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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community


Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Five Ways to Nourish and Renew Your Spirit by guest blogger Renée Peterson Trudeau
 

What would it feel like to experience more ease, harmony, and flow in the midst of navigating homework squabbles, mealtimes, commutes, and the other challenges of everyday life? Nurturing the Soul of Your Family is a guidebook for personal and spiritual renewal. It offers nurturing support and practical ideas to guide you toward a new way of being, and in this special guest blog, author Renée Peterson Trudeau offers five ways to renew your spirit.

For a chance to win one of three copies of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, simply leave a comment below answering this question: What is one of your favorite things to do when you are spending time with your family?

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It’s 1976, and my mom and dad are sitting quietly with their eyes closed, hands resting upward — thumb and index finger touching — while my younger siblings crawl on their backs and shoulders. My two older brothers and I sit nearby, holding our own meditation poses, bored, rolling our eyes and counting the minutes until this ritual will end.

At least once a week or whenever things got stressful, my parents would pull all five of their children — ranging in age from ten to one — into our library for a family meditation. As much as I complained, a part of me yearned for this spiritual practice.
      Spiritual renewal is essential to our emotional well-being. It helps us nurture our essence, feel centered, build inner strength, live in integrity, and trust life. It allows us to connect to a higher power, feel a sense of purpose, and experience meaning in our lives.
      We explore and nurture our spiritual lives in many different ways, including yoga, prayer and meditation, musical or artistic expression, and spending time in nature. Here are some of the daily practices that provide me with spiritual nourishment.

Creating Ritual
We all crave sacredness and ritual in our everyday lives — not just around birthdays and weddings. Rituals can be both carefully planned events and casual but regular remembrances such as voicing gratitude before a meal or creating dedicated space in your day for contemplation.
      When we mark important transitions or milestones in our lives — whether it’s your daughter’s first period or your son starting kindergarten — we connect to the sacredness of everyday life. We remember that life is mysterious and we’re more than our to-do lists!

Cultivating Stillness
Stillness, whether experienced through prayer, meditation, or reflection, is our time to be alone and connect to our inner wisdom or our higher power — what I call our internal GPS system. It’s essential for all of us to carve out time for quiet reflection each and every day.
      One of the biggest gifts I’ve received from a daily meditation practice is the ability to live more comfortably with what is — whether that’s my husband’s recent layoff or a car accident. Life is like the weather in Texas — constantly changing. Meditation has helped anchor me, so that despite this impermanence and turmoil, I’ve learned how to be still and find my center in the face of it all.

Practicing Service to Others
      Mother Teresa says, “The fruit of love is service.”
      We are all interconnected. The more we reach out and are present to one another’s pain and suffering, the stronger we become and the easier it is to embrace the esoteric idea that we’re all one. I believe huge shifts in consciousness can occur when we reach out and help one another navigate this sometimes scary, often isolating and perplexing, but beautiful world. Sometimes that might look like serving soup at your local homeless shelter, and other times it’s helping out your neighbor who just lost her husband.

Living in the Present
Many great spiritual teachers believe that the answer to everything is to just “be here now” and that our suffering and emotional distress would end if we simply stopped resisting the present moment.
      One weekend as I sat on the couch with a full-body cold — a splitting headache, body chills, and a nonstop runny nose — I thought about this principle. And as I watched the things I was missing — my friend’s birthday party, my son’s piano recital — fly out the window, I connected to my breath and felt myself arrive in the present moment. I sensed my resistance beginning to dissipate, and a feeling of peace slowly settled over me. I temporarily suspended my desire for things to be different, and I embraced that on the couch, with a cold, was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Choosing Happiness
Three of my immediate family members died unexpectedly between my twenty-sixth and thirty-fourth birthdays. For years I let those losses dictate how much and how often I could experience joy. Any time I started to feel light, free, or happy, the old feeling of “waiting for the other shoe to drop” would creep in.
      Can you be happy only if things are going your way and all the stars are aligned in your favor?
      I believe we’re born with the innate capacity to experience emotional well-being and joy; it’s our birthright to feel good. Happiness comes from within; we’re wired for it. We just have to remember to choose this from moment to moment.

It’s easy to forget who we really are. To lose sight of what really matters. To fall asleep and not remember how interconnected we all are and that we’re fully human and, at the same time, divine.
      A regular spiritual practice — whether that’s daily prayer or meditation, being in a spiritual community, or singing — serves to anchor us. It grounds us and helps us navigate the challenges we face from just being human. It helps us stay awake.
      So, ultimately, we can begin to let go, trust the rhythm and flow of life, and relax into the beauty of our true nature.
 

Life balance coach and speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Visit her online at www.ReneeTrudeau.com.


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