The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get: My Journey to Spirituality

I look back at the last seven months with a sense of completeness, awe, and a lot of “wtf just happened?” I faced a lot of shadows that I hid from for too long, ones that held me back for decades. I not only looked them in the face, but I talked about them out loud, in front of you. I can’t believe I did that.

I also look back in wonder because I never could have predicted how timely this spiritual journey would prove to be. I can’t help but believe that it was fate that chose the exact right timing to make me crack and decide I need to get over my own bullshit. This year has brought on so many challenges, and I don’t think I’d have been able to get through without this spiritual ground under my feet…without these feelings of openness and trust. That’s not to say it hasn’t been a struggle, it frequently has been. But, now I know how to react without losing myself.

I’m closing out this series of “My Journey to Spirituality” because otherwise I’d be writing about it my whole life, as the journey is never-ending. It’s also time for a new beginning…a new journey. I’m about to embark upon something new, for which I’m incredibly excited and grateful. But, in the spirit of vulnerability, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed. I am only human after all.

I believe that this experience has been preparation for what’s next on my path. The commitment to opening, trusting, listening to myself and others, has no doubt been the final key to open the next door, but all of this work didn’t just happen the last seven months. The truth is that I’ve been working on it for years (and will continue to do so), but it feels like I’m rounding the final corner.

This work has taught me that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed. That it’s ok to feel whatever the hell it is I’m feeling, and to stop shaming myself into feeling something else because spoiler alert, those initial feelings never go away. I’ve learned to address the uncomfortable feelings and talk to them – yes I talk to my feelings, I swear it helps – and figure out what they need to hear to go back into a place where we can all live in harmony together.

When I talk about my journey there hasn’t been one silver-bullet that made everything click. It’s a combination of experiences, and an acute awareness of those experiences, that has made me feel full of purpose. Through everything, the same themes continuously awakened before me. I’ll share them with you here, along with some of the resources that helped me. I promise this post isn’t sponsored by these people, in fact, most of them probably won’t know they are in here until/if they read this. It’s important to note that a lot of the a-ha moments came through processing the experiences either in my journal or on the phone with my therapist, so it’s not like a one-and-done kind of deal. Ok, here goes…

Lead with my heart

This came up time and time again. This doesn’t mean to let go of all information-based decision making. It just means to put some more weight on what I feel is right, and do whatever it is I need to do to get my mind right, so that I can let my stronger muscle (my heart) do the heavy lifting. Some resources that helped me break through: Kenya Raymer’s Spiritual Therapeutic Sessions; The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

I am loved, and I don’t have to earn it.

Whew, there was a lot of shadow work in this one. I also learned how to personify my emotions, literally giving them faces and names, and asking what they need from me – this was super cool and surprisingly effective. Awesome resources: Energy Work with Kim Breese (y’all know how much I love this), the practice of self-soothing and these awesome worksheets from local therapist, Liz Devaughn.

Don’t exhaust myself for achievement. Restoration is non-negotiable.

Covid-19 was my teacher here.

Trust that I’m on my path. Even if that means my next step will be a fail, it was meant to happen and will lead me to great things.

This one felt so good to finally believe. My favorite affirmation is, “By being myself, I bring happiness to others,” I can’t count how many times I’ve written about that, meditated on that, and prayed on that. A game changer for me here was a Medium Reading by Kim Salter.

I am creative.

Getting back into the things I loved to do as a kid – reading, writing, being playful. Such a good balance to the grind of life. Big Magic had me believing in myself again.

Gratitude and joy can only come after presence. Presence can only come from being grounded. You can only be grounded when you listen deeply to yourself.

Thank you meditation. My most favorite resource: sound bath with Ann Sensing…and playing my own bowls! A deep practice in listening and receiving.

Trying new things is FUN!

See all of the above.

Feeling that blissful “spiritual” connection takes WORK. It takes vulnerability. There’s no hiding, and it’s a practice.

