I went to an event last night where one of the exercises we did was giving and receiving feedback. In groups of four, we’d take turns listening to feedback as well as providing feedback to strangers. We were told to do this based on purely what we could see in front of us (body language, etc.) It was an incredibly difficult and eye-opening exercise that jostled a room full of diverse attendees.
When it was my turn for receiving feedback, there was one thing that stood out to me the most. One of the people in my group told me (and I’m paraphrasing), “not in a mean way at all, but you look exhausted. I admire you and commend you for showing up to an event like this that not only requires attendance but also participation when you are clearly tired and drained.”
Knowing I am tired is no surprise to me. Knowing that someone I’ve never met before could tell I was tired was humbling and startling to hear. It made me consider not only my own choices that led to my perpetual exhaustion, but also how we live in a culture that glories the hustle.
In today’s day and age, not being busy is synonymous with not doing enough. Hitting inbox zero could be an accomplishment to one person and a sign that you don’t have enough work to do to someone else. Sleeping in could feel amazing, but working late is the promoted norm.
We’ve been told to hustle harder. We’ve been told that we need to wake up at 5 a.m. because that’s how the billionaires do it. We’ve been told that success comes with relentless hard work and powering through even when we forget to eat a meal.
But, what is the point of hustling through life, to reach a career high, or to expand a resume, only to look back 20 years later at a life you never enjoyed? What if by hustling, we are wasting away by becoming an email response rather than a connected human being? What if we stopped focusing on being continually busy and focused on being consistently present?
Part of me is indeed proud that I showed up to that event even though my mind was in a million different places, and my to-do list was growing by the hour. Part of me wished I kept working. Part of me wished I forced myself to go to bed early. This made me realize that the thing I was missing wasn't just sleeping—it was balancing what is important to me.
At that event, I did not check my phone for three hours, and I gave in completely to the exercises our group was given. Deep down, I knew that the opportunity to be a part of a community and to work on my personal development is something I would make time for even when I had no time to go. So I’m glad I showed up, but it made me think about where else in my life I needed to show up less.
The experience also made me realize that hard work should never be looked down upon but that it should be coming from an honest place. To me, happiness and success lie in aligning what is true to you rather than what looks good on paper. To me, I’ve come to realize that I am more likely to find answers in a moment of stillness than on the bottom of my do-list.
While I don’t mind putting in the extra work, multi-tasking, and showing up, I want to be tired for the right reasons. I want to go to sleep knowing that the work I did fed my soul and that it made a difference. I am perfectly happy giving my all to things that connect with my higher self and build more authentic connections with others. I am all into early mornings and late nights, but I need them to find balance in the hours.
I knew that I needed to stop worrying about what was next and needed to start worrying about what was right now. So, I am currently on a mission to spiritually align my life rather than hustle through it. I am on a mission to reframe “busy” into “leveraging time to do what I love.” Forget exhaustion. I want to be enlightened.
As soon as I put this intention out into the world, I started to attract more of what I needed to feel and to see. A couple of days after this event, I met Emily Pereira, a coach, a teacher, and a woman of many intuitive talents. I immediately resonated with Emily when she said that “life is a passion, not a problem to be solved,” and I felt my life flash before my eyes—to-do list after to-list. Just that like, I understood I needed to stop feeling like I need to check off living.
I realized that to align my life, I needed to find spiritual alignment. The way to align is not simply through attending ten healing circles, buying six new crystals, and 35 hours of meditation. Don’t get me wrong, while all of those things are ah-mazing (and I’ll do them all) I knew that I’d have to dig deeper to align.
I wasn’t going to find spiritual alignment by doing what felt safe or what seems to be working for the girl I follow on Instagram. I was going to find spiritual alignment by looking within. As Emily put it, “it felt like it was enough because I finally felt like enough.” And that was all I wanted—to feel like I was enough so that I didn’t have to keep planning for what I would do next and could consider time a friend rather than an enemy.
With all that said, I’m still an old dog…with a few new tricks. Ironically, my initial steps toward spiritual alignment would indeed include a list. The difference with this list was that instead of looking at it as things I had to “to-do,” I looked at it as things “blissful-things-to-try.” I told myself I would surrender to what felt right (at the moment—not last Thursday), promise to show up, and be open to trying things that both scared and excited me. Care to try these spiritual alignment hacks too? Say them with me.
11 Things to Say to Find Spiritual Alignment
I will ask for help. As someone who loves control, I knew I couldn’t find spiritual alignment alone. So, I sought advice and guidance from experts who know a thing or two about aligning to your truth.
I will become more aware of my environment. “Notice coincidences in your life. If the number of coincidences increases, you’ll know that you are moving in the right direction.” - Milana Perepyolkina, bestselling author
I will read more of what I’m curious about. “To find [spiritual alignment], read from spiritual literature, inspirational books, even motivational quotes—words that help us stop, gain awareness, and give us the answers we might need in our moments.” - Jill Sylvester, author, and mental health counselor
I will take more mid-day walks. “When we have the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the world us and our very existence, we learn to stop taking certain things for granted.” - James Pillion, relationship expert, and author
I will write more for me, not an audience. “Performing empowering mindset journaling each day also helps you gain more confidence in yourself, thus making it easier to take soul-inspired actions in life.” - Jaclyn Johnston, author, and CEO of Manifest It!
I will invest in daily me-time. “Having some sort of daily spiritual practice is the number one thing you can do to find [spiritual alignment] in all areas of your life. It gives you the time and space that you need to be able to hear your intuition.” - Jessica Estrada, certified manifestation coach
I will set loving boundaries. “Instead of focusing on what you are saying no to, think about what you are saying yes to instead. Yes to nourishing friendships. Yes to work that energizes you. Yes to your self-care. Reframing boundaries as self-honoring choices can make all the difference in your empowerment journey and spiritual evolution.” - Elizabeth Su, women's empowerment coach, and mindfulness expert
I will actively try to let go. “On the journey to [spiritual alignment], one of the main tools to succeed is the ability to let go. Fixed plans, fears, and limitations are all barriers [spiritual alignment]. A large part of aligning yourself comes with the ability to take a deep breath when adversity hits and roll with the waves.” - Adina Mahalli, certified mental health professional
I will remember to breathe. “By taking back control of where our attention goes, our lives begin to align with our goals and dreams. When we take control of our thoughts and energy, we can heal, grow, and thrive.” - Sandy Abrams, author, and entrepreneur
I will ask myself how I’m doing. “It is not enough to merely adopt spiritual principles; however, one must also put them into action and do periodic check-in's to ensure spiritual alignment is being met.” - Jaime Pfeffer, life balancing coach, spiritual teacher, healer, speaker, author
Finally, I will get clear on my values. No matter what I do, I will make sure it aligns with my core values and who I want to be. I will name them. I will define them. I will tap into them. And I will use my values as a guidepost for always aligning to my truth—a spiritual compass.