Improving spiritual health...

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FauxLiz

Sponsor
As part of the game/treatment plan that my T and I are putting together to enable us to do intensive work while I am on my three week vacation as I have opted not to do inpatient he wants me to develop a consistent daily schedule to keep me focused and to do the work. I wants me to come up with ideas of ways to improve my spiritual health by doing something at least 3-4 days a week. He specifically said that spiritual does not necessarily mean religious which I get but I am drawing a blank on things that I could consider/suggest trying. The rural area that I will be visiting does not have opportunities to try things like yoga, meditations groups or other "holistic/new age" activities and from a religious aspect considering exploring my faith based issues will not be prudent due to limited and very conservative practices and practitioners in the area.

I am hoping that I can get suggestions/ideas from others here of things that I can explore and possibly attempt as ways to expand/improve my spiritual health.
 

Sideways

Sponsor
One of my parts is a very earth-centred spiritual type. She likes listening to guided meditations (which freak me out a bit), and you could download some in advance, find some ones you like and use them? Using them routinely like that can be a really different experience to doing them just now and then.

She also created a cleansing ritual which I agreed to do for her every evening, and we did that for quite a long time. It was essentially created based on things that had personal significance to me: playing a particular album of foreet music from a period of my childhood, burning sandalwood incense specifically, lighting a white candle for purity, doing some breathing exercises and focusing on all of the above, then massaging vitamin E cream into the soles of my feet.

All those things individually carried significance. And having written it out now? I probably should go back to doing it at least a couple of evenings a week, because it was really powerful for me. Like I was using tools of significance to me to heal myself via all my sense (except taste - I drew the line at the tea she wanted to include!).

Doing that self-created cleansing ritual each evening was a pretty cool, totally relaxing experience. Definitely hit my spiritual side and brought that online for me. Can’t remember where the suggestion to put one together came from, but it was helpful. Especially since it was self-determined, and not someone else’s concept of what ‘spirituality’ should look like.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I think music as Sideways suggested is easy way to get into spiritual side of things but may i recommend also dancing without talking and see how long it lasts each time...increasing it incrementally.
Another thing that may work for spiritual is walking...just walking in the nature without any destination. If I am correct the founder of EMDR learned the foundations of EMDR while walking in the park...it clears your mind.
Drawing is another way to find your creative and spiritual side. If you have access to internet at the retreat maybe googling and reading spiritual quotes may help release and reflect.
 

Ronin

MyPTSD Pro
I’d get a different one... What helps you dream?

I don’t mean in the sense of goal making, although it can be useful for making goals, but achieve a relaxed, creative, life oriented state of mind? Could be useful for both chilling out & healing, stabilizing, meantime.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
istening to guided meditations (which freak me out a bit),
I am not good at all at meditations. Like you they tend to freak me out and make me uncomfortable but I will see if I can find something that I an work with. Thank you.

I miss smudging, the scent of incense, sound of drums and gongs, singing bowls. Magical
I am not really sure what smudging is and just a quick internet search of it feels a bit awkward as something to engage in where I will be (my dad is a "cradle Catholic" and might find this to be offensive of his religious beliefs. But maybe I can find a way to incorporate scents into what ever I do as there are scents that I have found relaxing in the past.

Drawing is another way to find your creative and spiritual side. If you have access to internet at the retreat maybe googling and reading spiritual quotes may help release and reflect
I am not someone that is in any way artistic and beyond stick people do not draw. I have attempted adult coloring books as a way to relax in the past but actually find them to be stress inducing as I become very focused on the picture being perfect, choosing the right colors to coordinate, staying within the lines etc and while I block out the rest of the world when I attempt it, I rarely finish a picture because one wrong color, mark, etc. and I see it as ruined and not worth finishing.

What helps you dream?
@Ronin I don't know what helps me dream. I can't really say that I have dreams in or for my life. I have roles, responsibilities, tasks and to some extent goals but nothing long term. I don't have a bucket list of things to do in my life generally I live day to day, work to pay the bills, support my kids until they are fully independent and then nothing, no plans for retirement, no one to spend it with anyhow and my only real long term goal is not to live so long that I become a greater burden on my kids than I already see myself.
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
What about making a box with activities? I did this once in therapy last year. I bought a box and filled it will little things: scented play dough, markers, tea, a plush toy, a squishy toy, sour candies, little puzzle books like connect the dots or find the differences (books geared towards elementary school children - so could be done easily without frustration) etc etc... then you could attempt to use your box either in the morning or in the evening for half hour by picking different activities that might interest you on that day.
 

