Keeping Yourself Healthy: Spirit, Part 1

What does it mean to have a healthy spirit?  What do you have available to you?  Spirit is defined in many ways by different people, cultures, religions and philosophies.  A common thread is connection.   We are social creatures so we seek each day to feel connection to ourselves, our people, other people, nature, and what some may call the sublime.   The health of your spirit depends on all of these facets together.  Being attuned to just one area may lead to malnourishment in others.  Try to connect to all parts.  We will discuss each of these five areas this week. 

  1. Connection to yourself:  You can establish a connection with yourself through mindfulness, prayer, art, music, dancing, play and much more. These help you to be in touch with your body, mind and inner spirit and express these parts to yourself and others.  What medium helps you to connect inwardly?   Anne Lamott, an author, shared in an interview this week that she thinks of “Intimacy as Into me I see.”  She suggested writing about the prompt; how you have changed during this time of world change.  This is an example of how to connect within. Consider using one of these ways of showing yourself how you have changed today because of COVID-19.
  2. Connection to your people: You can ground yourself in your family and your culture.  Family can be who you are genetically connected to or who you choose to be with.  Often families are a mix of these connections. Culture can be what you grew up with or what you have chosen to represent your people.  Often culture is a mix of these connections.   Take time each day to connect to your family and your culture.  This can be as simple as calling or writing to someone.  Or, as complex as looking at a picture, listening to a song or story, or smelling an odor and recalling a memory of that person or cultural event.  Connection within your mind or directly with others you know can be a positive or negative experience.  Understanding the impact of this connection to you can be grounding.  It is an opportunity for growth. 

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a virtual wedding.  Only ten people were in the church while the beautifully dressed bride walked down an aisle, passing all empty pews.  She shared her love to the groom in Spanish, he in English.   Many people watched through video monitors and shared comments in both languages.  The bride and groom were creating their newest family and combining several cultures.  There was little connection at the event but many witnesses virtually. Perhaps the most moving part was when they turned to the screen and shared their appreciation with one person after another confined to their homes during the ceremony.  The viewers witnessed the couple’s receiving of their guests in a very intimate way through the screen. The couple was so surprised and happy to see all the guests, tears in their eyes and in those who looked back at them.  Physical expressions of feelings such as tears can represent both joy at their union and sadness at the distance.  In that moment, many strangers shared a connection as they witnessed the couple’s new definition of themselves, their people and their culture.