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connect spirituallyToday I wanted to give you things I do to connect spiritually

You might not affiliate yourself with any one religion.  Or you might consider yourself to be “spiritual”.

This episode is not trying to convert you, just to spark your creativity on how you can connect more to your spiritual side.

If you listen to the show you know that I’m a follower of Christ, but I wasn’t always.  And even today, I’m considered a bit unorthodox by many of my Christian friends.

Much of what I believe today is influenced by what I was taught as a child, which doesn’t necessarily match what others think.

This might be you.

So today I’m going to tell you what I personally do to connect spiritually.  You can take some of it for yourself or leave it.  That’s up to you.

Connect with Nature:

First let’s talk about something that anyone can do, and that is connect with nature.

When I’m feeling disconnected, frustrated, or basically just un-spiritual, I tend to want to go outside.  I like going outside and standing in the daylight.  I go to my milkweed plants and search for monarch caterpillars.

Just being outside, soaking up the sunshine makes me feel more connected to God and more spiritual.

I know I’m lucky where I live, because not only is it sunny most of the year, but also I look out on “open space” in my backyard.  What that means is that no one can build on the land behind me as it’s set aside for wildlife.  That set aside is only for 400 feet, but right now I have a whole mountain behind me.

When I go outside in addition to the sunshine, I listen to the birds.  They are singing whether it’s cloudy or sunny.  And it’s something about the singing of the birds that calms me down and I

connect spiritually to God.  I don’t even have to talk with God, I’m just there.

And wherever I go, I listen for the birds.  Even in urban areas, there are usually a few around, chirping.  And if we listen carefully we can hear them.  Even crows cawing can soothe your spirit sometimes.

Listening for wildlife around us can bring us a spiritual connection that we don’t have in our urban busy lives.

You know what’s interesting, is that I have been training myself to listen for the last couple of years.  It’s difficult for me because I consider myself to be hard of hearing.  It’s usually when I’m in a crowded room, the talking all runs together and I cannot make out individual conversations.  So it’s hard for me to be in big groups of people.

But, since I’ve been training myself to listen, I can actually now hear the sounds of my worms eating.  Sounds gross right?

But I have a worm farm in my backyard.  I started it when I first started growing organic vegetables and didn’t want to put chemicals in my garden.  Now I just grow milkweed for the monarch butterfly caterpillars to eat.  But I kept the worm farm.  There’s something about watching them take food and turn it into compost that relaxes me.  And now at night when I go out to feed them, I can hear them eating.

Yesterday I was outside and I could hear the flutter of the butterflies wings when it flew by me.  There was a time that I would never have heard any of that.

And all of this listening is bringing me closer to God.

Perhaps if you listen more to nature it will open your spirituality as well.

Color Meditate/ Mind Mapping

 

I attend church almost every week, and I create drawings of the word that the pastor says.  Sometimes I’ve found that by drawing out the words it helps me concentrate, and then I remember what is being said.

Even though my pastor is a great public speaker, is funny, and connects with his small audience of about 150 people, I have a difficult time concentrating, and even staying awake during the sermons.

I’m not sure if it’s because during the week I’m so busy, and on Sundays, I tend to decompress.  After church, I often will take a 2-3 hour nap.

I guess this is why we are supposed to rest on the Sabbath day!  (But we Christians actually don’t keep a Sabbath, we have what I believe is called The Lords Day, which is on Sundays not Saturdays”.

Anyway, back to the drawings.

I call it “mind mapping”.  My husband videotaped me drawing during a service, and I’ll link to it in the show notes so you can watch if you’re interested.

I start with a blank sheet of paper and put the date on the upper right-hand side then I take the name of the sermon and write it in the middle of the page.

Then I will draw a box or a cloud around the name of the sermon, and that’s my starting place.

And then when the pastor says something that sticks in my mind, I’ll write it on the page.  I’ll draw a bubble or something around it.

This continues until my page is full and that signifies the end of the sermon.

But then I’m not done.  I take it home and put it in a book.

At some point, I’ll start to color meditate.  This means I pull the sheet out, and I start to color each individual bubble with different colors.  As I color, I meditate on what was said, and how I can change my life to match what was said.

This act of coloring gives me a chance to connect spiritually with the message. I remember what was said, and then contemplate whether I made any changes and what I should do.

When I’m finished I have a little piece of art that helps me remember my faith.

This is an unorthodox way I connect spirituality, and it’s often one of the quick goals that I give myself when I’m writing in my 30 Day Baby Boomer Journal.

Talk to God while I’m driving:

Another thing I do to connect spiritually is talking to God while I’m driving.  I often have a drive time of 20-30 minutes and I find that talking to God about what is going on in my life helps me clear my head.  It helps me to focus on what I am doing well in my life, and what I should be changing to make the world a better place.

This can be called praying, but it’s really a conversation and don’t think it’s one-sided either, as many times I’ve received guidance from these seemingly one-sided conversations.

Another thing I do is try to list the things I’m grateful for.  This can be difficult because many things I take for granted, but I keep trying.

This area of gratitude…it can be difficult.  I try to go through the alphabet.  On the first day I’ll think of something I’m grateful for that starts with the letter A.  The second day it’s the letter B and so forth.

If you are having trouble coming up with something, try that.  I stole it from a visiting pastor at our church, and now you can steal it from me.

And this kind of stealing won’t get you into trouble!

Attend Church

Our path to find the church that worked for both of us was a long one.  First of all, we weren’t the perfect Christian couple, and so it was hard for us to start attending.

I started by listening to a show that wasn’t exactly a church show but started me on my path.  That show was called The Jesus Show, out of KFI in Los Angeles.  Its producer takes on the persona of Jesus and answers questions the way he thinks Jesus would.  It piqued my interest enough to make me want to learn more.

That’s when we started trying to find a church that fit both our needs.  It was hard.

But after several years of church hopping, we finally found our perfect church.

For us, that meant a pastor that we could relate to.

It meant music that wasn’t too loud.

I didn’t want a rock band.  I wanted to hear the words.

Additionally, we fell in love with the people.  They were warm and friendly.  I imagine that this was how the people were back when the church started.

But… just because I like the church doesn’t mean that I always feel like attending.  In fact, I hope my pastor doesn’t hear this, but I almost never want to go.  For me, it’s kind of like the gym.  I never want to go, but I always feel better after going.  Whether it’s a warm smile from someone or something from the pulpit, I’ve never regretted getting up early and going to church.

Bible Apps:

I have an app that lets me read and listen to the bible on my phone.  It’s in NIV which means our English, not King James.  I’ve never been able to understand the King James version.  I figure if I don’t understand it, I’m not getting anything from it and it just puts me to sleep.  So I listen to the Bible in my own language, today’s language.  And I find that I understand the stories better than many people who have been attending church for 30 or more years.

Listen to others but make the final decision:

Finally, I make my own decisions about my relationship with God.  I don’t let a TV evangelist, an author, or anyone decide for me how I’m going to participate in my relationship with God.

I don’t want to tell YOU how to practice either, but this episode was just to spark your interest in other ways to become spiritual.  If you’ve made it to the end, I hope you can take something that helps.

But most of all, you might have some ideas that I’ve not thought of.

Share below how YOU make your life more spiritual.  Feel free to share one of your daily goals if you’d like. What are some ways you connect spiritually?

You can also share in our Facebook group if that’s where you hang out.