Creative Status: Episode 45: Melissa Ebken: Trusting the Uncomfortable & Touching Wholeness

Creative Status is a podcast about using creativity as a vehicle for improving your life by deconstructing ego, integrating the shadow self, and designing and manifesting a real life.

Every episode explores how the creative process can help you GROW REAL by moving towards wholeness in yourself by making the unconscious conscious.

In today’s episode of Creative Status, I go deep into wholeness with Melissa Ebken – author, pastor, coach, and host of the PURSUING UNCOMFORTABLE podcast.

This was a really great conversation about how we can navigate life to constantly grow into wholeness and TRUST.

We cover a lot in this (relatively) short conversation but ultimately it was a reminder that the process of moving from fragmentation to wholeness and growing REAL is always unfolding and if we live in a conscious and intentional way we can work with it (instead of hiding behind ego resistance).

Melissa has a ton of great insight and energy that she brings so if you wanna get pumped up and learn some ‘stuff’ then this an episode for you.

Thanks a bunch,


(Scroll down for show transcript)


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Show Transcript: Trusting the Uncomfortable & Touching Wholeness


Oli Anderson: Oh hi there, Oli Anderson here. You’re listening to Creative Status. This is a a podcast about using your creativity to tap into the flow of life. That sounds very dramatic, but it just means that the creative process is actually a process a lot of the time of making the unconscious conscious so you can become whatever it is that you really are.

I’m an author, wrote a book, Personal Revolution, Short Coursing Realness. That’s my main one. And I’m a creative performance coach, help people bring realness into their lives and businesses. Creativity, the theme of this podcast is the vehicle that leads towards realness by helping us integrate, accept, dive deep into life. So today’s episode of the podcast is an interview with Melissa Ebken.

Melissa is a pastor, a coach, podcaster. She has a book coming out soon, which I’ll leave a link to in the show notes. And basically what she likes to do and is very good at doing is helping people to deal with uncomfortable situations and use them to grow, to basically go through a process of spiritual purification if you want to use that phrase so that they can become more connected to who they really are by overcoming obstacles and learning acceptance.

This episode of the podcast really focuses on an idea that’s super important to me and something I love talking about, which is trust, how we can trust ourselves, how we can trust the process, how we can move more deeply into wholeness by doing that realness, feeling of being truly alive. So anyway, I’m totally rambling, more than usual.

But here’s the interview coming up. Melissa, thank you so much for your time and energy. This is a really fun one. Everyone else, hope this helps you trust life, trust yourself, go deeper into being real. Okay, here we go.Thanks a bunch. Boom.


Oli Anderson: Oh, hi there, Melissa. Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of creative status. I came on your podcast a few weeks ago, whenever it was, and I ran it and raved like a wild man.

So now it’s your opportunity to get revenge. I’m assuming because your podcast is about dealing with the uncomfortable in life and how that can allow us to evolve spiritually and emotionally and all those kinds of things. We’re going to talk about that stuff. But before we get into it, do you feel like introducing yourself, telling people who you are, what you’re all about, and what you want to get from this conversation?

Melissa Ebken: I would love it. Thank you for the invitation. And although you did rave like a madman, you did so with purpose. So I appreciated that. It was fantastic. My name is Melissa Ebken. I’ve been a pastor for 25 years. And I have found that it really makes a difference for people when they lean into the difficult and uncomfortable aspects of life and really tackle that and grow from it. So I’ve spent a lot of time developing courses, systems, structures, you name it, that enable people to give them a path to grow themselves spiritually and emotionally so that they can lean into those difficult things and grow from it.

Oli Anderson: Well, you’re in the right place there because this is something that we talk about a lot on this podcast. My main view, just to be a broken record for listeners is everything boils down to either moving towards wholeness or preventing that natural process and becoming fragmented and clinging to the fragments because the way we identify with illusions, basically, I think if we can stop hesitating and stop holding back and lean into that process, which may be a little bit difficult along the way, then it basically solves most of the problems in our lives because we become more connected to who we really are, more connected to other people and more connected to life. Now, that’s a rant to get this started. But what do you think about that? And how does your work, you know, see that philosophically in terms of, I don’t know, moving towards wholeness may be difficult, but ultimately, it’s what we’re all looking for.

