Spiritual Poverty


There is something freeing in taking time to strip away from our identities and labels, like our political party, race, job title, our actions that we take pride in, and any other social title we might think up in order to connect with the truth of who we are below the surface, where we are all one and the same.

From a spiritual sense, all of us are nothing but an essence, or an eternal substance of being- a spirit united to God and each other.

To me, this "ego stripping" is a refreshing act of spiritual poverty, for it's helpful to practice letting go of anything that stands in the way of your awareness of God’s presence. It’s making yourself poor, intentionally, from a psychological sense, to provide yourself the opportunity to search for what is eternal and lasting within you.

This stripping must not be mistaken with lessening ourselves either, for when we enter into conscious contemplation, we find our likeness and closeness to the divine, rather than everything that separates us from it.

Therefore, today I encourage you to slow down and "be" instead of racing towards your to-do list, and to let go of your labels and self-judgments before any shame and anxieties can creep in to make you feel distant from your true self.

As you do, watch as your day unfolds before you. And your anger, anxiety, and unwanted impulses fade away.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Where is meaning found?

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Meaning isn't found in the products of our favorite clothing brands.

Or at a distant travel destination.

Or in the knowledge of a new book.

Or in the fame of gaining more likes and followers online.

Meaning is a sense we walk with, rather than something we search for and uncover in existential things.

Meaning comes from within, for those with the eyes to see, for those who turn their suffering into a burden worth bearing, and are capable of seeing sculptures amidst the marble of their everyday lives.

Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

What is growth?


Growth is a specific space.

It's the spiritual and mental place within you where you can look safely at who you are when you are what you most fear, when you are what you least understand, when you are what you most resent. It’s standing in the presence of unconditional self-approval.

Growth is acceptance.

It's welcoming, with open arms, yourself in all of your messiness and imperfections, you in all of your mystery, your perplexity, your overwhelming, distant, dark, and confusing feelings, you as you are, wherever you are at all times.

Growth is being present to the moment.

It's being mindful and compassionate toward whatever comes up inside you, whenever it comes up. Such as when you feel overwhelmed at the worst times, or when your tears want to flow when you least wish they wouldn't. Presence is about being aware of yourself and the present moment despite whatever arises.

Growth is self-expression.

It's throwing your spirit across the canvas of your imagination to observe what lies in the depths of your soul.

Growth is work.

It's the continuation of showing up and exploring the parts of your self that you avoid and ignore, and facing that which you most resist, yet need.

Growth is you, expressed fully and freely, as you move toward your potential.

Photo by Eddi Aguirre on Unsplash

Grieving and The National

Song link:

When we're in distress, sometimes there is nothing we can do apart from sitting in our tears as we wait for dawn, as we wait for our restlessness and the darkness to pass, as we walk the road ahead and process our suffering.

I think these lyrics by the National express what it's like to grieve well:

"But I'm learning to lie here in the quiet light
While I watch the sky go from black to grey
Learning how not to die, inside a little every time...

Learning how not to cry every time there's another sad unbearable morning
But sometimes there's nothing I can do"

To some extent, as he put in these lines, we all must learn how to be ok in our pain.

The word “be”, as it’s used in the context of this song, is an interesting word to understand, and an even harder one to practice.

After all, how does one "be" ok if being is not an action?

Nor is it pushing through or finding a shorter way around.

Being is pausing to take a slow breath amidst our everyday hurts, temptations, and anxiety to remember:

We’re doing ok.

"Being" and remaining grounded and connected to God's presence in our Spirit is what we are after, for in it lies all the healing, sobriety, and serenity we could ever seek.

The difference between blaming and vulnerability

It's all too easy to find things to blame...

"My job is boring."

But, it's far more difficult to take the time to try to understand our feelings, to be vulnerable with ourselves, to admit why we truly feel the way we do:

"My job is slow and doesn’t feel very meaningful. I think this is likely because I don't feel like my work is important, I feel insignificant about myself, depressed, and like I'm wasting my days away. Ultimately, I feel ashamed.


"You make me furious!"

Instead of...

"When you don't clean up the kitchen after yourself, I know this isn't how you likely perceive your actions, but it makes me feel like you don't care about me."

There's something magical that happens when we muster up the courage to share what we truly feel with ourselves.... and then, those we trust.

This week, make an effort to slow down. See what’s truly lying under your impulses. And even better, share what you find with a close friend.

Watch how the world opens up to you in new ways as you focus on becoming more aware and curious of your underlying feelings.