Spirituality Exploration Continued

This year is my year of personal spirituality exploration and I continue to read (recommended) books, listen to on-line meditation series (Chopra Center), read various blogs (such inspiration out there!), and have started listening to podcasts. Last weekend, I even went to a weekend Yoga Wellness Retreat, which included a guided meditation and a Reiki treatment, both new experiences for me. Some recently read books include The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock, I Thought It Was Just Me by Brene Brown, and Positive Aging by fellow-blogger Kathy Gottberg (my review blog link).

This blog post is a synthesis of my recent personal discoveries in this journey.

Finding my true self?

My spirituality exploration goal is to better understand my true self and in doing so, hopefully understand my purpose in life. Chopra says that the true self is buried under the cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions and expectations, and the inaccurate conclusions (self-limiting beliefs) from childhood.   Murdock indicates the true self is an integration of an internal feminine self and masculine self into the whole self. In understanding your true self, Brown encourages you to recognize your “shame triggers”, realize you are not alone, and learn to be resilient in the face of the judgmental comments.

Looking at Childhood

Many of the books I’ve read, including Murdock’s, encourage you to look at how you were raised to understand your internal beliefs. It is NOT about blaming your parents, nor is it about using the past as an excuse. It is to understand and therefore begin to shift self-limiting beliefs.  

As a late Baby Boomer, I was raised in the early part of the feminine revolution. I recall in my early 20’s stating I didn’t want to be a trailblazer, and yet I was.   I became an engineer and in the early years of working was often the only woman at the table. I was never very “girly” and don’t recall ever feeling a strong maternal instinct. I valued intellect and analytical approaches. Reading Murdock’s book brought to the forefront how my internal Inferiority Complex was most probably started: I was a woman trying to live a traditional man’s role. Internally, I knew I wasn’t ever going to “succeed” because I wasn’t a man.

My family, while supportive and loving, never focused on exercise nor sports participation. Neither of my parents had long-term friendships nor any strong interest in the arts. My mom not only managed the household and finances, she returned to full-time work when we went to school (we were latch-key kids before the term was coined), and she was also the primary disciplinarian. In fact she was the “traditional masculine” element in our home, expressing pride in my achievements, and encouraging me to become an independent woman with a professional career.

Giving my life a “Murdock-assessment”, I did not have a true masculine role model (the male, competition & winning, achievement and success, power role model). I also did not have a true feminine role model (the female, friendships, traditional woman’s activities role model). As an adult, I focused on being the independent, successful, logic-based achiever (the masculine) and struggled at being the good wife, the supportive friend, and the nurturing mentor (the feminine).

In the more recent retirement years, I am definitely feeling compelled to explore the feminine and this exploration feels very challenging at times.


Expectations and Feeling Worthy

Brown recognizes that we all have a need to feel accepted and worthy, to believe we belong, are seen, and have value.  When we believe we fail to meet others expectations or when we feel judged, we feel shame and feel like we are not accepted, not worthy, and do not belong.

I’ve spent my whole life trying to meet other’s expectations. I was expected to be the good girl (that was my role in the family) – get good grades, graduate from a good college, and become a self-supporting professional. At work, my yearly performance reviews even stated, “met or exceeded expectations”! Even now, I hear questions, comments, and advice of others as expectations and a judgment implication that what I am doing is wrong – I am failing to meet their expectations and therefore I am not enough, not accepted, and not worthy to belong.

I am working on changing my perception of “hearing” these expectations. I am using affirmations like “ I Am Enough.” I am working to acknowledging I do “belong” – I have a tribe, a supportive spouse, and a good life.


Triggers and Beliefs?

As I explored the ideas presented by various authors, I’m identifying what my self-limiting beliefs, my shame triggers, and my cultural conditionings are. They are my current truths. I am beginning to realize that they are not necessarily based in reality, but are still deeply held beliefs I’ve had for a very long time. Many center around the feeling that I am not good enough/not doing enough – not a good enough friend, not active enough, not competent, not ambitious enough, too egocentric, too materialistic, not humble enough, and even not suffered enough. Some of these directly correlate to shame triggers!

How does one let go of self-limiting beliefs? How do you simply release shame triggers? How do you integrate an internal feminine and masculine self and find a true whole self?

