Finding God In A Bar
Have you ever moved on from a person or place and looked back on it with a completely different perspective?
When I first got *serious* about my personal growth path, I made several lifestyle shifts in a short period of time, ending a relationship, quitting my job, and moving across the country to get my Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology. I spent less time with the friends I laughed, danced, and partied with late into New York City nights and more time with California friends who spent most of their time meditating.
Over time, I began to believe that the “old me” — the girl who loved to dress up and go out — was no longer me. I developed subtle, sneaky judgments around pretty common social places — namely: bars.
I avoided bars like the plague.
I judged them as depressing, heavy, slimy, and filled with people in pain. I honestly felt sorry for people who wanted to spend time in bars. This belief isolated me from authentically connecting with so many friends and family members. My judgments of their choices built a wall between us, so those authentic connections began to fade away. I focused on other friendships and social experiences in my life.
Looking back, I honor this period in my life as an important part of my path. Going towards opposite experiences in order to find center on new ground is normal, and certainly if the people or places you’ve moved away from were harming you, staying away can be liberating and necessary... However, over the last 2 years, I've reconnected with the part of me that loves to have FUN and doesn't care what it looks like on the outside — whether it's meditating in a room full of people or dressing up and going out with friends. It's not the activity (form) that matters; it’s the sincerity and authenticity with which we are willing to show up.
Often our *very spiritual* ego loves to tell us what kinds of activities, people, and places are acceptable or unacceptable. My spiritual ego thinks she needs to take everything soooo seriously, show up perfectly, and basically live like a puritanical saint in order to be accepted, liked, and respected as someone sharing this work. Honestly, when my spiritual ego runs the show, life becomes very isolated, and I don’t want to live like that!
Once I became aware of my spiritual ego's rigid ideas on what places, people, and ways of being are ok and not ok (from its perspective), I was able to discern its voice from the voice of my soul — my true self.
In the past, my spiritual ego loved to talk sh*t about bars and people who hang out in them. Since discerning its voice from the voice of my soul, I find that my soul doesn’t really care where we hang out — because wherever I go, there it is. We are not separate.
The other day, I had another opportunity to release any lingering spiritual ego ideas about bars. My dad invited me to meet him at a local bar in Northern Michigan (where I’m currently visiting), and I said yes. When I arrived, I immediately felt foggy energy and cringed at the neon beer signs and taxidermy walls. I noticed an older man sitting at the bar who looked sullen, like he’d spent the whole day in the bar. I resisted the urge to jump to conclusions about the place or this man. I sat next to my dad and stayed open.
A minute later, the man at the bar got up and walked behind me. I thought he may be leaving and honestly felt relieved.
But he didn’t leave. Instead, he sat at the piano I hadn’t noticed behind me — and began playing. All of a sudden, I felt transported to a jazz club or a magical hotel sitting by a fire, so cozy and moved by the music.
Everyone in the bar leaned in to listen; he filled the whole space with the most beautiful sound.
As he played, the music brought tears to my eyes. Not only did it touch me deeply and change my experience of being in the bar, but this man — an undercover angel — revealed his soul to me so I could see my own.
Truly, it doesn’t matter if you’re at a bar or an ashram.
A yoga class or a rooftop party.
Alone in the woods or at a crowded concert.
God is in all of us, God is everywhere, and thankfully, God isn’t confined to one way of being.
Your spiritual ego may have clear ideas on what’s acceptable and not acceptable, and that’s okay — it’s a part of you, too. However, your soul, the unconditionally loving, awakened, and eternally wise part of you, always reflects Divine Truth.
When given the chance, life and the humans in it can pleasantly surprise us.
Have you noticed any judgments around a place, person, group of people, or way of being lately? How can you approach this from your soul’s perspective this week? Even the courage to take one small step into the room with it will start the process of growing past what you think you know.
I encourage you to challenge your perceptions, to give yourself and others the dignity of their process, and let your soul take the lead.
PS: Below is a 5 second video I took of the man at the bar. Hope you enjoy as much as I did :)