Monday, July 8, 2024

Reclaiming your Spirit: Healing Religious Trauma and Embracing Authentic Paths

An extraordinary shift is happening, a collective awakening to a higher state of consciousness. This is not just in theory; it is tangible in how people see themselves and the world. Because awakening can be contagious, more and more people are discerning the toxicity present in many traditional systems, particularly organized religion. This growing trend is ushering in a mass exodus from these institutions as people seek healing from religious trauma. 

 

Religious Trauma and its Sinister Web

 

For many, religion has been a fundamental part of life, offering community, moral guidance, and spiritual comfort. However, for others, it has been a source of significant pain and trauma. As a Spiritual Coach specializing in healing from religious trauma, I have seen this emerge in my clients in various ways. Whether it be fear-based teachings, guilt indoctrination, suppression of individuality, and critical thinking, these experiences can leave psychological scars, deeply affecting one's self-esteem, personal identity, and overall mental health. 

 

The pain and sadness from religious trauma can be intense and long-lasting, so It's important to identify the symptoms around it to manage and heal from these deep emotional and psychological injuries. Recognizing these signs gives people the permission and awareness to take necessary steps toward recovery and reclaim their well-being and personal power.

 

Five Main Symptoms of Religious Trauma

 

Religious trauma can be challenging to identify because teachings and beliefs start at an early age. If the pain remains hidden, a person can stay brainwashed within the system all their lives. The subtlety of the manipulation makes it difficult to recognize the harm, leading religious communities to operate from unhealthy mindsets. Some common symptoms include;

 

  1. Anxiety and Fear: Many who have experienced religious trauma have persistent distress stemming from teachings about sin, punishment, and the doctrine of hell. These fears can linger after leaving the environment, making daily life and decision-making difficult. 

 

  1. Guilt and shame are common symptoms of religious trauma. These feelings arise from strict moral teachings with leaders as the ultimate authority. In purity culture, a church movement, human desires are judged enforcing beliefs around inadequacy. When someone succumbs to unacceptable desires, the self-blame for not adhering to the rules becomes a heavy burden.

 

  1. Depression: The internal struggle between the true self and an imposed religious identity can be hard to overcome. Losing a sense of community and feeling betrayed by trusted leaders intensifies feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Strict guidelines keep people on a tight leash, so when someone leaves, they may struggle to define their beliefs, values, and sense of self outside the religious framework. This relationship acts like codependency by eroding trust and confusing thinking ability. 

 

 The good news is that people are waking up to the abuse within certain religious systems, and information about religious trauma is readily available. As this understanding expands, more are finding the support and resources they need to address and overcome the emotional and psychological wounds inflicted by harmful religious practices. 

 

The Path to Healing

 

Leaving behind a familiar religious community is not just complex but is a painful journey. It means confronting ingrained beliefs by questioning long-held assumptions. Doing this shadow work is intense because there’s uncertainty when creating a new spiritual path.

 

The healing process usually begins with acknowledging the pain and trauma caused by religious experiences. This acknowledgment can be cathartic, providing a sense of validation and a foundation for further healing. Receiving help from therapists, support groups, and spiritual mentors who understand religious trauma is invaluable during this phase and creates a safe space to explore difficult emotions.

 

As people progress in their recovery, they believe they can reclaim their power and voice. The very act of self-empowerment permits boundaries and makes choices aligned with personal truth. This process is deeply personal and varies for everyone, but it consistently involves letting go of imposed identities to reveal the authentic self beneath.

 

This journey of healing is an inner work that demands patience. Rushing through this process risks overlooking crucial insights and healing opportunities. Each step is a deliberate act of self-discovery and healing, requiring compassionate self-care and support from trusted allies. Embracing the sacredness of this journey means honoring its pace and allowing oneself the necessary time and space to heal fully and authentically.

 

Rediscovering Spirituality

 

One of the most profound outcomes of this healing process is the reclamation of spirituality. Many who leave organized religion find their spiritual longing does not disappear; instead, it transforms into a more personal and authentic quest for meaning. This journey leads to discovering new spiritual practices and philosophies that resonate. This trusting of intuition helps cultivate a fluid and unique spirituality unearthing a deep connection to oneself, the universe, and the collective. Ultimately, a transcendence occurs from dogmatic beliefs.

