Spirituality and Trust
I was very disconnected from anything I could not prove or touch for many years. Mystery was not my thing. This probably came from the model I’d absorbed growing up: that I had to manage everything by myself, I had to make it all happen on my own and most importantly, that I could not trust anyone or anything besides myself.
My journey towards spirituality and connection with a higher purpose began with my family (my now ex-husband and daughter) and has continued by myself. It has been a journey of ‘coming back’ home, returning to trust and reconnecting with that sense of ‘self’ that I’d stopped recognising within really early in life because of the traumatic events that ensued in my childhood. I didn’t know how to trust myself. I didn’t know how to recognise what was healthy from what was not… especially in relationships.
Despite my many efforts, and all the time and money spent, recovering the lost ability to trust (typical of a traumatised child) myself and others remained a painful and unfulfilling process and experience which more often than not led to disappointment.
In the second part of my life, after I turned 42, I felt the need to start connecting with a different kind of trust besides the one for myself and others. Rather, the trust in what I could not touch prove or control. A trust in God and in the Divine mystery of life.
Once again, my daughter was a strong motivation. I knew as a mum I had the responsibility to give her the foundations for a new way of living, different from the one I’d grown up with. I wanted her to learn about values and how to practice those values, not just talk about them.
Spirituality as a Journey of Discovery and Self-Empowerment
Beyond that, I was naturally drawn to learn and know God in more depth. At the time it was frustrating because I was greatly resisting the direction in which everything was flowing.
I sensed that the spirituality I’d encountered over many years of living in a multi-cultural society (Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Baptist and Protestant Christianity) were a strong starting point for developing a deep understanding of religions, how humans engage with them and how they serve a purpose in educating people with their beliefs and customs over centuries.
In Psychiatrist Scott Peck’s, ‘Further Along the Road Less Travelled’, he says, “It slowly began to dawn on me that we are not all at the same place spiritually and that there are different stages.”
I personally went through the different stages, this became apparent after I made an inventory of all the spiritual growth I’d gone through over the years. I observed all the different and miraculous occurrences that happened in my life since 2008 when I first published, Stella’s Mum Gets Your Groove Back. Often, when alone and facing the sea, I eventually began asking, “God, who are you?”
I felt the time had come to no longer absorb myself in sacred texts, searching for God in the pages, or exclusively listen to how preachers and Gurus told me I should communicate with God. The time had come to experience God first hand and more so to get to know him.
Getting to Know God
How can anyone really know anything about God? Who was I to think I could? There are so many teachings, ideas and points of view about God. And yes, they all passed through humans to become so. Humans, in their humanness, must admit how much our idea of God is shaped by the different cultures they originate from.
With time, I came to believe that deep down in each of us, there’s a direct connection to the Divine. As I learned and experienced in work such as the Hoffman Process, there is a part of our being that goes beyond our ego and personality. Dr. Mario Scardovelli, an Italian professor and trainer/counsellor, calls it l’Anima (the soul), which is the same word I’d learn to refer to it as when I was a little girl.
When we connect with that part of us which is not our body, nor our intellect (thinking/judging side of us), and nor our emotions, a natural transformation begins to take place within us. It is when we shift and drift up. When we are not held down by our earthly self and when we begin to experience more openness within. It is when we feel a greater distance between our true self and the thoughts and emotions inside us.
You Can Feel the Shift Within When…
Day by day, over time, as I observed the change in me, I experienced the sensation of shifting and drifting up. I wasn’t feeling as much fear, anger or anxiety, nor was I as self-conscious and worried about others’ judgement and my own. I was resenting other people less, sometimes not at all, letting go of resistance and the old tendency to shut my heart away. Things I didn't want still happened, of course, but they didn’t seem to penetrate me like they once had. Where was I going? As I associated less with my physical and psychological dimensions, I was beginning to feel that I was moving towards and into my own spiritual being. I was going home, which found itself at the centre of my whole being.
How did it feel living from my spiritual dimension rather than my ego? I started feeling joyful, playful, open, curious and light most of the time. I felt more love and lightness within myself and for the world around me.
