“I think it’s wonderful when people find God. What I don’t think is wonderful is when people assume this excuses them from working on their shit.” Without even knowing it, my first recovery sponsor Janet gave me a fabulously potent warning about the dangers of spiritual bypass. She was not one to use a curse word, so when she dropped that bomb, I was sure to listen!
When I began my own journey along the path of recovery and wellness fourteen years ago, I had the privilege of working in a well-known pilgrimage site in the Catholic world (Medjugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina). Seekers came from around the world to this mystical place searching for healing and for answers. During my three years of service, I saw a lot. I witnessed people working in the village become impassioned about their faith… and then fall apart when the reality of life smacked them in the face. I saw numerous problems with addiction and mental illness amongst the seekers. I even noticed myself falling prey to the “If I could just be a good enough Catholic then all of my issues will clear up.” Fortunately, Janet’s wise mentorship entered my life. She taught me that I could still pursue a spiritual path while digging into the painful work of addressing my issues.
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Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity