by Michael Arndt
For many people, spirituality evokes a strong response, some negative and some positive. When I first came to CAST, I was put off by just the word spirituality. At the time, I thought of the religion I was raised with, which I no longer identified with nor felt connected to. However, I was reminded to keep my mind open, and to not judge the whole forest because I didn’t like one of its trees.
Somewhere along the line, my perspective on spirituality shifted dramatically. I no longer saw it as a necessarily religious word tethered to my own experience growing up. Through having open conversations with my peers and mentors, I came to identify the spirituality as a feeling of connectedness and purpose. I developed a spiritual practice that worked for me, one that was in alignment with my values and principles. I began to understand that my spiritual life is meant to enrich my heart and my soul — that is its primary function. It does not require that we follow any religious tenets, but does not exclude that either.
What matters is that we understand that spirituality means living a life in alignment with our own principles and values. It means living authentically and giving more to each other and the world than we take. It's the process of building self-esteem by performing esteemable actions. It grows and evolves as we grow and evolve.