Spirituality begins to manifest the day we are born or, some believe, in the womb. The circumstances we are born into and the nurturing of our parents determines, in part, when and how our spirituality will manifest. If we are brought up in homes filled with violence, addiction and abuse, our spirit becomes handicapped and we learn instead how to survive. Health and happiness come from harmony within the body. So, you might ask, what would that represent? And I say love. You say, well that’s a nice emotional word and all that. But, actually love becomes physiological. The sensation of love releases all the chemicals that provide for the growth and maintenance and health of the body. So the matter of being in love keeps us in a chemical environment that supports our vitality and our growth. Love becomes biochemistry. And the biochemistry of love is the most health-promoting, growth-promoting chemistry that you can have.
While empathy is something that almost all human beings process, not all humans practice the full breadth and expression of their spiritual essence Many people believe the world to be a frightening, negative and even be a physically and spiritually bleak place. It makes them operate from a place of being constantly on guard and defensive. This is especially true of victims of domestic violence who have and or are suffering from having endured some unspeakable heinous crimes often inflicted by their own families. Great suffering, especially endured over long periods of time, manifests itself as illness, dysfunction, violence, self-harm and addiction. The only healing that can calm suffering is an essential acceptance of what happened and an inherent belief that you hold the power to change not your experience but your reaction to it. The role one plays in helping women to heal, overcome, self-empower and enrich their lives is to embody the essence of the opposite of what they know, compassion.
To accomplish this, one must be committed to a life of spiritual being and be the example of the change they wish to invoke in others. Spiritual fitness, above all, is the skill one must always seek to hone. Stanford University CARE Foundation is at the forefront of a growing movement to bring the tools of psychology and neuroscience to the study of empathy, compassion and altruism. Stanford psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, works to brainstorm projects and programs centered on compassion, of which Zimbardo calls “the highest personal virtue.” “My goal is to better understand how to transform compassion into heroic action, and to educate the general public, especially children, how to be wise and effective ‘everyday heroes’,” he said. And what skill could be more vital to cultivate than compassion when working with women? This is our window to reconnecting with self, others, and the universe – my definition of spirituality. Everyone has a spiritual core that must be filled.
My approach is to help heal the whole person. Incorporating spiritual techniques that introduce the concept of mind and body awareness shows how we can change how we think and feel. It strongly borrows from the idea that how we think affects our physical reality and that thinking positive thoughts can alter our physical reality.
Just as surely as positive thoughts can heal, negative ones – including the belief we are susceptible to an illness or have been exposed to a toxic condition-can actually manifest the undesired realities of those thoughts. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “you must understand that you control your thoughts, you control your chemistry, and if you learn to change your thoughts your reality will change.” No matter how bad you feel, no matter what has happened to you, you can change your feelings. Your feelings and emotions come from your thoughts and can be controlled by your thoughts. How you feel should never be an excuse for how you behave, for why you do things. By changing the way we think, our reality changes, our mental health improves, and our spiritual essence comes to realize our fullest potential.
My role is to plant seeds of compassion, hope and, most importantly, the possibility of a life that is more harmonious than what the client may have been experiencing in their life. If you want a client to thrive, you must enrich their environment and when that is not possible, you must show them beauty and love through the lens of God’s eyes. This allows the client to see beyond their own life circumstances and begin the process of changing belief systems about life and people. Offering spiritual teachings allows clients to become inspired and helps them to foster new dreams by rewriting their story. Slowly, they will begin to feel drawn to the new behaviors and attitudes that the counselor is teaching and modeling by opening up about their feelings and thoughts. This causes subtle changes in mood and interpersonal interactions. With this instilled hope that is only found in Love, change will sprout in the client’s mind and begin to take over all toxicity.