Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois                       

And a great day to you, Faith.

Faith

It is a great day. This is really fun.

Lois                         

I know. And this is the most bizarre spring we have experienced in the Denver Metro area in awhile.

Faith                    

And that’s for sure. You just don’t know what to expect, right?

Lois                        

No, no. I’m wearing short sleeves today just to try to bring the spring on knowing how cold it is out there. We’re under a blanket of snow, but by the time you hear this, I’m sure it’ll be beautiful.

Faith                     

It’s going to be in the 80s.

Lois                       

And we love that and it’s so cool to be diving into all sorts of transitions that we’ve been focusing on. And you know, last week we talked about fear and it was really great for me to be able to share some of the findings that we brought to light in our podcast with a bunch of friends because it really urged me to focus more on the positive emotions in my life when fear crops up. And that’s just kind of a wonderful refreshing way of thinking.

Faith                     

It is indeed because fear can have such a grip on our lives that keeps us restrained from doing everything we really want to do with freedom and with joy. And when you can face that fear, when you can really tackle it, you just enter a whole new level of freedom to live life abundantly.

Lois                       

So if you would like to share this podcast with someone who’s going through any sort of shift in their lives, we know it can be challenging and freeing as we talk about these different transitions. But please share it with them and let them know where they can listen to it, whatever platform you’re listening to it on. And we also have a weekly newsletter we would love to send out to you. And we send it out every week, go to our website www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com And you’ll get our free newsletter.

Faith                   

We’d love to have you be a part of that.

Lois                       

Yes. And the transition you are facing may come up on you all of a sudden, or maybe it’s been building up for some time for a year, or maybe it’s just shining a bright light into your life right now and it’s been there for a long time. And today’s transition could fit any one of those categories. Because today is Episode 75. Transition: The Impact of Spiritual Growth.

Faith                    

Yes. And when we hear that word spiritual growth, we get a lot of different ideas that come flooding into our minds of what that means. And oftentimes people will fall in that category of it’s about religion. And what I hope that we can really bring here today is that the spirituality is a place where if you do choose to have a faith and a religious place to go and to worship, it is a place to enhance your spirituality. It’s a place that you focus your spirituality. So we’re not going to be talking about religion as much as we’re going to be talking about who you are spiritually.

Lois                      

Because there is no one definition to what spiritual growth is and maybe if you’ve been raised in a tradition, you might believe there’s kind of only one way or a certain direction to go. And so we want to kind of unpack that and open it up without shutting anything down. But just giving you more spaces to think because some see it as a personal spiritual development and others look at it as a connection to a higher power – to God, a relationship, having a, a deeper consciousness. So even if we share the same faith and connection, spiritual growth still manifests differently for each of us. Even if we commune together over a table and we think we are resonating with the same thoughts.

Faith                   

Exactly. Because spirituality in your own spiritual journey is unique to you. No one is on that journey in the same way that you are. It’s unique. You may have the same focus as you just said about what draws you into that spirituality. But it’s unique to you because of the uniqueness of who you are. And that’s what we’re opening up is that what resonates with you? What awakens you? What stirs your heart? And are you giving it time to develop and be nurtured?

Lois                      

So that’s what we’re going to dive into today and it really is pretty awesome. So Faith, what does spiritual growth, how does that hit you when you hear that phrase?

Faith

Well, see for me, I love it because for me personally, spiritual growth and spiritual development has been, I don’t know, innate in me. I think even as a child I always was curious about the more and curious about life and creation and things around me. How do they get here? What did it mean? And so I was asking questions in my mind a lot. So I, I think I’m kind of in line and connected to my spirituality from the very beginning. But it’s a journey. It’s a journey into the deeper, it’s a journey beyond what our circumstances are and what life presents to us. And we oftentimes can say life in a whole is what we are experiencing externally. But the reality is there’s something going on internally and are we in touch with that? Are we connected to our response to the external world? Are we connected to what it’s teaching us? What is it showing us in life? Rather than what we experienced in the external world is the ultimate end. And for me it’s like that’s never been a reality. There’s one thing that John Bradshaw says that I want to open with it. He said “The spiritual quest is not some added benefit to our life. Something you embark on. If you have the time and inclination, we are spiritual beings on an earthly journey. Our spirituality makes up are being-ness.” And it’s about being instead of this doer that we’ve talked about often on other podcasts about performing and doing all these things in life, it’s more about how do we be in life? How do we find the more to life that is always there, no matter what we are facing?

