Melinda Cea

Producer, Author & Self-love Guru

The Spiritual Journey Feels Like Someone Is Fucking With You

But Damn Is It Orgasmic!

What does a “spiritual journey” even mean?

I used to think it meant shedding all stuff, like electronics, my favorite moisturizers and bath salts, and moving to the mountains of Sri Lanka to live in silence until my third eye literally cracked open on my forehead. Only then would I gain cosmic knowledge, become super zen, and levitate in a perpetual weightless state of I-don’t-give-a-fuck.

I wasn’t just wrong. I was upside-down, twisted-inside-out, don’t-know-my-ass-from-my-face wrong! Simply put, I didn’t know what I was talking about.

I had thought a spiritual journey meant going out into the physical world. No wonder I was so lost. Now I know that a spiritual journey involves going within. It’s a journey to the core of self. It’s how you make peace with yourself.

It feels like waking up really, really slowly from a deep sleep.

It’s a process of unbecoming all that is not truly you, so you can feel, discover, and then become the truest essence of who you are: your Self. The journey is one of total transformation that leads to new self-expression, confidence, and realities. It’s one of the most profound, powerful journeys we can take, and it forever changes us.

I once wondered, So if it costs nothing and requires me to go nowhere, why doesn’t everyone do it? Well, now I know why. It does come at a cost — the cost of not being liked by others. Once you begin the journey, you can never go back. And that is scary AF.

But that’s why I’m here. I’m going to tell you exactly how the melting and morphing happened for me, to help make it a little less scary for you.

For me, the journey happened — and continues to happen — in 10 distinct stages.

Stage 1: Is Someone Fucking With Me?

For most of my life, I had felt like I’d forgotten something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Every time I mentioned that feeling to anyone, they’d look at me like I had probably forgotten my keys or left the stove on, but I knew it was bigger than that.

Then a very gentle reminder came from my life coaches (yes two, they’re married) who said, “You’re just starting to remember who you are. Don’t be scared.”

WTF? What do you mean? What the hell did I forget? Aren’t I me, sitting here, talking to you? Who am I, if not the girl you’re talking to? It got weird real fast.

That was the moment I thought, Someone is totally fucking with me! Now I see it was a whisper of validation that I had, in fact, forgotten something.

We focused on why I was there that day, what brought me to them: love.

The Self I knew to be “me” at that time was a girl who couldn’t get love right. I was in relationship after relationship, and they all went down in a glorious flame of failure.

This stage is when you notice something is very wrong.

Stage 2: Relationship Check

My relationships were my lifelines, my allies. They gave me security and self-esteem. They brought me unimaginable joy and companionship. They taught me how to love and be loved.

But suddenly they were all on the stand: boyfriends, lovers, best friends, family, colleagues — nobody was safe from questioning: How did I feel in their presence? Did my spirit feel protected or anxious? Did they uplift me or pull me down? Was our relationship contingent upon how often we spoke or what I gave? I saw more clearly the ride-or-dies, the buzzkillers, the energy stealers and fillers.

This is when old friendships that made me feel bad about myself started to slip away and new ones began to form. This was how I saw the sacred unique value in each relationship and made peace with the fact that we will never get all that we need from a single person.

What I quickly came to see was that all my relationships were trying to tell me the truth about myself in some way.

While they held me close and kept me safe, they also showed me my fears. While they brought me security, they also showed me where self-doubt and insecurities lived. While they loved and nurtured me, they also poked at the deepest wounds that had yet to heal.

At this stage, you begin to see that every relationship is acting as a guide to tell your soul where it needs to go to evolve.

Stage 3: Identity Crisis

All of my life, my relationships had given me an identity. I was the girlfriend, the sister, the daughter, the best friend, the aunt, the cousin, the producing partner. I had held every identity except Melinda.

I had been doing everything in my life to make the people I was in these relationships with proud. That’s how I had derived worth.

Many times, the prouder they were, the emptier I felt. I had shown up for everyone to the point of depletion. I had exhausted myself trying to save everyone else when they were in crisis, when I should have been trying to save myself.

In this stage, you learn how to have caring, loving, nurturing relationships without making them your sole identity. You start to get curious about who you really are.

Stage 4: Question Everything

For me, questions started to open doors.

My tendency to move through life like a robot — often feeling like I was living the same day over and over and over — started to break down when I got curious about life’s so-called rules.

I brought into question all the societal rules I had felt pressured to follow: get married, have kids, buy a home, value valuables, have a self-worth rooted in net worth. And get it all done by age 35 or else you’re a spinster who should get a hysterectomy NOW.

