Last week I interviewed the author and teacher T. Thorn Coyle for DruidCast, the monthly podcast by the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. One of the questions I asked her was what advice she could give to more experienced spiritual practitioners? The answer she gave was to make sure to have a regular daily practice. She also said to stop using the word ‘mundane’ to describe our everyday activities. That the spiritual can encompass everything we do, be that sitting in quiet meditation in the woods, working a deep magical ritual, or doing the washing up.
For many people I’m sure that this apparent simple answer could actually appear quite hard. Time is one thing. Where is the time for a regular daily practice, and how can washing up be seen as a spiritual pursuit? Her answer to time was also simple, most of us find time for Facebook and Twitter… It’s true with me, sometimes the way I use my time is not always the best and most spiritually nourishing. I’m sure many of us procrastinate, waste time, even use other tactics to self-sabotage our well-being, and then say ‘I just don’t have any time for myself’.
Thorn’s answer was to use some of that Facebook time, some of that TV-watching time, just 30 minutes a day, to take that walk in the woods, to go to another room in your house, away from distraction, and meditate. There’s no doubt that a daily practice reminds us who we are, and why we are doing this work. The opposite is also true – the longer we leave it, the harder it can be to make that connection with our spiritual selves again. Questions like, ‘I used to feel so much more, and now it feels like it’s all gone’ begin to arise. I’ve been there on a number of occasions when I’ve had a prolonged absence of spiritual practice. I know I’m not the only one.
And the spiritual connection of washing up? It’s obvious. These are the plates, cutlery, and pans that cooked the food that keeps us alive and feeds not just our bodies but our spirit. The food was grown from our Mother Earth, maybe an animal gave its life so we could eat. To make them clean again shows respect for that food, and for ourselves.
So that’s it. No more excuses. I can find that 30 minutes each day. If you’ve found yourself diverting your attention away from your spiritual needs, why don’t you join me?