Keep asking myself, “how do I regain the wonder of being alive?”

By being present. Connecting to people. Being rested. Having silent time. Reading. Asking questions. Being in nature. Feeling grateful. Opening to new experiences. Playing.  Imagining myself as a small piece of the bigger picture.

I acknowledge that I come from a place of privilege to be able to go on this journey. With great privilege and blessings comes great responsibility – this is something that was ingrained in me as a kid.

I keep a notecard on my desk from my late grandfather, who grew up during The Great Depression, that says, “the harder I work the luckier I get.” I always took this message to mean “Be a workaholic! Work work work!” I now realize that it’s not about the achievements, the promotions, or the glorification of being busy. Rather, the more you work on yourself the luckier you get. Not because all of a sudden luck is on your side, but the better you know yourself, the better you can listen and fulfill your needs, and then build strength and fulfillment for the world.

Once I started approaching the world from that belief, things just started to fall into place. It felt like the right people came into my life at the exact right time in ways I never would have predicted. Sometimes I even felt like I was living in the Truman Show. Is it luck? Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Now that my story is coming together, and really just beginning, I realize that all of these tidbits of advice and observations over the years haven’t been just random happenings. Now I can see that they so clearly fit together and are in preparation for what’s next. Steps to the next stepping stone. Through all of the joy, excitement, love, guilt, fear, etc, I know that all of the ups and downs have fit together to create a compelling narrative, that is meant just for me. I think that’s spirituality.

You’re Already There: My Journey to Spirituality

We all want to leave a mark on the world, right? I have spent decades deeply inside of my head, planning, analyzing, and trying to control all the possible outcomes. Even with all of that effort and data to back me up, I still felt a block…a hesitation when I would go to take the next step forward. What I’ve uncovered throughout this journey to spirituality, is that what was blocking me for so long was lack of trust in myself. It makes sense though, how can you trust yourself if you don’t fully know yourself? If you so deeply attach yourself to the identities that you’ve made for yourself (MBA-grad, corporate marketer, mother, wife, person of service)? These identities are not bad in any way, contrarily, I’m incredibly proud of each one of those labels. But at times I’ve let one single label take over my entire being, and it’s taken a lot of work and soul searching to realize that while those labels are part of me, not one defines who I am in my deepest core. In my soul.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have any of those labels attached to me. I felt so strongly that I had a unique emotional sensitivity (empathy), and knew that I was going to spend my life trying to make a change in the world. Not only did I feel it, but I knew it so certainly…I trusted it. Simple as that. The crappy part about growing up is that you learn how to fear, you learn how to compare, you learn how to get hurt, and you learn to lose trust in yourself, despite all the people who love you cheering you on.

When I first started this blog, I planned to write about a different ‘spiritual’ endeavor for each entry. I outlined two months worth of activities and thought I’d basically review each one, and tell you that step by step I was getting closer to figuring out this whole spirituality thing. If I were actually sticking to that plan, I’d be writing about crystals right now (I have grown to love crystals, but that’s for another time).

My point is, that plan was never going to work, and was certainly a lesson in ‘going with the flow’. I have tried a lot of the items that were on my ‘spiritual to do’ list, but the way it’s worked is that everything is blending together beautifully, and it’s getting harder and harder to talk about each item on its own. Here are a couple of those experiences that came together seamlessly on this path to finding trust…

One morning I got a newsletter from Ann Sensing of Magnolia Meditation saying that she had crystal singing bowls for sale. Without pausing, I replied back that I wanted to come try them. After I hit send on the email, I couldn’t believe I did that. In a previous life, that was something that might pop into my mind, and then I’d tell myself I didn’t have time for a new hobby, I didn’t know what I was doing, it’s not for me, one excuse after the other. But, simply letting myself do what I felt, without thinking or understanding why, felt foreign yet surprisingly empowering.

