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Hey, hey, soul seeker! I know if we’re friends, we must have similar interests and passions. You’re probably not content living a purposeless life. You want to experience more and feel more than the average human, but more so, you want to challenge yourself to expand into your potential, your impact, and your capacity for love, positivity, vulnerability, and faith.
Because of that, I wanted to talk about several phases of our journeys that allow us to do just that. And more specifically, we’re tapping into a phenomena that I witnessed at the most recent Wild & Holy Weekend. The more I’ve thought about how we actually expand into a new version of ourselves, I’ve really been doing some reflecting on my own life as to when the three spiritual shifts I’m going to be sharing with you today have shown up for me. After all, these three types of spiritual shifts most definitely have an order/sequence, but they definitely do NOT have any type of expiration date meaning we continue to go through these types of shifts as long as we’re on our personal journey of self-exploration and spiritual growth.
Why did I feel so called to talk about this?
As we were sitting in the river after our closing ceremony of Wild & Holy Weekend, one of my clients (and retreaters) mentioned to me that she wished she would have come to something like this when she was a bit earlier on in her spiritual journey. Her reasoning? She felt like it would have been even more impactful of showing her what’s possible. Instead of feeling this huge monumental internal shift, she felt as though no big, life altering change had really happened until I shared with her what I’m going to share with you!
After all, not all spiritual shifts have the same quality. Some feel like huge waves of aha’s that totally rock us to our core while others seem like such a gradual next step in our own personal evolution that they can indeed go by completely unnoticed if you’re not careful. And it’s actually this last particular type of spiritual shift that is the MOST important. It’s the reason we work so hard to begin with.
So, on today’s episode, I wanted to talk about these three types of spiritual shifts, the expansion they create for us, and why all three are equally important to our own personal growth and evolution. You ready?
The first type of spiritual shift is what’s known as a Paradigm Shift.
Now, before we dive deep, let’s first talk about what a paradigm is. A paradigm is scientifically defined as:
Yet, the casual concept of a paradigm is simply your set of beliefs that shape the way you view the world and how it works. It contains all of your assumptions, projections, beliefs, values, way of doing things, and why you do them.
So, in short, your paradigms are pretty important. They shape a lot of how you see the world, tend to explain events, view other people, and even view yourself.
When we undergo a paradigm shift, it opens up a WHOLE NEW world to us and because this creates a huge wave of expansion, paradigm shifts are usually felt the most intensely out of all other spiritual shifts because it creates a great deal of contrast between 1. what you used to think and 2. what you think now.
For instance, a real-world example of a paradigm shift would be when scientists used to think the Earth was flat. Imagine the huge contrast (and even disbelief) it created when they realized the Earth was round. It literally changed the way they thought about everything and the way the world works!
But not everyone is a scientist and can totally relate to that so let’s talk about some more casual examples of paradigm shifts. Let’s say for instance that you believe there’s never enough time. Consider how this one belief shapes how you live your life.
Do you feel like you’d be more rushed throughout your day? Do you think you’d feel a lot of pressure to get as much done as quickly as possible? Do you think you’d most likely try and squeeze in as much as possible into your schedule? Do you think you’d be more impatient across the board? And how do you think you’d respond if there was a sudden change of plans and now all of a sudden something that was going to get done today is now all of a sudden going to get done next week? How would most likely respond?
Well, speaking from experience, I would answer YES to all of those questions because for the grand majority of my life I’ve felt like there was never enough time to get everything all done nor accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish. This turned into a grand deal of frenzy, stress, pressure, and lack of patience when things took longer than they were supposed to. And maybe you can relate to that.
But now lets imagine the impact of shifting that paradigm. No longer do you believe there’s never enough time. Instead, you believe there’s plenty of time.
Now, if you live in the 1st paradigm camp, I can already tell you how you’re emotionally responding to the idea that there’s now all of a sudden an abundance of time. Your mind is probably going, “but, but, but”, which tells me you aren’t ready to shift this paradigm. And this is neither good nor bad. It’s simply where you are.
For the longest time when someone would share a contrasting paradigm with me, there would be intense resistance. In fact, I’d write them off, discredit their opinion, justify why there was indeed never enough time, and actually get frustrated with people who had no sense of urgency. Did they not know the rest of the world had places to be and people to see? Helllllo? Move it or lose it, girlfriend. Time is money. Time is of the essence. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Just me?
But I’ll never forget the moment this whole paradigm shifted for me. I had my private practice at the time and was getting ready to give an eight hour training the next day on Mental Health First Aid. I had five clients to see that day, a webpage to write, a workout to fit in, and had just enough time to go heat up some water for my tea before my next client walked through the door. I stood impatiently next to the kettle waiting for the water to boil, tapping my foot (as if that was going to hurry along the process), listing out all the million things I needed to get done today so I could be prepared for tomorrow, feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed out wondering when in the world is this water going to boil, and actually sighing to myself because it was taking so long.
Good Lord, I said to myself. There is never enough time! In that instance, it was almost as if my higher self did an abrupt face and said, “Did you hear what you just said to yourself?”
And it caught me so off guard, I literally repeated it again aloud… There is never enough time.
And almost as if on cue, the moment those words were out of my mouth, I said something completely contrasting. I said, “Actually, you always get everything done. There is always plenty of time.”
This felt like a huge massive shift to me. Immediately, my breathing started to slow down, I released my hand from my hip, I stopped tapping my foot, and I actually started to relax. There wasn’t any need to be worried. There is always plenty of time!
