When's the last time you shook up your spiritual practice? Just like you feel great when you start a new workout program or a new way of eating, the same can be true for our spiritual selves. Perhaps you've been relying on an outside source to fill that need — a yoga teacher, an organized religion, or favorite writer that you look to for guidance. Maybe it's time to shake up your usual go-to tricks and try something new.
Here are some ways to re-ignite that place deep inside that yearns for connection to your soul and to something greater than ourselves.
1. Get out in nature!
Being in the woods, on the beach, or in a beautiful garden feels amazing, and there's a good reason for that. Nature connects all of our senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch to an entire ecosystem that is bursting with life and beauty. It is hard to not be in awe while lying on the forest floor and looking up at an ancient oak, or smelling a field of sweet grass, or letting the sound of the crashing waves lull you into a deep sleep.
2. Speak kindly to yourself early in the morning and at night right before bed.
As we transition from wakeful consciousness to a subconscious state, our mind is open and ready to receive messages. What we feed our subconscious during these times can have a profound effect on our lives. Choose a positive affirmation to repeat silently as you drift off to sleep or when you first wake up. Keep it sweet and simple!
3. Connect with animals.
Animals share our planet yet live in a completely different state than we do. There are no egos, no agendas, or manipulative behavior on their part (except for certain cats). They simply live life in a blissful state of joy and wellbeing. They find happiness in a spot of sun on the floor or a cool lick of an ice cube. They trust that they're always enough, with no need to prove anything to anyone. Playing with your pet or other animals allows you to soak up that intuitive energy and reminds us that life is supposed to be pretty simple.
4. Listen deeply to others.
Listen with your eyes, your ears, your heart and your entire being. Giving someone your full attention and presence is a powerful gift that will be much appreciated. Put down the phone, turn your body toward them and look into their eyes. Let your mind and heart absorb what they're sharing with you rather than planning your response. It's ok not to say anything at all and simply be the receiver; sometimes that's exactly what's needed.
Remember the heart-pounding excitement you felt as a child over a snowfall? Grabbing your sled and heading outside no matter how cold it was? Your body, mind and spirit all focused on one central point: having fun. Do you remember warm summer evenings, lingering outside while the summer's first fireflies began to light up the night sky as you chased them in the dark? Getting lost in a fun, or even silly, activity can bring out a side of us we seldom have the opportunity to enjoy as adults. The innocence of mindless play reminds us not to take life too seriously.
Whatever it is that connects you to your spirit is something that can become a part of your everyday life. It doesn't have to be saved for certain days of the week or special holidays. Celebrate your spirituality as often as you can and share the benefits with others!