Curiosity is Contagious
Curiosity is Contagious
Last night I shared some unexpected moments of deep emotional connection with strangers I’ve never met. They were faceless individuals whose handwritten words, raw, vulnerable, and poignant, appealed to me like the wide-open eyes of a frightened child. This collection of confessions was handwritten with sharpies on individual pieces of paper and hung from an entire wall at NYC’s Rubin Museum. Curated to bring us into an experience of how we perceive and measure time, these floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall rows of hopes and anxieties illustrate our preoccupation with the ever-elusive future-- a place where so many of us reside.
Reading these testimonies, drew me into a palpable energy of connection, and a basic yet overwhelming recognition of myself within all of these others. “Am I good enough?” “Am I lovable?” “Will I be OK?” We all have the same worries.
Within such experiences of authentic expressions, we recognize our Oneness.
I am privileged to hold space for such intimate truths in my work with individuals. In fact, it is so meaningful for me that I find it painful to engage in the vapid conversations and layers of masks we hide behind. This may make me difficult to share relationship with. I cringe at the bullshit because I don’t like it in myself. I crave truth and real connection because I know that it is from this space magic is made.
It can be scary to be real. We are taught to conform to the expectations of our families and cultures. We have learned that love is conditional upon fulfilling what others desire of us. We are wounded, yet we are lovable. Through sharing our fears and insecurities we can purge them and enter into a space of knowing that we are, at our very cores, Love itself. When we come to recognize that love is not a commodity to be given and retracted based on egoic desires, and when we learn to love others and ourselves without expectation, we can know bliss.
I have always liked spending time with those who recognize themselves to be artists. When we consciously engage in the creative process we open a channel for the truths of our souls to move through us into expressions in this world of form. These fluid expressions take myriad shapes: from colorful canvases, multidimensional sounds, and rhythmic words to how we immerse ourselves on a walk through the woods or when making love. We can choose to channel our Divine essence at any moment.
This is what next week’s TRANSCENDENCE: Spiritual Emergence Showcase is all about-- highlighting the ways that Source moves through us to manifest into the world. Spiritual emergence is an evolutionary path toward our highest human potentials. The path is full of blind curves and the maps can change with each step we take. We can get stuck in a place of spiritual resistance when our fears try to take over or because we lack a cultural framework for understanding and trusting our experiences. The phenomenon of spiritual emergence can include psychological distress, drastic changes of lifestyle, transcendent moments of bliss, knowing, and connection with all things, as well as sudden psychic, mediumistic, artistic abilities, or episodes of spontaneous healing.
If you are in NYC, please join us next Saturday, May 12 from 12-4 pm. We will start by screening the film #EmergingProud,which documents the journeys of individuals’ experiences of spiritual emergence, and follow this up with space for discussion. After a brief intermission with snacks, we will commence with our afternoon of showcasing inspired music, poetry, and visual art born of the spiritual emergence process. We will close with a special immersive chanting experience with The Love Tribe, who will guide us in opening our hearts and grounding us in the recognition that we are in fact all One.
Please reserve your by-donation ticket so we know how many to expect.
Looking forward to sharing in a day of beauty with you.
With love and curiosity,
Check out Facebook for more details on TRANSCENDENCE!
How to Merge Magic into the Mundane
In these Googling times, The Curious Spirit reflects the value of developing an appreciation for mystery…for cultivating the questions that do not bear the immediate fruit of material answers. We are on a mission to reclaim the rewards of curiosity, explore uncharted terrain, and forge ahead despite our shaky footing.
My life distinctly opened up when I began my nomadic adventures two and a half years ago. Prior to then, I dwelled primarily in the known- in the logically-constructed, seemingly-reliable world we've been taught to call real. The adventure of wandering off-road, sometimes even off grid, was a welcomed jolt from my comfort zone into diverse and expansive experiences that transcended the five senses.
In the misty field beyond the intellect, where luminous dreams are made manifest, I discovered that real magic exists. Having little planned (beyond completing my dissertation) infused each moment with a curious blend of urgency (I couldn’t put off writing my dissertation forever) and ease. Like a desert wanderer I learned to relish the uncertainty of each moment. Parched, I was always approaching a new abundant oasis. Eventually I recognized, without a doubt, that I was being carried by something much larger than myself.
As with all processes of spiritual emergence, there comes a time we feel like we are losing the magic, our buzzing exuberant frequency seems to drop, and we enter a period of mourning. We find ourselves reluctantly back in the same mundane world. But we aren’t the same. We have been forever changed.
The past year or so has found me gradually more rooted, spending more time in my home city, more consecutive nights in the same bed. Grieving the come down and smiling at the memories, I'm more committed than ever to share my journey.
The time comes for the wild soul to integrate its lessons into human form. I don’t want to become too normal or too boring, but my soul is saying it’s time to settle. The soul doesn’t speak in forevers, only in for nows. It whispers and nudges and hums. And if you are open to listening to it, you trust it, and you just know. You don’t know everything, but you know what’s important, and you strive to let go of the expectations to know more. You commit only to following your heart in each moment and you stay curious.
The night sky is best seen in the darkness. Transpersonal approaches to wellness bring us into an energetic understanding of the complex dynamics that inform our ways of being in the world. Read my article about Family constellations work...
What does it really means to act ethically as a healer within an ethically-challenged system? Read my latest article here: https://www.goodtherapy.org/…/ethics-check-realigning-with-…
Reflections over Coffee from The International Transpersonal Conference in Prague
How can transpersonal psychology aid healing individuals and the world as a whole? An international community of scholars, activists, artists, and therapists are coming together to apply wisdom traditions, creative arts, and scientific inquiry.
Last month I traveled to the Oregon woods to witness the total solar eclipse with my friend. Months of planning and anticipation did not prepare me for what I experienced. We gathered with a small tribe of curious others on a quaint rural bridge over the Santiam River. It was a clear, bright sky that morning and Moon did not make Herself visible at all in the hours preceding the event.
As mental health professionals increasingly look beyond symptoms and diagnoses for insight into the human condition, some make room for spiritual emergence.
Read my full article here.
"The Next Buddha Will Be a Sangha"
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Thank you for being a part of The Curious Spirit. It is exciting to see our community growing and developing daily! It has been a busy year for me and now that I have finally completed my dissertation I expect to dedicate more time to The Curious Spirit. Based on feedback from our two Women's Summer Soul Circles, I have decided to make this a monthly offering. The next Women's Soul Circle will be on September 8th in NYC. We are also co-hosting a networking tea with HYHO Marketing on September 21st in NYC for conscious creators to meet, mingle, support, and strategize building our ethical enterprises. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for details and registration.
By Katrina Michelle, PhD, LCSW, ACMHP (written for ACISTE, Aug 2017)
I have great appreciation for the term spiritual emergence, as coined by Stan and Christina Grof, because it is so inclusive. This term embraces the sudden, discrete episodes of awakening that we refer to as spiritually transformative experiences, or STEs, and yet is still broad enough to hold those awakenings that gradually unfold over time. In his 1902 book, The Varieties of Religious Experience, psychologist and philosopher, William James distinguished between these two categories of experience, calling them “the sudden type” and “the “educational type”.
The Curious Spirit is Born
I founded TCS out of a desire to create a space that would invite the seeker into a safe space where one could find resources and build community to fuel the spiritual emergence process. In order to use language that pointed toward this process without risking excluding anyone who may not be familiar with or resonate with the term spiritual emergence, I chose to highlight the word curiosity.
Katrina Michelle, PhD, LCSW