What does it mean to be spiritual, to invest in your wellness, to pursue self-help; what do these phrases imply? And how do we measure, define, truly understand and most importantly live these concepts?
I dare not even attempt to define spirituality nor what it means to be a spiritual person, for these phrases are entirely subjective and open to so much interpretation. As a spiritual seeker and a wellness coach, however, my intention is to expand my understanding of the spiritual path and thereby help to clarify the topic for myself and for others.
At times over the years I have felt both confused and overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of wellness, self-help, and spiritual practices available. Although I am always curious to learn more, I too am a questioner—skeptical and hesitant of any new ideas that may prevent me from living in alignment with my core values and my ultimate purpose.
As important as it is to be infinitely curious about personal growth, we do need to be selective and choose to embrace only those ideas that truly resonate. We must be careful not to get caught up in what is hot or trendy.
All too often in the spiritual and self-help world we get swept away by the promise of a better life—of a more fulfilling future, and we find ourselves getting lost in expectation and endless to-do lists. This can feel more intimidating than empowering, thereby defeating the purpose of this journey.
For soon enough new ideas beg to become new habits and practices that can begin to feel like chores and assignments, which we feel pressured to add into our daily lives. If this is the prescription for success—the road to happiness—then we feel compelled to do whatever it takes and all that is required in order to achieve it.
Some of my spiritual practices include: prayer, gratitude, meditation, writing, visualization, empowered statements, tapping, and healthy eating. I used to think that they all had to happen daily in order for me to grow into my best self and live my best life. At times, when life became too busy and complicated, I would criticize myself for my less-than-perfect spiritual practice.
Yes, self-care is critical and should never be questioned. But, what we do need to question is the how—how to nurture ourselves daily in a way that feels comforting, supportive, healing, and right for us.
In her book, White Hot Truth, Danielle Laporte writes, “Even with steady devotion to your growth, your practices will ebb and flow. Some days you’re going to be riding high…other days, you’re just doing what it takes not to feel like shit. Be your kind of devotee, your kind of Light chaser. Worship what you love and love the way you worship.”
The self-help journey that you define for yourself, your spiritual practice, your investment in your wellness needs to be your very own.
Don’t seek out formulas for success that are measurable and quantifiable for others, as they don’t take your lifestyle into consideration. Your success story, your truth is about nourishing all of you—mind, body, and spirit—your way! You get to determine the quantity, quality, and daily dosage of practices you want to integrate into your life to find meaning and fulfillment.
There is no exact science to this journey. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. But what is scientifically proven is that the more you apply the lifestyle habits and practices that work for you and serve you best—the more you invest in your wellness and self-care in this way, the greater your chances to thrive and flourish.
You need to build a relationship with your practices that allows you to be gentle and compassionate with yourself instead of demanding and judgmental. Consciously commit to an ongoing practice that can fluctuate and remain open to change. Choose practices that feel liberating instead of confining—empowering rather than intimidating.
For example, I pray and meditate daily because it feels good and comforting. When I miss a day and notice the busyness taking over, I can feel the difference and I dislike that feeling.
As much as I respect all of my wellness practices, I cannot possibly commit to all of them daily, so I pick and choose, as I want. And as much as I respect my healthy diet, there are days I choose to break the rules for my own personal pleasure.
The spiritual path is far clearer to me now and much less intimidating, because I finally understand this essential truth: I cannot live a meaningful and purposeful life trying to do only what I should or need to do. I have to take ownership of my choices and also consider what I want to do—what feels right for me on any given day.
We get to choose our very own wellness practice. Here’s what Danielle Laporte has to say about some of her practices, “I’ve had similar push-pull-despise-adore relationships with meditation, yoga, and clean eating. Curious and resistant. Then resistance melts into affection, then affection turns into commitment. I’ve learned to follow the pull, rather than obey the push.”
As you build your very own wellness practice, commit to following your heart, as it will always lead you to your truth.