Insights and Answers
Dear Rachel: I just finished reading
Shirley Maclaine's The Camino about her spiritual journey
across Northern Spain. I have several friends who have taken
time out of their lives to tour India looking for spiritual
enlightenment or have taken their vacations at spiritual retreats.
You have gone to Ecuador to work with the Shamans there.
My husband died three years ago. I am
a working mother with three kids. I don't have anyone to help
me with the kids, so I can't leave them and go on a spiritual
journey. I can't even get a weekend to myself. I so long for
a chance to connect to the spiritual realms. Do you have any
ideas on what I can do? I.E. Chapel Hill, N. C.
Dear I.E.: I am very sorry to
hear you lost your husband, and I know raising children by
yourself can be an overwhelming task. Sometimes it is hard
to understand why we are thrust into certain situations. I
can fully appreciate how the circumstances of your life make
it hard for you to feel you have the time or energy for inner
Life has a rhythm to it; right now is
your time to focus on your children, your career and your
support system. Shirley Maclaine is in her sixties on her
El Camino trip. I was 49 years old when I went to Ecuador
and my youngest child had just turned 21. I suspect your life
is hectic, leading you to long for the promise of inner peace
and the sense of safety that comes from knowing others are
looking out for you.
Spiritual journeys like the ones you've
mentioned above tend to create a period of upheaval and transformation,
not immediate inner peace. Discovering more about one's true
self and connections to Spirit include a period of releasing.
Releasing what is known and accepted causes turmoil and confusion.
Out of this chaos comes a new order and a new understanding.
Taking time out of ordinary life to move more quickly and
completely into positive chaos is not an avenue open to most
Life itself is a Spiritual Journey. Gentle
spiritual growth is as valid as, and is often more powerful
and lasting than, the trips to other lands and cultures that
people like Shirley and I have taken. Each breath you take
can help you along your spiritual path. Relearn to breathe
as you did when newly born, before fear and trouble entered
your life. The first half of the breath is the breath out.
The second half is divided into two parts. First, allow your
lungs to refill, then gently pull in more air. Just be sure
to focus on releasing as much air from your lungs as possible
with each breath. The rest tends to follow on its own. Breathing
in this way keeps you calm and centered. Practice until it
is your natural breathing pattern.
Making how we breathe a conscious choice
is one of the most powerful tools we have over our own lives.
Our breath controls our emotions. When our emotions are under
control, we think more clearly, make better decisions, and
feel more closely connected to our spiritual selves. All else
follows from how we breathe.
Define what it means to you to be on
a spiritual path. What would you expect to learn? What do
you think would happen? How would it change your life and
your relationships? How would it change your values and actions?
The study of these questions is a spiritual journey. Learning
more about yourself and why you feel and act as you do is
a spiritual journey. Choosing how you wish to live your beliefs
and values and pushing yourself to be better and better is
a spiritual journey.
Many people believe that becoming more
spiritual means life will get easier. Do not make this mistake.
Choosing a spiritual path means asking to be continuously
confronted with your own fears, false beliefs and inappropriate
actions. As you learn and grow, the situations get more difficult.
Think of it like school. A first grader is not expected to
be able to handle high school. High school is easier than
college. Humans are like pearls: our souls grow larger and
more beautiful as the irritants threaten to drown us.
Raising three children by yourself means
you have enough challenges and chaos in your life. Think of
the situations presented to you each day as your spiritual
tests. How are you becoming more patient? How do you stay
focused? How much compassion and love are you able to give?
How much are you willing to request? What kind of values and
morals are you modeling for your children? Are you teaching
them appropriate boundaries and how to be a good friend? Are
you teaching them how to stand up for themselves? How are
you allowing joys into your life? All of these are spiritual
journey lessons and they are coming in your front door. The
more I think of how difficult each day must be for you, the
more I recognize what a powerful spiritual journey you are
on right now.
If you want, later in life you will be
able to take a special journey as did your friends, Shirley
and I, but for now, please recognize and give yourself credit
for all you do each day. Take care, Rachel
Rachel Rowlson integrates 20
years experience as a psychotherapist with a lifetime of training
in metaphysical concepts and healing modalities in her work
as a healer and intuitive counselor as well as in her writing
and workshops. Send questions to Rachel at 109 Breakers Place,
Cary, NC 27511. Questions will only be answered in this column
and may take several months to be printed.