 

The Larger Impact

 

The global shift towards higher consciousness and departure from toxic systems like organized religion has profound implications. An awakening of the self and embracing unique spiritual paths leads to authenticity, compassion, and interconnectedness. These attributes will reshape societal structures, building a more inclusive and peaceful world. The way people have related to traditional religious systems is dismantling minute by minute. 

 

A Call to Community and Unity!

 

As we embark on this collective journey of higher consciousness and spiritual reclamation, let us inspire each other to question and seek truth. Let us support those stepping away from harmful systems with compassion and understanding. Together, we can and are creating positive change for a future where everyone thrives on their spiritual path, free from fear and oppression. Your voice matters. Your journey is valid. Your potential is limitless. We can do this!


Lots of love,

Ellen

Monday, June 10, 2024

New Birth



Everyday we awaken to the world of appearances. Our 5 senses create experiences that shape our perception of reality. And yet none of what we see remains or is fixed. Instead we are surrounded by transient beauty coupled with fleeting &  momentary pleasure. While things may feel rich and captivating, at the foundation they're inherently impermanent. They come and go like whispers in the wind, leaving behind only memories and impressions.

This constant influx of life attempts to derail all of us so we lose ourselves in the pursuit of these ephemeral moments. We are drawn into the chase of shfiting sand, allowing outward things to define happiness, worth, and a ense of self. Somewhere we lose our memory of I am as we perceive with our senses only things on the surface, which hide a gateway to the deeper truths within. So we continue the pursuit & come up wanting.


As we carry on the desire for lasting peace & understanding beckons us to turn inward. It is within the depths of our own being that we discover a sense of timelessness & awareness that is completely untouched by the external world. This becomes exciting, so we center ourselves in order to cultivate the connection with our true essence. As we reach it, feelt into it, get lost within it, we expereince a steady & unshakable presence.


This inner stillness of our own beautful being allows us to witness the world  of illusion with clarity & compassion. The appearances are seen for what they are like waves on the surface of the ocean. As the waves crash, we now are aware that beneath them lies a vast & unchanging depth called self.


So we make a conscious choice right then and there to capture this truth. How it happens we don't know, but soon we learn to appreciate the world of appearances without becoming enslaved by it. We exist in balance, knowing that while the senses enrich our day to day, it is in the silent & timeless presence deep within where true fulfillment resides. 


Lof of love,

Ellen

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Advocating with Heart for Unity and Healing


Every June, cities and communities around the globe come alive with vibrant colors, joyous parades, and a sense of unity and celebration. Pride Month is a time dedicated to honoring the LGBTQ+ community. It is a myriad of events that embrace diversity, promote acceptance, and celebrate love in all its forms. However, the shadow of opposition often looms, particularly from certain religious institutions that struggle to reconcile their beliefs with the principles of Queer equality. 

 As a Lesbian and a Spiritual Empowerment Coach, part of my work around religious trauma is advocating for my LGBTQ+ family by addressing the tension and ongoing challenges toward inclusivity. Pride Month is an opportune moment for me to reflect on my journey by sharing ways to bridge the gap between faith and pride. 

 

Transforming the Darkness of Faith


During my upbringing in the Evangelical Christian faith, specific teachings known as the clobber passages inflicted immense heartache, as they were rigidly interpreted and exclusionary, shattering my identity and relationships.

 

Because there is a widespread belief within many Christian Churches that Queer relationships are sinful or morally wrong, it often leads to deep shame and guilt. This belief suggests our very essence is flawed solely based on our identity and who we love.

 

To keep the wolf from the door, religious bodies must acknowledge the pain and recognize how teaching self-rejection fosters lifelong internalized homophobia and shame, affecting a sense of worthiness for love and acceptance. Validating these core beliefs through humble dialogue is an initial step toward healing.

 

Another way to mend ties with the Queer Community is for religious groups to accept how their beliefs can alienate families, causing heartbreak and isolation. Rejection from loved ones hurts deeply. I must stress this point. Addressing abandonment and isolation in a safe, unconditional, and affirming manner can pave the path to forgiveness and healing.

