What does spirituality mean to you?
SL: To me, spirituality can mean a variety of things. It can be how you connect to your inner emotional state and become one with yourself while zoning out all other distractions. It can also be how you connect with nature and the world around you. I believe that spirituality and mindfulness go hand-in-hand; in order to be spiritually aware, you must be able to tune into the present moment completely. I also feel that spirituality has a lot to do with acceptance; accepting what is currently true for yourself and your world, and allowing the universe to take control and trust that what is meant to happen will happen.
How do you practice your spirituality on a daily basis?
SL: My favorite way to practice my spirituality is through yoga. Given my busy schedule, I am only able to attend a physical yoga class at my studio 3-4 times per week. Although many people may think that you need to be doing the physical act of yoga in order to reap all of its benefits, I do not find this to be the case. One can also partake in what I call "mental yoga," which ties into my description of spirituality above. "Mental yoga" to me means letting go of my ego and letting go of the inner struggle I sometimes have with the part of myself that says what I'm doing is "not good enough." My mental yoga practice is humbling, and it teaches me to believe that I am truly meant to be wherever I currently am in my life. I try to practice this every day as a way to keep myself grounded and accepting of my current truth.
Have you learned anything about yourself through this/these practice(s)?
SL: So much! Since I have started to practice yoga and incorporated it into my daily life, I have learned how truly impatient and anxious I used to be. I used to constantly ruminate on the past, worry about the future, and be way too hard on myself if I wasn't "perfect." That's what I love so much about yoga--it is all about letting go of the ego, and nobody ever judges you for where you are in your practice (mental, physical, or both). A yoga teacher once said, "None of us are GOOD at yoga. We are all simply doing it, whatever that means for each of you individually. Who defines good, anyway?" I have applied this statement to my life in many ways. As a "recovered perfectionist," I have learned to be much more relaxed with myself and with my life in general. I am able to go with the flow now in a way that I never could before.
In what ways do you believe practicing spirituality connects us with something greater than ourselves?
SL: Personally, one of my strong spiritual beliefs is that everything happens for a reason. Going hand-in-hand with this, I do believe in a higher power that may have some control over what happens to each of us in life. I feel that if you are strongly connected to yourself on a spiritual level, you will no longer feel the need to constantly worry. You will be at peace, and let the cards fall where they may; that something that is greater than ourselves has got it all under control.
About the Spirituality Facilitator Program: Spirituality Facilitators, or SFs, are live-in graduate students who are accessible at times of the day when many other support staff on campus are not. Each SF holds hospitality hours. This provides a level of familiarity and support that enhaances the residential living experience at SCU. The SF program is administered by Campus Ministry, in partnerchip with the Office of Residence Life.