This week I made the bold move to move to a country farmhouse outside of Providence. This has been part of my plans for the last 10 years and is the first of many steps forward. I always knew that when my son went off to college I’d decide what I’d do next.
Yet, this is easier said than done.
My life is changing in major ways now that it’s no longer organized around raising my son. I’m responsible only for myself for the first time in years. At times, this has left me feeling like I’m 20 years old and trying to figure out what I want from my life all over again.
Rather than coming up with a concrete plan, I’ve decided to explore different options and leave the door open to opportunities that feel right to me. I have no idea if I’ll spend my next 10 years on a farm or if I’ll quickly recognize my move as vestiges of a long-past dream.
One thing is for sure, though: open space and nature connects me to my spirituality and ultimately awakens my best self. So, one way or another, I’ll build the natural world into my plan.
Reconnect With Your Spiritual Self
There are times in our lives where the spiritual aspect of our experience moves to the side-line. And, for some of us, spirituality may not be part of our lives at all.
There are many reasons why this happens.
For some people, the religion they subscribed to ceased to make sense to them. In the process of putting down their religion they put down their spirituality as well. Many people who do this cannot see how spirituality and religion can exist separately.
For others, the day-to-day is so overwhelming that there is little room to attend to the spiritual aspects of their lives. As Maslow clearly outlined: we cannot begin to address our higher needs until we address our base needs for food, shelter, and water.
Some people have never had a connection to the spiritual. They were raised in an environment that did not honor the spiritual and so they did not learn how to connect with their internal sense of spirituality.
Spirituality means many things to many people. Some people might associate it with a magical feeling, others a state of inner calm, and others a sense of being connected. Personally, I define it as the knowledge that there is a consciousness to all things.
People often tap into their spirituality when in a specific state, such as how they feel after meditation, yoga or a sermon. They link their spiritual experience to an event and then seek that event with a measure of satisfaction. Yet, spirituality is not so much a goal as it is a process.
With this in mind, it becomes easier to reconnect with our spirituality in an everyday way, especially if we feel we’ve lost touch with it.
Let go of what doesn’t work so you can let in what does work
- If your religion no longer aligns with your beliefs, if you’re turned off by some of the atrocities committed in the name of religion, or if you can not put science on hold to believe a literal interpretation of the creation myth, put down these thoughts.
- Why? Because, despite the idea that faith requires you to accept the beliefs of your religion whole-cloth, most spiritual teachers think for themselves. Past atrocities made in the name of religion have less to do with faith and more to do with small-minded human behavior. Spirituality does not create harm to others. Hateful, fearful, and judgmental people do.
- I encourage you to look for what makes sense to you, what creates meaning for you, and what helps you be a better person. Make these things part of your spiritual life regardless of what they look like.
You’ve got something to learn from the disconnect
- Maybe you once felt very spiritually connected, but you do not feel that way now. When this happens, we can feel that we’ve lost something and we jump to all sorts of conclusions about what this means about us.
- Yet, our moments of spiritual disconnection are just as meaningful as our moments of spiritual connection. These difficult times have their own sweet reward and often teach us how to open more deeply to our spiritual truths.
- When we learn to surrender to our heart, reach toward higher ideals, and let go of our shallow needs our experience becomes more profound and meaningful. We learn that what we need to be deeply fulfilled is here and now in the present moment.
- Instead of looking for change, take a look at what you are resisting and see if you can embrace it.
Hit the pause button
- A moment of pause is infinitely important and almost always helpful.
- Simply put, if we stop and let what is happening around us sink into our consciousness, we reconnect to the truth of our experience. The only thing we need to do is to stop long enough to let this happen.
- We can stop in different ways. We can go on a retreat or spend a weekend at home being quiet. We can stop the raging of our anger and create space for love in our heart. We can stop the chatter of our mind and allow for more presence. Ideally, we can do all of these.
- If you don’t have time to pause your life, do what you can. Even brief pauses like stopping to take a few deep breaths can bring in a deeper connection to yourself and what is around you. Over time the effects will become noticeable.
Remember, spirituality is a process and it doesn’t come with dogma. So, open up, explore and find your own pathways to your spiritual connection.