A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!
Kelly Spencer – Happy Healthy YOU
This past weekend, I was at a local grocery store. In the parking lot was a large BBQ event. Lured in by the inviting smells off the charcoals, my boyfriend and I walked over to see what was going on and perhaps see if we could get in on the action. As we walked by the numerous tables and chairs set up, we noticed that the seats were occupied by many people of color, mostly black and Latin looking folks, enjoying what looked like jerk-chicken, rice and beans.
There were just as many volunteers present wearing bright yellow shirts. We stopped and asked one of the volunteers what was going on as it smelled delicious. They said it was a BBQ for the off-shore workers that come from places such as Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico and other countries. They explained it was a volunteer effort to appreciate all the work that the off-shore workers do. Amazed and impressed we asked if we could purchase some meals for ourselves to support the cause. They politely declined and said this is a FREE BBQ for off-shore workers only.
Did I hear that right?
Yes. The Metro Grocery store and the Alliance Church teamed up to simply honor, respect and treat people that are not from our town but that come here annually and add to our economy, our culture and our lives.
As a spiritual person that is concerned with the human spirit that holds deep value and meaning in fellow human beings, separate from organized religious institutions, I felt this to be an incredible offering.
One of the volunteer men, a man that my late father respected highly, approached me to say hello. We chatted and shared our enthusiasm for the event they were hosting. He then said to me, “I read your columns and believe you would be a force, if you only believed in the Lord, Jesus Christ… I will pray for you.”
My first thought was, how lovely for him hold me in his thoughts. My second thought was, how does he know what I believe in or not?
The fact is that I was baptized Christian, attending church sparingly (mostly as special events and holidays) and attended Catholic church throughout high school as my best friends were Catholic, so it was a part of the sleepover-deal.
As a mother, I took my kids to a non-denomination spiritual church in a nearby city when they were young. As an adult I have concisely studied Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Islamism and the ancient beliefs of our First Nation Indigenous people.
I have learned that several thousands of years, even before Christianity was birthed but not excluding, there are considered to be many Ascended Masters such Jesus, Sanat Kumara, Gautama Buddha, Maitreya, Confucius, Lord Lanto (Confucius’ historical mentor), Mary (mother of Jesus), Lady Master Nada, Enoch, Kwan Yin, Saint Germain, and Kuthumi, to name but a few.
Ascended Masters are believed to be spiritually enlightened beings who have undergone a series of spiritual transformations brought forth to create a better world. Their stories are throughout all the lands of our Earth in various forms, with intentions to bring forth the best within each of us.
While many judgements, fallible acts, wars and bloodshed are within and been caused in the battle of the best religion, what I like about most religions is the concept of living a better, purposeful life and the spirituality peace honored within them. And while I don’t believe everything every religion believes in, I do love that most talk of a kindness, love and compassion for each other as integral and imperative part of peaceful existence with all living beings.
To me, being religious means belonging to an established religious order or man-made dogma, which is wonderful if that is what you feel is important to you.
13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, Islamic scholar, theologian, Sufi mystic and futurist, Rumi, who was a thousand years ahead of the rest of the planet, wrote:
“A true Lover doesn’t follow any one religion, be sure of that. Since in the religion of Love, there is no irreverence or fate.”
Sometimes I dream of a world, dropping the labels of religion or what church you belong to and imagine a world where we all just practiced more love and kindness to each other.
Since reality is in a constant state of flux and there are more realities in existence than we could possibly manage to mentally grasp, it doesn’t make sense to be rigid or to cling to any one idea of what is happening or which one is the best. When we are rigid or stuck in our ways, judging others for not being in our sect, we can cut ourselves off from life, and we miss out on valuable opportunities, as well as a lot of joy.
Just as Yoga (which is not a religion but does honor the body, mind and spirit) assists us to gain flexibility in our bodies by stretching physically, we can create limberness in our minds by stretching mentally and being open to the possibility that there is not only one way to do things. And while there may be a right way for an individual to live which may include a religious study, we can allow others without judgment or condemnation to live the way they feel is best for them. Mindfulness asks us let go of judgment and observe and we are fortunate enough that every day we are given opportunity to exercise our flexibility.
Since I was a little girl I was spiritually thirsty. I remember going to church by myself, sometimes to a local “little women’s” group, or with my Auntie Bev if she was in town. I remember feeling that there was more to life beyond our world while knowing there was something within each of us that connected us despite skin color, geographical location or religion.
