Half the year is over. It’s been six months since my world turned upside down. Six months of re-evaluating everything I thought I knew and everything I thought was true.
Slowly, I’m starting to write again. I’ve made some changes around my online home. For me, they feel positive.
Changing the website from tinybrave to my own name has felt scary and totally essential. It’s flushing out parts of me that still wanted to hide. I’m having to dig deep into my reserves of courage to stand in the world as Belinda, rather than under a different banner.
Because I have some things to say that may not be hugely popular.
I’m making sense of both my experiences in the corporate world and my journey through new age love & light. I’ve finally grasped a common thread that explains why I embraced new age spirituality with such enthusiasm as I was ending my corporate career.
It was because it felt weirdly familiar.
Many contemporary spiritual teachers now act a bit like many leaders of organised religion. Their teachings have become dogma within their ‘spiritual communities’. Among the faithful, it’s not acceptable to challenge certain commonly held beliefs about who we are, why we’re here and why we’re doing all this inner work.
The new age has fallen ill with a severe case of groupthink.
I’m reminded of the years I spent noticing how the grand global mission of the multinational I worked for (“enabling people & businesses throughout the world to realise their full potential”) contrasted with the way its performance management systems encouraged employees to succeed at each others’ expense.
I recall the day I voiced that observation in a meeting with some senior managers. The temperature in the room dropped several degrees as we all shifted uncomfortably in our seats. It seemed no-one wanted to acknowledge the cognitive dissonance or talk about the hypocrisy.
So I stopped trying to start conversations about it. And I remember all the other times I stopped myself from speaking up as I sacrificed my personal drive to participate in building a more humane world to the company’s all-consuming drive for greater profits.
Selling spirituality is now big business. We’ve commercialised and corporatised awakening and enlightenment. And the business model often seems to be the same as the model for corporate capitalism – a few become rich at the expense of the many.
To be clear: I want us all to be able to take good care of ourselves and be rewarded financially in return for offering our gifts to the world. But I have no desire to be part of a system that exploits vulnerable people by encouraging them to stay locked in an endless cycle of perfectionism. And I will not knowingly enable spiritual bypassing.
Because I’ve been there. For years, I poured thousands of hours and thousands of dollars into spiritual retreats, practices and accessories. I consumed spiritual teachings as if my life depended on it. I devoured white light like a kid bingeing on candy.
I did it all willingly and voluntarily. I found many teachers and mentors who were happy to take my money. And I was happy to give it to them, because some of them helped me a lot.
The trouble was, I couldn’t always tell which ones were truly useful. I was moving so fast I didn’t allow enough time for integration. And I moved onto the next shiny object before I’d paid enough attention to the previous purchase.
Eventually I realised I still hadn’t found what I was looking for. The silver bullet didn’t exist. I couldn’t buy a magic wand and make it all better.
To come home to myself, I had to stop planning my next spiritual holiday and start living the small details of my life. And I had to get a lot more discerning about who I chose to support me.
So in the past few months, I’ve pulled back. I’ve gotten clearer about who I want to work with and how I can genuinely be of service to them. And I’m sharing my experiences in the hope that others might be able to learn what I have, a little bit faster than I did.
I’ll share more soon around what it really takes to detox from a corporate career and from an intensive immersion in spiritual consumerism. I’ll be talking about how we can exit both these control systems gracefully, on our terms. And I’ll be offering small group programs intended to create support networks for those of us going through the process of extraction and rebirth.
If any of that sounds interesting, I hope you’ll come along for the ride. I think it’s going to be fun 🙂