The First Pillar of Self-Care: Spiritual Alignment
In order for the seven pillars of self-care to co-exist in truth and harmony, you have to work from the inside out — which is why spiritual alignment is first on the list.
Religion and spirituality are not the same thing
Although it can include religious beliefs, spiritual alignment in essence has nothing to do with religion. The world is filled with people from all types of backgrounds who are highly religious, yet they lack spirituality. Take the Pharisees for example. In the Bible, Jesus was consistently chastising this self-righteous group of people who were more concerned with upholding traditions and judging others than they were with actually loving people.
Though Pharisees may not be around today, members of what I call the Institute of American Church Culture (or the IACC) certainly echo Pharisee sentiments. I coined this term, IACC, to describe people who use God's name (in vain, might I add) to defend a system of political ideologies and cultural norms disguised as the most consecrated way to live, yet in reality these beliefs are designed to control, oppress, and manipulate.
To be clear, not every church is part of the IACC and there are plenty of good Christians, Muslims, Jews, and the like who truly represent the heart of God. The point is that regardless of affiliation or the lack thereof, spiritual alignment is what sets people apart from holier than thou religious folk — and those who live in spiritual alignment are the very ones making real change in their lives, homes, communities, and world.
What is spiritual alignment?
True spiritual alignment is a vibe and a frequency. It's why you can walk into a room and sense that something is wrong without anyone saying a word. It's also why you have a gut, instinct feeling that prompts you to make a certain decision — even when that decision makes no sense at the time.
By literal definition, to be in alignment is a threefold statement that means (1) to arrange things in their appropriate relative stance to each other (2) on the right course (3) in a position of agreement. When we're talking about spiritual alignment, we're talking about tuning our energy in such a way that our emotions, thoughts, needs, body, spaces, and relationships are situated for success — like a ripple effect. Getting into spiritual alignment may seem like a difficult concept to grasp, but it really is as simple as making the choice to do so. There are, however, practices that can help you spiritually align. Breathwork, affirmations, prayer, and meditation can all be beneficial.
How do I know if I'm in spiritual alignment?
Just because you're in spiritual alignment doesn't mean life will always be easy or that you'll always be happy, but you will have a sense of awareness that allows you to move in a healthy manner. In short, being in spiritual alignment involves knowing how to:
respond instead of react
take control over your thoughts instead of letting your thoughts take control over you
separate how you need to be loved from expecting others to feed dysfunctions
cater to your body's nutrition, exercise, and hygiene demands
care for various spaces you occupy with gratitude and respect
set, maintain, and enforce healthy boundaries
Being in spiritual alignment isn't about reaching some point of perfection. In fact, part of being in spiritual alignment involves recognizing and accepting that perfection can't be the end goal. Again — spiritual alignment is a vibe, a frequency, an energy, a choice, and a practice. The more you settle into that, the more you'll see its positive impact in your life.