Staying Spiritually Connected on a Busy Schedule

Staying Spiritually Connected on a Busy Schedule

An Interview With Actress and Activist Torrey DeVitto

Ryan West

The key to staying spiritually connected in the midst of a busy schedule, says actress and activist Torrey DeVitto, is embracing simplicity and constant exploration.

Actress Torrey DeVitto is well known for her roles in a number of popular television dramas including Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, and One Tree Hill. Most recently she wrapped a six-season run on NBC’s Chicago Med. But it’s not all glitz and glam for the actress like some may expect. Spirituality and activism play a key role in her daily routine both on and off set.

DeVitto is certified in Reiki and the Akashic Records, she is a yogi and transcendental meditation practitioner, and is currently studying astrology. A long-time vegan, DeVitto is committed to animal rights activism and living an eco-conscious lifestyle. Much of her time off-set is also spent advocating for women around the globe by visiting schools and women’s centers and giving talks.

DeVitto sat down with Spirituality & Health for a phone interview, calling in from her farm in snowy rural Michigan.

“My Wi-Fi does the best that it can,” she explained, “especially because it’s been snowy and windy. They had to put a dish on the side of my house, which my mom was like, ‘Who has that anymore?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know,’ but the weather affects it. It’s like living in the dark ages out here.” She also expressed a deep love for and spiritual connection to the mitten state, “I love Michigan. Just speaking of spirituality, there’s such a spiritual connection in Michigan. … People have no idea how actually stunning [it is].”

While the phone connection was spotty, the conversation was anything but.

S&H: You’re certified in Reiki and the Akashic Records, you practice yoga and transcendental meditation, and you’re now studying astrology. Where was your starting point with all of this? Where did your spiritual journey begin?

Torrey DeVitto: I’d like to say that it started when I was probably around 13 or maybe even younger. I was always questioning things. I grew up going to church with my mom and I had a lot of questions that I didn’t feel like we get answered. I remember thinking at a young age like, “This resonates for my mom, but for some reason, this isn’t really resonating for me. What does resonate for me?”

I started exploring things. Then into my teens, I started reading some books, but then it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I got into meditation. Actually, in my early 30s—I think I was actually 30, I met this woman named Janet Raftis.

She’s an amazing energy healer. Through her, I started working with her and she taught me how to read tarot cards, and she certified me with Reiki and I’ve just done so many retreats with her. It grew, just kept growing throughout the years really. It’s ever-evolving.

S&H has a special section called Find Your Calling. It highlights people’s journeys on new spiritual paths often much later in their lives—even if they have an established career. In a way, this seems reminiscent of your experience. You’re an actress, but you’re also embracing all of these spiritual practices and constantly growing on your spiritual journey. Being in that industry demands a lot, and you’ve also got this farm as well.

How have these practices incorporated themselves into your lifestyle? How do you keep up with that being someone with such a chaotic schedule?

Oh my gosh, my spiritual practices have kept me sane and grounded, that’s for sure. When I moved to LA, I was 18. … I was like 20, I’d say, was when I got on my first series of series regular. I remember feeling this anxiety and depression. I think people don’t realize this when you’re on set, a lot of times you’re like in a soundstage, or you’re just in reconditioned air all day. It’s almost like Vegas, you don’t know what time or day it is … or you’re working all night, and then your weekend is shot because you’re just so tired.

I was so excited to be working and I was so grateful, but I also felt this overwhelming sense of depression because I just felt like, “Yes, this is my career, and I love it, but on the flip side, what is my purpose?” You know what I mean?

[Read: “Self-Care Secrets for Your Busy Lifestyle.”]

At the end of the day, I’m not going to take my career with me, there has to be more. I really feel like that catapulted my search for spirituality and meditation and all those things. Then once the door opened, it’s just this endless possibility of fun, is how I look at it. I look at the world as everything could either be true or everything could just be blackout when we died. Do you know what I’m saying?

