5 Spiritual Practices Everyone Should Try (Bonus Post) There are so many spiritual practices, it is hard to just choose just a few to focus on. We have been pairing specific practices with specific enneagram types throughout this series, but today, I wanted to give you a bonus post. 5 Spiritual practices that everyone should try to incorporate in their lives. Of course, I could have added a ton to this list, but I wanted to choose just 5 that are deeply meaningful. Anyone can add one or more of these practices to see positive changes in their lives. Forgiveness Music Yoga Art Morning/Evening Questions Forgiveness First, let’s talk about forgiveness. Everyone is familiar with the concept, but few are acting it out in their lives. What does it mean to forgive? And why is it so important that we include this spiritual practice in our daily lives? Forgiveness is about letting go. It’s also about YOU. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, when you say, I don’t want to carry this anymore, I’m putting this heavy thing down. I am free of it. The perspective and ownership of the practice is what makes it work, like many others. You have the power to begin a healing process when you take control of a situation with forgiveness. It’s not about the other person. You will never be able to control them, but you can always control yourself. How you hold on to things, how you perceive things, and also how you put boundaries around things are yours to control. Forgiveness allows you to let go of what is hurting you and holding you back. Boundaries allow you to be loved better, and to love others better. Forgetting is never the point. All experiences move us toward learning the lessons in life we are meant to learn. The sooner we embrace this, the better. 5 spiritual practices everyone should try Forgiveness Practice Tip If there is someone in your life who you are having a really hard time forgiving, I have a practice for you to try. First, practice forgiving yourself. How can you forgive others, if you haven’t forgiven yourself? Is there something you are holding on to that you feel shameful about? Where do you need forgiveness for yourself in your life? Is it around your parenting? Your relationships? Your workplace? Whatever it is… let go. Forgive. Be kind to yourself first. Next, forgive someone you deeply love. Forgiving someone you love comes pretty natural. You value this relationship and you want to make amends. Even if it’s something small, practice forgiving them. Don’t hold wrongs against them. Let them know that you are putting down whatever was between you. >>>Ahhhh… <<< sigh, that feels good. That weight is lifted. Relationship mended. Now, move on to forgiving an acquaintance. A co-worker who bad-mouthed you, someone at your gym who didn’t wipe down the machine, these are small instances, but shouldn’t be left to fester. As you practice forgiving even the tiniest things that felt harmful to you, something amazing begins to happen… A “lightness” of spirit, a feeling of goodness washes over you. The more you do this, the easier it gets, and the more likely you will keep doing it. Finally, it’s time to forgive that person who deeply hurt you. This wasn’t just a snub, or a rude comment, this person did something that you had named unforgiveable. Can you do it? Really let go? Your practice will help, and experience tells you that you’ll feel better even though you thought this person didn’t deserve forgiveness. Who does deserve forgiveness? Do you? Does the person you love deserve forgiveness? How about that acquaintance, do they deserve it? Remember, it’s not about them. It’s about YOU. And those gross, grudge feelings are getting heavy. It’s time to put them down. They aren’t serving you. Forgive. And then keep forgiving. Just think, what a beautiful world we could have, if everyone put down their heavy burdens of wrongs done against them? What if we forgave everyone- everything? You DO deserve it. 5 spiritual practices everyone should try Music I want to talk about music as a spiritual practice, because I believe it is one of the few lasting things that touches mind, body, and spirit. Even if you don’t have musical talent, music has the power to reach you on a very deep level. Can you think of a song that made you cry? What about one that made you dance, or turn up the volume with the windows down? Have you ever thought about what is going on here? It’s about connection. The words the artist used, or the way the music sounded, or the specific beat, spoke to you. It made you feel something. You related. As if the artist described something in a way so beautiful and succinct, that it was like they read your mind and soul. I know you’ve experienced this. It can be even more moving, if you can create the music yourself. This isn’t possible for everyone, but if this is you… play every day! The mind, body, spirit connection here is so strong and beautiful. At the very least, make yourself a few playlists. Choose one for each mood, or type of feelings you feel. Find songs that inspire you and put them all together. You could even