Since the start of this year I’ve been feeling quite different. Stronger, more resilient. I feel whole. More alive, more present and life is good.
‘I feel like an actual normal human being’, I’ve been laughingly telling my friends, and this is wonderful because it hasn’t always felt like this.
If you’re a sensitive soul who feels the beauty and the pain of the world very deeply, you probably resonate.
You are probably familiar with heart opening moments of sublime joy interspersed with difficult periods of spiritual crisis.
Although life can break you open with its intense beauty, there are times when it feels painful and overwhelming too. These are two sides of the same coin. I believe that it’s those whose hearts are most open to the beauty of life that feel its pain most acutely too.
The challenge is to keep your heart open to feel everything that arises, rather than shutting down and turning away when life feels too painful. This requires regular attention and careful tending. Patience and gentleness.
I believe that those of us who are sensitive and creative, who feel everything and who think about the meaning of life struggle with things that other people take in their stride.
And if we don’t have time to integrate our experiences we get thrown off centre.
This might show up as anxiety, overwhelm, or depression. It certainly has for me.
We need time to feel, to process. To heal, to grow our resilience.
Someone who is less sensitive can watch a harrowing news story and not give it a second thought. If you’re a sensitive soul, you are likely to feel the pain as if it’s your own and find it harder to shake it off and get on with your day.
We need to find ways to take care of our tender hearts, so that pain doesn’t stop us from engaging fully with life. We need to learn how to release the energy that’s not ours and return to our own centres once again.
I find that I can only navigate life as a sensitive soul by making sure that I have lots of time alone to integrate my experiences. I expect it’s the same for you.
I also need to spend regular time in spiritual practice of some kind. It might be yoga, meditation, dedicating a candle, chanting a mantra, energy healing practices, or time in nature. Devotion to the sacred has become central to my life as a sensitive soul.
I know this. And yet there are still times when I forget.
Like recently when everything was going so well that I got complacent. I’ve also been spending time with people who make my heart vibrate with love, so I’ve not been connecting with my own heart through spiritual practice in the way I would usually do.
When everything is going well it’s easy to forget about the spiritual practices that give us the nourishment we need. It’s easy to take the good feelings for granted.
This came to my attention a few weeks ago. Old insecurities and fears had risen to the surface. I could see that it was some unresolved ‘stuff’ coming up to be healed, in the way that our old wounds always do in the relationships that grow our souls. But it was distinctly uncomfortable.
When I checked in with myself to ask what I needed to find peace, it was a long yoga and meditation session.
It reminded me that I’d been paying lip service to my spiritual practice recently, topping up my heart through my relationships with the people I love instead of through my relationship with the sacred. Easy to do. Powerful to recognise what was happening. We need both. Our loving relationships with people and our loving relationship with the sacred in whatever way is most meaningful for us.
Spiritual practice can’t replace our human relationships any more than our human relationships can replace spiritual practice.
Both are required for a healthy loving life. To have one without the other makes us one-dimensional. To nurture both deepens our presence and opens our hearts.
So I spent a couple of days making time to consciously reconnect with Spirit, which was what had been missing and what I most needed.
I realised that there’s a part of me that subconsciously expects my human relationships to give me the nourishment that only spiritual practice can do, so in the past it’s been common for me to abandon my spiritual practice in favour of my close relationships. It was illuminating for me to recognise that I’d begun to let this happen again, and choose differently this time.
Spiritual practice reminds us of the beauty of being human and gives us a place to meet our insecurities and fears with the presence of love that exists within our own hearts. Spiritual practice returns us to the arms of Love; to Source where we remember who we really are.
And then we can show up with more clarity, sovereignty and presence in our dynamics with others because we’ve topped ourselves up with what we need rather than expecting other people to meet those needs for us.
Healthy grounded spirituality is something that feeds our human relationships rather than something that distracts us from them.
It strikes me that life is an undulating rhythm between remembering about our need for spiritual practice and forgetting again. When life is peachy, we can get complacent. Maybe we turn our backs on our spiritual practice because we feel so good we don’t think we need it or we’re so busy enjoying life that we don’t make the time. I don’t think it’s even a conscious choice, it just sort of happens.
Then invariably something happens that triggers a fear or pushes us off-centre and in that moment of pain we feel unsupported or unloved and yearn for Spirit to hold us. We might ask ‘why is this happening to me?’ or ‘how come things are so hard just now?’ or ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ or ‘what is this here to teach me?’ I’m not sure these are particularly useful questions to ask. I suspect it’s more useful simply to see it as an opportunity to come back home to our spiritual practice, to find the answers that blossom in our hearts when we reconnect with the Love that we are.
When we turn our backs on our spiritual practice, our well of soul nourishment runs dry and can leave us feeling disconnected and uncertain. When we return to our spiritual practice our hearts become full, our minds become peaceful and our souls receive the nourishment they most need.
So if you’re feeling good, feel good. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. And top yourself up with the spiritual practices that make your heart sing.
And if you’re feeling bad, let your pain invite you back into the arms of Love. And top yourself up with the spiritual practices that make your heart sing.
Whether we’re feeling good, bad or somewhere in between, spiritual practice is there to nourish us and remind us that we already are the Love that we seek.