Melissa Ebken: Absolutely. And growing up in the United States, there’s always a whole lot of separation of church and state, right? It’s kind of fundamental in our founding documents, although very poorly lived out in life and poorly misunderstood, if I’m honest.

There’s a lot of grabbing that ideal to make headlines. But it does damage when we think of separating any part of ourselves from our whole, correct? And what I would like to see is that we incorporate our spiritual, our spirituality and let that permeate all aspects of our lives.

That doesn’t mean we become a vandalist of our particular religion or belief system wherever we are, although there are appropriate times for that. But incorporating those spiritual ideals into our lives, because that’s so important. There’s been a lot of talk recently about mental health. And I’m the first one to jump to my feet and applaud that I’ll whistle, I’ll just articulate all of those things. It’s fantastic that we have those conversations.

However, a lot of what people are calling a lack of mental health is actually spiritual poverty.

Oli Anderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Melissa Ebken: Yeah, finding our values. That’s a spiritual gift. Connecting with what transcends ourselves. That’s a spiritual activity. So emotional health and spiritual health are two sides of the same coin. They both progress, each progresses with the other. So if we want to increase our emotional health and grow our emotional intelligence, and that’s a big other focus that’s out in the world these days, to do that, we need to also pay attention and grow our spiritual health along with it. Wow.

Oli Anderson: So this is opening up quite deeply already, but I love the direction you’re just taking it in. I think exactly like you just said, many, many mental health problems in the world, especially anxiety and depression, are caused by disconnection from who we really are.

And if you take that to the deepest level of wholeness, that is a spiritual issue. The reason I think disconnection causes anxiety is because the only way we can become disconnected is because we pick up a false image of who we are based on the fragments we become attached to and blah, blah, blah.

And when we keep putting that image out into the world, and into life, life and the world and reality and all these things, they respond to that with negative feedback, because it’s not real. And so that ultimately just brings constant friction to our lives, which we experience as anxiety. With depression, it’s the same thing basically. We become passive and disconnected from life because we’re trying to protect or preserve this false image of ourselves that we picked up, and it stops us from moving. And when we stop moving, we stop growing, we stop, stop expanding, we stop building momentum and feeling our creativity and all of these different things.

And we stagnate and that causes us to be depressed. And so in both cases, for most people, I would say, which I know is a bit controversial, the solution to mental health issues is to start finding out what wholeness or realness, excuse me, looks like in our lives and taking steps towards that.

The thing is, of course, taking those steps is going to be difficult at first, because as I’ve said to you, I think before, the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off and make you miserable. And the reason that is, is because as you start taking those steps towards the truth wholeness, you will see where your illusions have been holding you back. But because you’re attached to those illusions, you have to go through the difficulties of letting go of them.

It’s not the truth that upsets people, it’s the lack, it’s the loss of their illusions. So I’ve had a lot of coffee today, and that was a huge rant. But what do you think about all that?

Melissa Ebken: Well, I love it. And I have to admit that along with your overcaffeinated state, I have some spiritual ADHD at the moment, because as I shared with you earlier, I just got back from a biannual conference, and I am exploding with ideas and thoughts and all sorts of things. So this will be fun.

Oli Anderson: Brilliant. But what do you think then? So let’s follow these caffeinated brainwaves and your ADHD and create some kind of an explosion if we can.

Melissa Ebken: Absolutely. And, you know, there’s a lot that goes into understanding what mental illness and spiritual poverty are. And like you mentioned, some people can have profound growth and relief when they accurately identify what truly is at the root of their suffering.

And if it’s a lack of connection, or if it’s a misunderstanding of one’s value or true identity, then tackling those big things can really start the ball rolling for growing past that.

Of course, there are some mental illnesses that are biological, physiological, and, you know, that’s a different conversation. But there’s so much angst and anxiety. And that in particular has a lot to do.