I was so excited to be working and I was so grateful, but I also felt this overwhelming sense of depression because I just felt like, “Yes, this is my career, and I love it, but on the flip side, what is my purpose?”

I’m not saying I know one way or another what happens, what life means. There’s no way that my feeble mind knows the answer to any of those things, but while I’m here, I’m going to play with life as much as I can.

I met this woman, Janet Raftis, and she introduced me into energy healing and Reiki and tarot cards. From her, I met other people who introduced me to astrology, and I started taking their class. I just feel like I stumbled upon these things.

I always look up metaphysical book shops, or stores in the area when I move somewhere new and I found this one metaphysical bookshop.

They were giving a course on Akashic Records, and I was like, “What are Akashic Records?” I just signed up, not knowing what it was.

[Read: “5 Tips for Connecting to Your Akashic Records.”]

It resonated with me so much. I just feel like I stumble upon these things. It’s hard when your schedule gets so crazy to keep implementing the things you want to every day.

In a perfect world I would be able to wake up before call, or even on a normal day, early in the morning and I’d be able to do my Course in Miracles, and do an astrology class, and read books, all before nine in the morning and meditate, but that’s just not the way it happens sometimes.

I’ve definitely learned to be easy on myself if things get in the way and life gets crazy, and there’s like a couple days that have gone by that I didn’t meditate, or I didn’t read the books that I wanted to read. I just try to be easy with myself.

The one thing that Janet actually taught me that was so important is … because I’m the kind of person like when I want to do something, I want to do it. I want to incorporate it. I want to know all the information about it immediately. I have a hard time taking my time with things.

I told her, I was like, “You know it’s really hard. I have to be at work at six in the morning, and I’m not a morning person. I feel like I don’t get to wake up in the morning and meditate first, and then once I’m on set, the day just gets away from me.”

She was like, “It doesn’t have to be that strenuous on you. You could literally do it in the shower. Just when you’re in the shower, the water dripping over your head, just pretend it’s like a golden light that’s protecting you for the day. Say your prayers in your head, and it could just be that. That could be the start of your day if you don’t have time.”

[Read: “How to Release Emotional Blocks With Color.”]

I was like, “Oh my God, but I forgot to bring my crystals here, and I forgot to bring my cards here.” She was like, “Everything you need, you have inside your body.” All that stuff is fun to bring along and play with but I can sit down and create magic with my own mind. I don’t need all that stuff. That’s really helped me during a chaotic schedule. That’s for sure.

Keep it simple. Remember that everything you need … nothing is external. Everything you need is internal.

What would your advice be to individuals who are looking to find a calling on a spiritual path beyond their day job?

Just search. You know what I mean? Read books.

Like I said, my favorite thing to do when I’m in a town or a city or living somewhere is to Google, like I said, metaphysical bookshops. Create a community, meet people. When I first moved to Chicago, I did look up all those metaphysical places and I remember I showed up one night to a random drum circle. I brought my little cousin with me who has never done anything like that before and we couldn’t stop giggling. Then we got into it. We had so much fun, and I met these women that I probably would have never met before.

If you really feel like you’re not creating community, or your job is difficult, and you’re struggling, we have this amazing engine called Google. Just Google what’s around you. It’s hard to meet people right now because of COVID but, go into these bookshops, read books, and, just find people. It’s really more accessible to us than we think sometimes.

What would you say the most challenging aspect has been in your spiritual learning journey?

My most challenging aspect in my spiritual journey has been the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s for myself or for other people.

Also, trying to find that balance of, you read these stories about Buddha, you read these stories of Gandhi, you read these stories of all these amazing spiritual leaders who, when somebody steals for them, or spits in their face, they send them love back. I’ve always, especially in this industry that I work in where there’s so many large personalities and egos and sometimes not the kindest personalities and egos. It’s like how many times can I just stand there and take something, or be walked all over?

If I’m feeling like I’m being all walked all over, I’m really in a state of fear, which is just an illusion so trying to tap back into love.

