People ask me all the time: How do you cultivate a supportive spiritual community? How do you find spiritual friends? How do you bring your spirituality into your relationships with your existing friends and family?
The topics of connection and relationships have been a huge theme in my healing journey.
I've struggled with family and friendships all my life, and I've sat with loads of confusion about what was between me and feeling (Soul) connected.
It can be easy to feel isolated in spiritual practice, it can feel scary to share your process with others, and feel like you're the only one who might understand you.
But it doesn't have to be hard, scary, and that's not true. ^
In 2017 I learned some big, hard lessons when it came to who I'm willing to allow into my heart, how I can do that, and where loving boundaries are mandatory for an awakened and fulfilling life.
After some heartbreak and those hard lessons this year I realized something... It's not about perfect communication, not about generational gaps, not about being the perfect friend or coach, not about doing everything right and knowing all the answers.
No. It was, has always been, and will always be about compassion, vulnerability, and trust.
And as I reflected more and more on how I've ended up extremely blessed with loving and supportive (and spiritually connected) people in my life; I came up with a few insights.
1) Celebrate the connections you have. Go into full celebration mode around the quality of connection you have right now. Yay you! It can be hard to open up and cultivate loving relationships - look at where you already are and give gratitude for that!
Also: the laws of physics tell us that if you have a desire for something you can't perceive you already have: you will never have it. It will always be something far away in the future because you're focused on a state of lack.
Possibility is the reality: not lack of possibility.
Stop focusing on what you don't feel like you have, and start taking responsibility for what you DO have.
Truly embody the magic of connection you actually already can see in your life - and grow that by embodying more and more the feeling of connection you WANT to have.
If you can dream it: it's already here, everything you need to have it is already here, you just can't see it yet.
2) Drop the ego. In the past I spent a lot of time overthinking interactions, words, manners, social structures... none of it served. It's all just curtains and layers of fragmented reality that has absolutely no truth in the light of love and Soul.
We try to connect through our experiences, our past history, our opinions and beliefs, but what the Universe keeps sharing with me in not so subtle ways is this - it's about SOUL connection.
Which means: it's about the here and now - connecting through awakened presence.It's about meeting one another with a vulnerable heart, and hearing beyond the words, seeing beyond the 'ego'.
I can't have soul connection or be in a state of compassion without first setting down my judgmental brain. Or the part of me that wants to appear a certain way and is concerned about holding some part of me together. If we're always concerned about holding our image together - we will never 'go deep' the way we long to.
Fortunately the only thing you lose when you show up this way is the wall between you and 'others'.
3) Be courageous enough to GO THERE with yourself. How can you expect to hold these SOUL connected relationships when you don't have one with your own SOUL? Always: take responsibility and see where the 'work' is.
Blaze that path with YOU - you are creating an environment for SOUL to be accessed. Intentionally create the environment and quality of the relationships you want to have (with others) inside yourself. You will shine with the essence of your vulnerable heart, and your tribe will be magnetized to you.
So if the foundation of naked soul connection is compassion - what's between me and feeling compassion for myself?
What's between me and getting real and vulnerably open with MYSELF?
4) Discern, Discern, Discern. In my OPINION - you can't let everyone in. SOUL connection through our human bodies is like playing music. One of my teachers describes relationship like two notes making a chord. "Not every two notes makes a chord, or three notes." And that's totally OK.
Use your discernment when you throw the doors of your heart open. Wait for the trust. Take baby steps toward full transparency.
We've ALL been hurt. We've ALL been betrayed somehow. It's okay to be guarded and boundaried. But if we never take the leap into vulnerable, loving, and grounded presence... and open SOUL - we will never discover that which we long for.
Getting hurt is part of life. We can't fully live if we're always scared of pain. Trust your intuitive power to sense who and when it's okay to let in. And trust the outcome. Trust that whatever happens is what you were meant to experience.
Surround yourself with people who think you're F**** Amazing. Because you are - and the future you will thank you.
5) Trust. But really - we don't know until we try. Take little steps toward openness and vulnerable shares. Try little moments of true and real expression. ASK for how you want to be received as a friend. If you want your friend or family member to listen better - ASK THEM.
Many of us are operating on a surface level of manners, and people pleasing, care taking... and that's not bad. It's the way we've been conditioned, it's survival.
But in those relationships you want to deepen - break the 'rules' and ask for what you want - and tell someone when something they're doing isn't working for you. It's an eternal dance. We are changing every second. Your spiritual relationships are evolving 1,000x more rapidly than your acquaintance pals.
How do you deepen relationships with your family (ie the most challenging relationships!)? Let yourself go there.
The feelings, the crying, the pain. Share it - let the doors of your heart open. Baby steps - try writing letters to the ones you want to become more intimate with - you don't have to send the letter.
Sense what is it about now, and you, and them that you're desiring.
It might sound harsh - but if they're not ready for what you're ready for - they might not be worth your time. SO much of this work is delicate like a baby bird. So be patient with one another.
As you open like a beautiful fragile flower - you venture into shared spiritual work. Rather than processing on your own - you have a mirror, feedback, and another heart to call bullshit.
And that is a LOT more vulnerable and real than going there with yourself sometimes.
6) We often have MORE to learn from the mirror of our tribe than our own work. Through their hearts and minds you can SEE yourself more clearly.
It's about quality over quantity. I know it was cool back in middle school to have as many friends as you could remember their names - but you grew up - and it's okay to just have a handful of extra special souls who you can go deep with.
I've had many relationships that I've put a lot of work into - without the value and connection I really wanted. Total flop.
And I've had relationships that took a plummet or five, and with love and work, we came back and reached new levels of intimacy and heart. The work became way worth it.
I have yet to experience meaningful relationships that are 100% easy... you?
So how do you know when to give it up or keep going?
You know. You know you know - but it's not always easy to make the call. Your intuition power KNOWS.
You're only here for some time - and that time will run out.
Stop spending it with people you don't make music with.
You are in charge of your emotional and energetic boundaries. There's not a magic way or a right way, you will learn what you need to know based on the choices you make.
If you feel heavy and can't access compassion, safety and trust with them - it's probably time to move on.
Pay attention to the outcome of your choices with others.
I heard Brene Brown say this once: The more boundaried I am - the more loving I am. That's what I've found in my own life. I keep my tribe close, I trust who I trust, I boundary as I need, and I pour a LOT of love into the people who really support me in flourishing.
It's easy for me to hold too much space, to take on too many friends who need something from me. I wasn't born to help everyone, but I was born to be of service - and for me - If I'm not clear - I end up attracting too many soul suckers rather than SOUL connections.
If there's one thing I know for sure it's that Heart and Soul connected relationships are what makes life worth living and sharing.
And it's honestly got to be the most tender and heartbreaking / building work there is.
Lean in, folks - make that music.
I really think this is one of the most majestic aspects of life on earth.
What do you think?