Last May, my brother died from unintentional drug overdose. It was a major loss, the greatest heartbreak of my life. But when you’re a spiritual person and someone you love becomes an angel, you actually have access to a totally new relationship.
Now, my brother and I connect daily. I joke that we talk more now than we did when he was here, and in a way, it’s true. When I need a little extra magic (to find a parking spot or the right words for a speech), I call on my brother. I can feel his presence because I’m open to it.
As the founder of an online women’s leadership training program, I’ve worked with hundreds of women and learned that many crave a deeper connection like the one I have with my brother—even if they don’t connect with religion in the traditional sense.
While some women continue to cultivate a connection with the divine in churches and temples, more are turning to yoga mats and meditation cushions for a sense of inner peace.
My friend and mentor, Nisha Moodley, the founder of Global Sisterhood Day, once said, “Many religions promise that if we make good choices in life, we’ll get invited to heaven in the afterlife. As I see it, spirituality is an invitation to heaven on Earth—and a spiritual practice is the doorway. Through devoting ourselves to practices that bring us the feeling of inner peace—like dance, meditation, prayer, journaling—we are cultivating our ability to access that place in challenging times.”
So how does the modern woman integrate a spiritual practice into her daily world? Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Embrace your feelings—even uncomfortable ones
Part of being spiritual means understanding human feelings are healthy and necessary. If you want to connect more deeply with yourself (and the divine), stop numbing your feelings—especially the uncomfortable ones—with coping mechanisms like eating or drinking in excess, unhealthy sex or dating and overworking yourself at the office or gym. We numb when we are sad and when we’re happy, too. Most of us are just afraid of feeling. Allow yourself to express whatever exists in the moment.
If you’re angry, go to a kickboxing class or punch a pillow at home. If you’re excited, go for a celebratory run, call your best friend or take yourself to the spa.
2. Tune out the noise
If you’re caught up in what everyone else is doing, you may be addicted to the comparison game. Spend less time on Facebook, Periscope and Instagram and more time connecting in person.
Meet your partner for a long walk, and leave your phone at home. During girls’ night, leave phones in the car and let yourself laugh until it hurts. It’s easy to compare our messy, imperfect lives with someone else’s highlight reel, but remember that what you see online has been carefully curated, filtered and Photoshopped to create that aspirational experience.
Read more: 3 Ways to Lead Through Curiosity
3. Make spirituality fun
Many of us who grew up going to church, temple or Sunday School distanced ourselves because we found the experience boring. But spirituality isn’t boring! It’s actually fascinating and totally out of this world.
Let spirituality be a creative outlet infused with play. Make quarterly vision boards to help visualize your desires, and hang them around your home to keep you inspired. Decorate with sparkly crystals like rose quartz and amethyst to shift the energy of your space.
Build a money altar with an abundance candle, a copy of Esther Hicks’ Money and the Law of Attraction and a check you’ve written to yourself for the total income you want to make in 2016. Top it off with a citrine crystal to help attract prosperity and success. Try it out, make it fun and make it yours.
The moral of the story? When it comes to spirituality, the only rule is that there are no rules. The most important thing you can do is to follow your intuition to design a relationship with the divine that’s divinely you.
Katie DePaola is the founder and CEO of Inner Glow Circle, a women’s leadership mastermind and coach training program with members across the world.