Here is a quick reference list of my favorite ways to tune in to god or spirit — through the senses, nature, self-inquiry, reflection, contemplation and returning my awareness to my body…
1. Being on a beach. Recognizing myself as a drop in the ocean and inextricably linked with the ocean itself. And something about my bare feet directly on the earth has always had a calming effect on me.
2. Sitting at my altar. Stillness and sacred silence, with inspiring symbols of the sacred-to-me (quan yin, candles, incense, tarot cards, pendulum, crystals, books, journal, flowers, sage, talismans, dorje…all). Multiple religions and practices are everywhere I look…which speaks to the thread of continuity that links all religions.
3. Being present with my son. Having no other intention other than to follow my son’s flow…keeping his freedom alive while making sure he is safe. One of my favorite mindfulness practices.
4. My marriage. A big, always-unfolding part of my spiritual practice. I know the moments of connection where we meet and then step back, meet and then step back…are all ways of evolving in my ability to love and receive love.
5. Being of service. giving. contributing. collaborating. leaving a space cleaner than I found it. helping someone who needs it. deep empathic listening. Small, medium and large acts matter not, it is the rapture of showing up for someone else, or a cause.
6. Reading scripture. Buddhist texts. Books on Judaism and Advaita. Reading about Quan Yin, ascended masters, and other light workers.
7. Petting my dogs. Pure sweetness. always grounds me. they are God-in-fur.
8. Puttering. Mindfulness practice with a great feng shui pay-off :). Clearing clutter. Organizing in a very present way. So many ideas come to me, I can feel the energy shifting and opening up all around me as I toss things, give things away, or just beautify in a simple way. I also want everywhere my eye goes to induce peace versus tightness, so I remove things that conjure any thought that lowers my energy. This does require tuning into my body and sensing how I feel in different rooms and corners. This is one of my favorite spiritual practices.
9. The earth elements. The traditional Chinese healing energetics of water, air, fire, wood, and metal, as well as the ayurvedic elements and shamanistic 4 elements are incorporated in lots of ways. Candles, baths, hot springs, swimming in the ocean, sitting around a fire, listening to music in the sun, breathwork, sage, incense, stones, lavender, wearing jewelry with a lot of talisman-sentimental value, sitting in a breeze. And I do love me my crystals!
10. Energy medicine. Receiving acupuncture, energy work, massage and other subtle or deep tissue bodywork, and, of course, essential oils and music. Anything that taps into the subtleties within every one of the senses. Essential oils shift energy quickly for me, and are a big part of my daily tuning-in rituals. Working with an energy worker, an empath, a talented seer, or invoking my own empathic/intuitive nature.
11. Divination. I love tools of divination like pendulums, tarot cards, and other oracle-esque methods of receiving missives and guidance from spirit. See my Top 10 Tools of Divination.
12. Grooming. Bathing, hair brushing, salt scrubs, dry skin brushing, applying lotions and oils. For me, grooming is a profoundly spiritual practice that is an invitation to embodiment—a mindfulness practice of returning to the body and noticing any disassociation, and when I do (which I often do), answering the invitation to bring my awareness slowly back into my body so I feel grounded and HERE; tending to this body as the temple and instrument that it is: one that houses consciousness…and houses spirit.
13. The body scan. Tuning into various sensations in my body (pain, tingling, throbbing, numbness, neutrality, fluttering, tight, piercing etc) immediately grounds me and connects me to a sense of that which is bigger than me. The body scans I love are a big part of the trauma recovery movement. A part of it that benefits me the most is going between unpleasant sensation and pleasant or neutral sensation. Slowly back and forth. Body-Centered Inquiry: Meditation Training to Awaken Your Inner Guidance, Vitality, and Loving Heart is one of my favorite ways, especially when I’m feeling particularly panic-y or stressed or generally not present, to tune in and reconnect.
14. Meditation. Focusing on my breath, or a candle, or a mantra…often at my altar, sometimes in random back rooms at radio stations or backs of tour buses or even restrooms at a big event, I dis-identify from my thoughts and “watch” them. I attempt not to follow them into a full story. But sometimes I do, and when I do, I slowly come back to my breath, to the candle. To the mantra. One of my go-to mantras is: on the in-breath “gentle” and on the outbreath “kindness.” This one helps when interactions or environments have been over-stimulating or aggressive in some way.
15. Exercise. Sometimes a good run, or a good dance, or a good kick-box or a good bike ride can clear away all the distractions from god. And the practice takes care of my body as well. Now, doing exercise on a beach or in nature takes the connection to a whole other level. Blending any of the above, for me, brings me home triple-fold.
16. Lounging. Sometimes lounging in bed after I am fully awake. Or napping (these days, all too briefly), or lying down on the bed in my office (yup) takes everything down a notch to the point where I just feel this HUGE swell of love in my chest. Lounging on a blanket at the beach is my fave. Anytime I am horizontal during the day, it’s as though my brain is stopped, and I feel as though I am rebelling against a culture that says I cannot rest. My batteries are recharged within minutes (whether I fall asleep or not), and I can touch a sense of god in the air.