My mother and I enjoyed very different flavors of spirituality, but she handed down a lot of wisdom. She used to say, “You’ve got to pray and move your feet,” a phrase she inherited from her mother, and who knows how many generations before that. What she meant was, “it’s all very fine and good” (her typical preamble to a critique) to pray, but prayer alone is not enough. Prayer needs embodiment. In other words, don’t expect the divine to solve your problems. However, do ask for guidance and start walking in the direction of a solution and you might find yourself making new choices that lead to progress and resolution.
I’ve been employing her advice almost daily for months now. We are in a time of spiritual renovation like I have not experienced before. I’ve been in conversations with folks who feel like they have hit a wall. They feel emotionally vulnerable, their meditations are not “working” like they used to, they feel numb, apart from their spiritual team, their intuition, perception and judgement feel off. In some cases, they feel like their spiritual team has gone silent. All progress has ground to a halt, and it seems at times they are even regressing or backsliding.
I have experienced a fair bit of this myself these past months, but I am so familiar with these fallow times. Maybe what's going on for you requires acceptance, a question only you can ask and answer yourself. Sometimes your beloved is in hospice, or you are ill, or the company went bankrupt, and there is nothing to be done but find a way through. Eventually, in right time, maybe you'll find a way to peace with your circumstances.
However, if the signal is a clear, “No, I’m just flat and stuck,” then the call is not for enduring, but for fixing that flat. I joke that from time to time my spiritual team hangs up their, “Out to Lunch” sign on their shop, because I have asked and received the exact same guidance, one too many times, and they are taking a siesta until I fix that flat myself.
Here I'll outline one of the ways I fix my flats. It a two-pronged approach to get those feet moving.
To get some momentum going, first see this disconnection as an invitation to get your creativity back online. Embody that creative energy. To be clear, this means creativity without any big outcome, so I suggest you do something you wouldn’t normally do. If you normally paint, maybe garden or sing. If you normally play an instrument, paint. If you normally write, bake something.
Start small: maybe you doodle while listening to some music. Sing as you drive. Play charades. Fix that broken bike, paint the chair. Try a new recipe, hairstyle, outfit combination. Do a bit of this to get your energy up before you tackle the second part of this process.
The second prong is a review of recurrent themes. This works best if you keep journals and can look back over them, but it is not necessary.
Make a list of the things you complain and worry about. Look over that list and honestly assess how long you have been complaining about it. Months, years . . .decades?
This will give you are pretty good sense of what keeps repeating. Check to see if there is an alignment triangle between these three points:
-recurring painful situations, relationships, or thoughts,
-situations/thoughts/relationships you have repeatedly asked for guidance, help or inspiration about,
-situations/thoughts/relationships about which you have not made committed effort to do anything differently
Those situations are your roadmap to revival.
In other words, if you have complained and prayed and tried to understand and hoped for change in your journal or in conversation with friends, but have not moved your feet even one step on the path, you’ll feel flat and disconnected until to make a move. One tiny different action is all it takes to get started. So, pick your top issue and give some thought to one tiny action you could take.
If you need to have a tough conversation, instead of complaining to friends like usual, maybe write out what you want to say first and start practicing it in the mirror or speak it into a voice recorder and listen to it back.
If you need a new or better job, instead of hunting on the internet like you always do, perhaps revise your resume and ask a friend or two to review it.
If you need to move, instead of surfing the web, maybe send an email to your network asking if anyone hears of anything in x price range to let you know.
If you are upset or concerned or feeling helpless about a political or environmental situation, instead of endlessly watching the news, start researching how you can concretely help, and maybe get together a small group to discuss ways to get involved.
You get the idea. There are times when being still and quiet is appropriate and times when high action is appropriate, but it is usually a combination of both. One leads to the other and back around again. There is a mutual flow between inspiration and action, action and inspiration.
One of my mentors once said to me, “spirit loves informed bravery.” Not rash impulse, but considered, intentional action. Another mentor also said, “unused creativity can show up as drama.” Let’s start the new year using our innate creativity and informed bravery to move away from drama and back into alignment and integrity.
Let’s move our feet . . . .
and then pray.