I’m the kind of person that can go from swearing off alcohol forever to being like “let’s swap our cereal milk for Baileys!” Balance is something I’ve always struggled with and this has made itself very apparent in the ways I incorporate wellness and spirituality into my life.
I’d either be reading every self help book I could find or giving away all of my books and binge watching Parks and Rec. I’d vacillate between getting up early in the morning to make green juice every day and stocking up on chocolate bar flavoured coffee creamer.
For a long time I just had a very all-or-nothing attitude towards a spiritual lifestyle, and neither end of the extreme would leave me feeling very satisfied. I either felt limited by an overly strict practice or like a bit of a hot mess when I’d “rebel” from my austere rules.
More recently though, I’ve started taking on a more balanced approach. This is the logical thing to do, but it seemed like a really novel idea to me when I first considered it. I just kind of thought I had to be all in or not in at all, and I think I was so used to trying to follow other people’s spiritual guidelines that I forgot I could actually create my own.
Your life is your design, and only you really know what works for you. Finding this balance is a process of experimentation, but it also allows you to learn more about yourself. What inspires you? What limits you? What are you willing to change, and what do you want to keep? Are you willing to put faith in yourself and your own wisdom?
A spiritual life and a “regular” life aren’t actually separate things; it can just feel that way because there are a lot of actions that characterize what it means to “be spiritual.” But really there are no actions that are more spiritual than the other. Spiritual to me means doing what is right for me and living, or intending to live, from my heart.
So maybe every book you’ve read says that alcohol and spirituality don’t mix. But how does that book really know what’s right for you? Do you want to go out and drink? Is it fun and does it lead to great adventures and funny stories? Or does it leave you feeling depleted, sad, or anxious. Consuming alcohol is a neutral event- it’s what it does to you and how you feel about it that matters.
Maybe every wellness blog in the world raves about green smoothies like they’re the second coming. But do you really feel good when you drink them? Or do you just think you do because the visual of all of those greens sinking into your cells makes you feel clean and good. I used to start every day with a big green smoothie, thinking it was really the only sensible way to start my day, until I started accepting that a) they hurt my stomach, and b) health did not begin with the invention of the Vitamix. If they truly make you feel good, drink up. If they actually don’t, I promise you your health will not suffer if you let them go.
When I first learned about the chemicals in our beauty products, I got rid of everything and spent hours researching the perfect natural products. For me, that ended up causing more stress than benefit. Over time I did end up finding some amazing natural products, but I also think I let it stress me out way more than it needed to. Giving up my homemade deodorant and going back to regular store bought chemical filled brands actually felt like a huge weight off of my shoulders and a radical act of rebellion and self love.
I don’t want to saddle myself with rules and restrictions and narrow ideas of what it means to live a spiritual life. I want to be real. I want to be able to be sad or mad or apathetic without feeling like I need to cover it up with affirmations and positive thoughts. I love to meditate and do Pilates, but yoga doesn’t do it for me, and I’d be fine never stepping foot into a yoga studio again. I want to use natural products, but sometimes I just want to put on lipstick and nail polish and not worry about whether or not I’m breathing in carcinogens and shortening my lifespan (though I do always buy cruelty-free products- that’s a decision that is right for me).
I think we’re so used to reading wellness articles and advice that it can be hard to hear our own true voices. It’s almost like a bit of a brainwashing at times. I assumed for a long time that I loved green smoothies and yoga and that I wanted to be a Health Coach. Until I realized I actually really really didn’t. So I started asking myself what I truly wanted, and it took awhile to hear it. But I started trusting myself and listening, and I continue to be surprised at what really works for me.
So yeah, that’s how I think we balance a spiritual life with “regular” life. By listening to ourselves and realizing that wellness and spirituality are not a one size fits all situation. We have our own hearts and brains and souls for a reason, and it’s so we can discover what is right for us. We are our own user manual and only we can discover the path that is right for us.
I’ve actually written about this topic of finding your own spirituality many times before. If you want to read more, check out the following