So, the answer to the assumed implication, from the volunteer at the BBQ, that I don’t believe in his religion is… I believe. I believe in it all. I just feel like I don’t need to be tied down to one set of beliefs, dogmas or holy men between me and Spirit (however you want to name it). I believe in a higher power beyond me, I believe in the goodness that lies within each and everyone of us and I believe in spiritual autonomy for each of us, however that fits our heart and mind.
(And Kudos to the good people that put on the BBQ.)
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Always growing, never done
Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
Excerpts from this column are from the upcoming new book 28-day Mindfulness Journal & Dream Manifesto by Kelly M. Spencer.
I haven’t had the most traditional life. I mean that in the sense that we grow up, find a job, meet a partner and lived happily ever after.
I call it traditional, in the perspective of societal ideals. Instead, I became a nurse, left my career, opened a wellness centre, became a teacher and a writer, and I have had many challenges in the romantic partner department that led me to finding new romance mid-life.
Not really ideal, or is it?
I admire folks like my parents. They had the same job and marriage for decades. There’s comfort in the routine and idiosyncrasies while there is still personal growth that happens in this idyllic situation. However, not all of us have taken this route. We have switched careers, dealt with traumas, and healed from broken relationships and homes. The road hasn’t been so smooth at all.
Here I am 50, and finding myself living so many “new” moments and learning so much about myself. While my path may not have been optimal it has been abundant with growth. The lessons I have experienced have been blessings in many ways and the opportunity provided to learn more about myself has been bountiful. Life allows us the choice to grow bitter or grow better through understanding our thoughts and feelings and deciding how to grow (or not) from this point forth.
As we continue to learn more about self-mastery through mindfulness and conscious decision making through our emotional intelligence, we begin to understand more and more that our emotions are our power to life.
We cannot simply say we are going to do something or want to do something, without feeling it. Much like repeating a positive affirmation that we didn’t like or didn’t believe in. When we change the way we examine something, the way we look at it, the things we are looking at change. For example, if we want a healthier body but feel and believe we cannot obtain health, or we fear that it is unattainable, then we limit the success we are able to reach. When we can view and shift our perspective and thought patterns by remaining in a heart-centred alignment, then the magic happens.
Gratitude changes everything. Perhaps when reaching for a healthier relationship or a richer bank account, we start with gratitude for what we already have. When we dream or envision something we desire, we want to start from a high energy space, a heart space.
When we follow our hearts and believe in the power within ourselves to share and shift our lives, we embrace the unknown. This can be terrifying for the mind – especially if you are controlling person. Our inner knowing, our inner truth can assist us to overcome fears, release limiting belief systems and let go of control. Our true self trusts the path we are being led to by a deeper knowing.
Life is changing. We are changing. Change around us is constant. Night turns to day. Winter turns to spring. This is the cycle of life. Change is growth. We must be prepared to let go of yesterday’s thoughts, actions and beliefs. We must stay in the present moment, asking continuously, what this moment is asking of us.
You will know when you are on the path of heart prosperity. Watch for the signs. The more time you spend soaking up the beams of energy of love, gratitude and higher positive vibrations, the more you will attract it. People will show up with similar desires. Individuals will appear willing to assist you on your journey. Pay attention to the signs of affirmation that you are on the right path. The chance book or movie you happen to see, the encounters that inspire you and messages that support you are all apart of riding a wave of high vibration.
When we catch ourselves in the muck of low vibrational thoughts and feelings, we can stop and pivot. We can acknowledge that this feeling is showing us something that is out of alignment with our true self and then from that place, we reach to how we want to feel and what it is we need to do to get there. And in a quick moment, we stop negative attraction and shift into the higher or positive attraction we desire.
The more we practice (and then practice some more and more), the faster we can shift for a more positive or higher vibration thought and associated feeling. It is in this place where the magic happens and where we tap into our unlimited potential. We are never too old, too young, too unhealthy, too whatever limit you place on yourself. There is always opportunity to continue to grow. In fact, if we aren’t growing we are dying.
Try this exercise:
1. Write as many feelings that you want to predominantly feel on any given day.
2. Circle the 3 that seem like they are the most important to you on this day. Knowing this may change down the road.
3. Check in with yourself throughout the day and ask yourself if you are feeling in your top 3 chosen important feelings. If you are not, inquire how you are feeling and explore and acknowledge these thoughts and feelings.
4. Make any shifts that you can to bring yourself back to your chosen important feelings. Notice all that there is to notice and then reach for a higher thought and associated feeling.
There is no finish line. I have to continue to practice mindful self-leadership in this way on an ongoing basis in my life or I can easily slip out of my alignment. So, when you are dealt a challenging blow, quietly give thanks to the opportunity to continue to get to your know yourself better and to always grow, just a little bit more.
(If you would like to see an article on a specific topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).