I had never before stopped to question whose permission I was waiting for; whose values I was actually valuing; how these symbols of success that I’d been chasing made me feel; and most importantly, whose life I was actually producing. I had to start defining my own set of rules and abandon the ones I had never agreed to in the first place.

Then, I questioned even myself: Why am I so upset about this relationship or situation? Why do I feel so hurt by these words that were said to me or these actions that were done to me? Why did I react this way or that way? Why, why, why, eventually leads to Who am I?

This stage will feel very disorienting and confusing. You’ll feel lost, burnt out, and mentally start breaking down. This is the unlearning process. It’s scary, but remember: You can’t put anything back together that doesn’t break first.

Stage 5: An Alien In Solitude

Speaking from experience, I can warn you that you will seem batshit crazy to many, many people who will not understand the words you will start to use, or how you suddenly like to spend your time, or why you are even doing this excavation process of an old Self that no longer serves you.

For many years on this journey, I felt like an alien who would show up to the world as one person to be accepted, but on the inside I was totally transforming. Being around many of my friends would deplete my energy because I’d feel like we didn’t have any shared interests anymore, and faking it was exhausting.

I retreated to a place of solitude where I could process the answers to all my questions and gain the courage to feel my emotions.

This is when you learn to be alone, in every sense of the word, and enjoy it. You will not feel lonely. You will see how solitude recharges the soul and builds confidence.

This will be your sanctuary.

Stage 6: The Courage to Feel

This was the hardest stage for me because I had to look not just at myself but at the dark shadows that followed me. The ones that came from experiences that I didn’t even know were traumatic and ones I’d pushed so far down I’d forgotten them.

This was the clawing, chewing, spitting back out part for me.

Trauma comes in so many forms: emotional neglect; verbal, physical, sexual abuse; abandonment; bullying; the loss of a loved one; an illness or medical procedure; betrayal; rejection; violence of any kind; generational trauma — even baring witness to others who went through something awful can be traumatic.

There is so much trauma we endure as humans, and yet, often we don’t take time to process and feel it. It’s always onward, keep moving forward, let it go. But when we let it go too fast, we don’t actually let it go; we bury it and find ways to numb it.

For me, feeling the full effects of my traumas was a mandatory stage on my spiritual journey back to my Self because it freed me from feeling silenced.

As a child, I was naturally curious and wondered about everything, but somewhere along the way that curiosity became limited. I settled for answers I was given without thinking about them. I quieted my voice for fear of being different and upsetting others.

But feeling and identifying how the silencing happened allowed me to take my power back and feel wonderment and curiosity again. It allowed me to discover my own answers, my own voice.

Here’s the thing about feeling: Once you start to do it, you feel not just the bad but also the good. All the stories I’d told myself about every encounter that I had labeled as “bad” also had good in them. I just couldn’t see it until this stage.

Finding the courage to feel allowed me to heal myself more times than I could have ever imagined. I realized the immense strength it takes to do the tough inner work, and I began to wear the scars from my traumas as hard-won badges of honor. I moved through the traumas, letting each one go as I baptized my new Self with my own glittering tears.

This is the stage in which you’ll begin to trust yourself again.

Stage 7: Forgiveness

This was and often continues to be the stage that makes me want to have a temper tantrum… so I do. I kick, scream, cry — and then I say, Okay, I deserve more.

When I first reached this stage, I saw that I was never going to become who I truly needed to be if I was so attached to who I had been. I had to let her go.

This letting-go process was heartbreaking! I had to grieve the loss of the girl I had been for my entire life. I thanked her for all she had done to get me to this point, and I promised to make her proud. This was the moment I could truly feel a rebirth taking place.

Once I was able to let go of all that no longer served me, it was time to unwrap the gift of forgiveness.

It took me a minute to really understand that this part of the journey is not about getting closure; it’s about deciding to continue to let go. Whatever I was hanging onto, I didn’t need anymore. I now saw it for what it was, the lessons it was trying to teach me, the good in its bad.

Once that “good” was clearly identified, I had to forgive myself for the choices I had made when I didn’t know I had a better option. I had to forgive others who had harmed me when they didn’t know they had a better option. It didn’t mean I condoned the harm others inflicted on me. It just meant those stories and experiences no longer played a role in how I lived my life or the decisions I made.

This is the beginning of a very new reality!

Stage 8: Awareness Is My Responsibility

Here I started to take responsibility for how I had played a part in my own suffering.

I became aware of how my thoughts, words, actions, and reactions — at any given time, to any situation, even down to how I expressed and received love — were a direct reflection of my past or my ego. But soon, those conditionings no longer had a grip on me.

