Spirituality is my least preferred of the 24 VIA character strengths. Not surprising as I am a pragmatist and I very much deal with here and now – what is visible and what I can experience. I have known some very devout people, my dear beautiful Nanna’s both practiced their religion every day and got great comfort from their faith.
As a young woman I would watch them pray the rosary as part of the funeral process and although I did not get the point, I could see what they got from it. The idea that Mary, a woman who lived over two thousand years ago was a beacon of hope, comfort and sanctuary for my Nanna’s throughout their life amazes me. To this day iconography featuring Mary is one of my favourite forms of art I think cause she is a part of my history and a connection to the women who have shaped me.
However, I have always done it as an observer having never been able to correlate the blind faith required of religions and the practical and scientific evidence that disputes religion. For example, I am a big believer in the idea that you create your own destiny, for example, the basis of most psychology is Situation + Thinking = Reaction. Which means that you and I can both experience the same thing but we due to the way we think we will react differently.
The point of this is that I come to this blog with a bit of bias and a fair amount of lack of understanding on the topic. So, I needed to do a bit of research and thinking to do this.
Sprituality is defined in the VIA survey as “Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort.” And this is supported by other definitions that explain that there is more to life than your body, mind and there is something else - it is living your life with meaning and a connection to something bigger.
With the decline of organised religions across the world, it has been observed that there is an increase in people who identify as spiritual. Is this just swapping organised religion with another? Are so called spiritual influencers just peddling another kind of way to be connected and tell you how to live. All around us on social media there are influencers telling you how to live your life, what to eat, what to wear and how to think.
To throw a spanner in the works, despite being a pragmatist I am also someone who goes with their gut. Having adopted a course of action based on gut feel rather than all the evidence before me. Is that part of spirituality? Is it part of blind faith?
Yesterday, with this topic on my mind, I asked my daughter while we were driving home: Why, if I can see mostly sky when I look out do I spend so much of my life focusing on what goes on for me down on the ground?" To which I was greeted with a look that I can only describe as “what the?”
Oh, my Sainted Aunt, bless the confused!
So how do we parent around spirituality? Holidays are a perfect time to give your give yourself and your child over to an unstructured time. We all need structure but some deliberateunplanningcan create opportunity to create lasting memories and some moments to submit to the extra ordinary.
Provide quiet time for your children to be aware of what goes around them. This should not be long for young children, no more than a minute.
Go for a walk in nature or simply go to a park and reflect on what you see. Sit and watch a sunset or if you are up early enough, a sunrise.
Encourage your child to listen to their inner voice. You may need to coach them but with time they can learn the power of trusting their instincts.
Create magic in ordinary moments – maybe make a daisy chain or blow some bubbles or dance in the lounge room together. Who doesn’t like a bit of magic now and then?
Listen to movie soundtracks – I am doing it now for inspiration. Hans Zimmer is my favourite, his music always makes me feel that I was destined for bigger things.
I would love to hear about what you think on this topic especially Helen, you know who you are. How did I do?
Our Very Arty Day holiday classes at the Artspace Collective are a perfect opportunity for children to do unstructured play without screens. There are no art by numbers projects but guidance to make their own unique pieces. Our classes assist children to trust their instincts and have faith in their ability to create beautiful, imaginative and interesting creations. Choose from one of four all day workshops running on 17, 18, 19 or 20 of April. We will be doing printmaking, painting, drawing and sculpting with clay.
Teen Hub for the older girls is on Monday, 16 April – think bath bombs, skin care including magical and glittery make up, raw balls, zen tangles and movement with Core Confidence. Choose from day or half day sessions.