Image: Alexa Gray

Image: Alexa Gray

My youth was filled with many ups and downs. I lost my mom when I was a baby and my life was forever changed. This great disruption imprinted a deep loss in my heart and soul that, still to this day, I do not fully understand how to soothe. My family life growing up was highly dysfunctional, toxic, and abusive. For many years, I struggled to find my place in the world, had a hard time accepting who I was, and struggled with severe anxiety and depression.

I am an empathic, sensitive soul and often feel and take on what others are feeling. Early on, I learned that I needed regular practices in place to keep me grounded and in touch with my own energy. Finding yoga and nutrition at 20 radically shifted my connection to myself. Genuinely nourishing my body and mind with clean foods, transformative thoughts, and environments supported my growth.

Long ago, I came to realize the importance of my relationship to spirit: to myself, the earth, and all of life. This began to take precedence over fleeting happiness drawn in from material things and consumerism. I like a well-made product as much as the next gal, but the deep fulfillment that comes from matters of the heart is so much more important to me. The raw beauty of human connection and the love we share with our friends and family is spirit in its purest form. When I focus my attention on the connection to spirit, my whole life illuminates.

The longest journey that you’ll ever have to make is from your head to your heart.”

The heart is the essence of spirituality. It’s where the soul meets body and where we become aware of our inherent life force. The heart is where we feel deeply, open ourselves to love, and find tenderness when life becomes challenging. One of the most profound transformations for me was connecting my mind & body through my heart. Instead of demanding that my body be or respond a certain way, I began to feel into my body on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis.  This integration of head and heart allowed me to listen to my intuition, tune into my body’s changing needs, and lead a happier, healthier life. It gave me access to my spirit and allowed me to feel more and think less.

All of life is interconnected – beginning with the synthesis of mind-body-spirit. There is profound beauty & spirituality in everything that surrounds us. When our lives are struck with tragedy, the resilience of the human spirit always shines through. It is one of the most powerful, healing qualities we possess.

There is spirit in all things

Spirituality to me isn’t necessarily a specific practice. There is something spiritual about every person, place, and thing we experience. Just being alive is a spiritual practice. We can find beauty in just about anything if we allow ourselves to slow down and sink into the moments more.

Spirituality is our intimate relationship to nature, the rhythms of the seasons, and our food. Aligning with the natural flow of mother nature and our own nature is the deepest spiritual practice: one that restores balance and harmony to any life.

Sometimes, when we have been hurt or traumatized, pieces of our spirit go into hiding. Spirituality includes doing the work to unearth our shadow parts and heal the past, so we can move into a more wholesome existence. This includes clearing limiting beliefs, patterns, and negative ideas that we’ve created about what it means to be alive.

There are powerful ways to connect to our innate spiritual essence. Here are a few of my favorites:

MEDITATE::: Meditation is a powerful tool for connecting to spirit. I go in and out of stages of “sitting” daily for meditation. For weeks or months at a time, I will take a moment each morning and welcome the day with stillness. Other times, my daily life becomes a meditative practice. I believe that with enough presence and mindfulness any task can become meditative. Regular mindfulness meditations are helpful for clearing excess mind-chatter and connecting deeply to our soul’s intentions.

GET CLEAR::: Clean eating, seasonal cleansing and regular movement all provide a clear channel to our spirit. I got clear by having the strength to overcome addictions that clouded my mind: addictions to spending, eating, drinking, and drugging. Overcoming addictions cleared the fog that had been obscuring my intuition and self-awareness, providing a clear channel to my spirit.

UNPLUG::: Regularly unplugging from technology & taking space for quiet reflection offers so much clarity. It’s imperative that we allow this space for ourselves. Constantly filling up our time with the distraction and ego projection of social media is a way to avoid the feelings deep inside of us that need attention. Everything in moderation is the key to a balanced holistic life.