Of course, trauma plays a big role in that. And I don’t want to underscore that. But at the root of all of it is being aware of our fundamental identity, being aware of the truth of who we are. And we can’t understand that without connecting to a transcendent understanding of ourselves. Now, I use language myself that I call upon that transcendent being.

Others have their own language, or different religious traditions, of course, have their own language. And for the sake of our conversation, I’m going to use the name God. But I don’t mean that exclusively. However, you call upon your higher power. I want you to honor that. And I want to honor that and know that that’s inclusive and included in what I’m saying here today. But at its root, our spiritual being, and we are embodied spirits in this world, when our spirit departs from our bodies, then we are no longer in this world. So when we are a part of it, our spirits are embodied in physical bodies. And that means that we are spiritual beings that have a body and connecting with that is the most fundamental aspect of our nature.

Oli Anderson: Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. So I’m always breaking things down into, you know, wholeness, fragmentation, but also it’s either real or it’s unreal. When we’ve been real, we’re connected to wholeness.

And when we’ve been unreal, well, we think, because it’s always an illusion, we think that we’re disconnected. We think that we’re separate and all those kind of things that cause all these kind of problems we’ve been talking about with mental health and stuff. But the thing that ultimately causes us to believe in the illusion of separation is the ego stuff. And the ego, I think, is really, it’s just the fragmented body causing us to think in a certain way.

So because we’re here on planet Earth, which is a planet made of fragments, and we’re in these fragmented bodies, we tend to perceive everything in fragments. And because most of us are just kind of going through life on autopilot, unless we have like a peak experience or something, we think that the fragmentation we see out there in the world is reality. And so a big part of this journey that, you know, we’re talking about of going back from fragmentation to wholeness, or from, you know, illusion back to realness or a connection to your soul or whatever word we want to use.

The way that we do that is to understand and to become aware, like you said, of how we’re basically filtering everything through the illusions that we’ve become attached to. And so maybe I’m going off on a tangent, but where do you think these illusions come from in general? Is it just because of our bodies, like I said, or is it the world and the way that it’s been designed and all these kind of things causing us to think with something that we’re not? Why do most of us have to go on this journey to return to wholeness or to God or whatever word, when that actually is the natural state, it’s just our perception and our interpretation that stoppers from seeing that. I know that’s a really big question.

Melissa Ebken: I will see your tangent and I will raise you another. You know, we look back to the ancient Greeks and like it or not, the philosophy that the Greeks taught has been transmitted throughout the generations. And most of us are Platonists, whether we know what Plato taught or not.

And Plato taught a separation of the physical of the spiritual that whatever is manifest here, there’s an ideal version in the ether or the beyond or heaven, however you want to call it. And that has led to a dichotomy of physical and spiritual in our world that we’re still trying to repair. So on this journey of wholeness, it’s a reuniting, a re understanding that our bodies and our spirits are intricately woven together. They’re not separate and they are important. And there’s a lot of conversation around our world today.

We hear it a lot in the U.S. I don’t know what the conversation is like in your part of the globe, but there’s a lot of words right now about bodies and what matters about bodies and the different parts that a body has. If a body has a uterus and ovaries, then they are treated differently than a body that has other parts to it or bodies that aren’t specifically either. You know, there are a lot of conversations in our world. Just think about it from breastfeeding in public where you can breastfeed the values that are placed upon our bodies and how they’re used and how they’re presented and how they’re clothed and how they appear. And how they’re valued.

There is a lot of emphasis and conversations around bodies. And a lot of those conversations and so much of those emphasis seek to tear apart or belittle or damage the spirit that is woven into that body. A lot of damage is done there. So this pursuit of wholeness that we both ascribe to is reengaging and reigniting the passion for our spirit that is within our own bodies. Loving our soul, loving our spirit is loving our body and understanding the connection between the two. Can I give you an example?

Oli Anderson: Yes, please.

Melissa Ebken: Okay, we are experts as humans at holding a grudge. Yes?

Oli Anderson: Yeah, I would say so.

