A Healthy Spirit & the Will to Keep Going
The late maestra curandera, Elena Avila, stressed the importance of cultivating a strong spirit…”the envelope of the soul,” she calls it.
Without a strong and resilient spirit we can feel stuck, powerless, and like victims in our lives.
These are often the times we may be unable to find a way forward or aren’t able to quite see a new opening or possibility yet.
When I was in the beginning stages of a separation and then divorce in 2015, I was often shaken awake with a racing heart in the midst of a series of panic attacks. Even though I felt the decision was necessary, with absolutely no other plan in place, I felt as if I was drowning in a sea of uncertainty miles from shore.
You might be familiar with your own sort of scenario that evokes an unsettled, distressing, or trapped feeling in it’s own way…
In my work, for example, clients sometimes come in feeling stuck or trapped in a situation that involves recurring or cyclical patterns with physical symptoms, painful eating habits, body weight challenges, anxiety, or some kind of frustration with culture and the limited options that seem to be available to them. The feeling of helplessness can feel just as intense as anything else.
These are truly the times the “rubber meets the road.”
Sure, they can trigger our deeper emotions and that can feel scary and un-grounding.
But the will of a fortified spirit gives us power to keep going, to heal and to grow from our wounds and our problems. It helps us stay on the path and commit to something of real value (even when it’s difficult).
Strengthening the Spirit
Spirit is strengthened by the quality of the food we eat as well as our general faith in and understanding of the nature of life, uncertainty, mystery, and change.
Our spirit also gets stronger through our commitment to becoming conscious and self-responsible human beings.
These are tall (and worthwhile) orders.
Here are a few practices to consider, inspired by my recent time studying in NM, that can strengthen the spirit more specifically…
1.) Eat life giving food
Keep your shell healthy. Drink water. Eat plants and herbs. Cook from home whenever possible. Reduce foods that congest you, bog you down, or sedate you. Notice what aggravates your digestion. One lovely little concoction that can keep the GI tract operating smoothly is soaking a TBS of chia seeds overnight in water with fresh squeezed lime juice and a dash of raw honey – a gentle, gelatinous “housekeeper” for your body.
2.) Partake in regular practice of therapeutic altered states of consciousness
There is a large range that falls under the “altered state” category. These can vary from meditation, Focusing, voice dialogue, ceremonial use of medicinal plants, prayer, sweat lodges/temezcals, retreating into Nature, getting into “flow states,” spiritual practice of any kind, and others…These states help us shift our point of view, pulling us out of our habitual or ordinary ways of relating to life and gives us access to a bigger picture or a higher perspective. Much of my energy the past few years has been devoted to exploring the spectrum of therapeutic altered states. A small, down-to-earth example: bringing a little prayer to your meal versus a fear-based approach to your meal, is a subtle practice in shifting consciousness and good therapy.
3.) Do something you never thought you’d be able to do
This helps cultivate confidence in your own will and follow though. Identify something that is important to you and is aligned with your values. Perhaps you feel drawn to liberate yourself from circular patterns dealing with your health, body weight, thoughts, or relationships. I recently experienced a huge opening in my own perception of energy that was actually available to me, challenging an older story line I was holding on to. I’ve been testing out my new discovery bit by bit. You, too, can also open to possibilities you may not have perceived before. If you are having a difficult time or feeling stuck, ask for help from professionals and healers that can help open you to new vision or a new energy to help you do it. These are moves you can make taking more responsibility for your life and your experiences.
I’ve found a good portion of the work helping people with concerns and problems they have with their bodies, health, and eating habits is first forging a way for a vision for a new way forward.
I have faith in the will of the human spirit and with a little practice and commitment, you can create beauty and healing in your life that is uniquely your own.