I have a confession.

When we put together our four pillars of #theEPIClife, I strategically listed Functional Training, Holistic Nutrition, Nature, and Self-Care with Nature being our expression of Spirituality.

Not only did the science prove that nature was vital to our wellbeing, but it proved to make people more spiritual without them needing to believe or actively participate in spirituality when going into nature! Genius! Also - the pure physical science and how it benefited our bio-markers positively were undeniable. 

At the beginning, I felt that putting the word “spirituality” as the 3rd pillar would turn some people away - I don’t think I was wrong. But, one thing I have discovered, especially over the past couple of years, is that the word isn’t so scary for a lot of people anymore.

Why is this? Well, the world is changing. Thank you internet, people are more educated and most people understand that religion and spirituality are two very different things. It’s no secret that North Americans, (I will speak only for the European descendants here), have been disenchanted by religion- there’s not doubt about that. Many people are sick of the notion of slavery across every sense of the word- that we are in service to some being that is greater, bigger, more powerful and simingly, purely punitive watching down on us. They have rejected the idea that they are not worthy - we can champion the “self-care” industry for this or the rise of yoga and pop culture spirituality - or, those things were in response to our feelings that we don’t believe the old views anymore - either way, things are changing. EVEN WITHIN religion, things are changing. Gender roles are being spoken about differently, priests and pastors are more careful with their interpretation of themes of power and hierarchy within their structure, considering the issues that have come out because of the rhetoric within religion or how the texts have been interpreted, they need to be and this is good. It is more welcoming, more sustainable.

Now, we see cool churches being formed that look more like nightclubs than anything I’ve ever seen before. So, it’s all different whether you are inside religion looking out or are practicing spirituality your own way, things are changing and morphing into something different. However, as much as there are people are seeking their own version of spirituality and as much as religious structures are changing to support this need, there are many more people that did not grow up with religion or spirituality in this generation because of less-than-positive experiences their parents may have had. So, are they missing something?

Why did it matter for us to acknowledge Nature and Spirituality as a pillar in our teachings? In health, we have discovered that the people who are the healthiest on the planet have some form of spirituality practice whether they recognize it as such or not. They may or may not identify with a religion, but they absolutely feel connected to something and practice the strength of that connection - whether that be nature, science, the universe, some sort of chi, prana or energy - they tap into it often, during rough times or in times when they feel gratitude, or in every moment of the day. 

As a culture, I know I’m not the only one that has avoided using the word “spirituality”. It has been a word sitting just behind the word “meditate”, “hike”, “kindness” and plenty of other recommendations for our health. Whether you view meditation as a spiritual act or a mindset act, or view hiking as physical exercise or connection to the divine, or view kindness as a duty or an expression of universal love - the truth is, it doesn’t matter. Whatever mind-construct you identify with is irrelevant. The energy that comes from these practices though is spiritual and it affects your health positively each time.  

The act of managing emotions, optimizing your body, connecting with the earth, speaking your truth, being more self aware - these are all expressions of spirituality. So, maybe we’ve been nervous to claim what it is, but that’s what we are asking of people for the benefit of their health and the world.

From solely a health and wellness perspective, we need to understand what spirituality is- and in understanding that there are countless different versions of it, we can then figure out what we identify with. Spirituality is just being connected to something. So, for us, we have put the word “Nature” overtop of it, but your version of spirituality could be God , it could be science, chi, prana, energy, it could be love and kindness. A lot of people are spooked by the word “spiritual” but you can be spiritual if you believe in science. Every atom on the planet vibrates- that’s energy. Quantum physics is spiritual. It could be any of those versions of it and it doesn’t matter. We’re still talking the same language. What does matter is that you engage in some form of it. Do you feel yourself called to be more spiritual or to know more about what that means? Here are a few steps to really get you started.

Understand your mind isn’t you.

