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The S Word: Cracking Spirituality

Spirituality.

It’s been a buzz word in popular culture for over a century, inspiring myriads of books, movies, and philosophies, as well as curiosity, skepticism, and, even, fear in those left out of the spiritual loop.

Spirituality, like anything new, can overwhelm those on the outside looking in. Many confuse spirituality with religion—which can be a turn off—or they worry that it’s way too obtuse or complex to practice daily. Cults of “spiritual” folks with bad ideas don’t give spirituality a very good rap, either.

But if you’re one of those people that gets a little shaky around the S word, hear me out for a few paragraphs. Spirituality shouldn’t make you shrink (or shudder or squirm).

Despite it’s wispy name, spirituality doesn’t have to be esoteric—it’s really all about you and your relationship, or connection, with yourself and the world around you. You are made up of mind, body, and spirit and it’s important to nourish all three in order to live harmoniously. Balanced spiritual practices can help you do that.

Let me stop right there.

If you’re beginning to wander, I want to make one thing clear. Spirituality is not about mastering a new vocabulary or adopting a particular philosophy. In other words, if you’re not a fan of heady lectures or required reading, never fear. Spirituality isn’t a class or a book club. It’s actually stuff that you already know.

You may not believe me but you are a spiritual guru–you may just need a nudge or two as you unlock that part of yourself. Spirituality isn’t a fancy doctrine that you must study and memorize. It’s a practice based in intuition that helps people get in touch with the knowledge they already posses naturally with the aim that each individual be his or her own guide.

You are fully equipped to lead your own life. Here are a few activities to remind you of that:

Every Day Ways to Practice the S Word

  • Play with a child or pet without multi-tasking
  • Listen to beautiful music
  • Tend to a plant
  • Take a walk in nature and admire the sights you see along the way
  • Practice yoga, jogging, or tai-chi
  • Write in a journal and try a few minutes of stream of consciousness
  • De-clutter your living space

Not so scary, right?

When you’re just starting out with the S word, the point is presence—engaging in activities that allow you to be in the moment instead of fixating on the past or the future. If you’re playing with your child, for example, you should be fully engaged—not thinking about work or chores or family issues. If you’re practicing yoga, experience each pose as you are stretching into it instead of fixating on the next.

Presence is like a bubble bath for your whole life. When you’re present, your mind stops chattering, creating an effect called serenity. And, serenity is addictive, which explains why spirituality has been such a popular buzz word for so long. It’s easy to get hooked.

If serenity sounds good to you, try a few items on the above list, and challenge yourself to be present when you do—no drifting, stressing, planning. Spirituality is about observing, not steering yourself. Listening to, not lecturing yourself.

You don’t need a title, a diploma, or any specific text to start experiencing the S word for yourself. So, what are you waiting for? Make spirituality your household word. Live your life. Here. Now. Today.

(Hope you enjoy the side effects of joy, peace, and fulfillment.)

 

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As Featured In Elle Magazine