How I Created My Own Custom Spiritual Practice

Sasha Citrine

Updated

How I Created My Own Custom Spiritual Practice 1

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Do you ever feel like your mind is spinning out of control?

You encounter a stressful situation. Uncertain circumstances threaten your plans and desires. Something really bad happens.

What thoughts run through your mind?

  • “Our society is screwed. It’s only a matter of time before things get worse.”
  • “Why did I do that? How could I be so dumb/careless/naive?”
  • “Bad things always happen to me. I should have known this was coming.”
  • “There’s no point in trying. Nothing good will come from this.”

If any of the above statements sound familiar– you’re not alone.

Negative thought patterns and self-defeating beliefs have become a big part of our current culture.

Many of us have normalized negative conversation and self-talk in everyday life. But negative thoughts and beliefs rarely serve our best interests, even when they are factually accurate or realistic. And negative thoughts certainly don’t make difficult situations better.

  • Negative thoughts are focused on problems, rather than solutions.
  • Negative thoughts can lead to unwitting self-sabotage through the power of confirmation bias.
  • Negative thoughts lead to decisions made with fear, worry, and doubt– rather than decisions made with clarity, compassion, and generosity.
  • Negative thoughts remove you from the present moment, seducing you with worries about the past or future.
  • Negative thoughts make it harder to see the positive angles and opportunities in any situation.
  • Negative thoughts are addictive, and it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of toxic negativity.

Like many others, I was stuck in negativity loop for years, until a painful breakup sent me into a downward spiral– then out the other side– changing my life forever.

From High Functioning to Hot Mess

In order to feel good, you must decide to stop feeling bad. It’s as simple and profound as that. There is no other way.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

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Hi, I’m Sasha, and I’m a high functioning person who lives with anxiety and depressive tendencies.

I have a fun and successful life by many measures. I’ve always taken pride in being ‘high functioning,’ and outwardly thriving despite my inner turmoil.

But last year, I experienced the most heart-wrenching breakup of my life– and the limitations of being ‘high functioning’ became apparent.

My family was friends with another young family. Our kids were the same age and played together often. We shared meals, laughs, playtimes, and adventures. It was nice.

I’m an introvert, and I have a belief that I don’t make friends easily. So my friendship with the other mom felt especially precious to me.

When the big fight between our families happened, it escalated quickly.

I made a few mistakes. We all did. We were acting out of fear, trying to protect our hearts from each other. Even so, I sincerely believed that profuse apologies and forgiveness could fix the friendship.

I was wrong. It was over.

I was devastated.

I wanted so badly to go back in time and make different choices. But changing the past wasn’t an option. There was no way to mend the relationship– and I refused to accept that reality.

So I resisted feeling my grief– and replaced it with blame instead.

I blamed my husband. I blamed myself. I wallowed in an emotional swamp of blame and feelings of victimhood.

The swirl of negative thoughts soon became negative statements that I repeated out loud, inadvertently pushing away my loved ones as I struggled to control the world around me.

After months of suffering, I finally acknowledged that I needed to change.

I needed to learn how to create happiness within.

Happiness that would endure, no matter what the tides of life would bring.

Inspiration Arrived At The Perfect Moment

The issues in our lives offer us a choice: we can let them take over, or we can let them help us pivot toward grace.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

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Not knowing where to begin, I decided to seek help from a therapist.

Due to my busy schedule, I was only available for a pilot program via phone, centered around cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This ended up being a serendipitous turn of events, propelling me down a path of mental and emotional mindfulness I desperately needed.

CBT taught me how to notice my thoughts in the moment. I learned how to intentionally replace negative thoughts with more positive thoughts. And I discovered that positivity and optimism are perfectly valid perspectives, not phony or unrealistic (as I used to believe).

But my biggest takeaway from CBT is that emotions don’t just happen.

Emotions arise from your thoughts. Master your thoughts, and you can master your emotions.

We ALL have the power to design an emotional experience that best serves us.

So I began to proactively think positive thoughts– and I started to feel a little happier, a little calmer.

But something was still missing.

Although I was better at coping with the ups and downs of life, it didn’t feel like I was living with purpose and clarity.

I kept practicing, and one day, I came across Gabby Bernstein’s latest book.

That’s when everything changed.

Becoming The Creator Of My Own Universe

When we feel good, we remember the God within us.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

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At first, I was very skeptical of Gabby’s commodified flavor of spiritual self-help. But I decided to proceed with an open mind.

What did I have to lose?

While CBT taught me that taking command of my thoughts would promote emotional wellbeing, Gabby Bernstein goes further.

She argues that shifting towards good-feeling emotions helps us connect with a nonphysical higher power. (For the sake of the experiment, I chose to call this power my Higher Self.)

I began to use mantras, affirmations, and meditation to enter into a relaxed, euphoric state several times a day.

But feeling good was no longer my end goal.

Feeling good was a tool I could use to design a life that would allow my Higher Self to best serve and support others.

My spiritual beliefs began to take shape, and my intuition grew stronger each day.

I realized that sharing my story could help others design a custom spiritual practice that would bring even more joy and love into the world.

