In celebration of spiritual well being

This week, October 21-27, is celebrated by many health care organizations as pastoral care/spiritual care week. It is a time when these organizations take time to give thanks for those who assist so many in their journey towards spiritual well-being. For some, this journey towards spiritual well-being is associated with a specific religion, but for others it is not. Spiritual well being is a journey of learning about one’s self, one’s values, one’s beliefs, purpose, and meaning in life. Spiritual well-being is not a one-time experience, but an ongoing practice; it is a way of being in the world, which embodies the positive aspects of one’s spiritual relationship with their Higher Power, however one defines that. It is our spiritual well-being, which assists and guides us through the issues, stressors, and challenges of daily life. Our sense of spiritual well being can provide us with freedom and control when we realize we are not our circumstances; it is us, not our circumstances, which are in control. Spiritual well being leads to greater experiences of peace, self-expression, and self-esteem.
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Spiritual Mountain Climbing

The other day I was sharing with my students how there is a song, which has kept me focused during a challenge, is Miley Cyrus’s song, The Climb. In the song, she talks about how it is not about the mountain, but about the climb. When I was pastoring, I once talked about some of the spiritual lessons I had learned from the one time I mountain climbed. It has been decades since I climbed a mountain, but the memory of doing so has been helpful to me. See for me, my spiritual journey is like climbing a mountain. I have climbed some easy spiritual mountains in my life; those which are like hiking up a path or a scrambling over a few rocks. Then there are those mountains we climb, which require us to have some basic tools, especially when we need to scale the face of a mountain. Most experienced mountain climbers will tell you never to climb a mountain by yourself.
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Releasing Perfection

The last several years have been a time of intense personal growth and spiritual transformation. When I first started on this journey, I had this vision of being loving, patient, kind, compassionate, balanced, wise, etc. I felt as if I was supposed to embody the qualities of spiritual leaders who had come before me like Mother Theresa, Jesus, Buddha, or some other vision of divine perfection. I had this notion I was supposed to be a model of walking divinity; that everything I said and did was supposed to be a living monument of love, patience, justice, humility, and divinity. I had this notion I was supposed to be perfect all the time and was not allowed to have any human moments or feelings.
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It is all about the journey!

A woman I knew back in the early 90’s once said to me, “it takes a long time to grow an old friend.” Those who have journeyed with you for a while have this ability to be able to reflect back to you that which you cannot see for yourself. The other day, for example, I was talking with my spiritual sister, Rev Angel Sullivan, who reflected back to me about how much she has seen me evolve spiritually in the last year. Spiritual evolution is not always easy. One reason it is difficult is that we have to let go of that which keeps us from evolving into our spiritual greatness.
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