Melissa Ebken: Yeah, generally, hopefully we grow past that and mature to a point where we can deal with those, but instinctually we have grudges. And if you have a grudge against someone, you may not think you do.

And if you don’t, that is fantastic. But a way to test this is say you’re going out to lunch with a good friend. You walk into a local pub or a local diner. What have you. And someone is sitting there and your gut just clenches. You’re having a physical reaction to a mental, emotional, spiritual reality.

Our bodies and our spirits and our minds are all the same thing. Think of it like water. We can experience it in the state that’s a solid like ice cubes. We can experience it as a liquid like what we drink. We can experience it as a in a gaseous state as humidity or a steam, but it’s the same phenomenon happening in our lives with with our emotions, what we feel. They’re called feelings for a real. We feel them in our bodies.

And there are so many studies that have shown how important it is to our physical health to tend to those big things in our spiritual health. People that hold grudges have worse outcomes when it comes to cardiovascular health, diabetes, weight gain, depression, all of those things.

Oli Anderson: So in a way, the body to some extent is a reflection of what’s going on inside us. You’re right. So another example of what you were just talking about is forgiveness. For example, that’s basically what he said actually, because he was talking about grudges. So if we let go of things, then we can get back in this flow towards wholeness and all that kind of stuff. But if we hold onto it, well, it just causes us to further attach to, you know, the fragmented identity that I keep going on about the ego, which is what stops us from flowing and moving forward anyway.

So I guess this begs the question, are there certain things that we need to do with our bodies in order to be able to move towards wholeness in the way that we’re talking about?

Melissa Ebken: Absolutely. One would be listening to it. The body is how the spirit expresses itself. If we have lost someone we deeply care about, and they are no longer embodied in this world with us, we may have instances or experiences where we sense them around us. I know some people have, see a butterfly or a cardinal or some other natural phenomenon, and they feel like that person is speaking to them. But when we have bodies in this world, we use our vocal cords, we use our hands, some of us more than others, or we use our bodies to communicate what our soul, what our spirit is wanting to say.

So that’s the vital link. So the first thing would be to listen to what your body is telling you. Do you have an ache or a pain? Are you tight around your shoulders or in your lower back? Your body’s telling you something. Your body is telling you that there’s an emotion that’s lodged in there, and you need to express it. If you want to continue on this path to wholeness, then listen to what your body is telling you and let it pass on through.

Oli Anderson: And I think also there’s an element that actually when we’re moving towards wholeness and we’ve been spiritual and all this stuff, a lot of the time people get attracted to the complications around that, or they make it more complicated than it needs to be, because it kind of feeds into the ego. Like if we’re talking about all these, you know, philosophical theories and so on and so forth, it can be fun and we might get new insight and it makes us look good and everything.

But actually, if you treat your body in the right way and you listen to it and you give it what it needs, that can often make more of a difference on this journey towards wholeness than anything else. Like yesterday I heard this thing that they use in alcoholics, anonymous. I haven’t been going, but it’s basically, it’s called HALT and it stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. And apparently those four things, hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness, they can send people down spirals of negativity and fragmentation and blah, blah, blah.

They can have a relapse if they’re in AA. And those four things explain so many of the emotional problems that we can just have on a daily basis. And so a lot of the time, we might be having a bad day and if we’ve been going down these spiritual paths, we might say, oh my god, I’m, you know, I’m not making my unconscious conscious or I’m not, you know, whatever it is, I’m not transcending my ego and stuff. But actually, you might just be hungry. You might be angry.

You might be lonely and you might be tired. And so others, do we need to start with the body? I guess that’s what I’m saying. If we’re going down this path, should we start with the basics?

Melissa Ebken: Yeah, 100%. Let’s talk about anger, for instance. When you’re angry, you feel it in your body. You got that pit in your stomach, or you can feel your blood pumping in your head and your temples, you feel it in your body. And it’s important to listen to your anger.

What is it telling you? Why do we feel angry? Sometimes we feel angry because we see an injustice and it makes our blood boil.

Sometimes we feel anger because there’s a disconnect from what we expected, and what is actual.

Oli Anderson: Mm hmm.

