Well-Being//

How I changed my mind about spirituality

And am better for it

It was the first day of my summer vacation and I was going for a morning run taking my usual route up and down the hills, into town and to the dock at the end of Main Street. A wave of emotion overwhelmed me as I looked out on the lake for the first time that year. I was surprised to feel my eyes welling up as I felt a wave of emotion run through my body; it was as though the spirit of the lake had found a way to course through my veins. As I fought the tears stinging the back of my eyes I found my mind and my body in conflict: I couldn’t explain what was happening or how I felt and yet what I was experiencing was very real even if it was intangible.

I’ve never been a religious person and I wasn’t raised going to church. Spirituality was a word I had always reserved for other people; not one that I would ever use to describe myself. The world of believing in a higher power or higher purpose had always been black and white to me and I didn’t see a place where I fit in. I also didn’t see how spirituality could provide any value or impact on my life because up to this point, I didn’t feel as though anything was missing. I was in control of my destiny and that was that. Further, the topic made me uncomfortable and trying to understand my own spirituality conflicted with my character taking me out of my comfort zone.

But in the last couple of years, something changed. Call it maturity, timing, or the result of self-exploration as a writer, but I started to find things I couldn’t explain. As the stress of my full time job combined with my passion projects built up, I started paying attention to the times where I felt fulfilled and at peace. They often included common elements such as being on vacation, outdoors or with family. After reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive in Jamaica earlier this year, I found myself reaching back and trying to understand if I in fact had a spiritual practice that I had been ignoring all along. It wasn’t long before I saw myself in the studio, on stage or in the living room doing the one thing that always brought that larger-than-life feeling (of euphoria): dance. I credit dance for giving me the ability to find other activities as an adult that have helped me to find a similar connection of my heart, body and soul. But what’s more, I’ve learned that this connection isn’t complete without nature. Whether running by the lake or snowboarding down a mountain, there is something about fresh air, nature and a moment of solitude that gives me a sense of peace and clarity.

We grow up wanting to compartmentalize and understand the reason behind every action and outcome. But as life happens to you, the grey starts to appear and we learn that the things we can’t explain may be the most important aspects of our humanity. Regardless of our profession, hobbies and passions in life, by connecting to something larger than ourselves we can live more fulfilled and purposeful lives. This is what encourages me to write and to keep writing and in turn makes me feel that I live my life with intention while serving a higher purpose. I’ve learned that there has to be something more than your 9-5 to get you through the day and it has to be something that’s yours, that’s personal, that’s sacred. By living in the moment and space we’re in, we can live much more fulfilled lives. Put down your phone, turn off the TV and listen to the voice inside you and help it find what it’s looking for. Believe me, you’ll be better for it. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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