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Ann Strong 

Ann Strong, offering spiritual business and life coaching to support small business owners in building their lives and businesses on their own strong spiritual foundation and their natural strengths and gifts.

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Spiritual awakening: Discovering "your way" - energy for you, of you

  
  
  

To live our best lives from our best selves, we must discover what best fills our own cups, what energizes us, what fuels us.  We each have our own unique “energy recipe,” and we continue to enrichen our blend as we discover more about the best of ourselves throughout our lives.


Sometimes, we tend to put our spiritual life in it’s own box, “First, I’ll exercise, then do the laundry and then get to my spiritual activity.”  Yet, spirit (energy) runs through everything.  And, if we are open to it, we can experience spiritual awakening while exercising or doing the laundry, as well as when we are praying or meditating.


Knowing spirit, discovering energy from doing the laundry or in other aspects of our daily routines adds a beautiful spiritual richness to areas of our lives that we might otherwise consider as boring repetition or mindless chores.  Spiritual awakening involves recognizing spirit in everything.  Discovering what specific things most energize us and engaging in those activities more and more allows us to contribute more of our own personal best to the whole.


Several key areas of spiritual awakening in which we discover our unique energy ingredients:

  • Nature

  • Physical activity

  • Solitude

  • Community

  • Interests

  • Passions


Let’s briefly look at each one:

  • What two or three ways of being in nature most energize you? 

  • Which physical activities most restore you to your equilibrium? 

  • When you spend time alone, are you more energized by meditation, trimming bushes, reading, prayer, journaling, singing, chopping vegetables or . . .? 

  • Are you energized by spending time with your neighbors, one good friend, new acquaintances at a party, a group of children or . . .? 

  • Which of your interests do you get lost in? 

  • Which of your passions most ignite you?


Looking at each more closely . . .


Nature

I didn’t realize until I was well into my thirties how much nature energizes me.  Until then, I thought I didn’t like being outside much because I hated the hikes – I called them forced marches – that my mother made me take as a kid.  I also wasn’t too thrilled when she made us play outside for an hour in the winter, no matter how cold the day.


As I matured, I realized I love sitting on the river bank watching the water rush by me.  I also noticed how much I’m energized by the wide open landscapes of the desert.  The more time I spent in the desert, the more I realized how much comfort I receive from the moon.  And, I’ve experience many a spiritual awakening on the ski slope – as long as I allowed myself to go into the lodge before I got too cold!


What aspects of nature call to you? 


Spending time with animals?  Listening to trees?  Scaling sheer rock faces?  Rolling in the grass with kids?  Playing in a big lake?  Taking in the spiritual awakening on the ocean floor?


Physical Activities

I was as late a bloomer with knowing the energizing value of physical activity as with finding spiritual awakening in nature!  In high school, I took modern dance as my gym requirement, hoping to avoid sweating.  I learned the hard way that modern dance is a whole lotta work!  Only in the past 9 years (living 2 blocks from 314 acres of fabulous City Park) have I learned both the joy and spiritual awakening available in physical activity – dare I say exercise?!


Today, I refill my energy cup by walking in the park, riding my bike on errands, skiing in the winter and practicing yoga once a week.  I can’t imagine my life without this physical nourishment, yet I do remember telling people, “I’m just not a physical person.”  Of course, now I know better.  We are all physical people!  And, there are an infinite number of recipes for energizing ourselves through physical activity.


What physical activities support your spiritual awakening, call you to feel more alive? 


Do you get energized from “hard work” like chopping wood or making things?  Does your energy come from physical challenges like training for a marathon or swimming across the English channel?  Do you feel energized playing a team sport?


Solitude

I knew from a very early age that a good bit of my spiritual awakening came from solitude.  When I was five, I spent hours pulling the seeds from the four-o-clock flowers in our yard to later sell to our neighbors.  I spent many summer hours laying under a tree reading books.  As the oldest of five children, I cherished any quiet time alone!


Today, I am energized by and experience spiritual awakening when skiing alone, taking solo retreat in the desert, walking in silence, reading for many hours and making jewelry.


What type of solitude facilitates your spiritual awakening?


Do you get energized by camping and fishing alone?  Do you feel recharged when you chop vegetables for lunch or fold laundry after dinner?  Do you feel most alive deep sea diving?


