Spirituality means something different to everyone, and everyone expresses it differently.
I describe spirituality as a lifestyle of connection. Connection to self, connection to others, and connection to all that is. It’s a moment to moment practice where I encourage myself to choose the path that moves me forward.
In my book SOAR, I give my readers an up-close and personal look at some of my most challenging life experiences and show how I navigated them with spiritual lenses.
For every step along the way, I asked myself, “How can I learn from this? How can this help me grow? Does this serve my highest good? What is the meaning behind this life experience?”
This article will give you some food for thought as you explore your individual path.
How Does Spirituality Differ from Religion?
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is “How does spirituality differ from religion?”
Most people are familiar with religion, even if they don’t identify with a particular faith. I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of the differences. Know that there is no “right answer” and every person needs to do what feels right to them. Some feel comfortable in a more formal, public form of worship, and others prefer an individual, inward-looking approach. Know that there is no judgment and wherever you are right now is where you need to be.
- Spirituality anchors on universal laws based on science and physics, whereas religion is based on faith.
- Spirituality says heaven is a state of mind, a sense of peace, calmness, composure, and poise that can be achieved here on earth. Religion says a heaven is a place we can go to after we die.
- Spirituality is open to interpretation, and religion is based on a set of dictated beliefs.
- Spirituality can be practiced anytime, anywhere, and religion calls for a more formal way of worshipping (i.e. brick and mortar building). I view nature as my place of worship.
- Spirituality is based on oneness and interconnectedness, all on the basis of love. Religion has many different separate denominations.
- Spirituality is about finding meaning in your own life experiences, and religion derives meaning from others’ life experiences.
- Spirituality offers latitude and invites questioning and discovery, and religion suggests what is right vs wrong.
Again, the goal here isn’t to get you to choose one over the other. It’s to heighten your awareness so that you can continue to follow along the path that feels right to you.
My Journey from Religion to Spirituality
I grew up in a religious family and going to church every Sunday as part of my upbringing. My lifestyle and my belief system served me quite well into my adulthood, I must say, until September 12, 2005, when my entire world was turned upside down. I lost my baby unexpectedly. I was left to make sense of this devastating loss. My journey through grief began to give rise to a new belief system, as I struggled to make sense of this sudden and heart-wrenching loss.
Here is an excerpt from SOAR:
“In the midst of my attempts to make sense of what had happened, I was continually unsatisfied. My soul was craving more. I was totally unfulfilled. Empty. Hopeless. Despondent. Fearful. Stifled. Crushed. Through my research, I stumbled upon the concept of Spirit Babies. In short, every woman has a circle of spirit babies above her, and if a baby dies in the womb prematurely, its soul re-enters the circle and there exists the possibility that the soul may return in the body of a future baby.”
“Call it denial or the inability to accept it. Call it whatever you want, but it was the only explanation that gave me any shred of hope. It was something to cling to, and helped me get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other in the hopes that we would eventually see brighter days. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is the discovery of this theory that opened up my eyes to an entirely new way of thinking, expanded my mind, and took my belief system into completely uncharted territory.”
The years that followed presented more life experiences that allowed me to further craft my belief system. SOAR walks you through some of my most challenging moments and not only tells but shows you how I anchored on spirituality.
What is Spirituality?
In the Afterword of SOAR, I share my reflections on what I believe spirituality is, and what it is not:
- a marathon, not a sprint.
- about being real, not about being polished.
- about being present, not about being ready.
- a process, not a competition.
- being authentic, not about being disguised.
- about expressing gratitude, not about expressing wants.
- introspection, not about publicity.
- a lifestyle, not a religion.
- about love, not about fear.
- progress, not about perfection.
- about the journey, not about the destination.
- looking in the mirror, not about looking out the window.
- about experiences, not about possessions.
- about you, not about them.
Living according to a spiritual lifestyle may feel daunting or seem complex. But in reality, all you need to do is show up every day with a commitment to be a better version of who you were yesterday. That’s it. Simple. Basic. But far from easy.
This spiritual journey is hard work, as you meet yourself with unprecedented levels of honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. But all of the heavy liftings is worth it…the peace, joy, fulfillment, happiness, connection, and living your truth. With a soul-based lifestyle, those are wells that never run dry.
This week, I am inviting you to set the intention of showing up every day, willing to learn and grow.
As always, I am here to guide and serve you!