Yesterday I was speaking with a good friend about an experience I have that I call a spiritual “allergic” reaction. This intense reaction makes me feel off-center, exhausted, and downright lousy, when I get it. It’s physical, but also occurs in another dimension of my experience. At first, years ago, I wasn’t sure what it was. “Am I getting a cold, or did I eat something bad?” I used to wonder.
Now I know exactly what it is…it’s my body and my spirit telling me that what I’m doing-– how I’m seeing things, or the way I’m reacting and behaving – is damaging or limiting me in some way, and I need to stop and reverse course, now.
I’ve had this reaction on more than a number of occasions recently, when I’ve been feeling out of control and eliciting too much outside advice (and not listening to myself), or when I’ve needed to embrace a “beginner’s mind” and stop being a know-it-all (a habit of mine that’s quite annoying, to me and others). I’ve had an allergic reaction also to my lack of forgiveness or acceptance of someone or something—or of myself—and when I’ve needed to shout my mouth and stop giving advice to those who simply didn’t ask for it. These “allergic” reactions help me point myself in a new direction, and allow me to realize again that I can’t fix things or control what’s outside of my purview.
I’m deeply grateful for my specific brand of allergic reaction, because it tells me I need to revise my thinking and actions to feel better, and live better. Once I make the necessary shift, I do feel better, and life and work goes much more smoothly and joyfully, for that week, at least.
What’s your spiritual allergic reaction look and feel like? And what is it telling you about what needs to be shifted or addressed?