- Sponge Tactics — I imagine this is one step you’ve already mastered. It’s the act of soaking up all the spiritual content you can get your hands on. In this digital age overflowing with self-published books, blogs, and even tweets, there is no shortage of material ripe for the picking. Classes, workshops, and seminars are feasts for the soul, so go ahead and devour responsibly.
- Go Within –With the Vegas-scale, all-you-can-eat buffet of spiritual content available today, it’s important to approach each lesson, each concept, each statement with a healthy dose of skepticism. Let your intuition be your litmus test for validity. You won’t like every chocolate in your Valentine box of chocolates, and you’re not likely to put stock in every statement made by even your most trusted spiritual teacher. So savor it, swish it around a bit, and if it doesn’t taste right — if it doesn’t feel right in your gut — disregard it and move on.
- Build a Circle — The road can at times be long…and winding…and dark…and bumpy…and exhausting. You’re going to want a warm, receptive group of souls for sharing ideas, frustrations and spiritual experiments. If you can’t find a group or circle in your area, start one! Yes, you!
- Find Inspiration — Rather than feeling paralyzed by comparison or mimicking another’s ideals, let the mere fact that they’ve accomplished something be your proof it can be done and get inspired to accomplish your own something. Don’t forget, of course, to be inspired by your own successes, as well.
Wherever this beautiful journey takes you, remember that you weren’t put on this planet to be a carbon copy of Wayne Dyer or Gabrielle Bernstein or Oprah Winfrey. You came here, rather, to be the one true you. If you want it done right, my father also used to say, you might as well do it yourself. So dare to be bold. Realize that if you can dream it, you can do it, and [insert Sinatra crooning here:] you can do it your way.