Not All Spiritual Awakenings are about Rainbows and Butterflies
February 13, 2019
In fact, I’d hazard to say that most Spiritual Openings don’t involve the cute, fluffy stuff of life. We kind of have a collective “ooooh” factor around the words Spiritual Awakening. I’ve always shied away from using them to be honest. That’s a story for another day. I think the people that experience and integrate a Spiritual Emergency or Crisis are incredible souls. Because it is hard, painful, messy work. It is also soul-filling, rich, and harmoniously beautiful.
Why I’m Writing My Most Vulnerable Story
I’m finally here. I’m finally at the place where I feel ready to share my story. My deepest, darkest story of how I really came to be who I am, and do what I do. It’s beautiful and terrifying and exciting and grief-stricken. I won’t be sharing every detail. I really don’t need too.
Something has been shifting in me lately. I have been working with the “filter” as I call it, that stops me from allowing my thoughts and ideas and channeled messages to make their way into the world. Today, I am ready. And it feels especially important to do this today, like there is someone out there right now that really needs to here this.
Are you ready? Here we go.
I’m going to write this in a free flow of consciousness, so we’ll see exactly where that takes us. Let’s begin at the middle, since the beginning is really too long ago.
The Steel and Concrete World
I used to consider myself an open-minded person, not spiritual at all (show me the science please), but still, open-minded. I worked full-time as a Registered Nurse. I used to race bikes pretty heavily. I was pretty familiar with the world of the steel and concrete, as I call it now.
When I got to my late 20s, I’d “made it” by all intents and definitions that I’d had for myself. I had a great job, an absolutely wonderful partner who I was not-so-secretly hoping would propose anytime now, I had just moved back to my home country of Canada after living in Australia for a number of years. I was healthy, and really, I’d ticked all my “boxes” that I’d made for myself. So why the hell was I so deeply empty??
I remember asking myself, what is the point of it all? Why work and wait for the weekend and go bike riding and then back to work, until we retire, then we die? I’d grown up in the Christian church, so I had the religious background to give one answer to that question from the Christian side of things…but I had long since left the church and considered myself a (respectful) non-believer.
But oh man was I wrestling with the emptiness. I wasn’t yet depressed, that likely would’ve come later had I not fallen into the deepest whole of spiritual awakening. (HA I just realized I wrote the word “whole” when I intended to write “hole”….I think I’ll leave that as is.) Now this was not the glamorous, life is all rosy and good, story of spiritual opening. This story takes a different road.
When My Legs Got Taken Out From Under Me
It began when my body broke down. When my legs stopped being able to hold my weight and I couldn’t sit up with a raging headache. I’ll keep this part short, because, though I’ve talked about it way more, the physical breakdown is not what changed me. Sure I went to the hospital and was admitted for a few days, had all the tests done they could think of.
They didn’t find anything concrete, so I was diagnosed with somatoform (a psycho-somatic illness aka a physical manifestation of emotion). I didn’t feel particularly upset or like I really had anything too deep and scary to even suppress, so I didn’t really know what to make of it all. I got sent home in a wheelchair and my incredibly supportive partner and family helped look after me while I was physically not well. I’m very lucky in that sense. I know a lot of people who go through this type of thing don’t have that.
It was during this time, while on complete bedrest, that I began having visions. I really couldn’t do much other than lie in bed, I couldn’t really stare at a screen and couldn’t concentrate to read a book for that long. From a physical perspective, I now know my autonomic nervous system was severely severely out of whack. And that isn’t something allopathic and Western medicine knows how to fix. I also know the nervous system and our spiritual energy are completely intertwined. And in my case, this was just a precursor of what was to come.
So, back to the bedrest. I started spontaneously having many different types of psychic experiences. I didn’t know what in the world they all were about. I had no framework for it. I hadn’t learned anything about metaphysics, or crystals, or what the hell to do when you hear a voice in your head (all I’d been taught was that was a sure sign of craziness). So do I think I told anyone close to me? Hell no!
