I started my spiritual book-ends practice with little expectation. (If you’d like a more detailed idea by what I mean by “spiritual bookends”, please read here.)
Basically I have committed to spending constructive spiritual time first thing when I wake up in the morning and as the last thing I do before I go to sleep.
Right now I start and end my day with some guided meditation – I found on YouTube that I like. In the morning, after I listen to this message (7 minutes long), I read a few pages of a spiritually instructive or uplifting book. Then I read a “daily word” Christian supplement that my Dad gave me. Last I do a 4 minute meditation – yogic breathing. And then start my day.
It sounds like a lot but it takes less than half an hour. And even less if I have early morning obligations – I just read a little less of the book.
So I committed to this practice because I thought it would be good for me. Kind of in a vague, “probably a good idea” way.
I really didn’t anticipate or expect any specific outcomes but there are been a few real, tangible changes in me.
1. A lot less road rage!! I live in one of the retirement capitals of Canada with the slowest drivers on earth. As you may guess from my personality, although I am not a speeder, I am not a slow-poke either. I like to purposefully and safely drive to get to my destination in a reasonable time. As you can imagine my patience is tested on an hourly basis driving in this city. It is frustrating . . . but lately as I am about to curse or punch my steering wheel a calm, inner voice stops me in my tracks. I find I’m not even getting upset as often as I used to, I just don’t seem as angry about the slow bad driving anymore.
2. My mind seems really sharp and focused. I understand what I read more deeply. I am bombarded with good thoughts and ideas in my mind. I feel more confident in what I say and do – more sure of myself. I feel more in the present moment. There seem to be less nagging voices and inner criticisms and random distractions in my mind.
3. This is kind of a specific thing . . . I listened to one of my ex’s and my favorite songs (to dance to) and didn’t burst into tears. (It’s not that I am pining over the situation or having regrets. My reaction to hearing that song was more of a reaction to missing the amazing feeling I had dancing with him.) One of our favorite pastimes was dancing salsa together – with meringue and bachata being my favorite because they were easiest to dance to – and lose yourself in the music (and him) with. This time when I heard the song I immediately felt a huge rush of joy. My focus went to the happiness and the wonderful memories and not anything sad. Beautiful song – if you’re interested, “Promise” by Romeo Santos and Usher.
4. I am a beast at the gym. With this new focus and concentration I really can be present and put my all in everything I do at the gym. I notice I can stay in plank position longer. I am able to articulate the physicality of the movements better. I have better balance. I just feel invincible in the gym. I am having a lot of fun – I always do but it just feels better and different. I don’t seem to have to force myself to go to the gym anymore either. I just feel more inclined to go.
5. I generally feel calmer all the time. I feel like my mind and spirit deflated from a raging river raft ride to a gentle paddle down a quiet stream – in a canoe. (Yes, that was my corniest analogy yet – but it best describes how I feel. LOL.) I am enjoying this peaceful undercurrent. I think it even shows in my appearance because everyone is telling me how great I look too. (So sweet.)
I think it would be wrong of me to think these changes are simply coincidences.
Because I’m an optimist (at some level) I am going to go with the theory that these changes are directly related to the changes I made to my life.
And if so I have to continue . . . and even potentially build on this good.
Consider incorporating some meditative or spiritual aspects into you own lives – as an experiment – if you don’t already do these things.
See how you feel. It can’t hurt to try.