Trying to really figure those two things out for me and realizing that being walked all over is not really an option, because everything outside of love is just fear. If I’m feeling like I’m being all walked all over, I’m really in a state of fear, which is just an illusion so trying to tap back into love and what everything actually does mean, but that has been the biggest struggle for me.

[Read: “How to Embody Kindness.”]

So many people have been like, “Oh, you’re too nice. People are going to treat you poorly. You can’t let people walk all over you.” Learning that actually being kind, being nice is my strength. I can’t let anybody take that away from me. It’s just not possible. That’s definitely been my challenge.

Some Reiki practitioners use crystals, they use energetic tools, and then others believe that tools are not necessary. Are you someone who utilizes these tools in your practice?

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. It really depends.

There was a while there where I was just completely crystal fanatic had them in my bra. Just had them on my person all day every day. I actually have a funny moment when I was on Chicago Med and I was doing a scene with my co-star Nick Gauss, who’s also one of my best friends and in the middle of the scene, this rock fell out of my shirt. He was like, “What the heck was that?” I was like, “Oh my God, a crystal just fell out of my bra.” He was like, “What? Why do you have?” I was like, “Oh, it’s a long—never mind.”

[Read: “Bathing With Quartz Crystals.”]

Then recently, I haven’t really been implementing crystals into my practice that much. I have a couple that I keep in my purse, or I have the ones that I love around my house that I get to look at and stuff and use, but I haven’t been using as much.

I feel like it ebbs and flows. Sometimes I’m more into this or sometimes I’m doing transcendental meditation. Sometimes I’m doing spiritual meditation. I’m really studying the Course in Miracles hard right now. I’ve been doing Course in Miracles meditation. I go with what I feel at the moment.

When you read your astrological chart, are you someone who says, “Yes, that totally makes sense,” or you feel like you rebel against it?

No, I am like, “Yes, that makes total sense.” I have so much Gemini and so much air in my chart. I swear. Sometimes I have to look at my boyfriend and I’m like, “Am I talking too much?” He’s like, “No, I love listening to you talk.” It’s so much air. I just need intellectual stimulation, like talking, talking, talking, then sometimes I just shut down and I need to be quiet for like 12 hours. It’s all in my chart. It’s all there. It’s like yes, yes, yes. My ascending is Aquarius, my sun is Gemini, and my moon is Libra.

I am all air. My Venus is in Gemini and my Mercury is in Gemini. I just have so much air so much Gemini. It’s crazy and most of my stuff is in the fifth house, which is really a totally me as well. It all makes a lot of sense.

You’re a women’s advocate, you’re an animal activist, you embody cruelty-free living. How does that play a role in your spiritual journey?

I’d say my spiritual journey definitely connects to everything I do. Like I said, it keeps me grounded. There’s a lot of times, especially in working with people and with animals, a lot of things just really hit your heart, really, in a big way. I think without spiritual grounding, and without meditation, it would just be even more difficult to process things at the end of the day or let things go at the end of the day.

I have been volunteering with hospice since I was in my early 20s. I’m such a big advocate for hospice and hospice volunteering. I know there’s sometimes a negative connotation around that work but to me, I think that’s part of my spiritual journey, too. I believe that death is just the same as birth, really. We’re just birthing into whatever is next, whatever that may be.

I also work with this organization called Safe Bae. I’ve been working with them for about five years, and they are absolutely incredible. I found them after I watched this documentary called Audrey and Daisy. I got connected with the girls who were the subjects of the film. They all had created this organization called Safe Bae together. The film is about sexual assault. The organization basically, we take any student that asks, we will come to their school, bring the curriculum, and it teaches kids about sexual assault and sexual consent.

Like Shell, one of the women who run the organization, says it’s like we have a buffet of information. You can learn things from bystander intervention all the way to Title IX. It just depends on how much you want to take from it.