Murdock encourages spending more time in nature and becoming more aware of the seasonal changes. Interestingly, in the past year I’ve been more aware of the moon phases and the equinox/solstice days.  Murdock also encourages nurturing of creativity, sexuality, and playfulness. It’s intriguing that the insights I had into chakra blockage (from my recent Reiki treatment) support my need to encourage creativity, sexuality and playfulness. I’ve begun taking more cooking classes and art classes; I enjoy playing in the garden. How might I further these activities?

Brown encourages you to simply recognize (be mindful of) your shame triggers and limiting beliefs. Do some reality checks – look for moments/experiences when they are simply not true. Recognize that you are not alone in the feeling – many people feel the same. Allow yourself to believe you are more than the trigger and you are enough.

Chopra encourages focus on what in life you are grateful for and to regularly practice meditation, which strengthens your mindfulness and living in the moment – not reliving the past, nor worrying about the future.


To let go of my limiting beliefs, I am literally writing them all down and then finding life experience examples of when they were not true. I am continuing to practice gratitude and mindfulness every day, and I am trying to connect to nature more.   I want to nurture my creativity and have begun to redefine creativity a bit to allow this to happen.

My personal spirituality exploration is a journey of personal development. I am trying to be the person I want to be – positive, creative, non-judgmental, fully embracing the abundance and joy in my life. Some days it’s two steps forward and one step back.   But I think I’ll like that true me when she is fully here.

Have you identified your own self-limiting beliefs? How are you shifting them?


Cairn Picture From Pixabay – A metaphor for simply another moment of the journey.


29 thoughts on “Spirituality Exploration Continued

  1. Hey Pat,

    I’m honored to be able to witness some of your journey. I love your succinct evaluations of your learning. Shame triggers, that one gets me a lot. It’s taken me months and months to let go of some of my conditioning and it’s so great to be able to connect with others on a similar journey. Much love to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I think one of my shame triggers is that I am not a deep enough thinker. Especially when I read something as thought-provoking as this post. Don’t think I could ever have thought about myself, my spirituality with such a sense of exploration and examination. My husband teases that I haven’t ready Moby Dick and yet I am a librarian, or, this weekend, that I was sure of the meaning of nefarious…or how to spell it! But when working with Spanish-speaking kindergartners, that word doesn’t come up much!!

    My triggers are that my parents were both brilliant and I like to draw. I often have trouble ‘getting’ jokes, and feel very insecure (unless I have had a stout glass of wine) and incapable of carrying on any kind of worthwhile conversation with anyone over 10.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never read Moby Dick either. And I’m a horrendous speller…. thank goodness for the invention of spell check!
      If you put me in a room of kindergarteners, I know I’d have an anxiety attack. Spanish-speaking ones… ahhhh. I struggle with anything “crafty” although I love looking at what other folks create (and think… why can’t I do that too). And drawing… my stick figures don’t even look like people.

      And, sorry girl, you carry on conversations with folks over 10 in every single blog post you do. You inspire folks by being who you are – I’ve bought clothes because of you, I’ve read books I never would have picked up because of you, I’ve even thought about trying craft stuff again. Don’t sell yourself short!

      Yes, I can over-think things… it’s part of my charm. 🙂 But you’ve got just as many great qualities that others wish they had as well!


  3. I always enjoy reading what you are finding out for yourself and about yourself. I am 70 in 9 days. I feel that I cannot quite be grown up yet because my father is still alive….that is a little bit of exaggeration. However, like many, I was the good girl, the elder of 2, the teacher, the wife, the mother, the grandmother, the principal….and yet, I do not feel I have been able to be ME till the last two years or so when I got cancer.

    Now, I am far more likely to be my own person, making my choices on how to spend my time and knowing I am a worthwhile person. I have been back to writing my memoir – I need breaks from it – and I see I was the epitome of busy and achievement. It came at a huge personal cost as I became very overweight – comfort eating…and that in itself was indicative of a very unhappy me.

    Denyse #mlstl


  4. Loved this spot and totally agree that with you that sprirituality is learning to be your true self. I am on the same journey as you and it is difficult work with a few steps forward and many backwards. I found a great resource on instagram which you might like to look into: holistic psychologist. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carole, thanks for that Link. I will check it out. My sister said to me that the two steps forward, one step back means I’m dancing through life. It’s a much better interpretation and it sounds like maybe you can use it as well.