Now, if I would have told myself this a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. For paradigm shifts to take root, you have to have enough personal growth in a certain area (in my case, it was learning how to manage and decrease my anxiety) for something new to actually take hold. But, when you’re ready – boy do these shifts open a whole new world for you.
That was 3 years ago. Something that’s most recent actually builds off of Rob Bell’s interview, which if you haven’t tuned in, I highly recommend it.
Listening to the wisdom series on the Robcast and reading What is the Bible? was another huge paradigm shift for me. For years… well more like decades, I believed the Bible held no true value. It was a book religious people used to be higher and mightier and greater than thou. It was a book full of scripture that laid down the law of the only path toward God and enlightenment. That’s how I thought of the Bible and because of that I stayed as far away from it as possible. I had absolutely no interest in reading the book, learning about the scriptures, and definitely not applying any of the principles found inside those pages to my personal life.
But, that was all until I met Rob. Slowly, what Rob was sharing started to make a whole lot of sense to me. The way he described the Bible challenged the very paradigm I’d been holding onto. And just like that, I started to question if my paradigm was actually 100% correct or if it had been a defense mechanism to protect me from religious shaming and wounding.
Now, I say “just like that”, but that’s not entirely true. I could have listened to Rob’s podcast a year ago and not had the same experience. In fact, I started reading What is the Bible? exactly a year ago when it was merely a blog on Tumblr and it did very little for me.
I wasn’t ready then. The personal work (in this case healing spiritual wounds) hadn’t been deep enough in the process yet to be ready for this paradigm shift. But when it happened, you can bet your tush it opened up a whole new world for me. What is the Bible? What does it say? Who was Jesus? What did He teach? And just like that, something I never would have even considered approaching or letting into my life has now turned into something I’m willing to explore and study.
The contrast here is huge! When we shift our paradigms, it challenges a very deep understanding we hold about how something works, what something is, or who we are. And when this happens, it of course expands our thinking and our consciousness, but it does something else too.
Following a paradigm shift, we tend to be at our most open-minded to new ideas. This occurs because we’ve just had a giant shift in one understanding of things. If we’ve been wrong about this one thing, could there be more we’ve been wrong about too?
For some, this can be completely unsettling. What if the world doesn’t work the way you think it does? And if that’s true, does the way you’re acting make total sense?
One more example because this is FUN! I used to believe that we had to earn our worthiness with God. We did this by doing good deeds, repenting for our sins, and making up for the bad things we’d done by overcompensating for them. Now, if you were to look at my life when I was a teen, you’d understand that I had a LOT to repent for in the ideology of Christianity. I’d had sex before marriage! I’d done drugs. I’d drank alcohol. I’d skipped church. I’d lied. I’d done lots of things that are condemned and I felt like I was a sinner and unworthy because of that.
Fast forward several years, and this behavior only got worse. It got to a point where I felt like there was literally not enough good I could do in the world to cancel out the bad. When you believe something like this, you think things are hopeless. There’s no way to get in God’s good graces and if that’s the case, are you worthy of good things?
But the biggest paradigm shift happened for me when I realized God was never in on that game, which Rob Bell talks about on the wisdom series.
Through years and years of spiritual seeking and searching, of denouncing God only to find God again through a completely different lens did I realize that God had never asked me to make up for my wrongdoing in order to be worthy of good things. I’d been worthy of them the whole time.
This paradigm shift alone opened me to a completely new relationship with God, my Divinity, and the way I walk through the world. And the blessings from that shift that happened about 5 years ago now are still coming to this day. Imagine the shift this would create for you if you believed I am worthy. I am enough. I am perfectly made.
Paradigm shifts are HUGE! But we have to be open to them, be willing to assume we don’t know everything and that maybe everything we do believe we know isn’t the whole story. This creates a softness for a new reality to take place.
How do you know when you’re stuck in an old paradigm? Here are a few signs I’ve noticed from my own personal life and work with clients.
1. You tend to have a belief that’s all black and white. Black and white thinking loves to categorize things as all or nothing or good or bad. Generally, we use terms such as “all” or “none” or “always” or “never” to describe these beliefs. They tend to overgeneralize with wide categories. For instance, religion is bad is a black and white paradigm. Snakes are dangerous is a black and white paradigm. The “all” may not be used, but it’s implied. The biggest trick is starting to tune into your own inner self-dialogue to see if any of these absolutes are present. If they are, question them. Challenge them. Ask yourself if that’s really true? And is it true all the time?
2. You tell yourself something isn’t possible for you, others have it easier than you, or you don’t deserve the things you really desire. You tend to over qualify other people and under qualify yourself, which is a type of skewed paradigm. When it comes to being able to create what you desire, everyone has the same capacity to create something from nothing. Everyone goes through fear and uncertainty and insecurity and doubt. When we tend to see ourselves as more different than similar than others, we’re doing a great disservice to our dreams, but more importantly our own capacity to achieve. If you’re stuck here, talk to other people you admire. Ask them about their struggles. You’ll see you aren’t alone. And if ever in doubt, listen to some of the interviews on The Enoughness Revolution in Season 1.
Are you stuck in a paradigm that’s no longer serving you? Have you walled off a whole ideology because you believe it has nothing to offer? How are your paradigms creating more judgment and a smaller world for you vs. creating more expansion?
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