(Excerpted from Integrated Wellness Coaching by Laurel Alexander, published by Singing Dragon 2022)
Psycho-spiritual insights tend to come from self-awareness, tenacity and self-compassion. As integrated wellness coaches, we need to be able to walk this spiral with some awareness ourselves before facilitating the journey in others. There are as many ways to observe oneself in relationship to the world as there are people on the planet and every way is valid. The core of them all is self-observation without judgment, leading to organic transformation. I appreciate this reads reasonably easy on paper and maybe every blue moon when there is a Z in the month, it can be achieved. The reality of awareness is dolly steps with very little fanfare – just a deep knowing of satisfaction as we grow closer to our true nature.
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” Rumi
Weaving in spiritual pathways is a wellbeing choice. Think on it as enriching the soil for our self-awareness and life meaning. So what tools can we use ourselves and with wellness coaching clients to increase our self-awareness and allow the pathway to our spiritual nature to open wider?
- Reflection through movement: Some clients find it easier to reflect when their body is engaged through yoga, walking, running. etc.
- Observing self through interactions: Other clients find it easier to observe themselves through relationship interactions.
- Observing self through emotions: Some clients find that their emotions are the doorways to a deeper understanding of self. The neurotic tendency of the mind is heightened during distress because a noisy mind distracts us from our tears and fears. Avoiding or numbing our feelings through work, alcohol, food, shopping, social media, etc., is much easier than sitting with our pain. But all this running and numbing are damaging to our emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical wellbeing in the long run.
- Self-compassion and compassion: Kindness to ourselves and others helps to oil the hinges of the spiritual gateways.
- Finding the sacred in daily living: Appreciating the simple joys of daily living and the pleasure of being in the moment help to make us more aware of the spiritual opportunities of the now.
- Creative connection through writing and art can open us up to ourselves.
- Prayer: The practice of prayer is very personal so I can’t tell you how to pray or who to pray to, but whatever Higher Power we might believe in – God, the Universe, Mother Nature, your spirit guides, or angels – prayer reminds us of our interconnectedness with all of existence and reassures us that we are divinely supported on our path. Prayer is a heart-centred practise because it invites an attitude of surrender and gratitude to our hearts. If you feel uncomfortable with the word prayer, you can think of it more as an intention-setting practice.
- Breathwork: The breath is what gives us our life force; it belongs to the subtle layer of the energy body which protects the heart. Through breathwork, we penetrate our innermost layers and flood the body with our energy and activate our energy centres which store our emotions.
- Being in nature: The seasons and cycles of nature remind us that we too are nature.
Psycho-spirituality is the process of using both psychological and spiritual dynamics for healing to occur. There is a need for ego integration, and ultimately ego transcendence. However, we cannot transcend anything that we have not fully developed or healed. Thus, our spiritual essence must blend with psychological wellness before we can fully live as our authentic selves.
Psycho-spiritual approaches help refine the ego into an instrument for the soul’s expression in this world. The ego surrenders to the direction of the soul (or Spirit). We learn to stand in a new place of power within ourselves, embodying our essence. As an integrated wellness coach, we can walk for a season with our clients coaching them through releasing emotional hooks and negative core beliefs which impact their wellbeing. We can hold a space for the client to enable them to break out of harmful mindsets and see their experiences as opportunities for growth, healing and evolution.
“You are a Spiritual Being having a human experience.” Jacquelyn Small