The older I get, the more spiritual I become – or, if I’m being honest, the more I try to become. There is this constant ebb and flow while I try to maintain a balance of practicality and spirituality in my life. It seems every so often, I have phases of deep spirituality, and then abrupt days and even weeks where being caught up in motherhood, a busy career and the demands of a young family takes over my ability to remain mindful.
To remain slow. Quiet. Easy.
It’s frustrating when you try to put your needs first, and then simply forget to the moment your attention deviates. We are so easily distracted because we’ve created a life full of demands that count on us. We are important!
Truthfully, this is all part of what it means to be spiritual – to pay attention to self-care, our spiritual self, and our total wellness. It’s important to catch ourselves when we have forgotten to make specific me-time. And while for some of us it will be easier to maintain an active spiritual life that is ripe with intention, others will find themselves always trying to find the perfect balance.
Maybe it’s a yoga practice that has finally become addictive. Maybe it’s the garden’s seasonal demand that keeps your feet in the ground. Your dedication to self-care will evolve with you, but the key to success is finding the balance that makes your soul sing.
Not to replicate what works for your sister, or your best friend.
The 5 AM Club is a thing
I first heard of Robin Sharma’s 5 AM Club a few years ago and rolled my eyes before I even gave it a chance. I was an avid sleeper-inner, and rising before 10 AM was early for me.
And then I had a child and never slept in again.
The 5 AM Club doesn’t make sense until you just do it. Sharma states that having this sacred quiet time to start your day is essential for prosperity. And he’s right. The most uninterrupted and quality YOU time is typically between 5 AM and 8 AM, when the birds are just beginning to stir.
Some of the most successful people in our society are early risers.
I’ve been getting up early for a long time now, and there is a special magic in the morning that feels more sacred than it does in the evening. How is it that I always get so much more done? Rising with the sun might seem trying, but it is deeply spiritual. You really don’t know until you try it.
FIND YOUR HEALTHY HOBBY
The Healthy Hobby is something you enjoy doing so much that you look forward to it all week. And it just so happens to be good for you – physically. Maybe it’s a Monday night barre class, or maybe it’s a spin class Saturday mornings with your best girls. Maybe it’s rowing with your boyfriend in the morning before you both leave for work, or taking up salsa dancing on your date night!
Being physical isn’t always fun, especially when it feels like a chore when you’re already super busy, but by trying enough things, you’re bound to find the one that makes your heart and your thighs sing. The key is finding something that doesn’t feel like working out so you stick with it, and maybe bringing a buddy along to keep your spirits up. If your Healthy Hobby starts to get boring, change it up!
Getting out of the house once per week, or more, is a great way to carve out self-care time, while honouring your body for carrying you throughout the day.
SET UP YOUR PERSONAL ALTAR
Sometimes, it pays to set up your physical space to accommodate your spiritual and self-care goals. If you’ve got a spare bedroom, absolutely turn it into your chill zone to practice yoga and meditation, but if that sounds like an unrealistic luxury, invest in your personal altar.
A personal altar can be atop of your fireplace mantle, on your dresser, in a (once overlooked) corner, or even tucked safely under your bed. Your personal altar is where you keep your affirmations, goals, tarot cards, favourite crystals, and even photos of special moments you want to remember. Things you love. Things that make you feel magical. Powerful. Feminine. Strong.
Light some palo santo or sage, and spend some time with your altar, meditating, thinking quietly about your dreams and wishes or even reading. When your smudge burns out, close your ritual in a way that feels special to you. It could be with a prayer, your favourite mantra, or even a gentle namaste.
GO FOR A WALK
Whether it’s during your new 5 AM Club routine, after supper once the kids are asleep, or when you’re stealing lunch at work, immerse yourself in nature to recharge, clear your thoughts, and move your body.
Forest bathing is an immensely therapeutic practice that is incredibly effortless. By spending time outdoors and among the trees, the body’s chemistry balances out its disproportions by expelling the stress and anxiety within your system. It improves your immunity and can even speed up healing and recovery time. When we inhale the fresh hair that has been charged by the trees, our over active adrenals begin to relax.
Don’t you sleep so well after a day spent entirely outdoors?
I find paying attention to these aspects makes Forest Bathing even more mindful. It’s easy to get caught up in our to-do list while we’re walking outside, but by paying attention to how the landscape is healing and soothing the body actually increases productivity when you do get back to it.
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VANESSA KUNDERMAN is a fiction author, poet, and avid crystal collector. She has published stories alongside Stephen King, Alice Munro, and Anais Nin, in “Woman, an anthology” a collection of works celebrating strong female dynamics. As a student of core shamanism, Vanessa advocates adapting traditions to create new modern sacred studies. She has a background in motivational speaking and teaches workshops grounded in her self-care and spiritual wellness website, Rogue Wood Supply. She is a mother, cancer survivor, and a lover of the True North, and believes smudging can fix almost every sour mood. She hails from the prairie woodlands of Canada.