I have been on a spiritual quest, an awakening process, beginning about one year ago. Prior to that, I have been on an on-again, off-again relationship with Christianity- not in that my faith and personal relationship with Jesus was on/off, but that my desire and diligence of going to church on Sundays has really been inconsistent. I have been a spiritual person my whole life, or at least a contemplative person since young childhood. When I was four years old, I remember having a moment of conscious awareness that I was only four years old, walking up the stairs of our apartment, contemplating how I would always remember that moment when I grew older. I would consistently write my older self letters from my younger self, as I got a kick out of thinking about how different and foreign that old self might appear to the then-current self. When I was about nine or ten years old, I remember looking up at the night sky through my kitchen window, thinking how I felt the veil of separation with the cosmos and divine intelligence (although I couldn't articulate that at the time but sensed it) and how I felt a sense of longing to reconnect. Of course, I was just an ordinary child as well, as those moments of contemplation would occur between playing Nintendo video games with my older brother and doing all sorts of other mundane, yet fun, kid activities. I was also a very open-minded and free-spirited little girl- all the way up to about middle school and beginning of high school. I was not a withdrawn child at all, but rather very confident, playful, and social. Though always very much a part of the material world, as a young adolescent, I was also often drawn to spiritual texts, such as books on Buddhism. It wasn't until my middle school friend brought me to a Presbyterian church in ninth grade that I was formally immersed in a personal relationship with God and Jesus (despite intermittently going to church throughout my childhood with my parents). I was never really religious, and I've always been (and continue to be) quite skeptical and unbelieving of spiritual things that I cannot touch and feel. Despite that skepticism, I have always had a deep curiosity and longing to reconnect with something mystical and spiritual, and something beyond the dimension of time and space as we experience it in our bodies. Deep in my heart, I have always been hopeful, open, and wanting to believe in the spiritual realm, and have been on a slow and steady path of trying to deepen my understanding and experience of such realm. My Christian faith, or my desire to strengthen my Christian faith, has been marked by stronger and weaker phases, but I've always felt a strong sense of love and comfort from the spirit of Jesus. Especially in times of great vulnerability, such as when I broke up with my long term boyfriend at age 29 (gasp!), I found great comfort in Jesus, even resorting to sleeping with my bible and praying to God/Jesus as my deepest comfort. In between my waxing and waning relationship with Christianity, I was introduced to the "new age-y" practices of energy healing and meditation through a Reiki course. I discovered Reiki during my early years as a lawyer in a large law firm, as my dad encouraged me to "go do what his coworker does" because he described this coworker as "smiling all the time", which was in stark contrast to my depressed and dreadful state while slaving away at the law firm. When my dad asked that coworker (who was a female about the same age as I was at the time) what made her so happy all the time, she replied "meditation." She gave him her number and asked that I call her to learn more. A few weeks later, I found myself sitting with my eyes closed, with my Blackberry buzzing in my purse from anxious and demanding law firm partners, trying to breathe deeply, "Relax," "Smile," and "Surrender." That was the beginning of a new path of spiritual exploration, with the similar ups, downs, waxing, and waning qualities of my Christian path. It wasn't until I watched "What the Bleep Do We Know?," that something clicked within me and I felt like a light within me waking up and the information about the "Inner Observer" and quantum physics really resonating deeply within me. I remember feeling "Ahhhh.... finally, there IS a group of humans out there who I can relate to!" That and watching the "Secret", finding a mysterious Thich Nhat Hanh book in my parents' home (they don't really read books, so none of us has any idea how that book entered our home) and loving that book so much that I ended up buying 15 copies of that book "Peace is Every Step" to give away to all my friends and loved ones, and a lot of other synchronicities that I didn't piece together at the time, that seem to have all led me to my current path. I was also very fortunate to have met and married a wonderfully gentle and spiritual life partner, who is now also sharing and exploring this path of spiritual awakening.
That basically sets the backdrop of my upbringing and experience thus far with regard to religion and spirituality. Coming back to the current time- as I said, about a year ago marked the beginning of my current spiritual quest in earnest. I was finishing up my third year of being a freelance attorney and part-time stay-at-home mother and caretaker to my elderly parents, when my ego started flaring up out of nowhere. My inner dialogue was starting to place guilt on me for not working full-time now that my youngest was turning two years old, and one thing led to another, and I started doing the worst thing you can do for your vulnerable ego: browsing LinkedIn! After seeing where my former work colleagues were working, what high levels they were achieving, and so on, I started to feel a sense of low self-worth and panic that I would be forgotten and completely banished from the fast train of corporate success and climbing of which I was so ingrained just a few years earlier. Almost unconsciously, I started browsing job postings and started literally applying to jobs that my heart had absolutely NO interest in whatsoever, but fed my sad and hungry ego. Who could blame it? Just a few years earlier, I was flying high, in some of the most well-paid and coveted jobs at some of the largest and most prestigious companies in the world, like Disney and Google. I got paid what felt like a gazillion dollars, was treated well, received high praise at all family functions, and got a ton of oohs and ahhs at cocktail parties when explaining I was a technology lawyer for these media and tech companies. My ego (and I) really loved it. Too bad, my soul was in agony for most of the 15 years that I dreadfully endured in the legal profession. Talk about truly soul-sucking work. I was really dreadful. So when I quickly got call backs for interviews in response to my job applications, my ego was quite pleased, and my soul felt absolutely terrified and sick. That was when one of my dearest friends told me about her unbelievable experiences at Rythmia in Costa Rica doing plant medicine (ayahuasca) that my interest (and skepticism) was piqued. It wasn't, however, until I was just about to get an offer letter from one of those soul-sucking corporate jobs that I truly panicked and jumped on a flight to go do plant medicine and do some serious soul searching for myself. While on plant medicine, I experience some crazy (albeit not as crazy as my friend's) experiences of deep subconscious recollections, emotional and physical purging, and incredible moments of pure insights and connection with divine source and pure bliss and connectedness. I got what I was asking for- the Universe/my higher self, clearly told me NOT to take that job or go back to corporate/legal job and that I should follow my dream of starting my own soul-supporting business. I came back, my soul was on fire (although I felt like an alien coming back to LA from Costa Rica), and was gung-ho on starting my yet-to-be-discovered business. While on plant medicine, the vision that flashed in my mind was to open up a modern-style light and bright meditation studio that caters to mothers/busy parents and meditation classes and tutoring for their children. Once I returned, however, so much fear and doubt started creeping up about not wanting to take too many financial risks and I started to shrink again and decided it was better to "start small" and go from there. I opened up an e-commerce store (Mantrababe) and have been taking baby steps from there. It is still in my mind to open a meditation studio, but in the meantime I'm going with what I'm ready for and creating an online space for connection and exploration around my interests of spirituality and meditation. In all of this, I've still been contemplating how to reconcile all of these "new-age" spiritual explorations with the Christian path that I have been on. Recently in my channelling sessions, which I only recently started, I am started to see a path of pursuing my new age spiritual pursuits with my faith in Jesus/God by calling forth Jesus as my highest and easiest channelling guide. I don't have all the answers to whether and how this comports with the strict teachings of Christianity, but for now, I'm putting aside those dogmatic and structured confines and just going with exploring what spirituality means to me personally. So far, it seems to be going pretty well as I feel inspired and open to the world of miracles and manifestation. I'm excited to where this path continues to take me as I learn more and more to surrender to what feels right and inspires me.