Here I Am, Open-Hearted

As we’re nearing the end of 2021, I realize I haven’t written much this year.  I’ve done some private journaling, but have been rather quiet in blogging. That’s not a bad thing. Just an observation.

I think many of us had our fair share of struggles and heartaches this year.  The pandemic has changed the world in more ways than we know.  I made some major changes this year, and the transition hasn’t been the easiest. In fact, it catapulted me into another dark night of the soul.

Granted, I don’t view a “dark night” as a bad thing. Inner pain, suffering, confusion, etc. can serve a larger purpose if we dig deep and remain open.

Here I Am, Open-Hearted

“Openness” was a theme for me this year.  I made a vow last year to let remaining bricks around my heart fall one by one. To remain open, no matter how much anxiety I felt. No more constriction. No more allowing my nervous system to stay on high alert as a defense mechanism. I consciously opened mind, body, and spirit to the best of my ability.

This morning, I offer gratitude for it all.  I can look back on my life and see how various situations and scenarios have led me to the desert, feeling alone and forsaken. Tough times, for sure.

But this wanderer has always had something greater, who I call God, somehow leading me back to a promised land – a spiritual kingdom where Love abounds.

A Longing For Home

I’ve always had a passion to study psychology, to figure myself out and help others. I am a seeker at heart and love to try to answer philosophical questions. This hasn’t always served me well, though. The curiosity led me down a lonely path trying to discover the answers to the questions, “Who am I”? and “Who are You, God?”

Over three decades, I’ve done my fair share of inner digging, facing, feeling, and healing some painful shadows or inner wounds. I’ve studied, journaled, prayed, meditated, retreated, and seen various therapists throughout the years, including a trauma therapist for some deeply embedded emotional wounds. When I say the “work” part of inner healing or shadow work takes effort, I mean it.

It hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it.

My ongoing self-directed inner healing journey has helped me “face, feel, deal, and heal” a lot. I feel more mentally and emotionally whole. For that, I’m grateful. However, all that conscious work didn’t necessarily bridge the gap I felt between myself and a Higher Power. I felt better in the constructs of my mind and emotions, but deep inside, spiritually, I felt largely confused and alone.

I understand not everyone believes in something greater than “self,” but something in me wanted to – and not only believe in it but come to know “it” intimately.

A Quest for God

After leaving the Christian church in my mid-30’s, I spent years questioning the existence of a “god” almost daily.

Even though I was well-versed in the spiritual and New Thought movements, I was still feeling largely alone and disconnected from the Source of all creation. Some sort of Cosmic Love or Sacred Intelligence that created me, adored me, and had my back.

Deep inside, I was seeking someone or something more than just psychological or emotional wholeness, you know?

Deep calling to Deep.

Sacred calling the Sacred.

I wandered spiritually for a long time. My time in church didn’t unwind my big ball of ego that had been growing since babyhood. I learned a lot about God and met some nice folks, but inside I didn’t really connect with God. I still felt separated and alone within, which made sense since I operated in survival mode with a dysregulated, frazzled nervous system embedded with childhood trauma. (Read more about dysregulated nervous systems here)

Circle back around to today. I value my time wandering various spiritual paths, psychology, and science. I found value in Buddhism, New Thought, metaphysics, trauma therapy, law of attraction, shadow work, self-actualization, and more. I believe all of it has helped me grow and evolve mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Still, there were times I would think things like:

  • “Universe just feels cold.”
  • “If ‘Source’ is God, it feels really impersonal.”
  • “I don’t want to be my own god.”
  • “If God is Love, why can’t I feel it?”

I discovered that I’d much rather believe in a personal kind of God, a Divine Intelligence who noticed me AND cared deeply for me.

I wanted to be able to bridge the gap between spirituality and science. Between faith and facts. I wanted to get out of my head and into my heart. To rekindle a passion to know and unite with a higher power; the Power back of all things.

Over the years, I’ve met plenty of others journeying through a dry season with some of the same questions I’ve wrestled with.

  • Is there a God?
  • Do I call it “god” or “consciousness” or what?
  • Hasn’t God been replaced by science?
  • Are sacred texts still relevant?
  • Is there only one path to God?
  • Why can’t I feel God?
  • Why is God letting the planet go to sh&t?
  • What is reality? What is Truth?

I’ll admit, I’m not sure how to answer some of those questions. I’ve not reached enlightenment or self-realization. I don’t have full revelation of Truth. However, I am gaining a greater understanding every day. I’m on my own unique journey rediscovering myself as a spirit, as well as this mystical, mysterious Cosmic Force that many call God.

Bridging the Gap Between New Age & Christianity

I began praying, “God, show me how to bridge the consciousness/New Thought and Christianity together. Both have valuable guidelines for living a good life and growing closer to a Divine Being.”

So began my serious inner journey of re-discovering the “real me” in light of God’s Word, Jesus’s teachings, metaphysics, and the science of mind. But not just an outer journey.

I committed to a deep, intense inner journey where I vowed to seek the Divine in meditation and prayer daily. Multiple times a day. Some days, much of the day. I chose to retreat from the outer life, so-to-speak, to be quiet and seek THAT which has always been seeking me. THAT which saints and mystics and masters have been describing for eons.

I’m still in this quiet season, contemplating, being quiet, meditating, praying, and listening. I’m earnestly seeking “God’s kingdom” within, bridging the gap between my “self” and this Infinite source of Love we call God.

I’m not at liberty to share a lot now.  In due time, I believe I’ll share more.  For now, I am joyful to say that all my seeking, on every path, has led me to truly believe that God’s kingdom is real. That there is a higher consciousness within and all around us. That there is an intelligent “field” paying attention to our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

It’s within, and we can pierce the veil that separates us – if we continue on our unique path in faith.

