It was a Wednesday. The bar was noisy and full of shiny people.
And I’d decided that this was the night.
This was the night I was finally going to be totally honest when someone asked me the inevitable ‘What do you do?’ question.
At the time, I was spending about 30% of my time doing communications work for a few authors and artists.
The remaining 70% of my time was going into building this website.
And yet, whenever someone asked me “So, what do you do?”, I only mentioned the freelancing work.
The slice of my life that was getting 70% (at least) of my time and energy? I gave that no mention at all.
Because I was embarrassed to tell people in the small, conservative community where I live that I was starting a business about spirituality.
The professional scene here revolves around multi-national law firms and financial services providers. Black suits and lotsa Louis Vuitton.
Not quite a hotbed for words like divine and sacred and soulful.
So, expecting judgement and distance from the black suits, I’d been shielding myself from their reactions by simply omitting 70% of the story.
This is why that Wednesday night was such a big deal for me.
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It was time to give voice to the 70% of myself.
So, on that Wednesday night, someone asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I’d just launched a web show for people who want to build a spiritual practice on their own terms.
And this story would be gorgeously tied up in a satiny bow if I told you that glee rose up in my cheeks when he responded with genuine enthusiasm and interest, wouldn’t it?
But that’s not what happened.
His face flattened. The curious anticipation that had been there seconds earlier vanished.
“Oh.” was the response.
He eyed my big hoop earrings, bright red lipstick and the generous glass of Malbec in my hand, narrowed his eyes and asked, “And you are spiritual?”
Because, you know, there’s a uniform for the spiritually inclined folk of the world. And skinny jeans and liquid eyeliner are clearly not part of it.
Part of my belief system is the idea that anything I feel or experience isn’t unique to me, but is shared (sometimes in different-looking ways) by everyone else, too.
So as I washed off my makeup later that night, I thought about you.
I thought about the fact that you’ve probably gotten looks like the one the guy gave me in the bar.
Or maybe someone has directly questioned your right to refer to yourself as spiritual based on your clothing choices or the music you sing at the top of your lungs or the food you choose to put on your plate or your adoration of the word ‘fuck’.
Or worse, maybe you’re like me, and you’ve been terrified to talk about your spiritual faith at all.
And this saddens me beyond words. For myself. For you. For all of us.
So as I stood there in front of the mirror, thinking about you, and me, this is what I said to us:
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You can be divinely juiced up while spending your evening with a bottle of red wine.
You can be spiritually enlivened while dancing to Daft Punk.
You can know God while eating a chocolate croissant.
You can touch your soul while zipping up the tightest skirt you own – you know, the one that makes your ass look ahhh-mazing!
You don’t have to stop wearing mascara.
You don’t have to give away your car or your jewellery or your favorite bottle of nail polish.
To know your essence, to love your Self and feel unspeakably bonded to everything in all of creation, you only need to come as you are.
Right now. Just as you are.
That is all.
And if anyone disagrees with that, say a prayer for the expansion of their heart.
Or you could silently use a phrase that includes the word ‘fuck’. Whatever works.
I have so much love for you, just as you are.