  5. What an interesting and thought provoking post Pat, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading! It’s amazing how often nature is used these days to help with so many issues, and you mention it here as well. Good luck with it all, we are all a work in progress and you sound like you are finding your authentic self in a good way. #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie, It’s challenging right now for me to connect with nature… another cold, gray day here. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’ve agreed to move to Florida (at some point…. details need to be worked!). Even when it’s cold there, it not as cold and gray as here in Ohio.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Pat – I think we’re all a reflection of our generational upbringings – and there was a lot missing from mine! I’ve spent all my adult life trying to be the “good girl” too – keeping everyone happy, only being happy myself if all my ducks were in a row etc etc. It’s only since leaving that soul sucking job behind that I’m (finally!) coming to see that I can’t fix everyone, I can’t be all things to everyone, I just need to centre myself and recognize my own value and worthiness.
    For me that’s meant returning to my Christian roots and recognizing that I’m a child of God and have intrinsic worth based solely on that – His grace and not my efforts. It’s a huge leap for me to let go of the need to earn my worth and to try to understand that I have it already.
    I like that we’re all works in progress and we’re not allowing all those preconceived ideas about ourselves to continue to define us. I’m SO looking forward to finding a sense of rest, peace, and confidence in myself that’s been lacking for the first 50+ years of my life – and I hope you do too xxx
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Leanne, I appreciate how focused you are in your personal goal – to find a sense of rest, peace and confidence in yourself…to recognize your own value and worthiness. Not needing to “earn the worthiness” is an interesting phrase that I’m going to ponder on some more. I do think I need to earn it (still)…I’m just changing from other’s expectations to my own. I am still setting a bar, to earn “it”. Thanks for that though provoking statement! And thanks for #MLSTL…. I enjoy connecting with this link each week to see what folks are up to.


      1. Pat, “earning my worth” has been a key underlying drive for me all my life. It’s only since I couldn’t earn it as much that I started hearing other people I love telling me that they didn’t expect that of me – the “earning” message had been coming from within myself and drowning out the voices of those who cared. I’m now trying to be kinder to myself, to believe what I’m told, and to recognize my value as intrinsic and not dependent on working for it. I hope you find your key too xx


  7. Thanks for sharing your personal journey with us, Pat. I was also the good girl in our family and can relate to some of the pressure that creates. I still hate my performance reviews at work–which is coming up this month, by the way. Ugh! I certainly will not miss that when I retire. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, Interesting how many of my blogging buddies are the good-girl in the family! Correlation that we find each other because we relate? The part about performance reviews I disliked was anything that was negative! To this day, that is definitely a trigger for me… any critique. Hits on both my good-girl stigma and my Imposter Complex. But, I do believe awareness is the first step in change. Maybe looking at the performance review without the word “hate” in the view? And know that you are enough… no matter what the performance review says?


  8. I grew up on a farm with a mom who was a nurse. She did some of everything including running a combine if necessary. She also was a fabulous seamstress, good cook and a volunteer (as was my dad). As long as we did our best that was good enough. So it was a fairly traditional house for the 60’s.
    I also found it interesting that to your spirituality meant internal belief system. I grew up in the United Church of Canada but lapsed about 12 years ago. I miss it in some ways.
    My inner workings require work — I’ve got a great work ethic but that’s what growing up on a dairy farm does for one. I’m not very good at examining the workings of my mind. I try to focus on being mindful. It’s definitely true I could do some more “time upstairs in my head” but I’m still busy with the to do list projects that piled up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I’m an over-thinker! LOL. Sometimes I need to get out of my head and just live. Of course, that would mean I would have to do some of those to-do-list projects that have been on the list since I retired. Oh dear.

      I actually didn’t realize that as I slide into internal belief systems from spirituality exploration, it would be odd to folks. It was a natural progression in my exploration…maybe others would have progressed differently. I grew up in the Catholic Faith but like you have lapsed. When I began my own journey, it did start with meditation and trying to link to a higher power… but it’s shifted to finding my authentic self. i’m actually wondering why I’m still calling it spirituality… but I think I believe that finding my true self will allow me to link better to a higher power, link better to the broader community, find my purpose.