Melissa Ebken: Sometimes we experience anger because of a breakdown in communication or in a relationship.

Oli Anderson: Mm hmm.

Melissa Ebken: But if we start with our body and, hey, I feel this in my gut, or my blood is boiling, I can feel it in my temples. You know, we experience different kinds of anger, the different reasons or different causes for anger we experience differently in our bodies. So if we start there and ask ourselves, why am I experiencing this anger? Often we will find that there’s a spiritual cause at its root.

For instance, if there’s an injustice playing out in front of us, we either can act to change it, Or we’re going to be left with that unfinished emotional business in our body if we can’t stop it. Or at least in that moment, maybe there’s something we can do ongoing or down the road that will alleviate that injustice and that will help to cleanse some of that.

If it’s a disconnect from our values or our expectations, then it’s important to recognize that and address it. Is the lack within me? Is the lack external from me? And how can I reconcile that? And of course, if it’s a relationship and communication breakdown, then obviously those two we know ways that we have to address that.

Oli Anderson: So obviously, a lot of your work is about how difficulties can make us stronger and take us closer to wholeness in the long run if we face them with the right attitude, basically, right? But can we say that a lot of the difficulties we face are also unnecessary because ultimately, if we’re living in a fragmented way, we’ve been unreal, we have an unreal relationship with our body, we have an unreal relationship with other people with ourselves, etc.

We’re causing all these problems that don’t need to exist, which we’re going to experience as difficulties, but we can just let them go. And so I guess what I’m saying is there are there are two kinds of difficulties. There are difficulties that are actually difficult. And there are difficulties that are illusions. And it seems like what we’re saying is if we get the right foundation for having a good relationship with our body, then basically, we’re going to have a better relationship with stress. And a lot of those unnecessary difficulties are going to kind of melt away.

And that’s going to allow us to focus on the the real difficulties which have been sent into our lives, or we can see has been sent into our lives to make us stronger and more real. Is there something there? Or am I over analyzing?

Melissa Ebken: No, absolutely. And one of the common phrases in my tradition is developing the eyes to see. And I think that’s what you’re talking about, that when we engage on this path of wholeness, we develop the eyes to see what we are experiencing, the truth of that experience, and how it’s or where the disconnect has happened in that experience.

My tradition again, comes from this idea of incarnation of embodiment of spirit. And when we retune our brains to not be from Plato’s tradition of separating all of those things, but we can retune our minds to say, Yeah, this is what it means to be in this world is to be an embodied spirit, that a body and a spirit are woven together, you can’t separate them. Just the body and the spirit are entwined, they are inseparable.

And when they do separate us, we cease to exist in this embodied world. So developing the eyes to see how they move through life together, how the body exists to express the soul. Then we start to develop the eyes to see then as you say, we can act from a place of what’s real, we can see that, okay, there has, I’m experiencing this, because I have had a disconnect in this particular area. And we can work on that. And that’s a spiritual practice. Yeah.

Oli Anderson: This is kind of moving us in the direction of the topic that always pops up in these conversations now, which is trust. And if I understand what you’re saying correctly, with the eyes to see, if they’re real, then that also changes the way that we perceive our problems or difficulties.

And ultimately, this is something I’ve experienced in my life. I don’t actually believe in problems anymore. I think a problem is just a lack of awareness about reality. Because once we’ve got that awareness, well, the problem dissolves.

And we see that it was never a problem in the first place. We just didn’t know what we were going to do about it. Or we didn’t have the solution. And sometimes we might find that there is no solution. Because it’s not actually a problem at all anyways, just something that we have to accept about reality. Like we’re all going to be dead one day, for example.

That’s not a problem. It’s just something inevitable that we have to accept. And when we start perceiving life through this lens, I think when difficulties and problems do arise, that are real difficulties, not just the complications we’ve added, because of filtering everything through our ego, then we can trust the process. Because we know that on the other side of whatever it is, we might have changed to some extent.