Community

I’m much more of a one-on-one person than a group person.  And yet, I experienced a profound spiritual awakening at an Obama rally three days before he became president.  I’ve also felt energized by taking a strong stand on a neighborhood zoning issue.  I love the energy and spiritual awakening every time I go to church at Agape.  And, I give and receive so much energy in the tiny community of two with my best friend, Tama.


What aspects of community, what particular communities energize you, spiritually enrich you?


Do you feel a spiritual awakening when you volunteer your time with children or the homeless?  Do you get energized by leading your work group?  Do you feel more alive when you sing in your church choir?


Interests/Passions

I’ve had a love of “home” ever since nine years of age. I masterminded, and built with my sisters, a two-story, three-room fort - complete with carpet, screened and curtained windows and a safe . . . for snacks, of course.  Today, I am tickled pink that my 8-year-old-niece, Hailey, loves HGTV!  I get energized doing almost anything in my home.  And, just watching Hailey’s enthusiasm watching home design shows makes me feel more alive!


I’ve collected rocks since I was ten.  Still today, every time I visit the desert, I bring a few new rock friends home with me.  I feel Spirit in those rocks!


I can’t get enough of soul music.  I’m constantly on the lookout for new artists – one of the reasons I love attending church at Agape – even though it’s 1,000 miles from my home!  Listening to Rickie Byars Beckwith, Aaron Neville or Niki Haris sing from the bottom of their hearts facilitates a spiritual awakening in me so beautifully!


What interests or passions give you more energy, call to your heart, cause your spiritual awakening?


Ice fishing?  Restoring vintage Mustangs?  Riding your horses?  Inventing video games?  Sky diving?  Gardening?  Sail boating?  Remodeling houses?  Cooking for dinner parties?


Your unique recipe for energizing you . . .

Take the time to observe yourself – noticing when you feel most alive, when you are strengthened and give yourself – and the world – the huge gift of allowing yourself to spend more time engaged in the activities that cause you to feel more alive!


Here’s to our spiritual awakening . . .


I’d love to hear what you’re noticing!

 

Join a small group of like-minded coaches to spend 90 days discovering and implementing your way in the Thriving in 90 Days! program.  Begins Sept 24th. 




Comments

Beautiful blog post, and I have to say that I felt like the last roundtable ended much too quickly -- so much more to say and be said! In that discussion you commented that "meditation" never really felt like a fit for you. I've heard variations on this statement from many others, and I believe it stems from a preconception about the word "meditate."  
 
To me, meditation is anything that allows me to release resistance. And while I teach a specific technique to "relax on demand," a meditative "state" can be achieved by appreciating nature, engaging in physical activity that delights us or induces a "runner's high," from solitude and introspection, "listening" to Self; from intentional relationships with like-minded people; from the eagerness of exploring a new (or old) interest. The experience of passion is meditative as well -- all these experiences are ways for us to release the resistance and the hurry and scurry that accompany our everyday lives. All these experiences result in stress release, clarity of focus, broadened perspective, and peace of mind. 
 
This relates directly with your statement in the blog about spirituality. As a coach, you are probably familiar with the "wheel of life" that identifies major segments of life experience (<a>http://www.lifesculpt.net/wheel_of_life). “Spirituality” is commonly shown as a segment of the wheel, but I’ve always thought that it belongs more as a backdrop underlying all the other segments. When we attend to spirituality, our satisfaction increases in every area of life. When we fully appreciate any activity or any given segment of life, our spirituality is enriched. You kind of can’t go wrong if you simply look for ways to appreciate what’s going on right now – be it physical, mental, emotional, in solitude or in community, meditative or communicative, personal or business. 
 
Thank you for doing what you do. I enjoy your insights! 
Posted @ Thursday, August 06, 2009 10:11 AM by Nina Durfee
Nina, 
 
Thanks so much for that broad definition of meditation. I had already intuitively realized but not named it like you did. 
 
I seem to be in quite a big transition right now similar to what you are talking about with spirituality as a segment of life or underlying everything. Spirituality / being present / paying attention to energy is so important to me, yet doing something specifically spiritual or medatative actually seems annoying! So fascinating . . .
Posted @ Monday, August 10, 2009 2:07 PM by Ann Strong
Perhaps the annoyance comes from messing with something that is already happening. I find that more and more frequently -- when I try to pin down an action that I think will move me forward, it gets in the way of what is already happening on a broader (if less concrete) level. I encourage you to trust your intuition -- perhaps the physical pursuit really does get in the way of something that is already working smoothly! 
 
Blessings.
Posted @ Monday, August 10, 2009 8:31 PM by Nina Durfee
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