Friday

Moderator
One of the things I love about Islam are salat... the 5 daily prayers that come at sunrise, early afternoon, late afternoon, sunset, & nighttime.

Modernly those times are very specific, (and there’s an app for that!) but it used to be directed wholly by the sun. Even where I live now, with the weather bleak and dreich for most of the year? There’s still this shifting feeling, and in places with better weather? The pink/gold kiss of dawn where everything seems just a bit more alive as colour returns to the world once more; the “wholeness” of early afternoon (blue skies, thunder clouds, fierce hot, briskly cold, snowy, rainy, whatever... a sense for the whole day is somehow very clear right about then); the “blue hour” of twilight; sunset and all its poetry; and beneath a sky of stars. The original “times” of salat? Are things that have always felt very vital and distinct to me, somehow. More often than not? If I find myself pausing to really SEE the world around me it’s during one of those 5 times.

But internal clocks and aesthetics aside? I love the concept of taking ANY task deemed important enough to know well, and repeating it 5 times a day. Ditto briefly washing up, to start the next part of the day fresh.

Two of the things I love about Catholicism? (And Buddhism)

- Rosary beads / Mala. Same concept of salat used in Catholicism & Buddhism for keeping count of prayers & mantras. My very catholic grandmother put a St. Michael medal on my sandalwood beads, and I restrung a rosary for her out of sandalwood.

^^^
AND not only do I just dig the smell of sandalwood (which is half the sensory trick) but there are sooooooo many nerves in one’s fingertips (EFT tapping and a few other things take advantage of this.) That whether I’m using the time to count prayers/mantras/poetry/katas/suras/ or not? Having something to roll between my fingers is simply mad calming.

- Candles & Incense... although they’re done for different things... it’s the act of taking a moment and preforming a deliberate action, whether lighting a candle for someone in my heart, or burning incense for (the word that’s coming to mind is mitzvah, which isn’t wrong, but isn’t right either. My English is failing me here. Done to remember, reflect, focus one’s intent, send prayers skyward ... or just because it smells nice and I want some good smells in my life). Essentially, I light a candle for someone else, and light incense for myself.

A few other things I do religiously &/or have a religious bent

  • Reading & illustrating (including sumi-e & calligraphy, don’t forget words, words are art as well as stick figures and stained glass! ;) )
I have an eclectic religious background from moving around so much as a kid (born Shinto die Buddhist; Sons of Abraham IE Judaism/Christianity/Islam; a few very old and lesser known traditions from a few different continents that I lived in for a spell)... and then there’s the anthropologist in me that digs reading up on Viking burials, the Sea People, Mesoamerican & SE Asian temples, Ancient Egypt/Greece/Rome, list goes on. Or one better, traipsing around in person photographing cathedrals and pictograms, sharing tea or coffee, attending services & festivals, dancing in all kinds of venues.

So there’s quite a lot to read, watch, explore, do that speaks to that side of me. SOME of it? Sure, takes a curious bent. Because it taps into other parts of me, that aren’t simply spiritual. The anthropologist, artist, explorer, scientist, or the investigator in me. LOL And sometimes in combination! Like researching stolen art (both individual pieces and en masse quasi-official affairs; like during times of war when museums will smuggle their artifacts out of country, both historically and modernly). A great deal of the world’s treasures are religious in nature and learning about the piece itself? Who values it and why? What makes it sacred? Is -more often than not- a necessary part of that task.
  • Weapons training & maintenance
  • Surfing & Bonfires // Hotsprings in the snow
  • throwing a sleeping bag in the bed of a truck (or on its hood) and stargazing.
  • Origami (1,000 crane wish!) / bonsai / ikibana / tea ceremonies
  • Medicinal plants & practices (herbal pharmacology is beyond me, but I know a few useful things, like how to make penicillin)
  • Fasting (3 primary ways with 3 different purposes/ applications); Asian nutritive teas, LDS Fast Sunday, & Ramadan.
  • Hospitality & Charity
  • Charitable Organizations / volunteering with
  • Giving blood
  • Etc.
I know many of these might not seem spiritual? But they are to me, in whole or in part, which is what matters
 

Cypress

Confident
I also have trouble doing things that don't have a practical purpose or some kind of "value".

its a rural place right? How about a daily walk, birdwatching with a guidebook and binoculars, training yourself to run a 5k?

Will you have internet? Lots of free yoga videos on Youtube.

Maybe not artistic but learning something new that is creative?

Teach yourself to bake/cook something that requires mastery.

I'm not artistic either and am living in a tiny pod right now but I've started modeling with air dry clay making practical things, little bowls and vases, then painting them solid colors. Feels spiritual to me.
 
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