In 4:02 you’ll learn…
Why sometimes you have to hit rock bottom with physical or spiritual health before you decide to do something about it.
Why and how you have to keep practicing to reap the long-term benefits of spiritual wellness.
Why and how I practice what I’ve learned to fuel my power of peace.
Do you know someone who was diagnosed with a medical condition and decided, “I can’t live like this anymore,” so they changed practically everything in their lives to get better? Maybe that person is even you. When faced with a grim prognosis many people do whatever it takes to improve their physical health and get well. Some, will continue their new practices to keep from ever experiencing that situation again.
This is very similar to what happens with spiritual health. A catastrophic event or multiple distressing events occur and weaken our spirits. We’re confused, worried, sad, afraid. It gets to a point when we realize, “I can’t live like this anymore, something has to change.” In other words, like people faced with serious medical conditions, we have to recognize and make the conscious decision to improve our way of living, our existence.
Spiritual health to me, is how I live my life. It incorporates my beliefs, purpose, faith, and how I exist in the world. University scholars* describe it as, “combining a person’s ethics, values and morals…based on faith, hope, love, optimism and forgiveness.”
I had my catastrophic event in 2011, you can read more about it here. It was finally time for me to do whatever it took so I wouldn’t go through that again. My beloved Oprah showed up with “Life Class,” and introduced me to phenomenal teachers, stories, concepts and lessons. I believed I could make it.
Since then I’ve been introduced to more transformational teachers whose insights and lessons have been integrated into my practice. Their wisdom appears not only in challenging times but also in everyday situations. Having awareness and practicing what I’ve learned is what continues to fuel the power of peace in my daily life.
NOTE: I share stories about real people and real situations. But to protect privacy I change names and circumstances. However, the lessons are the same.
Recently I was with a group of friends I haven’t seen in 2-3 years. It was a time to get reacquainted and have lunch together on a sunny afternoon. I complimented my friend, Delia, on her lovely bracelet. It was quite unique with what looked to be delicately handcrafted silver charms. “Thank you,” Delia said. “My friend made it for me. Each charm represents a country I’ve visited.”
I asked Delia if her friend had a store on Etsy or how she gets her beautiful work into the world. Hesitantly and uncomfortably she replied, “Oh yeah, she does.” And then she said, “But this isn’t her work. She’s actually an engineer at a very prominent company.”
Here’s where my thoughts used to go: “An engineer at a prominent company. You’re right! That is something she can definitely be proud of. Come on, jewelry designing sounds more like a hobby.”
Spiritual Teacher Alert: Brené Brown
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change. It’s also the birthplace of joy, faith and connection. To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that.”
“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame.”
I said to Delia, “I think it’s wonderful that your friend is using her creativity, exploring her interests and putting her art out into the world.” I can’t explain the look on her face. You would have thought I said, “Well, I think your friend should wear a purple cowboy hat, gather up some frogs and fly to the moon!”
Delia composed herself and said, “Well my friend knew she had to design a simple bracelet, which I rarely wear, because she knows what I think about women who wear big jewelry.”
Here’s where my thoughts would have gone before: While gently tugging at my own big necklace,“Ummm, what’s wrong with women wearing big jewelry? Maybe you should consider wearing some jewelry, putting on a little make-up or dyeing your hair!”
Spiritual teacher alert: Marianne Williamson
“There is a feeling of inner peace that comes from total relinquishment of judgment. We don’t feel the need to change others…we can see, for whatever reason, the total beauty of another person…”
“…We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
This is what I mean by having awareness and practicing what I’ve learned from my wise teachers. Daily, I’m faced with the choice of repeating what I’ve done for years, or practicing the tools and living the lessons that fuel my power of peace.
Like changing the way we eat or incorporating a new exercise regimen takes effort and persistence, so does the practice of spiritual wellness.
We can’t read a book or watch a series of videos on anti-inflammatory eating, buy all the recommended groceries, prepare one week of meals and then expect to feel better long-term. It has to be done consistently.
Likewise, we cannot attend a workshop, listen to a podcast and follow a spiritual teacher on Twitter expecting to reap long-term results.
We need deep practice.
But we have to want the change so badly that we’re willing to do the work.
If you’re new to spiritual health and wellness, here are some of my favorite teachers who’ve helped fuel my power of peace.
Martha Beck – Steering by Starlight
Oprah – What I Know for Sure
Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
Marianne Williamson – The Age of Miracles
Gabby Bernstein – Miracles Now
Byron Katie – Loving What Is
If you have a favorite spiritual teacher whose words resonated with you in the past, listen to them again, with an open heart and mind.
“What do I do next?”
1. Share what you’re learning. Talk with open-minded and trusted family, friends, coworkers, and friendly shoppers at Trader Joe’s.
2. If you’re not ready to talk about it yet, you can engage with likeminded people on social media. For example, in Miracles Now, Gabby Bernstein provides hashtags and lesson quotes that can connect you with people on similar spiritual journeys. #spiritjunkie
3. Consider an interactive online course like Brené Brown’s, The Gifts of Imperfection, presented by Oprah’s Lifeclass. I’m moving through this course right now, slowly but surely, with my daughter and granddaughter.
4. Perhaps a membership service like Get More Gabby.
5. Listen to the messages, I mean Audible. For the most part when I tell you I’ve read a book, it means I listened to it. If I own a physical book from a favorite teacher, I also own it on Audible. With the exception of meditating or watching Downton Abbey or Drunk History, it is rare to find me sitting in silence. If I’m cooking, doing laundry, showering, or working, I’m also listening to a trusted teacher.
6. Search for image quotes from your favorite teachers. Save them as your phone’s lock or home screen, print them out and put them up around your living space, even in your car.
7. Here’s one of my favorite methods for practice, particularly when the lesson is new. Speak it out loud. When you’re getting ready for work in the morning, driving home in the evening, or putting away groceries, a lesson thought will come to your mind. Use your phone’s voice memo app and record your thoughts. Speaking it aloud, applying the lesson to a situation in your own life, makes it part of you.
8. Acknowledge what you’re feeling, in your body. For me, peace feels like a deep inhale that could go on forever. My body feels warm, like little sparkles of light are shining through it.
9. Once you’ve gotten more comfortable with your spiritual journey, share your resources. Pay it forward. Pass on the book with all its highlighted marks and sticky notes to someone who looks like they are where you were. Email the website link, private or direct message the inspirational quote.
10. As you have more insights and longer periods of peace, practice gratitude. Life will still happen. People you love will get cancer, (my cousin was just diagnosed with stage 4), friends will have emergency surgery (my lifelong friend just did last Friday), and legal issues will come up for you or people you care about (I’m going to court next week to support someone). Recall how you handled situations like these before you practiced spiritual wellness consistently. Be grateful for the calm you now have in the face of the storm.
Ready for even more freedom and peace? I can help. Let’s talk.
Love, light and peace to you.
Oh, one more… #11: When you can, share physical space with your favorite teachers!
*Spiritual Health definition: Floyd, Mimms, Yelding, Alabama State University