spiritual


What is it about people who radiate peace? There is a strong sense of conviction about them, a compassionate respect for others, clarity of thought and communication, and a refreshing sense of humor.

What seems to be consistent with a peaceful aura is a strong belief system. it is a conviction that emanates from every breath that is taken, every thought that is experienced, every feeling that is felt, every action that is performed. This conviction is the grace of God.

The seeds of peace begin with a belief in God. The seeds grow as we become more rooted in our convictions as children of God. As we mature into hardy “perennials”, we experience the peace of our beings by living according to His will.

There is a simple prayer that directs us towards peace: “I AM LISTENING.” To keep our eyes and ears open to His word, His direction, His nudging, affords a sense of calm, even in the eye of a relational storm.

Listen.

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We are all familiar with walking down the street and coming to a crossroads with a stoplight and the direction of “walk, don’t run” flashing when it’s our turn to cross the street.  What a wonderful saying for our journeys through life.

How often does it happen that before you know it, a day has passed and you don’t remember the feelings or impact your actions or experiences have had on you?  You have gotten a host of things done off your to-do list and start preparing your list for the next day.  Maybe a sense of accomplishment is felt, but what was your experience of this day?  What opportunities did you miss or what challenges were skipped because of racing through that checklist of “productivity”?

I do not discount how busy our schedules can be and the errands and chores that require attention on a daily basis.  But, consider this.  We all have been driving down a city street, noticing and trying to avoid the vehicle that weaves in and out of traffic to get ahead of everyone else.  How many of you are aware that more often than not you catch up with the hurried driver at the next stoplight?

The point is that we get nowhere fast when we race through life.  We miss the nuances, the beauty, the life lessons, the seeds for wisdom whenever we hurry, destined to repeat the same mistakes, miss the important messages, and feel drained of energy.  There is no finish line to cross, no person to beat, no stopwatch to monitor.

Life truly is not a race to be won, but a journey to be enjoyed.  Make sure you see all the sights:  Walk, Don’t Run!

Balance … what a great word.  What do you see when you say that word to yourself?  It often changes, based on our own life experiences and needs.  Here are some of my visualizations:  a teeter-totter; the scales of justice; a person on a high wire; even the bubble in a carpenter’s level.

Whatever you see, connect your visualization to your sense of self.  You can feel a sense of balance as you focus on your breathing as you visualize:  inhale through your nose (fill your belly) and exhale through your mouth, taking twice the time it took to inhale.  Do this three times as you are viewing your mind’s picture of balance.  This is a simple exercise to start to right the ship when you are feeling yourself off-kilter.

Balance of the self takes into account these life areas:  physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.  Each area requires attending to in order for us to maintain that delicate state of balance as human beings.  Let’s look at each one of these.

Physically, take care of yourself.  The simple prescription is to eat right and exercise.  Although you can subscribe to a weight management program like Weight Watchers or work out at the local gym, the formula simply includes eating in moderation and moving (walking, swimming, etc.).

Mentally, stay active.  Use your brain cells.  Learn something new every day.  Have an opinion (whether you share it or not).  Studies show that the theory, “use it or lose it,” applies to those cells under our skullcaps!

Emotionally, be sure to be the adult you are when you are experiencing and/or expressing your feelings.  As adults, emotions are kept in appropriate perspective so we don’t overreact in situations.  Keep in mind that emotions are to be used as messages to the self, from the self, about the self.  They are not to run the show and dictate our thoughts and behaviors.  They are to be used purely for information about the self.

Socially, it is important that we have connection with other adults in our lives.  We are social beings.  That said, we don’t have to be social butterflies.  But, we do need to have that adult interaction regularly.  This can be met by contact with coworkers, family members, friends, and/or more formal social groups (bowling league, softball team, book club, etc.).

Spiritually, we have a need to know what life is all about; what our purpose is; where we are headed; why things happen the way they do; etc.  This life area is personal.  Each of us defines what spirituality means, whether it is participating in an organized religion, feeling a connection to the universe, or defining your higher power internally.  Throughout our adult lives, we will experience our personal spiritual journeys.

Balance.  What a great word.  Know that we can all get there.  Staying there requires daily maintenance of these major life areas.  So, take care of you … the enrichment balance brings to life is immeasurable.