Hi, friends. How are you all?
August was the month of spirituality on my feng shui resolutions chart.
What do I mean by spirituality? Well, spirituality means something a little different to each person. My conception of spirituality is different from yours. And that's ok. Spirituality can mean different things to different people and still hold weight at the end of the day.
For me, a huge part of getting in touch with my spirituality is about getting in touch with myself. I have to hear my inner voice if I'm going to do anyone any good in the world. When that inner voice is drowned out, trouble will most certainly appear.
As some of you know, I'm a cultural anthropologist among other things and spent much of my time in the practice of anthropology in East Asia. One of the most fascinating concepts to me in anthropological studies of Japan is the distinction between an individual's honne or tatemae. Honne, which literally means "original voice," is a person's true feelings and desires. These are the things that are often kept private or hidden, except with one's closest friends. Tatemae is the facade one presents in public. It's the behavior that's expected by society based upon one's position and circumstances.
Though the Japanese are normally used as the subject of study for this kind of private self and public presentation duality, the truth is we all engage, to varying degrees, in honne-hiding and tatemae-projecting behavior. This is not necessarily a negative thing, rather, a requirement for getting by in life. It's why we don't walk up to strangers on the street and say we find their haircut unflattering; it's why we don't tell our superiors to go jump in a lake when they give us a hard time; and it's why we keep certain private difficulties close to our hearts instead of making announcements about them on the town bulletin for all to know.
Honne has its social function indeed, but at the same time, we must be sure that we don't go overboard with silencing our inner voice for public acceptance. It is entirely too detrimental to our health and well-being to do so. That voice is something we all need to be very attuned to. What is it telling us? What is it yearning for? How does it want to be expressed? What are some healthy outlets for it to be expressed?
Our inner voice is our compass, it's our GPS system through life; it's our inner guide.
And so we must treat it like it's precious.
In August, I took the time to really think about what my inner voice was telling me. Taking a solo trip to Ojai, I had the opportunity to disconnect and detach, if only for a day, in silent meditation and retreat. What I went through that day and over the course of the next couple of weeks was nothing short of miraculous. It was a fully felt all-encompassing metamorphosis. The process didn't start overnight in Ojai; it has been a long time coming, several years coming, in fact, but being present for it to express itself brought me to my knees in gratitude.
In a nutshell, I reached a new level of me and a new level of artistry this month. My honne came charging out to establish its presence in myself, in my writing, in my design, and in my greater life.
Of course, not everyone is going to have a monumental metamorphosis just because they shift their attention to their true self for a month. It takes time. Daily devotion. And practice. The more we listen to ourselves, the better we get at it.
Here are ten little practices that I have found help me to get in touch with myself. I hope that they might help bring you even just a little bit closer to your truth if that's something you aim for:
- Meditate (Daily is good; don't beat yourself up if you can't).
- Journal (Free flowing in the morning is good; a gratitude journal at night is nice too).
- Stop, breathe, and ask yourself what you really want.
- Do not ignore your own visceral reactions to situations. Sometimes it's our body telling us we need to flee a situation because it's not good for us.
- Spend time in solitude. We come into this life alone, and we leave alone. Friends are beautiful blessings while we're here, but it's also very important for us to hear ourselves. This is usually done best while we're taking the time to be just with ourselves.
- Turn off the phone. Or power down the tech. It's very hard to be in tune with ourselves or others, for that matter, when we're checking our phone too often. Create some healthy boundaries around your technology.
- Take the time to do something that brings you joy. Pleasure begets pleasure begets pleasure. In pleasure, we find the richness of life. We get in touch with what our soul is truly yearning for.
- Be like water. Go with the flow. It's in moments of release and relaxation that we sometimes receive our strongest calls to action.
- Take a solo trip! I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for people to push outside of their comfort zone and expand their minds. This is the basis for my entire life. I'm always looking for new ways to expand my consciousness, my art, and my heart.
- Rest. Seriously. Rest. Take a day whenever you can to do nothing. No chores. No laborious tasks. No performance-based expected activities. Nothin'. Only the things you really feel like doing. No schedule. No clock. No plan. The relaxation part used to be very hard for a person like me. I'm always on the go, and my ambitions know no limit, but every now and then, I remind myself that I need to just chill. It's in those moments of chill that some of my greatest inspirations have come to me.
So friends, I hope that this little piece is helpful to you in creating an introspective, spiritual foundation for your life. It's only when we have a solid foundation that we can begin to build pillars on top.
Remember that when we acknowledge the nine bagua areas of our lives, we create balance and harmony in our environment. We're more in tune with ourselves; we know our priorities; we act with conviction; and we take care of the people and things around us. This, of course, creates a strong resonance in our surroundings that in turn, comes back to us. Through the process of resonant synchronicity or entrainment, we all feed off of each other's energy. Just one person's positive resonance, if the person is strong enough, can drastically change an environment.
Have a great day!