Around mid-January, after the joy of a new year and an intention of a clean slate, the wheels usually fall off the wagon. All around me, both locally and in my international community, I see people feeling lost, not centered, grouchy, anxious, and all the signs of a mid-January slump. Coupled with loss, heartache, life events and mental health struggles, this part of the month can feel pretty challenging.
When someone comes to me for guidance or assistance, I usually ask, “What is your spiritual practice?” Through the years, as this planet has spun ever more frenetically, I have changed this to “What is your daily spiritual practice?” Yep, I can feel you starting to look away and shrug your shoulders. Who has time for that?!
Well, to be honest, you do. Get up earlier, stay up later, do it on your lunch hour, or after dinner. You have pockets of time in your day to do this vitally important practice. It’s a choice you make, and if you do so, it will make all the difference in the world. It will help with these crazy times and fraught energy, and in turn, help you and those around you get through challenging times.
So, how do you begin to find a daily spiritual practice? First, you decide what works best for you. Figure out what time of day works is preferable. If the quiet of the morning appeals to you, choose that. Maybe you want a chance to wake up fully at first, so lunch may be an option. Or you’d prefer to sink down into the quiet after dinner, and before bed-time. Switch up times after a few weeks, and see how this fits into your daily rhythms. I am not a morning person at all, but have found that mornings (after much coffee) works for me. Some days, I don’t get to my spiritual practice until right before bed-time. I do know it feels lousy if I don’t make time for it at all.
Next, choose what works best for you, atmosphere-wise. You don’t like quiet? Get a music list together of soothing background music. Experiment with different styles, such as classical, medieval chanting, world culture music. Do you prefer a dark space, or a softly-lit space? What would be inviting for you?
Pick a sacred space in your home. It can be a small area rug, a bookshelf, your altar (dust and clean up your altar if you have one, now is a great time to do so), or use a tray with favorite items on it that you can move around to different spots in your home, if you’re not sure what would work. Focus on what brings you joy in that sacred space: it can be a candle, a special book, fresh flowers, a plant or art. No need to buy expensive things, look around and see what can be repurposed. An empty jar can become a vase, or an old plate can hold your candles.
Step three is figure out what method can draw you into a sacred time. Is it music, candles, words (as in a book or spoken word)? What really grabs your attention and nourishes you at the same time? For me, I love words, so I have a book I read daily. It can be chapters from a favorite book, or daily readings from your spiritual tradition. That grounds me for the day. If you’re really at a loss for this part, look at daily affirmations, intentions or a social media site that offers daily quotes. There are also card sets where you draw one card per day, readily available to purchase. Choose something you can think about, ponder, set the tone of your day with, and really make you pause and reflect.
Fourth, decide if you would like divination to be part of your day. If yes, choose a deck to work with at first. It can be a well-loved one, or one you’ve had your eye on for a while, or even a challenging one you’d like to learn, but haven’t spent much time with in the past. Try drawing a card a day to set the tone for the day, and journal about it. That way, you can learn about your deck.
So far, all of this takes around ten minutes. You have time for that, right?
If you have more time, consider journaling. Especially in times like these, where community may not be readily available, turn to a journal to be your confidant and friend. Write away what’s on your mind, and get it out on paper. Anne Frank used to call her diary Kitty, and I am sure it helped ground her during the anxious and scary times in hiding. As mentioned, you can use the card or affirmation of the day to write about, or maybe focus on things you’d like to work on for yourself.
Next, send love outwardly. Take your mind off yourself for a few minutes, and think of others. It could be family members, friends, someone you admire out in the community, local wildlife, even your plants or pets. Now do something about it: send a text or email to check in, call someone, leave out some treats for the birds, water your plants, or send good thoughts to those out there helping others. If you can manage it, aim for three love thoughts/actions per day. It will make a difference to how you feel, and certainly affect those you’re loving and thinking about (even those plants will appreciate it!).
Finally, ground, center and hydrate. Take those next moments and really ground and center yourself. Put your hand on your heart, and think about what matters to you. Not what you think should matter, but what is really important to you as a person. Take a few deep breaths, drink some water, and go about your day or evening.
And that’s it, that’s the start of your spiritual practice. You can get more elaborate, or delve deeper into your spirituality as time permits. Learn more about what makes your heart sing, what keeps you grounded, and what pulls you back to center.
Below a list you can use/copy/print out, if you don’t want to read through all of this again. Let me know how this goes for you, and how it made a difference in your life. I would really like to know. Blessed Be!
- Pick a time for your spiritual practice
- Choose a sacred atmosphere/space in your home
- Find what draws you into your sacred time
- Divination (optional)
- Journaling (optional)
- Love outwardly