It seems like I’m always hearing the word “spirituality” from friends, the media, and my clients. The word spirituality conjures up – no pun intended – all kinds of images. Some of them positive, some of them not so positive. I suspect it might be the same for you.
To me, spirituality is about having a sense of life’s meaning, a connection to something bigger than your own experiences. In my mind, spirituality isn’t the same as religion, though you may choose to observe religious teachings and rituals as an expression of your spirituality.
So, a question for you: While you are taking care of your mind and body, are you also paying attention to your spiritual self-care?
Learning that you are HIV positive, and moving forward with treatment and life management, can lead to a spiritual awakening. And having spiritual support for the road ahead can make all the difference in terms of coping with the challenges that spring up along the way, as well as maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude.
An HIV diagnosis can be a wake-up call in terms of opening you up to what’s really important in life. One of my clients told me that, after learning his status, he went home, turned on the stereo, and played his favorite music. He felt like he had never before heard it in the same way, that somehow he was able to hear it in a new way. Another told me that living with HIV has made her appreciate all of the simple things in her life, especially the moments she spends taking care of her children. Watching them smile.
Another client returned to religious practices of his childhood, with a new appreciation for what they bring to his life, as well as for his parents’ spiritual values.
With spiritual self-care, one size does not have to fit all. Nor do the benefits. Taking care of your spiritual side can mean being more connected to the present moment, aware of what is important and what is not so important in life, connected to other people in a meaningful way, and/or being guided by God, or a Higher Power.