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  • by Angelica Jayne Taggart

Everyday Spiritual Practices

Fall already—how could that be!?

Families are getting back in the routine of school, some people are looking forward to the new season of their favorite shows on TV, squash and pumpkins are appearing in the stores, and there are threats of war. Wait – what? War? How could that be!?

What does one do when all seems normal except for the constant barrage of an underlying tone of negativity in one’s life?

I believe we can pray, meditate, or do some sort of spiritual practice. Did you know that anything can be a spiritual practice? All you have to do is be mindful while doing it.

When I lived next door to Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, BC, I noticed that every Sunday there were lots of Japanese families walking the wooded paths. This walking is called Shirin-Yoku which means “forest bathing.” It’s a way to let nature cleanse away stress. The idea was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

I’ve felt that lifting of stress while walking in our beautiful Redwood forests, haven’t you? There’s something so calming about it. It’s like the energy of the trees wraps itself around me, and all stress drops away.

I’ve added meditation to my walks, which basically means being mindful of every step, every breath, every plant and animal and person I see along the path. I mindfully recognize all as an expression of The Divine.

Gardening is also a spiritual practice for me. As I pull the weeds and deadhead the flowers, I release those beliefs that are no longer serving me. As I water, I envision that water as Spirit and see my world being green and peaceful.

Brother Lawrence, a Catholic Carmelite Lay Brother who lived in the 1600s, found washing dishes to be a sacred practice. Thich Nhat Hanh, in his book, Peace in Every Step, says, “Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. ... We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”

Rather than allow ourselves to be overcome with fear and worry as things ‘out there’ seem so chaotic, let’s create our own spiritual practices and be filled with Peace. As we raise our own consciousness, I believe we are raising the consciousness of humanity.

Rev. Angelica is the Spiritual Director of the Eureka Center for Spiritual Living.

Original artwork Blooming #2 16 x 20, oil on canvas by Anna Oneglia.

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