It’s been incredible because I get to show up with Safe Bae and I actually go to the schools, and I talk to these kids firsthand. I just feel like when I was a young girl, a young woman growing up, I came from the end of—not even the end of that era, because sometimes it’s still the narrative now even, but that whole “boys will be boys” and you just want to be liked.

I didn’t know where my “no” was, and I remember as I got older and I started learning things and really taking review of what that was like for me, I remember thinking like, God, I wish I would’ve had a mentor. I wish I would’ve had somebody that showed up and taught me where my line was. What I could say “no” to. Somebody that just could have empowered me in that way.

I made a promise. I was like, I’m never going to meet a teen girl or a teen boy that is not going to be in my presence and doesn’t have this information now. Working with Safe Bae has been my way of giving back to what I wish I would’ve had when I was a kid. It’s crazy too.

I didn’t know where my “no” was, and I remember as I got older and I started learning things and really taking review of what that was like for me, I remember thinking like, “God, I wish I would’ve had a mentor.” I wish I would’ve had somebody that showed up and taught me where my line was. What I could say “no” to. Somebody that just could have empowered me in that way.

You go and you meet these kids and they just want this information. They’re just yearning for it. I think I’m very honest with them and I talk to them about my high school experience. I think they appreciate honesty back too, that people aren’t skirting around the information with them.

Anyways, that’s a really beautiful organization that I’m just madly in love with.

Animals is a huge—I’m a huge advocate for animals. I’ve done some PETA campaigns. I worked with the humane society. I definitely adopt a cruelty-free life as much as I can. I don’t buy leather. I haven’t bought leather probably in about almost 10 years.

My clothes, I try to obviously like my winter clothes, I make sure it’s not down. I eat a vegetarian and vegan diet, mostly vegan, but sometimes vegetarian and just try my best to live as cruelty-free as possible with hair and makeup products.

I think how that connects for me with spirituality is, I was actually talking to my boyfriend about this over the summer because I had slipped in my veganism and I was eating vegetarian. Some dairy was going into my food or whatever. Then I got back onto my vegan diet and I had said to him, I was like, “Oh my God.”

It’s amazing how it’s not even the food that I’m putting in my body, but spiritually, my soul feels lighter when I eat vegan because it just connects in line with my purpose and my morals. It just makes me feel like I did something right for the day that no animal was harmed in my path for that day. That feels so good and so spiritual for me. My food is definitely a spiritual expression.

It’s amazing how it’s not even the food that I’m putting in my body, but spiritually, my soul feels lighter when I eat vegan because it just connects in line with my purpose and my morals.

Are there any spiritual practices or topics you’re interested in that you haven’t pursued, and you want to pursue or give a chance? What’s next?

I’m actually going on a spiritual journey to Peru with my energy healer, Janet Raftis in March. God willing with COVID and everything that that follows through. We’ll see, I’m very excited for that. I don’t really know what to expect. I just know that I love and trust her so much that when she says, ‘‘Hey, do you want to go to Peru and meet with healers and all this stuff?’’ I’m like, “Yes, yes, and yes.”

One thing I’ve been really interested in for probably a decade and I’ve just never really delved into, I have the craziest dreams and I dream probably every night. I recently bought a bunch of books on lucid dreaming, and I feel like I really want to try to do that, go in there and lucid dream and see what that’s all about. I think that could be so fascinating. I’m really interested in that right now.

Where can readers find you on social? What next projects do you have going on?

I am on Instagram and Twitter @TorreyDeVitto.

I have a lot of projects coming up, but they’re all in pre-production. I have some projects that I’m working on actually as a producer as well right now that I’m really excited to share when that comes about. Nothing that has been released yet, but some stuff in the making.

I also did a film called Skelly, a really great independent over the summer last year that’s going to be released pretty soon.

Need help on your spiritual path? Learn about spiritual buddies: “Buddies on the Spiritual Path.”

Torrey DeVitto_PC Ryan West

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