I admit it. My name is Lynn Newman and I’m a recovering spiritual self-help junkie.
Even though I hate being labeled as woo-woo and even though I like designer jeans and carry a kick-ass bag, I’m still seen from time to time wearing a crystal necklace.
I fell onto the spiritual path accidentally in my twenties when I moved to Santa Fe to leave a dysfunctional relationship. I found myself meeting all sorts of healers and spiritual teachers in the new-age town.
I started with walking meditation as my gateway drug and before I knew it I was into the hard stuff: Rebirthing, quantum dynamics, psychic surgeries, parapsychology, Rolfing, past-life regression…
I spent weeks meditating in silent retreats, became a Reiki Master, a certified yoga teacher, collected a library of self-help books, went on Shamanistic power journeys to the top of Machu Picchu, the Egyptian pyramids and Teotihuacan.
I learned lucid dreaming, drummed in circles, went to ecstatic dance parties, had aura cleansings with didgeridoos, singing bowls and power rods.
I put the needle in my arm as I called world-renown psychics, intuits, numerologists, astrologists, astrocartologists — all with the hope that they would tell me that my life was going to end up fabulous or at the very least, I would know soon some happiness.
Why did I do all this?
I did it because I inherently felt that there was something I needed to fix in me. There was a wrong that needed to be righted; A “not enough” that needed enoughness; An unloveability that needed loving; A problem that need to be solved.
I was taught that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience.
For decades, I focused on the spiritual part.
I believed that . . .
. . .one day I would radiate with so much light I’d be so bright I’d blind someone.
. . . tantric mind-blowing sex with my lover would cause us to merge to such high dimensions we would bring the heavens to the earth.
. . . if remaining committed — one day, my issues would magically go away. My story would re-write itself to the point I would never get triggered. I wouldn’t be upset or off center again. I would be a stunning example of a close-to-but-not-quite enlightened person, since I could never be the Buddha.
For some reason, I believed that I needed to be more than human.
And that was the crux of my addiction. I was looking for something outside of me to save me, to rescue me and most importantly, to change me. Rather than just let myself be all that I am – the good, the bad and the ugly.
There was nothing wrong with my intention to heal. Nothing wrong with all the many modalities I studied. Yet, in the judgment that I was not enough, I perpetuated my problems. I was searching and seeking for the thing outside of me to put together the lie I was broken.
Without the pressure, grasping and need to fill what I thought I was lacking, I could come back home to myself.
I could have more acceptance and compassion for what arose in me. And rather than fix it, try to change it — allow it to be there in all its glory. I didn’t have to do anything.
Sure, I grew and shifted. I learned a ton. And some of that stuff I did at times was a blast. It made me high. I was sure I would keep the high forever.
But the lows still came after. The contraction that always happens that makes you feel ashamed and pissed of by the reality of being human.
After having sustained moments of bliss, even knowing “a low” could follow, I still wanted it.
Until in my early forties, my life fell apart and I lost all footing.
They say we build a spiritual foundation to be prepared for death. But nothing could prepare me.
In only a few years, I had four miscarriages, both my parents died from cancer, my husband and I divorced, and my beloved Jack Russell terrier had to be put down.
Even with all the tools and spiritual practices I had under my belt, I still hit rock bottom.
After twenty years of self-help seminars, workshops and a spiritual pedigree – I was still a divine mess.
And because of that, I finally let go of having to change myself.
I learned not only did I not have to be perfect – I couldn’t be. And I no longer had to feel bad, guilty or ashamed about it.
I could allow myself to just be with all I was feeling: I was free.
I’m still committed to my personal growth. I still meditate every day. Once a year now, I get a psychic reading. But what’s different is that I no longer hold onto these things for dear life or the belief that I need them.
If there was nothing you needed to do to be any different than who you are right now?
If there was nothing you needed to change or fix and you got to just be you?
Do YOU. I tell myself now. That’s my serenity prayer.
Lynn Newman has a Masters in Counseling Psychology, is a writer, painter and game creator (like The Game of You & The Game of Insight – An Interactive Way To Know Yourself, Create The Life You Want). She’s big into unleashing the truest, free-est parts of you, to experience more joy, more purpose, and more passion in life. Follow her on Twitter, IG, Pinterest or find out more at LynnNewman.com
Image courtesy of Lily Lvnatikk.