How My Spiritual Life is Today
It is like magic in a way, watching miracles unfold every day. When we willingly release the physical, mental and emotional aspects of our being, our Spirit becomes a constant state from which we can act from in our lives. We don’t claim to understand what is happening. We simply know that it is what it has to be and life day by day gets simply more beautiful.
Ultimately, how do we really get to know God deeply? I believe the only way is to get close to Him more each day starting by reconnecting with our Soul. Eventually, we let ourselves merge into Him and then seeing what happens to us and our lives.
I actually started to know what it feels like by doing exactly that. The transformations I was and am seeing within myself were reflected by the strength with which I was approaching my work and life. Knowing God is a lot more simple than people tend to and have been taught to believe. Knowing God doesn’t require you to study every type of meditation, it doesn’t ask for extreme sacrifices, it doesn’t mean forgetting about yourself. I’ve come to learn that knowing God requires time and silence, patience and persistence. It requires solitude. And above all, it required me to have the willingness to trust the mystery of life with faith and face the unknown by letting go of my resistance.
Day by day, over the past few years of living alone, I started to feel a new, deep love for all creatures and beauty in nature. I started to perceive every child as my own, every person as a wonderful and unique divine creation with its own colours, shapes and sounds. As I was going deeper and deeper inward, I began noticing something phenomenal: I was less and less judgemental of myself and others. This meant I was attracting less and less judgement towards myself. There was just honouring, respecting, appreciating, loving and cherishing. I was not differentiating any more, instead I began simply observing, recognising and experiencing, that is to say participating in life instead of standing back and judging it from my ego’s perspective, with all its needs and wounds.
That to me meant getting a glimpse of God.
That’s the best way to know God, I believe. It’s important to watch what happens as you get closer to him and observe the mysterious way in which he works.
We Can't Know God by Only Reading a Book
We can't know God by only reading a book, nor by only listening to a sermon every Sunday. If we try to search for God on a mental level, somebody will dispute it for sure. It must come from real experience. It has to be an experience of the heart. That is what happens when we meditate for example and we drift into our Spirit or Soul. The more we do that, the more we will get a clear glimpse of what it must be like to sit in the presence of a Divine essence.
“Just as the rain makes you wet and the fire makes you warm, so you can know the nature of God by looking into the mirror of your transformed self. This is not a philosophy; this is a direct experience”, Michael A. Singer says in his best seller, ‘The Untethered Soul’.
One day, I realised that spiritual growth could be experienced just like anything else: anger and resentment, hate or even joy. We know how we feel when we feel these emotions and we know what we feel towards others when we feel that way. We know what our thoughts and behaviours or choices are and we are aware of how our heart feels. That is not theory, it is an experience which anyone can have.
A Metaphor for God
Not long ago, I came home after a long walk, when an image of God in my head and heart appeared: the wind. Yes, truth is I cannot see God but I can sense him around me daily as the breeze softly blows around me when I walk down the beach. Like the wind, God is playing with me, disturbing me, communicating to me, is requesting my attention and focus at times. He is laughing with me, crying and getting hungry with me. He is experiencing moments of deep joy with me.
This was when I realised I was exactly what I’d heard someone call, a spiritual being having a human experience (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin).
It is said that spirituality is above all, a way of life. We do not just think about it, feel it or sense it around us. We live it. And yes, I felt I’d started living spirituality and acknowledging what only a spiritual being can recognise to be the unfolding of miracles.
header image by William Farlow
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► Elisabetta Franzoso is a multi continental Life and Wellness Coach practicing between Barcelona, London, Milan and Singapore where she has many loyal clients.
► Elisabetta empowers men and women to master their mind, body and personal relationships through renewing their confidence and building a sense of wellness. She does this through her unique Coaching In 4 Dimensions framework which takes into account the physical, emotional, intellectual and relational aspects of humanity.
► Elisabetta will inspire you to live the life you want to live, maximise your potential and achieve self mastery. Aside from coaching, Elisabetta is a passionate social activist and spokesperson against abuse.
► Elisabetta has been featured extensively across international and UK press including Thrive Global, Grazia Magazine, Breathe Magazine and Health & Wellbeing Magazine. Stay up to date with Elisabetta at instagram.com/elisabettafranzoso and www.elisabettafranzoso.com.