How a self-confessed cynic found her spiritual side.

02 January


I've always been a cynical person. I'm not really sure why, maybe it's something to do with having divorced parents, but I've always been able to see the gloomy side of life more easily than the positive.

As many of my stories do, this starts with me trying to find a cure for anxiety.

The Secret

This journey, if you want to call it that, started when I read The Secret in May 2017.

I had heard a few bloggers and YouTubers talk about The Secret before and I wanted to know what the fuss about. I had no idea what the law of attraction was and I was totally ready to wear my eyes out from rolling them.

Well, didn't I feel silly?

I was obsessed with this book. I read it in a day. Something about it really resonated with me.

I won't go into too much detail but in layman's terms, the law of attraction is the belief that thoughts become things and what you put out into the world you get back. It can sound a little crazy, but what I have taken it to mean is this:

If you really, truly believe something will happen, you'll go at it full force because you'll put the effort into making sure it does. Whereas if you focus on your negative thoughts, they'll prevent you from getting what you want because you're too busy focusing on what you don't want.

And it was weird, because as soon as I started reading that book, I noticed things I would have considered coincidental before happening all the time.

Anyway, as a natural pessimist, I was taken with the lessons in The Secret and decided to learn more about the law of attraction, thinking that at the very least it would help me to be more positive and less of a misery guts.

Guided meditation
I'd heard a few of my friends mention meditation helping them to deal with stress before but I was like "sit alone with my thoughts with no distractions? No thanks!"

The more I read about it though, the more curious I became. People who believe in the law of attraction all seem to swear by meditation as well.

Still, though, I really didn't fancy sitting in silence to concentrate on my breathing. That's not something that's attainable for my ever-racing thoughts.That's where the idea of going to a meditation class came in.

My boyfriend's brother mentioned that he'd been going to the weekly Buddhist meditation sessions in town, so my friend Lucy and I decided to jump on his bandwagon and give it a go.

Having a friend with me was crucial to me actually going to the class as I had no idea what to expect and would almost definitely have chickened out if I was on my own.

It actually felt a bit like school, we sat in a room full of chairs while a Buddhist monk guided us through two short meditation sessions, with a seminar on a related topic to break it up a bit.

No omm-ing, no sitting cross-legged and no pressure to do anything you felt uncomfortable with.

Lucy wasn't too keen (or at least, she never came to the class again) but I was hooked. I was honestly shocked at how much better I felt afterwards.

Calm, centred and energised.

If that's what Zen is, I'd like more, please. Way more.

So I decided to keep going to the classes.

Yoga classes

Shortly after starting meditation, my friend Emma told me about a yoga studio she'd just joined and asked if I'd like to come along to one of the classes with her. I was nervous, which is clearly becoming a recurring theme here - but I'd been wanted to take up yoga for years, so I said yes.

As with meditation, it was instant love. 

Yoga is great because it's basically meditation with movement. Excellent news for people who struggle to sit still (hi)!

Our teacher was exactly how you would imagine a yoga teacher to be: spiritual, softly spoken and vegan, so our classes were more about connecting with our spirituality than getting fit, which I loved.

Although I'm a cynic, I've always harboured a secret hippie side. I love the idea of being a spiritual person, but I never really knew how to get in touch with that part of me. Yoga helped me to do that.

Most people who do yoga will tell you that it's not just a workout, it's a lifestyle, and from what I've seen both in person and after a little internet research, that's very true.

Lots of people go from starting yoga to meditating regularly, reading about spirituality, going vegan and practising being a better person in terms of being kind, non-judgmental and self-aware.

Books and self-reflection

As I mentioned in my last post, I struggled with my mental health a lot last year, particularly in December. This led me to do a bit of self-discovery work, mostly via reading lots of books and the exercises they suggested.

This helped me to get some clarity on what kind of person I am, why and more importantly, what I could do to improve my state of mind so I could be, you know, happy.

Here are the books I read:

Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions - Russell Brand (yes, I read it again)

The Universe Has Your Back: How To Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What - Gabrielle Bernstein (I loved this book and will be reading the rest of Gabby's books, she seems to be a bit of a celeb in the spiritual world and writes beautifully.)

You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Live an Awesome Life - Jen Sincero (I also read her other book, You Are A Badass at Making Money, which I actually preferred, but I'd recommend this one for general mindset help.)

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live A First Class Life - Denise Duffield-Thomas (from the title and cover of this one, I thought I'd hate it. But it was actually really good and helped me to realise some of the unhelpful ways I think about myself and money.)

She Means Business - Carrie Green (this seems out of place, but it focuses on mindset and law of attraction, so it's a useful read even if you aren't planning on starting a business.)

Fuck It: Do What You Love - John C. Parkin (this took me longer than I thought to read, not because I didn't like it but because it prompted a lot of -deep thinking- and I think it's marketed more towards men than women)

The most useful thing I did out of this was to write down a list of things that have happened in my life and how they have affected me. This was a lightbulb moment for me as I suddenly saw patterns in my life that I kept repeating to my own detriment and what I had experienced that had contributed to this.

It's not about blaming other people for your problems or feeling sorry for yourself, but about understanding why you act in a certain way (e.g self-sabotage), letting go of it and being able to break habits that are detrimental to yourself.

It takes a looong time, but I 100% recommend it.

Insight Timer

So, I loved meditation classes and I loved yoga.

But there was a problem.

Number one: my yoga studio shut down sudden;y. Disaster! They conveniently still managed to take my direct debit a few days before, though.

Number two: meditation classes stopped in December for the Christmas break, and I wanted to meditate more than once a week, anyway.

I've used Headspace before and didn't really like it, but I'd downloaded a meditation app called Insight Timer a while ago so decided to give that a go.

I love Insight Timer because you can decide what kind of meditation you want to do (just a timer, nature sounds or guided meditation) and you can save the ones you enjoy to your library for easy access in future. You can even choose a meditation based on how much time you have.

This app is a game changer. I love the amount of choice and because it tells you how many consecutive days you've meditated, the competitive beast in me is also happy.


As I write this, I feel that I've gotten in touch with my spiritual side as well as becoming more open to new things and less judgmental of others. For example, my dad and stepmum are quite religious, which is always something I've viewed with a bit of friendly derision. However, now I feel more curious about what they believe in and would attend a church service if they wanted me too, just to experience it and make my own choice.

I'm still me, I'll always be sarcastic and have a dry sense of humour, but what I've realised is that I can still be me while embracing the universe, it doesn't have to be one or the other. I feel a lot happier in myself and that I'm no longer holding myself back or getting in my own way.

What do you think about spirituality and meditation? Is it something you practice regularly or do you think it's all a load of hooey? No judgment here! Let me know in the comments.

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