I don't know about you, but I often find that there is a distinct gap between what I feel spiritually and how I live on a day-to-day basis. Whilst I may know about angels and crystals and yoga and meditation and the power of positive thinking and any other number of ways in which to connect to both my higher self and what I consider to be the Divine, I am pretty bad at integrating these things into my everyday life.
Some days I am better than others. Some days I start with a meditation or yoga sequence and find that no matter what happens throughout the day I am able to maintain that centre of calm that enables me to see beyond the daily grind. But most of the days I can't, and I find this is even harder now that I have a child than it ever was before.
I think that, when you really look at how incredibly busy our lives become once we have kids, it is no wonder that finding time in our day for whatever spiritual practise we enjoy can feel so impossible. Gone are the days when we can dedicate a good chunk of our time to whatever we feel we need at that time, or at least gone are the days when we can do this without sacrificing some other essential part of our day.
But what I am finding is that there are many little ways in which we can bring our spirituality into our daily lives, ways which do not require vast amounts of time or energy. And the best part about this is that it enables us to share our spiritual practice with our children, because they can be squeezed in to the daily routines we already have.
So today I wanted to share with you five different ways in which we incorporate spirituality into our everyday lives. They may or may not suit you, but I hope that they give you some inspiration for bringing your own unique spiritual practice into your life as a family too.
1. Say thanks for the food on your table
Having grown up in a non-religious family, saying grace before eating is not something I am used to by any means. In fact Tim and I often think we should do it, but it just isn't habit for us yet. That being said, when we do say thanks for the food on our table we find that it gives us a great understanding of just how many blessings we have in our lives.
No matter how many difficulties we are facing, how many things we feel we are lacking, whenever we stop to say thanks for the food we are about to eat we are reminded of just how much we have. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, a family who loves us, jobs that pay a decent wage, a free education for WB, access to healthcare whenever we need it, the list goes on!
This simple act of gratitude sets our hearts and minds in a better place, and all from just a few moments in our day.
2. Dress yourself in ways that reflect who you are
Now, before you dismiss this suggestion, let me tell you that on the days I work I have to wear a uniform, so I know that it is not always possible to choose the clothes you wear. But that doesn't mean that you cannot choose to wear items that mean something to you. If you do not have the freedom to change your outer appearance you can still draw comfort from any number of smaller (sometimes hidden) items.
If you find colour therapy important it is so easy to choose a certain colour of underwear or vest or socks that represent your mood or the support you need that day. Or if you're interested in crystal therapy, why not choose a crystal to carry each day. I now have a specially made "net" that allows me to wear a crystal around my neck, but I have been known to shove a small one in my bra or a larger one in my pocket in the past.
If you have no interest in colours or crystals, perhaps you have a favourite tie that means something to you, a gift from a special person that keeps your grounded. The same can be true of a necklace or any other type of jewellery. Sometimes it is not so much what the item is as what it represents to you. And by choosing to wear that item, you are choosing to carry that energy around with you throughout the day without any extra effort on your behalf.
For me this works so well when I am feeling especially tired or fragile. If I have to deal with a draining situation at work, I can remind myself that I am not alone and that things will be okay by simply touching the crystal I wear.
3. Choose your "car music" wisely
I don't drive and walk pretty much everywhere, but I still get lifts whenever I can because sometimes I just don't feel like walking. And on those occasions I am so glad that Tim has chosen his car music wisely. You see, he used to commute a lot and even now he drives most places as he is unable to walk long distances. But instead of simply listening to the radio (which means he has no control over what he hears) or blasting out some rock music, he generally listens to a selection of music that lifts his soul.
Our car playlist currently includes Tales from The Crow Man by Damh the Bard, a couple of CDs by Deva Premal and Miten, and a "best of" compilation from Adiemus. Each one of these helps us to connect to something deeper within ourselves as we sing along or simply have it playing in the background as we chat. It never fails to settle nerves on the way to work or calm our aggravations at the end of a long day.
So, instead of allowing someone else to choose your playlist for you, why not make a conscious choice about the music that calms you and lifts your soul? Just remember, never play anything that will cause your mind to wander or distract your concentration whilst driving!
4. Respect your body and respect the world
I think one of the easiest and most effective ways of showing we love and care for ourselves is to look after our bodies. The way in which we do this will be different for everybody - for instance there are some foods that I am unable to eat but are perfectly fine for Tim and WB! However there are some things that seem to be universal, and I think eating healthily is one of them.
When we choose foods that meet all our nutritional needs we show ourselves in a very clear way that we are important. But we can go even further and choose foods that are seasonal, maybe even locally produced, showing that we also care about the world we live in and the environment that sustains all life.
For some this may mean eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. For others it may involve cutting out processed and overly refined foods. For you it may simply mean making a conscious choice to buy the best quality food you can with the budget available to you. Whatever form it takes, know that it helps to connect you to the world around you, and the things that are most important to you.
Another way you can respect your body and the world around you is to go for a walk. It doesn't have to be a long one, nor does it have to be in some wild place. You could go for a walk down the road and still notice the clouds in the sky, the birds flying by, the plants in a garden or weeds breaking through the cracks in a wall, even your shadow as you walk. All of these things can help focus your mind on how beautiful the world is, how it continues to spin and develop and grow no matter what is happening in our lives. It is a constant, and something that can provide us with so many wonderful things.
If you're feeling really close to nature, why not pick up the litter you see blowing around - it's not your litter, you didn't leave it, but by picking it up you show the world you care. Or you could feed the birds, even when there are none to be seen. Leave peanuts in a tree and seeds on the ground for them to find later. Then when you go home you can think back and wonder whether they found them!
5. Make bedtime special
Do you have a bedtime routine? Are there any ways in which you could add a little bit of spirituality to them? Ending the day with a specific focus can be really powerful.
Perhaps you have a bath or shower before bed? Could you add essential oils, massage or a bit of reiki to this. Spend the time caring for yourself or your child and help soothe the stresses of the day and prepare yourself for sleep.
Maybe you read bedtime stories together? Why not choose stories that have an emphasis on some aspect of your spirituality that you want to introduce your child to? We have always read WB 2 or 3 books each night and recently we have been opting for at least one of these to have some kind of focus on the world around him. Some of our favourites include Angels at Bedtime, While Angels Watch, and even Is A Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There Is? because of its focus on how vast the universe really is.
We sometimes follow this on with asking the angels to bring us sweet dreams, talking about what has happened during the day, or sending our love out into the world. Occasionally we do this together and other times we put on the Relax Kids Guided Meditation CD and either lay beside WB or leave him to drift off to sleep on his own. No matter which option we choose, we always end his day with some kind of focus on angels, spirits, or simply love.
We actually need to learn from this ourselves, and are trying to end our own day listening to gentle "new age" music for a while before turning off the light and going to sleep. Too often in our busy lives we try to shut down from a hectic day without taking the time out to quieten our mind and move away from the day's events. I find that the beginning and end of the day are the most important for me in keeping me supported and strong in my own faith and so I try to make time for at least point number 5 even if I haven't managed any of the others.
I do hope that these have given you some ideas for easily incorporating your own spirituality into your daily life as a family. There are so many ways in which we can do it and I'd love to hear about your favourite ways, so do leave us a comment below!
I'm linking up again with #sharethejoy as this post is another that brings me joy when I think about how many small ways there are to improve my day! If you've never seen the Share The Joy linky hosted by The Joy Chaser then I do suggest checking it out.
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