I told myself that in 2019 I would write in this blog more. And I’m not doing so hot on that. I’m in Ecuador doing the whole I-just-graduated-with-a-degree-I-don’t-know-how-to-use-right-now thing and while I have a lot to say about it, it just hasn’t come into words. The whole reason I’m writing about this topic is because I had some expectations of this trip (mistake oops I mean learning moment #1) that haven’t panned out. Complete transparency, I thought this would be a time of connecting with new and different humans, teaching yoga, meditating every day twice a day, surfing, feeling intensely connected with my body and earth, deepening my yoga practice, having daily epiphanies, and being inspired for months. And for the most part, it’s not the way I expected. Because that’s not realistic for me at this point in my life and that’s ok. I am trusting the universe’s message that maybe that kind of experience is not what I need right now. Don’t worry, I’m fine and I’m having fun and I’m learning a lot.
The usual disclaimer: Like all of my posts, I am generalizing and voicing my own opinion in my own words.
Alright, let’s have a real moment and say keeping up with any kind of routine can be hard. Take it from me as I am in South America, not working, totally chilling, and still not able to find time for everything. We’re busy humans and it’s difficult to commit time to certain things especially things that don’t pertain to school, work, our families, the “necessities”. But see? Right there? It’s already started. Today I’m going to talk about the real reason maintaining a spiritual practice is difficult for so many of us and spoiler alert, the reason sucks.
Many of us do not think highly enough of ourself to put the proper amount of time and work into our spirituality. Or maybe if you’re not so into the big S word, this still applies. Many of us do not think highly enough of ourself to properly take care of ourself. When I mentioned all the of time suckers of our day (work, school, children, farm animals, I don’t know your life) I called those the necessities but didn’t include myself. Sure every day I remember to get out of bed, I eat, I usually bathe (OK I don’t but I look and smell like I did), I survive. But there are days I hardly think of me; who I am, who I want to be, my purpose, my truth, what I want to give, what I want to receive, and so on. There are days when I don’t take a moment to be happy to be alive. I don’t think of God (universal flow, love, whatever you call this). I don’t think of my connection to other humans. I spend the day numb, bumbling through a to do list. Maybe I’m not even bumbling maybe I am absolutely killing it and feel super motivated and happy to get it done. But there was no me involved. Maybe my ego was happy to check things off, but I wasn’t there. Some days, my true self doesn’t show up. Have you had a day like this? Was today a day like this? Are most days like this?
So before we delve into our (generalizing) screwed up measures of self worth, let’s discuss a more tangible reason for this lack of self care or effort. For many, spiritual work’s benefits are too long term or maybe too concealed, too subtle. Other work isn’t. Like, I am hungry so I eat. Or more long term like, I wanted a degree so I went to the library and studied my ass off. Someone else wanted a promotion so they put a ton of meaningful time in at work. Our mothers wanted us to live and grow so they made whatever sacrifices necessary and fed us. Obvious right? It gets harder like, I wanted what was best for my partner and I so I ended a relationship. Someone wanted a new direction in life so they quit their job and stopped earning a pay that made them comfortable. What about, I want to reach a higher level of consciousness so I sat in meditation every morning for all of my life and some days I still felt like it was day 1. Hmmm. A little harder sell, yeah? (Read my last post to hear more about our need for very tangible results.)
The “results” of a spiritual practice can be the most significant changes we experience in life but can also be very subtle and slow. So why don’t we put in the work for subtle and slow changes that make us more in tune with ourself, fellow humans, nature, and the universal flow of energy?
We don’t think we’re worth it.
We think keeping our job is worth effort. We think improving our grades is worth effort. But we don’t think a task that solely benefits us, as everlasting souls experiencing the human condition, is worth the time, effort, and sacrifices that it may require. We don’t see the point of committing to ourself! To bettering us! To creating a meaningful connection between us and God! What. A. Damn. Shame. So here’s me, just another soul in a different body experiencing the same human condition and struggling to think of myself worthy, saying you are worth it. We all are.
So whatever a “spiritual practice” looks like to you, make time for it. Not because it’s “healthy”, not because it “relaxes” you. The “” don’t really make sense here but I am using them to express! Make time for your practice not for any reason other than it’s for you. Not the you that needs a glass of wine and a bubble bath so you can be a better *insert job title*, not the you that wants a sexier, healthier body. This is for the you that has no job and no body. Because even though you might not see that piece of yourself in the mirror or even experience that raw, true you every day, that version of you is worth so much. So spend that money on a membership at the yoga studio, chant your mantra, get up an hour earlier than your kids to write in your journal, get some reiki, burn all the sage, do 108 sun salutations, meditate for 20 minutes when you wake up, pray every single night, whatever this looks like for you (and it may look like anything), do it! Get it done! Trust that you’re worth putting other things off or sacrificing time spent elsewhere.
Let’s have a mantra meditation. Want to learn more about mantra? Google it. I use mantra to get things into my head.
Our Mantra: I am worth time, I am worth effort.
In a comfortable seat with an upright spine, bring your attention to your breath. Breathe normally and notice your breath in your body. Then notice your body in the space of the breath.
When completely aware of your breath, let’s layer on. As you inhale, say (I like out loud but in your head works too) “I am worth time”. Retain your breath and this thought at the top of your inhale. As you exhale, say “I am worth effort”. Pause before inhaling again, repeating the process.
Continue breathing with this thought until it comes naturally. You can use a mala for this meditation or count on your fingers. You could use a timer if you prefer. I find keeping count of time or rounds in my head distracting, so use a tool or use intuition to know when you’re done.
If this meditation resonates with you, make it your spiritual practice.
Remember to take each day to love and support your highest self, the part of you that makes you feel alive and a part of something beautiful.