I was punished time after time during my years at a Christian private school (pre-K until 4th grade) for everything from teaching the boys how to kiss to adamantly offering my opinion on the extreme bullshit of the parting of the Red Sea.
Overall my life has not been about religion or even the core beliefs at the base of each one of them: Love, Compassion, Joy, Wellness, Community.
No, no, no.
Bars, drinks, women, parties, shitty food, consumerism, emotional infancy, overall toxicity—these are the things that I know. Driving down the road of life, these were the exits I made, over and over again. These were my habits. Any signs—invitations—that dealt with higher consciousness, I rarely saw, and if I did, I scoffed at them and partied on.
That changed by accident about seven years ago when I moved to Portland, Oregon, and inadvertently fell into the rabbit hole of spirituality by guise of physical health—there emerged an unrelenting voice in my head telling me I needed to start being healthy to my body, or else.
COMING OUT… AND GOING BACK IN
I bought the The Tao of Detox: The Secrets of Yang-Sheng Dao and jumped in from there, naively thinking I was simply changing my eating habits, not realizing the immensity of the ocean in which I just dove. Unaware that in fact I was being asked to change everything.
Soon enough I found myself domino-ing into the law of attraction, for very self-motivated reasons of course. “I can attract anything I want?! Awesome!” I began with an ex who I was still in love with (didn’t work!). Obviously I didn’t understand a damn thing about the nature/purpose of manifesting then, but mainstream spirituality like “The Secret” was an invitation into something larger to the mainstream girl I was, and I took it.
I dug deeper and deeper until I looked up and realized I was in a whole other universe.
Napolean Hill, Depack Choprah, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Miguel Ruiz, Brenda Ueland, Ernest Holmes. I devoured every word and began to practice, in private, a new way of life. Of course I practiced my old way of life, too, very publicly.
A year later I found myself in the middle of a battle that since has not ceased to relent: the awareness of the higher “I am that I am,” as Dr. Wayne Dyer calls it, dueling the ego, who I’ve learned will do damn near anything to make me remain its sorry ass servant.
And largely I have remained.
Though I let go of many toxic friendships and relationships and habits over time, I failed to make new, healthy ones. I lacked the know-how to do so—the willingness to be vulnerable. I could be a hermit spiritual yogi, but go to a yoga class, attend a meditation ceremony, study at an ashram, tell my old friends the real reason I wasn’t coming around much anymore? Open up like that? I could never.
I was living two competing lives and it soon became torture. I remained in a very stuck place, one of extremes: One half of me lived in severe spiritual solitude; the other in bouts of binging old habits with old friends. I craved embodying a spiritual lifestyle fully, truly, but outwardly blocked myself from doing so for fear of… well, everything.
I had all the fears.
Very much akin to a closeted homosexual, I was a covert seeker and the secret weighed on me the same. This unwillingness to wave my Spirit flag, be proud, and dive into divinity with courage resulted in me being pulled back to my ego, again and again. It resulted in a deep desire to be spiritual, but not an actual authentic being.
To others this appeared as hypocrisy.
TIME TO (WO)MAN UP
For years now I’ve felt in my bones the pull of higher consciousness, yet I’ve been holding on to an old me, unable to make the space for the tenacious commitment it takes to be the kind of spiritual apprentice I know I need to be. It is time to let go.
A recent trip to a psychic (oooh I’m really coming out now!) explains it best. Before we even drew any tarot cards, right when I sat down in the chair adjacent from her beady, knowing eyes, she said:
I see you in a hallway, trying to open two doors at the same time, but they keep banging into one another. Do you know anything about feng shui?”
“Not really,” I said.
“Well, this is a feng shui nightmare, and you need to let go of—close—one of the doors, or else remain in a very stuck place. And I don’t need to tell you which door to close; you know.
I shook my head silently in agreement because I did know; we all know.
In the past few weeks, I finally decided to walk confidently into that knowing. I’ve since closed the final toxic door(s) of my life. I said goodbye to fear and all the things it has prevented me from being; I am embracing unconditional love and forgiveness for myself and the world in exchange.
And with this closing I am able to fully open the other door—the closeted door of my spirituality—and step out into the light, just as proud to be spiritual as I am to be gay.