I can’t say I’ve had marvelous mystical experiences or have Spirit’s power moving through me….yet.  However, I do feel my consciousness expanding…as I continue to remain open and go within. 

The Miraculous

People around the world are doing the miraculous as they connect with this Divine Power that created all. Whether you call this power God, Spirit, Infinite Potential, Cosmic Love, Ultimate Reality, Consciousness, Atman, Brahma, Jesus, Divinity, I Am, Great Spirit, Holy Spirit, Infinite Intelligence, Krishna, Source, The Tao, Unified Field, Yahweh, Wakan Taka – it’s real, and IT wants you to seek it with all your heart, mind, and strength.

If you’re not familiar with the work of Joe Dispenza, check out testimonies of folks on his YouTube channel. I love Dr. Joe, in that he’s a science guy, but he also talks about Divine Intelligence, Spirit, Love, etc. I tend to think of him as “sciency pastor” who gives practical tools to help humanity grow and evolve, as well as heal and step into our supernatural, spiritual selves. 

You’ve probably heard this: “We’re here on this planet as spirits having a human experience.”

You nod in agreement, but if we really got this deep down, we’d be living differently. The world would look radically different. And, yes, there is a Love tribe on the planet helping people heal and thrive as, (as there always has been) but we’ve got a ways to go.

Jesus got this. He was fully enlightened. He was fully tuned into the Source of all, and embodied the power of Holy Spirit. He was Divine Love, which heals mind and body. He didn’t see broken people. He saw people already healed and whole in the spiritual realm, because in that realm, they were and always will be whole.

Jesus showed up with a message to the Jews and Gentiles – “You no longer have to live separated from God/Love! There is a new way! A new kingdom of Light! I’m here to open the eyes of those who cannot see! The veil has been torn! Go within, people. The kingdom is within you!”

See, the ego shadows (some call sin) that we’ve created along life’s journey is what separates us from this greater reality that exists spiritually. The ego, with all its thoughts and emotions, is what creates this feeling of separation!

I love what Richard Rohr says:

“THE GREAT ILLUSION THAT WE MUST ALL OVERCOME IS THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATENESS.”

Did you get that?

We are all longing for a sense of “home”. We feel so separate from it. It’s the human condition. And you know what many of us do to try to feel this homey feeling?

We look to “outer things”. We look for it in our parents, lovers, friends, money, etc.

I understand the human condition better today than I ever have. At the root is what the Bible calls sin, or separation. In psychology it’s called ego or shadow. New agers may call it the lower self. Christian Scientists call it mortal mind. Regardless, this is what has separated us from God. When we’re attached to or live thinking we are solely ego or mind, we’re not feeling connected to God.

A Fresh Journey Within

I love to study religions, science, philosophy, etc. I have a very curious mind and love to understand how things work.  I’ve come to accept that my carnal mind just won’t understand fully the Power back of all, or God. However, I am not my carnal mind. I am not this ego personality. I am not this bodily form.

I, my core essence, is fully spiritual, divine, energy, or consciousness. I may not have full revelation of this truth just yet, but I’m doing my best to “act as if”.

And it’s my hope that we can all better mirror divine reality to each other, that we are indeed spiritual beings created by THE spiritual being (whatever you call “It”). By mirror, I mean reflect God’s unconditional love to others as we navigate life.  See beyond their ego and shadows. Celebrate their unique souls.

I am excited to see humanity revived and restored. I’m excited to see spirits unite regardless of religion, beliefs, race, sex, background, culture, etc. and simply extend love and grace that flows from their spiritual center.

Let us remember that we are here to awaken and be enlightened, and bring God’s Kingdom of Light and Love to others.

“They will know you by your love.” The Bible

Looking back, I don’t think I was ever “broken”. I’d simply forgotten who I was and didn’t realize I was already connected to the One, to the “home” I was yearning for.

I’m still remembering. 

My prayer is that we all become perfect reflections and expressions of God. May we be restored to a deep connection with the Sacred, where mind and emotions become whole instantly. Where we live and move and have our being in God, united as One.

I vow to continue to awaken and secure a holy relationship with my God within. To take time daily to feed my spirit with God’s Presence. And, help others awaken and re-discover their authentic identity in this Infinite Love we call God, already healed and whole. And help them LIVE in that reality.

Let me end by saying that I understand if you’re struggling and/or questioning your religion, dogma, spiritual path, etc. Feel free to sift and sort through programming, beliefs, and so on.

However, resist the urge to skip going within in some form or fashion (contemplation, meditation, prayer, etc.) to actually cultivate and sustain a very real connection to the Divine. Sitting in silence isn’t easy for most, but it’s worth it. It’s a necessary step toward experiencing true peace.

As we say goodbye to 2021 and welcome 2022, may we seek and embody peace, the kind that Black Elk mentions here:

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”

God, in here, out there, all around – united us as One.

 

 

 

Dominica Applegate
Written by: Dominica Applegate

Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, and transpersonal spiritual teacher. Her teachings have helped millions of people experience emotional healing, relationship repair, and spiritual awakening. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked 12 years in the mental health field before diving full-time into writing.

She runs Rediscovering Sacredness, an online portal that offers inspiration, essays, resources, and tools to help heal inner pain and experience more peace and joy.

Her books include:

Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal
Healing After a Breakup: A 50 Day Devotional & Guided Inner Work Journal
Goodbye Codependency: A 40-Day Devotional to Boost Self-Care
The Pain, It Shapes Her World {Poetry}