Many times in my life, I felt like nothing was going right. Either I didn’t have enough money to meet my needs or I had enough money but I didn’t have the emotional health to sustain meaningful relationships. Either I didn’t have the mental stamina to get simple tasks done or I hyper focused on work to feel some semblance of productivity and hated every aspect of my job. I felt incapable of manifesting the life I desired and unable to maintain any form of harmony in critical aspects of my life. I stopped praying because I was perpetually disappointed and became numb to the highs and lows of everyday life. My health was failing. My mind was clouded and my heart was closed. Prior to the COVID lockdown, it became very apparent that something needed to shift, but I didn’t know exactly what it was or how to do it.
So, I did what I had always done when my life became too convoluted, I went to church.
“You need to pray harder,” Someone said.
“You don’t have enough faith,” Someone else determined.
“You’re not worshipping with the right mindset,” Someone added.
I ended up feeling worse. It seemed God and Jesus could only save me so much as I could save myself. My salvation rested in my own hands, but no amount of praying could take away the darkness that settled on the edges of my mind. No amount of worship could alleviate the deep sense of lack of hopelessness that stuck to my skin like a silk shirt on a hot summer’s day when I left the sanctuary. Then, by a circumstance that at first glance looked like a coincidence but was truly divine intervention, I stumbled upon a spiritual retreat hosted by Soar Higher You Never End, Inc. (SHYNE), and it became a catalyst for the complete transformation of my life.
Having grown up in the Bible Belt I believed that participating in anything beyond the Holy Trinity (i.e. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) was ungodly and, according to some elders, put my soul in threat of damnation. But going to church and laying prostrate at the altar each Sunday only provided temporary relief to the unyielding angst that churned within me. At my first SHYNE retreat, I learned about ancestral relationship development (not to be confused with ancestral worship) which required that I not only build a relationship with blood family members who have transitioned to the spiritual realm but learn tangible and practical methods to harness my healing and walk within my destiny.
In my first ancestral divination, I got a full understanding of the spiritual, mental, and emotional barriers that prevented me from fully experiencing life. I knew I was “off track,” however, my divination explained the why and provided guidance on how to reach a state of harmony. While it wasn’t a magic wand that relinquished all of my anguish, it gave me a compass to find my way. Now, after experiencing several workshops, retreats, and one-on-one development sessions, I can look back not even a full year later and celebrate the strides I have made in expanding my mindset and gaining a closer relationship with God.
Yes, I could always pray harder, believe deeper, and worship louder, but using ancestors as the foundation in figuring my life out and deconstructing Western ideology has proven to be the best the most liberating experience in my life to date. My life is nowhere near perfect and I am still wrestling with outdated mindsets and behaviors that create self-inflicted harm and delays in my journey. Still, it is reassuring to know that I have individuals rooting for me and working for me on the other side, and my spiritual court teams up with God to direct my life, answer my questions, and provide guidance and affirmations that the church alone did not give. I have a pragmatic approach to my spiritual awakening, and it works so beautifully with everything I grew up learning about God and the things I continue to learn about myself.