Having a spiritual basis is a fundamental component in the journey toward loving yourself. It defines your morals and values as well as your sense of purpose and meaning. Your spiritual connection also shapes how you perceive and interact with the world around you. Given that spirituality is the foundation to loving yourself, it becomes extremely important to cultivate it during your voyage toward a better you. How might you continuously nourish your spirit?
As the old adage goes, Practice Makes Perfect!
You must intentionally, purposefully, and consistently practice in order to spiritually grow. Spirituality is not a concept that once you proclaim it—then voila! That’s all you have to do for the remainder of days. Just like anything else in life, if you want to be good at something, you must continuously work at it. Therefore, Iyami Naturals wants to provide a few tips to help you grow spiritually no matter what faith you profess.
- Be real with yourself: Take inventory of your strengths and areas of opportunity. Write a list of your values and other aspects of life that are important to you. Where do you want to be in the next 3 months, 6 months, or a year? Periodically completing this assessment helps you focus your practice and also tracks your progression. Many people will do this exercise at least once around the New Year; however, I encourage you to do this at least 2-3 times within a 12 month period. Block off time on your schedule, grab your journey (or ipad), and visit a park, beach, or other scenic location to spend some uninterrupted time reflecting on your spiritual growth.
- Make time for your spiritual practice on a daily basis: Carving out time in the day is an important step to cultivating your spirit. Whether you say a prayer, recite your favorite mantra, practice mindfulness exercises, or mediate, you must take time out of your day to center your thoughts and be thankful. We make time for many things in our life, growing spiritually should be the #1 task on your daily check list. I carve time out in the morning by reading, The Word for you Today from Angel on My Shoulder usually after I get dressed but before I dive into any other task and my daughter wakes up. It only takes a couple minutes, but the results are long lasting. I’ve been more focused and changed how I perceive work and life stresses just by incorporating these daily readings.
- Practice with others: Have 1 or more accountability partners that will help you along your spiritual journey. Exploring this journey with others fosters belonging and keeps you on track with your spiritual development. Yes, this journey can be very personal but sharing it with others can help you expand your perspective along the way. My team includes my mom, Sheree, and sister, Avianca (fellow Iyami Naturals cofounder). We talk to each other for a few minutes every morning on our way to work to discuss the meaning behind the word of the day. It’s great to share each other’s perspective of the word and how it applies to our lives. It also provides another opportunity to focus on our values and how we want to center our actions throughout the day.
Part of my spiritual team: Avi and I enjoying the St. Thomas Carnival in May 2015
- Find a spiritual coach: It is also equally important to check in with someone that is further along in their journey. He or she can be a great mentor when you are struggling or need an expert opinion. As Shane Raynor from Ministry Matters stated, “While it’s important to have peers to help you practice, there’s no substitute for spiritual mentors. Getting guidance from people who have ‘been there before’ helps you make sure that your entire spiritual growth strategy doesn’t turn into a case of ‘the blind leading the blind.’ A mentor will help you see possibilities for improvement that you didn’t even know existed.”
Developing your spirituality can be a huge task, but the beauty of it is that you don’t have to figure it out in a day. However, you must make daily deliberate efforts if you want to spiritually flourish. Whether you choose to use more religious based practices through a church, mosque, synagogue, or Buddhist temple; more philosophical approaches; or a combination of the two, you will only grow by consistently practicing to be a better you.