Spirituality

Spirituality is a deeply personal and intimate realm. Extending beyond religion or dogma, it is where we explore questions of ultimate meaning. It encompasses how we connect to what is sacred, beyond our individual personas. When we talk about spirituality, we are often discussing what really matters to us, and that which gives our life vitality.

Women have the capacity to see the sacred in everyday life. In sunrises, in the changing colors of the mountain in the deserts, and in the laughter of a child, women may be reminded of the ineffable. Women frequently are the holders of the family rituals. Faith, religion, and spirituality are often their core sources of strength.

People express their spirituality in many different ways. For some, it is through a religious practice or faith tradition; for others, it may be communing with nature. While perceived as transcendent—indeed, as some of the most profound moments of our lives—a spiritual experience often loses its power when we try to put it into words. Still, we know what we have felt.

Discussing spirituality can sometimes feel taboo. In my clinical practice, it presents an opportunity to get to know my patients better. I ask my patients whether they have a religious or faith tradition that is important to them. Some respond with their religion; others describe a faith that they were raised in but no longer practice; still others speak of their connection to nature or a higher power. I delve deeper to learn what spiritual practices, if any, they carry out, inquiring whether they pray, perform rituals, or spend time in nature. These conversations uncover personal values and perspectives that often do not emerge from other topics. They also demand a level of intimacy and trust. And sometimes they reveal profound coping strategies.

In my own life, I have found great meaning in religious ritual and spiritual ceremonies. While I have learned many traditional prayers, often, when I pray, I find myself simply speaking from my heart. In addition to the practices of my own faith, I have participated in Native American purification lodges, immersion in healing waters, Buddhist meditation, and Sanskrit chants. These practices serve as vehicles to ask for guidance during times of difficulty. They help me reframe suffering as not just a terrible experience, but rather something with a larger meaning from which I might grow. They help me to be centered, and they remind me that all is not under my control.

I hope that you will spend some time pondering the mystery of birth.  What does it mean to you to create a new life? Do you believe there is a way in which you can send out a welcoming message to a new soul?  What does it mean to you to prepare to receive? Can you ‘conceive’ of yourself as the vessel from which life will emerge?

These are some further resources you might find helpful:

RitualWell.org

A Forgotten Prayer, Answered