But the only change that can have happened is we will let go of some of the unreal things about us and gone even deeper into wholeness and realness as a consequence of riding through whatever that difficulty was. And when I say that, it’s a bit of a linguistic trick. Because actually, we’re not riding through the difficulty, we’re riding through the process of letting go of our original perceptions of it, versus the perception we have at the end of that process, which is basically going from a place of fragmentation to more wholeness, if that makes sense. So I guess my question for you is double barreled one, does that make sense?

And two, If it does make sense, how do we, I guess, condition ourselves or train ourselves to trust enough to be able to go through those transitions when these perceived difficulties arise, knowing that on the other side of that is, you know, is a better relationship with truth or wholeness or whatever word you want to use.

Melissa Ebken: And I have three points to your question there. And the first, think of problems as a plot twist. When you’re watching a movie, there’s always a plot twist or something coming out of nowhere that the character didn’t expect or the audience didn’t expect. And how that is reconciled is growth within the character. The second one is to say that we have to practice our spiritual health every day. You know, when you do anything, if you play basketball, you’ve got to learn those fundamentals and the way you practice matters. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.

The way we practice is the way we’re going to perform. So practicing those disciplines each day prepares us for what comes later. And then as you mentioned, yes, it is a process. We have already practiced this when it’s late in the game. And I know football is a more accurate reference for you, but I can’t speak knowledge on that one.

So I’m going to stick with basketball. When it comes late in that fourth quarter and you get the ball and there’s pressure and intensity, you can make that shot. If you have practiced making that shot a thousand times, your body has muscle memory and you can do it. The way we practice matters.

And we do need to practice our spiritual health just as we do our physical health. We don’t go to the gym one day, lift the weights and say, all right, done. I did it. Now it’s an ongoing training of those muscles. The same is true of our mental health and our emotional health.

Mentally, when we are in a stressful environment, we practice calming ourselves down because we have practiced that. We have done that throughout life. Spiritually, we lean into what is important, what is true, what is of value to us because we practice that. That’s so important. And it’s a leaning into the process, as you say.

Oli Anderson: Yeah. So you’ve raised something really, really important because it always boils down to trust. But actually, there are things you have to do to show that you trust. And a big part of that is the practice, whatever that looks like for you, you’re right. So if you just, there’s a story you might have heard. It’s about these two guys in the desert and they’re tying up their camels for the night. One guy ties up his camel.

The other guy doesn’t. So they’re not both tying up the camels. But anyway, one guy ties up his camel, the other doesn’t, and then they’re going to retire to bed. But before they do, the guy who tied up his camel says to the other guy, you know, why, why are you not tying up your camel? Like it’s going to run away. And the guy who didn’t tie his camel up says, well, you know, I’m just going to leave it to God. I’m going to leave it to the universe.

It’s going to protect me, blah, blah, blah. And the next day, long story short, when they wake up, the guy who tied up his camel, no surprise, his camel is still there. The other guy, his camel is nowhere to be seen. And he’s a bit exasperated. He’s like, you know, I don’t understand. I thought God was going to protect me and save my camel and blah, blah, blah.

And the guy, the other guy whose camel still remains, he says, well, why should God do for you what you can do for yourself? And it’s like that with the trust thing. Like if you just trust the process, but without doing anything that shows you actually trust it, you’re not going to get anywhere because that’s actually ego.

You’re expecting everything to be done for you. Or is, you know, a form of magical thinking you taking yourself out of the law of cause and effect. If you truly trust, well, there’s an element where you have to trust yourself to take the steps and to do the things that are going to take you where you need to be. And then God or the universe or, you know, whatever word people like, that fills in the blanks when the time is right.

And even then filling in the blanks, maybe another plot twist, it might be something you totally don’t expect if your plan is set by you because it’s not all up to us and blah, blah, blah. But the point is that spiritual practice that you’re talking about the daily spiritual health practices, they’re the things that are going to make a difference.

And it doesn’t have to be anything complicated. For me, I do yoga every day. And I really think that’s helped my body to deal with stress more. It’s helped my mind. It’s helped my emotions.

