By Lara Healy
To me being spiritual means being in touch with my community, the natural world, my higher power, and myself. It means setting aside time to devote to a practice that nourishes my spirit or makes me feel united and connected with the universe.
I started on my own spiritual path after attending a retreat in San Francisco with my mother. The retreat focused on different meditation and mindfulness practices. It was a pivotal experience for me because I was exposed to new practices of spirituality. The meditations deeply resonated with me. I became curious about alternative philosophies that I could use to supplement the place in my life where religion was “supposed” to go, but never really seemed to fit.
Since then, I have found a variety of outlets that allow me to feel spiritual. On a daily basis they vary, however, in general, I meditate in the mornings and do some sort of physical activity in the afternoons. I feel spiritually connected by doing yoga, running, dancing, biking, hiking or swimming. However, I have also found that listening to music, playing guitar, writing, gardening, cooking, and volunteering also nourishes my spirit as well.
Throughout the path of developing my spirituality, I have run into many obstacles. Before coming to Blue Osa I was managing a bank and working a minimum of 45-48 hours per week. I found it difficult to make time for meditation, yoga, exercising and journaling; instead, I prioritized other things that depleted my energy. I felt the selfish taking time to devote to my spiritual practices when there were so many other responsibilities that I had to attend to in life, like work and relationships. Ironically, even though my spiritual practices were what helped me stay centered when things started getting stressful, they were usually the first things I cut out of my life when my schedule got “too busy to handle.”
For someone who is just beginning on their own spiritual journey I would offer a few pieces of advice.
1. Be open and find what works for you; identify what causes you to feel spiritually connected. Don’t feel obligated to do yoga, meditate, or go to church to become more spiritual in your daily life. Of course, if these things resonate with you, then by all means, practice them! However, maybe for you being spiritual is painting, watching a sunset, walking your dog, volunteering, writing a poem, or playing a sport. Do what feels right!
2. Make sure to set clear and attainable goals to start incorporating these practices into your daily life – even if it is meditating for 5 minutes a day, or reading a book on your lunch break instead of checking your Facebook.
3. Put down your phone, walk away from your computer, and turn off your T.V. just for enough time to offer yourself the opportunity to develop your spiritual self.
4. A path of spirituality is a relationship. It is an ongoing practice that you must nourish and attend to. Be patient with it and with yourself. Forgive yourself if you fall away from your practice, but just like an old friend, reunite with it when you feel you have lost touch, and you will find that it will always be there waiting for you.