If there was ever a time that was calling out for us to hone our spiritual resilience and sharpen our spiritual tools, it is now. These are stormy times we live in! Today we are witnessing the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals at a rate never seen before, mainly as a result of human activity. A 2018 United Nations climate change report indicates that the very nature of civilization as we know it is at stake if we don’t act now. It’s a time of radical uncertainty. Not surprisingly there is an unprecedented rise in stress, depression, and anxiety. Perhaps you’re feeling it.
Francis Weller writes in his poignant book The Wild Edge of Sorrow: “Every one of us has encountered times when we felt as though we were in the middle of an immense storm. The winds were fierce, and the downpour felt biblical.” He writes that during these stretches, “we can easily be tossed about, roiling in the waves that crash on the shore.”
What keeps us from crashing and drowning during these wild times? The same thing that keeps us steady and alert during the calmer times: spiritual ballast. Just like a ship’s ballast provides stability even during the most perfect storm, your spiritual ballast is a container for your sacred fire within. With loving care and attendance to your inner fire, your light is bright, steady, clear, and energized, even during the most challenging times. Without a well-tended inner spiritual fire, it’s easy to lose all sense of direction, become imbalanced, and even burn out. Quoting James Hillman, Weller goes on to say: “You get from the fire only what the fire is fed.”
Worldwide we are in the process of letting go of old stories that keep us limited and powerless. We’re beginning to get a taste of what it means to step into our full potential as human beings. As we do this our job is to envision a world founded on the principles of social justice, environmental sustainability, and spiritual fulfillment. In order to do create this new reality, it’s necessary to cultivate these qualities within. A steady practice of tending to your spiritual fire creates a strong internal flame that, when combined with others, creates a spiritual wildfire of light capable of sweeping over and transforming the planet for the greatest good of all.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with different spiritual tools and have currently narrowed it down to eleven. These are the main tools that keep me balanced, centered, and calm. When I get in a rut, when my energy starts to spiral down, or when I become overwhelmed with the world’s chaos, I pull out my spiritual toolbox and decide which tool to use. In every moment I have a choice: I can stay in the downward spiral OR I can choose which tool will work the best in that moment. It’s the act of choosing and using that tool that shifts my vibration and activates my light which automatically activates the light of every being on the planet. This is the nature of energy and the same is true for all of us!
There are eleven questions I ask myself when I notice my spiritual fire burning low. These are the spiritual tools that breathe life into my being. Over the next weeks I’ll be sharing with you in no particular order the eleven spiritual tools in my toolbox. Perhaps you have some of the same ones!
Tool #1 Am I setting aside personal time each day to be quiet and listen to the still voice of wisdom within? We are each born with an infinite well of wisdom. If we don’t take quiet time for ourselves, it can be virtually impossible to hear it. Setting aside even 5-10 minutes/day to just sit, breathe, and listen can make all the difference in your world.
If you have resistance to sitting and being quiet, I understand! It took me 55 years to set aside ten minutes every morning to just sit and be still. My body and mind fought me every step of the way! I tried “meditating” several times and I just could not prioritize it. But I kept showing up. Just like the puppy that needs to be told several times to “stay”, I kept reminding myself of all the rewards I would garner if it just stayed with it! I started small. I set a timer for ten minutes. And I stayed with it no matter how loud the “puppy” within me got. I now sit every morning for at least twenty minutes and love it. I never thought I would say that. However, I kept showing up for myself. As I did, the gifts of sitting began to show up. I now unwrap them every day!
If you’re averse to the word “meditation” don’t call it that! Just find a regular quiet place, perhaps gaze at a candle, breathe in and out, and sit. If you keep showing up, you’ll find that it gets easier. It becomes a regular practice and you too will be unwrapping the gifts of sitting on a regular basis!
Having tools that you know are tried, true and regularly used can rekindle your spiritual fire like nothing else. You shift from overwhelm, depression, and confusion to being the agent of positive change and creativity you were born to be. Steady practice makes all the difference. However, we all fall down. It’s a given. When that happens, remember the wise Japanese proverb “fall down seven times, get up eight.” Ultimately, spiritual resilience is our ability to pick ourselves up when we fall. Those who have the spiritual tools to get back up, and more importantly use them, are the resilient ones. They brush themselves off and say: “Today I will use this tool to help me get back up because I know it will make all the difference.” And then they use it. They still fall, but when they do, their recovery time is a lot less.