Help me bring up all kinds of things and deal with them and blah, blah, blah. But if I didn’t do that, then I wouldn’t be able to trust life as much in other areas. And so it’s a twofold thing always is trusting ourselves and trusting life and they’re intermingled. But yeah, what does that look like for you?

And in general, if I’m not been too highly caffeinated again and just running and raving about things that don’t make sense. What do you think about that? And, you know, how can we apply it in our lives?

Melissa Ebken: Well, I love that example. And one I often use is if you have a hole to dig and let’s face it, digging a hole is tons harder than we ever think it’s going to be.

I just want to throw that out there. But okay, if we have a hole to dig, we can stand out there with the shovel, lean on the shovel and pray that the hole will appear for us.

Or we can start digging the hole and pray that this hole is going to happen. The difference there is leaning into what the universe has for us. And if we… Start digging that hole, then the universe is going to work with us. When we lack for strength, perhaps the universe will reveal to us how we can replenish that strength.

If we begin to thirst as we are digging that hole, perhaps the universe will reveal to us where we can find the nourishment to fuel our bodies or to slake our thirst. So when we are working and incorporating that spiritual awareness, then that makes the difference. But like you said, the ego expects the universe to just show up and perform. That doesn’t happen. Also, boy, I just had a great thought and then I lost it.

Oli Anderson: It’ll returns to you, don’t worry. Trust the universe.

Melissa Ebken: Yeah, your question there, you had a question that you asked me specifically and I started talking about the camels and the digging of holes. But your question…

Oli Anderson: So basically, my question was about spiritual health practices, basically. What can we do in order to live in this?

Melissa Ebken: Yeah, yeah. Okay. What I would recommend a solid place to start and this will change your life. Set a timer on your watch, on your phone, whatever you have around you for three times every day. And when that timer goes off, look around and find five things that you are grateful for.

It can be little things. It can be that, hey, I do have some lip balm in the bottom of my purse. I thought I was out. Or it can be something grand. But just find five things that you are grateful for and do that three times a day.

I guarantee you, I promise you that after doing this for a month, it’s going to change your mindset to where you start to instinctually see these things in the world. And you’re going to find more of them because your body is tuned and attuned into seeing them and recognizing them. So start there.

Oli Anderson: I can vouch for that. So every day I do a little gratitude journal. I just write 10 things that I’m grateful for. I’ve been doing it a couple of years. And even if it’s a bad day, there’s always something. And I think it’s like you said, it just shifts your perspective a little bit. I don’t remind you what’s real. And it puts you on that foundation of acceptance, which is obviously very important.

Melissa Ebken: Well, and if I may, I have found over the years, there are four general ways and they are different that people connect with their spiritual selves. May I talk about that for a moment? Yeah.

Oli Anderson: Sorry, there was some kind of a technical glitch then. But yes, please talk about them.

Melissa Ebken: Okay, I have identified four different spiritual types, if you will. And this isn’t something I made up. Corinne Ware did some seminal work on this in the early 90s. And I’ve built on that. The four different spirituality types are one, the sage. And the characteristics of the sage is a head faith, a head understanding. A sage is going to connect with the spirit in a very well thought out and constructed liturgy, if they’re a worshiping type, or through books that are scholarly, well researched, well presented, well written, you know, and more things of that nature. But it has to be solid. They’re not the woo-woo types.

They’re the head types. They’re going to read a book, maybe a manual conch. And, you know, some kind of book, they’re going to have this spiritual awakening by the well written, well researched material that they encounter, whether it’s in a book, or a speaker, or worship, or a conference, or what have you.

I’m just real briefly describing these.

The second type is the feeler. And the feeler is the type where they don’t care if the conference is rigid to its time constraints, it’s more of a give and take. If they’re at a presentation, they want to participate in it. They want interaction with the speaker.

And if it goes off track, that’s fine. They want to engage in the music. They want to engage in the conversations with the friends. It’s the story. It’s the experience of the story that matters to the feeler.

For the mystic, it’s all about union. It’s all about journey, never about destination. The mystic is going to have a spiritual experience wherever they are.

