As we have adjusted into our new way of worship and gathering online, some of us may feel like we have some gaps in how we were accustomed to connecting to God and our faith. We may have more questions and doubts, and aren’t sure how to process them without community. I want to share a little bit about spiritual practices, and how they might be helpful ways for people of all ages to connect with God and their faith in a different way than we are used to.
A spiritual practice is any activity done regularly and with intentionality that establishes, develops, and nourishes a personal relationship with the Divine. Examples of common spiritual practices include prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, art, and rituals. It can take time and practice to discover what spiritual practices work best for you. What works for you might be something completely different from the things listed above.
One spiritual practice that has been helpful for me is that of movement. For a while I was practicing yoga twice a week. It was a place I could go to feel grounded. It was also a place I could just show up, not have to be leading or doing, I could just show up and be. Yoga was a way to center my body and my soul and find some peace. I haven’t been doing yoga regularly for months now due to my knee injury, and have been longing to have that back in my weekly routine. What I have found however, is that walking has become a nice replacement for the time being. While walking I become aware of the new scents in the air, like the lilacs now blooming. Or notice that more and more trees are full of leaves.
This time can be used as time in conversations with others, whether over the phone or in person, or listening to music or an audio book. It could also be time spent in prayer. Praying and walking is a spiritual practice that goes back to the early church and has been carried forward through the practices of pilgrimage and of walking labyrinths. If you already spend time walking, practicing yoga, or another type of movement, and you do it with intentionality, you may already have a spiritual practice and you didn’t know it. These are also a nice entrance place into testing out spiritual practices if you are new to them.
Another common type of spiritual practice is what I will call art. This spiritual practice can take the form of drawing, coloring, journaling, or other mediums through which you might express yourself and reflect what you are feeling inside. Creating a space to get lost in what you are doing. I have enjoyed coloring, but it is a practice that comes and goes. There are times when coloring brings with it time for reflection and refreshment, and they are times when it doesn’t feel refreshing but almost stressful (the intricate pages in my coloring book that I avoid until the right moment). The same has also been true for me with journaling. In college I went through a time when I was journaling daily, but over time it lost its intentionality and became more of a task and less of a practice. There may be seasons in life where certain practices are more meaningful than others, and it will likely change over time, and there is nothing wrong with that. That is part of the journey of faith.
I hope that you can find some time to do some intentional activity that is meaningful for you, and to create space to connect to God and yourself in maybe some new ways too.