 

We have all heard of Conversion Therapy, but what is it exactly? Conversion therapy is a harmful form of talk therapy, supported by certain religious groups, that aims to alter sexual orientation or gender identity using discrediting and dehumanizing methods. In my experience within Christianity, this involved:


  •  Leaders cite the Bible in private sessions to label being gay as sinful.
  • Coercing me to recite statements denouncing my sexuality.
  • Undergoing prayers akin to exorcisms to "cure" my homosexuality.
  • Being asked to resign from ministry positions.
  • Publicly confessing and repenting for my sexual orientation before the congregation.


 Given that Conversion Therapy exacerbates feelings of self-loathing and internalized stigma, it is paramount for the Queer community to have the liberty and platform to voice their resentment towards this practice. Instead of leaders brushing aside or denying the harm caused by coercive pressure to heteronormative standards, they can help alleviate shame by fostering loving, safe, and affirming dialogue, which prevents further damage to our mental and emotional well-being.

 

What often goes unspoken is how coming out can lead to losing a religious community. This severing of support amplifies loneliness and feelings of being adrift and disconnected, creating an overwhelming sense of mourning for relationships that were once central to our lives. When religious leaders talk about creating a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community, they must guide their followers to transform condemnation into celebration.


 Sacred Harmony is Possible

 

True allyship within religious communities must go beyond Pride Month, however. Many of us who identify as Queer are asking for leaders and followers alike to:


  •  Listen to our stories and educate yourself on our struggles.
  • Speak out against homophobia and transphobia places tools of justice in our hands. 
  • Advocate for Laws and policies that protect our rights, ensure equality, and act as places of safety for all.
  • Create Welcoming Spaces whether at work, home, or in social settings.
  • Offer Mentorship for Queer Youth so they Thrive in life. 
  • Implement educational programs and training for religious leaders and congregants on Queer issues, emphasizing empathy and respect.
  • Do collaborative projects that unite religious and LGBTQ+ groups

 

All these things are doable and cultivate sustainable unity, a concerted effort on both sides of the conversation. It should not be up to religious groups to come together first, any more than it is up to the Queer Community to lead the way. Both are needed.


 Debunking is in Order


To encourage cohesion, myths must be dispelled that hinder harmony. In Evangelical Christianity, I encountered the Choice Myth, wrongly suggesting that being Queer is a lifestyle choice. Another prevalent belief was Faith Incompatibility, implying that Queer and religious identities contradict each other.

 

The Queer community also holds myths about religion. Some assume all religious institutions are inherently hostile to Queer individuals, overlooking diversity within religious communities. Similarly, there is the notion that religious beliefs are rigid and resistant to change, ignoring progress in theological perspectives. Overall, the belief persists that religious institutions resist LGBTQ+ inclusion, overlooking efforts by many to embrace diversity.

 

Ignite the journey: Unite for Progress

 

As we elevate Pride Month by acknowledging the celebration and the collective pain, let us not stop there. When we embrace inclusivity on both sides, we are strong as allies and nurture a well-rounded understanding between the religious and Queer community. This powerful force is not just envisioning a better world you are actively designing it. We are creators after- all. Let's pave the way for a future where unity is the norm and love and acceptance reign supreme.


Lots of love,

Ellen

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Navigating the Inflated Ego and False Humility in Modern Spirituality and Religion.


In our fast-paced world of hashtags and self-promotion, traps of ego-driven spirituality and religion are tempting. From Instagram gurus touting their enlightenment to religious leaders preaching superiority, the dangers of always selling oneself as the best are detrimental to the core values of humility and genuine spiritual growth. 

 

An inflated sense of self-importance can sneak into our spiritual practices and beliefs without us realizing it. By pursuing likes, followers, and validation, we walk the road of comparison, evaluating our spiritual journey and seeking external approval rather than focusing on inner growth and self-awareness.

 

Even though modern spirituality emphasizes a form of personal empowerment and self-realization, there's still a danger of feeding into the ego for recognition and praise. When spirituality becomes a look-at-me fest rather than a journey of character development and connection, we risk losing touch with the essence of humility and compassion at the heart of many spiritual traditions.

