Our lives are inspired by people who have endured catastrophic life experiences and emerged the victor rather than the victim. Some of the more familiar names are Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller, Elie Weisel, and Nelson Mandela, but many of us have personally known people who have come through the other side of a wrenching experience with grace and humility.
If we could, we would ask these famous and familiar folks, “What got you through your crisis?” In all likelihood, they would describe inner resources that enabled them to survive. These inner resources — or "soul muscles" — are courage, humor, faith, patience, imagination, compassion, humbleness, creativity, forgiveness, optimism, honesty, intuition, and love.
And you know what? We ALL have access to them!
When you exercise your soul muscles, the fitness, health, and well-being of the human spirit are maintained, and every aspect your life is renewed and replenished.
To help you nurture the health of your human spirit, here are seven uplifting suggestions to get you moving in the right direction:
Self-renewal is an ongoing process. To be present and attentive to those around us and strong for others in times of need, we must first attend to our own capacity for strength and endurance. Typically this begins with some aspect of the centering process, going within to calm and replenish.
Practice Sacred Rituals
We attribute particular habits and various customs as more special than others, then gravitate toward those activities and make them routine so that we are reminded of life’s sacredness. Favorite readings or meditations in the morning, witnessing the sunset every night, regular meetings of like-minded groups to which we belong — all manner of activities can serve as a constant reminder that we are connected to something greater.
Forgive Yourself and Others
Every act of forgiveness is an act of unconditional love. For forgiveness to be unconditional, you must be willing to let go of all feelings of anger and resentment. We forgive others, and we forgive ourselves.
Embrace the Shadow
Embracing the shadow means acknowledging negative, judgmental thoughts, and sending a message of acceptance and compassion to that part of ourselves where those thoughts and perceptions originate.
Keep the Faith
The power of faith requires balance. It is good to remember that “We are given no task too great to bear.” Faith is there to guide us through moments of turbulence.
Live Your Joy
Living your joy is seeking and appreciating life’s beautiful side. It reminds us to live in the present moment rather than become immobilized by that which is past or that which is yet to come.
Compassion in action can be explained in one word — service. And service offers a dividend of love to all parties involved.
As you can see, the healing power of the human spirit is a magical thing. All you have to do is start with one or two of the suggestions above and feel your "soul muscles" get stronger and more flexible. Remember, your health and happiness depend on it!