Spirituality Matters

It doesn’t have to be / the blue iris.  It could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few / small stones; just
pay attention, then patch / a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate.  This isn’t / a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which / another voice may speak.

    —Mary Oliver

At this year’s CCNC-N Annual Gathering, I was asked to lead the regional conversation on Spiritual Practices.  I was delighted to do it, and I want to share with you some of that conversation:

Spirituality matters.  Frankly, I believe your spirituality changes the world—whether you do it deliberately or not.  Because your spirituality is how you connect with the world—with Creation—with one another—with the Holy and Divine all around us.  Some of us do this connecting intentionally—attempting to cultivate that active relationship with everything in and around us.  And some of us do it unintentionally—either engaging practices that connect us with the Sacred but not necessarily articulating it in that way OR struggling to find intentional ways to nurture a relationship with the Divine OR walking through our lives unaware that everything we do and say is an expression of our spiritual connection with the world.

And of course, at different times in our lives, each one of us does each one of these things.  And sometimes, we do them simultaneously.  Spirituality is not an either/or, black/white exercise.  Spirituality—whether intentional or unintentional—attempts to focus us both inward and outward, head and heart, experiential and rational, centering within ourselves and involving us in social action.  Spirituality is not all about sitting quietly and navel gazing.  To be effective and relevant, it must draw us outside of ourselves.  And to be grounded and authentic, it must take us inside ourselves and start the transformation there.

So, there is a reason it is called “spiritual practice.”  It is like learning a new language, dribbling a basketball, or getting in physical shape.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and getting better at it requires dedication and consistency.  It requires repetition, openness, and building upon the lessons we’ve already learned.  It requires practice.

Before Clivie was born, I had a regular yoga practice.  I did all kinds of yoga, but I especially liked Bikram yoga—the kind you do in hot, sauna-like conditions.  But since he was born, for the past year and a half, I have hardly done any yoga.  I thought I would have to give up this important spiritual practice of mine until I realized I could incorporate my new reality as a mama into it. We are all on a journey.  We are all cultivating some kind of relationship with the Sacred.  And Clivie is a part of that for me now.  So, lately, I have been putting on a yoga DVD, and letting him practice and roll around on the floor with me.  To be sure, it is a new kind of practice.  But it is still nurturing my relationship with the Divine.  Like Mary Oliver says, I am learning that it doesn’t have to be the blue iris after all.  It could be weeds.  Or a few small stones. . . .


Post a Comment

<< Home