(ThySistas.com) Often times as women, we allow the primary focus of our lives to be caring for our children, lovers, family and friends. Oh, did I forget work? The struggle to be “successful” in the workforce is our life purpose, right? So many of us are driving recklessly towards achieving success and ensuring our family needs are met that we forget the importance of balance and inner peace. We overlook our natural desire be spiritually connected not only to Source/God/Creator/Universe, but also to self.
We forget that without being fully aware of self we open ourselves up to a host of dis-eases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer as well as depression. In order for us to be these super women, these powerhouses we crave to show society we are, we must first be at peace within ourselves. We must first return to our center, our whole selves: our spiritual selves.
Spirituality is no doubt the stable of the black woman, why do you think we fill the seats of churches across the nation? The problem is that we too often look for sources outside of ourselves to fulfill these needs rather than going within so today we are going to explore 10 spiritual practices that if included into your daily routine will help shift you back to your birthright: being happy, peaceful, loving, forgiving and whole.
1. Gratitude – Start each day by bringing awareness to 5 things you are most thankful for. Being in a constant state of gratitude helps lift depression, loneliness and sadness. Who better to make you smile at the start of the day than the one looking back at you in the mirror?
2. Mirror Work – We’re in the mirror brushing our teeth, adding color to our lips and eyes, doing our hair yet we rarely ask ourselves “How are you doing today” in the midst of our haste to get up, get out and get something. Check in with yourself before you go out in the world asking others how they are. Put a little love into your morning routine.
3. Invest in Yourself – This is a topic in itself. We as women are in the habit of ‘rewarding’ ourselves with material things yet feel cheap when others try to “buy” their way into our lives. Make an invest in you: master a difficult yoga pose, learn to grow and use herbs, get a massage before pain kicks in, learn to cook your favorite meal better than the restaurant. Self-investing is the art of using your money, time and energy collectively to improve your quality of life. Note: Self-investments aren’t always “seen” by others.
4. Be Present – Take time to enjoy the moment you are presently in rather than using it to figure out why something happened in the past or what you’re going to do in the future. Being present is the art of enjoying the now and creating new memories that you can later smile about. The only control you have is over what is happening at this moment and even that control at times is limited.
5. Silence – Oh the things we learn when we choose to be silent. Oh the peace we feel when our mouth is at rest. Take at least 5 minutes each day to turn off all the gadgets and just allow yourself to focus on silence. When we allow ourselves to be still, to be silent a wave of creative energy comes forth giving birth to ideas that have never crossed our mind.
6. Breathe – Take time each day to feel the ground beneath your feet, take a moment to bask in nature and just breathe. Deeply inhale love, happiness and healing while exhaling doubt, confusion, frustration and fear. Deep breathing helps to rejuvenate the body, clear the mind and increase relaxation.
7. Stop Judging – Others as well as yourself, we spend entirely too much time discussing what others aren’t doing right while wasting our own precious time and energy that we can never get back. We spend too much time pondering over what we should’ve done, known, seen, etc. rather than using that time proactively to make some new things happen in our life. Focus on the present moment. Compete with self to be better than you were this time last week.
8. Move Your Body – Not with the focus on losing weight, getting into that new dress or catching some dudes eye. Move your body with focus on living a long life where you are still able to walk and have organs that function properly. Play a game with the kids, stroll through the park with a friend, turn off the t.v. crank up the stereo and dance. This too is a form of self-investing and surely adds to the quality of your life. Looking good is merely a bonus!
9. Visualize – Seeing is believing! Close your eyes and allow yourself to take a journey, escape the rat race of life by finding your own place of solitude within. Close your eyes and visualize what it is you desire to see in reality, in the words of Kanye West “before I had it I closed my eyes and imagined the good life”. Yes! More of that please.
10. Pray and Meditate – Prayer is the art of asking/talking while meditation is the art of listening. It’s not wise to pray and jump up, you must remain open to hearing spirit, hearing guidance and then moving forward to act on what you have been given.
Now it’s your turn, what are some of your daily spiritual practices? The conversation doesn’t stop here, be sure to add to the list!