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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What does spirituality look like for me today?

I remember going on walks and hikes when I was young and feeling like I was missing all the sights. I was born with weak ankles. I've had around 19 sprains in my right ankle and 6 in my left ankle...well that's what I can remember. I was constantly having to watch my step because if I can roll my ankle on a flat sidewalk, I sure as hell am gonna roll it in the woods where there are tree roots and rocks and divots just waiting for my foot to slip into. So I'd walk with my head down, watching my step and I'd have to stop to look around if I wanted to see the beauty around me.

That's kinda what spirituality feels like right now. I've learned so many skills through this past year on how to live with and manage anxiety. I've grown to be able to trust my body again. However, my eyes are still on the trail- I'm not able to walk without my eyes watching where I step.

A normal day of managing anxiety and depression is a constant list of checks and balances. I'll be working at the coffee shop making drinks and all the sudden I'll cue into the fact that my heart is racing and my chest is constricting. Is this a panic attack coming on? Do I feel anxious?- No. Did I eat breakfast?- No. Okay could be that. Did anyone say anything?- Ya I had a rude customer. Okay maybe that didn't help. Let me eat something see if that helps....And the day goes on...I feel funny. I feel a little low and somber. Am I feeling depressed or am I tired?- I think I'm just tired. So I take a nap. Maybe I feel better maybe I don't and so it's more questions, more soul searching. And that's ok. I'm watching where I step.

So where does spirituality fit into this? Well it's there, but in order to look around and see it beyond the footpath, I have to stop. My eyes need to be on the trail, otherwise I could risk getting hurt and not being able to enjoy any part of the journey so I stop. I take a break. I look around and I see Life. I've learned to schedule these stops and to place things around my house that help me stop; little reminders that cue me into looking up.

"Life" that's what I'm calling the Divine these days. YHWH, what the Jews used to describe God meaning "I Am", broken down is sandwiched in between the word "hey" meaning "to look, reveal, breath (1)." In fact to even say it properly is to inhale and exhale as you say its parts. Breath is life. Without breath we have nothing and this breath, this air, is all around us and in everything. Everything relies on it and is sustained by it. To be is to breathe and to breathe is life.

I've had to learn to just breathe again and breathing is one of the many ways that I've learned to manage and calm the anxiety and depression and panic. I'm just breathing through the day and sometimes I get to stop and take deep breaths and experience Life in the breaths. Sometimes I get to take my eyes off the trail and see things that fill my lungs. Regardless this is Life. This is my life. This is breathing. This is my spirituality.

(1) http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/m/alphabet_letters_hey.html

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