4 Nourishing Spiritual Tidbits to Snack On

4 Nourishing Spiritual Tidbits to Snack On June 13, 2024

spiritual guidance
Edgar Soto via Unsplash

I read a lot of spirituality books and articles and sometimes stumble upon stories that don’t merit a full column—but have messages worth repeating. Each of these “tidbits” has an important insight (or insights) to offer, ideas that may have you thinking long after you read them. Here are four of my recent favorites, with some light editing.

What Does the World Owe You?

This short piece comes from Seth Godin’s Blog and is a trick question of sorts. The answer of course: the world owes you nothing! While Godin is better known for his not so common-sense approach to business, he often offers advice than transcends the business arena.

Asking what the world owes you … is a trap. It’s based on scarcity and entitlement, and most of all, the world isn’t listening. When more and more people focus on this question, it simply pushes us apart.

On the other hand, asking “what do I owe the world?” opens the door for endless opportunity. When lots of people ask this question, the contributions add up, the connections are solidified and better is possible.

The best part is that waiting for the world to get things just right is exhausting and frustrating, while taking responsibility for what you might be able to contribute can be energizing and fun.

To Start Working on Mindfulness, Take These 3 Steps.

I signed up for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Pump It Up email newsletter to pick up the occasional fitness tip but find I use it more for tips about life, aka life hacks. Credit goes not just to Arnold, but a team of astute writers. Here’s one I recently appreciated about mindfulness, valuable advice we all can use.

If you want to start working on mindfulness, here are three tips that can help.

1. During stressful times, take on the role of the observer. Don’t judge your thoughts or feelings. Try to observe what is happening to you objectively. Often, it’s not what you feel that causes stress — it’s your own harsh judgment.

2. Remind yourself that all stress isn’t bad. Perceiving stress as harmful to your health can do more damage than the stress itself.

3. If you feel stress increasing, take action. Set aside 10 minutes and focus on calming your mind. You can do this by listening to a guided meditation or silently repeating a word or phrase you choose. If outside thoughts interfere, don’t fight them. Listen and observe without judgment, and then return to the meditation or phrase. A vital part of mindfulness’s effectiveness is making time for yourself rather than constantly fighting stress or feeling rushed.

Try a Prayer Without Words

I get a weekly recap from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations newsletter at the Center for Action and Contemplation. It’s a compilation of meditations from the week and I usually find a quote or exercise I find compelling. The edited passage below comes from author and Episcopal priest Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. It’s about how during times when words fail us, we can turn to wordless prayer to help sustain us.

God is not a figure outside of our experience and does need much information from us. We’re not in charge of much of what happens in the world. We don’t really need to pray about anything we need; we can content ourselves with prayer from within it all.

Here’s a suggestion: Maybe we could try not using words at all.

This spiritual practice will allow you your emptiness, rather than fight to fill it. An example is the ancient practice of centering prayer; the quiet, gentle abdication of all your illusions of personal power and control. This prayer is not measured by the quality or quantity of emotion it produces. It doesn’t have to be measured at all.

11 Rules from Every Self-Help Book Ever

Tim Ferriss once called Kevin Kelly the most interesting man in the world and ever since then I’ve been tracking his weekly email newsletter Recomendo. The rules that follow were actually from an article first published on the website Mashable. It boiled hundreds of self-help bestsellers to 11 simple rules. I’ve added a little clarification, as needed.

1. Take one small step. As Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do.” Take one step. When ready, repeat.

2. Change your mental maps.  Before can you achieve it, you’ve got to believe it.

3. Struggle is good. Scary is good. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “do the thing you think you cannot do.”

4. Instant judgment is bad. Take a deep breath and count to 10 before reacting to anything.

5. Remember the end of your life. As Socrates said, memento mori. Life comes to an end, and we have no idea when.

6. Be playful. No matter how difficult life may get. Difficult times pass.

7. Be useful to others. Find the thing that you have to contribute.

8. Perfectionism = procrastination. Rarely is anything perfect. Just do it.

9. Sleep, exercise, eat (healthily), chill out. Repeat. Check each box each day.

10. Write it all down. Make a list of what you’re going to do today. What you want to do in the future—and don’t forget to write down what you’re thankful for.

11. You can’t get it all from reading. There’s no experience for life. Talk to those you know, admire, and trust.

You’ll find over 100 spiritually uplifting stories in my book Wake Up Call: Daily Insights for the Spiritually Curious.

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