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From Ego to Spirit to Being 'Enlightened'

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LAURA DERN ENLIGHTENED
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I'm currently writing my new book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life, where I explore the concept of shifting from ego to spirit during life's turning points. Learning how to move from the ego to the spirit is a daily practice for many of us.

The shift from ego to spirit tends to happen when our life takes a traumatic turn and we are forced to face a new reality and become more aware. When we respond from the ego, we are coming from a place where the end goal is more self-motivated and very often external vs. responding from an internal motivation, done for the betterment of self as well as for the betterment of others, and inspiring feelings of peace and fulfillment.

When we react from the ego, we often feel threatened and cornered. We defend, we protect and we shut down to the message. When we respond from the spirit, we detach from the ego and jump into action from a more vulnerable place where the motivation that drives us is more authentic and can lead us to a more fulfilling outcome. Sometimes our trauma and life's turning points can move us in a more positive direction. We just have to be open to the message.

It is my own experience with some of life's traumatic moments that drew me to the new HBO series "Enlightened." I especially loved a recent episode titled "The Weekend," written and directed by Mike White. The journey in this episode embodied my own writing about shifting from the ego to the spirit.

In it, the central character named Amy (played by Laura Dern) goes through a spiritual transformation after a trauma at work that ends with her being transferred to a different division after sleeping with her boss. After the trauma, Amy takes a trip that transforms her in a spiritual way. She brings the lessons of this trip home with her.

In this episode, Amy desperately wants her ex-husband Levi (played by Luke Wilson) to be a part of her awakening. She wants him to want to change like she is doing. Amy suggests that they go on a kayaking trip for the weekend and, despite being against it, Levi acquiesces. There are two sequences of voiceover by Amy that perfectly depict the concept of moving from ego to spirit.

Amy's first voiceover is when they're kayaking down the river. As Amy watches Eli she muses to herself:

My first love, my husband, my heartbreak, my pain. It feels so easy now, here. You're not the cheat and the liar. I'm not the nag and the shrew. We're not old or young. There's no bitterness or illusions. No need for fear or hope. We're just spirits drifting through this perfect rift together. We can be free of our sad stories. They float away, until they are like memories of a dream from the night before. Shadows under the water of what's left in our life, Life is a gift...

At this point, Amy wants Levi to move with her in her spiritual change. Then, she discovers that he brought drugs with him on the trip. She is faced with the reality that he hasn't changed. Her next voiceover reflects this new awareness. Amy ponders:

You can try to escape the story of your life but you can't. It happened. The baby died. The dog died. The heart broke. I knew you when you were young. I know your heart broke too. I will know you when we are both old and maybe wise. I hope wise. I know you now, your story. Mine isn't the one that I would have chosen in the beginning but I'll take it. It is my story. It's only mine and it's not over. There's time. There is time. There is so much time...

This episode resonated with me on so many levels. I was blown away by the depth and spirit of the words written by Mike White. The words and the visuals had a magical effect. They spoke to me. They made me remember. They made me forgive. They made me feel. They brought me back to the innocence of the beginning where everything starts.

I, like millions of us, know what it is to go through betrayal in a marriage and to feel broken. I know what it is go through unexpectedly losing a job, although not in the same context as Amy. I realized in watching this episode that the masses go through the emotions felt from these experiences. Our stories are different but our emotions are the same.

In my own story, I used both turning points to move in a more positive direction while redefining a new chapter in my life, and learning that by moving from the ego to the spirit in the choices that I make with my own business and being an author, I have found a much more fulfilling and rewarding path.

I hope to inspire others to do the same in my next book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life. I believe that when we detach from our ego and connect with our spirit, we find our voice. Our voice is what leads us to feeling enlightened.

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