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Elan Vitae


  • J Bristol

3 KEYS TO HEALTHY SELF-EVOLUTION: Authentically Evolving In The Age of Spiritual Narcissism

We all have that friend who went to one therapy session, was cured, and promptly began to analyze the rest of our circle, amIright?

Lesser common are those on the other end of the spectrum who think they have to have alllllll the personal growth before they have anything of value to share with others. I fell into this category for most of my life, believing my lessons were just that, my lessons. It never occurred to me that sharing my experience along the way might be beneficial to someone else.

These extremes represent two ends of a vast spectrum of personal growth, both relatively unhealthy.

While the awakening of humanity and the awareness of our own consciousness are both beautiful things, the challenge to integrate the growth that comes with them frequently devolves into egoic dogmatism - perhaps an inevitable byproduct of our own third dimensional human condition. Each piece of a beautifully evolving puzzle gets dummied down into levels or achievements to be marked off a list, added to a resume, or added to a list of excuses to separate oneself from others. A competitive race to a non-existent end.

Yet, the biggest reward lies in the integration of these concepts, regardless of the package they come in.

Even in far-reaching places like the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the well-known pilgrimage route in northern Spain, on such a storied and sacred trek, I anticipated meeting kindred spirits, embracing the challenge as I was: aware, present, and consciously getting to know themselves through the rigors of this physical journey. Much to my surprise, this journey for many was more about adventure travel - an energy of getting up, out the door, and racing toward the finish line as fast as possible, with little attention to the moment, or awareness of the growth they were in the process of experiencing.

Pop spirituality is the inevitable derivative of the rise in popularity of spiritual growth. As spirituality became en vogue, so followed the unfortunate “woke” to the authentic “awakened”.

So, how do you know if you’re evolving in a healthy way? Just like everything, there is a balance to the inflow and outflow of energy to it - what you are receiving, integrating, perhaps transmuting, and then sharing with others.

Here are 3 keys to healthy self-evolution:


The integrity of your ask; the premise from which you are seeking, matters.

Are you coming from a place of achievement, checking off list, reaching for some accolade, or competing with a colleague? Or are you answering a call from deep within you to understand something more deeply - mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

Sometimes you are called deeply from within over time, other times you get a quick intuitive hit. Either way, alignment is everything here. You can be receiving an onslaught of ‘messages’ and acting on them haphazardly because you’re flitting from one place to another and grasping at anything that resembles direction.

Instead, take the time to get centered, clear, connect to your higher self, ask for guidance and the agility to act on it without hesitation when an opportunity arises or information is presented to you. This basic but often overlooked step can mean the difference between aligned action and not, and achieving the results you’re seeking or not.

Process - Take time to integrate

The realization doesn’t necessarily mean actualization. There is a catching-up part that needs to happen once something is recognized. How do you approach this consciously? How do you know when a lesson or concept is integrated and you’ve embodied it? It only comes when you have the opportunity to apply it to real life scenarios - real relationships, real challenges, real desires, real emotions.

Often we’re brought that same lesson time and again through a variety of vehicles until we get it. Until we integrate the principle, adopt the mental and emotional shifts, re-wire the neural pathways, and fully embody not only the knowing, but the being of the principle.

The Practice

There are no levels; get over yourself. Levels are as abstract as linear time when it comes to self-evolution. If you have to “test” people you meet with keywords like ‘universe’ ‘spirituality’ ‘divinely orchestrated’ to see if they measure up, its time for some deeper introspection. You’re missing the potential for an exchange that actually integrates your growth. The act of qualifying ‘levels’ pushes away the integration process instead of inviting or allowing it. Being fully present to an exchange, wherever it may lead, creates a collaborative vehicle for integration.

A 30-minute indigenous ceremony can be as impactful as a 7-day silent retreat, or a 30-day pilgrimage. A quick round of tapping can be as effective as a lengthy energy healing session. Your life can take on an entirely new direction after a split-second realization that comes when in a place of alignment, even if you’ve heard the same information four hundred times before while not aligned.

Self-Evolution is a practice. Not something that can be checked off when arriving at a specific destination. We are all evolved. We are all continuously evolving.

Be the Example

When you have fully embodied the new thought, idea, principle, it will radiate from every part of you. You may never have to speak of it; you will inspire others by the having of it, owning it, using it in your approach to every day life. When you do speak of it, your words will be perfectly chosen, perfectly delivered, and offered in service to the highest exchange among those in the conversation.

There is no right way or timing in which to evolve, but there is an integrity to approaching it with presence, processing, and practice in mind. May your continued self-evolution be easily and joyfully integrated.


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