Swap Spirits For Spirituality

The good thing about being born a human (instead of, say, a bluebottle), is that we are highly intelligent creatures, brimming with thoughts and feelings. 

The bad thing about being born a human, is that…well, we are highly intelligent creatures, brimming with thoughts and feelings. 

Sometimes all that brain activity, all that emotion, can get a bit overwhelming. Did I say sometimes? I meant most of the time. 

Even for an extrovert such as myself, the (mostly self-imposed) pressure to be on the ball: quick-witted, well-mannered, informed and generally just nice all the time is exhausting. Working in retail adds to that: the shop floor is like a stage, where you always have to be ‘on’: all-singing, all-dancing – jazz-hands at the ready. Actors. And now we have to be actors in full PPE, ‘smizing’ (corporate speak for ‘smiling with your eyes’) above our masks; dancing daily on the cliff-edge of redundancy. 

So is it any wonder, then, that after a long day serving customers, smizing until our eyeballs bulge and jaws ache, we have a tendency to reach for the bottle? Retail workers are like the orchestra on the Titanic, playing on whilst everywhere around them people scurry in all directions, running for cover as the ship lurches and plunges deeper into the abyss.

A long drink of something cold at the end of a long-ass day is like a reward, a pat on the back for successfully completing another 24hrs without committing murder. “Well done, you survived another whole day without sucker-punching anyone,” murmurs the Sauvignon bottle telepathically from inside the fridge, willing you to up-end it into a large wine glass. It certainly takes those jagged edges off the day. 

The experience of being human is so intense that as children we are given dummies to suck on, to pacify us; to stop us crying with fear and anxiety at how scary the big wide world is. As we get older that fear is proven to be justified, but we can hardly be walking around town with a big ol’ dummy stuffed in our gobs, a threadbare teddy tucked under one arm, so we replace it with other, more socially acceptable forms of comfort: cigarettes, vapes, drugs and alcohol. Much better to replace those harmless childish objects with life-limiting addictions, right? At least we’ll get this fraught human experience over with quicker. Jeez, what a messed-up thought process. 

So we drink largely to anaesthetise ourselves from the abject horror of being a highly intelligent spiritual creature, trapped in the confines of a physical body, being controlled by our minds. Why do I say horror? Because the body can restrict us (for example due to illness, disability, being unfit); the mind that controls us is often negative. The brain is always fearful: watching for predators, suspicious, assuming the worst in order to keep us alert and subsequently safe. However the mind’s uber-cautious nature can be like having your biggest enemy – the toughest bully at school – whispering in your ear all day long. We often drink to silence those vicious voices, for some respite, even just for a little while. We get ‘out of our heads’ by consuming alcohol to do exactly that: to get away from the internal chatter for a bit. To numb ourselves against the mischievous monkey bouncing around in our brains. 

So if we’re drinking to escape physical or mental pain, to dampen down our anxieties (or drown them in some cases), or simply to let our hair down and quieten our minds long enough to shrug off our inhibitions, dance, and have fun, surely in order to remove the desire to drink, we need to find a way to quieten the inner chatter in the first place? 

In order to remove the need for that anaesthetic we need to stop flapping and floundering in the choppy waters, drowning in our feelings, and learn to float amongst them instead. We need to find that sense of stillness, a lake to lie back on, toes up, and just ‘be’ instead of constantly trying to swim upstream against the rapids. 

And then the realisation came to me, that one I mentioned in my first blog post, at 3.33am: it’s time to swap spirits for spirituality. Things often dawn on me at dawn. It’s my most productive time (I’m writing this now in the half-light, just after sun-up). If I can find inner peace, the rest will be a doddle. As those sassy-cats En Vogue once sang: Free your mind, and the rest will follow. 

So I decided to get to the root of my problem: my mind. I’ve always considered myself to be a ‘spiritual sceptic’, as in I understand the concept of a higher power, positive thinking, asking the Universe for what you require and being open to receive its gifts and all that stuff. I’ve read The Secret, goddammit! Now where’s all this abundance I was promised?! But then my logical mind takes over, tells me it’s all ching-ching nonsense, rumours spread by people in elephant-print harem pants and nose rings. Hippy hype. 

I might go weeks, months – years sometimes – with zero enlightenment, then suddenly the planets seem to align and the magic begins to happen once more. I start experiencing synchronicity, such as repeated numbers everywhere: 1111, 333….I glance at the clock and it’s 11:11, or I take my ticket in a queue somewhere and my number is 111. It’s a sign. I’m ready to receive. 

I was ready to receive 3 or 4 weeks ago, so the Universe started giving me signs. Got my creative juices flowing. Ok, so it actually got my booze-juices flowing first: I met up with a group of dear old friends for a long-awaited post-lockdown catch-up. But at that long, languid (liquid) lunch, my friend Steve, one of the most spiritual people I know, spoke to me. Or rather, he spoke to my soul. 

I’d been having a rough time mentally, my monkey mind dragging me to places I didn’t want to go…and his words soothed my frazzled nerves and calmed my senses. Hearing him speak, I could feel my stress leave me like a spirit departing a recently-deceased corpse; my tense shoulders sag. I told him “I really needed to hear this today.” Because I did. And then we all got drunk. 

That evening, I told my partner Dave about our conversation. About the books Steve had recommended. And like the sweetheart that he is, Dave dashed out the next day and bought them for me. 

And so it came to be that I immediately tipped the last of the Smirnoff down the sink, swapping spirits for spiritual scripts. The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle is as good a place as any to start honing your new mindset. Read it. Once you start to understand that your mind is merely an organ in your body and not your entire being you can learn to control it. To quieten it. To live in a place of consciousness, in the present. The past and future are just illusions. The present is all we have. 

Instead of being controlled by your mind, it’s time you controlled it. Once you can master this, or at least be aware that this is the goal, you’ve taken the first step towards inner peace. The desire to get “off your nut” will dissipate, because you won’t be feeling so nutty in the first place. When you are at peace in yourself, you don’t feel such a desire to dumb down your senses. You can experience them from a higher plane. You’ll resonate at a higher frequency. 

Am I talking mumbo jumbo? Maybe. But surely if you’ve listened to my nonsensical mumblings on a night out, three sheets to the wind, it’s worth listening to me now, when I’m fully compos mentis? This time there’ll be no mind-altering substances involved. We’ll be doing this completely sober. 

Come on, escape the limitations of your unconscious mind. 

It’s time to get completely out of your head. 

Sam x

Sam’s other blogs:

If You Booze, You Lose
Costa Rica Chica 

Life: A Bird’s Eye View

No Emotional Thais: Sam Goes Solo
Mummy Mission
World Wide Walsh: Around the World in 180 Days
NMN Socials: 

Facebook group: The Non-Mum Network

Facebook page: The Non-Mum Network