And So It Begins…Clairvoyance is Pretty Exciting!
When I put my hands on my areas of pain, I started to feel and see in my mind’s eye this amazing sense of healing. Like my body was clearing and then knitting itself back together. I used to lie in bed for hours and hours, just, listening through my hands to the movements of energy and the different structures under my hands. I didn’t truly understand any of it, I just knew I felt better when I did this.
I’d go into deep meditations, sometimes for 6 to 8 hours a day. Feeling this increasingly incredible sense of being present and aware of many things happening at one time, yet feeling completely calm and connected. I talked with a family friend about this a little bit, and she said well, it sounds like you’ve somehow mastered Theta meditation. Though she couldn’t really explain how.
More psychic phenomena started showing up. I started seeing the basic outline of auras. I began feeling these intense knowings of the Oneness of All Things. I still remember the first time I asked “who is this?” to the voice in my head and hearing an unfamiliar, archaic sounding name. I later googled it. It was a Greek goddess I’d never even heard of. That’s when shit started getting real, and I knew I wasn’t making this all up.
A few weeks later I had what would be considered a spontaneous healing. I just got up and walked one day. I’d been gradually feeling better and better. And after the many hours in deep meditation and exploring of present moment body sensation, watching it heal through my awareness and listening through my hands, I thought wow, I’m back! I’m good to go! I’ve got my life back! I never even really thanked all the hundreds of people that I now know were praying for me and wishing me well. I KNOW they had a deep impact on my healing journey (so THANK-YOU!)
I’m Healed! Or So I Thought….
I was then in a state of euphoria. Colors were brighter. Birdsong was sweeter. And I felt like I saw messages everywhere. That’s when I discovered crystals. Oooooh wow did it ever feel like coming home. I felt like I had rediscovered what I did in a past life. I felt like each crystal had a spirit and energy that could heal. I just picked them up and intuitively knew that I needed it for something. I began carrying more and more around with me. I fell into the world of psychic protection and smudging and spirits and lightworkers. I gobbled all this new knowledge up like a thirsty woman emerging from the desert.
Here was my meaning. Here was my purpose. Here was what I’d hungered for for years on end. Synchronicity after synchronicity showed up, message after message came through. I began to feel like I was special and had gifts no one else had. And at the same time, a part of me was scared. It was all happening so fast.
Was it real anyway? Sure I could feel SO much more energy than ever before, but what if this was all in my head? But when amazing things are happening to you, it becomes incredibly easy to push that worried little voice down. I started noticing weird things happening with electronics around me, my car wouldn’t start, then the bank machine ate my card and broke down, then my phone started doing weird things. (In hindsight, I think was my true Helping Spirits trying to slow me down and get me grounded).
Falling off the Edge…A Visit to the Mental Hospital
And then, I fell off the edge of sanity. I was unable to sleep for a number of days. I had such an incredible amount of energy I felt I didn’t even need it. Though again, there was that aspect of me that was worried about what was happening. I wish now I’d reached out for help. That I would’ve found someone I trusted or found a counselor with experience in this to slow things down.
I had relied on the bits and pieces of guidance I received through books and the spiritual community around me for the most part, but they didn’t really know me, they just saw this enthusiastic young woman super excited to learn about all things metaphysical. They didn’t know this was all too much for my mind and body to handle.
I didn’t know that I was going through a chaotic Spiritual Emergency or Spiritual Crisis. And so, without going fully down the rabbit hole, I ended up in a mental hospital. And it was the safest place for me at the time. I was lucky to be alive and am still now incredibly grateful for the very kind man who helped me when I absolutely needed it most. Whoever you are. You have my deepest gratitude.