Long story short, I met with Ann and tried out some of the new bowls she had in stock. Before she told me much about the bowls, she urged me to pick a couple that I was drawn to, and we would start there. She pulled them off the shelf, and without ever having picked up a mallet before, I started playing, feeling, and listening. I’m sure my technique was total crap, but it didn’t matter, and she didn’t correct me. It was all about listening, feeling, and trusting. She kindly gave me a brief tutorial on how to properly play the bowls, and then sent me on my way to explore.

What I have loved so much about this experience after having had my bowls for about a month now, is that it forces me to flow. Particularly because I am so inexperienced, all I can do is go with what my body is telling me to do. Tap the bowl to which my body and my heart are drawn. Listen to the outcome. Notice the feeling in different parts of my body. No planning, no expectation. Instead- curiosity, feeling, and trusting.

My next experience was never on my original ‘spiritual to-do’ list. Yes, I am happy to say I went off script. Talking with a psychic medium was something I always wondered about, but let my fear stop me from pursuing it for a number of reasons, “What if I didn’t like what I heard? Would the person be full of it?” It was too risky for me, and I never did it. But, I recently met a psychic medium through an unrelated project, and couldn’t get the thought of trying it out of my mind. In an effort to deeply listen to my curiosity, I decided to give it a try. The way I look at it is that what comes from these sessions is all simply information. Whatever she said to me was mine to interpret because that’s how spirituality works – what needs to come up will come up, and I’ll use that information however that best suits me. Even if it is complete hooey (which I don’t think it is, some stuff was just TOO spot on), it gave me information that would prompt me into diving deeper into my heart to work through whatever it is I need to work through.

I signed up for a medium reading, the kind where you might connect with someone who has passed. Without any real expectations of connecting with a loved one, I opened myself up to the experience.

Within minutes, the medium connected with someone who had a paramount impact on my upbringing…she knew this person’s name (almost) to a tee, and called me by the childhood nickname that this person used to call me. Lately, I have been wishing that she were here during this challenging time to indulge me with some of her wisdom and comfort. Being able to connect with her was an experience I can’t really explain because any word that I type seems too trivial and doesn’t do it justice.

Of all the pieces of wisdom that my old friend shed upon me, the key theme that came through was to trust myself. She told me to stop focusing on becoming my potential, because I’m already there. That all I need to do is take a step forward, and step in confidence because the path will be created for me. That she has been putting these steps…these opportunities and hardships and successes in front of me, and I need to trust that I’m exactly where I need to be.

Prior to this experience, the idea of trusting myself kept coming up over and over, but hearing it from my old friend’s mouth, and knowing that she has been there believing in me the whole time, and even putting my path in front of me, is exactly what I needed to hear to solidify that trust. And to be honest, it’s what I’ve been telling myself this whole time, I just didn’t fully believe it.

You might be thinking, ‘sure that could apply to anyone,’ but for the sake of the length of this blog post, I am leaving out a lot of specifics. Maybe this experience was just me using my biased thoughts to solidify my trust in myself, or maybe I truly connected with my old friend. But it doesn’t really matter how it happened because the outcome is exactly what I needed to be reinspired and restored.

My old friend embodied wisdom, protection, and kindness when she was on this earth, and without knowing much of anything about her, the medium referred to her as a “wise truth teller.” One of the last things that this wise truth teller told me in our session was to “shine your light through, Clara Beara.”

Later that day, I pulled from my affirmation jar, and the affirmation I drew that day was, “I feel the love of others who aren’t physically around me.” I trust that it was my old friend putting the exact right card into my hand, to hear exactly what I needed to hear at that moment, and I’m going to continue listening.


Discover Your True North – Virtual Community Group and Live Coaching

“True North is your orienting point – your fixed point in a spinning world – that helps you stay on track as a leader. It is derived from your most deeply held beliefs, values, and the principles you lead by. It is your internal compass, unique to you, representing who you are at your deepest level” – Bill George

Our latest this 4-part workshop series was born out of Clara’s experience as she searched for spirituality and authenticity, and learned to trust herself. We’ll help you discover your true north – your fixed point and baseline in a world that can at times feel out of control.

