Saturday night, 10:30pm, sitting on the couch watching random YouTube videos. I feel ‘pulled’ to reach out to someone I haven’t spoken to for over six years. The feeling is strong and hard to explain. That feeling has been building over the course of the day and from experience, it’s best that I listen to this ‘gut feeling’.
I push how this person may feel about me reaching out to them randomly to the back of my mind and hit the ‘Add Friend’ button on Facebook. I hold my breath and wait for the consequences of what I’ve instigated to play out. They accept my friend request almost immediately and we begin messaging back and forth. I allow the dust to settle for the evening and say goodnight.
I leave it for a few days and allow this person to message me again if and when they are ready to. The next Saturday, I receive a number of late night messages from this same person, detailing two spiritual experiences they’ve had. And how they thought to contact me but didn’t because it’s been such a long time since we last spoke.
Is this all a coincidence or something more? Something else? I have found myself asking this question a lot. This is just one of the ‘downloads’ I have received from what I refer to as the universe. While I am almost certainly an empath, I don’t believe I have any supernatural ‘gifts’ as such but in the last few years, I have found myself drawn to spirituality and contemplating life’s bigger questions. What am I here to do? By ‘here,’ I mean on this planet.
Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room: spirituality means different things to different people. When I use the term, I am referring to the realisation that I am a human being, not a human doing. That desire to look beyond what I can see, hear and touch. My pursuit of spirituality has evolved over the last few years. Initially, I dipped my toes in the water with a few podcasts and unlocked a craving to learn more. In recent times, I have been reading books such as Dr Penny Sartori’s The Wisdom of Near Death Experiences and Sensitive is the New Strong: The Power of Empaths in an Increasingly Harsh World by Anita Moorjani who has experienced, and spoken extensively about, her near death experience. I’m also a big fan of podcasts such as Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown. Over the last six years, I’ve momentarily quenched my curiosity by seeing countless psychics, mediums, medical intuitives, reiki healers and others that I am sure have slipped my mind. In the last six months or so, ‘something’ within me has shifted and I feel called to pursue spirituality on a deeper level. To look within me for answers rather than externally.
My interest in spirituality has been bubbling away for years
Modern life has a strange way of shifting our attention and redirecting us. At the time of writing, I am 33 years of age and will turn 34 in July. As a teenager, I lived with an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa) for around 10 years. I’m now fully recovered but have undoubtedly been impacted by my experience. I find it hard to explain without sounding too ‘out there’. I feel like I am constantly searching for a place that feels like ‘home’.
From 23-years-old, I spent the next seven years of my life running away from my past and hiding what I felt was my shameful secret. Stigma about mental illness remains. I’ve seen this for myself, especially in the workplace. I was concerned what people would think of me if they knew about my anorexia and about its potential impact on my career. In my 30s, I finally stopped running away from my past and applied curiousity where there was once only shame. Why did I develop anorexia? Why did I survive? I came very close to the end of my life but was spared.
Every experience of living with an eating disorder is different
I never share my story with the intent to insinuate that I am representing an entire cohort of people. Everyone’s eating disorder experience is unique. For me, my eating disorder was never about food. Science tells us that anorexia has genetic, metabolic, psychiatric and environmental components. I used anorexia as a way to push down the large gaping hole inside me that I became increasingly aware of as a 13-year-old who yearned to belong. I didn’t know what to do with all of these feelings. Anorexia numbed everything, including the sense that I have an endless hole inside me that nothing seems to fill: not people, possessions or anything else to date. I don’t make talking about my eating disorder a habit because I detest labels. Anorexia tends to be a label that sticks.
While I have recovered from anorexia, the more I have tuned into myself over the last three years, the more I realise that large gaping hole is still there. If things in my life are going really well, I sense its presence less but ultimately, regardless of what’s happening in my external world, the nothingness is always there. I don’t recall feeling this way before the onset of anorexia. Instead of turning back to my eating disorder or another form of numbing such as alcohol or drugs, I have made a deliberate choice to look inward and use spirituality as a way to seek answers. Why are these feelings there? What is the universe trying to tell me?
Anorexia and loss go hand-in-hand. However, one doesn’t have to have experienced an eating disorder to know loss and grief all too well. Even if you’re one of the fortunate people who has reached their 20s or 30s without any major heartache, the reality is, we will all face heart-wrenching challenges if we live long enough. This builds resilience.
