I used to believe that spirituality and religion were synonymous.
Since I wasn’t raised with any religious education, I assumed I also did not have any spirituality. Only recently have I begun to ask, what do I really believe? What are my higher principles?
Wright Integrative defines spirituality as “human development. It is purposeful living that is unique to any one individual.”1 The word can be so hard to define because of the many charges it holds for each individual.
Because I was not raised with any religious education, so I created a pretty awesome God. But when I surveyed my beliefs about the world, I realized that I don’t really include myself in His graces.
I would do myself a disservice to ignore the anger and hurt I still feel about the lack of religious or spiritual guidance I got, especially during my adolescence. Without clear higher principles to align to, my life felt inconsistent.
I was told I was Episcopal, but without any religious education I never really knew what that meant.
Instead of God, my family was the religion. My parents expected us to get good grades, go to college, earn some money, and be well mannered. Seems easy enough, but I was able to do all these things and still make other poor choices.
A theme has emerged from my inquiry into spirituality and my beliefs about God and the world this week that has implications for my leadership:
My desire for higher principles are for creating the nurturing that is lacking as I go on this journey toward leadership and spirituality.
I began my studies at the Wright Graduate University with a desire to turn how I burned out as a therapist into something useful for the mental health community. I saw a gap in the training counselors receive around this topic, and I was dissatisfied with the continuing education I was receiving in my own growth and development as a therapist.
I wanted something that would change my way of thinking and being in the world that I could then take to and demonstrate for my clients. I decided to become the change I wanted to see in my career field.
Yet, my goal to create curriculum and training for the personal development of mental health professions remained without action until now.
My inquiry into purposeful living and spirituality has led me to know where I block my potential and play small in life through mistaken beliefs about the meaning of my emotions. Feeling fear and uncertainty doesn’t mean I am not good enough or capable of carrying out my goals – it means I must keep building the skills and capacity to nurture myself as I face the challenges of leading change in the mental health field.
1. Wright, Judith. Personal communication.
Hilleary Cummings wants to live in a world where individuals recognize and realize their potential. As a licensed mental health professional with over a decade of experience, she has been applauded on her ability to connect with people as well as create administrative systems for change. Hilleary has a passion for supervising counselors and creating personal development workshops in the mental health field. She is first year graduate student with WGU and holds a Master’s of Education in Counseling and Development.