When I'm feeling disconnected, confused, unstable, or out of balance, it usually means my spirit needs some nourishment. To renew and connect with my spirit, I take what I call a spirit journey.
In this post, I'd like to share my spirit journey with you and teach you how to take a spirit journey of your own.
My Spirit Journey
My spirit takes the physical form of an old man. My body is thin and frail. My skin is tan and weathered. I have a long, coarse, grey beard and unkempt hair. I am barefoot with calloused feet. I am minimally clothed with natural cloth.
I have no home. I have no family. I have no belongings. I speak no words. I have devoted my life to spiritual practice, living off only what the earth provides in the moment.
In this form I set out on a journey to the summit of the mountain. A hike that will be difficult and take many hours.
I walk putting one foot in front of the other allowing my body to carry my spirit.
The top of the mountain is home to my spirit. There my spirit can rest. There my spirit can find nourishment. There my spirit can find community with other spirits--ones who embody the trees and the birds.
At the top of the mountain, I allow my spirit to guide me. I meditate. I dance. I chant. I interact with the plants. I talk aloud. I smile. I cry.
My spirit is happy. My spirit is home.
Once the sun starts to sink low in the sky, the light starts to softens and the temperature starts to drop. It is time to go. My frail, weak body will not survive a cold windy night on the mountain. I must reach town before nightfall and find shelter.
I make it to town at last light and find shelter behind a stone wall. The old man goes to sleep, and my spirit comes back to me renewed. My spirit resides again in a sturdy 30 year old female body with thick hair and pale, freckled skin.
Nourishing the Spirit
In the same way the body needs nourishment from food, the spirit also needs nourishment to survive and thrive. There are many ways to nourish the spirit--prayer, ritual, meditation, ceremony, mindfulness, etc. Though I find the spirit journey works best for me and is essential to my well-being.
When I take these spirit journeys, my spirit finds the nourishment it needs, and I feel connected and renewed. It's a combination of grounding, meditation, mindfulness, and visualization. If those practices appeal to you, try taking a spirit journey and see what effect it has on you.
How to Take a Spirit Journey
- Block Out Time
When I first started taking spirit journeys, I didn't know where they would lead. I needed at least 48 hours of time off work, away from responsibilities, away from screens, and away from people. My spirit journey itself doesn't take 2 days, but knowing I had 2 full days allowed me to detach from the day to day and allow my spirit to journey off knowing I had time to call it back if it got a little lost...
- Engage in Grounding Activities
Before embarking on a spirit journey, I must first enter a meditative state. I do this by practicing grounding activities. For me, these activities include laying in the sun, swinging in a hammock, hiking through the woods, weeding the garden, cooking a meal, washing dishes, or taking a bath. Sensory activities work best for me.
- Practice Mindfulness
The purpose of engaging in grounding activities is to practice mindfulness. I allow my thoughts to fade. I focus on the present moment--what I am able to see, feel, smell, taste, hear. I allow my senses to fill me. Simultaneously worry, longing, desire, grief, anger--it all fades away. In this state I am able to relax and separate my spirit from my body.
- Visualize the Physical Form Your Spirit Chooses
Once I feel present and relaxed, I start to visualize the physical form my spirit chooses. There's no judgement here, and there are no rules.
My spirit chooses to be an old man, so I start to describe the old man.
If your spirit chooses a rock, describe the rock--how big is it, what do the edges look like, what colors is it, what's the texture like, where is it located, what has happened to it?
If your spirit chooses a bird, ask--what type of bird, what does their song sound like, what colors are they, how old are they, do they have a mate, what's their personality like, what do they like to do? There are no wrong answers here. Let your spirit guide you.
- Visualize the Location
Once I've visualized my spirit's physical form, I start to visualize the location. I describe what I can see, feel, smell, taste, hear.
My spirit chooses the physical form of another human, so I visualize the dirt under my bare feet and how uncomfortable it feels to walk on it. I visualize the mountain in the distance covered with lush trees and jagged rocks.
Be open to your physical form being somewhere more abstract. You might be on earth or you might be on another planet. You could be in a totally different dimension, in a realm of feeling and emotion, or only able to perceive certain senses.
Your spirit journey may look like mine or it may be totally different. Allow your intuition to guide you.
- Embark on Your Journey
After I've defined my form and my location, I allow my spirit to be there fully and do whatever it needs to do there to get the nourishment it needs.
My spirit chooses to hike up a beautiful but dangerous mountain as another human.
If your spirit chooses to be an inanimate object, a rock for example, consider your spirit may just need to be a rock for a while going through almost undetectable changes.
Your spirit knows what it needs. Trust and allow.
- Re-enter Your Body
Once my spirit gets the nourishment it needs, it re-enters my body. I am doing the dishes again. I am hiking again. I am swinging in a hammock again. Present in my body with my spirit.
It is truly amazing what this practice does for me and how it effects every interaction I have.
I’m curious, does anyone else have a similar practice? How do you nourish your spirit and stay connected? And, if you try taking a spirit journey for the first time, let me know. I'd love to hear about your experience.