This morning, a memory just popped on my Facebook feed about a blog I wrote in 2016 called Confessions of a hippy scientist. It helped me reflect on how far I’ve come in embracing my unique, quirky self. Back then, I felt that I had to hide my energy work practise because it didn’t fit with my science self.
Prospective clients kept telling me they had picked me because of my PhD in biology. They felt safe because of my scientific background. They could relate with what I appeared to offer on the surface. They said things like ‘you’ve not the kind of person who is going to suggest using crystals’, or “everyone else is a hippy”.
Yet, it was attending births, and feeling the incredible shift of energy in the room when the baby emerged, that led me down the energy work knowledge further. I felt a hunger for it. I took Reiki training from Reiki 2 to Master in less than a year because of this. I loved my Reiki training and practise, but for a while I agonised over the fact that it would put off my prospective clients. I even considered creating a separate website for my healing work. I felt ashamed about my energy practise.
In 2016 I wrote the blog above and I ‘came out’ about my Reiki work. Publishing the blog felt vulnerable and I worried about potential backlash. Instead what I received was an incredible response. Many people replied to my post on social media, or messaged me privately, to thank me. They said they felt the same as me. It was clear from people’s replies that my coming out helped them feel more comfortable with themselves too. I hadn’t anticipated this at all. This was the first time I experienced the power of sharing one’s journey to empower others to feel good about who they are.
Our culture likes to put us in boxes. We ask people what they do work wise and we think that we know everything about them. I have done this so many times myself. For example I spent years thinking the accountant of a charity I was a trustee of was just a man in a suit. Then I discovered he could see ghosts and did work around this. Later on, his wife, also an accountant, started coming to my shamanic drum circles. Thankfully being a doula exposed me to a wide enough variety of people to help broaden my mind. I quickly learnt that people don’t behave according to what they look like on paper, and that nobody fits into a neat little box.
Today, it feels silly that I once worried about embracing the my whole self for fear of putting off potential clients. I now understand that putting people off is part of the process, because these are not the people I want to work with. I feel very comfortable in my own skin now and I am more my whole self than when I was a scientist. I no longer feel the need to justify my offerings either, nor take personally the judgement of others when it comes to practises that don’t fit their view of the world.
I am grateful that my embracing this helps others to do the same. I feel this hunger for embracing themselves, spirituality and energy in many people. I understand this longing because I used to have it. I always felt that there was more to life than what we can see and what science tells us is true. I love to help nourish this hunger in others. To help them experience energy work and ceremonial spaces. I love to help people explore this and trust themselves in their journey in feeling and working with subtle energies.
I feel that the foremost disease of our world is disconnection. Disconnection to the self, to the world, and to each other. We live in a world where we are encouraged to seek answers outside of ourselves all the time, from ‘experts’. We learn to distrust our instincts, and tune out rather than in. I believe that this not only harms us and decreases our vitality and joy. Mass education formats us into narrow versions of ourselves instead of embracing our unique gifts. It can cut us up from our own gifts and from growing into who we are meant to be.
At this particular moment in time, helping others explore their spiritual nature, listen to their hearts and trust themselves feels like the more important task there is. It feels like a revolutionary act.
If you feel uncomfortable about embracing a side of yourself that doesn’t fit with what mainstream society believes to be good or valuable, validated or worthy but you feel this burning desire to explore, trust yourself in the journey. We aren’t meant to be stagnant, but always evolve and grow. Embrace your whole evolving self. If faced between the choice of disappointing yourself or others, always choose others.
I love the Blacksheep Gospel from Toko-Pa Turner’s book Belonging:
- Give up your vows of silence which only serve to protect the old and the stale.
- Unwind your vigilance, soften your belly, open your jaw and speak the truth you long to hear.
- Be the champion of your right to be here.
- Know that it is you who must first accept your rejected qualities, adopting them with the totality of your love and commitment. Aspire to let them never feel outside of love again.
- Venerate your too-muchness with an ever-renewing vow to become increasingly weird and eccentric.
- Send out your signals of originality with frequency and constancy, honouring whatever small trickle of response you may get until it becomes a momentum.
- Notice your helpers and not your unbelievers.
- Remember that your offering needs no explanation. It is its own explanation.
- Go it alone until you are alone with others. Support each other without hesitation.
- Become a crack in the network that undermines the great towers of Establishment.
- Make your life a wayfinding, proof that we can live outside the usual grooves.
- Brag about your escape.
- Send your missives into the network to be reproduced. Let your symbols be adopted and adapted and transmitted broadly into the new culture we’re building together.