What Spirituality Means to Me

spirituality

Hey there! Thanks for being here to check out part three of my series- How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle. This week’s topic is about spiritual wellness, but I’m not going to talk about what you should do to be healthy in this area of life. Spirituality is many things to many people, and I know that the journey to find its place in our lives is a personal one. After all, some get in touch with their spirituality with a more traditional, church-going experience. Others feel connected to a higher power while meditating, volunteering to help people in need, or even surfing!

What I do urge you to do is discover what spirituality means to you. You don’t have to believe in any particular god or in any god at all. Perhaps love is your deity, and you find your higher purpose being kind to others and lifting their spirits. The point is that spirituality, in any form, allows you to find deeper meaning in your existence. Having it in your life gives hope and support during hard times and confidence when you’re feeling fearful. Spirituality strengthens your personal value system. Plus, as I read in Blue Zones, people with spirituality in their lives tend to live longer! The purpose that it gives you, combined with providing a deeper sense of calm and greater community belonging, extends the lifespan greatly.

Since we all have our own take on spirituality, I challenge you to find where it can fit in your life. Check out some books- I loved Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Try out new religious services that have interested you, or just figure out what makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. This is an area of my wellness that I’m not as connected to, so I’ll need to explore deeper as well!

 


What I’ve found is that spirituality can be found just as easily in the magic of small moments as in the wonder of large moments. So it’s about to get personal- here are the activities and experiences I’ve found that get me in touch with my spiritual side:

To me, spirituality is… feeling beautiful moments of connection and transcendence during travel. I went to Paris when I was in high school and walked up the steep, cobblestone streets of Montmatre during the first night there. Once I got to the top, the highest point in the city, millions of buildings and the Eiffel Tower glittered down below. It was gorgeous. But towering right next to me was the stunning, white Basilica ‎Sacré-Cœur, and I was drawn in. The warm interior of the cathedral engulfed my emotions with the nuns singing softly by candlelight and the giant gold mural soaring overhead. I was immediately filled with a sense of bursting joy in my chest- all at once, I felt peacefully connected to everything and that life was so unimaginably amazing. It was a beautiful experience. Now, I’m actually not Catholic, but if that wasn’t the most spiritually moving moment in my life, then I don’t know what was!

To me, spirituality is… a magical “coincidence” that pops into my life just when I need it most. In my junior year of college, I’d been single for about a year and hadn’t met any guys who I really *clicked* with. I was feeling really down about not being able to find a good guy, so I wrote out a super elaborate list of every trait that I wished for in my ideal boyfriend. Sounds silly, but I put my heart into this list- a guy who makes me laugh, who has the same values as me, who is kind and helpful to everyone, and who surprises me with loving, thoughtful gestures. I went into WAY more detail, but I’m not going to embarrass myself here! Flash forward two weeks later where I’m at a Christmas party with some sorority sisters. Wine in hand, I say in frustration, “I’m over men… I refuse to date anyone for the whole next year!” Then in walks this cute guy who I met in passing at a bar with my girl friend the week before. Tonight though, his eyes land on mine, remembering me. We proceed to talk excitedly about all of our shared passions, and I just feel something special. I feel sure… like I know he’s going to become my boyfriend. By the end of the night, our first date is scheduled, and my sorority sisters make fun of my now defunct, anti-men declaration. Flash forward: He turns out to be the exact guy that I described in my list, and we end up dating for years. His appearance in my life was the biggest “coincidence” I’ve ever experienced- now I’m a true believer in the power of asking the universe for exactly what you want!

To me, spirituality is… my bond with nature. Whenever I’m alone and surrounded by the forest or in front of a gorgeous vista, I feel something sweep through me and fill me with energy. In those moments outdoors, I feel so alive and connected with all of the universe. Nature is just perfect- ecosystems that sustain themselves, the symmetry of flowers, the hydrologic cycle, butterfly metamorphosis, and all that’s in between. And have you ever read about Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio? The same mathematical ratio appears in everything from eggs to sunflowers to hurricanes to seashells to galaxies to waves- it’s amazing. The perfection of nature is mindbogglingly beautiful, and I can’t help but feel an intense higher connection to it all.

To me, spirituality is… feeling centered and like my true self during yoga class. During yoga, I’m not worrying about any of my problems outside the class. My mind is focused on breath-work and moving into the various poses. I’m completely in my body- present in each moment. This rare moment of freedom away from my often anxious brain allows me to center myself. It’s then that I realize that life isn’t about all of the issues my mind worries about. In these moments of mental freedom, I can connect back with a higher purpose and let go of my malicious ego, being the realest version of myself.

