Spiritual Sidebar: Iyanla Vanzant

Spiritual Sidebar is a weekly post in which family, friends or complete strangers are given a set of questions to answer that deal mainly with personal spirituality.  This week we are going to take a break from our regular routine of interviewing people we know and feature something a little different.

Angelina and I believe that psychology and spirituality go hand in hand.  Angelina is counselor and I’m a teacher; we both come from disciplined religious backgrounds and are now using that experience to understand the human condition and how it relates to God.

As I previously mention on Hair In A Bun Friday, Angelina and I are both Iyanla Vanzant followers.  Although Iyanla is not a psychologist, she is spiritual leader with many books added to her title.

This week we’d like to feature a little snippet of her show Iyanla Fix My Life in this weeks Spiritual Sidebar.  In it, you’ll see how she leads people to find their ultimate truth.

Enjoy!

Outside Forces That Shape A Spiritual Life: Part 2

“When you’re young, you don’t really know quite what you’re aiming at. You’re very impulsive and acting on impulse, which is very important and valuable. But you’re kind of swimming in a blind sea. When you get older, you have more of a sense of direction.”- Sinead O’Conner

My sense of direction in life started to clear up once I accepted my homosexuality and allowing the outside forces in, as a result I can see the world around me a lot clearer.  I truly believe that’s the direction I needed to go, in order to see myself as human.  For much of my life gay meant that I was not human but an animal rutting with other same sex animals.  How could I fully realize myself  until I stepped into who I am?

When I landed on Planet Gay, the previous outside forces I was trained to believe in said that I would inherit eternal hell fire if I were ever to set foot on this new terrain. That was a bunch of crap.  What I found instead was another version of high school; little clicks of gay men trying to fit into sub groups for acceptance:

Jocks

Jocks

artsy types

artsy types

Corporate types

Corporate types

...and others who refuse to see the truth.

…and others who refuse to see the truth.

As a long time actor in the straight community before I came out, these types are very similar in the straight community as well. Once I accepted this part of myself, I was then able to start expressing the feminine side of me that has always existed but lay dormant due to shame and guilt for many years. How could I deny the Lord his creation – myself – the freedom to express what he created? My shame and guilt around who I was soon became a disservice to the one true creator of all things.

~Ed

My spiritual direction became much more cloudy as I became an adult. I questioned so much of what I was being taught in church and I was sick of the hypocrisy, judgement and hearing other people speak for God, that I knew I was done with church. I thought at the time that it also meant I was done with God.

It took a lot of courage to make that decision. I had so much fear built up over the years. I realized for many years, my commitment to church was based on fear; I kept going because of fear of being different, fear of being wrong, fear of going to hell, and on and on…

I had to finally be OK with not knowing the answers to all the questions. It took me SO LONG to break through that fear and be OK with the unknown. I had to make peace with all the questions and let them be.

For awhile, I thought I had no beliefs. I thought my spiritual journey was completely over and there was nothing to have faith in. I think there was a point where I was even content with that mind set, but after some growing up, I questioned my lack of direction and realized I did have faith in something.

Knowing that there was something set me up to take on a new spiritual path, which led me to my journey now. This journey has been free of fear, anxiety, force, judgement and shame. It has been filled with curiosity, intellect, questioning, discussion, love and acceptance.

My spiritual journey finally feels like it has some of the direction I have been seeking for my whole life.

In love and sisterhood,

~Ang