I sit in a cat cafe as I start to write this – hiding from the rain while a pretty orange munchkin cat warms my toes. It’s raining outside, and the streets of Seoul are quieter than usual. I’m here on a business trip, and I love every visit.
This city feels so different from my California home. There are many Buddhist temples in the city, and lots of shrines scattered everywhere. It’s not like the US where we separate (theoretically) church and state. Here secular and religious activities overlap. In the Jogyesa temple this morning, even in the pouring rain, there was an active service going on, practitioners going to make offerings of incense and water, tourists, and one Druid making offerings.
In my own practice, I have a habit of having periods of time set aside for my spiritual work, separate from my “normal” life. For rituals, that makes sense, but it makes me wonder what it would be like if we didn’t separate the two? What if I said a prayer before meals, or asked the blessings of the gods before cooking, or pushed intentions of health and well-being into our water?
Some people do these things, I’ve seen them, or I’ve heard of them. Some days I think that it would be easier if I didn’t have to work or shop or clean. But those are things that make up my life and, barring winning the lottery, that’s what I have to work with.
I feel weird doing these things. These things are not part of normal or expected behavior where I live. I do not like to stand out in that way. So how do I incorporate these acts of spirituality? Or do I just try not to care and do them anyway?
Sometimes I feel like I should just do it, but I’m worried about what other people think. Some folks tell me that I just shouldn’t care, but I do. It is important for me to be accepted in normal society. It’s okay if they think that I’m a little weird, but normalizing the idea of Druids and witches is part of what I do.
So, I find ways to be spiritual in ways that integrate, at least minimally, with today’s society. Pausing for a moment before eating while saying a silent prayer, or taking a few moments to engage with the feeling of the sun on my skin, or pause to embrace the enchantment of the breeze on your face are all ways that we can engage with our day to day world in a more spiritual manner.
I started my day with the intention to have a more spiritual day. I have meetings and a conference and some shopping, so it’s a relatively normal day on a business trip. In my room, I made offerings at my little hotel altar. At breakfast, I took a moment to silently thank my coffee for helping me to wake up. I took a few, centering breaths as I waited on the elevator, and took time to watch a white butterfly fluttering through flowers at the side of the road.
Back at home, I’ve started sitting on the side of the train that the sun hits, so I can feel its warmth as I travel to work. I try to spend at least a few moments just feeling the sun on my skin, welcoming in the energies into my day. I try to take time out in my working days to go outside – to the rooftop garden or just getting out and walking around – without headphones. Time to just be, to connect.
All of these things were quiet and did not make me stand out in in the crowd. There was a lot that I could do that I didn’t, but it’s a start.