To me, spirituality is… my inner voice guiding me out of my deepest depression when I was younger. Prepare yourself- this next story might make me sound like a woo woo hippy. So I was really depressed during middle school and parts of high school and felt desperate to try anything that might get me out of this pit of nothingness. At a book store, I found a workbook about discovering your inner goddess and knew I had to give it a try. I had my moment of awakening during a 20-minute meditation exercise that the book led me through. During the experience, I felt energy surge through my body and mind that I’d never felt before. A beautiful woman radiating with light proceeded to have a loving conversation with me, answering all of my fear-filled questions about life and the future. This goddess in my meditation believed in me, and showed me the kindness and support that I truly needed at that time in my life. Once I came out of my meditation, I no longer felt depressed- I felt light and hopeful about my life. Though minor depression has reoccurred in years since, I’ve never felt as deep in despair since the goddess in my mind spoke to me. Call it my inner voice, intuition, or a guardian angel- all I know is that it made me see the beauty in life again.

 


So now that you’ve learned all of the diverse ways that spirituality shows up in my life, what does spirituality mean to you? Have you had any big spiritual moments in your life that give you a deeper since of wellness? Please let me know in the comments below- I’d love to hear your story! 🙂

Have a wonderful day,

xo Caylee

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The Gutsy Girl’s Summer Bucket List

Grab a pencil and paper, guys. It’s not too late to start making an awesome summer bucket list.

In my eyes, all fleeting things in existence deserve a bucket list to be made for them. They seem to create a sense of urgency in the way that we only have a set amount of time to finish something meaningful to us. A bucket list allows us to remember our goals more easily and gives a sense of achievement when we can mark our pen through each item.

There has been a bucket list for all occasions – One for all of the new things I wanted to try before college graduation a few years ago, one for what I hope to accomplish before I turn 30 years-old, one for all of the big ticket experiences I want to have before I die… And one for awesome activities to do this summer.

Since summer is already half-way over, I’m gonna have to move quickly to cross everything off of my list! For the record, I’ve never once completed all of the items on any of my dozens of bucket lists, but I have a special feeling about this summer. It’s going to be a crossing-off-my-bucket-list-bonanza! Want to join me? Here we goooooo!

 

  • Go to a local farmer’s market & learn some of the vendors’ stories. Getting to know where your food comes from can be such an interesting experience, and the farmers are often very passionate about what they do.
  • Learn something new & document your progress publicly. I would like to learn a new song, by heart, on my ukulele and then upload it onto the blog.
  • Plan a picnic at the park with someone meaningful in your life. Bring a supply of food you know they will love, and enjoy a few hours lounging outside together.
  • Try out a new type of yoga or fitness class that is outside of your comfort zone. Krav Maga? Kundalini yoga? A Bollywood dance fitness workout? Do it!
  • Make a new friend in your industry. Try to partner up on a small project, do a guest blog post swap, or interview each other for new business insights.
  • Finish 3 great books & write reviews to share with others who you think could benefit from reading them too.
  • Do something absolutely crazy – live with passion and purpose. Fall in love. Try an improv class. Start the amazing thing you’ve been too afraid to fail at. Be vulnerable and let your genuine, imperfect self be seen. Go whitewater rafting. Take a road trip. Just do something brave. Yes, please.
  • See a play or live show that is outside of what you’d normally enjoy. You might just discover something new to love!
  • Go on a nature hike & and make a mandala with all of the outdoor goodies you find along the way (twigs, flowers, rocks, leaves, etc).
  • Paint a canvas using just your intuition. Don’t plan it out and draw a picture with pencil beforehand – just create, wildly in the moment.

The Challenge:

So if you’re with me in trying to cross off this summer bucket list, let’s make a whole social media event out of it! Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to cross off as many of these list items as you can before September 1st. Use this blog as a jumping off point for inspiration! Write posts about your experience completing the bucket list challenges, and link back to this blog and let me know you’re participating. At the beginning of September, I’ll do a blog roll featuring your links and the awesome bucket list items you’ve achieved this summer. Also, if you’re a Twitter or Instagram fan, take this step below to feature our Gutsy Girl themed pictures together:

Think about it… We have a limited number of beautiful, bursting-with-life summers to enjoy in our time here on Earth. Be gutsy, and make this summer a passionate one. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend,

xo Caylee