Today we are talking about how to deepen your spirituality on your own terms. If you’re someone who would say “What are you talking about, I’m not spiritual at all,” then this video may not be for you. It’s not my job to tell my clients how or what to believe. It’s my job to support them in figuring out what their own beliefs are when their spirituality is something that’s important to them. What I frequently hear from adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s is, “I was raised with a certain set of beliefs and I know those don’t fit for me as an adult, but I don’t know exactly what I believe now.” A lot of my clients tell me that they do consider themselves to be spiritual individuals, but that part of themselves has been under nurtured recently. They are the ones who actually set the goal of getting back in touch with their own spirituality as they work with me. It has to come from your agenda, not from somebody else’s.
I am someone who was raised in a very specific, strict religion and I use the word “religion” separately than I use the word “spirituality.” For a lot of us, religion is associated with an organization and some of the dogma and rules that come with it. By the time I got to college, I knew that just didn’t fit for how I saw the world and I was happy to put my belief systems on a back burner for quite some time. However, crisis and tragedy struck my family a decade later and it was no longer working for me to have my beliefs suspended. What was playing out in my life was so heartbreaking and gut-wrenching that I needed to be able to make some spiritual or existential sense of it, and I didn’t have a framework that fit for me. So, I went looking for something that would fit.
Spirituality as a Patch Work Quilt
I had actually been told back then that if you’re going to believe something you have to believe it all or nothing. You have to subscribe to 100% of it or none of it at all. If any of you have ever received that message, let me be the first to tell you that it’s not true. I would like to encourage you to go out and look for ways that you can create your own eclectic blend, your own definition of what you believe spiritually, and what are the practices or rituals that you choose that fit for you. I really do think that we can pick and choose. Maybe it’s a belief from Buddhism, and a lovely value from Christianity, and a community oriented practice from Judaism. I believe that like a patch work quilt, we can take the pieces that work for us and weave them together.
If you are someone who would like to deepen your own spirituality, however you define it, I have a few suggestions for you.
The first thing that you’re going to want to do is to start to create some kind of rituals. Maybe for you that is going to a church or maybe that doesn’t fit for you. Perhaps spending a few quiet moments in the morning every day participating in meditation is more your style. Again, you get to define what it is, but you’re going to need some practices and some rituals.
The second thing I would encourage you to do is to put something positive into your head. I always recommend to my clients to find an inspirational book, something that’s written by a thought leader, or something that’s in the vein of things that resonate with their values and beliefs. I don’t care if it takes you an entire year to finish that book. If you are putting 1 paragraph of something positive into your head on a daily basis, it’s going to help shift your perspective because one of the things that supports a lot us is when we start to look at life’s events through a different lens – that spiritual lens. Also, this area is full of opportunities to see public speakers and accomplished authors when they come through town so another way you can accomplish this is by attending those events. You could also find a conference to go away to for the weekend – make sure it is something that will really feed you.
Finally, I’m going to encourage you to find your tribe. One of the things that organized religion has really provided over the centuries is a sense of community that many can find helpful and of course in some situations it can be hurtful. Again, you get to decide if that tribe is your Sunday morning yoga class, if they’re the people in a meditation group that you sign up for online, or the people in an organized religion. Finding people who have similar beliefs and values and finding ways to be in community with them can also really deepen that beautiful aspect of your life.
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