This blog post is based on the notes for a talk I did for Much Hadham’s Connect group.
Many of us grow up with churchish upbringing, whether through following what our parents offer us or through school. Then we hit 18, and Saturday night becomes the most important part of the week – so Sunday’s about recovering from that. Then we’re studying or working, or working hard on becoming who we really are.
But then we settle down, have a family.
And when we have a family, we start to think about what we want their future to look like.
We spend lots of time concerning ourselves about what we’re eating and feeding them. We buy them books to feed their brain. And we start to think about how we can nurture their souls as well as their bodies to help them grow.
Of course to be able to do all this we need to have some room and some peace and quiet in our own lives. For me, moving to a quieter place and living opposite one of the most observant but outspoken churchgoers was a good incentive to show up for mass, she’d be sure to say “well, we missed you on Sunday” if we weren’t there…
I quickly realised that I enjoyed the quiet time that being in the church environment gave me – and the familiarity of words I knew well. But I know that for some they don’t have that feeling of spirituality. And the feeling of never ever getting to the bottom of the to-do list with all the other things that need to be done can make finding that much harder.
So I thought it’d be good to come up with a tangible list of ways to find some peace and love spirituality in our everyday lives.
A recent stay in a hotel introduced me to the idea of a tranquility space. An adult only quiet place.
Blissful. Some people like going into a place of worship like a church – but it can just be a small space in your house where there is quiet. Maybe the bathroom?
There’s lots of research about how successful people start their day with 30 minutes of meditation and it’s a fast track to your higher consciousness and spiritual self.
But as parents with busy schedules and small people who genuinely need attention for all of their waking hours, that’s not always achievable when you’re been up in the night or have to get up for So start small – try and take 3 minutes and work up. All you do is sit quietly for 3 minutes per day, preferably at the same time every day, and quieten your thoughts. If you can manage it in the morning, some study has apparently proven that it can change your brainwaves which put you into a different state of mind and has lasting effects throughout the day.
Let it grow
Enjoy the seasons as they pass – the morning mist in the autumn, or the beautiful colours in the leaves. Or the first daisies popping up in the grass. If you have animals, you’ll know how easy it is to feel a connection with a living being. Being in the garden and gardening also helps with feeling grounded and yet with a feeling of awe at the bigger universe and recognise that we’re not actually the centre of it.
Love your neighbour – and start really small
There are lots of little things you can do every day to bring you into a spiritual place.
Do something for others *without expecting anything in return.* There is no better way to reach a spiritual high than helping others without expecting them to do anything for you. And you can start in a really small way – opening a door to someone, letting someone out at a junction in rush hour traffic, give someone a hand in the workplace.
When you see someone with a smile – give them one of yours: – better to feel a fool for smiling than a fool for not smiling back.
Let it flow
There are many examples of sports people getting into a state of flow -Usain Bolt gazing at the finish
Doing something you love to do helps to find your flow. Exercise: running, horseriding, writing, blogging, playing a musical instrument, preparing your fantasy x-factor audition in the shower or the car. Doing what you love regularly frees your mind of clutter and worry and helps you reach your inner spirit.
If you can’t get out of it, get into it.
So, there’s a dirty nappy that needs changing.
Stop. Take a deep breath. And pay attention to everything in that moment. If the child is squirming, tickle her or blow a raspberry. Take a mental photograph of the way that she is giggling, and be in the moment.
It’s not just charity that starts at home, love does.
Make a conscious effort to really love the people around you. And not take them for granted.
Especially when we are parenting, it’s very easy for a relationship that was so full of love and promise to become a brief series of information exchange and instructions.
“This child has to be at x place at y time. This bill needs to be paid. I’ve booked a babysitter so we can do z.”
We can get so caught up in our own thing and in its doing that we’re not giving the right time, love and attention. to our significant others – whether our romantic partner or indeed our children.
When we spend less time inside our own heads we are raising our consciousness that little bit more and connecting with the energy that surrounds us.
If you take this a step further – you can try and tolerate that ‘pain in the arse’ work colleague, or the school mum whose politics on Facebook you’re not quite sure of.
What I’m saying is don’t let the small things get in the way.
Ask for help
People love to help others. It makes them feel important and needed and wanted. It’s harder to ask for it, but actually most people are willing if you ask nicely. Again, start small – as simple as telling a visitor to pop the kettle on themselves while you do another task. Ask a friend to coach you in a skill you’re unsure of.
Finally, if all else fails, take a tip from Elsa and Let it go.
Whatever is eating you up – whether it’s someone who has annoyed you, a situation you can’t change. There’s been a situation in my life recently where I’ve felt rejected by someone. As it happens that person wasn’t rejecting me, but choosing something else -and that’s not the same thing.
I found a Polish proverb:
As women we often try to solve problems that’s aren’t ours to solve. You can’t always fix everything- sometimes things aren’t even broken in the first place – they just appear to be.
As soon as you recognise that you’re not the problem, it’s easier to take a breath and turn that from something negative into something more positive and move on.
Some of these tips may seem really small and trivial but as Mother Teresa said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
I pulled together a board of helpful quotes on Pinterest here.