Lois                         

And spirituality in my life has been something like yours, Faith, where I never knew a time where I was apart from it. It just was an expression that our family had in terms of how we shared meals together, how we expressed hospitality, how we attended services on a regular basis just because that was how I grew up. And so it was very natural and I would share certain elements about my faith and my beliefs, but more importantly I knew for some reason at a very young age that it was how I lived that mattered. It didn’t really matter what I said. I believed it mattered. What did I do with that? How did I treat people? How did I care about people? And so I was always very conscious about that, knowing that I could never rest in just saying this is what I think, because if I didn’t act on what I thought, then what did it matter? And as I have grown in these last few decades, I’ve also noticed a real shift for me where I used to have – I loved black and white when I was a kid and who doesn’t when they’re kids, they need to know certain things and certain boundaries. Then I moved to total gray and I just wanted everything great. There are no answers, you know, it’s just, it can actually be a free for all. And I’ve come in these last few decades to this place of continued openness, wanting to learn from many different traditions, never abandoning my own tradition. In fact, adding to it, which I think there was a point in my life where I thought, oh, I can’t do that. If I do add to something that I’ve grown up with then maybe I’m tossing out the baby with the bathwater, well I’m not. And in fact it’s become richer and deeper. And so it’s not so important for me to share with somebody exactly what my specific belief is. It’s my job to love people, to reach out and to engage. And if that means I’m more inclusive and my circle is bigger and wider. Yes. And Amen.

Faith                    

They’re attracted to you, which makes the difference because that’s what true spirituality is, is that you’re drawn to what you see in the person, that something is happening, something is safe and loving and kind. And that’s the ultimate fruit of dealing with yourself spiritually.

Lois                        

So this is very exciting today as we dip our toes into transition: the impact of spiritual growth. And since spiritual growth takes so many shapes and forms, we’re going to offer you just a few ideas that you can use along your journey – or not. And one of the first places to start is to be aware of what you believe.

Faith                     

Yes. It’s really interesting how many people when you ask them, will really, what do you believe? It’s vague or it’s spotty or it’s randomness or it’s rote. They have something that they’ve learned and they spit out. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a deeper place. Always have an account for what you believe. And that’s, that comes from scripture that I really have always held true. It’s like when you’re asked what are you accounting for? Your belief, what is it that you’re going to really offer? And that comes from a deeper place. That’s not just details, that’s about experience, that’s about the relationship, that’s about how are you living your life. That is about what are you discovering? How are you growing? How is it morphing and changing and evolving because that’s what spirituality does.

Lois                       

You know if you don’t know where you stand, then it’s difficult to grow from a place of nothingness. And so even if your place is nothingness, to embrace that, to own it, to explore what that means, so that if you want growth in this spiritual area of your life, that’s a place you can go. One of the questions that always came to me in my life as a journalist for so many years was do your beliefs inform your life? And for me, they informed me because of the way I absorb them and took them in and wanted to then breathe them out. So I always felt that I stood on some sort of foundation that now by the way, is bigger. My foundation used to be really small. I could probably put it as square. I’d stand here – don’t go over the edge cause I’m very, you know, I’ve got certain people I can see, and these people I can’t, they don’t get included. Now my space is the whole sidewalk, the whole earth, wherever I go. It’s much more inclusive. It’s bigger, but it’s still a foundation. Yeah. It’s still a foundation I draw from so that I can keep growing. It’s not for me. It’s based on something solid and that works in my life for how I can express.

Faith                     

Oh, that’s why they call it growth. It’s so whatever you believe in the moment, you’re absolutely right. We need to know what we believe now, but be open to how will it change? How will it morph? How will it expand? Because there is always so much more. Who are we to think that we have it all figured out? We don’t.

Lois                       

But sometimes we think we do. I know I certainly did in my twenties and thirties I could’ve told you this is exactly it and there’s no more. And now I’m going, oh wow, there is so much more and I don’t even have, I really haven’t chipped as much as I thought I had by any means.

Faith                   

I know and that’s how, that’s how we become more spiritually is when we open ourselves up to it is still opening up to us and we are still seen and there’s more to see and there’s more to understand. There’s more to comprehend and that that’s just a beautiful place to be.

