The Spiritual Journey Of Going Viral
I cried before I was able to write this letter.
I cried tears of gratitude, exhaustion, awe and relief. I cried and whispered to the Divine two holy words, over and over again:
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
What’s so significant about today? Why the tears?
Today marks the one-year anniversary of publishing this article on 6 figure business coaches and promptly ‘going viral’.
I’ve lost count of how many times this article has been read, shared, commented on and discussed by others. I published the article on 3 April 2016. By the next day it had been shared over 1k times on Facebook, and a week later it had leaped to over 5k times.
The article has hundreds of comments and to this day I continue to get people re-discovering the article – both commenting on it and sharing it. The article also led me to gaining more clients, interview requests, collaboration offers and entrepreneurial connections than I’d ever had since I started working for myself in 2014.
Writing that article was one of the best things I could have done for my business.
But that’s not why I’m crying.
I’m crying because writing that article was one of the best things I could have done for myself and my spiritual journey.
Writing that article turned out to be a wild mystic initiation into a 9-month epic heroine’s journey of spiritual awakening, personal transformation, creative unfurling and soul reclamation.
In short, WildMysticWoman.com exists because I wrote an article which went viral, and then took me on a brutiful rollercoaster ride of death and rebirth.
But you don’t have to go viral to go through the death-rebirth cycle.
We are going through it all times, and I hope this letter can bring comfort and soul fortification to you wherever you are on your journey – whether you feel yourself slowly descending, in the depths of ego death, slowly ascending or fully rebirthing as your true self.
This letter is not a recount of the ’10 Things I’ve Learned Since Going Viral’ or a 5-step ‘How To Write An Article That Goes Viral’ guide, because:
a) I don’t write like that, and
b) Going viral was an act of Divine initiation. I didn’t engineer it and have no idea how to. I was honestly surprised it even happened. It was a Divine gift that happened for me and for my spiritual journey.
This letter is not about teaching you anything, or perpetuating the idea that my story was unique because something I wrote caught fire.
No, this letter is about sharing my story and my experiences with the death-rebirth cycle, so that you too can find recognition and resonance with wherever you are on your journey.
Our stories heal. Our personal myths inspire and empower. I’m sharing my story with you. I hope you’ll share yours with me too, and with others who need to know they are not alone.
So what happened after going viral?
Over the next 9 months after publishing that article, I went through more spiritual and personal transformation than I have in my entire life.
It’s really hard to try to sum up just how much I changed in that period. Especially if you are only just getting to know me now or in just the last few months. The only I can describe it is that I burned down my whole life and gave birth to a new one.
It felt like I aged 9 years in the space of 9 months.
Going viral led to me questioning whether or not I was truly in alignment with myself, which led to feeling blocked in my business, which led to working with an energy healer for the first time in my life, which led to uncovering a huge mother wound which I thought was healed, which led to exploring even more energetic and spiritual work, which led to exploring the Divine Feminine and mystic spirituality, which led to working with the moon, my cycle, altars, tarot and oracle cards, and other wild mystic tools for the first time, which led to starting a personal blog called Wild Mystic Woman to document my journey, which led to working with my first spirit guides and goddess archetypes, which led to stripping more and more of who I thought I was so that more of who I truly am could step forward, which led to making the decision to stop covering my hair with the Islamic hijab, which led to showing up in the world and my writing with more presence, wildness, courage and truth than I’d ever done before, which led to realizing that Wild Mystic Woman was not just a blog but my true business and my real work, which led to shutting my old business down and fully devoting myself to being a wild mystic woman and serving other awakening and awakened wild mystic women.
Of course, the journey was not at all as linear as that. It was much more cyclical and fluid and mysterious, as the Divine Feminine journey tends to be.
And alongside all of this transformation a lot of other really challenging things were happening too. Like moving out of our home and into my parents’ home. Going through months of exhausting and heartbreaking experiences with my baby boy’s health challenges. Working on my marriage, which went through a bumpy time. And trying to just make it through each confusing and exhausting day of being in the descent.
Can you see why I cried before writing this? It was intense.
It is still intense looking back on it all. I’m in awe that so much light and rebirth could have come from so much darkness and death.
I’m in awe of what happens when we truly surrender to the internal call of the heroine’s journey (as opposed to the external call of the hero’s journey), and allow the Divine to work Her magic upon us.
On this 9-month journey I gave birth to myself.
I shed my old skin, and grew a newer, truer one.
I stopped hopping around at the edges of myself, and slowly but surely embodied the fully being of my presence.
I called my power back.
I rewrote my old stories, and wrote new stories.
I centred my sovereignty back inside of my soul.
I reclaimed ancient parts of my identity and personal power.
I unleashed my powerful creative expression.
I burned myself down to the ground and did the painstaking work of gathering my bones, growing new flesh and gestating within the Goddess’ womb of divine love.
I gave birth to myself, slowly but deliberately working in tune with the Divine to move myself down the dark and tight birth canal, until I emerged into this new world as this new me.
But this time when I was reborn, my name wasn’t just Layla.
It was also Priestess. Wild Woman. Mystic. Writer. Oracle. Witch. Poet. Healer. Sister. Warrioress. And Artist.
This is what happens when we are initiated.
An event that seemingly appears to be something unrelated to our spirituality or our personal life (like writing a viral article on 6 figure business coaches!), can be the sacred key that unlocks a whole new way of us being in the world and relating to the world. Perhaps your initiatory event is something as small as reading a book that opens up your perspective, or something as life changing as become a new mother.
It doesn’t matter what the event is. Once it happens, you know.
But this journey is not for the faint hearted.
Surrender may sound like a soft and graceful word.
But in my experience, surrendering is more like a street fight than a gentle melting.
We fight it. We resist it. We try to ignore the internal call of the heroine’s journey, because we are far too busy and have far too many plans to be able to give ourselves fully to the Divine.
We shush it and hope it will go away. But of course it doesn’t. Because once you’ve been initiated, there is no going back.
And thank God(dess) for that.
Because who wants to go back to sleep after knowing just how beautiful and powerful being fully awake is?
The author Sue Monk Kidd has a quote that I have always loved ever since going on this journey. In her book The Secret Life Of Bees, she writes:
“Knowing can be a curse on a person's life. I'd traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn't know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.”
So here’s to you, Sister, as you travel on your journey of rediscovering and awakening to your truth. As you walk this path of death-rebirth and life-death-life, over and over again. Each time finding deeper layers of things that need to be burned down and released so that more of your true essence can step forward and be birthed and embodied.
It is a messy, painful, beautiful, holy and sacred path.
There are lots of tears. Lots of questioning. Lots of digging and excavating and trying to figure what’s true for you and what isn’t.
You meet the Dark Goddess. And when you stop being afraid of her, She helps you heal what needs to be healed.
You work with your shadow, but you ache for the light to come back. And then, when you’ve done all the work that needed to be done, and not a moment sooner, you slowly but surely rebirth.
And it’s the most glorious experience that you’ve ever had. And you wouldn’t take it back for anything.
Going viral is one of the greatest gifts that has ever been given to me. Not because of what I gained. But because of who I became.
What I gained in those days, weeks and months after going viral was fleeting. But who I have become through this journey of initiation, healing, transformation and embodiment?
Nobody can take that away from me.
So once again I whisper two holy words to the Divine:
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”