Instead of feeling triggered by someone or something and reacting from a place of fear, pain, anger, envy, or jealousy, I became an observer of my personality, my conditionings, my ego. I was then able to quickly pivot when a reaction from any of those places arose. That is the gift of awareness: learning to respond, not react.

When old ways, feelings, or reactions wanted to make an appearance, I’d say hello to them and remind them, We’re safe now.

Here you and your ego become friends, and you take back the power. You see how you have the ability to choose how you want to feel and respond at any given moment.

When awareness becomes your responsibility, you understand that nobody’s words can hurt you but your own, so you choose only those that serve your highest good.

How you’re responding to life and others right now is a clue to where you might be on your journey.

Stage 9: Getting Naked

This is when I wanted to quit but instead looked myself in the face and said, You didn’t come this far to come this far. Get back up, sister, and get naked!

Here I began to drop judgments of others and myself. In theory, this should’ve been easy by this point, but judgements are the deepest, most knotted, twisted roots of conditioning.

It was time to strip down, to shed all my insecurities — I’m too fat; I’m too skinny; I don’t like my nose; I’m not smart enough — and fall in love with ME in all my nakedness (even that ass!).

Then came the acceptance of others. We’re all at different stages, reacting to the conditioning of our personalities, egos, and trauma states-of-mind, though we may not even be aware of it.

The need to defend my beliefs, who I was and am, vanished here. I felt empowered knowing that I don’t owe anybody an excuse. I don’t owe anybody anything, except the respect of their own humanity and free will to decide whatever they feel is best for themselves. It’s not my job to judge their decisions; that’s my ego’s MO, and I don’t like to play with her now.

If you want to make any changes to yourself at this stage, it’s because you’re whole and doing it from a healthy place of love, not from a need to be accepted. You’re not only aware of your own unconscious judgments of others, but you’re able to diffuse them. (Yes, even political ones.) Here you come to fully know that you’re above and beneath no one.

The best thing about reaching this stage is that you no longer have expectations of others. You don’t expect people to do things for you, and when they do, you’re genuinely surprised and grateful.

Here you come to realize that you and only you, my friend, are the igniter of your own flame.

Stage 10: Total Transformation

Here my mindset totally shifted. My life was now about maximizing my energy — not using it to obsess, worry, or judge but to learn, grow, create, and serve. The person I was transforming into was full of confidence, unshakable faith, purpose, passion, and a glow that only comes from knowing you are incapable of falling victim to anything or anyone that asks you to abandon yourself.

This is when I connected to a knowing inside of me that had been patiently waiting with a smirk on her face to say, Let me introduce you to someone I know you’ve been dying to meet: your Self!

Here is when all things make sense: the bad, the good, failures, triumphs, heartbreaks, all the moments you thought stole you from you. Now you see they were all slowly revealing your true Self.

In this final stage, you trust your Self and the timing of your life and always will. It’s time to throw a welcome-home, mother-fuckinging-hallelujah, pop-the-prosecco, you-made-it party!

You now have an ability to listen like never before — to you, your gut, your intuition, your soul’s call-and-response, your highest self, your angel, your spirit guide, whatever you want to call it. You can finally hear it all. Once you hear it, you can never unhear it (and you will never want to).

The knowingness speaks to you in goosebumps, hugs, songs, laughter, stillness, waves of joy and clouds of sadness. You have your own language with your knowingness.

Here you operate from a place of laser-focused intention, and that intention draws every experience to you like a magnet. You expect life to work in your favor. You set fire to clutter and build boundaries.

You will feel the fullness of life without the heaviness of your past as you transform. You will feel wild and free, yet still and steady, unaffected by the go-go-go culture that surrounds you. You will know the true meaning of empowerment, taking full responsibility for your life and its unique mission.

Here you clearly see and respect how we’re all just bouncing between stages on our spiritual path.

Your Spiritual Path Leads to Love

Truth be told, our spiritual journey begins way before we decide to begin it. That process of undoing, becoming, and doing over and over and over again starts the moment we’re born.

When we take our first breath, we forget that we’re connected to something far greater than the body that houses our soul. Nobody tells us as children that sometimes we have to stop in order to start, or that we have to forget in order to remember, but our experiences are always pointing us in the direction of remembering.

Our truest essence is all-knowing. It’s full of love and limitless potential. It has the ability to soften and strengthen at the same time. It’s as tiny as a grain of sand but holds the whole universe inside it.

This spiritual path you’re on (aware of it or not) will become a symbol of what it means to be you. And once you remember what it truly means to be you, the entire universe lights up to make it so — and that is orgasmic!

The journey begins and ends with love.

Safe travels!

xo melinda