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How Do You Handle Estrangement From Your Spiritual Community?

Photo: Vinay Shivakumar on flickr

Photo: Vinay Shivakumar on flickr

Dear Meli,

For about fifteen years, I’ve been involved in a wonderful spiritual community. I love the people there, and I feel love from them. About five years ago, a new spiritual leader came into the community. At first, we got along really well. She even invited me to her house a few times, and I helped her with some of her classes. But lately that’s changed. She’s become strange and distant with me, and I’m no longer being invited to participate in many of the activities that I previously was part of. I’ve tried to talk to her about it, but she says that nothing’s wrong. I’m losing my community, and I can’t figure out what to do about it. Help!

Crying for Community

Dear Crying,

I wish I could say I’ve never experienced anything like what you’re going through. But I have. And it’s not pleasant, I know.

This sounds very painful and sad. When relationships change, especially when it’s not our idea that they do so, it can be disconcerting and lonely. My heart goes out to you.

However, I can promise you something. You know the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens”? Even if you don’t see a perfection in this soon, I’m pretty certain some day you will.

We evolve every time we go through challenging times. Our heart breaks. Then we find ourselves able to be more deeply compassionate when another person shares with us about going through a similar situation.

We certainly can’t always know what the perfection is while in the midst. But we can practice having faith. We can practice prayer and surrender. We can turn our attention to the Infinite Love that is all around us, in and through everyone. We can use our difficulties as a catalyst to dive more deeply into spiritual practice and conscious connection with a Higher Power.

It has often been exactly those practices, in challenging times, that have unfolded into my greatest joys, blessings and pleasures.

Meanwhile, I recommend Byron Katie’s work, as well as the Radical Forgiveness practices. They can be very helpful in such situations. And music! Always, there is the transformative power of music.

May you find your perfect relationship with this community, this spiritual leader, your self, and your world. And may your difficulties fortify your faith and strengthen your resiliency. As one of my favorite new thought teachers, Dr. Joe Disepnza, says, “Bless the adversity in your life, that it initiates you into greatness.”

May you rise to greater awareness and love, for yourself and others, as you walk through this situation. May you be powerfully blessed by it, indeed!

Blessings and Love to you in all you do!


What is your experience with changes in your relationship to your spiritual community? Share your comments below!

Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at meli@ohmygodlife.com





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3 Responses to How Do You Handle Estrangement From Your Spiritual Community?

  1. julane jazzique January 31, 2017 at 9:40 am #

    Omg. Great answer Melissa. I absolutely agree.
    This happened to me four times. So painful in the moment, and scary.
    As I reflect on those times it felt like the dark night of the soul, that some how I lost my connection with G-D.
    I attached too much of my relationship w spirit to the community, the uplifting feeling from the music etc. not that the feeling of bliss when there is wrong, I just attached my spiritual connection too much with them. Then when it “changes” or suddenly ends. It felt devastating.
    The last time it happened, I was booted from the church for questioning some of the actions that were taken towards me and my kitchen staff from the pastor. ( I ran the kitchen for 3 yrs)
    I actually turned against G-D in a sense, I felt so betrayed.
    But 😃 Like Melissa stated perfectly it was a brilliant move from G-D.
    I had always felt like I wasn’t quite connecting w the concepts at the churches or spiritual community.
    I had been writing Rabbis in Israel, asking questions.
    I did research on our heritage, my great grandfather changed the family name and his first name to a very generic sounding name when he fled Prussia.
    Yes. I’m Jewish 😃 If the series of painful losses hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have found home, for me.
    The first time I met w a Rabbi at a synagogue, I was home. Home on such a deep G-D level.
    I had an adult Bat Mitzvah at 50, learning Hebrew was like learning the language of my soul.
    I have a brain that has a hard time learning language, Hebrew just fit.
    I’ve Chanted from the Torah 5 times in front of the congregation.
    I met w Melissa, intense fear of chanting Torah , in front of one let alone hundreds.
    The Cantor who taught us, brought out a strength and confidence in me that brings tears of gratitude still.
    2 months before my dad passed, he was asking me about The Jewish faith which was kinda odd, but sweet. At the end of the conversation he had said some things and I said ” that’s because your Jewish dad”
    He turned to me and said ” yes yes I am Jewish ”
    I don’t think he ever said that out loud, he was born in ’24 . Jews were not treated well back in the day.
    I believe he kept that secret all his life.
    What an amazing blessing that was, for him to confirm what I had researched.
    when he passed he was buried at the Veterans cemetery, I was able to have The Star of David carved on his headstone. ❤️❤️❤️
    G-D, Spirit, Creator has big plans . As Melissa stated. I’ve gotten better at trusting the process.
    As a title of a book stated something like ,how to remain centered when everything falls apart.
    Honestly, the fear, the emotions would feel like I was dying they were so deep, and in a sense I was, to the old, to make room for G-Ds better plan.
    I can so relate to your question, big hug.
    Melissa’s answer was beautiful as always.
    Tools that has worked for me in these situations.
    Breathe , my breathing becomes very shallow in times of fear.
    Gratitude and Thanking G-D for leading me to something new.
    Letting go of my attachments to what was, releasing in gratitude for what I learned, good and painful. Being open to step into the new.
    Patience, it usually doesn’t happen in MY TIME FRAME in other words instantly 😃
    I had resentment towards the whole church system, I talked to others at the synagogue who went through similar experiences , and really had to release my perceptions and boxing in all churches as evil. This is the extent I went to in my hurt and it verged on a feeling of rage.
    Releasing the old is not always easy, depending what other old wounds it triggers. But it’s aways a blessing in the big picture.
    Trust the process. It’s all good. Even though it feels horrible.
    Big hug

    • Melissa Phillippe February 7, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

      Awww, Julane. Once again your deep and beautiful reply has deepened my own experience of what I’d written! :-) AND my pull to check out more of my own Jewish heritage (I learned, in the past 15 years, that my mom’s mom’s mom changed names etc…) What an amazing journey we walk with G-D, when we commit to that walk. Every flippin’ time – deeper doesn’t always show up as a good-feeling experience at first. But I am never sorry for the deepening, in the final expression of it. Good on ya’ (as they say down under) for hanging in there and continuing that walk, even in the face of grief and painful experiences! Life and G-D are SO amazing, but sometimes humans are so not nice…it can be disillusioning. But as we hang in there with G-D, She/He/It always shows up with some magical wonderful good in the end. Ahhhh Thank you SO much for sharing your experience and love here with us, Julane! Grateful…

      • julane jazzique February 7, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

        Wow! You’re Jewish too! ❤❤❤
        Yes indeed, staying on the path, tuning into that whisper of knowingness whilst the rest of me is in an anxious melt down. Not easy, nor does it ever usually makes sense. But then the Torah gave us examples of others walking blindly, sometimes tormented by others.
        But of course ” I’m different “. Hahaha. So I don’t always remember those that come before me.
        Yes those tests of faith are scary , and at the end enriching. Gaaaawwwwd ! :-)
        Love your posts and Z blog. Always reminds me of truth and not alone in some instance.
        Love you both ❤❤❤

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