Spirituality and the Unknown

Sometimes the universe just steps in and whacks you upside the head.

I fancy myself one of those lifelong learners that’s all the rage, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I battle every day with my instinct for making snap-judgments based on what I consider to be knowledge. Whether it’s deciding immediately if I like or don’t like someone or if I should or shouldn’t do something, I immediately know what is the right call to make.

The irony isn’t escaping me, though, that knowing is the very thing that limits any hope of being the truest form of learner: one open to all possibility. Know the kind I mean?

Let’s take the soul and spirituality. You can’t touch them, and you can’t see them, so you certainly can’t know that they exist. So, in my mind, why bother? And yet lives are devoted to them; wars are waged because of them, and people are buoyed by belief in their existence. And to me it makes no sense.

I know, I know. That’s a close-minded way of thinking, but it’s been my mindset forever. In order to “know what is the right call to make,” my focus has been on equipping myself with the know-how to deal with life’s truths, which to me means knowing exactly what to do, feel, or say in any given “real” situation.

But you know what? I am utterly exhausted from hauling around that know-it-all equipment. In fact, I’m looking forward to unloading the tool kit’s sheer weight, since I have a feeling it’s what’s sucking all of my zest for experiencing anything else – worldly and out-of-this-worldly alike. How can open-mindedness stand a chance when all of my energy gets spent on efforts to validate what I know when I fear there is something that I don’t?

The first curiosity I’d like to tackle is this business about having an “open heart.” I’ve never really understood what that means. Open mind? Yes. Heart? Not so much. Not that I haven’t felt love and joy and happiness, but an open heart just sounds so… well… surgical, like in a chest-cracked, bloody kind of way. Nevertheless, I am, in less cynical moments, able to imagine a heart bursting with love, in a way that shines bright beautiful light on everything around it. Who wouldn’t want one of those?

So, I’ve been mapping my plan for figuring out how to start to believe. Believe in what, I have no idea, but I’m going to give it a try. Books. Podcasts. Counseling. YouTube. Probably all of the above. Together they will lead me down the path to that elusive open heart, right? I’ve been loading my Amazon Prime cart with all kinds of goodies.

And then an amazing thing happened.

A lifelong friend was in touch about her impending divorce. While we now only connect occasionally via social media, she has had a very special place in my heart since our early years of Dancing Queen shows and late night runnings away from home (no one noticed, even if we did just hunker down in the neighbors’ yards). In talking about the challenges of broken marriages, she told me that she’s been working with a woman over the past two years who has had a powerful effect on her spiritual growth.

Was it really going to be that easy for me? My next evolutionary tool just dropped in my lap during a serendipitous phone call with an old friend? I’ll take it! I got the contact information, and within the week I was scheduled for my first session.

I jumped in without much information, because I believe that any kind of therapy is good therapy. Truly. Paying someone to focus on you unwaveringly, even if only for an hour, is worth every penny. So when, during my intake call, Jill Archer (who refers to herself as an Intuitive Coach) and I really connected, I was hopeful that with her, I might be able to make quick work of this spirituality thing.

You have no idea.

The woman on the other end of what would be a two and a half hour call turned out to be – wait for it – a medium. You know… an honest-to-goodness channeling-spirits, talk-to-the-dead kind of medium.

Now, you can imagine my shock. How did I not get this? She’d told me about doing “readings” and mentioned her “gift,” but I never put two and two together. So rather than admit my ignorance, I decided to go with it, breathing in light and exhaling debris with a woman from Texas whom I’d never met, connected only by headsets and cell service.

As I mentioned, I’ve always considered that kind of hocus-pocus, after-life, love-light-and-energy thing to be hippy-dippy and cliched. Souls… spirits… whatever. And yet, for whatever reason and without much thought, I found myself following her lead and – get this – suspending any judgment and going with her flow.

Let me tell you… what I experienced and felt and saw in those two and a half hours was more impactful than anything I have learned in the hundreds of therapy hours I have accumulated throughout my life. Things were just so freaking crystal clear.

It’s hard to recount a spiritual reading, but I will say that I connected with all four of my grandparents, a distant great aunt, and my mother. I sobbed like a baby, belly-laughed until my sides hurt, and experienced the most powerful sense of unity and love from each and every one of them. Most especially from mom.

I connected with my mother in a way that I never had when she was alive. I saw a peace and beauty in her that was both familiar and foreign, and the 19 years of desperately missing her simply evaporated, because I truly felt her with me. So, so, SO effing bizarre. But there she was, sitting next to me, wrapping me in her red sphere of love. (Yes, I’m talking about Tina. I know, right??)

Believe me, this all sounds whacked to me, too, and if I hadn’t experienced it myself, I would never believe it.

But, oh, how I wish it never had ended! I felt like I was in Willy Wonka’s factory, knowing I would never be happy just climbing back into that overpopulated bed at home. But, as they do, the session time ran out, the spirits faded, and I sat there dumbfounded by what I had just experienced.

Spirits? Really? My mom telling me she is “always, always, always, always” with me? My grandparents telling me that they’ve been waiting for me to be ready to know that they are there, always supporting me and lifting me up? I’ll tell you one thing is for sure; I never – not in a million years ever – believed anything like it would happen to me.

But it did. I swear.

(I realize this all sounds like an intro to a Penthouse forum…)

If there was doubt before that now is the time for me to break up with my know-it-all, judgmental self, that feeling is entirely gone. How could I not see this experience as a sign from the universe that it’s time to loosen my grip on what I think I know to be real and true. Shit, man, I have experienced first hand that even the most intangible is possible. There’s absolutely no room for judgers or know-it-alls here.

And so, it would appear that my spiritual gauntlet has been laid. And I’m excited. And scared. And uncertain. And still somehow skeptical. But above all else, I am desperate to feel what I felt again that blissful day. Quiet time, meditation, journaling, and prayer – heretofore words (much less practices) that I have kept at a safe distance – are my new tools.

Unbuckle your seatbelts, my friends; I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a glorious ride.