A Healthy Spirit Part Two
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
By now, you all know that I will always let you into my thought bubbles and flashbacks, being honest enough without crossing the boundary of what is inappropriate and gratuitous. The truth is, I haven’t always had a healthy spirit. I’m not even going to assert that I have one now. What I can realistically say, however, is that I’m working on it. I’m working on having longer stretches of time with a healthy spirit.
I think it was in my college years or maybe even as a twenty something young professional, I was starting to distinguish faith from spirituality. Faith is a daily commitment or walk that says I am only in control of so much; an understanding that it’s not all about me, but there’s a bigger picture. On a good day, individuals who have chosen a life of faith try to see challenges and hardships not as punishments but as opportunities for growth and to be a blessing to others through kindness, service and generosity. And the very nature of faith is that one makes this commitment without being able to completely fathom all that they're getting themselves into at that moment. But this person knows that there is immeasurable value in taking this stance.
Spirituality, though, is an expression of life. It says, “I’m alive and because I am, I’m going to take advantage of this amazing world. I ‘m going to get up off my butt or out of the church sanctuary and have amazing adventures(the planned or unplanned disruptions of a normal routine often extreme and humorous and ridiculous,sometimes after the fact). I’m not only going to read books and listen to interviews of others pursuing their passions, but I will glean inspiration from them and begin to traverse through the green and manicured grass of my own adventures and not turn back when I encounter the tall, scratchy brush and overgrown weeds. It’s making a commitment to actively pursue a relationship with the world around you without paralyzing fear. Spirituality is having a narrative of your own of how you faced death smack in the face, but lived to tell the tale.You know that you might fail and most likely will fail several times, but you are taking a bold step and you don’t know why, but it feels exhilarating.
Do you remember your English teacher discussing the concept of person v. self conflict? One taps into his/her inner voice in this conflict. This is where it gets real. We all experience negative emotions like anger,extreme sadness, resentfulness,etc., but what do we do with them? Life can’t always be as amazing as our posts on social media. Do we sit with these emotions awhile or repress them?
Here’s what healthier people are doing to chase Contentment(the state of a balanced spirit, mood and presence despite the roller coaster of life) when the magma of this internal conflict starts to bubble and rise. They partake in spiritual experiences like the following:
Have a deep conversation with a loved one
Listen to music
Go for a walk
Spend time in Silence
Read a poignant book
Tap into their sexuality
Set goals and reminders in a planner
Watch a TED Talk
I will support and commend them 100% in their efforts to be spiritually healthier.
They haven’t avoided or neglected the delicate topic of their spiritual health. But if that’s all they’re doing and I say this with an abundance of respect and solidarity, then they will always feel like something is missing. They will only go so far in their contentment journey before relapsing into what I call, “faking the funk”, or retreating back into the “Facebook” mindset, pretending that life is all good, when it isn’t.
Stay tuned for the final installment of A Healthy Spirit coming soon.