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: Healing Touch 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.

affirmation-jar.png


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