Your mind works like a program that is either for you or against you- and usually, your mind can feel like it’s against you. That’s because it works in a constant fight or flight mode; it is always trying to keep you safe, which is generally the opposite of what we really want. Staying safe means being stuck in thoughts that do not empower you to take risks or change your life, or let your guard down and be more compassionate - it’s just simply not the job of the mind. It takes the easy way out and it likes to stay in it’s comfort zone and when you stay on that path too long the odds are you won’t like where you end up - because it’ll look an awful lot like our childhood, the repeat of cycles of tourture and trauma from long ago. We need to acknowledge and understand that own minds are not who we are. I am not my thoughts. You are not your thoughts. You OBSERVE your thoughts.

If you can acknowledge that you are an observer of your thoughts the next natural question is: Well, who am I? Who is the observer? This is the first step in spirituality because acknowledging that there can be a “me” observing a thought, means that you are acknowledging that there is something else bigger than you.

To really dig deep into this step check out The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.

Love yourself.

Self-love - yup, it is synonymous with spirituality. Loving others, being kind, open, compassionate and positive starts on the inside. It is an inside job first. If you love yourself - your real self - then you’re going to be more kind, more generous, more compassionate, and less judgmental to you and to others. You are able to do all the things you’re supposed to do in the external world, internally. When we do that, the outside world starts to mimic our inside world. But if you feel like everyone is against you or taking advantage of you and that life is never fair or that life is just happening to you … this is a projection of what’s going on the inside of you. You are listening to the terrorist aka, the MIND, instead of your spirit which is you. Spirit is only love. So every thought and action that is not loving, is not spiritual and it is not you. Every thought that is negative, judgmental, or punitive destroys our health - so, more evidence that being spiritual increases our health status.

Better understand this second step with You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.

Be Self aware.

Life is a complete 100% projection of how we are on the inside. If you can recognize this, then you can start asking yourself tough questions like, “Why do I keep attracting people who overstep my boundaries?”, “Why is there so much chaos?”, “Why am I always late or feeling like I am always disappointing others?” You are the only common denominator in your life. Can you accept the possibility that you create your reality?

A book that can help you understand this step is You Are The Universe by Deepak Chopra.

Take radical responsibility.

Once you’ve opened up to the idea that the outside world is a reflection of your inside world, the last step in being spiritual is to take radical responsibility for it. Being radically responsible can seem like taking responsibility for things that are not your fault.

But, taking responsibility is not about fault. Responsibility is different that fault. Responsibility is not justice. That is something entirely different that we are not speaking about. It’s not about what you deserve. Of course, no one deserves to get sick. You didn’t do anything perhaps to cause whatever it is you’re going through but if our first instinct is to say, “It’s not my fault” then we lose all of our power. All of the power we have that could get us OUT of the situation we are in. We are just the victim, helpless, powerless. If something happens and you feel like you can take responsibility and change your perspective or your habits, then you can be empowered by that and move forward in action, hope and positivity. Taking responsibility is like standing up and declaring “What I do matters, I am owning my participation in MY life.” That’s it. It is 100% about you, it does not mean owning a half that is not yours to own or absolving others of their own responsibility, but it does mean only focusing on YOU - what you can learn from it, and what you do moving forward.

Gain more step four insight by reading Un#@%! Yourself by Gary John Bishop.

These are big concepts and radical ideas. But, if you are serious about your health and serious about living an EPIC life, one of feeling strong, empowered, at ease and in control - engaging in spirituality is crucial and you can do it your own way. What we have found is that Nature does some of the work for you, just by being in it. Studies show that we have more self love, more compassion and good feelings towards ourselves, the more we are in Nature. We think differently, we calm the mind and we take more responsibility for our lives. So, if these steps feel foreign to you, start by getting in 4 hours of Nature a week which is what we recommend in our EPIC Life Formula. Or, if you are really ready to dive into what spirituality can mean for you above and beyond Nature - start with the steps above. Here’s to being whole and living #theEPIClife.

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