Last weekend I participated in a women’s weekend retreat (Celebrating Women – Boulder Hot Springs). This was a new experience for me; and ten years ago I would have run away from it, believing everyone was crazy (because I was not connected to any part of my spirituality). I originally committed to attending because I was asked to present a workshop, but what I gained as a participant was equally if not more valuable for me.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, as with my Mom’s cancer scare (see previous blogs), where you go down into the depths of fear, and sometimes the curve ball brings you soaring above the clouds. That’s what this unexpected weekend experience did for me. And when it was complete, I felt spiritually “full”: full of life, full of love, full of energy, and full of me – all of me. I had forgotten how much I / we need experiences to re-energize, to re-create, to come back to our center with the help of others to bring us there.
Meditation and nature do this for me, but when I dive into myself with the help of others, it brings out the community feel, the connection between us, the caring for each other that I/we forget about when I’m busy running from one thing to the next. I call it being on the hamster wheel, and this was a weekend to step off of the hamster wheel and find out what is real. When we take time to “be” without doing, we are honoring ourselves, we are connecting with others, and we are being spiritually “fed.”
Spiritual food comes in many forms. Over the weekend we attended workshops of several topics including dance, sexuality, poetry, art, family relationships, and singing. We drummed together, and honored the sacred feminine in all of humanity, we supported each other with our hearts, and listened to the stories told from all stages of life. My favorite quote was from an 84 year old woman who said with a smile, “My life just keeps getting better!” We soaked in the hot springs and hiked in the hills.
Other forms of spiritual food can include sharing your true self with others (what you are thankful for, what you long for, what makes your heart sing, where you hold your pain), a community gathering that honors spirituality such as a church or fellowship, or attending a lecture on a topic that feeds you, such as loving kindness, living from the heart, opening to life, etc.
Getting spiritual food often times does not come in the form of our comfort zone, it encourages us to stretch outside of that zone, to expand beyond what we think is possible, to open the heart in a new way, or change a long held belief. It challenges us to step off the hamster wheel into who we truly are underneath all the thoughts, the beliefs, the stress, and the “busy-ness” of life.
Tips for being spiritually fed:
• Attend a community service such as a fellowship or church.
• Do something from your creative side such as art, dance, drumming, jewelry making, or woodworking (and doing it with others makes it that much more powerful!)
• Sing your heart out! Sing in the kitchen, sing in the car, join a choir or band, sing in a fellowship
• Join a meditation group. The support and community of a “sangha” is empowering!
• Attend a lecture, class, or workshop on a title that speaks to you, especially if you know it will bring you out of your comfort zone (notice if you feel like you should go, but are afraid to – that’s a signal that the topic is out of your comfort zone)
• Bring prayer into your day. This can be to anyone or anything, about anything. It need not be longer than a minute, but can be more time if desired.
• Read something spiritually inspiring. It could be a magazine, a book, a quote, an article, or a poem. They all contain something to feed us.
I encourage you to do more than one of these. Just reading books does not engage us with others, just dialoging does not access the creative side. But start with one if you do none, and add more with time. Enjoy!!
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
~Teilhard de Chardin
Categories: Health & Happiness