• Cynthia McCarthy

The Spiritual Practice of Quitting

Most of us would agree that quitting things is frowned upon in our culture. Society as a whole likes winners, achievers, and successful people. Non-quitters. When we get wind of someone about to give up and quit something, we break out our pom-poms and try to cheer them into persevering. We say things like:

To this, I say softly, but emphatically:

You see, I have a confession to make. After much prayer, meditation, contemplation, and spiritual mind treatment, I recently went on a quitting spree. It was a long time coming, and I’ve never felt better. I view the entire thing now as a welcomed, wonderful shift in consciousness.

Quitting as a healing spiritual practice. Who knew?

Here is a list of some things I quit:

I quit my podcast.

I quit running my own side business.

I quit my monthly guest speaking gig.

I quit spiritual practitioner training (that one was big.)

I quit a long-term personal relationship (that one was even bigger.)

Why? Why did I decide to quit all these things in the span of a few months? What is the larger spiritual perspective here? It began when I started paying attention to my emotions and how I was feeling about all these things. I began tuning into my vibration and the vibrations of the people around me and the conditions of my life. I started asking myself things like:

  • “Is this work/job/relationship/program raising my consciousness or lowering it?”

  • “Even though I might love doing this thing, is it energizing me or draining me?”

  • “Can this situation really be serving my highest good if I’m experiencing pain and frustration?”

  • “How would I feel if I released this situation, walked away, and quit?”

My answers were startling. I was still very unsure about becoming a quitter. So, I did what a lot of spiritual people do. I looked for God in it all. I believe that God is all there is. So, if that is true, then everything is spiritual. There must be “spiritual stuff” somewhere in all the conditions of my life—even when it feels like things aren’t working right—God’s in there somewhere, speaking to me.

It turns out God was saying a lot.

Sometimes when we’re miserable, it means we’re just having a bad day. But sometimes, when it’s an on-going, long-term feeling of misery, overwhelm, and dread, it means the Universe is telling us something isn’t right. It’s up to us to listen. We’re not supposed to be miserable. Things aren’t supposed to feel “wrong” in our gut. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong with us. It can simply mean we’ve chosen some wrong things. It doesn’t make the things wrong or us wrong. You get me? This isn’t about judgement and labeling things. It just means we have the chance to make different choices. We are always at choice. My quitting spree definitely taught me that. I am at choice.

Quitting isn’t failure, and I wish the world would stop framing it that way. It is a decision—sometimes a scary decision! Choosing to view these decisions through the lens of spiritual practice got me through all these changes. For me, it was about listening, noticing, and recognizing my intuition. The question wasn’t “How could I possibly quit all these things and disappoint all these people?” but instead became, “Why would I tolerate feeling miserable, when this is so clearly an opportunity to listen to the Spirit of God within me and grow?”

The aftermath of my quitting spree feels amazing—better than I ever expected, which is why I felt compelled to write this article. Quitting can be a way of releasing what no longer serves us, and that can be very freeing. I feel like my spiritual purpose is being honed. I feel lighter, happier, and more inspired.

So in case you’re feeling burdened, miserable, frustrated, or exhausted by something you might just need to quit, know that I support you in your decision. And so does the Universe.

Rev Cynthia

P.S. If you need some pom-poms, I got you:

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