I’m Ready to Discover my True North

Growing Through the Setbacks: My Journey to Spirituality

– Writers Note –

I wrote this blog post 1.5 hours before the tornado swept through Nashville on March 3rd. The devastation that this tornado has caused for our beloved community has left many of us heartbroken and continues to put things into perspective. While this ‘setback’ I talk about in this blog is miniscule compared to what so many are going through right now, I still wanted to share because it is a reminder that no matter how big or small your feelings are right now and always, that they are valid. That you can’t heal without feeling them in their entirety. That you can’t heal without looking them in the face and asking some questions. Maybe those questions are what do I need to be supported right now? Who can I lean on for support right now? How can I support others while still caring for myself right now? Or maybe the starting point is simply asking, how am I feeling right now? 

Whether the unimaginable happened and you lost a home or loved one; you experienced extreme terror while holding your babies tight as the destructive winds whipped by you, and are now reliving the “what ifs,”; or you are bearing witness to your beloved community try to rebuild what has been broken, your feelings are yours, they are valid, and they are important. 

Deep breath.

It finally happened – the dreaded set back. I debated whether to share this piece of my journey with you because if you’ve found a nugget of inspiration somewhere along the way, I don’t want you to lose motivation. Then I realized that this actually may be the most crucial part of the journey to publish. Why? Because not only can life take a zig or a zag, but it will. Looking back on it, these bumps have so clearly been part of the path that was meant for me. But that’s the thing I’ve learned about your ‘path’ lately, is that if you can see it perfectly laid out in front of you, it’s not for you.

Things had felt so good since I started to really get curious, and open myself to creativity, authenticity, and in a word, spirituality. The rewards had been incredible, and I thought I had this spirituality thing down-pat. Then, one Saturday morning, my old friend fear knocked on the door and barged back into my life. I’m happy to say its stay was short, but definitely not without hardship.

Life had been especially hectic for a few weeks, and after having been pretty proud of how gracefully I was handling it, I finally cracked. I finally stopped trying too hard to do “the work” because I was so.damn.tired. I just let myself feel grumpy, I took off my kindness filter when speaking to my loved ones, and was simply not anywhere close to the best version of myself. I felt it, I knew it, but I couldn’t stop it. I was just too tired.

As a result, I took one too many verbal jabs towards my husband and lost my cool with my kids, who had been trading back and forth colds for a month that finally turned into ear infections (sick kids = no sleep). It’s not like they wanted any of that, but at one point in the midst of echoing screams from both kids, I sat down on the floor, plugged my ears, and I too, screamed. I completely lost my patience, my compassion, and my gratitude. This angry, annoyed feeling lingered throughout the whole weekend. And it scared the shit out of me.

Yes I didn’t like that I was acting like a child, but worse was thinking that maybe I was a fake. Or maybe this amazing connection and gratitude had only been fleeting. I had been reaping so many rewards from my spiritual journey, and sharing them publicly! And there I was on the bathroom floor screaming, so that I couldn’t hear my kids melting down. Where was my angel then? Had I made the whole thing up? Would that amazing feeling ever come back?

I briefly lost trust in myself and what I’d been feeling so strongly. I longed desperately for the peace and calm that I had felt for the past couple months. Now that I knew what it felt like, I missed it deeply.

The thing that I’m learning about fear is that when you let it in without putting it in its place, it can spiral into something even bigger. In addition to being scared about being a spiritual imposter, there was an even bigger fear lurking in the background. Something I hadn’t been the slightest bit worried about in months, but once I opened the door to misalignment and worry, this even bigger fear came waltzing right in. Something I haven’t yet talked about yet in this forum, but here goes.

Shortly after the birth of my son I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. The scariest part about that diagnosis for me was that I had no idea. I spend my life helping people work on their mental health, and I didn’t know what was going on with my own for that time. I hadn’t felt quite right, but I went to the doctor for follow ups and because the computerized test that screens for PPD didn’t flag me as having it, I just assumed I had the “Baby Blues,” though I’m not sure there’s really a difference. As my therapist put it, they’re all along the same spectrum. Long story short, after following a combination of self-care methods, I felt like myself again consistently for 4 months or so. And even more recently, not just ‘like myself,’ but really really amazing.

Having been on the other side of this set back for a couple weeks, it was so much smaller than I made it out to be. I was exhausted and lost my cool for a few days, but when you’re exhausted and losing your shit, it’s really hard to realize that.

On the fourth night or so of feeling like this I was laying in bed exhausted, but my mind was racing too quickly to sleep. Ugh, back to my old ways again. The thought of that just made my mind race even faster! I composed myself and made a mental list out what was going on inside of me. I realized that all of my actions were stemming from fear. I just started a blog called “Turning Fear into Curiosity,” I am so full of it…wait, actually, I have an idea, let’s try something.

I got out of bed and did what I had just told people helped  me so much – I started writing. I wrote out my feelings, my fears, all of it. Half way through the page I decided to make things a bit more literal, and turn this thought process into a framework. You can take the girl out of corporate America, but the girl will still be obsessed with frameworks.

I created a table with four columns: “Fear,” “→,” “Curiosity,” “Takeaway”. It wasn’t perfect or pretty, but it made sense to me. And damn did it feel good. Putting my fear down on paper, giving it a name, and asking it and myself a question or two made everything feel manageable. And best of all, in a quick 10 minutes, I let go of all the fear I had been feeling about being a fraud, my spirituality being gone, and my PPD coming back. Just by turning my fear into curiosity, instead of combativeness, I was able to make the fear so miniscule that I laid my head down on the pillow afterwards and went right to sleep. Holy cow, the mind is so powerful.

Below is an example of what I wrote. I invite you to use this simple framework, change it up how it works for you, but most importantly maybe try asking your fear some questions. I’m curious to see what happens.

Full disclosure, there were more fears filling out the table in the actual one, some things are just TMI, sorry.


At the end of this exercise I came to the conclusion this was all a test, a part of my journey, me making my path. It was also a reminder not to put too much pressure on any one thing. Life gets messy at times, and sometimes you have to sit in the icky feelings until you’re ready to ask them the right questions. Prior to this I had a hard time figuring out what it was about this spirituality that I loved so much. Was I in love with the idea of it? When I felt the brief absence of it, I could so easily describe what it was that I was missing: peace, security, gratitude, connection. This setback only strengthened my commitment to this never-ending journey, and I’m happy to report that this phase has in-fact passed, and I am not a spiritual fraud.

The Breakthrough: My Journey to Spirituality

I like to think it was divine timing that introduced me to Kim Breese and her gifts with Healing Touch. A dear friend excitedly told me about her back in 2019, gave me her card, and told me I had to call her, we had so much in common! Kim’s business card sat on my desk for six months or so, staring at me, making me wonder what ‘HTP’ even meant (Healing Touch Practitioner for those, like I was, too lazy to google). One day in January I decided to send her an email. Before I could do that, I found an email in my inbox from my friend with the subject line “Kim <> Clara Intro.” This also happened to be the very same week I decided to kick off my spiritual journey.

It’s almost like the universe was just waiting for us to connect until I was in the right place to receive, because had I approached this practice with a different mindset, I’m not sure I would’ve reaped the benefits that I have. I’m sure I would’ve gotten a lot out of it, but I probably wouldn’t have been ready to hear the message that was heading towards me loud and clear.

After finally meeting with Kim over coffee, I emphatically booked a session with her. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I was looking forward to an hour of getting horizontal and closing my eyes, and if I was lucky maybe I’d even doze off for a little bit.

We started the session with a few questions and an exploration of how I felt emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I rated each one of those from 1 to 10. This was a really simple and effective check in. I’ve been incorporating this tool into my own coaching practice.

