Encountering difficulties and challenges in our lives can bring us face to face with our own values and beliefs…so can those golden moments of grace and pure joy. Questioning our values and spiritual beliefs is natural as we follow our paths through life. It’s part of self-discovery, personal growth and being true to our authentic Self.
What is Spirituality?
Your Spirit is the essence of your Self that connects to God/Creator/The Universe (or any other way you define a connection to more than what you see). Spirituality is very personal and unique to every individual. The act of Spirituality lies in the essence of your Self as you actively and consciously connect with your Higher Power.
Religion and Spirituality
Religion and spirituality are not the same thing. Our spiritual life may or may not be linked to a traditional religion. We can lead a highly spiritual life and have no connection to a traditional group. The inverse is also true. Although we may routinely engage in formal religious practice, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are actively seeking a spiritual connection on a daily basis to whatever our idea of is of a “Higher Power”.
Our power lies in our freedom to choose our spiritual path and in how we connect with our vision of God/Creator/The Universe… or something more.
We may be aligned with a church, temple, lineage or other religious doctrine, school of thought, or philosophy like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or Judaism, just to name a few. Regardless of that choice, your spiritual Self is separate yet interconnected with the way you identify yourself and your place in the world.
Many of us are discovering the traditions and teachings we have grown up no longer fit who we are now. This does not mean we are not “spiritual”. It merely means we have disengaged ourselves from a particular community and that community’s beliefs. This can leave us feeling relieved, yet a little empty.
Creating our own personal philosophy and spiritual identity that differs from what we’ve been taught can be daunting, and finding communities that support our choice can be frustrating, which is why I’m here to listen to, explore with, and support you. You may be angry that what you’ve been taught doesn’t align with you anymore. You may be grieving the community that you used to trust.
Spirituality in Counseling
Spirituality is so deeply personal that it can be hard to share your thoughts with others.
I realize that exploring your beliefs and finding answers to your questions requires a great deal of trust. I work to create a non-judgmental and safe place to openly talk about what are often highly emotionally charged issues.
These issues are almost always rooted in coming to terms with what we are taught as children, and then later as adults, about religion, behavior expectations attached to religion, and often tremendous guilt used to control our behavior…all in the name of religion.
Some of us move away from the belief systems we grew up with because of what amounts to a type of maturation in how we view reality. We may have grown up with a certain system of beliefs, but those beliefs may no longer fit who we are now. Through our life experiences, we’ve found that the solutions in the rule book belonging to that belief system haven’t helped the situations we’ve applied them to.
In the same vein, the doctrine or beliefs we have been taught (which may now feel too confining) are still valid for many. The tricky part for those breaking away from an established religious life is to stop judging those who are happy there. Though we may feel pulled in a different direction, we need to respect others’ choices that may consist of regular ceremonies and rituals if they fulfill a need for security and safety.
Although the term “spiritual journey” seems overused, it’s still the best description for what is happening for you. When it comes to spirituality, it’s true that it’s about the journey, not the destination.
I want you to feel safe to talk about your choices and to help you identify a path that will bring you a feeling of direction, solid footing, safety and peace as you develop your spiritual identity. Working with you to discover a gratifying and growing spiritual identity is definitely the “end-game” in all of my work.
Imagine that all of the paths we take toward mental wellness (or “staying sane”) are based on the assumption that, as humans, we are naturally led toward questioning the hows and whys of our existence. No matter what the challenge or situation that brings you to my door, know that you are sane and simply seeking peace of mind. We all share that goal.
If you find yourself confused or questioning your spiritual life, please give me a call at (970) 682-3270 or go to Contact. If I’m not available, be sure to leave a message including what time is best for me to call you back.