Spiritual Immersion â€“ Taking the Plunge Podcast
As I announced last month, I have a new podcast dedicated to Spiritual Immersions & guiding people to take the plunge themselves. Here’s a part of the transcript from Episode 101 describing my personal experience. I hope you enjoy!
I want to share with you a little bit of my story and what gives me the inspiration to do these podcasts. I’ll also share some of the things that show up for a lot of people as they go through a spiritual immersion process.
So, I am 68 years old and my first spiritual immersion process started when I was about 17 years old. I’ll share more about that another time, but at that age I had no support. There were no therapists to talk to or spiritual guides. There was only me, basically, and my parents, who wouldn’t understand something like that. Their level of consciousness and awareness couldn’t, as far as I knew, accept or support me through such a process.
I was pretty isolated and alone through this. I believe this type of experience is normal for a lot of people in their adolescence. I was suicidal and had no way of handling that but to live with those feelings and thoughts. But over a couple of years, thing got better inside me as I transitioned and focused on things like boyfriends, going to college, getting married, and having children.
The next time that I found myself in a spiritual immersion process was when I was in my 30’s. I was a therapist working in Nova Scotia in the field of recovery. I had just broken up with a boyfriend. And because I hadn’t dealt with the grief of a divorce and separation from my children, the breakup from this particular boyfriend put me in a tailspin. This time I was in it for about a year. It was most intense for about four months. I was in physical pain, though there was no reason for such pain, medically speaking. I also cried a lot. Eventually it softened and within the year I was kind of back to myself. I didn’t have any understanding or support around this, other than it seemed to be a very deep grief process, and so that’s how I handled it.
The third spiritual immersion opportunity began about 12 years ago. I started to have anguish, a lot, and anxiety and energy that didn’t have a place to go. And so I felt like I wanted to move and jitter and jiggle all the time. Sometimes I coughed, a lot, and I spewed, feeling like I was vomiting though there wasn’t anything I was throwing up. It was an energetic vomiting. And, because I had been exposed to breath work therapy and other indigenous practices and healing modalities, I was comfortable with the fact that my body was telling me it’s letting go of energies and things that it doesn’t need anymore. So I gave it room to do what it needed to do. And then, I got a calling.
At the age of 58, I got a spiritual calling to quit the work I was doing. I had been facilitating a coaching training program in Silicon Valley, at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. I’d been doing that for almost 10 years. I loved it. I was successful and I was really happy. But, I was called to something else. I didn’t know what that something else was, but I just knew that it was going to be very exciting, prosperous, and, it felt like I was going to get famous from it. So I stopped the training program and moved full time to my home on Orcas Island. My plan was to live here until I got called to wherever and whatever was going to be next.
The day that I finished the training program and settled myself back into my little nest on Orcas, I sat in my desk chair anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. It didn’t ring. No one called and nothing happened. And so, the bottom line is, my clients disappeared, and the financial stability disappeared. I was in a panic because nothing was showing up. I’d experienced callings many times before, so I knew the drill, if you will, of how such things fall into place. This time was different.
If you want to know more about my direct experiences with callings, my book The Unholy Path of a Reluctant Adventurer, talks about the many callings I’d had and how I followed them. I became very familiar with the process of having a calling and following through with it, including crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat. Go figure!
So I waited. And, because I knew that this was what it was â€“ a calling from the Universe – and I knew that this was big work that would be coming my way, I realized that I would have to begin looking at things differently. I had to begin to turn to my faith towards my higher power, my higher knowing, my highest truth. I had to begin to train myself to make choices from that place, as opposed to making choices from the consensus view of reality, which told me to go get a job, go do this, go do that, get busy! This was my fear talking. I knew it was time to turn away from fear-based thinking and turn into myself. And for me, that was the beginning of my next spiritual immersion process.
Now, an important thing here is that I’m calling this process a spiritual immersion process versus a spiritual emergence process.
The reason I make that distinction is this:
The term spiritual immersion is something I thought I made up. I don’t know that I did but I thought I did. And, the reason I made it up was because for me, I witnessed myself taking baby steps â€“ incrementally taking myself down the path of knowing myself fully as a spiritual being having a human experience. That’s different than what is considered a spiritual emergence process, where there can be sudden changes and an element of emergency to it sometimes.
Generally, there are more challenging indicators that show up in a spiritual emergence process. The body is doing things and feeling things and sensing things energetically. There may be a spiritual presence, or a sense of possession, or kriyas â€“ spontaneous energy processes. Something is happening in the body that needs attention. And, it needs attention in a way that will take you inevitably into a spiritual immersion process. However the symptoms, if you will, or the indicators, are attempting to get your attention. And if it’s a spiritual emergency then your attention is needed immediately, and you need the support of either people who know how to be with spiritual emergencies or you’re probably going to want to go into a medical facility where you can get some support that way.
