If you are like me and been around the block a few times, then you have experienced some form of spiritual restlessness. I remember how scared I became the first time I experienced the kind of anxiety that comes from this unexpected internal upheaval. My first experience came when, after years of tailoring my life to the expectations of others, the emptiness I sensed inside slowly overtook my entire conscious awareness.

I resisted at first, for my ego is quite stubborn.  This resistance caused a big problem because I wanted to follow my inner desire to live a greater life, I fantasized about being adventuresome, but I was too afraid to take any chances that could disrupt my comfort and safety.

Fortunately, our spirit does not stop with our rejection. It is relentless in its pursuit of our growth, and it will use an arsenal of strategies to get our attention. Here are eight ways he/she will get a hold of yours.

Ways your Higher Self seeks your attention

1) Your life bores you.

About ten years ago, I visited the Louvre Museum in Paris. I wanted to see the Mona Lisa and stood in line for an hour to view da Vinci’s famous painting. The chance finally came for me to get a view. After gazing at Mona’s legendary smile for about fifteen minutes, I moved on to see the other wonderful works of art at this renown museum. Moral of this story; even a priceless masterpiece is not enough to capture your attention for the rest of your life.

Hanging on to your daily sameness is like standing in front of the Mona Lisa for years; you will get bored. Curiosity is the tool your spirit uses to learn new things. If you persist in living in a state of boredom, you will shut down your sense of inquisitiveness. When you feel bored with your life, it is time to open that curiosity spigot back up.

2) You persistently pursue distractions

Rather than sit and face your dissatisfaction and/or boredom with your life, you throw yourself at any activity that comes your way. You never stop and take time out to reflect. You race from one event to the other and collapse in bed every night. Are you allowing your career, kids’ activities, church, hobbies, etc. to take over your life in this way? If so, this pursuit of amusements is keeping you from truly living.

3) You are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc. 

An addiction is like Number 2), except you have turned over all of your power to the substance or habit (like a sex compulsion) at the center of your obsession. If you are addicted, nothing else matters to you as much because you are self-medicating the emptiness inside with the temporary high you get from your addiction. You know you are addicted when you plan your life around obtaining the desired substance or on ways to engage in the activity of your addiction. Example; you know the location of every liquor store around and their hours of operation.

I realize shedding an addiction is a hard thing to do, so I don’t mean to sound flip about this, but an addiction is just another way to avoid connecting with your Higher Self. It is also no way to live.

4) It seems as though you are slowly vanishing.

With each passing moment stuck in your rut, you have a sense that something inside of you is disappearing. Every day you feel further and further from your true self. It is like watching the incoming waves slowly erode a sandcastle you painstakingly built. One of the saddest things I witnessed throughout my career was seeing people choosing to become living cadavers at their desk by refusing any assignment that would take them out of their comfort zone. If this is you, then it’s time for your resurrection.

5) The things that used to give you joy no longer do.

There is a numbness growing inside of you, it is like a slow rolling fog. The hobbies, friends, TV programs and activities you used to love now are lackluster. You don’t know where to turn to bring some vitality back into your life. This is a clear sign your spirit is calling you to look inside.

6) You lack the energy to do anything. 

Endless nights of restless sleep often come when you are experiencing your “Night of the Soul”. An overwhelming fatigue accumulates from your many sleepless nights. You have reached the point where you stopped going to social gatherings, meeting friends, or gathering with old acquaintances. Family gatherings drain you, so you just stay home. You have trouble concentrating on anything and you possess a short attention span. This fatigue is permeating everything in your life.

7) You know the way everybody sees you is someone you are not.

Your parents view you as the kid you once were, your coworkers as the person you show at work. Friends view you as the individual you were when you first met. Only you realize how much you have changed, and this frustrates you. Fear keeps you from showing them who you really are, so you play along with their mistaken notion of who you are.  Adding to your woes is that you no longer let anyone see the real you because you fear they will be disappointed in what they see.

8) You recognize your life is nothing like you wanted it to be.

It is a mystery how this happened to you. Somewhere along the line you got off life’s highway and lost your way on some winding, narrow, isolated road. You do not understand how to you got lost and doubt you can find your way back.

A call to action

A call from your soul is like the sound of a fire alarm that will not turn off. You try to ignore it distracting yourself with activities, or by trying to medicate yourself with an addictive substance or behavior, but none of this will work. Your soul will not stop hounding you until you heed his/her warning, even if this means suffering the inevitable psychological collapse that comes from ignoring his/her call.

This call to change is different for all of us. Some changes may be more difficult than others. This may not necessarily mean you have to sell everything, give it to the poor and join a monastery in Tibet. It also does not imply you must quit your job, divorce your partner, or move to another country. It may not even involve a change in your material world. But whatever this call is, it will challenge you because it will make you question long held perceptions and beliefs.


The most important thing you can do if you are experiencing any of these eight signs, is to acknowledge your life is not working. You have been ignoring the effort from your Higher Self to get your attention about your life’s direction. Your first step towards wholeness is to acknowledge this call and be open to alternative possibilities. When you do, trust the Universe will lead you to the answers and help you face the fact your life is not working.

If you are suffering from a chemical addiction, depression or another emotional disorder, you may need professional help to deal with it. No shame in getting counseling. You must use whatever means you deem necessary to deal with the misalignment you are feeling inside.

For others, the changes may need to start small by engaging in activities that make you a little uncomfortable. You can use the approach I used, something I labeled “Doing the Desperado”; this meant saying yes to all invitations (as long as they didn’t endanger my life). It was strange and scary at first, but opening myself up in this way has exposed me to great people and opportunities.

I would not be writing about these things if I had not experienced them myself, so take heart, they worked for me, so they can for you.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash