You already know you’ve got some spiritual gifts, the problem is that we forget…and by forget I mean everyday we forget. If you’re like me you forget every hour. As a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and business coach I see these gifts go under utilized all the time.
I’ve created a personal resource list for building your spiritual capacity so that you can step into your life with more power and grace. Peppered throughout this list are short activities that can be done right now to build up your spiritual gifts. A little bit a day will go a long way.
1.The Wisdom of Your Inner Voice
We so often let the intellect override our inner voice. Think of intuition as residing in the body as your physical sensations. When confused about a course of action to take, double check with your body sensations, especially the belly area. ‘Yes’ usually feels more expansive and ‘no’ feels tight and constricted. You can cross reference your intuition with your thinking mind, but don’t let the mind call all the shots; often the body, the inner voice, knows best.
2.The Power of Your Outer Voice
Tension for many of us builds in the neck and throat, inhibiting our ability to use our voice with confidence. Take time to sing a favorite song everyday, singing and laughing the tension out of the body. Think about daily cleansing breaths with sound also. Try this: Inhale your arms up into a “V” above your head and exhale with a long slow “ahhhhhhhhh” slowly increasing the volume as you go. The universe wants to hear your voice!
3. Deeply Connected Silence
Feeling lost or confused about a decision? Going for a hike in nature and being quiet for a few hours will allow the deeper answers to find you. At least once a week, I try to get out for a walk in the forest and it is then, in the stillness, that my emotional blockages and my life passions become clear. Challenge yourself to stop along the way and be still so you can be open to your silence.
4. Breathing Yourself into Being
Every time we remember to breathe deeply we stimulate the “rest and digest” nervous system and get out of the “fight, flight, freeze” panic mode. In our conscious breath, we reduce stress and anxiety and invite calm. As I mentioned, we forget every day, every hour, to breathe deeply. Try this on, for one day set a timer to go off every hour. Let the chime be a reminder to take three inhales and long exhales. Be aware of the calming effect of your breath.
As a yoga teacher I see students, even advanced ones, holding a pose very still while their eyes are wandering. Wandering eyes means the mind is wandering too. Go to the next level and still the eyes. This goes not only for yoga poses but also for communicating with others. Challenge yourself to stay connected with your gaze to others. For fun and focus try tree pose while staring at a fixed location for one minute, several times throughout the day. Yes, yoga can be that portable and deployable, and your gaze will become more focused.
6.Your Pack o’ Peeps
Many of us have the “lone wolf” mentality when it comes to self-improvement; we think “I’ve got to solve this on my own”. Imagine the people in your life as part of a personal growth tool belt. There are so many people around you waiting to be there for you, break through and reach out; call on them for feedback. As a first step, brainstorm a list of 12 people to whom you’d like to be closer and then schedule lunch dates with them individually. I try to have at least one meeting a week with a friend to maintain and strengthen my openness and connection.
7. Get in Your Friend’s Tool Belt
This goes hand in hand with the previous gift. You are part of someone else’s community, someone else’s tool belt. Step up and reach out to a friend. The greatest gift we can offer is often just being there and listening to a friend and reflecting back that they have been heard and are not alone.
8. Being Someone’s Karate Kid Master
Selfless service makes you feel good. If you are not already volunteering some of your time can you, for one or two hours a week? I’ve been a volunteer yoga teacher for teen boys in lock down for drug and alcohol offenses. It is quite challenging, yet, every time, I leave feeling so energized by actively being the change I want to see in the world. Try volunteering in a soup kitchen, at the senior center, the animal shelter. It will fill your heart with compassion and joy, and your time will be well spent.
9. That 9-5 thing
If you are currently working, whether you love it or not, use your current job as a laboratory to see what activities you love to do. As months, years, and careers go on you have the opportunity to do more and more of what you love to do. I’ve had at least 20 jobs in seven different careers. With each one I’m doing more and more of what brings me joy. So allow yourself to look at your job as a laboratory of experimentation.
10. Your Bliss!
What do you love to do? Get laser clear with this one. Try this: Write five activities that you love to do on a piece of paper and put it on the wall where you will see it everyday. I did this a number of years ago and it’s been amazing. All five are now in my life in a much bigger way. When you do things you love to do, you create more joy and self-worth and you have more energy to take on the world, in bliss!
11. Your Aches and Pains
I’m talking both physical and emotional pain. These pains help us to be more compassionate with ourselves and empathetic with others. Our pain is really just saying “I need some attention.” Try this for two minutes: Put your attention on a physical or emotional pain you currently have and send your breath there. Allow the pain to soften with each exhale. These moments of self-care will ripple out into your life, increasing your connections with others.
12. The Yuck Yucks
Everyone has a unique sense of humor. Enlightenment is all about lightening up and not taking ourselves too seriously! Here’s a challenge: Get together with a friend you laugh easily with and dive into the places where you’ve felt some avoidance. Let yourselves riff; switch roles and act out each as the other. Do random voices of other people talking about difficult topics. What would Katharine Hepburn have to say about it? or Sean Connery? or Daffy Duck? Laugh long and well.
13. Your Life History
Getting older is amazing. Each year you acquire 365 days of data which allows you to see trends in your beliefs and behaviors. With this information you can make wiser choices. Allow yourself to look at your history with wonder and gratitude, then bring that wisdom into the current moment to help inform your decisions. Incorporate your friends, sharing stories and histories together.
14. Your Screenplay
You’ve been writing the story of your life since the day you were born. Stop and ask the question: “What have I written that I’m currently acting out?” In this moment you can realize that you are not just an actor playing out the story but you are the writer and producer as well! You can change the story AND the meaning you’ve given it to serve your highest purpose. Write a hero’s story, not a “down on your luck” story.
15. Your Creativity
When we are in alignment with our hearts, ideas come unfiltered by the fear of being rejected or the attachments to being “good”. Put yourself in situations where you get to brainstorm. Help a friend come up with a tagline for their business, make up random songs as you do the dishes, create new yoga poses based on characters from Lord of the Rings. The point is to just put it out there, to riff, without attachment to outcome. Let yourself groove and improvise, feed your creative muse.
16. Your Alignment
This is looking at the big picture. This is the meta-awareness combining body, mind and spirit. Are you in alignment? Are things in flow? Your task is to pay attention to your alignment and take action to get yourself back to your place of power, joy, and focus. When in doubt come back to this list and see what’s not activated.
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