      I love when comments from folks make me ponder things even more deeply. Thanks!


  9. Man, Pat, you could have lived my past. My mom did not work outside the home after she married our dad, but she had been administrative assistant to the VP of John Hancock in Boston. Quite a career for a women in the 50s. When we went to school she worked for my dad as his secretary and bookkeeper as well as being the chief administrator of our home. She was a very strong personality, but not typically “feminine”…she did the cooking, etc. because it was expected but being a domestic engineer was not her idea of fulfillment.
    I also was expected to be good, get good grades, graduate at the top of my class, go to an elite college. All of which I did. Except then I decided to be a teacher, which was way too female-traditional for her(but I loved it.) Every job eval I ever got was “exemplary” or “exceeds expectations.” I made sure of it.
    It does create a little split-personality. My kids complain that I was never approachable or affectionate enough, I was always the “strong” one…but I was very efficient at running a household.
    Still working on the authentic me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nancy, I’ve called them in the past my “good girl handcuffs”… the ones that prevent me from trying things because I know “I won’t be good at it” and being good is what I’m supposed to be. Releasing those handcuffs, tossing out the old beliefs, changing reflective habits, figuring out who I am without them … yes, a work in progress. It’s actually nice that now, I can choose the me I want to be. Not saying it’s easy… and I slide back into those old habits too often. But I’ve noticed sometimes being aware of the slides and stopping them… so progress!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I found this quite thought-provoking. I was raised very traditionally. I’m a Gen X-er born in the late 60s (1967) and my mother quit work (forever) the year before I was born. Dad was the bread-winner & manager of all the finances etc. Mum managed the house and us 4 kids. I wasn’t raised to be independent, yet that’s the reality I’ve created for myself. I like how you’re examining spirituality from an internal belief system viewpoint. The stories we tell ourselves. I’ve done some work with chakras and am currently doing similar body work to unblock some lymphatic channels in my pelvis which is causing me pain in my ankle – yes, really. Body work, spiritual work…it all has its links.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo, I am expecting the chakra work to link to my body! And yes, I also believe it is all connected – mind, body, spirit. Of course, being the over-thinker I am, the mind tends to be my starting point…. I’m going to read up on chakras!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Enjoyed reading this and can relate on messages re achievement and masculine/feminine given the firsts of so many things. Have you engaged in a religious community? May want to try, to have support for your journey. Thanks for vocalizing what many of us feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment about voicing what many feel. I feel a deep sense of satisfaction when others say “yes, that’s it”.

      I have not engaged in a religious community recently; the last one I was in did not feel very welcoming or accepting (I stayed for other reasons). It’s a possibility for the future, as I do believe in the sense of community that can come with finding the right religious group.


  12. Interesting and illuminating post, Pat. When I read “spirituality” I immediately think of religion or a belief in a higher power. I liked how you used the word to describe your internal belief system and personal development. It sounds like you are well on your way in finding the answers you are searching for.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Janis, I’ve come to the realization that my personal spirituality is learning to be my true self and in doing so, hopefully connect more … with a higher power, with the world in general. Might not be what others define as spirituality, but the exploration of it is thought provoking for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you Donna. I am definitely a work in progress. My sister said that the two steps forward, one step back means I’m dancing through life. That is positivity! See, this is why I blog … to get folks to continue to boost me up!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoyed this post, Pat. For me, the bloggers who open up and reveal things about themselves, now or from the past, always write the best posts. Your mother sounds like an exceptional role model; obviously for you as a girl growing up, but I suspect for everyone in the family too.

    Shortly after my first marriage ended, a friend of mine recommended reiki. I was dubious, but she made an appointment for me and drove me to the practitioner’s office to make sure I actually went. 🙂 I recall it being the most relaxing and stress-reducing experience… and yet I’ve never done it since! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, Thanks for those comments. It was tough to be so personal – I worried about it. OK, I’m a natural worrier, but worried a bit more than usual here. Yeah, my mom is pretty amazing. She’s always been my #1 supporter and I am so grateful for her in my life. As for reiki, I’m going to look for someone local. It was an amazing first experience and I’d like to try it again. I’m also going to read up on Chakra’s a bit more. OK, I always look to read up on topics … it’s my learning approach. And I’m guessing there’s a blog post in it sometime too! Have a great week.


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