We all crave more peace, less anxiety, and definitely less stress.
One of the best ways to do this is to have some kind of daily contemplative practice. Think about this as a time to simply be with you. To touch base with the wise, all knowing self that resides deep within you.
A spiritual practice is something you give yourself so it should feel exciting and fun and definitely NOT like a chore. It’s not another “have-to.”
I often think about this time as refuge – a state I can enter where the craziness of the world is far away- where there is only peace and a sense of calm.
Here are 10 ideas to get you started:
If you’ve grown up with any kind of formal religion, you know what prayers sound like. But a prayer doesn’t have to be religious. It’s really a call from your heart out into the world.
My prayers are usually for people who are suffering as well as for the planet. But a super terrific prayer to start everyday is one I’ve mentioned before from A Course in Miracles, it says,
What would you have me do today?
Where would you have me go?
What would you have me say and to whom?
Starting your day with an affirmation or a list of them is a really powerful practice. You are speaking aloud what you want to manifest in your life. An affirmation can be general or specific.
I consider Louise Hay to be the queen of affirmations. Here is a great video with her sharing about affirmations.
Meditation has literally transformed my life. I cannot imagine not doing this everyday BUT I do know how hard and scary it can be to start.
And I will admit, that even now, 20 years later, sometimes when I meditate, my thoughts don’t stop leaping around. As you begin or deepen your own time in meditation, remember that it is a practice. It isn’t about perfection.
If you want to start with a guided meditation or visualization, hop onto Insight Timer and have fun exploring not only my meditations but the hundreds of other ones!
4. To Be List
One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Dr. Robert Holden offers this suggestion. Rather than having a To DO list, have a To BE list. Isn’t this a great idea!
How do you want to be today?
I have many friends who begin each day writing in their journals. They are literally writing their lives into existence. If this sounds intriguing, get yourself a special notebook, decide your spot and commit to writing – for 5, 10, 20 minutes, whatever it is for you. There’s something transformational that happens when we put pen to paper.
6. Contemplative Walk
Walking is both meditative and aerobic. Obviously the best places to do these walks is somewhere pretty or serene – such as a park, along the water or in the woods. But you can have a contemplative walk not in nature too. Even on the treadmill. Plug in some soothing music and allow yourself to move.
I recently attended an earth honoring circle where a few women were inspired to sing. If singing helps you connect with your heart space, this might be the practice for you. Find some honoring, uplifting music that speaks to your higher self and belt it out! I am a big fan of kirtan, a form of Sanskrit chanting and love singing those songs.
8. Inspirational Video
If multi-media is more your thing, you may enjoy a video that connects you. One of my absolute favorites is Louie Schwartzberg’s one on gratitude.
9. Yoga Asana
Another way to ease into the day is through yoga, and doing a repetitive asana. One of the most common is the Sun Salutation, which is a series of simple moves designed to help awaken the body.
I have suffered from sciatica for 20+ years and discovered that doing the sun salutation every morning actually kept me pain free. So this is a daily part of my practice. See it performed here.
10. Start Your Day
Okay, I admit it, I hate getting out of bed. And I can be pretty grouchy in the morning. For over 10 years, my husband has lovingly reminded me that how you start your day is how you live your day.
So instead of groaning about getting up, how can you greet your day?
How would you like this day to be for you? Rewarding, satisfying, fulfilling, peaceful?
Whether you choose one of the above or a number of these, deepening your relationship to yourself is what a spiritual practice is all about. Decide what feels right for you and how you want to support yourself in your own evolution. That's what life is all about!
As always, don't be a stranger. Let me know what works for you!
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