Spirituality For All Of Us
Today I have a treat for y’all. This post is a little different than what we normally have here at Crazy Whole Life, but I hope it’s the start of great things to come. Because today you aren’t going to be hearing from just me, you’ll be hearing from three wise women. All three are rooted in their own spiritual tradition. Each of them has something unique to offer us.
In a world as deeply divided as ours this sort of chorus is important. Because as you will see in a few moments their answers shine a light on the diverse reality that is our lives. There isn’t just one answer, or one way of being spiritual. There isn’t just one way to connect to the Divine, or to grow and mature in your own life.
And we need to be reminded of that. We need to remember that the Universe is a very, very big place and that there is room in it for more than we can possibly imagine.
I posed the same question to all three of our contributors today.
“What has been the single most important thing/discovery/technique for your spiritual health and well being?”
Spiritual health has become sort of my crusade in the last few years. I’m convinced that a great deal of our societal dis-ease is directly related to our lack of spiritual health, as a society and as individuals. So this question mattered to me when I posed it, and I have been delighted to see the wisdom that I get to share with you all today. So without further ado, let’s do this thing.
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
I define spiritual practice as a thing that you do on a regular basis, and when you do it with the right set of intentions, it changes you, your relationships, how you understand your place in the world, and your connection with the divine (the universe, the transcendent, the holy, whatever word works for you.) There are a lot of things that can be a spiritual practice–prayer, meditation, yoga, writing “morning pages” or in your journal, making art, long walks in nature–even parenting, if you have the right set of lenses on!
But the thing that’s critical is that it’s something you do on a regular basis. Every day, if possible, or at least 3 times a week. Just like it’s hard to stay in shape physically if you go running three times a year, the nourishment–and transformation–of a spiritual practice only happens if you put in the time and make it part of your everyday life. It doesn’t have to be an hour every day–even setting aside 5 or 10 minutes can often do the thing, depending on what your practice is.
The Rev. Erin Jean Warde
The single most important discovery for my spiritual health and well being has been listening to my body. My body is wise. It is always trying to give me hints toward wholeness. For most of my life (and even a few times today!) I chose not to listen. However, when I do listen, I am 100% of the time invited into a better state of feeling, mind, body, and soul. I struggled with how to answer this question, because I told myself 57 times that it was a simple answer to a complex question, and that people wouldn’t be reading a blog to learn something so obvious. But you see, it isn’t obvious to the American culture at all.
Ancient cultures better recognized the connection between the body and the soul, and in the Christian tradition we even think they were so mixed up in one another that God had a body in Jesus. The problem with bodies is that they aren’t loud; they only whisper wisdom, and anything whispered can be misheard. “Rest, laugh, serve” can sound a lot like “hustle, woman up, self-preserve.”
Thankfully, my body knows better, and I know better when I check in with my body to hear its wisdom. I feel even better than that when I take the advice she gives me. I wish I had five tips for cultivating this practice, but for me it is an act of presence and consciousness that I have grown used to only after a nudge from the Holy Spirit for every hair on my head.
The Rev. Erin Jean Warde is an associate rector for Christian Formation, and a Certified Daring Way Facilitator through studying the work of Brene Brown. Her priestly vocation includes the calling to write, and she will be launching a writing website in early 2018 (which I will be sharing with you all). She lives in Dallas, TX where she enjoys worshiping, preaching, reading, research, learning how to cook, and meeting new people. You can find her on her own blog www.erinjeanwarde.com and Instagram.
The most important shift in my life happened when I began a morning gratitude practice.
Upon waking, as I lay in bed and my eyes take in the first glimpse of light, my ears tune into the purrs of my feline
company and my body begins its subtle movements, I place one hand on the heart and one on the belly and drop into intentional breathing. As I breathe, I begin the process of inviting into my mind’s eye people, places, experiences, things, and/or moments of connection. I allow myself to feel in deep appreciation of each one. This begins the process of cultivating vibrations of joy and love, which I then lovingly place into every cell of my body.
Sometimes, all I have the energy for is to focus on the life-giving nature of the breath.
To close, I imagine cloaking myself in protective white light.
I reside in this space until I feel complete, usually about 5 minutes.
Thank you for allowing me to share my practice with you.
Lorraine Perez is a yoga and meditation teacher since 2012. She is a lover of life and dance and play. She is a native of Sonoma County California. For readers who would like to help the fire recovery in Santa Rosa, Lorraine recommends North Bay Fire Relief.
And now we turn to you all. What is your best spiritual tool, or the one thing that you have learned that has helped your spiritual life the most? Drop a comment below and share your own ahah moment, or your questions. I’d love to hear from you and I know our panelists would as well!