There is much talk about spirituality today. However, there is not much sharing of the lived spiritual experience, how to deepen a spiritual connection with yourself, or about what brings you to life.
The exception, of course, is if you are reading blogs on elephant journal. Talking about things and experiencing them are two different things.
How many events have you attended? How many books have you read? It seems like everyone is telling you to do something. Rather than telling you what to do, let me offer a suggestion of something you can do daily—something you can learn from, adapt and turn into a practice that is your own. And maybe you can share what works for you.
Start to tune into your body and to what makes you feel alive. You are likely to notice a spiritual connection that has been there all the time, one that you may not have noticed.
What I suggest here is a guide, a kick start. Once you start tuning in and listening to your body, you can work out more ways to feel a sense of being alive, and be connected to something that is bigger than who we know ourselves our to be.
To begin, I suggest to the people I coach to ask themselves: what tickles you from the inside out? What brings a smile to your face? What touches you? What do you feel drawn to that gives you a glow? Do you know?
It sounds easy, but this can be difficult, as many people have forgotten how to notice what they are feeling. We have dulled our ability to feel when everyone wants us to think. Thinking is being smart. Many of us were brought up in an era where we did not talk or express our feelings, so we shut down how we felt. How can we know what makes us feel good when we have cut ourselves off from our feelings?
We often do not want to feel pain or tension, and we cut ourselves off from these feelings. The problem is, if you cut yourself off from feeling pain you also cut yourself off from happiness. They are at two ends of the spectrum; you cannot have one without the other. The feelings of pain, sadness or tension are messages from the wisdom in our body that we are not doing something that is healthy. If we ignore these messages, there are often serious effects on our physical and mental health.
The media promotes addictions to things that line other people’s pockets with money, but leave us feeling empty.
Addictions to sugar lead to being overweight and having health problems. Addictions to shopping for short-term happiness lead to tension over having to pay for the shopping. Addictions to T.V. lead to complaining about having no time to do anything that brings us peace and happiness.
If you don’t know how you feel when someone asks what makes you happy from the inside out, or what you are feeling right now, start with a regular practice of tuning into your body.
To tune in, do a body scan at any time during the day. Doing this many times during the day, can help re-awaken your sense of feeling what brings you to life.
You can start at the top of your head and scan all over your body, or you can start with whatever place in your body you first noticed. Let’s start with that. Think about tuning into your body. Which part of your body came to mind first?
Now, without trying to change anything, notice and feel what is happening. Feel the sensations, tightness, temperature, and sounds. What image do you have of that part of your body? Is it spongy? Stretchy? Like a rock?
Now take your awareness to another part of your body. You might feel like you are paying attention to the feeling in your back, then you realize you are noticing your belly rumble, or your feet feel sore. Just keep noticing where your attention is being drawn as you scan your body for sensations.
Go back to the part of your body that you first noticed. What is happening now? Explore the sensations. Has anything changed without you doing anything? You are probably starting to give those bodily sensations the name of a feeling. What is it you are feeling? Tired, tense, alive, happy, relaxed, dull?
Whatever feeling it is, notice what you were doing when you first started paying attention to your body. Is there anything that triggered that feeling? Is it in the space you are in now? Or were you thinking about something, or someone? Or an event? If so, explore that.
If you are feeling great, peaceful and happy you may want to do more. Think more about whatever it was that created that feeling. If you are feeling tense or negative, explore what you need to give yourself to release the tension. There are more exercises for what to do with the feelings once you have started noticing them. Have fun exploring what tickles you on the inside out and brings you to life!
Deborah Lange is a writer and personal and professional coach, facilitator and guide for accessing emotional and spiritual wisdom. Her journey has taken her down many paths. On each path she has deepened her own wisdom, as well as her ability to guide others to find their own truth and give themselves the courage and the freedom to live a full life. From a teacher, to a consultant, a housewife, a mother, a caregiver for her dying mother, a mosaic artist, a facilitator, a gardener, a researcher, an investor, a roadie for an Irish harpist, and more. Now as she grows into eldership she is sowing the seeds she has gathered of truth and wisdom that can help others on their journey as she grows into her new role as author. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find her on Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter.
Editor: Anne Clendening
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