Lois                       

For my faith tradition relationship is key and so it’s not just a relation with my higher power with God. It is a relationship with you – with whoever I’m communing with because that’s where I see God. That’s where I see my, my spirituality growing in other people, even if they don’t share the same belief system that I have because it is about relationship for me. So that’s when I see somebody else, I see this spirit or spirituality or whatever you want to call it, exemplified coming through so I can listen to a different point of view and it doesn’t threaten what I’m thinking. It just adds to, it’s both and.

Faith                    

It’s the both end. Yeah. You’ve got it, look at you.

Lois                      

It’s about time I started growing. You know, as you’re on your spiritual journey, be inspired.

Faith                   

So true. So true.

Lois                      

You talk about this all the time about getting out into nature.

Faith                   

Yeah, it’s nature. It’s people like you just said, seeing, seeing the goodness in another human being, seeing the beauty of another person’s artistic abilities or their music. When you see the elements of what someone holds within their life, it should awaken us. It should awaken us to look, look and see, look at this beautiful creation. We take so much for granted and so being inspired is moving from kind of being blind, walking around blindly in this world and waking up and putting on our glasses and saying, I see. And what do I see? And that is where inspiration comes from. And you can go to an art gallery, you can go to a movie. I just was hearing the other day, someone, brilliant comment, he goes, I always find God in the Bourne series and the movie. And it’s so true. It’s like if you watch that series. And there’s certain movie trilogies and things that’s like, whoa, there’s, there’s something powerful about what emerges out of these movies. Well that’s just not a fluke. That’s inspiration. And so in that inspiration, we can always find a revelation of something greater than ourselves and let it speak to us, see it, feel it, know it, experience it. And it can take us inward and to understanding more about ourselves.

Lois                        

And that’s where, if at all possible, especially as the summer months are coming, take the opportunity to sit down and invest some time in listening to music and outdoor concerts or paying for a Red Rocks concert – if you’re in the Denver Metro area or wherever you can go. And the reason I say that is every time I go to any sort of concert, I will be overwhelmed by a piece or a song that someone puts together and there is a spiritual element that I’m never expecting by the way, and it hits me. You know that feeling when you can watch the hair on your arms stand up on end and it goes all the way through your core, down to your toes. That is more than just like, oh, that’s a good piece of music. That’s when you know that there is a spiritual side, at least for me, because I didn’t control any of that. It just kind of erupts and then it inspires me to look at wherever I am in a different way. Even if I’m inside a closed space in a theater, that music can trigger inspiration for spiritual growth for me.

Faith                    

Oh, absolutely. That’s what I was talking about. How we can tend to ignore what we are experiencing in that moment that that is a spiritual moment. We are experiencing something greater than ourselves that is evoking this emotion and this expression. We ignore the tears that pop into our eyes when we’re watching a youtube sweet little thing and all, once we get teary, you know, because there’s a dog and that’s something, it’s like y’all, once you’re crying, it’s like, oh, I shouldn’t be crying. Yes you should be. It’s touch something. And that’s what is being aware that is being inspired. What is inspiring you about that in that moment?

Lois                      

So hold on to that. Another way is to listen for that still small voice. And there are many ways to do this. And Faith and I are gonna go through a little exercise here because it is an interesting verse. It’s from Psalm 46:10. And the entire verse is “be still and know that I am God” and maybe you’ve heard this take on this verse. So we’re going to alternate because there’s something very powerful that happens when you break it down. There is so I’ll start: Be still and know that I am God.

Faith                    

Be still and know that I am.

Lois                      

Be still and know that I.

Faith                 

Be still and know that.

Lois                       

Be still and know.

Faith                

Be still and.

Lois                        

Be still.

Faith                  

Be.

Lois                       

It’s so powerful. You may have been at an event and heard this broken down this way and faith and I have heard this from different sectors and combined. We’ve actually been in a place where we heard it together. It just gets down into the core, of bringing you to this place of silence so that you can hear something other than your own voice.

Faith                

Getting into that place of being, which is just when you are in your being. When you are there, then something awakens. Something is seen and understood at a level that you can’t see when you’re just about doing your day.

