Recently, when I shared with someone close to me that I was writing a blog post on spirituality, they scoffed and asked, “What right do you have to write a blog post on spirituality?” Honestly, I can’t say I blame them for the question. Heck, I even thought it was a little nervy that I would volunteer to write on the subject!

I used to think about spirituality somewhat narrowly. If you asked me years ago what the definition of spirituality was, I would likely have said that an essential component was some form of organized religion. Because of this naïve perception, I made the determination and would frequently declare that I was not a spiritual person. I wasn’t really bothered by my complete lack of identity in this area. Still, I sometimes did wonder if I was missing out on the benefits that came with a sense of community, regular reflection, and practice. It wasn’t until we started talking about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness here at PRA that I gave my definition of spirituality a second thought.

According to SAMHSA, spiritual wellness is “a broad concept that represents one’s personal beliefs and values and involves having meaning, purpose, and a sense of balance and peace. It includes recognizing our search for meaning and purpose in human existence; and developing an appreciation for life and the natural forces that exist in the universe” (SAMHSA, 2016). Ah ha! Now, this was something I could relate to. Values, peace, purpose, and natural forces—these were concepts that spoke to me.

With this broader understanding of spirituality, there was now space for me to become a spiritual person, and so my exploration began. For me, spirituality is about taking mindful pauses, connecting with myself and my surroundings, and not just whizzing through life (which is easy to get swept up in, given how things move at lightning speed these days!). Spirituality is a practice and one in which the only constant is that you keep making time for the pause. The “what” or the “how” is flexible. Sometimes it’s meditation, sometimes it’s gardening, sometimes it’s yoga, sometimes it’s a gratitude reflection or writing. The options go on and on. Whatever gets you to stop your busy life to consider, evaluate, re-evaluate, or adjust your values, your purpose, and your state of mind is what feels like a spiritual fit for me. And sometimes, I need a reminder, so I keep this quote from a yoga meditation nearby:

Peace is all around us and within us.

Once we learn to touch this peace, we are healed and transformed.

It is not a matter of faith.

It is a matter of practice.

It is not a matter of faith. It is a matter of practice. It is a mindful and intentional practice. Simply believing or having faith probably won’t be enough. So, my earlier understanding of spirituality fell short, but I am now on track. And while my history as a spiritual person isn’t long or deep, I do feel confident in my practice, and I am feeling the benefits of incorporating my form of spirituality into my life!