Beware of Spiritual Bullies


I started working with a new client last week and as I often do, we started by going through an exercise called “The Life Wheel.” This tool is basically a circle divided into eight pie pieces labeled with areas of our lives like career, health and fitness, and personal and spiritual growth. You rate the areas on a scale of -10 to +10 as they relate to your life.

Fun and always enlightening.

The spiritual growth piece was where my client got stuck. She rated that area a -10, laughed and said “I don’t do yoga, I don’t meditate, I don’t read the bible and I don’t like green juice.”


You see she couldn’t make herself fit into the 21st century perceived box of the spiritually enlightened. So, she felt like a spiritual leper.

After our session, I sat down with a piping hot cup of coffee (no green juice needed) and did some spiritual research.

You see, the definition of spirituality is different for everyone, but there are some common themes.

Being spiritual means you are on a journey of self-discovery and the learning of not only who you are, but who you want to be.

Being spiritual means keeping an open mind, questioning current beliefs or trying to better understand others’ beliefs.

Being spiritual means you seek ways to connect to yourself and others.

Being spiritual is believing in a higher power, whether rooted in religion, nature or some kind of unknown essence.

Nowhere does it say that you have to do yoga, meditate or drink green juice unless of course that’s what does it for you.

Maybe it’s a walk in the woods or a 5 mile run that helps you understand you. Maybe it’s found in the joy of dining on succulent food or admiring the beauty of a painting or appreciating the craftsmanship of a gorgeous pair of Christian Dior pumps.

Be warned, there are people who believe their way is the only way to nirvana. I call them “spiritual bullies.” Don’t let them convince you that their way is the only way. It’s not. Whether it’s your friend from the local Baptist church who is convinced dancing is a sin, or the yogi who believes the only connection to yourself and the divine is through a perfectly posed downward facing dog, don’t let them convince you it’s their way or the highway. There is no one way to experience spiritual growth or get closer to your higher power.

I remember several years ago my husband’s mother died and my parents drove up for the funeral. My husband’s family is Jewish, my parents staunch Lutherans. They had never been in a temple, or attended the funeral of someone who wasn’t of a Christian faith. My Dad, being the well-meaning man he was, went up to the Rabbi afterwards and complimented the funeral “Sir, I’m not Jewish but I think you delivered an excellent service today…is that okay for me to say?”

The Rabbi, as it turns out, was not a spiritual bully. He looked my Dad in the eyes and said “I don’t think it matters what faith you are sir, we are all going to the same place.” My Dad loved that story; he told it again and again.

By following the spiritual herd you can lose yourself in the rush towards the new practice that promises enlightenment. Follow your own intuition.   We were all made differently and there are many paths to our final destinations.

Allow yourself to love what you love.

Create your own spiritual practice.

So do you choose:

Tofu or a T-bone

Running or Meditating

Reading scripture or Reading one more story to your child at bedtime

Spiritual people love. That’s what they do.

Raw food or Real food

Green juice or Black coffee

Hot Yoga or Tennis

Mozart or The Killers

Sky Diving or Reiki

What brings you closer to yourself? What causes you to feel closer to God, the universe, the divine?

Whatever it is for you, find it and call it your spiritual practice. Whatever helps you get closer to yourself and your higher power is ok with me.