I realized this morning as I was finishing up my typical daily spiritual practice, that perhaps some people don’t know what a spiritual practice is, or how to begin one. To me, a spiritual practice is anything you do that grounds and centers you. It’s a practice of setting intentions and expectations for your day. It can (and in my opinion should) also be a time of connecting with God (or whichever Higher Power you prefer).
It is routine that we plug in our cell phones, e-readers and laptops so we can recharge their batteries, but how often are we recharging ourselves? The collective energy named Abraham says we need to be “tuned in, tapped in, turned on”, it’s the recognition that we too can run out of juice. I have come to realize that my daily spiritual practice recharges me; it makes me feel alive.
Sharing My Daily Spiritual Practice
I want to share my morning routine with you so that you have a starting point for your own program.
Sleep. Gee, that seems so elementary. How come so many of us miss it? Dr. Christiane Northrup says that sleep is instrumental to optimum health. In a recent online interview she actually listed sleep as the number one thing you can do for your body. I guess I must be ahead of the curve, because unless it’s absolutely necessary, the last thing I will ever do is chintz out on my sleep. Do you readily acknowledge that you need a minimum of seven hours of slumber for optimum performance during the day? In our house the bed is the best piece of furniture. Look at your sleep pattern. Do you get enough shut-eye? If not, then start there.
Connect. By this I mean connect with the other human being in your household. Look them in the eye, tell them you love them. Maybe a hug would feel nice? Smile softly, acknowledge to yourself the goodness of the other person, sip your coffee and get on with the next step.
Stretch. You don’t have to be a yogi to know the value of a good stretch. Find a short routine that gets your muscles moving. Reach over your head, bend side to side. Twist your neck gently, perhaps roll it some. Sit on the floor and reach for your toes. Downward facing dog. Plank. Cat and cow. Get your blood pumping a little each morning. Warm the muscles slowly for a few minutes before you jump into the rest of your daily spiritual practice, you can exercise more fully later in the day. (5-10 minutes)
Meditation. Ahhh, the practice of getting quiet. I recommend this continually to all of my coaching clients and workshop attendees. The ancient practice of meditation is powerful and transformative, and I am coming to think it should be mandatory in every household. Since my telephone meeting with Dina Proctor of www.MadlyChasingPeace.com I now suggest the 3 x 3 meditation. Three minutes, three times a day. That’s all. This is part of each day. Simple is key. Using the timer on your cell phone, set it for three minutes. Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap. Start the timer, then close your eyes and breathe deeply. If you don’t know how to breathe deeply, try this. Place your hand on your abdomen and with your mouth closed breathe in through your nose. Your hand should rise as your belly fills with air. Breathe out by softly blowing air out of your mouth. Your hand should fall as your stomach area deflates. It’s that simple!
Don’t expect perfection when you first start meditation. Your mind may wander and that’s okay. Bring yourself back to center by saying “thanks, goodbye,” to the invading thoughts. Remember not to be hard on yourself. Just enjoy the quiet and focus on your breathing. You get better each time you meditate. I tend to say to myself “Breathe in joy, breathe out stress.” Some people use an image to focus on and that works, too. The key is to get into a practice of sitting quietly with yourself and God. As you get comfortable with mediation start to include images of yourself in the center of your ideal day, whatever that looks like for you. (3 minutes)
It’s three minutes and it will fly by. You’ll eventually find yourself looking for the next three minute interval during your day – it feels that good!
P.S. Go purchase her 3 x 3 minute meditations, too. They’ll be available at her website.
Gratitude. I have a notebook that lays out in the open in my house. It’s in a place where I will see it all the time, and I keep a pencil or pen with it. During your daily spiritual practice sit down with this journal and start listing everything that was wonderful about the prior day. Use little symbols beside each short, two or three word entry so that if you wanted to you could sort them later by “made me smile” or “brilliant idea” or “love this” or “financial improvement”. Let the gratitude flow without effort. Write until you have to stretch to write something, at that point you know you’ve caught most of what you needed to. (5 minutes)
Declarations. Next in the notebook comes affirmations or declarations. Push myself to write sentences that make you feel good. Write things like: “I am filled to the brim with joy and I love this magnificent life I live, ” or “Only good things happen to me today”. Use whatever words or phrases come naturally to you and makes you smile. (2 minutes)
Speak it. Once the declarations are written speak them aloud or speak some memorized affirmations aloud. I actually keep a selection of empowering words and phrases near by and then work at memorizing them. You could use a favorite poem or affirmations by your life coach or an author. Find words that strike chords inside of you. You know you’ve hit the motherload when you are reading and you get goosebumps. Those words mean something to you at a deep, internal level. Highlight those or transcribe them somewhere and learn to speak them with conviction. (2 minutes)
*BONUS: speak the declarations as you use EFT or tapping. Tap on the eyebrow point, side of eye, under eye, collarbone and wrist as you speak my declarations. This sends great energy to the body and mind. Use this technique once you are comfortable with tapping.
Intentions. If you a person who prays, do it now. If that doesn’t feel right to you, then simply set some intentions for the day. Decide what you need from yourself and from others and then speak, write or mentally picture the outcomes of those intentions. (2 minutes)
Now your spiritual practice is over, get on with your day.
If you recall my ABC’s of Life, then you can see that all three components (align, believe, change) are included in this routine. You are aligning yourself daily by exercising your muscles (aligning your physical body) and getting your thoughts congruent by writing and speaking your intentions. Your belief system is being affected by writing your gratitudes and speaking your declarations and eventually (and quickly), it all results in change. The ABC’s are covered.
A daily spiritual practice need not be difficult or convoluted. I honestly feel that simple is often better. Take this plan I have outlined and incorporate what feels right to you and ditch the rest. Always use your inner guidance system to determine a good fit and be willing to course correct as needed.
Do you have a daily spiritual practice? Feel like sharing ? Please comment here, I’d love to know what you do to recharge your batteries every day.