This is what my custom spiritual practice looks like today:

  • I seek to experience life from a higher state of consciousness.
  • My Higher Self truly shines when I practice present-moment focus, non-resistance, gratitude, and faith that the universe will deliver what is needed.
  • Present-moment focus means noticing the sensations right here and right now. Detaching those present-moment sensations from any value judgements like ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Releasing thoughts of the past or future.And fully immersing myself in the symphony of sensations available every moment, from physical sensations, to emotional sensations, to sparks of unexpected intuition.
  • Non-resistance means detachment from outcomes. Accepting that I have little control over the material realm, and no control over other people– and that’s okay. Practicing patience even as I work diligently towards my goals and desires. And being able to adapt to changing circumstances with grace and ease.
  • Gratitude means being proactively thankful for the abundance that life provides. Stating that gratitude aloud. Writing that gratitude down. Soaking up the joy of experience without guilt or shame. And practicing thankfulness for successes and obstacles alike– because there’s always a silver lining.
  • Faith means that I believe the universe will deliver what is needed for the highest good for all. Accepting that this may look nothing like my expectations. Praying for good things, earnestly. And replacing fear and doubt with curiosity and confidence.

But perhaps my biggest spiritual lesson so far is this:

Not only do I have control over my thoughts and feelings– My thoughts and feelings actually create my subjective reality and everything I know to be true.

And the same is true for you.

We Are All Standing In The Light

Your desire for joy is not selfish. Your joy is a gift to the world and to everyone around you.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

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My spiritual practice also revealed some essential truths about the heartbreak I experienced:

  • I kept telling myself a story about the heartbreak being traumatic and painful– so I kept creating a reality in which this was true.
  • Now I see the heartbreak as a lesson the universe delivered right when I needed it. I learned the steep costs of acting from a place of fear and attachment in my personal relationships. Now I know I will make different choices in the future.
  • The fracture is in the past. The friendship is in the past. And while stronger friendships may lie in my future, I belong here in the present moment. Snuggling my daughter, petting my dog, truly listening to my husband, and connecting with whoever is with me right now.
  • My ex-friends and I are energetically connected. We are ALL energetically connected. And we will meet again in the light. No conflict in our physical realm can change the fact that we are all part of the same whole. I like to visualize the material realm as the universe taking different forms to connect with itself in special and expansive ways.

I have finally accepted the heartbreak for what it is.

I’m grateful for the good memories and the lessons learned.

And now I’m moving on, and stepping into the light.

How To Create Your Custom Spiritual Practice

When we accept that there is a world of love and support beyond our physical realm, we can see ourselves as spirits having a human experience. This spiritual perception can bring us great peace, love, and joy.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

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My spirituality provides an idealized framework that gives meaning to my daily experiences, and provides practical benefits that spill into every area of my life.

My baseline emotional state is now happier than I ever thought possible. And when a crisis arises, I feel a sense of calm resolve underneath it all.

But I still lose my way everyday– getting stuck in fearful fantasies and projections, obsessing over specific outcomes, and trying to bend others to my will.

The difference is– now I come back to my Higher Self, again and again.

I love it.

Emotional resilience is one of the most valuable skills we can have in a world that is constantly changing.

Would you like to create your own custom spiritual practice that helps you stay calm, present, and positive– no matter what life throws your way?

Here are three ideas to get you started.

Take A Gratitude Deep Dive

  1. Make a list of all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for.
  2. For each item on the list, go into detail about why you’re grateful for that thing.
  3. Try following this template (then, create your own): “I’m so happy and grateful for ______ because it makes me feel ______, and that means ______.”
  4. Repeat daily.

Celebrate Lessons In Your Disappointment

  1. The next time something undesirable happens, ask yourself, “How is this a lesson for me?” Try to detach from the details of the situation and focus on the big picture.
  2. Thank the universe for providing you with this lesson. Say your thanks aloud or write it down.
  3. Every time you begin thinking negatively about the situation, remind yourself of the lesson you’ve learned and give thanks again.

Leverage Emotions To Achieve Your Dreams

  1. Spend a few minutes everyday visualizing the goals you want to achieve and the ideal life you want to live. You can focus on the specific details, but it’s more important to focus on the emotions you feel during this visualization.
  2. Ride the wave of feel-good energy that arises as you visualize living your best life, and try to keep that wave going as long as possible. Immerse yourself until it feels hyper-real.
  3. Train yourself to enter this emotional state whenever it’s time to take action on your goals. Focus on how good it feels to visualize your ideal life and ideal self. Use this emotional momentum to overcome any fears, procrastination, and distraction that might be holding you back.

We Are In The Midst Of A Collective Spiritual Awakening

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There are so many ways to behold the universe.

On one end of the spectrum, the world is a dark place, full of trauma, violence, and despair. On the other end of the spectrum, the world is full of love, compassion, generosity, and grace.

Both of these extremes are true. Everything in between in true, too.

Reality is multi-faceted.

And we each get to choose which elements to focus on, to engage with, to invite into our lives.

More people are choosing compassion, generosity, and gratitude every day.

We are coming together and supporting each other in unprecedented ways.

Join us.

Are you ready for a transformation?

Get your FREE Higher Self Journal download today!

✦ 16 beautifully designed pages.

✦ Packed with life-changing prompts.

✦ Unlock the power of your subconscious mind.

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW:

Hello! My name is Sasha. I am a writer, spiritual teacher, and creative soul based in California. My purpose in this life is to help other humans heal, grow, and transform.

I created Vital Ethos to help you achieve emotional mastery, awaken to your spirituality, and start living the life of your dreams. Together, we will explore powerful personal growth techniques including journaling, affirmations, meditation, self-care, metaphysics, and more.

The content on this site is practical, actionable, and informative– all centered around supporting your personal growth and spiritual awakening.

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