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Posted: June 10, 2005

Spiritual Caregiving

More from Living Fully: 42 Ways to Nourish Your Soul

(Editor's Note: Today we're pleased to provide you with "food for the soul." These are extracts from a new book, Fifty Ways to Feed Your Soul, produced by Spirituality and Health and published by Red Wheel/Weiser.)

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Bask in the Warmth
When I step out of my house I often stop for a moment and bask, with my head thrown back and my eyes closed, facing the sun. I imagine, "If the sun were God . . . " and feel God's presence warming me, the brightness beyond my closed lids enveloping me, a sense of peace invading my being and soul. It is amazing how this "God moment" rejuvenates me!

Debbi Lowrance
Robinson, Illinois

Let Your Faith Be Your Guide
Since I began my spiritual journey, I've found that I don't always know what is best for me. Several times a week, I visit a park to walk a path that borders a lake. During the waning moon, I ask the Creator to remove from my life whatever is not in my best interest. During the waxing moon, I ask the Creator to add to my life whatever will help me become the person I am meant to be. As I walk, I reflect that faith will be my guide.

James Larkins
Jonesboro, Arkansas

Live Your Practice
Nowadays, I have little formal practice, but I try to make everyday life the expression of my spirituality. For example, I see my role as a parent as a spiritual calling. I may be helping my daughter with her homework or teaching my son to saw a piece of wood, and I sense the spiritual implications of these small acts. If I do them reasonably well and with a sense of giving, I have no doubt that they foster the transcendence that gives my life meaning. I often turn down trips that might be exciting because the call to be with my family is part of my spirituality.

As when I lived in the monastery, work is prayer. I write books that I think will make a contribution, and I do my best to keep my writing ethical. I don't submerge my ego, but I try to keep it subject to the larger purpose of making the world a better place. And there are frequent challenges to that ethical, soft-ego point of view.

I play the piano, pool, "Clue," and ping-pong from a spiritual place as well. I think you get away from the divine when you get too serious about work and living meaningfully. Play is the work of the gods, and if I let my own work get in the way of family play, I have avoided my spiritual responsibilities. The piano is now my choir stall, where I meditate and rediscover, again and again, how the spiritual is best found in the beautiful.

Thomas Moore, author, Care of the Soul

Stretch
Stretching my body brings in oxygen, sends away stress, and connects me to the day. I begin every morning with a few quiet moments finding the pliability in my body, mind, and soul. My breathing becomes centered and my mind clears. Throughout the day, when events could catapult me into a frenzy of anxiety, I stretch my body. My soul reawakens, along with my muscles, my creativity, and my desire to make a difference. In this ritual I find perspective.

Monique LaFollette
Seattle, Washington

Seek Wonder
Every day I take the time to find the wonder and uniqueness of the little things that usually go unnoticed... a single crane flying gracefully over the city streets... the smell of a freshly peeled orange... the warm connections we make with others in passing... all special gifts found by simply opening our senses and our hearts.

Don Mathewson
Victoria, B.C.

Sing
Two years ago, I heard about a singing class "for people who think they can't." That described me. I mustered my courage, signed up, and found that with proper instruction, I can sing decently! Every week, the deep breathing exercises inspire me; the songs I sing make me and those around me smile. I now understand what I once read: The Australian aborigines say the world was sung into existence.

Linda Tagliaferro
Little Neck, New York

Skip!
One year, the school playground was under construction, and my students had to create their own games and activities on the open grass instead. A favorite activity was skipping. That's right -- plain old skipping hand in hand across the grass. "Ms. Christenson! Come and skip with us!" they chanted. Finally I muttered, "May as well join em." They beamed at me, linking their little hands with mine as we skipped merrily. "Oh, my!" I shouted with them, "This is fun!" I laughed the way children laugh when they move in the sunshine  freely, easily, wholeheartedly. We tried to keep serious faces as we skipped from one tree to the next, but we couldn't do it. Take our challenge: See if you can stay grumpy while you skip! As the kids chimed, "Betcha can't!!!"

Karen Marie Christenson
River Falls, Wisconsin

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This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, www.SpiritualityHealth.com. For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see www.SpiritualityHealth.com/subs. Editor Robert Owens Scott and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at www.caregivershome.com. Contact Scott directly via email at ASKspirituality@spiritualityhealth.com.


This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, www.SpiritualityHealth.com. For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see www.SpiritualityHealth.com/subs. Editor Stephen Kiesling and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at www.caregivershome.com. Contact staff directly via email at ASKspirituality@spiritualityhealth.com.

© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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