So there’s all kinds of ways spiritual emergences happen. You can emerge like you’re a flower. Or there’s emergencies where things are happening quickly and you need the attention that you can get quite often, as I mentioned already, that may take you to a medical facility. These things happen in the physical, mental, emotional, and energetic realm.
Spiritual immersion, for me, is the step-by-step process of making only one incremental choice at a time to align myself with my highest truth and my highest knowing. I’m making the choice to step onto this path of self-discovery. It’s a collaboration, a partnership happening. Though you may be experiencing the nudge from the Universe, your are empowering yourself to grow, learn, and discovery your full potential in all ways!
For me, I’ve been gifted. I feel like it’s a gift to experience this spiritual immersion process incrementally. I’m at choice to take the steps myself. To say to myself, "Okay, I have to train myself to be with this in a way that is going to help and support me to grow myself into my fullest potential. I have to train myself to stop avoiding and ignoring what isn’t working anymore. I have to train myself to practice walking my talk." The nudges from the Universe can sometimes feel like a two-by-four, so I’ve learned to listen and respond as best I can to keep aligning with the nudges.
So then what most people are afraid of, in such a process as spiritual immersion, happened to me: bankruptcy, a second divorce, isolation, and a lot of emotional and physical purging. I wanted it to be over ASAP! However, as I began to take the steps to self-discovery, in relation to my spirit self, I started to dance with God, if you will. I started to learn how to dance with God, how to learn to dance with myself as God, to learn to dance with myself as this Divine Oneness that I said I was. Though I would talk the words, I wasn’t walking or in this case dancing my talk. So, even though this process that I hoped would be over in a matter of months, and has lasted now almost a decade, has evolved into just an exquisite relationship with the Divine Universe within me. I feel so blessed to have come to know myself and Spirit to the degree that I have. And, I know now there is so much more to learn through direct experience â€“ not just reading and writing about it.
Something else people are afraid of is that they will lose momentum and become a depressed couch potato. That’s an option some people may choose. For me, when I wasn’t on the couch resting and going through some pretty uncomfortable moments, I was very active, and I still am. Being outside is critically important as part of this spiritual immersion process. A couple of hours a day, at least, I had to walk. I continued to work with clients, I did a lot of writing – I think I’ve written like 11 books in this time period. I went to Russia and Bali and did some retreats. So it’s not as though I was doing nothing and that life sucked. Life was very, very, and continues to be, very creative and inspiring.
My spiritual immersion process is a never ending relationship with my Divine Self. Challenges continue to be part of my life, they continue to press into what I need to attend to for myself, what I need to change regarding my beliefs, what I need to focus on, what I need to train myself to do regarding how I choose to choose what I choose. I continually train myself to focus on my highest truth, my highest knowing what my essential nature is, as opposed to, what I should be doing because people tell me I should. If I feel afraid I examine my fear and see that it is based on a context that has never worked for me. As best I can I move towards what I know to be true â€“ that I’m loved, that there is no hurry, and that I can’t do it wrong. You can’t do it wrong either.
Everyone will have their own unique experience. So, what I’m sharing with you in these podcasts will be what I found most valuable to discover as I continue to go through this discovery process. I’ll share specific books that have been my teachers, such as, A Course in Miracles, a book called Oneness, transcribed by a woman named Rasha, and many books by David Hawkins.
Having worked in the field of recovery for almost 10 years, I use the recovery model with just about every single person, whether it’s a spiritual immersion process, or whatever their life issue is. Quite often, there are addictive patterns in place that need to shift. I find this especially true in this process of spiritual immersion. Addictive patterns need to be looked at so they can be seen for the value they bring to one’s life. If they are no longer useful, then it’s time to let them go. Easier said than done, right?
How long such a process takes is very personal. We are working on physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and energetic levels. We are detoxing from cellular memory, from traumas, emotions and patterns that have been with us probably for lifetimes. They’ve come through our ancestors, through our own past life experiences, or parallel life experiences – all kinds of things show up in this process of spiritual immersion. It gets to be a wonderful adventure. Sometimes I didn’t want to be on this adventure, but inevitably, it’s been and continues to be an exquisite knowing of me in my fullest potential â€“ so far!
So my intention with these podcasts on spiritual immersion: taking the plunge is to support and empower you to be with yourself with a lot of compassion and kindness, and to know yourself through this process, and to let you know that you’re not alone, and to know that there are sources out there that will support you. These supports won’t make the process easier. They just may make it more comfortable to know you’re not alone, even when it feels like you are. But you’re not! You get the picture.
To hear all the episodes in this podcast, Spiritual Immersion: Taking the Plunge, click here.