By Laura Rowe
“The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love.” ~ Marianne Williamson
I have always been a spiritual person. Someone who seeks to understand myself and how I fit into the world around me. Someone who believes in the idea of a consciousness greater than my own. But, my spiritual journey got a big boost from a spiritual awakening when I entered therapy; after separating from my ex-husband 14 years ago.
It was never a good relationship, but as my husband aged and became more unhappy he decided to take out his anger and frustration on me. I was traumatized by this relationship.
As I was choosing to heal from it, I also discovered I was an empath at the age of 33.
I was a classic codependent empath who helped manage the emotions of my narcissistic/bipolar husband. I had a history with managing that energy from growing up with my mother (a much less toxic person, but with narcissistic tendencies). All the needy narcissist hooks were there for me when I met my husband at the tender and naïve age of 23.
My spiritual awakening was realizing I couldn’t go on as I was living any longer. The process of discovering I was an empath (and healing from the wounds left behind from my marriage and my family) was an 8 year process for me. I used counseling and energy healing modalities to help me heal from the trauma and unhealthy patterns. These modalities were life changing for me!
I was also being educated on the world of energy; chakras, meridians, angels, spirit guides, Spirit, soul, higher-self, and on and on. Add to that; learning that I was an empath (being introduced to what that means), being overwhelmed by energy, and finally coming to terms that I am and have always been psychic.
Anatomy of a Spiritual Awakening
- Spiritual awakenings are individual to each person; what prompts their awakening, the school of thought they learn, and how they incorporate it into their lives. However, the process of spiritual awakening contains several hallmarks shared by all participants.
- Surrendering our will and desire/belief that we are in control of what happens in our life.
- Finding faith that we will find our way despite being absolutely clueless as to how to proceed.
- Finding a teacher who can clarify the process as we walk it and dispel our internal strife and self-talk that we are falling apart and will die shortly.
- Becoming aware of our motivations, expectations, and wounds.
- Beginning the process of taking 100% responsibility for our lives. Yes, even when we can’t control the world, we are still in control of our behavior, emotions, actions, decisions, and thoughts. (Psst, this part never ends)
Empaths and the Spiritual Path
The timing of my spiritual awakening coincided with learning I was an empath so the two will forever be linked for me. Being an empath is a huge part of my spirituality and my spiritual path.
In my spiritual awakening, working to take responsibility for my life meant examining all the wounding I had. Wounds from being highly sensitive, psychic – a healer in a family and a world that didn’t understand, appreciate, or accommodate those traits.
Like most empaths, I went through the stage of feeling victimized by my sensitivity. How could I learn to control my emotions when they seem to control me? It was a process that took time and it helped me to have a teacher and healer who walked the path with me.
I was lucky enough to have therapist, energy healer, and spiritual teacher in one person-very unusual and getting more scarce due to licensure regulations. I believe strongly, that if you are an empath, you need a teacher/healer just as much as you need a therapist. They do different things and both are integral to the process of healing and becoming empowered empaths. Energy healing/spiritual work IS NOT a replacement for therapy or counseling if that is what is needed.
There are so many excellent modalities for releasing stubborn trauma*.
*A note on trauma: Trauma is any emotions not fully processed at the time of the incident. It doesn’t have to be big incidents of child abuse or witnessing a tragic event. Trauma can be neglect or being told you are “too sensitive” repeatedly. Trauma causes us to change our behavior to avoid that particular trauma from happening again; i.e. stifling your reactions so no one calls you sensitive or a baby.
Stigma and Change
Since most of our behaviors and patterns have all been established by the time we are 7 years old, each one of us (empath or not) would benefit from some energy work or therapy. Unfortunately there still exists significant resistance in our culture to therapy or healing. As if choosing to heal or become a more responsible human being somehow makes us weak.
I am hopeful this stigma will someday go away, but until it does I will be talking about the need, especially among empaths, to do this work. You will reap the rewards and so will your children and community.
We as humans, usually have to feel pain before we choose to address our own energetic armor and emotional baggage. Change is rarely something we choose just for the fun of it. Hitting rock bottom is a Dark Night of the Soul and is only the beginning of the journey.
And, the journey has no end…
It is a journey that never truly ends. I have had a variety of teachers over the years and have chosen a handful of healing modalities to help me along the way. I have had several dark nights of the soul as well. In fact, I am going through one right now.
A spiritual path is not all love and light.
It is about self-mastery (never to be fully achieved in our lifetime), and it is about self-growth. It is about embodying the soul and becoming our true self. The “US” not stifled, beaten down, or crippled due to life experiences beyond our control.
And, it is a path I cherish and that fills me with confidence and pride at my own achievements.