“The only journey is the one within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
I want to share the plans I have to bring my spiritual expansion to the next level. I’ve learned many profound concepts over the years. But I was unsure of how I could practically apply them in my life to facilitate growth. It took me several years of contemplation and learning to find the actions I need to take in order to deepen my journey. These tools are unique to my path but I hope that they will give others some ideas. These strategies and tools are in no particular order of importance.
- Meditation – Meditation is a critical tool in the effort to dive deep and connect with my inner world. I have used meditation for many years and it has provided me with many wonderful results including reduction in stress and improved sleep. From the silence I have heard my inner voice much clearer. I look forward to deepening my meditation practice in the next year.
- Journaling – I always wondered why therapists, spiritual teachers and other experts encouraged journaling. Now I see that it’s a powerful tool in my efforts to connect with myself. I’ve also learned that keeping a gratitude journal goes a long way in shifting my attitude to a place of appreciation and joy.
- Walking – My commitment to personal growth has permeated all aspects on my life. I have always gravitated to walking or hiking for exercise. It gives me more time for contemplation.
- Yoga – I have never fully dedicated myself to a yoga practice but I have tried it many times. To me yoga beautifully combines spiritual practice and exercise. I know that it is time for me to start a serious yoga practice.
- Teal Swan’s book Shadows Before Dawn – As I mentioned in my last blog I’ve learned that it’s important to pick a spiritual teaching and fully commit to it. At this point in my journey I find the work of Teal Swan to resonate the best with me. The great news is her book is full of exercises! I’ll do them and share with you the insights I gain from following her process.
- Vegan/Raw Food Diet – I’ve been interested in vegan and raw food diets for years. I’ve tried to follow a vegan diet in the past but didn’t feel good. I know realize that I was eating way too many grains and it was making me sick. I’m still drawn to a plant based diet. About a month ago I asked myself what I could do to deepen my spiritual practice. The need to stop eating animal products immediately surfaced. So, despite my past struggles I’m ready to try again. This has always been something I admired in others and eating this way really speaks to my soul. So, I must give it my all. I hope that I can make this a permanent change.
- Time in Nature – I aim to spend as much time as I can in nature, especially near water. I can just feel it feed my soul. There is a level of silence and peace I feel in nature. My goal is to take a conscious approach to my time outside. To seek out opportunities to sit with myself in nature.
- Minimalism/Simplicity – About a year and a half into my journey I was overcome with a strong desire to rid myself of most of my possessions. So I did just that and now I have about a quarter of the things I owned at the beginning. This is a work in progress. I’m working to simplify all aspects of my life not just minimize my personal belongings.
- EMDR Therapy – As I mentioned previously, I spent a lot of time in therapy. It was all well worth it because it was a therapist that pointed me in the direction that led to my moment of awakening and my path of spiritual growth. My time in therapy is almost done but there is one last step. I have just started the process of EMDR. EMDR International Association describes it as: “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.” I will share how this process helps me to reconnect with myself, heal my deep personal traumas and wounds.
- Blogging – This blog is the result of another powerful pull I felt for a long time. I have had a strong desire to share my story with the world and pass on my experiences. So, this blog is a first step to fulfill my desire to share my journey with others.
- Growing my Hair – When I started to listen to myself more deeply some desires kept coming up and I could not ignore them. I always wanted to grow my hair long. I always talked myself out of it and then regretted that decision. This seems to be a frivolous thing, but recently I realize I have to honor my desires no matter how superficial they may seem. Then I watched a YouTube video by Ralph Smart entitled “Does Your Hair Have A Greater Purpose?” and suddenly I realized that I need to take that desire more seriously.
- Find Community – One of the major causes of misery for me in my life has been a lack of community and isolation. The feeling of being connected to those with similar values brings me a great joy. Since joy is what I’m after, I aim to get involved in communities that connected to my passions. I recently joined the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Society in Burlington, Vermont. It is a wonderful, welcoming community and I feel very grateful for its presence in my life. I’ve also decided to seek out other communities. I’m very interested in getting involved in the Vegetarian and Vegan community. In fact, I just got off the phone with a fellow UU member who is involved with vegan activism. I’m so excited to meet wonderful people like this.
It is an extremely empowering feeling to have a wide range of tools, strategies and resources to tap into on my spiritual journey. I can’t wait to share all my insights and experiences in this blog. I have two blogs I plan to write in the next week, so please stay tuned. I hope some of these tools inspire you to come up with your own action plan for spiritual growth.
Have a beautiful day!