It’s often a struggle to stay upbeat and positive at the end of a school year. Budgets cuts were inevitably huge this past year and we’re still recovering from the after-effects. Last spring I felt like the girls in this video:

To pick up my spirits, I reflected on a sermon I had heard called “In Search of the Spiritual.” The speaker started with the etymology of the word “spirit.” We can see its root in words like “respiration” and “inspiration.” He then offered the list of where he finds spiritual renewal-in music, in solitude, in play, etc. It made me realize that if I start my own list, I can find a bit of renewal whenever I need it:

1. Silence. Since I get sensory-overloaded easily, I take refuge in silence. I am content to ride home in total silence-no radio, no music. To sleep at night, I have to have it totally quiet and dark. I use the silence to recite mantras and get grounded after a stressful day. “Breathe in strength, breathe out growth” is my latest mantra.

2. Laughter. Nothing beats a tear-inducing belly laugh to relieve stress and feel refreshed.

3. Play.  After watching me play (and laugh) in the surf all day in Hawaii a few years ago my sister-in-law reminded me that I am a kid at heart. I love to play, whether it’s cards, golf, volleyball, charades or even dress-up. Play fuels my creativity, releases negative energy and revives me.

4. Nature. I grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado and spent more time outside than in learning to love and appreciate nature. I find renewal when I hike and fish, but especially when I take the time to listen to the aspens and streams and smell the pine trees and flowers. (I recently discovered that the bark of a Ponderosa Pine smells like butterscotch!)

Where do you find renewal?

Bridal Falls Trail Head