I remember the first time I could no longer tolerate what used to be acceptable. After watching a movie that showed a character being shot and throwing up, I felt nauseous. This was not long after I started on my spiritual path, meditating, doing yoga, and lightening my diet. Until that time I could watch any film with violence, war, or creepy monsters. I grew up in a New Jersey housing project, which effectively desensitized me to anything that would bother most people. In college I was in a party fraternity; nothing you could do could gross me out.
How I felt after that movie was at turning point. From then on, things that used to be fun or entertaining seemed heavy or pointless. My friends changed and I quit hanging out in conversations of complaint. The kinds of entertainment that appealed to me changed. I lightened my diet. All that letting go made space for new friends and more rewarding activities. I was going through a spiritual evolution. If you are reading this article in this magazine, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Over the years that process has not stopped. It has accelerated. Now a lot of what used to seem like fun brings me down. I don’t engage in joke telling sessions. Mall seem like another planet. Television and the news are surreal. Dee and I peruse streaming movie service menus, and we are hard-pressed to find movies we value. We can sometimes ferret out something of interest, but only after extensive digging. We look at the offerings, scratch our heads, and wonder, “Who would pay to watch a movie like that?”
Part of my mind questions if I am being too picky or a snob. But I can’t make believe I can do stuff that leaves me feeling awful. I have to trust that my inner being is guiding me toward what serves me, and away from what is not in my best interest. Evolution makes certain activities obnoxious for a good reason, while it makes other endeavors very tasty.
Perhaps you, too, have questioned or judged yourself for being too sensitive or not feeling at home in the mainstream. When I ask my seminar audiences, “How many of you believe or have been told that you’re weird?” Almost everyone raises their hand.
I want to offer you a radical way of looking at your sensitivity and dissatisfaction with the mainstream: It’s not you that is weird. It is the world. A Course in Miracles tells us that the world we have invented is the inverse of the way we are supposed to live. What is wrong seems right and what is right seems wrong. The world is like a photographic negative where black appears white and white appears black, and what you look at makes no sense. So accept your oddity as confirmation from Spirit that you are on the right track. As British playwright Tom Stoppard wrote, “It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong!”
So now what? Do you just hide in a cave and wait for the world to change so you can fit into it? That will probably not happen anytime soon. In the meantime, here are some things you can know and do until the world catches up with sanity.
1. Be extremely honest about what empowers you and what debilitates you. Tell the truth about what is “It” for you and what is “Not It.” Let your preferences about where you find yourself propel you to where you want to be.
2. Trust that you are being guided. You don’t need to apologize for your perfect evolution. If you believe in your intuition, you will be nurtured, sheltered, and directed. Don’t overthink your promptings. Be open to clear knowing.
3. Act on your guidance. Say yes to what works and no to what doesn’t work. Most people can benefit from setting healthier boundaries. Remember that a “no” to what is Not It is a “yes” to what is It.
4. Don’t be afraid to let go of what you have outgrown. Many of my coaching clients report that they have old friends they don’t enjoy being with anymore. These friends want to continue a pattern of gossip and negativity, and my clients feel guilty about saying no to invitations to which they have traditionally said yes. If you can upgrade the relationship with loving communication, do so. If not, follow the river around the next bend.
5. Cultivate new connections, activities, and habits that match your evolution. When Dee and I can’t find a movie, we watch a spiritual seminar video, listen to music, play with the dogs, look at the stars, walk in nature, or talk about things important. I miss none of what I have left behind.
While I honor my own evolution, I also honor everyone’s choices. We are all on our perfect learning curve. If that curve takes you around a new bend, let it.
About the Author: Alan Cohen is the author of The Grace Factor: Opening the Door to Infinite Love. Become a certified professional life coach though Alan’s transformational Life Coach Training beginning September 1. For more information about this program, his books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.