Spring Cleaning for the Spirit: Making a New Determination

Spring Cleaning for the Spirit: Making a New Determination

In some places the snow is finally melting and bright new flowers are starting to peek above the ground. After the dormancy of winter, the new beauty sprouting up around us is enough to put a spring in anyone’s step, energizing us to make a renewed determination. Many of us will use that energy to give some much-needed attention to our cluttered homes and work spaces. Spring cleaning helps those who want to get more organized, save time in the future, and learn more about what is most important to them at that time in their lives. In these ways, spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to your storage rooms and closets, but also your spirit.

 

Spring Cleaning Checklist:

 

1. Keep, Toss, Donate (Reflect)

Just as you would purge your closet of the clothes you no longer wear, whether ill-fitting or simply unappealing, you can reflect on your daily habits and attitude. Think about where you find the most value.

When you look at your closet, you have to wonder, “Where do I spend the most time?”or “Where do I WANT to spend the most time?” From here, you determine what outfits and accessories are essential and comfortable for your daily life. Some of us need appropriate clothing for adventure: hiking, water sports, horseback-riding, and other endless outdoor activities. A totally different wardrobe will belong to someone who works in a professional office, or is a university student who adorns him or herself in school colors, or someone who works from home in comfortable yoga pants.

In what areas do you want to spend the most effort in to develop your spiritual life?

You can think about cleaning out your “Spiritual closet” as a chance to reflect on the habits and attitudes you need to ‘keep, toss, or donate.’ Keep habits and attitudes that motivate you to live for the sake of others; toss those that only serve you; and, as a mentor and brother or sister, donate your best practices to others.

 

2. Organizing (Applying)

After you have gone through the process of “purging your closet,” the next step is organizing everything that is left. You reflected on the habits and attitude that you would like to have as part of your daily life, so how do you want to implement them? It’s not enough to just talk about the things you would like to do or the reactions you would like to have to any given situation.

To substantially apply what you reflected on, you need to make a plan. Organize your goals for positive habits by placing them in your daily schedule.

 

3. Staying Clean (Habits)

It’s easy to feel good after a couple days of keeping your home clean after a major spring cleaning session, but how long does it last?

New resolutions are easy to create, but difficult to maintain. You reflected on your spiritual life, thought of ways to implement good habits and attitudes in daily life, and now the real test is making those wishful habits into… well, habits!

Remember that just as Spring Cleaning is a reoccurring phenomenon, the process of reflection, application, and creating more positive habits is all an ongoing part of growing your spirit. As human beings, we are not meant to only change once. It is important to continuously reflect and in this way, we can attain greater understanding of ourselves and other members of our global family.

Happy Spring! Get cleaning!

Gratitude and Adventure

Gratitude and Adventure

By Keith MacMurdie

The attitude of gratitude or the state of being grateful in all circumstances is an important component in our life of faith. Without gratitude it is difficult to develop an honest relationship with God. Gratitude is not something we are automatically born with. It must be cultivated as part of our character by watching mentors, studying sacred words, and making effort.

Why is gratitude important? Well, what does a person look like who is not grateful? That person may feel that the world owes them something. He might think that he is the center and others are not so important. Essentially, ungrateful people do not value others and live and die in their own false construct of the world. This type of person is cut off from relationships of true love whether with people or God. They are also cut off from truth as their world is extremely limited.

Gratitude opens us up to the necessity of people and God in our lives. We realize that we are all interdependent beings with a common Parent. Through gratitude, we also realize that there are powerful forces in the universe that are beyond our control. The correct and honest worldview is that we are objects to God as the subject.

When things are going smoothly in our lives we are easily grateful. When we are receiving lots of love and support we easily praise God and feel good about our life, family and friends. How about when things are not going well? Remember the Biblical story of Job? He had everything taken from him and he deeply struggled and wrestled with his faith.

At first glance, the two concepts of gratitude and adventure may not seem to go together. However, when we ask the question, “How can gratitude be cultivated?”, we will see they are very closely connected.

We can strengthen our gratitude by putting ourselves in controlled challenging circumstances. This is one way that adventure activities can help us grow. Adventure activities can be fun and exciting. They also place us in very uncomfortable circumstances mentally, emotionally, and physically. These challenging situations are the opportunities to “exercise” our gratitude. Gratitude, much like physical muscles, needs exercise and stress to stretch and grow. By willingly entering into challenging situations we are testing and pushing our limits of gratitude.

Conducting adventure activities in a wilderness setting helps us to understand our proper position in the order of creation. First, in the wilderness there are factors that cannot be controlled such as the weather or encounters with predators.  Risk can be lowered with preparation but not eliminated. We learn trust and gratitude as we navigate wilderness challenges successfully. Secondly, with so much awesome beauty and harmony around us we cannot but be grateful to God for providing such a rich and diverse environment for us to grow. Feeling true love from our Creator stimulates our heartfelt response of gratitude.

So when you are scared, cold, wet, hungry and tired push through those complaining thoughts and allow your mind to go to a place of gratitude. Thanking those around you and God above for the opportunity to become a better person – a person more able to give and receive true love. Because, ultimately, this is why we are here – to become people who share deeply God’s love and joy with Him and our universal family.

Getting through Difficult Times: The Attitude of a Leader

Getting through Difficult Times: The Attitude of a Leader

by Nahmdoug Kim (Westpoint Military Academy Graduate)

Nahmdoug Kim

I’ve never enjoyed being in the spotlight. Often times, I found myself just standing aside and being content to simply let things unravel or wait for others to do something. It takes a good deal of courage to make a decision or some kind of impact in a group, team, or community. For me, I have to dig way down to find that courage, and there have been plenty of times when I hadn’t found it and wish I had. But if you can become comfortable with uncertainties, chaos, and the looming possibility of failure, then you will find it much easier to take that action, or stick with that decision, or do whatever it is you are trying to do. So, pushing yourself to overcome that feeling of being uncomfortable will prepare you for much dire circumstances when the decision you make really matters.

You have 100% control over your attitude regardless of the situation and knowing that is what makes the difference. This thought helps me through difficult times, and I think you will find it valuable too.