Now it was time for the good stuff! I got to lay down on a heated table with a pillow under my head, and a blanket over my body. Bring on nap time. Or so I thought.

The session began with Kim waving a pendulum over my body to understand which chakras were compromised. She referred to this as her ‘stethoscope,’ to help her identify which of her tools to use in our session. That was a really cool analogy for someone new to the “woo,” who hadn’t done this sort of thing before.

After that, we began with some guided meditation, which got me out of my head and into my body. I am an overthinker whose mind does its best racing while in silent stillness, so to be able to quiet my mind was an excellent start. The session would’ve been a win if it had ended right there.

Around 15 minutes in, I was existing somewhere between a dream and a light meditation when I saw something. I saw a person on a mountain top, blowing a kiss over a cliff in my direction. My instant question was, “to whom am I blowing a kiss?” Then I realized it wasn’t me blowing the kiss, but rather someone blowing a kiss to me. I was certain of that.

A few minutes went by and I continued to relax. Any thoughts that came up floated right by. All of a sudden I noticed two people staring at each other with pure love and pride in their eyes. It was bursting out of their very being. Then I saw what they were so proud of – a newborn baby nestled in the woman’s arms. Upon further inspection, I realized that the woman was my mom, and the man was my dad, aged about 30 years. The same age they were when they had me.

At this point I was emotionally moved, feeling the love, and thinking this was pretty cool, but…was I just dreaming? I didn’t want to overthink it. My time was coming to an end, and with my eyes closed, I noticed that Kim had stepped away from the table. At that time, I also noticed what felt like a huge burst of white light and warmth on my chest. It almost felt like someone had turned on a flood light directly above me. It felt like I was being wrapped in a giant hug. It felt like comfort, protection, and a subtle smile. I recently read about auras and the meaning of their different colors, and told myself I’d look up what the white color meant when I left.

Soon thereafter Kim told me it was time to start awakening my body, so that I could get up and go about my day, even though I really didn’t want to. Without saying much Kim mentioned that she felt I was receiving strong messages of love…that I am so deeply loved. Chills. This explained the kiss from the woman on the cliff and the pride beaming from my 30-year old parents over the newborn me.

As I sat up on the table getting ready to re-enter the world, Kim confidently and quietly mentioned, “By the way, when you were laying there at the end, I saw a huge angel hovering over you.”

Um, WHAT? That’s what that white light was? That giant hug? It wasn’t just some suggestion to look up an aura? Wow. The only response I could muster up was a stream of tears. I felt it…I really felt it. I felt it at the exact time she said she saw it. It was undeniable and indescribable.

All night, all week, all month I couldn’t stop thinking about this experience. Rocking my son to bed that night, I was smiling ear to ear. I felt like I was passing this joy, completeness, and warmth that filled my heart into his heart. I felt that I was right where I was supposed to be. That everything has happened for a reason. In a word, I felt gratitude.  In a previous post, I noted how I defined spirituality in the beginning of this quest, as “a connection to something bigger that brings me to a state of gratitude.” It feels like I’m there, even though I know I’m just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

A few weeks have passed since this experience, and it has become my touchstone. It is the feeling with which I begin and end my day. It is my new baseline. When I’m not feeling that warmth, light, and connection, I quickly evaluate what’s going on and what I need to do to get back there. It is the touchstone that brings me to gratitude every day. The touchstone that I talk to throughout the day. That helps me stay present enough to pay attention to the little messages as they come and go. Because there are so many, and they are so beautiful, and they bring me so much joy. It has been THE breakthrough in my spiritual journey. It is what broke me open to this whole spiritual world, and has me chomping at the bit to continue exploring and feeding this curiosity.

Through many challenges and surprises that have arisen recently, I still feel supported, loved, and protected. It feels comforting, for lack of a better word, knowing that I have an angel by my side through it all. Just typing that gives me the warm and fuzzies. Yes, I have an angel.