*This is in no way intended as a judgement of any person’s beliefs or life choices. This is simply a part of my story and I share it in solidarity with those who have had similar experiences.
When Doreen Virtue renounced her New Age beliefs and teachings and converted to orthodox Christianity in 2017, it was a wake up call for me. Doreen and her teachings had, up to this point, been a massive part of my life. She was one of the first New Age teachers that I was introduced to, and she made a big impression on me. Through her teachings on angels, goddesses, spiritual beings, veganism, equality and heart-centred living, I found a lot of comfort, reassurance and excitement! I saw magic in the world, and I felt empowered. As a teenager at the beginning of self-discovery, I found that the New Age spiritual world gave me the tools to be able to move out into the ‘real’ world with strength, and Doreen’s teachings were ones that I took to heart the most.
I essentially followed Doreen’s teachings and messages to the letter. I didn’t change who I was to copy her because I found that a lot of what she professed already resonated with me. But I did, unbeknownst to me at the time, begin to think of New Age beliefs – and Doreen’s in particular – to be the Truth. I adored Doreen and cited her as my biggest inspiration. She made me feel good about myself, and helped me to feel connected to a much larger and very beautiful Universe.
In 2017, a lot of my beliefs had already started to waver and come under the harsh scrutiny of a more objective part of myself that had hitherto remained in the background. I became aware of how my lived experience wasn’t matching up to the picture I’d created from my New Age beliefs. When a few months later, this woman I had listened to unquestioningly suddenly turned away from what she had taught, I was stunned. I know a lot of her followers were too.
Doreen’s choices are not under question here. Although I do not resonate with the Christian and often fear-based (in my opinion) teachings that she now professes, I still deeply admire her authenticity and her commitment to her truth in the face of massive, world-wide judgement and rejection. What her life choice did reveal to me was that her truth was not my truth, and perhaps I had never really known what my truth actually was.
As I took in other peoples’ reactions to her conversion, I saw a lot of people expressing similar realisations: we had put too much stock in the words of another, and believed them to be absolute Truth. But, even with this growing awareness, I discovered a few months ago that I was still investing a lot of power in Doreen’s words. For example, she now doubted angels and I suddenly, startlingly, realised that I had begun to doubt as well. Fear and mistrust had crept in. Even at this precise moment, I cannot quite shake the doubt.
So many of my beliefs had already started to crumble, and Doreen took down many more of them with her. It is disconcerting, but it shows how so many of those beliefs weren’t wholeheartedly mine anyway. The space left behind is full of a lot of confusion, and grief. I do not feel I resonate with Doreen any more and therefore cannot follow her, but I do keenly miss the comforting presence she once occupied in my life. Although I am grateful for the clarity and new awareness, I do feel that some sparkle has vanished from the world. I am no longer quite so optimistic, and I frequently feel jaded – even cynical. It all goes to prove that I had unwittingly invested too much in one person, and have let their choices influence my own life too much.
Breaking up with my spiritual guru was not easy. I feel like I am having to start the process of discovery and self-identity all over again. I have to take each of the beliefs I held and examine them clearly to see if they are the bricks I want to build my life with. It is uncomfortable and part of me wishes to run and bury my face in Doreen’s skirts, but I also recognise this as an incredible opportunity for growth and adventure. In the midst of this tumultuous place of doubt, darkness and unsteadiness, the seed of my true self has started to take root and sprout. Blossoming is a beautiful, painful process, but how glorious it will be in the end!
Ultimately, it is up to me to put the sparkle back in my life by learning to see and feel the world through my eyes and heart, and make sense of it my way. Listening to peoples’ stories, thoughts and ideas are wonderful ways to expand your mind and consider new possibilities, but it is so important to get to know yourself and keep your own truth.