An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Finding Spirituality

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Finding Spirituality

I've taken new interest in praying and being more spiritual lately. Here's why and how it's benefiting me (and my whole family)

I was sitting at Whole Foods recently, working from their cafe attempting to round out my editorial calendar for the rest of the year. (For non-bloggers, that's basically my blog post schedule/bank of blog post ideas I pull from). I was struggling to think of something "op-ed" to round out my recipes, crafts and essential oil post ideas. Nothing came to mind so I texted a blogging friend, asking for what she'd like to hear about from me. "Hey, I noticed you're getting more publicly spiritual or religious... Why don't you talk about what all that's about?" Ah-ha! Brilliant idea. If you follow me on Instagram stories, you might know a bit of what my blogging friend was referencing. I'm starting to both explore my spirituality more, and actually talk about it publicly. It's not something I'm doing on a whim; finding and experimenting with a deeper level of spirituality is actually very intentional. Here's what I'm finding out and why you might want to dig a little deeper into it yourself, too.

The thing I've noticed after having four kids is that I don't have postpartum depression or anxiety right away. It usually doesn't kick in until I start to wean. With Henry, I had horrible PPD (postpartum depression) that went diagnosed. With Otto, I had a few bad months of PPA (postpartum anxiety) when I stopped breastfeeding him, but was smart enough to get some help for it. Now that I'm working on weaning the twins, I've noticed my PPA kicking in again. The craziest thing about PPA is that I can completely recognize what it is; but the act of recognizing it doesn't take away the irrational thoughts or fears or feelings I'm having. I can literally say, "Paige, you're not thinking straight. You know what this is! Settle down." and it will do nothing to *actually* settle me down. Mental health is weird like that, isn't it?

Early last spring, I found a few mom devotionals (this one, this one and this one) that I started doing. I found that they really helped shed light on motherhood and in keeping priorities straight when things get chaotic. And with my four kids, things are often chaotic! They're, of course, religiously based and I started enjoying reading the passages of scripture and learning about how the authors applied those to real life, how they interpreted it and how it meant something to them, their families or to just motherhood. Both those devotionals end in a prayer, and I actually started to enjoy reciting those prayers in my head as I read them. I found myself repeating them several times.

I've also talked here many times before about my insomnia. There's nothing worse than not being able to sleep! To fill the hours I started to talk to God. Also known as praying, I suppose. I start with things that I'm thankful for, be it something that happened that day that made me happy or made my life easier or just something that went well. Then I transition to what I need help with. Struggles I'm having physically, emotionally or with my kids. Then I end with prayers for others, talking to God about things other people are going through and hoping He can help them or give them strength and peace. Some days, I have to think HARD to find things I'm thankful for. I try to make it unique and specific to that day - not just "thank you for four beautiful children" but something more like "thank you for helping Henry and Otto play trains so well together this afternoon, and thank you for the twins taking long naps and waking up happy! Thank you for all four kids eating their supper eagerly." That sort of thing. Specific to the child and what happened that day.

What's been profound about this is how much easier it's become to find things that I'm grateful or thankful for. At first, I had to think long and hard some nights about what had gone right that day! But looking for the good has become a habit, a way that my brain is now trained, and it's so easy to come up with a million things I'm thankful for. It translates over to daytime too. I don't just think about it at night anymore - as things happen during the day, I think, "Yes! Thank you God! That was so wonderful and it's made my day so much more enjoyable. Thank you for blessing me with _________ that made my life better/easier/happier/more fun." It could be as mundane as Otto thanking me for making him eggs for breakfast or as profound as thanking God for my twins not having any reactions to their immunizations. As simple as enjoying a good yoga class or as complex as having the strength and grace to manage a fight between my kids that got navigated without me losing my cool and yelling at them.

The second profound thing that's happened is that my PPA has become so much more manageable. As opposed to sitting there and obsessing about things, I start to talk to God about it. I ask him to take the weight of it off my heart, because I know it's not a battle I can or should be fighting alone. I ask home for strength and wisdom and freedom from it. It doesn't work overnight. And many moms still need professional help or medication to deal with PPD or PPA. But for me, this has been a huge help in managing my symptoms. I don't "get deep" with people often and I surely don't confess to ways I fail or feelings that are hard to manage. But praying about it has helped me not only openly confess to my imperfections in a safe way, it's helped me learn to ask for help with feelings I can't manage on my own. Neither of these things I was very good at to begin with. But doing it daily to a "safe" person like God has really helped me learn how to do it, to practice it, and to normalize it for me.

I think one of the other big things about this has been starting to talk about it publicly more. It's one thing to do things privately. But when you start to reveal yourself, in your most vulnerable state, to others - change really starts to set in. 

I completed yoga teacher training in 2013 and haven't taught a class because I was so uncomfortable leading the spiritual side of things. Not that yoga is a religion! It's not. But there's always soundbites of wisdom and reflection in a class and I didn't want to touch that at ALL. When I launched this blog nearly 6 years ago, I didn't want religion to be a part of my story at all because I didn't want to offend anyone or manage any questions I got with it. I was also turned off with how so many bloggers use Christianity as their platform to gain followers. "Loves Jesus, oils, and motherhood" is literally thousands of women's biographies in their Instagram. My relationship with God is MY personal relationship; it's not for other's consumption or for my own personal promotion.

But I wanted to do something to hold myself accountable. Yes, I read my devotionals and spend time with God everyday. And it's been beautiful! I also want to start to show that side to my followers because it's a part of me. I think it's an important part. And now, I think it's such a wonderful, healing, empowering and beautiful part! It's encouraging. It's loving. It's all the good things, and I'd love to gently encourage others to seek out a relationship with his or her God (all walks of faith encouraged! I truly think we all have the same God, but call it different things and worship differently, which is fantastic. How boring would life be if we all did things the same?!) 

Submitting to a higher power had been so beneficial for me. It's taught me to seek out the things I'm grateful for regularly, but especially at the end of the day. It makes me end my day thinking of the great things that happened. When you're always looking for the good things, you become a happier person. You start to think, "Well, that didn't go well, but it ended well, and I'm so thankful it did!" Your whole perspective changes. Finding my spirituality has been life changing in so many unexpected ways! I encourage you to find your spirituality and get closer to God. You'll be surprised the ways it improves your life.


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