Looking within is difficult
For almost 30 years, it was so much easier for me to run away from these feelings. Looking within is scary and intimidating. What will I find? What if I don’t ‘like’ what I discover? So many people never look within. For me, there is no other choice but to look within. I yearn for nothing in life. I have food to eat, shelter, I make a good living… yet this notion that there is something more for me to do, is still there.
Ongoing health issues that have no physical cause according to Western medicine
In 2015, I went on what I thought would be the trip of a lifetime with my family to Europe. Upon arriving in Greece, I experienced a horrendous bout of food poisoning. My digestion has never properly recovered. I’ve been checked from top to bottom, had all kinds of tests and not one traditional doctor or specialist can find anything they feel explains my symptoms. So much so that my diagnosis is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Anyone with gut issues knows that this is the label Western medicine assigns to cases where no concrete answers can be found.
The more research I do in the spirituality sphere, the more I have learned that there are always other reasons for physical ailments. Our body’s state is a reflection of our soul and mind. We are more than our body and healing doesn’t necessarily come in the form of a pill for everyone. After six years of being handballed from one health professional to another, not one person has looked at my entire medical/life history until I visited a naturopath who specialises in complex cases like mine. My first appointment with this naturopath reiterated what I have come to suspect over the last six years: everything is energy and we are all connected. And that anxiety is playing a role in everything I am feeling. Anxiety has a way of popping up in our lives and reappearing in different ways. If the trigger for my gut issues wasn’t nerves or quiet rooms or getting onto a plane, the anxiety would appear in another way. The answer lies in admitting to myself that something isn’t ‘right’ and to look within.
Six years is a long time to feel trapped in IBS’ prison. Now is the time to take matters into my own hands and to document my journey, as a way to remain accountable to myself and to help others who may be going through a similar experience. A way to show empathy for myself and to listen to what I need in this moment.
My goal: to discover why I am here and to restore my physical health in the process.
I have no expectations and am not working to any fixed timelines. I’ll be experimenting with different modalities and sharing my honest insights and experience. Here is a list of undertakings I am engaging in as of 12 April 2021.
Writing my memoir
I believe in the healing power of writing. In hindsight, it was writing that helped me to emerge from anorexia’s tight grasp in my early 20s. I’ve written a first draft of a memoir that is about my experience with anorexia but I’ve decided to put that story aside. In my next draft, I want to go deeper and ask myself the hard questions. And feel whatever I need to feel – the emotions I have spent three decades pushing down. Why was my coping mechanism anorexia and not something else? Has my anxiety always been there? Was my sensitivity a factor? This work is not easy but it is worthwhile.
For those interested in writing as a healing tool, I am running a Writing Through Storytelling beta program this May. Click here to learn more.
Consulting with a naturopath
For the first time in six years, I felt listened to by my naturopath during our first appointment. She thinks outside the box. So I will continue seeing her and listening to her advice based on my understanding that we must treat our bodies holistically. She believes that together, we can increase my quality of life.
Seeing an osteopath, based on my naturopath’s recommendation
I’ve only had one appointment with an osteopath at the time of writing and to be honest with you, I have no idea what was happening during the session. I find this form of healing particularly challenging because I don’t like people touching me. However, the osteopath I am seeing is very gentle and encourages communication. She was very patient in explaining her process thoroughly to me. During our first session, she commented that my body was tense and confirmed that we’ll go slowly.
A native birth chart consultation
I’ve wanted to consult an expert about my birth chart for years. I finally bit the bullet and had a session last week and that session is the very reason I am writing this blog. Almost everything that came out of the expert’s mouth described every aspect of me and what I’ve been experiencing since 2016. This was a wonderful exploration that reiterated the value of the path I am pursuing.
I have dipped in and out of meditation over the years but my goal now is to work on my consistency. I definitely feel more relaxed when I do meditate but the actual thought of meditation doesn’t excite me. I feel this comes back to my conditioning that ‘doing’ is more valuable than ‘being’.
Completing Sal Jade’s ‘How to be Psychic – Psychic Development for Beginners’ course
I checked my Udemy history and if I needed proof that my spiritual journey has been an ongoing work in progress, here it is: I enrolled in this course over two years ago but never finished it. I am guilty of starting things but never finishing them. I’m going to restart this course from the beginning and see what happens. Again, no expectations.
I’ll be writing fortnightly updates to detail my experiences.
Are you going through a similar journey? I’d love to hear from you if so. Comment below or feel free to reach out to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org