I still remember the potency of the shame that bubbled up when I awoke there in the hospital. I had finally slept (thanks to some heavy duty sleeping tablets), and I was just starting to realize all that had happened over the past few months. I will never forget how deeply, deeply ashamed I was that I, the honor-roll, overachieving, beautiful young woman with all this potential, had had a psychotic break. And no I didn’t run up into people’s faces waving my crystals in their face or anything like that, but I had definitely lost touch with what was our reality, and had started living from an alternative one.
That’s when I realized how much of a prejudice I had had against those that needed mental help. That’s when I started to see how much unacknowledged and un-integrated psychic experiences we have as a Collective.
I feel I was one of the lucky ones. The doctors and staff were so surprised how fast I “recovered” and could be discharged home, based off what I had gone through mentally. For many, this becomes a deep and incredibly sad spiral of mental hospital admissions and ever increasing psychiatric drugs (a quick note: I’m not going to get into whether these drugs are good, bad, or otherwise, each person’s medications are something they must discuss with their health provider).
Think about even our general ability as a society to talk about this? Go to hospital because you broke a leg? Sure that’s easy to talk about. Go to hospital because you lost track of the steel and concrete world? Whoa whoa whoa (seemingly) no one wants to go there and hear about that. Thankfully, this is starting to change, and I’m hoping my story will be at least one drop in the ocean of change.
The Aftermath…As the Dawn Comes
My road to recovery from this was long. At first I wanted nothing to do with crystals, spirits, or meditation. That didn’t feel safe to me at all. I didn’t want to talk about it. I just needed to leave it alone for awhile. Except my leg pain was back. And I didn’t know what to do about it. I spent the next few years learning about chronic pain and how to heal that, mostly with a more linear approach through the nervous system. Though I have since embraced my spiritual gifts, which we all have, and continue to deepen and develop them to heal myself and others.
I now know I was connecting to greater and greater amounts of spiritual energy. In other cultures, if the medicine man or woman saw this happening to a member of the tribe, they would take them under their wing and guide them. First off they would likely have them run for many miles a day, simply to physically move all the extra energy they were connected too.
I almost laughed when I learned this, because all of these psychic sensitivities were really opening up when I was bed ridden and couldn’t walk. I have been told this resembles a shamanic dismemberment, deconstructing the old self to make way for the new, the hollow bone. Whether it was or not, it has deeply shaped me as a person and as a soul walking this earth.
My recovery is a story for another day. But the biggest piece of the puzzle was when my GP, my family doctor of all people, said to me, “Lisa, I don’t think you have a mental illness. I think you went through something called a Spiritual Emergency. I don’t know much about it, but if you read this book, you might understand a little bit more about what happened.” That book was “Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis” edited by Stanislav and Christina Grof.
And when I read some of the accounts in that book, it was like reading about myself. It was like the people that shared their stories in that book were mirroring my experiences, and even some of my thoughts. It blew me away. And it gave me hope. Hope that I would find a way through this. That I would heal. That I would find a way of dealing with this shame and embarrassment. And that maybe, just maybe, this would one day help another living being.
And so, that is a big part of why I share this. To give hope to another. If that is you, please reach out. To me or to a counselor (ideally a transpersonal counselor) or you can call this helpline or see the website for resources: http://spiritualemergence.net/
Even though recovering from my Spiritual Emergency was the hardest thing at the time, I am now deeply thankful for the learning that has come through that. It took me a long time to find a way that I felt safe to interact with the Spirit World again, with crystals and with receiving messages and doing healing work. I’ve learned a lot since all of this happened, and will continue to learn more every day of my life.
My life now is richer, deeper, more purpose-led, and harmonious than when I supposedly “had it all” pre-psychic opening, though I now prefer the term spiritual emergence. My capacity for empathy, compassion, and understanding of the souls who have waded through the mud has increased exponentially. I have experienced and continue to move through the shame of having had a mental breakdown. And I’m incredibly thankful for the support of my family and friends, both in the physical and spiritual worlds.
In deepest gratitude,
Photo Credit to Wendy Shep