Lois                     

And that’s all about spiritual growth. Yes. Oh, that’s so cool. Another element is something called “Discharge your loyal soldier.” Now, this is a story that I read in some writings from Franciscan priest and author Richard Rohr. He wrote this story that at the end of World War Two some Japanese communities had the wisdom to understand that many of their returning soldiers weren’t prepared to reenter peaceful society. Their only identity had been as a loyal soldier to their country, but now they needed a broader identity. So communities created this ceremony whereby this soldier would be publicly thanked and praised in front of all the people. And then an elder would stand and announce the war is over. The community needs you to let go of what is served you and us well up to now. We need you to return as a parent, a partner, a friend, a mentor, something beyond a soldier. And Rohr calls this process, discharging your loyal soldier. In other words, look back at everything that’s formed you and brought you to where you are and be extremely thankful for every single phase that helped you survive and succeed and become who you are. And then ask yourself this question, what beliefs may you be ready to lay to rest? Ways of thinking and acting that no longer serve your growing sense of reality. And this has been a scary one for many people who were raised in certain traditions. They feel that they can’t grow. So they stay in this certain way. And he’s asking in a very clear way to let go of some of those things that hold us so tightly so that we can have our hands open.

Faith                    

This is so beautiful, Lois, because it is saying that the situations of your life are not permanent, but they are there to open us up to what is more in our life. And so having been a soldier that soldier and learn so much experience so much, but if he carries that always, always exactly in that spot into his normal life, it’s not going to work. So leaving it and, and taking what you’ve gleaned and what you’ve learned, you become a better person. How do you bring that into being in the world that you would now are entering? We are changing continually. Our lives are changing and we need to let our spirituality grow with that.

Lois                       

You know, we’ve used this in several of our pieces on transition because you so beautifully save frequently. Things just don’t stay the same. You know, if you’re really upset about a situation and you can just sit in that moment, I mean in an hour it’s going to be different. And we’re so afraid that it won’t change and that’s what gets us all riled up. And this is a beautiful example of life. Yes. That has to change.

Faith                   

It has to change and it will change if you stayed soldier, if you do say there, you’re going to carry it with you and it’s still going to change your life. Yeah. But maybe for the negative because you haven’t taken the nuggets, the treasure and carried it forward in opening up into a whole new reality for yourself.

Lois                        

And remember as you go into spiritual growth in any facet, that it’s your journey. Yes. No one can do it for you. And we can all be surrounded by people who support us and embrace the kinds of things we think about. But it is our journey and Faith, sometimes I think those of us in communities forget about that. And we see it as a collective and collectives are important. It is beautiful to be around people who support you and think in certain ways like you do, but it’s also your journey.

Faith                 

It’s totally your journey and you have to discover the uniqueness as I said before, of who you are, what speaks to you, and then step into that and let the journey open up to you. If you have struggles or difficulty embracing spirituality, find someone that you can walk it with for awhile. Have a mentor, have someone that resonates with you that can maybe answer questions but not answer questions to confine you, but rather to open the passageway more to you so that you can see more. That’s a good mentor and if you have someone who is telling you how to do it, run.

Lois                       

And the do’s and don’ts don’t work. We seem to not remember that because what’s happening for me and for many of us here is I know that there’s a lot I still don’t know. Right? And that’s okay. Right? That’s giving me more to life, that I want to keep absorbing and learning and reading and being educated in different ways and not all of them will I take in. But I will learn.

Faith                 

Right. Exactly. And I think the whole fundamental basis for spirituality is something that Brennan Manning said. He said, “How glorious the splendor of a human heart, that trust that it is loved.” Love is always going to be at the basis of all spirituality. And it starts with us. We need to know that we are so deeply loved and when that’s not there, then we tend to try to make something happen so that we have the parameters and knowing how to do it. And because we’re afraid of ourselves in a lot of ways, so we’re afraid we’ll mess up. We’re afraid we aren’t going to get it right. We need the rules and the regulations. But when you’re loved, you have freedom. And now everything that you do, everything you choose is based on the fact that one, you know that you’re loved and two, you want to love. And that’s the growth and development of true spirituality.

Lois                      

And there are so many traditions that will really say it just easily that that’s how you’ll know that this person has this faith tradition by their love. How do they express themselves, how do they show, how do they engage with other people and remember that that’s what people look at when they look at us. Oh, that’s what she’s doing today? Well I know where her heart is. So Richard Rohr, I wanted to end with this one beautiful quote that he also had. “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”

Faith                  

I like that. Whether you’re exploring transformation or new practices or relationship, spiritual growth provides you the space to open up.

Lois                       

We all want to grow so that we don’t keep hitting the same roadblocks over and over again. And then you can discover what is real and true and what works now and in the long run.

Faith                  

If you know someone who might benefit from this podcast, please share it.

Lois                       

And join us next week for Transition: The Impact of Words.

Faith                  

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois                       

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith                  

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois                       

We’ll be back next week.