If it’s in an alleyway full of garbage, smells terrible and graffiti, the mystic is going to find a way to connect with a transcendent in that space. It’s just going to happen. The mystic, wherever that person is, they will connect.

And it’s all about union and journey. And the advocate is a force.

The advocate can be at home in any of these places, but it’s all about the systems and the structures for the advocate. Do the systems and the structures in any institution program, what have you, do they allow accessibility to all people, or do they discriminate, do they hold some down? That’s what the advocate cares about the systems and the structures. And when we understand that about ourselves, which one of these we fit into more than the others, and there’s going to be a lot of overlap, of course. But when we find that place that connects with us most, then there are spiritual practices that stem from each of those that will help us.

For instance, I was always told to sit and pray. I was never told how to pray. And, you know, we weren’t told how to do most of these things in life, but that never worked for me. I have to move my body. I have to engage. I’m a mystic at heart. And if I walk through a forest path, that is worship for me. That is connection for me. I can feel the creative energy of the universe coursing through that place and through the very bones of my body when I am in that environment.

Somebody else? No, it’s just going to be hot and the bugs are here. It’s not the same for another person. So knowing, you know, one of those, when we know that spiritual personality type that wehave, and then engage in the practices that stem from that understanding, then we can really lean into it and grow our spiritual faith.

Oli Anderson: That’s amazing. So the first step ultimately is, you know, like it said at the Oracle of Delphi or whatever it was, know thyself. And ultimately, when you know yourself, the practices that are going to work for you are going to be revealed. And then you can start leaning into, you know, what the universe has in store for you or wants for you.

So I guess just to wrap this up, that’s the next part of this thread we’ve opened up. So the first step is know thyself. But you also said eventually when you do know yourself, it kind of the path towards what you need to lean into becomes clear as well. So my final question, I suppose, is how do we know what we are supposed to lean into?

Because a lot of the time, I think people are leaning, people think they’re leaning into things, but they’re not, they’re actually shrinking because they’re leaning towards ego rather than the real stuff.

Melissa Ebken: Yeah, when you’re in the hard stuff, there are four things you need to get through anything hard. You got to have a plan. You have to know where the finish line is. What marks the end of this particular difficulty. You have to have the right people. What professionals do you need? What support do you need? It’s important to identify which people you need to have around you. The third is what emotions are going to come up for me? What emotions do I need to manage in order to get through this difficulty?

And finally, what mindset do I need to get through and grow through this? So we have those four things in place. And then when you identify those things and work on those, when you lean into, again, your practice, your daily practice, because we perform practice makes permanent. We perform as we practice. Then we can lean into those things while we pursue those four pillars of uncomfortable stuff. And I have a book called Pursuing Uncomfortable that goes into these four pillars.

It’s coming out this fall. I also have a small course. It’s less than $10 where you can engage with your spiritual personality, learn what that is, and the practices that grow from that. And you can begin to lean into those and grow your spiritual health in a more focused way.

Oli Anderson: That’s amazing. And actually, that was going to be my next question. Like, if you’ve got any stuff like that that you want to tell people about, if you were going to sum up this conversation, how would you do it? Like, we’ve covered a lot. I had too much coffee. You’ve got your spiritual ADHD from the conference.

We didn’t quite explode. But we did cover a lot of we went all over the place. And it’s been good. But how would you sum this up? What’s the main learning, would you say? And have you got any final words of wisdom? That’s basically what I’m saying. .

Melissa Ebken: Yeah. It’s not rocket science. It’s simple But it’s not always easy. And start somewhere, start where you are. Listen to your body. Learn the different ways your body speaks to you. And then do that gratitude practice, do that activity, start there.

Set your phone to remind you three different times during the day, you can do this in less than 30 seconds each time. Cultivate that awareness of gratitude in your life. And you’ll be on a path.

Oli Anderson: I think you’ve summed life up right there. So, Melissa, thank you so much for your time. And for your energy, the ADHD and all those kind of things. I’ll share your website and everything in the show notes. It’s been really good. So thank you once again. And we’ll talk again one day.

Melissa Ebken: I hope so. Thank you for the opportunity.

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