I don’t know of a single person in my life who hasn’t told me within the past month that they have been, or currently are: busy, super busy, crazy busy, or alternately, exhausted. In our modern culture that is hyper focused on productivity, be it at your job or in your social life, having time to just “be” is difficult to come by. How do we stay in touch with our spirituality in a world that doesn’t value dedicated time for spiritual practice?
I am certainly not immune to the “busy” bug. If you’ve been following my blog for long, you may have noticed that I have deviated from my regular posting schedule over the past few months. Some of that busy-ness has out of necessity (like making several trips to the vet and doing fluid injections for my cat multiple times a week – don’t worry, he’s doing better now!), but a lot of my busy-ness has been a conscious decision. I enjoy filling my life with things I love (as well as the things, like my job, that make that possible). I’m busy hanging out with my boyfriend and my friends. I’m busy with my regular job, plus a side gig of Italian tutoring. I’m busy (somewhat ironically, given the topic of this post) being involved in my Pagan community, helping to organize events and attending rituals.
All of this busy-ness hasn’t left much dedicated time for my personal spiritual practice. My spirituality is VERY important to me, so I’ve found a few tips and tricks to integrate my Pagan practice into my everyday life, even when it doesn’t feel like I’ve got time to breathe, let alone hold a circle.
Find the Empty Space in Your Day
When you’re really busy, it may seem like you have no empty space in your day at all. It’s wake-up, get ready, go to work, come home, do chores, hang out with friends or family, go to sleep, and repeat, ad infinitum. But, I promise that you have more space in your life than you think you do! There may not be big chunks of time like you wish on weekends to sleep in or to meditate when you get home from work, but there is time, if you notice it.
For me, one of the easiest ways for me to spot this empty space is to notice when I go on autopilot during the day. Maybe it’s when I’m in the shower or on my commute to work. Perhaps it’s when I’m making tea, chopping vegetables for dinner, or brushing my teeth. And then there are all the times where I get on my phone to “check something really quick” and then half an hour goes by without me even realizing it.
Once you find the empty space in your day, become more conscious of it. Pay more attention to what you are doing, and how you could potentially incorporate your spirituality into it. For all those times you go on autopilot, is there something you could be doing to bring more awareness into your activity and infuse it with sacredness?
You can turn your shower into a cleansing ritual (see 7 Ways to Bring the Magickal into the Mundane) or an affirmation of all the things you love about your body! You could put some kitchen witchery into your meal preparation. You could listen to (or sing, if the context allows) Pagan music during your commute! You could even do an affirmation about speaking kind and loving words while you brush your teeth. The possibilities are endless!
Now, of course, one might argue that these times aren’t truly “empty space” because you are already engaged in another activity. These people would be correct. However, that doesn’t mean that you can bring another level of consciousness to that activity with a spiritual purpose! When I’m incredibly busy, I’ll take any spiritual moments I can get, even if it’s just in the shower.
Transmute Your Everyday Activities
As you are becoming more aware of the empty space in your life, you will probably also become aware of certain activities that are, for lack of a better term, time-sucks. Some of these time-sucks cannot be avoided (like laundry), but some (like that accidental half hour on your phone scrolling through social media) can be, or they can be repurposed! Even the unavoidable time-sucks can be done with intention.
I enjoyed Tess Whitehurst’s book Magical Housekeeping because it opened my eyes to the potential for spirituality in everyday chores. Add a few herbs and an intentional chant, and *poof* cleaning your kitchen counter becomes a magickal activity instead of required drudgery. Anything done with intention can be magickal. Plus, it makes doing chores a lot more fun!
As for the avoidable time-sucks, you can find a way to more effectively use that time. Instead of 30 minutes of social media, you could do 20 minutes of meditation, and then “reward” yourself with 10 minutes of social media. (You may even find that social media isn’t really that much of a reward anyway.) Or, if you absolutely need some phone decompression time when you get home from work, consider replacing Facebook with your favorite Pagan blog or an e-book. Or text your friends directly and ask how their day was. I guarantee you they will appreciate it more than a Like on their Facebook status.
Schedule Spiritual Time
While it may not sound like the most attractive option, scheduling time for spiritual activities, either by yourself or in a group, is a surefire way to emphasize that your Pagan practice is just as important as everything else on your to-do list. Group activities make this particularly easy, as there is usually a definitive start and end time, and your fellow Pagans (and likely friends!) are expecting you to be there. This can be work with your coven, an open group, or your local Pagan community at large.
Scheduling time for your personal spiritual practice is important, too, though in my experience, it’s a bit easier to put it off for later if you are the only one involved. Make a commitment to yourself and your Deities to honor that time and do your magickal work. You can also recruit a friend or loved one as an accountability partner (particularly if you live together) to make sure that you keep your promise to yourself and your practice.
Listen to Your Intuition
And now, a caveat: Listen to your intuition! Try out some new things with your time and schedule and see how they feel. If it feels good, keep doing it. If not, search for another solution. Spirituality can be expressed in many different ways. You just need to find a way that works for you, even when you are busy. What works for you when you are busy may look very different than what works for you when you aren’t as busy. And that’s okay!
Also listen to your intuition about the best use of your time. If you only got five hours of sleep last night, and that hour you set aside to meditate really feels like it would be better spent napping – Go take a nap! Before we can learn to listen to the Gods, we have to be able to listen to ourselves and honor our own needs. You’re no help to anyone, human or Deity, as a stressed-out, sleep-deprived mess.
On that note, I would like to recommend some reading: Burnout – The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA. It’s a fantastic read (and the audiobook is awesomely narrated by the authors). It is written for an audience of people who identify as women, but it is largely applicable to everyone. I think it should be required life reading for every human.
One of the most astonishing takeaways from the book is that humans need to spend 42% of their time in rest. Now, as the book explains, not all of that time needs to be literal sleep (though 7-9 hours of it does!) but this rest is essential to the basic functioning of our bodies, and therefore minds (and likely spirits, too). You can’t be your best self without rest.
Perhaps this is what The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meant by the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything!
Make Spirituality a Habit
The main goal of these tips is to help you to make spirituality a habit – something you do on a regular basis, no matter how busy you are. If you wouldn’t skip your morning coffee, why would you skip your morning prayers? Choose what matters to you and make it a priority. Spirituality should never feel like a requirement, but if you are at the phase in your spiritual growth where you want to go deeper, it must become a part of your daily life, busy or not.
Brightest blessings (and a good night’s rest) to you as you go about your busy, beautiful life!