 

Here are a few examples of an inflated spiritual ego. 


  • Excessive Attachment to titles around being a guru or "master" of something.
  • Boasting spiritual experiences, one's vast knowledge, and even spiritual achievements to assert prominence over another. 
  • Emphasize material gain by showcasing expensive items, luxury vacations and retreats, monetary wealth, and being a part of exclusive memberships as the end game rather than personal transformation and serving others.
  • Highlight renowned spiritual teachers, groups, or practices to show honor and unity without revealing the competitive edge and sought-after prestige.
  • Bypass uncomfortable emotions, conflicts, or challenges by retreating into spiritual practices or beliefs. 
  • Forming exclusive spiritual high-paying groups closed to outsiders who can't afford it and fostering an elitist mentality among its members.
  • Seek admiration from followers or peers using flattery or high-vibe language around spiritual prowess, experiences, or insights.
  • Use spiritual teachings or positions of authority to manipulate and exploit vulnerable people for personal gain around financial donations or loyalty.

 Religion falls into a similar trap when it creates a dangerous ego in its followers by leaders claiming infallibility. People become alienated and forsake foundational teachings of humility and service. Left unchecked, a religious institution becomes one of privilege and success by self-aggrandizement taking over. Spiritual enlightenment and connection to the heart eventually become lost and obscure.

 

A second trap entwined to an inflated Ego is that of false humility. The embodiment of true humility requires introspection and discernment because false humility masquerades itself under the guise of humility. 

 

When a person's abilities, accomplishments, or opinions are veiled, this can be an example of false humility. People don't want to appear arrogant or lacking self-confidence, so downplaying personal strengths and achievements to seek validation or approval from others seems the better route. But is it?   

 

While humility recognizes our limitations and imperfections with honesty and grace, false humility hinders personal growth and professional success by preventing individuals from owning their accomplishments and pursuing their goals. False humility erodes self-esteem and creates barriers to effective communication and collaboration with others. In essence, it leads to many missed opportunities and stifles inner potential.

 

True spirituality should not be how awesome we make ourselves appear before others but how authentically we show up with compassion and deep reverence for the sacredness of all life.  It is being open to learning from others, showing empathy, and recognizing the contributions of those around us. The journey toward spiritual growth is a walk of humility guided by love, wisdom, and a genuine desire to serve the greater good.

 

If you desire a healthy balance of humility and confidence, remember it's an ongoing journey of self-reflection, self-compassion, and authenticity. Celebrating achievements with genuine joy without seeking the external reinforces a balanced sense of self-worth. By integrating these principles into our lives, we cultivate a harmonious circle and foster a deeper connection with ourselves and those around us. Discerning these things unlocks one's full potential and contributes positively to the world.


Lots of Love,

Ellen

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Simplicity's Serenade


Our world is filled with constant noise and distraction as many find themselves on a never-ending quest for spiritual fulfillment and a deeper connection to the divine. Organized religion and modern spiritual practice send a clear message of seeking and finding. Yet, I wonder if one of the keys to awareness is not seeking but letting go of the search altogether.

 

History teaches that religion and spiritual practice serve as guideposts for those seeking meaning and purpose. They structure everything around how to explore our relationship with the divine and unearth truths that lie within us. In this relentless pursuit, we can often overlook a fundamental truth: we are already whole and complete as we are.

 

My work as a Spiritual Coach is about uncovering dogma that negatively affects people and leads to Religious Trauma. A difficult teaching many of my clients grapple with is the over-importance of striving to please the Divine to attain enlightenment. This belief leads to feelings of dissatisfaction and disillusionment. Religious believers can become so focused on reaching this distant goal or higher state that they lose sight of two important keys.

 

              *We have divinity inside of us.

              *Being human is acceptable.

 

It's also customary for religions to place ancient gurus in high esteem. This inadvertently complicates and obscures a person's awareness of self and their connection to what's divine. This reverence causes people to feel pressured to live from unrealistic standards that create feelings of disconnectedness, unworthiness, inadequacy, and even failure. By seating gurus on thrones of perfection, the lines of how they achieved "enlightenment" become blurred. Some believed ancient masters were overly consumed with self-improvement to live in higher states of consciousness. 

