This month, I’m wrapping up final revisions on my forthcoming memoir, Into the Soul of the World: My Journey to Healing, published by Hachette Books in March of 2023. (You can pre-order a copy now on Amazon.) The book tells how I became a successful freelance adventure and political journalist. How my life fell apart due to trauma and addiction. And how I found healing and recovery through travel, building community, intensive therapy, the love of dogs, friendships, and reconnecting with a spiritual path. Needless to say, writing the book was incredibly healing, too.
At one point during my ten-year recovery, I became too attached to my healing and spiritual journeys. I was learning a lot about healing from trauma and addiction, doing a lot of spiritual practice, and exploring spiritual topics via books and podcasts. Nothing wrong with that, except that I couldn’t see that I had brought my addictive tendencies to my healing and spiritual questing. I was no longer popping 23 pills per day (antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, stimulants, sedatives, sleeping pills, and more). I did this for a few years until I realized I was using spirituality to avoid myself like I’d used drugs. I fell into what some people call The Enlightenment Trap: trying to use spirituality to escape from who we are instead of its purpose of helping us come home to who we are.
I suppose I don’t regret this period. I learned so much and deepened my understanding of the wisdom of yoga (the deep spiritual tradition from India, not the American-ized form of exercise) and Buddhism, too. But I now understand that my overly enthusiastic pursuit of Enlightenment missed the point of why I was doing spiritual practices and learning about spiritual matters. Today, I see the importance of staying on the “middle path” and bringing a balanced approach to healing and spiritual pursuits. I understand that no matter how much meditating, practicing yoga postures, chanting, praying, or study, we always wake up precisely the person we were the day before. The goal is to stop chasing, stop running, and simply come closer to who we are.
Enlightened-ish is my attempt to look at the intersection of healing and spirituality. Enlightened-ish embraces the quest for spiritual discovery and the need to stay humble and human. In Enlightened-ish, I will share my messy journey through life and, hopefully, inspire you to think, act, and grow. More than that, I hope my words will help you to accept yourself…and, on those days when you feel inspired and centered, to perhaps love yourself.
If you prefer to stay in denial about this life and the world’s problems, Enlightened-ish isn’t for you. Healing and spiritual growth take as much self-compassion as grit.
Brad Wetzler is an author, journalist, podcaster, and yoga + mindfulness teacher, and writing mentor. Brad began his career as an editor and adventure-travel writer. He served as a senior editor at Outside magazine and was a contributing editor at Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and George magazines. Brad has written hundreds of articles and essays on wide-ranging topics. He writes books and articles and hosts a podcast about adventure healing, emotional wellness, and faith and spirituality. His memoir Into the Soul of the World will be published in 2023.
Get Your FREE eBook
Live A Great Story and Get My Free "How to Tell A Great Story" eBook