incorporate this into some of your other practices. Pay attention to what feelings come up for you while listening to certain songs. Let this be a jumping off point for you to get curious about what is going on with you. Music can be a great opener for awareness, and a release of emotions. Sometimes you won’t even know you were feeling something until a certain song comes on. And then, BOOM! it hits you! This is the moment. Ask yourself questions. Why am I feeling this? What is it about this song made me feel this way? Is there something else going on that I need to deal with? Yoga I am in no way a “Yogi.” But I do love yoga. I love that it is a forgiving, contemplative practice. It only requires you to show up, and try. This is great news in a world that seems to ask everything else of us. “Achieve,” “Be Perfect,” “Look Perfect,” “Be the Best,” these messages are not only discouraging, but impossible. Yoga, on the other hand, in it’s very nature is a practice. Furthermore, with continued dedication, the practice becomes part of you. Some days you are more flexible than others. There is time to think, breathe, take in the good you want to keep within you. It can also be a time to let go. The connection in yoga, is also one of mind and body. (This is important for everyone, but especially for enneagram types that are in the withdrawn stance- types 4,5, & 9). This practice will help you feel grounded, centered, and positive. Art Art isn’t just for the artistically gifted. The practice of art can be hugely rewarding for anyone. Paint. Doodle. Arrange flowers. Break some pottery, then create a mosaic. Frost a cake. Sew a pillowcase with lovely fabric. Color. Knit a scarf. Paint your nails. Try paper mache’. It’s about beauty, but mostly it’s the experience of creating that reaches the soul. Pick something, anything that gets you to use your hands and create. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or even good. The point is that you reach a particular part of you that needs to express through art. As you know, there are many types of art. Choose the one that speaks to you, or try something you’ve never tried before. This will open you up in ways you maybe haven’t realized before. Connecting with something from the creative side is life changing. This could be something you plan to do once a week, or once a month. Decide to try art as a regular practice however often you can. I enjoy using an art journal that gives me prompts on things to try. There is no wrong way to be an artist. Morning/Evening Questions If you have struggled to start a journaling practice, begin small with the simple idea of morning and evening questions. You could also add these to your already existing journal practice. In the morning, think of two things only. Pain, and desire. What is causing you pain? Is there something heavy in your life? Are you worried about something or someone? Write down your pain. It could be one word, one sentence, or a whole page. The important thing is to get it down. This practice alone, releases some of that stress and worry just by putting it down on paper. Then, focus on your desire. What are you hoping for your day? Is there something you are really looking forward to? Are there things you really want to happen today? How will you follow your joy and your passions today? Write down your desires. If you could choose one thing you want to do, to be, to have, today, what would that be? Make this your goal, and your focus for the day. It could be as simple as a mindset you are striving for. Write it down. This will guide your day, and keep you positive, knowing you have a desire and a hope for your day. Evening When the day is done, its time to let go and be thankful. It’s over. You did the best that you could do. Take some reflective time and think about what you are grateful for. What made you smile today? Did a small act of kindness impact you today? Have you reached a small goal, or let go of something you were holding on to? These are things to be grateful for. Keep it small. We rarely have days when some magnificent, sweeping, dramatic thing happens to us. It’s the little things that add up to a beautiful life. A look of love from across the room, the touch of a hand, the smell of your favorite flowers in bloom, you perfect drink- made just right, a close parking spot, a small accomplishment, a warm embrace, a cool breeze, your favorite song with the windows down… And a hundred more tiny moments in your life that are worth noting, reflecting upon, and taking the time to be grateful for. This practice will help you sleep better, and you’ll find yourself looking for the tiny blessings throughout your day that you will want to write down later. Thank you for reading! I know this was a much longer blog post than I usually do. It is my hope that in giving you these bonus practices they will add meaning to your life no matter your number! I hope you will give some of them a try! Live inspired! You might also like: How Do you Create A Space For Your Spiritual Practice? The Enneagram and Motivations Yes! I want the 9 Types Overview Packet!