 

It's vital to have a healthy balance between honoring teachers of the past while allowing individuals the freedom to forge their path and interpretation of what a spiritual journey entails. By encouraging people to deemphasize seeking outward answers and validation, we are prompting them to turn inward and instead embrace simplicity to being. This helps remove the need to constantly search separately and instead cultivates an inner recognition of the divinity that is already present within.

 

Spiritual simplicity is a calm invitation to let go of becoming something more than we already are to be complete. We are everything we seek. By embracing this we tune into our divine spark waiting to be acknowledged. This shift in perspective creates,

 

              * A meaningful and fulfilling life. 

              * It allows for inner peace and a deep-knowing experience.

              * It reiterates that nothing is missing or broken in a person. 

              * Brings forth gratitude, acceptance, and love of self and others. 

 

At day's end, the key to living a meaningful life lies not in striving to be divine but in recognizing that we are already divine beings in our own right. Embracing simplicity and letting go of the search for something outside of ourselves frees us to fully experience the beauty and wonder of life as it unfolds before us. So, take a moment to pause, breathe, and remember you are already everything you seek.  


Lots of Love,

Ellen

 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Reflection



Self hatred can be disguised in Self Grandiosity by its need to prove to the mind & to the mind of others that you are worthy, that you are something, & that you're somebody. 

However, at the base of that thought is; I am worthless, I am nothing, I am nobody. And when willing to see that painful realization, to experience the suffering that has come from believing this way, both in one's personal life and how it's affected others, a beautiful shift occurs. 


There's a facing of the grief of how you suspect you aren't somebody. There's a realization that no matter how many accomplishments have happened, there's still the nagging sense of not being enough. When we give ourselves permission to face this, everything is given up and there's no longer a need to say look at me, I am awesome & amazing in the attempt to prove your worthiness. 


This journey allows you to finally discover what has been calling from the depths of your inner being. This cannot be understood intellectually as the mind has been the trap. This is coming from a deeper place. Your inner sanctum. 


What is nobody & nothing? That is you! When this is accepted the release from the fear of "not" is massive, because there's no longer a need to prove to yourself & others of anything. 


You are no-thing, no-body and what a glorious truth at days end! Not to mention how peaceful and restful this state of being.


As always I'm thankful for you,

Ellen

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Heal to Feel

 


Our world is filled with distractions that take us away from our feelings.  


When we don't address how we feel we leave things unresolved, leading to a cycle of avoidance and temporary relief. 


But this isn't lasting...


Distractions keep us from knowing ourselves & by knowing ourselves we shift the focus to what truly matters. 


I used to live completely swirling in the chaos of life because I was afraid to interact with my feelings. 


I did everything possible to keep from feeling what hurt and this really affected my physical health. 


The more I avoided the greater my chances of being sick & having an achy body. Depression really set in. My inner world was overwhelmed. 


The repression almost killed me as I was so disconnected to myself.  I pushed down my emotions & and refused them entrance calling it self control. 


The thing about emotions, is they provide critical information about our needs, values, and desires. 


It's a loving & kind action to give yourself time and space to release how you feel. We aren't created to drag around with us pent up feelings. 


As we acknowledge, express and process our emotions in a healthy way, we will experience positive mental health and the choice to be distracted moves to the realm of impossibility. 


The choice to heal will always involve feeling. When someone says you don't need to feel to get better, they are selling you a line. A quick fix method you could say that isn't true healing. 


I've had people come to me who were given the advice of not feeling pain which is a critical component to the healing process. In fact, validating pain & feeling into the pain is a form of self love and integration. 


We are afraid of being powerless when we feel hard things, but a reframe is in order. You actually EMPOWER your entire self when you give permission to feel ALL THE THINGS! 


Email me to learn practical ways of releasing emotions in a healthy and sustainable manner. I provide 1:1 release coaching in which all of you is acknowledged, loved and deemed worthy. 


Letting go to feel is a powerful process in being human and healing.


Lots of Love,

Ellen Theresa

Reclaiming your Spirit: Healing Religious Trauma and Embracing Authentic Paths

An extraordinary shift is happening, a collective awakening to a higher state of consciousness. This is not just in theory; it is tangible i...