Friday, 20 July 2012

A Fulfilling and Satisfying Life - Part 3

It's been awhile since I've worked on this series, but I've been busy tending to the garden of my soul by nurturing the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of me.  So today's post is all about the spiritual circle that completes our soul.  I will end the post with a wrap up of how all three circles work in our lives.

The spiritual circle does not just refer to the action of going to church or "having" religion in our lives.  The spiritual circle can comprise of these things but it is more than that.  The spiritual circle also includes our intuition, our instincts and yes our ways of believing in what we believe in.  We can nurture the spiritual side of us by meditating as we walk in nature, through prayer, by sincerely observing religious rites and rituals, through relaxation, and through fellowship which means spending quality time with friends and sharing deep conversations.  Some people find spending study time with the Bible, Koran or other religious reading also helps to nurture and strengthen their spiritual side.  Some people also tend to their spiritual side by doing Yoga, Tai Chi and other exercise programs. While I was going through my chemotherapy treatments, I discovered a new way to connect with my spiritual side.  A friend mailed me "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo.  It is a daily collection of thoughts and meditations with suggestions on ways to meditate on each day's reading.  I had never officially meditated before.  I have nurtured my spiritual self by sincerely attending church (not just going for appearances), by singing praise and worship songs and hymns, by reading scripture passages on my own, by spending time in the beautiful outdoors and amongst nature and by spending quiet visitations with friends.

I now find my day is not quite complete if I don't check in with "The Book of Awakening".  As I age, I am convinced that our spiritual selves are connected with each other (other people) and we are not even aware of it.  I'm going to use a quotation from "The Book of Awakening" which was part of the reading for June 21.  The title of that day's entry was "The Presence of God".  It was discussing how we are all interconnected.  "In the same way, the presence of God powerfully moves between us unseen, only visible in the brief moments we are lighted, in those enlivened moments we know as love."   This is so true!!!  As mentioned way back in the beginning of January in my blog, I spent the last weekend of November 2011 in a state of upheaval as I knew I had cancer but I didn't know if it was lung cancer, thyroid cancer or lymphoma.  I remember the date of that Sunday (Sunday, November 27, 2011) because I was scheduled to do the Coffee Hour after church and do the snack at my daughter's curling club in the afternoon.  As I arrived at church on that Sunday morning, one of my friends and ex-neighbour stopped me to talk to me.  He told me that I was in his dream the night before.  His dream was that he was driving up a hill with his son in the car, when they passed me riding a bicycle up the hill.  In the dream, his son pointed me out but they were passed me before my friend realized it.  As he told me his dream, all I could think was WOW!  At that very moment, I envisioned myself at the bottom of a very steep hill and struggling to make my way up it.  I couldn't tell my friend how eerily connected that dream was to me.  I did tell him when I saw him in February 2012.  I also asked him if I made it to the top of the hill and he couldn't remember.  It is amazing how we are connected.  I truly believe that when an urge to call someone is very strong that it is a spiritual connection and I should act upon it.  More often than not, the person I have called is having a rough time and is in need of friendship and support.  Throughout the last eight months, friends have called or emailed me just exactly when I've needed it.  Again, I truly believe we are spiritually connected.  In my blog, I have called these moments "Godcidences".

As I mentioned in the previous posts in this series, it is really important that all three circles of our being are nurtured and tended equally.  When that happens, life is absolutely wondrous despite what outside afflictions we may be having.  However, when the circles of our being get off balance, then life does not go well and we are ultimately unhappy and dissatisfied.  I remember my professor (who gave this lecture about the "whole" person) telling all of us that when we pay attention and use our whole being then life is truly fulfilled.  I've tried over the years to remember this and to apply it to my own life.  I haven't always succeeded at it.  Sometimes I've spent more time and effort on the physical and emotional side of me and the spiritual aspect of my being has been neglected.  Life goes on and I seem to enjoy it but there is a part of me that starts to shrivel.

I found for myself that teaching private piano, flute, voice and theory lessons allowed me to have a career that met my physical needs, my emotional needs and my spiritual needs.  It meets my physical needs not only in providing money to meet those needs, but also it keeps my embouchure (mouth muscles for playing the flute), my lungs and my abdominal muscles strong for playing flute and singing.  My career also meets my emotional needs as I am in tune with my emotions to help make the music come alive.  It meets my spiritual needs as I sing or play the flute as an act of worship, praise and thanksgiving but also as I teach young minds how to connect with their music.  Lastly, friendships are the cornerstone, in my opinion, of meeting our physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  True friends provide laughter, love and spiritual support.  Without them, I would be lost.  I've been very, very blessed to have numerous true friends throughout my life.

I will close this series of posts by saying I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being in touch and aware of the three circles that make up our beings.  If you can be fully attuned to your physical, emotional and spiritual circles you will have a fulfilling and satisfying life.  You need to use all three aspects in all areas of your life such as your career, activities and frienships.  You can become so attuned that you can rely on all three circles of your being to help you make the right decisions for you.  People have asked me where do I get my strength to deal with the diagnosis, treatment and reality of living with cancer.  I have to say that these circumstances allowed me to take the time to nurture every single aspect of my being.  I'm not going to say I'm happy I had lymphoma because I wouldn't want to go through that again.  But the fact of having lymphoma allowed me to reconnect with my physical self, my emotional self and my spiritual self.  In some ways I had ignored them, as mothers do, so I could look after everybody else.  I'm reconnected with myself and I feel fully healthy in all aspects.  My experience urges me to share with everyone else the importance of nurturing all three aspects and applying them to all areas of their lives.

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