Something has been coming up for me recently. I’ve also been noticing that a similar experience has been showing up in my friends’ lives more often these days. Honestly, it kind of bums me out. But I suppose I might as well talk about it here. It’s what I call an increasing trend of spiritual one upmanship.

Let me ‘splain…

When I started my spiritual life coaching business, I had already been working in the entertainment industry for over 30 years and had been in LA for 13  of them. I first started acting in NYC, and I remember being almost surprised when I realized how many other people wanted to do what I wanted to do. When I realized that it meant more COMPETITION, I kinda freaked. I had wanted to do this for as long as I could remember, but if all these people wanted what I wanted, what if some of them really didn’t want me to have it? And if there was only so much work to go around, was I supposed to go around feeling crappy all the time, or stop wanting what I wanted? Argh!!! And once I got to LA, the thoughts intensified. The disempowering concepts and constant comparison paralyzed me… It took (and from time to time still does take) a lot of inner work to establish my own “true north” in order to keep pursing my desire with authenticity and power. It took cultivating faith in the abundance of work to go around, gratitude for comradeship in the creative field, and appreciation for the wealth of talent around me in order to keep my eyes off of everyone else’s road map and stay passionate, ambitious, and grounded in my own course.

Years later, when I started getting into spiritual life coaching, I was so excited to be finally be entering a realm where everyone was going to be on everyone else’s side, right? Because we all (obviously) know we need more light workers, and the more the better, right? We are all on the same team to make the world a better place and help people, right? We want to collectively energetically midwife the rebirth of the physical world of the modern age into the next level of spiritual ascension! Um…. right? Maybe.

When you work in the healing, psychic, and/or esoteric arts (as I and many people I know) do, and you live in a city where almost everyone has some sort of spiritual vocabulary (as I and many people I know do– hello Los Angeles), it’s understandable that many people will become involved in some sort of spiritual trade: reiki, readings, mediumship– and the list goes on. But the reality is, people are still human, still apt to compare, still hungry for validation, and yes, there is still competition. I know so many amazingly gifted, compassionate, and generous healers, psychics, mediums, and light workers, but I have also noticed that some people look towards the business of spirituality as a way of gaining ground by being “better” than anyone else.

Let’s be honest, California truly is the wild west of the New Age, and there are no internationally agreed upon educational systems, licenses, certificates, or diplomas for this kind of work. Yes, there are hundreds of courses (and some are recognized, within the community, for being more “legit” than others), but they all just validate that the student took the course, not that they are actually talented and nuanced at what they do. It’s really not unlike acting… The medium (no pun intended) might prove hard to qualify. One person went to Yale, Juilliard, and The Actors Studio, while another never took a class. Yet, one has more natural talent than the other. There are distinct parallels with both professions; both (when done right) deal in connection, emotion, and expression, but in trying to create a hierarchy around what is infinite, we’re reducing it to something finite.

Everyone is an energetic being who has the ability to be lightworker. Some have been doing it for longer or were born with a greater awareness of it, but these days, many are jumping on the spiritual bandwagon… and sometimes, as with acting, it’s more for ego gratification than for true passion or talent. I’ve been noticing more and more people rattling off every new modality they’ve “mastered,” every retreat they’ve gone on, and/or which guru declared them an ascended soul, and I wonder what they’re trying to prove. We get it. You’re doing ayuaska every weekend in a secret group location in Malibu where you met Jesus and he said, “It’s all you, bro?” Cool. Tell me where your shrine is and I’ll be sure to leave you advil and a glass of Smart Water. You’re a reincarnated humpback whale who was sired by a Tall Grey UFO pilot visiting from Machu Picchu? Awesome. I was a medieval shaman fairy smuggler who saw the error of my ways and sacrificed my sorry ass to a kracken. You’re a twin flame whisperer who can make it rain when you think sad thoughts? I’m a master cloud reader with a newfound talent for unicorn wrangling. Top that.

The point of my rant is, the spiritual realm is a beautiful world to explore, but keep an eye out for why you’re on the path. If you’re just beginning your journey, welcome. It’s long overdue and perfect timing, simultaneously. Try not to wrestle a resume out of thin air before doing whatever interior work is asking to be done. You can take every course out there, but apply it. Connect. Become familiar with your source. Find authentic teachers– there are literally thousands of routes you can take. If it resonates with you, follow it, but keep your own inner compass. Practice integrity, and surround yourself with like-minded friends, and a community that provides support and guidance.

Finally, steer clear of anyone who might want to spiritually one up you every time you share something about your most recent experience. Some people are more experienced, connected, and accomplished, but no one is “better” than anyone else, or we wouldn’t be here together at this specific time on earth. There’s more than enough room in the pool, and believe me, we are in need of strong swimmers. There is no need to be eyeballing the person to your left or right and wondering whose soul has the bigger shoe size. We’re all perfectly well hung in heaven, thank you very much.

Um, I think you know what I’m trying to get at, here.