A spiritual journey reminds me of a spiral. First it is outward bound, away from your Core. After a childhood and youth of innocence you are absorbed by "real life" and you can't help making choices that you regret later, often in the name of righteousness; sometimes by stepping on a few spiritual norms. While you certainly have many lucid and spiritual awakenings along the way, there comes a day when you look into the mirror and you see an old person look at you, and you ask yourself, "so how exactly did I get here?" Without your knowing, the spiral took you away from your Self. This is then the day when the spiritual journey starts. The spiral called life that started to take you away from your Self is now bringing you back Home.
In the beginning you feel that you are stumbling; you certainly have your bad days, still make bad decisions along the Way and experience spiritual setbacks. But for the first time there is also a lot of light, and magic in the air. You become more sensitive, open up towards life and people and become more sensitive. After a few years you realize that you are on a path towards wholeness, holiness, health and happiness.
I would presume that every seasoned spiritual traveler has experienced this spiral just like I have. Yet, we don't really mention the missed steps along the Way very much because we know that they are our doing and they are mostly unique to us, so why to dwell on it. The one advice though I would give, think about which part of you the ego defends most heavily. Muster all you willpower and stand up to it because otherwise your journey will not go anywhere. You will be stuck at this stage of spiritual development and the spiral turns out to be a cycling motion instead without any real spiritual progress. You stand in the way of your potential and this really hurts the longer it lingers.
It is fun to follow the spiral back Home; in fact, it happens automatically as long as you manage to cut out all the interferences. A few bad days, a few old monsters that pop out are part of the deal; cycling along outdated behavioral patterns doesn't have to be though. You can shorten your Home coming journey by many years that way. I view Jesus' three temptation as a perfect example of letting go of lower energy centers. He said no to the power theme: the ability to perform magic, i.e. turning stones to bread, or to fly, and the temptation to rule over others. What interference will you stand up to? Just get it done with and let the spiral take you Home.