QUESTION FROM READER: I have been on a spiritual hiatus, so to speak, for a few years and find it hard to motivate myself to get into practice again.
VL: I have so much to say on this topic - but I think Spirit says it better. I will say that there are many times in my life that I have been on what looks and feels like a spiritual hiatus and that couldn't be further from the truth. My practice just shifted to be more internal and woven throughout my daily life. My practice went into the doctor's office with me, the MRI machine, the operating room when I had surgery, while driving, showering, sitting at my computer, etc. Others have carried it into a loved one's hospital room, chemo therapy, and to the DMV.
My practice became praying throughout my day, and whispering to the wind with no answers. My practice became 5 more secs and one more breath. My practice is losing hope and faith again and again and then finding it.
The purpose of ritual and ceremony at the beginning of the journey is to learn and grow. And then somewhere the ritual becomes more internal, you become the ritual. I still do rituals and ceremonies now, but they look very different in my private life. They are simpler and more subtle, but more potent in my experience. I do miss my former spiritual practice at times, but I also know it's not what I need at the moment.
And like all practitioners, I have gone through periods where the silence of Spirit is deafening. My frustration at being able to hear for other's and not myself was maddening. But I learned that sensing for others was sensing for myself. And that sucky in-between of working and waiting as things take shape happens to everyone that is devoted to The Mystery. We are cyclical beings, and our spiritual lives are as well.
SPIRIT: Oh dear, this is a common process in spiritual life. Can you think of it as though your process has changed to be more internal and quiet which needs a different type of motivation? Throughout spiritual life practice changes based on needs and capacity and that is ok. Might it be useful to explore what is spiritual practice for you now? Is it more simple and elegant - walking with the trees, drinking a cup of warm liquid, tending the flowers, reading, creating, working, resting when your body needs to? These are all spiritual practices simply because you are a spirit doing them.
If your question is about longing for a deeper connection and the greed that your practice has gone dormant, might we suggest speaking to spirit while you do your earthly things? Whispering hello to the trees, speaking to the soul of your animals (if you have them), saying hello to the birds, speaking to the Spirits that surround you - even if you can't sense them at the moment. Ask them, beg them to come and be with you. That you long for them. And if it troubles you deeply, seek help. There is no shame in being able to sense for others but not yourself in this moment. Seek assistance to hear your own unique spiritual medicine for the moment. Find assistance that won't overwhelm you and will be gentle in their understanding that a tea light is as potent as a bonfire. And look within, your practice is still there, wintering, and when the snow has melted it will return.
VL: The basics never fail me. They continue to teach me and be a source of strength and renewal when I need it. The foundation of any ritual are the elements. Fire, water, air, earth, mineral, and the natural world including the animals. I speak to these elements with the belief they are listening and without the expectation of an answer. I believe it pleases them to be seen and heard, like it pleases me. And therefore I have done a good deed. On hiatus, when no tool or ritual seems to be right, return to the foundation of magic, along with the element of time and let it reawaken you.
Thank you for your beautiful statement that held so many questions and possibilities within.