Happy Wednesday, yet again! It’s a big day here in DC as the Pope visits and spreads his unique brand of love and equality with us all. I’ve been excited about it for days but haven’t quite understood why until I listened to this great podcast from pastor and writer Rob Bell.
In it, he talks about the importance of a rebirth. He defines a rebirth as a few deeply important points in our lives when we consciously choose a different path, a different perspective, a different way of life. We can identify a “before” and an “after” us once we go through a rebirth.
Can you think of a few of those rebirth moments for yourself?
Maybe discovering you were pregnant or finally forgiving your mother or going to your first AA meeting. I’ve certainly had some and hope to have many more in my life. Looking at them as a group I notice that they follow a pattern. They involve:
1) a journey (either out into the world or deep into myself)
2) a whole lot of psychological discomfort (they ego hates simple change, yet alone a huge rebirth so it rears up to block growth, often as the sh*tty voice in my head that tells me to go drink a latte and accept that I’m not capable of change)
3) a moment of surrender and intense vulnerability (usually this comes when I decide the discomfort is too much to bear alone and I finally ask someone or the universe for help, usually through some prideful tears)
4) the gigantic relief of my suffering as I feel the magic of grace (the grace part is hard to pinpoint with words but it feels something like forgiveness and something like taking myself 300% less seriously).
5) the integration of this rebirth into the rest of my life (which feels a bit like a compromise between the before and the after us and can be a long or short, fluid or awkward) Are you ready for a rebirth right now?
Here are three steps to help you jumpstart your change process and liven up your life from deep inside:
1) Make sure your self-care is set
A rebirth means a whole new way of life from a very aligned place. I’ve found for myself that when I am super aligned in my self-care, the rebirth opportunities flow so naturally. Once they flow, my life picks up speed and I’m asked to do more and more from a place of real service. It’s amazing to see how my joy can actually help other people. It makes me understand why I am here and how I can really help from an authentic place inside.
And if I didn’t have solid self-care it would all fall apart. If I don’t start by loving and nurturing myself, then there is no way I can be of service.
What is self-care?
It’s all of the boring stuff that you already know about like eating vegetables and going to bed early and meditating every morning. For me it’s a lot about learning how to disappoint other people so I can stay true to myself. I don’t always love to take these actions but I love the steadiness and ease they create in my life.I love the opportunities that flow from a life of self-care. So I will continue to treat myself best and first and let the sh*tty voice in my head say what it will.
2) Be ok with being weird
To me, a rebirth is about growing spiritually. What exactly does that mean you may ask? I think it’s about growing your self-awareness through practices that make you feel more embodied and alive. And yes, many of these practices are kind of weird in our culture.
Personally, I have a knack for finding the sacred Buddhist empowerment or sitting in ceremony with the visiting Amazonian shaman or hugging the embodiment of the Divine Mother. I follow my intuition to each one and take in as much as I can in a balanced way (sometimes leaving if I don’t feel a true connection the teacher or ritual).
I really believe that each of these moments has uplifted my path immensely by creating a rebirth and I’m grateful for each of them. Yet they are kind of strange to talk about in public. Especially when I am trying to convince someone else that they should go see the shaman with me or believe that a hug is anything more than a hug.
So I’m going to say that the spiritual path may not be something you know how to talk about with the people around you and that is ok. It’s not something that anyone else can define for you but something you have to define by really listening to your spirit and making touch choices to stay aligned. You will feel lonely sometimes and weird other times. It might be helpful to make some peace with that now.
3) Find a support network
If reading the above section made you feel sad, please know there is hope! The secret is that you need to find your sangha. Sangha is word used in Buddhism to mean a sacred community that supports your upliftment and growth. It’s the place where other warm, centered human beings will celebrate you as your put your spiritual process at the center of your life. It can look like a church or a yoga studio or monthly brunch meeting with beloved friends.
A sangha is considered one of the three jewels in Buddhism. A spiritual community is as sacred as the example of the Buddha and the enlightened teachings he passed down. In our own life you may know this as keeping the habits of the people with whom you spend the most time. Despite your best efforts, you will get taken down by friends who order the third round or want to gossip instead of converse.
If you are interested in a real rebirth, take a good look at who is in your support network and actively create one that uplifts you. Make sure it’s a space where you feel like you can uplift others as well. I think maintaing a healthy sangha is one of the most important aspects of developing a genuine spiritual path. The cool thing is that it’s as easy as texting someone you love and asking them to chat later tonight.
In my work coaching groups of women through a transformational habit change process (rebirth in 10 weeks!), I see how much we need community to hold us through times of change. If you are looking to create this kind of momentum and accountability so that you can experience in your life then please apply here.
By breaking the rebirth process into steps, I don’t mean to simplify it at all. It doesn’t feel that simple to me, especially when I’m in the thick of it. The real change and the development of the spiritual path is full of mystery and interesting twists. There is no real road map because the point is that you have to live it all out with continued courage and integrity. It’s beautiful this way.
But to have energy to walk this path and go fully into your rebirths when they arise, I think you need real self-care. Luckily, I don’t actually think self-care is that difficult. It’s a question of deciding that you are going to feel good before anything else happens in your life. It’s selfish in the most delicious way. It’s the fuel that helps you keep putting one foot in front of the other as you walk on toward the light of your own sweet life calling to you.