This piece was originally featured in my biweekly spiritual wellness column at Healthy You Now 8 /20/ 2012
I’m not sure when my evening walk along the river began to turn into what felt almost sacred. Initially I relished just sauntering without a destination, but slowly I began to notice the difference this little ritual was making in my life. These walks became the space where I could clearly hear my own voice, unfiltered by “shoulds,” and sifted by the Spirit. The more I heard, the more I listened for the quiet invitations life was offering me. In the Hebrew tradition, God calls to Abram and says, “Lech-lecha.” These are ancient calling forth words, go, grace words: Lech-lecha. It means, “Go for you. Walk towards yourself, towards the image in which you most clearly see yourself.” I continue this ritual of walking. I liken it to the spiritual journey of walking towards my own clearest image. I look for my blessing. I hope to bless others.
Embracing the spiritual life means taking one step closer to living into our best selves, for our own sake and for the sake of the communities around us. Our spiritual lives underlie our way of being in the world. Imagine a wheel. The center of the wheel is your spiritual condition. All the spokes branching off of the wheel are the ways in which you engage in the world. The condition of your spiritual center will have clear effects on the rest of your life- how you think about your place in the world, on what you base your worth, and the extent to which you care for your emotional and physical health.
I imagine the spiritual life as one infused with daily invitations for us to live life fully, faithfully and authentically, by paying greater attention to the details of our ordinary lives. The more we dare to deepen our spiritual wells the more our responsibilities and commitments to our external communities shift into clearer focus. But we can only learn how to love others well, to give to others well, if we first cultivate such learning within our own spirits. Our sense of significance, and the feelings and thoughts we associate with engaging the world are defining aspects of our working spirituality, aspects that manifest in our daily habits, life practices and disciplines. These give our lives a rhythm reflecting what we consider important. Identifying and naming the tenets of your current working spirituality is an important step towards figuring out the next steps in cultivating spiritual wellness. However, those who accept the ongoing invitation to attend to their spiritual lives must be prepared for challenges, trials, and the often uncomfortable demands of growth. Yet, the journey is never in vain.
As we learn to pay attention to our spiritual lives we can learn to recognize the “spiritual” in the everyday. Our deepening spiritual awareness will reorient our lives in ways that lead to deeper flourishing and increased desire to use our unique gifts and talents to help foster the wellness of those in our communities. Stay open because the spiritual life can be full of wily and wild surprises!
- List habits and practices consistent in your typical week, (anything from going to the gym to reading stories to your children.)
- Next to each item write a corresponding value.
- Look at the list of noted values. Is something missing? What habits or practices not currently on your list would correspond to the “missing” values also not on your list?
- What are you going to do about this?